Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rob Zombie: Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor

Okay, let's get the boring stuff out of the way first.  And no, that doesn't mean I'm going to talk about the artist - if you want to know more about Rob Zombie, please, take a gander on his Wikipedia page (to be fair, his carnie roots do explain a little something), his website, or this interview on Artist Direct, where he also talks about his new horror flick (The Lords of Salem).  No - by "the boring stuff", I actually mean the fact that my three-year-old is home from preschool for the next two days so it's headphones and bullet points or bust for this new album since there's NO WAY IN HELL I'm playing it out loud for my children.  Although we may have a long discussion about what creatures could be living in the man's beard...
  • "Teenage Nosferatu Pussy" - at first, I thought this said "Teenage Nosferatu Party" and I thought, "man, that would DEFINITELY be cooler than a quinceañera".  Then I realized it said "pussy" instead, and I thought "man, that cat's living to a ripe old age!".  Then the little-girl-voiced intro ("Everything's in color!") segued into churning guitar over a stomping beat and I not only remembered what Rob Zombie sounds like, but I also had a sneaking suspicion that he's not talking about quinceañeras or cats, but something else altogether ("I am a pirate on a devil ship").  But I'm probably just reading too much into the lyrics...
  • "Dead City Radio And The New Gods of Supertown" - oh boy, another intro!  This time it's an old-timey radio voice that's soon joined by a repetitive beat and a beeping sound.  As soon as Rob Zombie starts up, however, it's also obvious where the inspiration for this song comes from - The Doors' "The Wasp (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)".  Yup, Zombified Doors ("I'm a rhinestone tiger in a leisure suit").  Next!
  • "Revelation Revolution" - intro three, this time with a dude's voice.  And now a beat!  This track has an almost-electronic edge before the rusty guitar drowns it out, and a weirdly Lady Gaga message ("We are what we are/Like it or not").  Catchy!!!
  • "Theme For The Rat Vendor" - as a girl who grew up with rats, I've never met a "rat vendor" who wasn't an underpaid pet-store lackey.  Apparently, Rob Zombie has, and the rat vendor of his dreams works in a Marrakesh marketplace and sells rugs along with his rodents (and may or may not be a belly dancer).  This track is instrumental and middle eastern.  I like it.
  • "Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga" - you cannot argue with this song title, mostly because no one speaks this language but Rob Zombie.  That being said, this track is all black swamps and voodoo mumbling, with more of that dirty guitar.  Or is a Kid Rock riff?  Hard to tell.
  • "Rock And Roll (In A Black Hole)" - I have to admit, the first time I heard lots of goofy intros was probably on Godsmack's Awake, and that album is therefore what all goofy intros remind me of.  Nevertheless, this track has another pulsing electronic-esque beat finished off by Zombie's restrained but ominous growling.  Oh, and it comes alive at around the 1:30 mark, trading the low-key for a short burst of sound that reappears for each chorus.  It's a nice change of texture either way, although strangely the least rock-n-roll track I've heard yet.
  • "Behold, The Pretty Filthy Creatures!" - uh oh, I heard something about "endorsements of shocking sexual practices" before my three-year-old interrupted me to explain which member of the Maiasaura family each of us are (guess what?  I'm the MOM!!!).  Besides that, this reminds me a lot of the White Zombie/Rob Zombie oeuvre I remember from fifteen years ago, plus some more Doors-esque probably-faux organ.  And now it's over.
  • "White Trash Freaks" - I love this song title, if only because it reminds me of my father's "white trash" phase, when he used to order merlot as "mer-lotte" and then tell the waiter he was "white trash" to explain his pronunciation (every high school girl's dream!).  This track has a little bit more of a looser, garage feel, and the repetition of the word "boog-a-loo".  Also, Zombie asserts that "life ain't shit if you ain't a star", which probably has Mars, Venus, and Earth in tears.
  • "We're An American Band" - Sa-weet, some rock 'n' roll electric guitar and COWBELL.  Nothing says American Band like cowbell.  Total riff on Grand Funk Railroad's song of the same title, right down to the cowbell.  Oh, I guess it's a cover?
  • "Lucifer Rising" - this song gets right to it, with a rollicking beat and straight-forward lyrics ("Lucifer rising/All the girls scream/I love you, yeah, baby I love you").  Not much else to say.
  • "The Girl Who Loved The Monsters" - this song starts with screaming and drums (and yes, I did have to make sure the screaming wasn't my children).  Another churning alt-metal ride, complete with a French bit that's obviously just there to win my heart (something about needing to rest because the day is about to start - vampires???).
  • "Trade In Your Guns For A Coffin" - finally, a track that gets right to it.  On this number, sawing guitars clash with hammering drums and "baby's shooting vodka in her eyes again", whatever that means (like injecting, or pouring?  this seems problematic).  And it ends just as abruptly as it begins.
Okay, I have to admit - I was a little worried about this album, especially since I really, really hated the remix album Rob Zombie released last year.  Luckily, this one has a lot more going for it, including catchier tracks and less ugliness (I know, I know, lots of people like the ugly.  I don't).  Of course, I'd like it even more if Zombie cut about two-thirds of the intros and voice-over junk that give it a jokey feel.  Other than that, however, it's a solid Zombie release with plenty of guitar and growling, perfect for your quinceañera or your cat.  Or, EVEN BETTER, your cat's quinceañera.

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