Review Summary: The miseducation of the mental health system.(This review is #5 in my "Regretting the Past" series, a series that looks at albums that either ended the careers of artists, or were said artist's first efforts that they clearly don't want anyone to know about, or albums so bad that they forced the band back to the drawing board. Previous reviews in this series will be linked to in the comments section for this review.)
It's Friday. You just got off work. You just got home to your apartment, showered, picked up a pizza from Little Caesars. You also just got a 6 pack of Modelos from the Liquor Depot just around the corner from where you live. You inch for a beer, but realize you want to save it for tomorrow, because tomorrow is Saturday, and it's your only day off. Still, you want a beer. You don't want to make the 20 minute walk to that mega shopping complex with all the nice bars and restaurants in it, despite the fact that they have the 9 PM to close Happy Hours. You also don't even really want to go to a bar, either, because it's Friday, and it'll be a wretched hive of drunken idiots shouting and screaming in your ear, and others showing how well they CAN'T sing "Cats and the Cradle" at Karaoke. So that quaint little cafe that also serves alcohol just a few minutes walk away will do, because all you want to do is crack open your laptop, have a beer, and relax. So you pack your laptop in your bookbag, your charger cord, as well as your phone charger and make the short trek.
20 minutes later. You've been relaxing at that cafe, it's quiet enough so you can relax, but it's also noisy enough so the atmosphere has something of a buzz. Even the smell of coffee is appealing. But then something hits you: you neglected to check the sign at the front of the door. Out of nowhere, you hear the strum of an acoustic guitar. You look to your left. Some lady, who looks as if she forgot as if she was booked to play for the night, focused her mind on a Disney+ marathon then suddenly remembered she was supposed to play, is tuning her guitar. You take a further look around, and notice that there's a number of people wathing. You're not exactly sure if they showed up to watch this lady play her tunes, or if they're curious to see what's going on. But so far, you think, "well, she'll probably only be on for 30 minutes, and I'm not in a rush to get anywhere. What's the worst that can happen?".
"I used to get dressed for y'all, now I don't do that no more, I'm sorry. It's a new day, I don't have the energy
"Ok so, these are brand new songs that very few people have heard, very much about, you know, what I've been going trough and what I've been learning -- a lot of wonderful life lessons, you know, that aren't easy to come by but you're very blessed after you realize why you had to go trough what you had to go through It's just very important that you really listen to the words, you know, and if you have a hard time to hear what I'm saying please just raise your hand, you know, or something, object! You guys ready in there?"
Ok, so not exactly the best first impression, but give her credit where credit is due, will you? She hasn't even started playing yet. And she does. She announces the first song that you're about to hear is called "Mr. Intentional". And the song isn't too bad at first. It has a decent chord progression. The lyrics are clearly a "fuck you" to an old boyfriend, or a boss or something. They're full of pleas and begs like "Please don't patronize me", "Validating lies Mr. Intentional/Open up your Eyes, Mr. Intentional". So far, nothing is too bad yet... until you look at the time on the corner of your Laptop screen, and notice: that song was seven minutes long
. And things aren't about to get better. Her next song is called "Adam Lives in Theory". You know that, because she just went on a tangent, or something or other, about what "Adam" symbolizes. It lasted all of two minutes. You also have auditory processing issues, so trying to make sense of what the blue fuck she seems to be rambling on about is all the more difficult for you. The song starts, and musically it's nothing apart from standard folk/soul fare. But the lyrics are where it starts to strike a nerve:
"Eve was so naive, blinded by the pride and greed
Wanting to be intellectual
Drifting from the way she got turned down one day
And now she thinks that she's bisexual"
So you've made a mental note of three things so far. The first being that she's mentally not well. I mean, it's obvious, from all the time she just spent aimlessly gasbagging, which seems to be taking precedence over the actual music. The second being that her guitar skills and her songwriting skills are quite limited. "Adam Lives in Theory" is almost nine minutes long, and just seems to drone on and on, and its lyrics are less musical poetry than barely coherent ramblings, which leads you to the third thing: she's apparently also very preachy and conservative, and this seems to be her way of getting it out.
She warns you, then, that the next song is "cryptic". And that it is. "Oh Jerusalem" almost ten minutes of pseudo-biblical rants, but you somehow notice some cracks in the facade such as, "Can I even factor, that I've only been an actor/In this staged interpretation of this day/Focused on the shadow, with my back turned to the light/Too intelligent to see it's me in the way"
. The next few songs, that is, when she actually plays
them, don't fare better. One song's lyrics consist of "Rebel! Rebel! Rebeeeeeeellll!!!!". Another is more pseudo-biblical nonsense.
But the most telling moment of all hasn't even come yet. You go to get another Modelo, during her current 12 minute rant
. At this point, you're noticing there's fewer people still at this cafe. Whatever, though, it's not like they, or you, have anything better to be doing tonight. 12 minutes have gone by, and she now starts playing a super telling song, "I've Got to Find Peace of Mind". And like the hour that's just gone by, it's not a good song. But you're a patient individual, and you decide to put aside whatever site you've been on for a while now, and see if she's trying to say something. Lyrics like "Please don't be mad with me, I have no identity/All that I've known is gone, all I was building on"
certainly seems to suggest so. She seems to be telling you a story, of some sort. Is it about a struggle with God or something? Is it about an ex-boyfriend? Both have very tangible and strong cases. She keeps alluding to a "He" who keeps saying that something is impossible, but she knows it's tangible. You don't know what's just happened. She's even crying as she sings it on stage. Let's go over that first thing you've made a mental note of: SHE IS MENTALLY NOT WELL
. This song has made it abundantly clear.
And so will the next thirty minutes that pass. More pseudo-intellectual nonsense, ramblings, and a god-awful cover of Bob Marley's "So Much Things to Say" later, you've had enough. You're not drunk or high enough for this. So you pack your shit and go to "The Beer Hunter". It's karaoke night there, and yeah, you just walked in on some drunk girls slaughtering Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry". But give them credit where credit's due. They know they're not particularly good. They're not acting as if they are. So that, you can tolerate, in the hopes that an amateur Bruce Dickinson impersonator will make the bar shit their pants in silence with a rendition of "Hallowed Be Thy Name". At least, then, you won't have the constant urge to call a 5150 hold on any of the performers.
Oh, and Coors Tankards are 4 bucks tonight, so there's that too.
FAILURE, FIASCO, or SECRET SUCCESS: