Bands like Motley Crue - and almost every other big hair act
that populated/polluted the Sunset Strip in the '80s - praised the
joys of sex, drugs and rock & roll, even though they all privately
knew that the stuff was going to kill them. This is one big reason
why Guns 'N Roses struck such a chord with non-hard rock fans
back then; they actually told the truth. But Motley Crue's recent
Saints Of Los Angeles release, as well Nikki Sixx's
autobiography, The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered
Rock Star, showed that even these hedonistic party animals knew
how to tell a little truth, too.
When Papa Roach looks down on a Tintzel Town tramp during
"Hollywood Whore", they're certainly not putting girls,
girls, girls up on a pedistal. "I'm sorry but the party's over,"
they remind her, while also kicking her when she's down. Later, one
called "Lifeline" is a cry for help (perhaps spiritual help?).
This mid-tempo recording is a straight out anti-violence song. It
begins by recounting the story of yet one more boy gunned down in
the street, and ends by pleading for an end to such stupidity.
Ironically, Papa Roach - with its hard rock - is the combustible
energy source that fuels many of the tough talking violent young men
of our modern world. Screaming electric guitars, after all, are the
soundtrack to the killing-for-fun video games these 'boys' play all
day long. This makes the band's new Metamorphosis CD an unusual
candidate for social activist music. Yet a few tracks later they sing
about leaving their old lives behind with one that is appropriately
titled "March Out Of Darkness". Maybe this is the band's
'man in the mirror moment.' At some point, all activists realize that
social change must first begin with an individual's declaration of
independence from their own personal darkness.
Papa Roach is not Guns 'N Roses, not by a long stretch. Axl Rose
and friends embraced their obvious contradictions from the very get-go,
which made their lyrical sentiments all the more believable. It's
as if they were saying, 'We're all screwed up. We know it. We just
wish we weren't this way." Guns 'N Roses was also a much more
inventive band, musically. Papa Roach makes fairly generic hard rock,
which is played adequately. We all know these hard rockers have libidos,
but it's reassuring to realize they also have hearts. And it's a metamorphosis
we can all get behind.
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