The Freelance Mentalists.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
  Why I Went and Bought a Slipknot Album
Okay, I don't feel good about myself sometimes. But I was there with $10.54 in my pocket, and it was two discs for $9.99 at Target, and I figured this would be a good enough way to get an entire handle on their work without actually buying any studio albums...

Okay, but we have to go back farther than that. Why, exactly, did I have $10.54 in my pocket at Target? Because this is what I do when I feel low, freaked-out, sad, angry, whatever: I buy music. And my stomach has been killing me lately and I'm stressed out majorly (although my life's pretty good overall, still sometimes I get that angst thing happening), don't have my act together, etc.

And okay, I'm curious about metal. I have a pretty good working knowledge of "classic" metal, based on once being a white teenager growing up in a rural-suburban town, and also based on Chuck Eddy's book. But starting in the 1980s I saw it as poser music, pop wearing the masque of the black death, I was all about authenticity then. Boo me. So I turned poppy and worldy and rappy and all those other things I turned, and missed out on a lot of it.

People I respect take metal very seriously. I actually bought some Swedish band's record last year (year before?) because Scott S. was raving about it so much, dug it, but then sold it, and I still have Francis the Mute around here somewhere, and it freaks me out at times.

Okay, so the Mars Volta and Slipknot aren't REALLY metal, yeah I know, blah blah blah. Go complain somewhere else. I don't really love hearing death metal talk about how it love cookie ahm ahm ahm num num num. I should but I don't. I like the crunch of guitars and the screams of pain okay though. Nothing wrong with crunch and pain.

So I'm there at Target looking for something cheap. If I'd had a few dollars more I'd have bought something else. But two discs for ten bucks is a great deal, and it's 2005 so I figured if I love it I can review it for someone or put it on my year-end list or something. This is how my mind works sometimes. I could have also bought the orthodox reggae guy's live disc or some pop-punk stuff, but I didn't know which one was best, plus they're all Green Day anyway, which means they're all the Violent Femmes without the god/gay stuff anyway. And I have lots of Femmes already, as I live in Wisconsin.

So I grabbed up the Slipknot and played it on the way to work, and liked it just fine. There's a lot of yelling that I can't decipher; better that way, I decided after looking up their lyrics, even though they're not the worst I've ever read, it's just that if you look up lyrics on the inter nets then you should not be listening to Slipknot. They have a lot of percussion and some tasty guitar and the doom is laid on pretty thick, and I like the facts that there are nine of them and that most of their anger centers around the fact that they come from Des Moines, Iowa. Also, now that they have names and not just numbers, it's cool that there are guys "named" 133 and Clown but that the big hyperaggressive drill sergeant lead guy, who was made this way probably by lots of gym teachers acting like drill sergeants, is now called "Corey."

Also, some people complain that this album is produced badly, but they're high because it shouldn't be too clean. Also, some people want all the songs to be about getting plugged by Satan, but I don't; I'll settle for minor transgressives like slitting someone's throat and carnalizing the wound, which is on one song, and isn't good but at least his therapy didn't cost him anything. Not something to play when the kids are around, but whatevers. And, am I digging the beautiful moments, like when they turn slightly prog with high harmonies and acoustic guitars before the crunch comes back in on "The Nameless"? Sure, why not? That's awesome.

Some would say I should have completed my early Chicago collection by getting Chicago VI with that ten bucks, or getting more 1970s Joni Mitchell, or the King of Rock reissue. I would probably agree with those people, usually. But does this Slipknot album sound pretty great as I drive home from work banging my head to "People = Shit" and "The Heretic Anthem" ?

Oh hell yes.
"I was all about authenticity then. Boo Me." No, because if it means something to you (even something you don't like, even if it's something you haven't listened to) it's authentic, it's genuine, it's real, even if it's fake in some other sense, even if forming an opinion about something you haven't heard makes you fake in some other sense.(So what, there's always that kind of sense somewhere.)
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