OK, we all agree that Phil Collins is for wussies–but there’s got to be some middle ground, right?
The direction of pop-metal in the ’00s was forged in late 1997, when Limp Bizkit became mosquito-bitten backwards-cap Florida swamp-trash Jed Clampetts and struck moron oil via their cover of George Michael’s “Faith.” Leagues more intentionally goofy than its predecessor, Marilyn Manson’s “Sweet Dreams,” the Bizkit gloss on Michael’s “Faith” was to basically admit that they loathed the source material. The combination of “ironic juxtaposition” and “secret pop star fantasies” were irresistible to Soul Patch Nation, who obviously needed some way to let off steam in between making sure we never had another Woodstock. Though–to their credit–Bizkit fans were on the ground floor of a trend, beating hipsters by like three years to the insufferable “huh huh pop songs in my music huh huh yeah” trend of craaaaazy mash-ups and YouTube videos of mayonnaise indie stars covering Xtina.
“Faith” unleashed a nu-metal pillaging of the Billboard charts circa 1981 to 1988–the era that anyone who’s seen five minutes of Family Guy or Tim & Eric knows is the hack’s last resort, the eight-year shortcut to instant “nostalgia lols.” It’s pretty much the comedic equivalent of yelling “Balki Bartokomous” in a crowded room of 30-year-olds. A brief, sad history of this trend: Orgy turned New Order into cheesy disco metal, Coal Chamber shook “Shock The Monkey” in oblivion, Dope covered “You Spin Me Round” so miserably that it made Flo Rida look like Stevie Wonder, Alien Ant Farm moonwalked all over Michael Jackson, Marilyn Manson rubbed “Tainted Love” on his taint, Korn did a grave disservice to Cameo, and people still thought this was awesome. Even at the end of the decade, when the well had been thoroughly dredged, Drowning Pool persisted in letting out a sad “Rebel Yell” to no one in particular and Seether put the “Careless” in Wham!’s “Careless Whisper.”
Disturbed were the undisputed shitkings of this trend, opening this sad decade with a wallet-chain-jangling, quasi-rapped Tears For Fears cover they called “Shout 2000” in which they–no shit–sang “Ice Ice Baby” in the background. And they quickly followed it by their cover of Genesis’s “Land Of Confusion,” a song so bad that it makes me wish puppet Reagan actually pushed the red button and destroyed the Earth so this mutant suck spawn wouldn’t be slithering without chains.
To be fair to Disturbed, the vague message 1986’s “Land Of Confusion” was kind of perfect in 2005: nuclear anxiety + greedy politicians = everything is kind of fucked. But we’re pretty sure Genesis never intended it to be sung by a band who allows Marine recruiters to camp outside of their stadium shows and writes “fight songs” for the troops. And adds gutteral “AHHH AHH AHHH AHHHs” for whatever reasons I cannot fathom.
I had the misfortune of seeing Disturbed twice this decade and can definitively describe frontman Dave Draiman’s stage presence as “total dick.” Take that as the dual meaning of “a dude who won’t even look his fans in the eye as he crosses the aisle” and “a literal giant penis made up of macho posturing, outdated rock god bravado cornballism, and Tarzan-style chants.” “Land Of Confusion” is the natural breaking point since its lol-ain’t-the-’80s-crazy modus operandi is severely undercut by the fact that dude sings it with the histrionic wail of a Journey cover band. When I saw him do “Land Of Confusion” live he changed the lyrics to “There’s too many men, and not enough pussy.” I can’t make this stuff up.
Superman, where are you now?