Battle of the Bad


One can enjoy awful records. Pitting them against each other in their crumminess is rewarding, as it sharpens superciliousness in us all. Take New Found Glory’s Catalyst and Frankee’s The Good, the Bad, the Ugly. Frankee had the initial edge with her musical limericks taken from the idea: What would Ogden Nash sound like after a stroke leaving only the ability to curse in one-syllable words?

As someone donning the garb of an American cretin—at one point, I think, rhyming “shit” with itself—Frankee is a modern, better John “Dr. Dirty” Valby singing “Bang Bang LuLu.” Valby never learned to coo and swear to soft r&b with “Fuck” in the title and was sometimes mistaken for a musical humorist, faults that would only dilute Frankee’s apparent image as a high-button crack whore paid off with a recording contract.

But New Found Glory’s Catalyst takes the prize because it mixes C-in-English self-absorption with sentiment fit for a wounded Hallmark card. Frankee’s just really angry and dumb, like a fire ant that’s had its dirt pile kicked over, while the New Found Glory fellows are pretending to be sensitive humans when they’re just insects too—ones with saccharine in their mouths, instead of formic acid.

Every other New Found song sounds like it’s about the shock of being lied to by girls or how one’s life is over—a downhill tromp into the muck of loud-soft-loud-soft punk rock despair. All because you failed to satisfy your wretched, selfish girlfriend, who is a “catalyst.” A catalyst for what? The transmutation of gold into lead? No, the peddling of young loserhood as emo-shtick.

New Found Glory would lose an arm-wrestling match with Josie of the Pussycats, they play weenie roasts, and I have no idea what manner of 98-pound idiot is this band’s audience. Thin teenage boys enjoying the last three years of high school before involuntary shipment to Camp Pendleton?

New Found Glory play the Vans Warped Tour on Randalls Island August 7.