I have spent the better part of my life with Los Angeles' "modern rock" station KROQ-FM as the #1 pre-set on my radio dial. Back in the '90s, KROQ was pretty reliable for playing a lot of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, which was fine with me, particularly because they'd break them up with copious replays of "No Rain." (Hey, it was a different time!)
Now, I find that I can only leave the radio on for 2-3 continuous songs in a row (unless it's a '90s weekend) without one of the following bands coming on and totally interrupting my groove. And before everyone in the comments starts slinging around the "you're an old man who just hates on the kids and their new-fangled music and wants them to get off your lawn"... most of these are not really bleeding edge tween-rock artists that I wouldn't understand, what with my full-time job and non-ironic beard. Much of this is actually old fart music that has been haunting me ever since the immediate post-high school era when I started to develop taste.Anyway, here are the 10 bands KROQ insists on playing ALL THE TIME that force me to switch to my iPod or turn to a classic rock station on the chance they're playing Neil Young or Credence or something.
Two themes that will come up a lot on the list are both epitomized by Papa Roach, so it's only fitting that they kick things off:
(1) Aggressive, angry hard rock that's actually just suburban white guys whining about bullcrap. Papa Roach is the current world leader in Whine Rock... "Last Resort" is like the First World Problems meme set to music. I'm pretty sure "Last Resort" is about having a panic attack. Or maybe just being bummed because your manager at the DQ asked you to pull a double shift and you had plans to catch up on "Vampire Diaries" that night becuase you're already, like, 3 episodes behind!(2) Rock songs that pause unnecessarily for bad white guy rapping. Hey, white guys in hard rock bands... you know how, when awesome rappers start doing bad autotuned R&B, everyone wishes they'd just go back to making great rap songs? You guys stopping the actual song for bad rapping is a lot like that. Only the song itself wasn't particularly good to begin with. What I'm saying is... STOP.
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I'm pretty sure The Offspring have just been recording the same song over and over again since 1994's "Smash" and are just waiting for someone to actually call them on it. The song above is called "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid" and was released in 2008. That's FOURTEEN YEARS after "Bad Habit," and the two songs sound identical. Bart Simpson has changed more since 1994 than The Offspring's sound.And it wasn't even a particularly good sound to begin with. Oh, sure, "Smash" was not without its charm, and was such a product of that moment in SoCal rock... it was hard not to yell "You gotta keep 'em separated" along with the radio whenever "Come Out and Play" would come on. But that was such a long time ago now. It's hard to believe that Dexter & Co. haven't had a single new moment of inspiration since the first Clinton administration.
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There's a crazy amount of just blatant pre-packaged insincerity to everything 30 Seconds to Mars and its figurehead, semi-famous "character" actor Jard Leto, does that it's impossible to take them at all seriously as a band. And that's just the music itself, leaving aside their post-Bowie glamorexia guyliner aesthetic.But "This is War," the song above, is also guilty of being an overblown wannabe musical "statement" about violence or human tragedy or some such horses**t. It's as much an over-reach as Aldous Snow's "African Child"; even Bono's not cheesy enough to dress up as a soldier and intercut himself posing thoughtfully in the desert in silhouette with clips of George W. Bush speechifying. This is rock music as a bad cologne ad. Leto should only be allowed inside another recording studio if it's for a role in another movie where Brad Pitt pummels his face until it's unrecognizable.
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YouTube makes you watch a soda ad before seeing the video for "Lay Me Down," which is redundant, because the song itself sounds like it was written for a bad commercial. I'm not sure whose decision it was - Rome or some record label or whomever - to exhume the corpse of Sublime and parade it around the radio as a sideshow attraction for nickels. But apparently it's working, because I hear nothing but this song on the radio.Sublime itself had some songs that felt like another band kind of ripping off Sublime's style, but artlessly. ("Badfish," I'm looking in your direction.) So for all we know, this watered-down, lame story-song is what they'd be releasing these days if Brad's death hadn't taken them out at the height of their powers. But I'd like to THINK they'd have gone a different way. It's barely even a story! (So these two lovers are on the run... and then they get away... and, um, drink margaritas and bone. "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," it ain't.) see more on The Dirty Heads