Review Summary: Insipid, devoid of any artistic integrity, and lacking even the novel appeal of many of their contemporaries
Rap-rock/ rapcore/ rap metal, whatever you want to call it, is an extremely odd genre. Two genres that are polar opposites are combined and the result is a tenuous amalgamation featuring the aggression of metal in the music and the lyrical flow of rap in the vocal delivery. The unfortunate emanation for most bands who attempt this is that neither of the two elements are as developed as they should be; simplistic riffing is generally the order of the day, and it isn’t uncommon for the lyrics to be rudimentary and sometimes laughably trite. Time has weeded out many of the underperforming bands in the genre, and that is a mercy many music enthusiasts thank the universe for on a daily basis. This does not mean, however, that the genre is without its upsides. Say what you will about bands such as Limp Bizkit, but at least their music is undercut by a general sense of fun and enjoyment. The music may be devoid of any self-awareness and their frontman may be the biggest asshole this side of the generation gap, but at least the band had the good sense to create unadulterated party music with a dominant sense of enthusiasm pumped into almost every track (excluding everything found on Results May Vary
). Then you have Crazy Town; a band so hideously devoid of any artistic merit it is almost sickening. The band places perhaps more emphasis on the hip-hop side of the music than the metal side, and is all the worse for it, managing to create a massively overblown, almost unbelievably dull album rife with unimaginative musicianship, unintentionally hilarious lyrics, and a bizarrely inconsistent selection of songs.
In the introduction to the The Gift Of Game
, the band declare, ‘we’re not evil, we’re not good; we’re somewhere inbetween.’ German intellectual Hannah Arendt once spoke of the ‘banality of evil’, and the musings of many popular western philosophers has lead them to insist that to be ‘good’ is to be boring. Sitting in the middle of these two poles, Crazy Town have described themselves somewhat aptly as sitting somewhere between banal and boring. The songs that have more of a metal sound to them, such as ‘Toxic’ and ‘Think Fast’ employ a misguided aggression and a heavy sound which is completely uninteresting as neither song has any meaning beyond the superficiality of the sound. The lyrical content is embarrassingly childish and has displays no charisma, with the two vocalists (now there’s a novelty) spewing obscenities and misogynistic sentiments that are as underwhelming and cliché as the music itself. Such lines as ‘…drop the mainline, and party with fine bitches, which is a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it’, and ‘You Know that bitch baby, he's talking *** about our clique, but he don't Crazy, you see the writing on my dick. You know that trick, Tracy, yeah, she's making me sick, living that life, we used to do the same ***’ lack any semblance of integrity and instead just come across as dated and senseless. ‘Think Fast’, which features a repetitive breakdown before segueing awkwardly back into the main rhythm of the song, is probably the stronger of the two songs, but only because it exhibits (or at least attempts) a modicum of variety in the sound. Do not be fooled though, both songs are dire.
The two charmless vocalists, Seth ‘Shifty Shellshock’ Binzer (you may not remember him from his completely non-memorable solo career that included such non-hits as ‘Slide Along Side’ and ‘Turning Me On’, as well as forgettable collaboration ‘Starry Eyed Surprise’ with Paul Oakenfold) and Brett ‘Epic’ Mazur seem to struggle with their delivery, sounding drawn and disinterested most of the time, and the rest, injudiciously angry. Binzer in particular has an remarkably irritating tone to his voice, being somewhat mid-range but also gravelly. This means that his vocal delivery is neither deep enough to sustain the manly gravel convincingly, nor silky enough to sustain the mid-range impressively. The rest of the band play their part as well as they can, but none of the musical content allows them any real time to shine, as it is mostly made up of unoriginal melodies and flat drumbeats. The vocalists clearly have little comprehension of irony either, as they take great pleasure in being as comically abrasive and gritty as they can, and then soaking up the excess bile with some soppy ballads that are neither convincing in the context of the album, nor in their execution. Undoubtedly Crazy Town’s most popular track, ‘Butterfly’ is as inferior as you remember from all those years ago. The stolen riff from Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Pretty Little Ditty’ (Mother’s Milk
) is actually employed fairly well, and it is undeniable that the song has some kitsch appeal, but really, it is a terrible love song from a band whose misdirection lead them to produce rap metal in the first place. Their performance on this track demonstrates unfocused musicality in its' purest form, as well as a horrendously gimmicky approach to songwriting. On another note, the video to this song is one of the most poorly edited, surreal, and pedestrian music videos I have ever seen.
If Crazy Town set out to ride on the coattails of the rap-metal bands of the day, clearly they have succeeded, as the modest amount of fame they received is more than they ever deserved on the strength of their musical ability. Having a mix of more rock-oriented tracks and hip-hop ‘anthems’ gives the album a little variety in theory, but also serves to make the album monstrously inconsistent, even going so far as to include an ill-advised collaborative track with KRS: One. The caustic nature of the heavier tracks creates an ugly clash with the slower tracks, and the vocal performances are utterly abysmal. There honestly isn’t a single track on this release that I would recommend to anyone, and I really mean anyone. I would not wish this hokum upon my worst enemies, because I fear that it would be too great a crime in the eyes of the universe, and I really don’t want to endure the karma that will result from it. There are things I would do; terrible, unspeakable things, if it meant I didn’t have to hear ‘you’re my butterfly, sugar baby’ ever again.