By Vonocourt 11 Comments
I used to be a huge metalhead back in highschool. Thrash, death, sludge, power, some other crappy subgenres of metal filled my Ipod. Then inexplicably one day, my tastes of the rather extreme ends of the metal genre all but dissipated, making way for interest in comparatively more mellow music. The only leftover of my metal days being my love of sludge metal, Melvins still reign supreme in my eyes. Since then, my tastes have been expanded, especially during the past year largely in part due to Bruce's great recommendations. I had to wake up early this morning to drive my little bro to school, and while I was waiting for him to get ready, I went on to my computer. On a whim, I decided to type "Suicidal Tendencies You can't Bring Me Down" into the search bar on youtube. It had been a while since I'd last listen to Suicidal Tendencies, they were one of the many bands I decided to stop listening too. What I felt watching this video, besides amusement at how terribly Vevo censored the music video, was that not dissimilar to what I felt when I watched The Great Mouse Detective for the first time in years, or when I randomly googled Reptar. I felt nostalgia, even when it had only been about a year and a half since I last listened to it.
Once I got back from driving my little bro, I listened to it again. This song perfectly encapsulated my high school days. Breaking out "Lights...Camera...Revolution!," I sat down in my living room and listened to the whole album while fittingly enough, Saved by The Bell and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air played on the tv screen. Going through each track, I started thinking. My life was never like "You can't Bring Me down," it was my mentality that fit that song, my mentality that I never really based my decisions on. Or maybe I did, I don't really know. That's kind of why I decided to write this down, force myself to think about the four years of my life that would be better off forgotten. That, and I'd been meaning to write a blog for this site for awhile, but had never been compelled to sit down and actually write something.
I don't think it would surprise anyone if I were to say I was a pretty hardcore geek in high school. I was for the most part aware of it, but to the extent of how bad it was, not so much. It wasn't so much that I was oblivious to it, it's just that I was such a geek that I was aware of the worse of us*, so I had a certain air of superiority about myself, not much, but it was there. I also had this false sense of superiority around the group I hung out with, the goth/outcasts kids. I didn't necessarily feel like I was better than them, just that I was ahead of the curve. I only had a brief venture into hot topic goth wear back in middle school, which I soon realize how stupid all that shit was. My friends hadn't caught on so fast. But yeah, so there I was with the outcasts. I didn't want to conform with the American Eagle prep nature of the school, but neither did I want to conform with the anti-conformists, who I felt were just conforming to a different drum. So, I rebelled my own way, khaki shorts and collard-short sleeves shirts baby! The main reason why I hung out with those kids was because I shared similar interests; video games, anime(used to be into it), and the big one being music. Metal. Dude, metal was awesome. I was in to almost every kind of it, as long as it was heavy. It was like I was listening to pure angst. This fit in perfectly with my rather passive aggressive way of rebelling. I didn't really have to do anything, I just had to listen. Listening to Death, Kreator, Opeth, and of course Melvins, was like a big "F.U." to all those kids listening to their pop-punk shit like Blink 182 or Yellowcard.
I don't really remember how or when I was introduced to Suicidal Tendencies. But like most people, the first song I heard by them was "Institutionalized." I loved it, fit perfectly in to my mindset of "people don't understand me." So I went and listen to their other stuff. I thought their Self-titled album was great, but what with me being such a huge metalhead, "Lights...Camera...Revolution!" 's more thrash metal over hardcore punk was what really got me hooked on them. "You can't bring me Down" opens the album, and what a opener it is. Probably the most thrash metal song on the album, it starts with the first of three guitar solos, and slowly builds up to a wall of sound. Mike Muir yells "What the hell is going on around here?!" right before the song explodes into main riff. If you couldn't tell by the title, the song deals with never backing down and standing up for what you believe in, specifically censorship in this song. All the songs on this album are just as blunt when it comes to the lyrics, and overall the album is kind of one note when it comes to themes. If the song isn't about standing up and fight, it's about life sucking. You know what though, I was in High School, I didn't give a damn about subtlety or restraint, it was all about raw angst. Which this album deliver in spades. Even "Alone," the closest thing to a ballad on this album still shreds...and just guess what Mike Muir sings about in that one. It might seem like I'm mocking the lyrics, but I genuinely appreciated them. As someone who suffered from on and off again depression, I found lyrics like:
"Can you say "feel like shit"?
Yea maybe sometimes I do feel like shit
I ain't happy 'bout it, but I'd rather feel like shit than be full of shit!"
comforting. Sure, by the time this album was released Mike Muir was long past his angsty high school years, or the lyrics are a bit of step down compared to the ones found on the self-titled, but I can't listen to this album now without being in a time bubble. Back when I was fifteen, when my Sundays consisted of listening to metal and playing splitscreen multiplayer games with my friends. This was all I wanted from my music. I'll admit though, the simple lyrics don't always work. "Lovely" is a complete failure. Consisting almost entirely of Muir saying "Love, love love, lovely," the song beats you over the head with sarcasm. Jeez, I don't get it. He just spent the last two songs saying how much life sucks and he's lonely, now he's saying everything is lovely. The song would be bad enough without having two songs devoted to detailing how alone Muir feels, but "Lovely's" placement on the album just makes it all the more annoying. "Send me your Money" also fails to really connect. Maybe it's that I wasn't even born when the album was released, but I grew up knowing televangelists were full of shit. So the message doesn't seem as powerful or groundbreaking as it may have during the summer of 1990.
Usually I find it hard to look back on my days in high school in a positive light. This album helps me do that. It reminds me of those days past, those days that the album helped brighten up. Listening to it now, even if it's kind of sophmoric, makes me happy. Thank you for reading this, and I apologize if t seemed kind of rambling, aimless or if the actual music critique is rather weak. Do you guys have any albums or songs that elicit similar feelings?