I discovered music television when I was around 13 years old. As I’ve stated in numerous reviews where I incessantly talk about myself (Atavanhalen has dubbed the past few Sputnik years “The ‘Me’ Generation”), I didn’t have a very distinct notion of what music television even was for the majority of my childhood. But one day I was at a friend’s house and he turned on MTV2, and my life was forever changed by shitty music. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that I really loved some of the things I saw on television, but not surprising. I didn’t know anything else existed. Tonight however, I was struck by nostalgia and I traveled to Youtube to revisit some of those songs, and some of them hold up reasonably well. Of course, some of them are just fucking shit. And oh my god the fucking videos.
Three Days Grace – “I Hate Everything About You”
One distinct memory that I have involving this song contains a bit of early-era elitism from me. I told my older brother that the radio sucked, and he responded by turning on the local rock station. This is the song that was playing, prompting him to say, “See? One of the BEST SONGS EVER. The radio doesn’t suck, idiot.” And I didn’t argue because at the time, I agreed that Three Days Grace had written one of the BEST SONGS EVER. It was a simpler time. Back then, every song I heard had the potential to be the best ever. And you know what? I’m not much ashamed of thinking that about this particular song. It’s got some power behind it. That triple snare hit before the chorus still gets me pumped for what’s next. The video itself, however, shows just how fucking creepy this band looks. Half of the band looks around forty years old, and the other half isn’t even visible because of the singer’s monstrous faux-hawk, which is actually a faux-faux-hawk because he neglected to get rid of the hair on the back of his head. And just look at the way he leers at the camera with his eyes all buggy and shit. Also, this video is edited, so for added fun, just imagine that he says “shit” every time he says “hit.”2011 RATING: 4/5
Evanescence – “My Immortal”
This fucking song is awful but it was also fucking everywhere during Evanescence’s heyday. Personally, I always wanted them to show “Bring Me To Life” instead because that song rocked my world when I first heard it while watching Daredevil. But instead I got this terrible piece of crap and its accompanying music video. Amy Lee looks unbelievably lethargic, and Ben Moody spends the whole video showing you how he can make puns out of his last name. He also shows how stupidly simple the piano is by plunking away with two fingers while drunk throughout the whole thing. And you couldn’t write more rudimentary lyrics if you specifically tried to parody this song. 2011 RATING: 1/5
3 Doors Down – “Here Without You”
The nice thing about all these videos is that they all link to each other. I didn’t even have to think back to what I liked when I was 13 because they were all just right there. “Here Without You” was one of the first music videos that I ever saw, and it gave me a decent crash course in just how stupidly cheesy music videos can be. Firstly, it opens with the most inexplicable music video shot ever, sort of an in media res thing that’s never really rectified. And it’s all shot in BEAUTIFUL AND CONFUSING SLOW MOTION, which will satisfy any 3 Doors Down fan who ever wanted to see Brad Arnold slowly fall asleep while standing up. It makes that coin flip look mighty significant. Honestly, I think this entire video was intended as a dating website submission by Brad Arnold. It’s the only explanation I can come up with for why there might be TWO OF HIM.
But the best part of the video is when the lights are turned up, revealing the most lackadaisical band of all time. Seriously, there are some extreme closeups of these guys strumming their guitars, and every time it looks like they’re trying not to crush a baby squirrel while simultaneously attempting to get it to make cute noises. But I guess it’s hard not to be so relaxed, man, when there are 15 ornate carpets blanketing the floor. In all seriousness though, this song is still pretty good. I’m surprised it became as popular as it did, given how “countrified” it is. I could do without the Asian orchestra making things more cheesy than they should be, but the song is catchy. 2011 RATING: 3.5/5
Linkin Park – “Numb”
Linkin Park have disabled embedding for their official channel, so here is the actual music video.
When I was in the seventh grade, a fellow classmate asked me if I had ever heard of Lincoln Park. The answer was no, but I said something along the lines of, “Um, well, uh, I think so, maybe…yeah, of course!” Soon after that, I became a huge fan! Linkin Park were probably the most popular ‘secular’ band at my religious school, and I remember wowing everyone when I figured out how to play the opening keyboard line to this song even though it’s like four notes. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t figure out the rest of the song. It was Linkin Park, man! Even then though, they were a little too juvenile for me. That whole section of “Faint” when he’s like “Shut up when I’m talking to you!” was a bit ridiculous, and it didn’t help that I wasn’t yet much into screaming. But I loved their catchier songs, and “Numb” in particular struck a chord with me. The video made me a bit uncomfortable (“cutting” was something I didn’t understand then [not that I particularly understand it now]), but there was much rejoicing every time it showed up on MTV, which seemed to be quite a bit less often than their other popular songs. 2011 RATING: 2.5/5
Papa Roach – “Between Angels And Insects”
This video is charming as shit now. This was back when Papa Roach were just a bunch of sweaty, race-less fat guys in a garage. This song blew my mind when I was 13. “Diamond rings get you nothing but a life-long lesson”? Fuck yeah I’m never getting married! And there are roaches crawling on them in the music video! If I knew what “meta” meant when I was 13 I would have shit myself. Listening to it now, it’s still a good song but fuck the rapping is bad. Papa Roach usually brought it hard with their choruses, but the nu-metal aspects of their music were so terrible. “Pocketbook stressin’,” etc. I said they were race-less but that’s just because I can’t decide if they’re white or Mexican. They are, without a doubt, not black. 2011 RATING: 3/5
Relient K – “Be My Escape”
This is the only Relient K song I ever listened to, so I couldn’t have been that into it when I was 13, but it’s a pretty good song. The video is never anything less than hilarious though. What is it with mainstream rock frontmen and their obsession with staring deeply into the camera? Also, bands like this definitely should not have closeup shots of them playing their instruments. Check out those BRUTAL PALM MUTES. The drummers and bass players are the only ones who ever look like they’re having any fun which is kind of weird. I wonder how many times I watched this video before I realized that they have THREE GUITAR PLAYERS. But like I said, it’s a decent song. Very catchy and the falsetto that opens up the chorus is actually not terrible, although I’d like to see him recreate it live. This is also the song that made me realize that guitar parts that sound really cool are usually super simple. I remember looking at the tab for this song and sitting in slack-jawed amazement. Only two chords??? What the fuck! 2011 RATING: 4/5
There are a number of other songs I could add, but it’s late and I don’t know if anybody cares about these bands and songs anymore. But I hope at least a few people can enjoy this little nostalgic trip, even if some of it is sort of bitter.