MUSIC THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE!
THE ARROGANT SONS OF BITCHES
Nate Phung Contributor
As an awkward adolescent band geek trombone player navigating through the minefields of assholes and fake-ass people in high school, I had a developed taste for the emotional, angry, gritty brand of punk rock juxtaposed with, well, ska.
Ska and punk rock blended together to inspire further tastes in music, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I realized how much raw truth and angst could be expressed in the sonic power of these styles. It all happened when I rediscovered The Arrogant Sons of Bitches and their album Three Cheers for Disappointment studio. ASoB broke up shortly after releasing the album. However, the album is pure gold, a piece of genius, and a ska-punk masterpiece. Additionally, it is available for free (and legal) download through lead singer/rhythm guitarist Jeff Rosenstock’s DIY-music label Quote Unquote Records, through which he released his solo work and music from his new band, Bomb the Music Industry. Rosenstock’s unique writing and performing style shines with the sonic energy of the band throughout the album-from angry, angsty, pissed-the-fuck-off dissertations in his lyrics to catchy, sing-along hooks; the edge in Rosenstock’s voice to spot-on ringing vocal harmonies provided by keyboardist J.T. Turret; the fat sound of the horns and the fast angry sounds of the rhythm section. The overall impression is an album that is one huge fuzzball explosion of angst and discontent. To this day, I listen to the entire album daily. I mean, the angst-anthems such as the hard-hitting “So Let’s Go Nowhere” (with the crux of the song: “EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS FALLING APART”) and “I’ve Got Enemies in High Places”; the groovy “Rocketrocketrocketship”; and “Disappointment at the Taco Bell,” featuring David McWane of Boston ska-punk band Big D and the Kids Table, paired with anti-love songs such as “Piss Off”, “Have Fun Rotting By Yourself”, and “Last on My List”, connects to my inner frustrations- universal frustrations such as having friends take advantage of you, breaking up, and the realization of the general futility of life. There is not a single weak song on the album, and every song is striking, hard-hitting and raw.
Molly Shannon Food Editor
Fuck Muriel’s Wedding. Fuck Mamma Mia! Gimme gimme gimme ONE week, just ONE week, and I can DREAM up a more meaningful musical than those two unworthy pieces of mediocrity, all in the name of honoring one of the greatest bands in the history of everything: ABBA. What is ABBA, you may ask? First of all, go throw yourself off a cliff. Second of all, ABBA is the Swedish quartet that you most likely remember for “Dancing Queen”, and they also just happened to change my life. The Swedish superstars completely took over pop music in the ‘70s into the early ‘80s, and I can’t thank them enough for their existence. Why is it that America’s first great pop-music group was actually borrowed from Sweden? I don’t know. But I digress. Along with The Beatles, The Wailers, and Blue Oyster Cult, ABBA was one of the many bands that my music-aficionado dad would force my family and I to listen to on long family road trips, but ABBA was one of the few bands that all of us could actually agree on. And ever since then, ABBA has provided us with many precious memories. I remember in the third grade, getting lost on the way to an Angels’ game, Dad was driving and extremely frustrated because we were lost and on the verge of being late to the game. ABBA’s “I Have a Dream” was drifting on in the background. Just as my dad was about to hit his boiling point-- “I belieeeeeeeeve......” (the majestic halo-ed “A” statue was in our sight) “......in angels”, and thus the worldly sitar plucking continued. In another instance, a close friend and I sang along to “Waterloo”. And lest we forget the infamous scene on Malcolm in the Middle in which Dewey lip-synced “Fernando” with his elderly baby sitter, which my sister and I would follow by recreating it in our backyard. I could literally write essays to express just how much I love ABBA, but I’ll keep it short. They have been a huge inspiration for so many musicians since their initial success in the ‘70s, and have been an even bigger inspiration for me. Thank you for the music, ABBA.
Roque Renteria Entertainment Editor
Music is a strange thing. It’s almost impossible to describe what music is. The best definition I can come up with is “the most harmonious and pleasant arrangement of sounds”. Every time I refer to music it’s metaphorical. It is impossible to enumerate the importance and value of music. Its influence is intangible. Therefore, trying to measure the impact of 77 by Talking Heads is a task destined for failure. However, I was born a loser, so another loss shan’t affect me severely.
I first heard this record during my junior year of high school. I don’t remember much of my experience, except that I hated everything and everyone. Hearing this album not only validated my indignation, it also captured my frustration with the opposite sex perfectly. Being an awkward misanthrope, there is no better person to idolize than David Byrne.
The best example of his awkwardness is heard on “Uh-Oh Love Comes To Town”. In order to empower my readership, I suggest that you all go online and look up the lyrics. If this does not capture your high school experience, then I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with you. The album is a fusion of proto-punk, world beat, Americana & funk. A perfect combination for an identity-less teenager trying to discover himself. The reason why this album changed my life is because Talking Heads helped me become the person that I am today. If someone is usually depressed, I don’t recommend Xanax, I recommend David Byrne. If that crazy musical genius can express his emotions, then we can make it. We can survive.
Sierra Pathael Campus Editor
When I was a little girl, three artists created acceptable music: John Denver, Johnny Rivers, and the Dixie Chicks. Britney Spears made the list for a while, but then she kissed Madonna and my best friend declared her off-limits. (I will admit to listening to “I’m a Slave 4 U” under the covers every now and then, though.) Everything else was “popular,” and in my mind, popular was synonymous with revolting. (I would have made a wonderful hipster if I hadn’t been ten years old.)
Then a friend, fed up with my playing the same three CDs over and over again every time she visited, forced me to listen to Avril Lavigne’s “Anything but Ordinary.” The song had just come out, and I hadn’t heard enough of my classmates praising it to automatically hate it, so I agreed. It only took a couple of lyrics to have me hooked. “Sometimes I get so weird, I even freak myself out”—that’s me in a nutshell even today, eleven years later. I borrowed the CD, listened to it for six hours straight, and finally, with the refrains of “Mobile” and “Unwanted” threatening never to leave my head, I admitted what I’d been avoiding: Music could be popular and good at the same time, and my friend had much better taste in music than I did.
That admission was the crack in the dam. I read Harry Potter; I sat down and watched The Lord of the Rings; I stopped boycotting Good Charlotte and Blink 182; and later, I even subjected myself to Twilight. (I blame Avril for that one, too, but hey—the fact that popular doesn’t equal horrible doesn’t mean popular things can’t be horrible.) Avril Lavigne forced me to recognize that acclaim isn’t always atrocious. I’m not sure whether I’m grateful to or annoyed at her for that—but I am glad I’m listening to a few more artists now than I did when I was a kid. You can only hear “Secret Agent Man” so many times before it starts sounding kitsch. So thank you, Avril, for that.