Coheed and Cambria is one of my favorite bands of all time. As I was losing my mind waiting for their most recent CD to come out I happened to be on their website reading about it. All of a sudden a colorful ad on the side of the page flashed by saying, “Check out Weerd Science, the hip-hop side project from Coheed and Cambria’s drummer, Josh Eppard!” I nearly fell off my chair laughing.
I eventually clicked the link and it turns out that Weerd Science is actually a legitimate project, and a pretty good one at that. Josh Eppard wrote and plays almost every instrument on this album, as well as doing almost all of the rap by himself. That’s right: “Friends and Nervous Breakdowns” is a hip-hop CD with virtually no guest spots. That means we get to spend the entire CD listening to Josh’s own voice and lyrics. And what lyrics they are.
“Friends and Nervous Breakdowns” is very varied lyrically. It has songs about the government (Conspiracy Theories w/out Mel Gibson, In a City With No Name), the music industry (My War, Your Problem, *uck You and Your Filthy A&R Dept.), and, of course, girls. Girl, Your Baby’s Worm Food is a track that seems to offend most people with its shocking lines about abortion and teen pregnancy.
Done got four kids by four different fathers
Haven’t you ever heard of a thing called condoms?
How come none of the other babies’ daddies want them
When my kids grow up yours are gonna rob them
Personally, I don’t find this song very disturbing; I think the shock value seems forced and the song comes off as an attempt to get attention (It is now listed on the cover of the CD as a “standout track.”) Some are the lines are actually pretty funny, which is true about most of the album: almost every song has at least one clever one-liner. My favorite is from God Bless Pepsi, which is probably the most cleverly-written song on the album: “And with my Pepsi money, imma drink Coke.”
The other notable lyric on the album is *uck You and Your Filthy A&R Dept. Josh raps it so fast that it is impossible to actually understand what he is saying, but it’s impressive that he can write so many lines that rhyme.
Of course, there are some lyrical low points. Some songs, like Ordinary Joe and Super Friends are pretty stupid lyrically, containing too many crude jokes and self-pity to be worth listening too. This would be fine if these songs had interesting beats behind them, but this is not the case (I’ll get to that later.) The songs also tend to use a bit too much unnecessary profanity for my tastes.
The vocals are also a strong point. Josh can rap at an incredible pace, and quite a few songs feature rapping so insanely fast he sounds like a squirrel on caffeine only lower pitched. His voice is scratchy but not annoyingly scratchy, and his singing voice, while not excellent, is not as bad as you would guess. I especially like the way he often overdubs his vocals to add in gang-like chants in the background, leading to some very catchy choruses. The only song with bad vocals is Blueprint, in which Josh just sounds disinterested.
Seeing as this is a rap album, the lyrics and vocals are the focus of the album, and they don’t disappoint. There are a few songs lacking in this department (such as Ordinary Joe, Blueprint, and Super Friends), but for the most part Josh is a great rapper.
Lyrics Score: 4/5
Seeing as Josh is a drummer for a rock band, it is fair to expect some tight beats with some occasional rock flavoring. While this is true, and the beats are above average for rap beats, they are not very creative and tend to feel repetitive and blend into the background a little more than they should.
Something that I’m very happy to hear in the beats is the presence of guitar. Most hip-hop beats tend to shy away from the guitar and favor the keyboard and synthesizers. Weerd Science contains plenty of songs that have a guitar used to perfection. In a City With No Name has an incredible catchy muted guitar behind it that adds a whole lot of dancability to the song. My favorite beat on the record, though, is Girl, Your Baby’s Worm Food, which has a great arpeggiated acoustic guitar riff that gives the song a laid back, almost happy feel.
Most of the beats are done with a synthesizer or keyboard, though. This works well on God Bless Pepsi, which somehow makes a piano sound heavy, Joshua, They’re Laughing At You, which has (I think) a synthesized brass section, and *uck You and Your Filthy A&R Dept., which, as I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, is pretty close to perfect. While none of the beats are really genric, some are just bland. Unfortunately, most of the songs with lousy beats have boring lyrics too, so most of the songs are either great or bad with very few in the middle ground.
Beats Score: 3/5
Friends and Nervous Breakdowns is overall an enjoyable experience no matter what your musical preference is. It’s got great rapping and a few interesting beats, and it’s worth buying just so you can tell your friends that you brought the hip-hop side project of Coheed’s drummer. Overall Score: 3.5/5
My War, Your Problem
Girl, Your Baby’s Worm Food
In a City With No Name
God Bless Pepsi
*uck You and Your Filthy A&R Dept.
Joshua, They’re Laughing At You
The Sitcom Isn't All That Real
P.S. Please comment—this is my first review and I need to know what to improve before I audition for my school newspaper.