If you're not in the radio business, you might not know the term "Active Rock." It's not a genre, thank Heaven, but a radio format — the worst radio format. It combines the dregs of the classic-rock format — AC/DC, Aerosmith, Scorpions — with the kind of dumbshit nü-metal troglo-rock that's slowly being pushed off the alt-rock stations. Unfortunately for me, the jerks at Billboard publish an Active Rock airplay chart, so I'm bound by grim duty to report:1_THREE DAYS GRACE, "THE GOOD LIFE" | I despised these dudes much harder in 2003, when "I Hate Everything About You" first hit the airwaves and made me miss Ugly Kid Joe. Now, they're too familiar and featureless to warrant any hate — for this track, they set the rifftron on medium autochug and left the room. I guess I can't fault Three Days Grace for being generic, because a hardworking post-grunge group sure aren't gonna make a buck in the Active Rock scene without sounding exactly like themselves and everyone else.
2_GODSMACK, "CRYIN' LIKE A BITCH!" | This whole package is in serious contention for Dumbest Anything Ever: the band are really called that, the song is really called that, and the title really does have an exclamation point. The video is a montage of sweaty gym training and UFC knockouts. The most alarming part is that it's #2 on a chart, even if it's just a shitty radio chart — a certain sort of person really enjoys this song, and that sort of person is going to be eating us when The Road happens.
3_DROWNING POOL, "FEEL LIKE I DO" | Any pro wrestlers out there need some new intro music? Any US Army ads need a soundtrack? Any dudes without health insurance need a cheap alternative to testosterone-replacement therapy?
4_STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, "BETWEEN THE LINES" | They may not be good, they may not be in their prime, but at least they're not Godsmack. These guys have a history of meeting the lowest expectations you can throw at them, and this track is no exception — I figured a Stone Temple Pilots reunion would suck, and I find myself reassured. Thanks, STP!
5_OZZY OSBOURNE, "LET ME HEAR YOU SCREAM" | I thought things were getting pretty dire when I was a little relieved to see Stone Temple Pilots, but you know they're about as bad as they can get when I see Ozzy's name and exclaim, "Finally, a reputable artist!"
6_SICK PUPPIES, "ODD ONE" | I got a little electric twinge, as if this were about to set off my Jesusdar with its bizarrely outdated 1999 production. No, it's not Christian rock, but I was close: Australian! Just as lame, but at least you won't be spiritually uplifted.
7_PUDDLE OF MUDD, "STONED" | These guys are the unsung villains of the post-grunge scene — they've stuck around for more than a decade, and through it all, they've been significantly worse than Creed and Nickelback. It may be loathsome, but that's a hell of an accomplishment.
8_SEVENDUST, "UNRAVELING" | Is it okay if I skip this one? Somehow, I think I've managed to go 13 years without actually hearing a Sevendust song, and I'm too wounded from Puddle of Mudd to start now.