Sometimes it's all I can do to pay painful attention to every nugatory mite of meaningless, farcical music news that sloshes through the colon of our culture and I lose sight of the important thing: the meaningless, farcical music itself. In order to serve you better, I'll be taking an occasional look at the charts and giving a brief rundown of the week in pop.
If that sounds a little dry and informative, don't worry. This is still a humor column at heart, so I'll begin by pointing out that "chart" rhymes with "fart." This week, I'll be taking a look at Billboard's "Hot Modern Rock Tracks."
1. KINGS OF LEON, "SEX ON FIRE" | Titles like this are totally wasted on bands like this — imagine how classic a song called "Sex on Fire" would be if it were by Soft Cell or Suicide or something. At least it's not a huge disappointment, since we already know that Kings of Leon aren't a homo-erotic synth-pop duo but a gaggle of brawny, sincere Southerners who've earned the fawning adulation of the UK press and the bitter hatred of the US hipster press (and probably warrant neither). They're one of those minor trifles that'll be caught in a they-suck/no-they-don't tug of war for a few more years before getting shelved for decades and rediscovered as visionary geniuses by the hipbots of 2025. (Not that they deserve it — that's just how it works.)
2. APOCALYPTICA (FEAT. ADAM GONTIER), "I DON'T CARE" | I opened up the video for this track and the first thing I saw was a really po-faced metalhead with long blond locks playing a cello, so I knew I was experiencing art. I looked up the group on Wikipedia to see whether mine eyes had deceived me, but no: "Apocalyptica is a Finnish cello metal band, composed of classically trained cellists." This is way, way worse than I'd imagined "Finnish cello metal" as being, and I imagined its being pretty bad. Features the dude from Three Days Grace sounding, when he's not screaming, weirdly like Lou Barlow. The video also has the aforementioned po-faced metalheads playing Victorian prostitutes like cellos, which is by far the gayest metal-video misogyny I've ever seen.
3. INCUBUS, "LOVE HURTS" | What's the last time you were disappointed that something wasn't a Nazareth cover? You'd have to dig pretty deep to find lyrics dumber than "Love is like a flame/It burns you when it's hot," but Incubus make a valiant effort: "Love hurts/But sometimes it's a good hurt."
4. SHINEDOWN, "SECOND CHANCE" | What do you get if you put Three Doors Down, Creed, and Daughtry in a giant blender? You get a fucking medal, as far as I'm concerned. Frappe these idiots while you're at it.
5. THE OFFSPRING, "YOU'RE GONNA GO FAR, KID" | These guys were alleged to be a punk band at some point, but as far back as I can remember they've been "ironic" trend-aping shitheads — remember the portentous post-grunge of "Gone Away" and the pure embarrassment of "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)"? That was pretty ugly, but it's gotten worse: now they're half-parodying/half-imitating Fall Out Boy. Dexter Holland, you're in your mid 40s: shut up.
6. PARAMORE, "DECODE" | Sets off my Christian-dar in a suspiciously Chevelle-esque fashion. I gather that it was featured on the Twilight soundtrack — I went and saw that flick with my friends to laugh at it, but like halfway through we kinda turned to one another and went, "Wait, are we enjoying this?" Turns out, I'm a total tween for Twilight. I should point out that Twilight also set off my Christian-dar, and I turned out to be right about that — the author lady is a Mormon. Oh right, this song: it sucks.
7. SEETHER, "BREAKDOWN" | Straight from Baby's First Post-Grunge Songbook. This same bullshit has been killing rock and roll for like 10 years now. It's lasted almost as long as hair metal, and it's — y'all ready for this? — actually worse than hair metal.
8. ANBERLIN, "FEEL GOOD DRAG" | I checked out the video, and the lead singer is a couple of years too old for his haircut, the clothes are a little outdated, guitar riffs are slightly '98, everything seems a little too serious . . . oh, shit, there goes my Christian-dar again.
9. RISE AGAINST, "RE-EDUCATION (THROUGH LABOR)" | Unsmiling identikit tardcore. If you thought the title was corny, consider this: the album is called Appeal to Reason. Ooh, so smart and serious! Tell me more about PETA, bros!
10. DISTURBED, "INDESTRUCTIBLE" | Exactly like every other Disturbed song, except slightly more reprehensible because of its shamelessly dunderheaded glorification of war. The track's aim, according to the singer, is "to make them [soldiers] feel strong and strip them of their fear." Well, whatever gets Disturbed fans blown up is fine by me, I guess.