Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 20: A song I listen to when I'm angry

This is going to be a tricky one, because I don't tend to listen to music when I'm angry. It's possibly the only emotional state which I find actively antithetical to music, in fact - I can (and do) listen to music when a bit tetchy, but that's as close as it gets. When I'm full-on, properly angry, it's the last thing I'd ever think of.

So, I'm going for the nostalgia option, and looking back to when this wasn't the case. As a teenager, I was angry a lot. Most of us were, I suspect. It's a hormone thing. And, as angry teenagers are wont to do, I was terribly fond of storming off to my bedroom, slamming the door, and listening to angry music at an antisocial, deliberately parent-bothering volume. Then I'd get all righteous and indignant when I was, most unreasonably, asked politely to turn it down. Teenagers are like that.

I sort of wish now that I'd been into metal as an adolescent - there may not be a genre in music so perfectly-suited to the expression of raw, inarticulate rage. But it wasn't until quite a bit later that I really got past the surface-level silliness of so much metal, and learned to appreciate it despite - and, in some cases, because of - that silliness. Besides, as I've mentioned before, it was discovering progressive death metal - bands like Opeth, specializing in a noodly flavour of heavy that you can really stroke your chin to - that softened me on metal in the first place, and that's not really the best sort of angry music.

Back in those days, my choices were much more limited - I'm thinking of a time before I'd even discovered Public Enemy, another group who do rage exceptionally well, albeit with rather more sophistication than the majority of metal acts. But back then, between the ages of - let's say - 14 and 17, the hardest, heaviest, angriest music I listened to was usually somewhere on the border between punk and hard rock.

I had plenty to choose from, obviously. The world is hardly short on punk/rock albums filled with anthems of adolescent rage. But - for reasons which should be obvious to anyone who's heard it - more often than not, the album I'd choose to blast would be Therapy?'s Troublegum. It even contains a song which begins with the line "Masturbation saved my life", perhaps the most universally-recognizable sentiment imaginable to anyone who has ever been, or for that matter even known, a teenage boy.

As punk/metal albums go, it's not actually especially heavy - there's loud guitars and furious vocals, but the whole thing is underpinned with a melodic sensibility which keeps things surprisingly accessible. Like a lot of the best punk bands, Therapy? were, and remain, at their heart very much a pop band - just a very ANGRY pop band. And they're all the better for it.

The song I was going to choose would be 'Brainsaw'. That's mainly because it's sung in character as Jesus, if Jesus were the angriest man in the world. And that would give me an excuse, however tenuous, to post this picture, which is one of the funniest things I've ever seen:


It's from a comic written, although sadly not drawn, by legendarily-awful artist Rob Liefeld, and yes, it really does show the Lamb of God jumping down from the cross to beat the living hell out of the pantheon of Greek gods. Why? Because Rob Liefeld, that's why.

But sadly, there isn't a decent version of 'Brainsaw' on Youtube right now, and while I could obviously just upload an .mp3 myself, that's not the way I've been doing things so far, and I don't want to start now. Besides, there are other songs on the album, many of them good, and many of them angry. So, I've gone with the blindingly-obvious choice instead:

"With a face like this, I won't break any hearts / And thinking like that, I won't make any friends"

I can't think of any songs which have ever captured the frustration and rage of adolescence significantly better than this one. It's not deep, it's not big, and it's not clever. But it's catchy as hell, and it's the perfect soundtrack to a proper, bedroom-door-slamming tantrum. And sometimes, that's just what you need.


Pål Hellesnes said...

Do you have that comic? I want to read that comic. Dowantdowantdowantdowant.

Mark Patterson said...

Sadly, I do not.