Let me start off by saying that I’ve been listening to Iron Maiden all day, so my ratings and descriptions might be more venom-filled than they were in the last entry because I had to pause Powerslave to do this. Also, am I the last person to notice that on the cover to Powerslave, the stairs lead right into Eddie’s crotch?
I enjoyed doing the first part a lot because I don’t often feel nostalgic. By no means was my childhood hard, but they weren’t exactly halcyon days that I reminisce about either. My childhood and teen years are just sort of hunkered down in the background of my mind, only making themselves known on very rare occasions. So it was pleasantly surprising that I felt the urge to revisit some of the songs and videos that got me into music, even though some of them weren’t all that great. It’s nice to be reminded of more innocent times, especially because we can so often be blinded by all the musical knowledge we’ve accrued over the years. We weren’t always like this, and songs like these will always be there to remind us of that.
Story Of The Year – “Anthem Of Our Dying Day”
It was a toss-up between this song and “Until The Day I Die,” but this song won out because it definitely brought back more memories (although I can distinctly remember “Until The Day I Die” blowing my fucking mind the first time I saw the video). I still find this song pretty enjoyable, but it’s really hard for me to believe that stuff like this used to garner huge amounts of television airtime at the beginning of the 2000s. The music TV climate is so radically different now, and not just because MTV never plays videos anymore. Even MTV’s sister channels that play videos quite frequently are dedicated mostly to hip-hop and indie. Anyway, the choice between this song and “Until The Day I Die” doesn’t really matter because they are basically the same exact song and video. The only difference is that in this video, everyone dies at the end and also crows. Crows everywhere. Story Of The Year are honestly a pretty shitty band, but they manage to be catchy enough to keep me from dismissing them completely. However, it’s pretty funny that even when they write a “slow” song (e.g., “Sidewalks”), it’s barely less heavy than their harder songs.
This video also goes to show just how high the stakes have been raised for music videos. Back then, all it took to make a decent video were some crows, video filters, and BRUTAL JUMP KICKS. Seriously, every rock band back then felt like they had to show off all the amazing stunts they could do. If you watch the video for “Until The Day I Die” right after this one, you’ll notice that they pull off the same moves in both. Of course, none of this would matter if there weren’t any obligatory slow motion shots! And considering this is Story Of The Year, the slow motion parts are reserved for Marsala’s super-weak screaming. More than anything, the screamed parts of this song make me feel nostalgic. They’re altogether pointless, essentially used as a poor excuse for a bridge, meant to disguise the fact that they’re just repeating the last lines of the chorus with vaguely different music underneath. Story Of The Year were not the only band to do this back then, and there are bands that do it still today. Anyway check out this screenshot of Dan Marsala screaming.
2011 RATING: 4/5
Lostprophets – “Last Train Home”
This is getting a bit depressing. With most of these songs, I can remember being not only enamored with them, but also thinking that they were the best songs ever. To my young self, these songs were some life-changing shit. But I know that that’s how it goes. You’ve got to crawl before you can walk, etc. I don’t recall ever seeing any other Lostprophets songs on TV, but “Last Train Home” was a pretty big hit for them, and I fucking loved it. However, it doesn’t hold up nearly as well as some of these other songs. The vocalist (who has apparently appeared in a gay sex tape), fucking jacks off his voice so hard; obviously he considers himself a much more competent vocalist than he really is. The chorus is typical “anthemic” garbage, full of gang vocals and inspiring lyrics that try to convince you that love sucks and as long as you’ve got the music in you, life rocks! The singer also does a shit-ton of white rapper hand motions towards the end of the video, and the band member doing all the backups vocals is clearly in the wrong band.
