The door swings away from you slowly, with the creaky protest common to all things aged. You peer carefully around it as it opens, reluctant to leave its relative safety. After all, no matter the circumstances, an interview is a terrible experience. Taking a deep breath, you enter the room and nod pleasantly to the desk, the chair, and finally the two individuals who seem to loom ominously on the horizon like twin storm clouds.
“Good morning, Mr. Los Angeles,” says the smaller of the two men, in a calculated drawl reminiscent of that psychotic serial killer you saw in that GenericPsychoThriller movie with Ashley Judd.
“Good morning, sir,” you reply, grinning in what you hope is a display of confidence and intelligence. Unfortunately, it makes you look like you ride the shortbus to work.
“And to you also, sir,” you say to the other man, who simply nods back. He looks like someone put Yogi Bear in a three-piece suit. In direct contrast, his companion looks like he regularly lectures at Harvard, despite his Che Guevara T-shirt.
“I have my CV here, if you want to read it?” you add hopefully. Grasping at anything to keep from talking, or stuttering, considering the current state of your nerves.
“You understand, then, what this interview is for?” Yogi Bear says, his voice harsh like someone running gravel through a clothes dryer.
“Yes, sir (you catch yourself before saying Yogi), I am here to apply for the job of Worst Album by Rage Against The Machine.”
“Then, please tell us why you are so qualified.”
“Certainly, sir. As you can see from my resu-”
“Mr. Los Angeles”, Che speaks again, “We would rather hear it from your own mouth.” “An album is, after all, supposed to be auditory,” he adds pointedly.
You clear your throat, since it appears the Sahara Desert exported all its aridity into your mouth, and attempt to speak with a level tone. “Well, as you know, I was released in 1999, a time when commercialism was fully having its way with modern rock.” *cough* “And even people who opposed Capitalism in all its forms could have fallen prey to this new radio friendly sound. Well, such a thing happened to Rage. And I’m the result.”
The two men stare politely at you, with a hint of disdain.
“Well, that’s it…” you say.
Yogi Bear’s smile becomes infinitesimally more fixed as Che replies, “You’ll have to explain yourself better than that, Mr. Los Angeles. From all looks Mr. E. Empire is set to take this job. He’s had some spectacular references, and he does have the 2nd Album precedent.”
“Yes, but obviously not every
second album is the worst”, you reply tersely. “For every Into Glory Ride
, there’s an Images And Words
, a Heavenseeker
to balance every Forever Alone Immortal
. I personally wouldn’t put much stock into such old wife’s tales.”
Che raises an eyebrow, a sign of approval, you hope. “Indeed. Well, continue to plead your case.”
Yogi Bear smirks at the context of Che’s words. “Bastard,” you think.
“Well, sirs, I can show you what makes me the best album for this position. Just look at some of my works. Sleep Now In The Fire
, Born As Ghosts
, and I think New Millennium Homes
speak wonders about my suitability.”
Yogi sits a bit straighter and says, “Now, I can accept the last two as filler, but the former is a very catchy song.”
“Yes, but lyrically, it is a major letdown. And this isn’t the only track that lets me down, I can tell you. Take Calm Like A Bomb
for example. With a few alterations, it could have been the RATM anthem, but-”
“Hold it,” Yogi interrupts, “It is
“Killing In The Name
will always hold that place for me, sir. Now, back to what I was saying; The premise is strong, the music is great, but the lyrics are delivered abominably, and the overall package brings a great song down, and hence me, down from great to average.”
“Indeed. Continue. You still have some work to do, since from what I’ve heard, Mr. Empire edges you out.”
“Well, let’s look at Mic Check
. I mean, will Tom Morello ever venture into new territory with his guitar playing? Zack finally pulls out a great rap, and Tom lets me down with a stagnated version of the previous songs, and indeed, the previous two albums.”
“But, you’re ignoring Testify
, Ashes In The Fall
, and Voice of the Voiceless
“All great songs, yes. But, I never said that I was a bad
album. Just a very mediocre one, and I think I have been grossly overrated. Now, look at Guerrilla Radio
. It is arguably their most commercial success, and for that reason, one of their most hypocritical songs. Not only was it released by the profit-centric companies that Rage protest against, but it sounds like it was made for the radio, and hence lost the essence of Rage.”
Che clears his throat. “Yes, well, you have pushed your point most eloquently, Mr. Los Angeles. You have given us a lot to consider.” He looks at Yogi, who takes a breath and says, almost reluctantly,
“Yes, well, especially considering the obviously average Maria
and War Within A Breath
, I think you may be our best candidate after all.”
“If I may sir, Maria
is actually quite an engaging song, if you ignore the obviously poor guitar work in the beginning. I actually consider it an above average track on my own average self.”
Che nods slowly, with a slight frown on his face. You wonder suddenly if your protestation will cost you this job. “You may wait outside,” he finally says.
You nod, stand up, and offer your CV to them. When neither of them moves, you nod in an embarrassed fashion, stumble in your haste to move around the chair, and take your leave of the office.
The receptionist smiles at you as you exit the room, but you have a feeling her training has conditioned her to smile even if Godzilla emerged from the office, carrying the head of Yogi, singing David Cassidy tunes and wearing a beret and a pink tutu.
This amusing, yet disturbing image keeps your mind busy until you hear the door open. You make a mental note to tell your psychiatrist about the image as you hastily stand up and haphazardly straighten your cover art.
Che emerges first, followed by Yogi, who immediately blocks your path to the lobby ( and incidentally the nearest window, you notice).
“Mr. Los Angeles,” Che begins. “We considered your case, and compared you with the other candidates, and…” He looks towards Yogi.
Yogi abandons his poker face, and relaxes. “Well, Battle… can I call you Battle now? I’m proud to tell you that you are the new Worst (Studio) Album by Rage Against The Machine. Welcome to the team!”
You grin and extend your hand. Yogi shakes it vigorously, and as you turn to Che, he slaps a large discount sticker on your front cover.
“Glad to have you with us,” Che says encouragingly as he shakes your hand, “and don’t worry about the position. The fans will still proclaim you to be the mightiest release in the history of man, regardless of your content.”
You smile the second greatest smile of relief in history (the greatest belong to a man convicted of 3000 charges of first degree murder in 1 year, who got off on the technicality that it was impossible to kill 3000 people in a year that occurred a century before your birth) and casually walk down the corridor to your new office.
Please note that this is a work of opinion. Don’t get pissy at me, young man.