Jun 25, 2012
Jan 17, 2011
This'll be a new occasional feature (that hopefully doesn't diminish what little credibility I have left), discussing an album, song, artist, genre or other music related subject that I should probably be ashamed to admit that I enjoy. I'm of the opinion that you like what you like, who cares if critics like it?... with the caveat that one must have some shred of (what is generally perceived to be) good musical taste to not suck as a human being. Take my wife for example, she likes musicals (eh), some modern rock (eh), Josh Groban and the like (um?), hair metal (yes!), Linda Rondstadt (although I'm not a big fan, Linda is a well respected artist), Pink (pretty cool)... and she enjoyed Lucero when we saw them in concert... therefore, her sucky tastes are balanced out with some good stuff. If she only liked Josh Groban and Rent, I probably wouldn't be referring to her as "my wife" (just kidding, love you sweetie!). I, on the other hand, have impeccable taste in music (traditional country, alt-country, indie rock, soul, good metal, top tier rap artists, etc).... BUT (That's a big "but" there). But, there are exceptions...there are songs, musicians and albums that defy my normal listening preferences by a long shot. I don't really feel all that guilty about these musical pleasures - I'm too far into my 30's and set in my ways to give a damn - but this column needed a recurring title. Anyway, here's the first entry.
My Darkest Days - s/t
I hate Nickelback, in case you didn't know. Hate them with a passion. I can identify one of their songs (heard or unheard before) within 3 notes - in time to swiftly turn the station. I also hate most modern rock...Godsmack, Three Days Grace, Disturbed, Chevelle, etc. Can't stand 'em.
My Darkest Days has frequently been described as Nickelback-lite. Their breakout hit, "Porn Star Dancing" is a sleazy ode to strippers that features Chad Kroeger (of Nickelback) and has an accompanying remix featuring Ludacris. Most of the album is MOR anthemic modern rock, with nothing particularly new to offer in the way of lyrics or music. Based on these points, the self-titled debut sounds like it should be the aural equivalent of Hell.
BUT, I like it. A lot.
WTF? Why? Well, the aforementioned "Porn Star Dancing" is infectious and naughty... and fun. It's reminiscent of the joyous,unrepentant debauchery of my beloved hair metal. LA Guns sprung to mind when I first heard it. I immediately sought out the album for preview after hearing the track. I was disappointed to find out that the rest of the album was as far from LA Guns as Rascal Flatts is from country. Still, I gave it a shot. Then another, then another, then I was hooked.
Few of the other songs are immediately enjoyable as the single, but they definitely grew on me. I suppose it's the band's focus on melody over attitude that set them apart for me. Most of the tunes are pop songs with a loud guitar bed... bass driven and ingratiating. Though some are full of bravado, that's not the point here. The songs are the thing, not the image. Not so with groups like Nickelback, whose main lot in the music biz is to constantly show you how big their balls are.
"Burn It Down" is another of my favorites from My Darkest Days. It has a reggae-lite rhythm and an earworm of a melody. Think Sublime with more direction. It gets stuck in my head more often than it should. "Come Undone" is a skillfully rendered take on the 1990's Duran Duran hit. My Darkest Days shows off a little lyrical skill (for the only time on the album, mind you) on "Goodbye," in which the singer leaves a heroin addicted lover for his own good. These are the more memorable songs, but aside from the pretty insipid opener "Move Your Body," none of them are skippers.
Seriously though, nothing about this album or band, for the time being, is remarkable. The lead singer has a likable voice. The guitar work is fine, if unexceptional. The songs are far from groundbreaking. I don't know what the draw is. There's always that undefinable "it" factor, which My Darkest Days does seem to possess. Basically, I just dig the album... what else is there to say? I may hate it and myself for writing this in a month or so, but for now, it is what it.... nevermind.
I hope the band's likely forthcoming mainstream success won't go to their head. Rather, they should continue on the path they've already begun, with their eyes and ears always on the song, not the trappings of their genre or their growing popularity.