Review Summary: I'll undoubtedly get flamed to hell for this, but if [i]No Heroes[/i] isn't the worst album I've heard in 2006, it's certainly the least enjoyable.
There are a lot of music lovers who, like myself, take pride in being able to listen to and enjoy all different kinds of music, our listening tastes happily veering from one extreme to another in an instant. The problem is, of course, that sometimes a lack of experience can really hurt your ability to make an accurate value judgement about the kind of music you're listening to.
For instance, a newcomer to jazz that's just picked up Kind Of Blue
and A Love Supreme
, knowing the reputation those two albums have, might feel pressured into giving them both 5 stars, more out of ignorance than anything. People much more versed in jazz than that are unlikely to personally consider both of them 5-star albums, unless they have a lenient rating system. Things are never that obvious. The crux of the matter is that different kinds of music employ entirely different approaches, and need entirely different methods of listening.
The point I'm building towards is that you need to have heard really bad music in order to figure out what the really good music is. Until now, I wasn't able to acccurately rate the spastic hardcore people keep getting me to listen to for this very reason. Well, now I can.
has barely a single redeeming feature. The first five tracks fly by; they mean nothing, they sound crap, and they really don't need to exist other than to pad this record out. In all honesty though, they're better than the two that follow - at least the first five tracks end only 20 seconds after exhausting all their ideas, but "No Heroes" and "Plagues" (which features one of the album's only hooks) spin things out for a torturous 3 more minutes. "Grim Heart/Black Rose" is, if we're being charitable, a nice change of pace, but it's boring as hell. If it was 3 minutes long, it might have succeeded, but 9 and a half minutes is extreme overkill. And what follows that is, frankly, utter crap; the last 5 songs are even worse than the first 5 songs.
What is there here that I'm meant to be sinking my teeth into? There's absolutely no musicianship on offer (everybody blasting all their instruments at once doesn't count as musicianship, no matter what time signature it's in). What lyrics I can figure out are atrocious ('My daylight fades to grey when our days bring guilt and shame/My heart turns black'. Is this meant to be serious?) and the music's not good enough for me to care about the ones I can't. The vocals are average at best. The production is mediocre.
Oh, but of course, the punks are all going to arrive, spouting the same crap they use to defend every ***ty album they're heard. It's 'honest'. It's 'true'. It's 'unpretentious'. And, for some reason, it's 'manly' (as if that matters). If this is unpretentious, testosterone-fuelled honesty, give me fanciful, feminine lies; at least I'll enjoy them. I might even remember them, which is more than I can say about this entirely forgettable record. It passed me by, leaving me with nothing except a sense of bemusement. This album failed to change my life, to make me enjoy myself, to impress me, to scare me, to make me feel any emotional (this is meant to be emotionally bare? With lyrics like this? Middle-class white kids wetting the bed, more like), to have any effect on me whatsoever. I really wanted to enjoy this, but all I knew, once "To The Lions" finished, is that this is really bad music. I hope to God that Jane Doe
is at least 50 times better than this, because if it's not, I'm going to have to start seriously questioning the sanity of a lot of people whose taste I trust.