Review Summary: Next to this dunderheaded debut, Raditude seems like OK Computer.You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead. Your next stop: The Twilight Zone!
No, sadly this isn't some twisted alternate reality, but the real world we live in, where an embodiment of ineptitude like New Politics can succeed enough on posturing and "hooks" to gather much of a following at all, never mind enough to get their self-titled debut picked up by a major label like RCA and watch their lead single "Yeah Yeah Yeah" climb the charts. New Politics
sounds like the work of a band who listened to just about everything that was played on alternative radio in the mid-to-late-'90s and thought, "Hey, we can do that, too!" I'll openly admit to rocking out to all that stuff at one point, too, and I normally welcome a throwback act with open arms, but the album is so mind-bogglingly hamfisted in its execution that it's almost painful to listen to.
A song like the blundering "Dignity" really highlights what makes everything so unbearable. If you're familiar with the single, you know the band have an affinity for awkward rap-singing that's like a hybrid of Fred Durst and Rivers Cuomo circa "Beverly Hills" along with the type of powerpop riffs that sound pulled right off The Blue Album
. What the band don't seem to realize is that you can't pull this off without a trace of irony in your music, and there's none to be found. The subject matter is ostensibly serious, but their blathering about guns and bombs ultimately comes off as empty, rote platitudes. When they invoke "Killing in the Name" in the song's lyrics, it's effectively taking Rage's name in vain.
New Politics are no better when turning away from, ahem, political matters for a moment to deliver a metaphor like "Love Is a Drug". Perhaps being from Denmark (the band's original home) allows you to escape being incessantly bombarded with variations on that expression. Or maybe whatever language barrier that presents hinders one's ability to recognize that you can't get away with a line like that anymore unless it's delivered with a wink. Predictably, it's once again all too serious, with pained lyrics like, "It's so f*cking frustrating!" No sh*t, man!
The band hits rock bottom when they try to crank up the rock on "Nuclear War". Besides the vocal melody, which (you can't make this stuff up) is ripped right from The Bloodhound Gang's "The Bad Touch", it should be a given that if you're going to offer up confrontational threats like "Bring out your armies. Let's start a f*cking nuclear war," you better at least pretend to have a purpose. Alas, their assertion that, "We feel hate! We feel love!" is a pitifully weak call-to-arms and rings as hollow as Durst's famed "Everything is f*cked! Everybody sucks!" as an excuse to cause commotion.
I suppose it's a foregone conclusion, given the band's major label status, that the album at least exhibits professional production, but I'll give it credit in that department anyway, because otherwise, it would be that spectacularly rare release with no redeeming value at all. New Politics lack any vision of their own and seem content merely to imitate, which wouldn't be nearly as bad if they didn't take themselves so seriously or piece together their influences in such puzzling ways. But what do I know" While I rant, they're cashing in on this drivel. At least maybe now they can afford some treadmills to run on for next time.