Review Summary: Autotunes! Transform and troll out!
In more ways than one, the Transformers compilation albums have always acted as an extended metaphor for their parent film franchise. The latest addition to the series, Music From Transformers: Dark of the Moon
, is no different. As shiny and heartless as its predecessors, the compilation features cut after cut of tunes carelessly prepared by a loose collection of knuckle-dragging rock outfits who were either always unbelievably mediocre or are already way past their prime.
Back for the third time running are the latest in a long line of Radiohead wannabes - Linkin Park. Although “What I’ve Done” and “New Divide” (which fronted the two previous Transformers releases) were at least half-bearable, “Iridescent” sees this increasingly lost Agoura Hills outfit make like lemmings on a cliff with their latest shoddy excuse for a rock ballad. The song’s attempt at electronic bliss is tepid and tiresome, and as Chester Bennington aimlessly warbles his way through the song’s refrain of “Do you feel cold and lost in desperation"” for the fourth time running, it’s hard to keep from nodding in agreement. Third time is clearly not a charm for this American band. Elsewhere, “The Only Hope For Me Is You” sees former scene kids My Chemical Romance desperately trying to make one of the weaker cuts on their manga-inspired Danger Days: True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys
fit the overall feel of the Transformers franchise. The results are predictably mediocre, with the band’s constant straining against the vagaries of post-apocalyptic love best being described as hit-or-miss.
Knuckle-draggers 101: The Album then continues with Staind’s “The Bottom”. Their trundling contribution to the album acts as a rather glum preview of their upcoming studio album, Seven
, and reminds us all why they, like the Goo Goo Dolls, have become irreversibly irrelevant over the past couple of years or so. Speaking of which, Music From Transformers: Dark of the Moon
also offers listeners a glimpse at what Rzeznik and co. have been doing post-Something For The Rest of Us
. Although “All That You Are” is easily eclipsed by the band’s previous contribution to the Transformers franchise (2007’s “Before It’s Too Late”), when compared to the rest of the album, it can just barely be considered a highlight.
Further down the album, the grunge-y and garage-like feel of Canadian rockers Theory of a Deadman's latest studio effort actually affords one of the album’s better fist-pumping moments, but it remains to be seen whether the Canadian rock outfit are truly capable of rising above this league of mediocrity in which they have been so unfortunate to find themselves in recently. However, the most interesting cut on here is none other than Mastodon’s (rather random) cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Just Got Paid”. Although playing well below their usual standards, there is enough purposeful kitsch present herein to at least send Music From Transformers: Dark of the Moon
out on a non-sour note.
In short, much like any movie in the franchise, this one works much better when approached with one’s brain checked at the door. One would also do very well to remember this release as the shameless money-grab that it is to avoid extended disappointment. In other news, the Transformers go and visit Pink Floyd on the moon or something on June 29th.