The year is 1984. Paranoid, overly protective, catholic parents are already having enough trauma and troubles over the new craze in sex and this new thing called "hip-hop". Jimmy made quite the stupid mistake when he bought Zen Arcade
that one day at the record store. After his visit to the record store, he jumped into the car with his mom and they drove home. Her dashboard was decorated with little Jesus figurines and the car was riddled with church bumper stickers. His mom fiddles with the radio for a bit and finds nothing interesting and cringes when she by-passes a radio station playing Van Halen or Led Zeppelin.
If only Jimmy knew what the contents of this CD were prior to this car ride he might've had a home to sleep in.
Since he notices his mom's face devoid of any interest he says "mom, why don't we play this new CD I bought?" She takes a quick glance at the song titles before letting him open it. She approves and lets him rip open his latest little piece of entertainment. He opens it up, has trouble getting the CD out, and then finally puts it in the player. He could’ve saved his future right there if he hadn't pressed play.
The Marching drums of Something I Learned Today
suddenly fill the car and his mom gives a quick little smile of approval. But all of sudden, distorted guitars come in and this man is using harsh yells instead of singing. Ohhh boy did Jimmy's mom look like she was pissed. She says a quick "Jesus wouldn't like this type of music" and continues driving with an upset expression. Jimmy gives her some reassurance saying "Mom, I'm sure this is the only song like this, I promise it gets better." One last final scream of “something I learned today,” leaves her doubtful of this record being anything worthwhile for her perfect son.
She still seems upset but she keeps her cool. The next song isn't as explosive and she lets it by. An acoustic guitar comes on and Jimmy's mom really seems to enjoy it. She asks "What song is this?" Jimmy takes a quick glance at the back of the CD. "It says its Never Talking To You Again."
She sings along at the chorus “But I’m never talking to you again.” She even plays some air guitar at the stop light, but its over before she knows it. The electric guitars come back and she quickly puts her upset expression back on. The nice little melodies give her a little foot tap every now and then, but some noise filled song called Dreams Reoccurring
comes in and she quickly says "Jimmy I think we've had enough rock and roll today." In desperate attempt to keep the music playing, Jimmy changes the song to Indecision Time
. It's by far louder and rowdier than her mom would ever allow. Harsh vocals and heavy guitars litter their car. Jimmy's mom can barely stand it as it is but then she hears a scream of "Before I shi
t all over you." She immediately tells Jimmy that she thinks this definitely enough.
Jimmy tries to press his luck by skipping two tracks to I'll Never Forget You
. Wrong track choose. More pounding drums, guitar solos, and harsh vocals. Jimmy can't help but like this wonderfully angry music. Jimmy's mom finally gives up. She skips through the tracks looking for anything that is worth her time.. Each song is distinctly different and wonderful to Jimmy but it's the devil's music to his mom. She stops several times at some songs. She likes the catchiness of Pink Turns To Blue
but obviously doesn't show it. How would it look on a churchgoing mother's reputation? She sometimes thinks “This isn’t too bad, some tracks aren’t even that heavy and have a nice little groove to them.” She even really digs Standing By The Sea
great singing and awesome melodies but she convinces herself it’s the devil trying to take over.
She starts yelling at him. “This is devil music, why do thing the man is yelling What’s going on inside my head on the song What’s Going On
?” “Because he feels really confused and pissed at the world?” “No, Because the devil is taking him over!” She continues her rant with such dumb comments as “No boy of mine is listening to a funk influenced song called Hare Krnsa
.” “All funk does is worship sex and it melts your brain.” “And why does anybody need guitars that loud?” “They sound ugly and that man has no business screaming on any CD of mine.”
Jimmy realizes that his mom is quite retarded and is pretty sure she’s had too
much Jesus for one day.
Right as the 14 minute noise instrumental Reoccurring Dreams
closes the album and Jimmy's hopes of ever seeing his family again; he lets out a yell of excitement and says to his mom how awesome and wicked the album is. He says "I never knew music could be so angry and loud and yet so melodic and structured at the same time." Her mom isn't listening though; she’s too concerned about what orphanage to drop him off at. Right when Jimmy's praises end so does his car ride. She throws him out of the car and drives off. All Jimmy has is his copy of Zen Arcade
a CD player and the clothes he is wearing. After such an adrenaline rush experience he says a quick fuc
k you to his mom and then plugs in his CD player and starts jamming out.
But its not Jimmy’s fault he lost his home and family. How could anyone resist such and addicting good album as Zen Arcade? It has everything good about punk in it. The vocals, guitars, the rude lyrics. Everything is here. Jimmy was amazed at the amount of variety on this album. He couldn’t believe a funky song, a piano diddle, an acoustic song, an instrumental psych out, and angry punk music could all fit on one record. He couldn’t understand how any band could record 23 songs all of which are astoundingly good. Hell, he even gave up his home for this album whether he really wanted to or not. To this day Jimmy enjoys this fine post-hardcore album and lives on the streets with just a CD player and his clothes he was left with on that long ago day…..