2011 RATING: 1.5/5
Breaking Benjamin – “So Cold”
I remember thinking this song was weird as shit the first time I heard it. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. It seemed a lot heavier to me back then, and Ben Burley’s weirdly accentuated singing certainly didn’t help. They make the song seem kind of foreign, kind of like Rammstein-lite, and Rammstein suck. Also, the way he moves his mouth during singing is almost as crazy as the way Tom Delonge does. Listening to it now, it sounds about as heavy as you’d expect coming from a band who thought a cover of “Rain, Rain, Go Away” was a good idea. However, it’s admirably dense for a band like this (it’s probably in Drop A or some shit), and I quite like the lyric, “Wise men wonder while strong men die.” The video is kind of cool too, or at the very least its more inventive than Story Of The Year’s dreck. It doesn’t make much sense though. The whole video, there’s a guy carrying a big-ass piece of wood through the woods while a bunch of Amish people follow him. At the end, he walks into the water and presumably drowns, except I’m pretty sure he could have gotten himself out of that mess, considering that he was able to carry the wood for SEVERAL MILES and all the Amish people just WALK AWAY right after his head goes under the surface. 2011 RATING: 3.5/5
Senses Fail – “Buried A Lie”
Shit, look at Buddy’s sick dance moves during the intro. He puts Thom Yorke’s seizure-dancing to shame. I appreciate this video because of its tongue-in-cheek nature. Too many of the videos from my early teen years were meant to be overly serious and ended up being inadvertently hilarious because of it (I actually laughed out loud at some of the parts of Story Of The Year’s videos). This video isn’t exactly funny, but it’s entertaining in the sense that nothing happening makes any sense. On the surface, the band is simply acting out the events of the song, but the devil is in the details, and these details are incomprehensible. I was with them when they dug up the girl’s body, and to a lesser extent before that, when they simply walked out of their jail cell, but why is the nurse performing the autopsy? And why do the cops simply give Buddy a pair of handcuffs and send him off to catch the bad guy? They must have seen his dancing at the beginning of the video and recognized him as a hardass who doesn’t take shit from Mexican murderers.
But I like videos that sort of allude to how music used to be. Here, Senses Fail are dressed all in white and they have their own variety show, which is a sort of nostalgia all on its own. The song itself isn’t too great (Buddy’s vocals were never anything to write home about), but it’s not horrendous. I would expect something like this to sound a little more dated than it actually does. I respect that they didn’t add any lame screaming parts to this song, although Senses Fail were always pretty tasteful about that (the end of “Bite To Break Skin” stands out as a particularly effective use of screaming).
2011 RATING: 3.5 COP THUMBS-UP/5
It Dies Today – “A Threnody For Modern Romance”
This was one of the first heavier songs that I got into once I started watching shows like Headbanger’s Ball and Uranium (oh, Juliya, how I pined for you!). Looking back, “A Threnody For Modern Romance” was a decent gateway song for the rest of metal. The screaming isn’t great but it’s definitely a bit more brutal than you would expect to see on TV, and the chorus is catchy enough to appeal to younger people and perhaps get them to think that there might be a lot more metal worth checking out. There’s also a solo! Something for everyone! Although it’s a bit low in the mix, probably to cover up the mistakes that he made while playing it.
The video itself is pretty typical for metal, i.e., fucking terrible. This video is a bit more terrible, however, because it’s evident that they had a pretty small budget. It centers around a kid who’s having the absolute worst day ever. To borrow from the bible: ”In the beginning, there was a cheeseburger. And then God said, ‘LET THERE BE AN EXPLOSION.’ And there was an explosion.” After his car explodes, he is immediately resurrected as a grey video filter. Then he runs around looking distraught and confused for a minute or two AND THEN FLOODS. THE WHOLE CITY FLOODS. It floods damn fast too, because within like twenty seconds every building is covered. But don’t worry, our hero is safe! A kind soul pulls him out of the water onto some kind of pontoon, and then he is inexplicably alive again! There must be some lesson to be learned from this video, but I have no idea what it is. 2011 RATING: 3.5/5
I hope you enjoyed another trip down memory lane with me. Until next time.