Saturday, April 16, 2005

Got Mudvayne’s new CD, Lost and Found. I’ve liked these guys ever since I saw them at Ozzfest 2000. Dig was their big song then and they turned out to be one of the better bands that survived that short-lived era. They have that precarious balance of thundering heaviness and a weird melodic softness. Sure, they wore make-up but so what? It was a gimmick they were stuck in, but they’re over it now. It has nothing to do with the sounds that are coming out of my stereo.

Mudvayne, despite their image, wields atmosphere and anticipation masterfully. Take a song like Fall Into Sleep. It starts out pretty light and melancholy, a bit A Perfect Circlish even and then it explodes into an emotional and unbelievably heavy chorus. And yet, it still remains melodic, even with all that screaming. So far, it’s my favorite track on the record.

Then there’s a song like Determined, which calls to mind a young Pantera from the Far Beyond Driven era. The caustic vocals are infused with enough bile to eat through your speakers, and you can sing along too.

The single that the corporate programmers are pushing of course is the safe and ultimately boring Happy. Sure, it’s an okay song. It hits all the “woe is me” points that a sad little ballad should have, and it has a nice groove, but it’s not the strongest song on the record.

That distinction goes to IMN, which might not be the song that gets them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but it certainly qualifies as the one with the most muscle. Only a drummer like Matt McDonough could pound through those rhythms.

Four Stars

Friday, April 15, 2005

In my readings the other day, I came across this item about a Texas man drilling for oil in Israel based on an obviously misinterpreted Bible verse. Apparently he is sincere in this belief, but what gets me is the fact that his story even made it to the wire services. At its heart, the story is about a most likely unsuccessful business venture in a historic place, which by itself merits nary a mention. What makes it news is his biblical inspiration and the sincerity behind it. Reuters seems to be holding the guy up for ridicule, as if to say, “Look at this nut! What a whack-job.” If not, that was certainly my impression after reading it. But then again, the guy is a whack-job.

Anyone who knows me well, knows I like to rip on Republicans. To me, the organized official Republican party is a joke, one that's sometimes not funny but nearly always laughable. The sad thing is that most rank and file everyday American Republicans don't seem to get the joke. This is the party of limited government who rushed a midnight bill through Congress regarding Terri Schiavo, presumably to get bragging rights and a few headlines. These same people constantly moan about “activist judges” and now they are complaining that the judges weren’t activist enough! That’s comedy!

And so is this. I always wondered what politicians did during the weekday. Apparently they sleaze their way into your doctor’s pockets.

And that’s not it. What about Tom “The Hammer” DeLay? Mired in ethical problems – ouch! - can he remain the majority leader without causing at least some damage to his party? I doubt it.

So enough politics, let’s talk religion. Psych!

I want to talk about something more personal. Something that has been weighing on my mind heavier than all this silliness with the Republicans. A few days ago, as mentioned in a previous post, was my ex-girlfriend’s birthday. We’ll call her Krs. To put it quite simply, Krs was my first love, and though we split up going on five years now, we have remained friendly and keep in touch from time to time through e-mail. Feeling nostalgic or something, I sent her an e-mail wishing her a happy birthday. I think the exact wording was “Hey there. Happy Birthday!” Short, sweet, and completely out of character. She replied back with a thanks and a how have you been. That’s when I got wordy. I gave her the basic update, probably boring the shit out of her, then moved onto more uncomfortable territory. A few weeks ago, I heard rumors that Krs may have had a baby, so I ended the e-mail asking her about it. In her reply e-mail, she confirmed the rumor. She was now the proud mother of a presumably beautiful daughter (pictures are on the way). According to Krs, her daughter is the best thing that has ever happened to her, and I could certainly understand the feelings. Sometimes I think Krs was the best that ever happened to me. And here’s one on the many reasons why. Krs, ever the sensitive soul, asked if it was weird for me that she had a baby. I think she may have intuited that it would be. She was always good at that. And it is weird for me. She was my first love, and in my case the cliché is true. There is still a piece of her in me. And I hope, at least I feel like there is, some piece of me in her. And here I am, some lonely guy, a sink full of dirty dishes, and no one to come home to but two stinky dogs who shit on the floor. Krs has a daughter, a family, someone to look out for and someone to look out for her. That’s the kind of thing you can’t buy with a million bucks. That’s the kind of thing I don’t have. And the weird feeling I have? It’s part envy, part sadness. I think Robert Evans said it best when he described how it felt when Ali McGraw left him for Steve McQueen. I feel small.