Review Summary: A profound album for both atheists and believers that taught me a lesson.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Description: An album that taught me a lesson
The idea of concept albums is definitely a lot like celebrities trying to write books that aren't about their own life - everybody thinks it's cool but it takes a lot to do it right. Of course most concept albums would sometimes wind up sounding like Tommy
, and which is never a good thing - sometimes there a few crazy diamonds hidden in the drunken mess of it all - i.e. Animals and The Downward Spiral, for a few good examples - but there's not a lot this genre does justice. Mayo, on the other hand, does it. This is an extraordinary accomplishment. This is the biggest musical advancement since Metallica switched from ReLoad to St. Anger, the next Manhattan Project. This album has chode bigger and harder than Kevlar, a virtual explosion of creativity and twisted with a modern flavour. As a matter of fact, this album could very well top Philosophy of the World
; this is the Garbage Pail Kids
of music, both of which were life-changing in the history of history.
So as mentioned before, Mayo is a concept album - there's a brilliant resiliency to the story that is so unique and well thought out it's almost too perfect. The main protagonist goes by the name of 'Dragoon', a socially outcasted teenager who has hair longer than Jamie St. James's, a freckled face, and who tried to exercise more often than Bill Proxmire but never made any more than one lap - across his own swimming pool. However, there is something likable about this character - Dragoon is a kind messiah-like person, which is probably why everybody wanted to kill him. He had a great personality and shared a fond appreciation for pizza and mayonnaise - which ends up saving him. The whole album deals with themes of moral philosophy, existentialism, Anamonarchism, and constantly contains subtle references or elements of cynicism. The character is a nerd, but a likable one: he constantly thinks that the people around him have more inconsistencies than the storylines in 'The Room'. The story opens with the epic 'Snail Town', and it wastes no time in developing the plot - opening with a wicked guitar intro that is on par with the legendary guitar work of Chris Garza, and then continues on a loop when the vocals enter in: Dragoon calls his town a metaphorical 'Snail Town', where everybody to him is like a snail with a shell, and he is not. After a glorious scream, the character rapidly starts to lose insanity and gain a realization of the situation: his whole life feels like crap. He then begins to reflect on the distant memories of his horrible brother who always tortured him by playing N-Sync on his earphones and putting in doses of 2 Tylenol PMs in his pancakes, and his mom who had accidentely replaced the water with rock cocaine - both of whom laugh ferociously, and then the metaphorical snails surround Dragoon, who wishes they were slugs. After an evil laugh, the whole masterpiece is over.
After Dragoon is done with that journey, it goes into the track 'Blue Balls', made entirely by acoustic guitars, and then Dragoon then meets the one man who changes his whole life - a little scrawny twig of a boy working at Domino's, who he sees with a pizza. As described in the lyrics (I thought it would be cool to spoon you / but then another thing popped in my mind / it was a little less flattering / a little less kind / but then soon my pants were broken
), he sees the pizza boy and falls in love with him, revealing an emotional story folding tenfold as he realizes that the pizza boy just may not share his straight feelings - and so the metaphorical and titular Blue Balls - basically saying his balls are blue for that man. After it erupts into another screaming fit (pure poetry), the track feels like the next Pinball Wizard by its brilliant feel, and is a contender for the best track; however, on the next track, the haunting Chupacabra
, made by a furious bassline, it is actually revealed that the pizza boy is in fact straight, but has a jealous chupacabra girlfriend. This chupacabra witnesses Dragoon falling in love with Peter - who is never mentioned in the lyrics but learned eventually - she becomes morally disturbed and threatens Dragoon emotionally. Scared, and with the bassline eventually starting to creep into a fast guitar riff like Asking Alexandria esque stuff, Dragoon calls the UpperUnctionShireBollocks Police, and informs of the crime. However, it is soon revealed that the Chupacabra is indeed staging the call to this foreign 911, and after a screaming fit, a very dramatic licking sound can be heard; throughout the song, he uses the metaphor 'f*cked in the ass by a chupcabra' as to say that it was morally degrading to learn that the pizza boy had a girlfriend. Eventually the character decides to blow the minds of the chupacabra, Kim Kardashian, and God altogether and eventually the album reaches the inevitability of 'Pizza Boy'.
This whole track is a screaming fit against society, with Dragoon summoning strength to order a pizza from Domino's and asking for Peter specifically. He eventually starts telling his roommates - who are revealed as John and James, his only two friends - to help him reveal his feelings. Unfortunately, John and James were actually thawed out cavemen and were both also socially outcasted. Their clothes were always stained with the tears of the government and the president, who only wanted them to be good people, and the hair was so long and uncombed it looked like something out of Graham Greene. So John and James would have no advice, and Dragoon slowly becomes more and more detached. Eventually Peter arrives and Dragoon finally admits what he's felt about Peter, who proves his worth by arranging the pepporoni to look like it said 'Sorry about the scabies', because Dragoon can't spell. Unfortunately, Peter says that while he does like Dragoon as a friend, he is unwilling to accept the man back into his life, still stung by the crime Dragoon had committed when they were five; he had stolen a donut from his father and blamed it on Peter, who had gotten grounded for 14 days. And now feeling rejection's weight, Dragoon loses it.
Eventually the whole album leads to the inevitability of '30 Second Song', where Dragoon is having a fit with his roommates, whom he personally throws out the window in an utter rage, while the instruments grow darker and darker. Fueled by hundreds of Coca-Colas, moves from the 1992 kung fu movie Rapid Fire, and the hate in his heart, he declares that Dragoon is now nothing more and he swears to start again. After what seems like an eternity of bliss, the song suddenly ends. Dragoon has now begun his new life as the identity of a plumber named Mario in the climax track Mario Song
. Here, Dragoon is now attempting to travel through the Mushroom Kingdom of his life, rescue the princess Peach that is himself, and fighting the Bowser inside of him that makes him want to kill the princess. It's an emotional track, and definitely an original idea. The members of the band once suggested the idea of a video game being made out of it, but no plans had been made. However, the whole journey comes to a stop as Dragoon finally realizes what he has becomes.
It then leads into the ending Mayo
- more emotionally raw than anything Bob Seger or Trent Reznor has released in the past 1000 years. This whole track is covered by a furious outbreak of all the instruments that made this album brilliant: the guitars and bass throughout it all and the amazing composition is brilliant - every instrument matches the words, like Metallica. In this track, he uses a metaphorical 'Mayo', aka God, to scream his rage against. He considers God is the horrible mayo that coated the sandwich that is his life, and after finally losing all faith, he suddenly comes back to life. And then the penultimate words come in: I WOULD RATHER USE MUSTARD ON MY SANDWICH THAN THAT FILTHY JIZZ JUICE. The character has now begun his moral progress, while everyone else is at the end. The leak has finally drained, and now he uses the idea of 'mustard' to help him through what he's done, and wants to start over. So he is happily living in peace in Slug Town, having Hard Jams Inc.'s latest album, Troll the Bones, on repeat multiple times.
This is an album that will teach anyone a lesson. This is better than anything Yes will ever release.
Give this album a listen...
...and your life will change. You will spend hours reflecting on the immensity of what has happened.