F2K10 is a countdown of the 20 worst songs of 2010. Track our progress here.
That Godsmack is still able to put out chart-topping records in 2010 shouldn’t be too surprising; the warmed-over, self-pitying nü-metal put forth by Sully Erna and his bandmates is still the lingua franca of rock radio, and the band’s brand has been around long enough for it to cut through the clutter of Sick Puppies and Saving Abels who have tried to infringe on its turf.
Godsmack’s fifth album The Oracle came out in May and briefly sat atop the Billboard 200, eclipsing the six-figure sales mark during its first week of release. The album’s arrival was announced by “Cryin’ Like A Bitch!!,” a gnarled hunk of melody-strippled metal that’s mostly notable for what sounds like a solo performed by a malfunctioning cell phone. Sully limits his already-miniscule vocal range to about four consecutive notes as he wheezes out his lyrics, which amount to a tough-guy boast for those dudes who haven’t quite figured out that the writerly maxim “show, don’t tell” works triple when you’re talking about wanting to assert your bossdom over someone else. For example:
I’m tougher than nails, I can promise you that
Step outta line and you’ll get bitch-slapped back
And you can run your little mouth all day
But the hand of god just smacked you back into yesterday
(Note the way that the lyrics distract the listener from the banality that is the “day”/”day” rhyme by referencing the band’s name! Sly, those guys!)
I’m not even going to get into the song’s profligate use of the word “bitch” to indicate dominance over lyrical rivals, since there’s a whole canon of rock songs in which “bitch” is used as a denigrating term and if there’s a band out there that’s going to smash genre paradigms it certainly isn’t going to be Godsmack, who seem hell-bent on basing their career on Alice in Chains’ song titles and imagery, but not the actual music the band played.
However, it’s worth noting that the turgid boasts of slap-happiness put forth by “Cryin’ Like A Bitch!!” make one long for the wit possessed by dis tracks like “Get In The Ring” (which at least tossed out the names of its antagonists) and “Everything About You” (which at least was catchy). You’d think that Godsmack would at least be able to harness some of the free-floating anger in the world today into even half an interesting turn of phrase, but nope.
When “Bitch!!” came out, there was scuttlebutt that it stemmed from a 2009 beef between the band and Mötley Crüe’s entourage. Whether that backstory is true or not, the band probably should have told its PR team that the lyrics were actually focused at a target who hadn’t already crafted a riposte to gnatlike annoyances…
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 1, 2010