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Sunday, May 06, 2007


Velveeta Jukebox, Part VIII: Cum On, Feel the Noise

Nobody--I mean nobody--is ever going to hold me up as a good example of someone with amazing taste in music. I'm not the guy who tracks down the next big trend. I don't go to clubs to hear this incredible new band that's going to be huge three years from now. There was a long time when I got the bulk of my albums from BMG Music Club, 'cause they were cheap and it was easy.

This has been the case my entire life. When I was a kid, the only music I ever really spazzed out over was music from movies that I liked. This is why I owned the soundtrack to Arthur. And listened to it. Likewise with Beverly Hills Cop and Ghostbusters. Let me tell you, there was some shitty music on those soundtracks.

But I was self-aware enough to know that I had shitty taste in music and self-loathing enough to be ashamed of said shitty taste. So I would look to other people for guidance as to the sort of music I ought to like. My older sister came in handy there. While I wouldn't call her aural aesthetic unblemished (she owned more than one Rick Springfield album) she definitely knew more than me.

So when I rode with her as she "cruised" up and down State Street in Alliance, Ohio, I totally bought into the notion that Quiet Riot produced quality head-banging tunes. I remember actually doing what the band instructed in their ground-breaking song "Metal Health." I banged my head. On the nice cushiony car seat in front of me. "Metal Health" wasn't their biggest hit, though. That would be "Cum on, Feel the Noise."

At age 12, this song kind of scared me. The band kind of scared me. I mean, the cover of the album featured a dude in a strait-jacket wearing some freakish sort of Dumas-inspired hockey mask. And their songs were loud, which was a little disconcerting to a kid who'd spent the past couple of years listening to a lot of Christopher Cross tunes.

Listening to the song today, you realize that these guys were much more goofy than frightening. (Their Wickipedia entry--as of today--actually calls them, and I quote, "A bunch of douchebags." I'm thinking that wasn't taken from the band's official biography.) The song's lyrics seem to be from the point of view of your typical misunderstood teen. "So you say I've got a funny face? I got no worries" and "So you think we are the lazy kind? You should know better." "Why, we're far more ambitious than you give us credit for, sir," it seems to say. It's actually kind of like a Pat Boone song with a bunch of mediocre guitar licks thrown in for no reason.

And the video, God knows, isn't the least bit scary. Watching a bunch of guys in their mid-thirties prancing around the stage in tiger-print spandex with giant hair is very much the opposite of scary. The whole thing is a lot more poppy than metallic. Poppy in the absolute worst sense.

I will give it this, though: it's a pleasant reminder of a time when driving up and down the puny main drag of the town where I was born seemed really cool.

Hee hee! My town has a 'No Cruise Zone'. Seriously. Apparently the signs went up right after I graduated high school. Shame.

Great entry, Joe!
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