Nü metal Soup for the Teenager’s Soul

Ah, nü metal: the offshoot of metal, grunge, alternative rock and rap that gelled together the ’90s. With rock fans still grieving over the loss of Kurt Cobain and the grunge movement dissolving, rock fans needed something new and fresh to get behind with an emotional rawness that people could FEEL. Mix in some rap rhymes that the suburbanites could not feel threatened by, and you have a recipe for mainstream success.

Bands like Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, Korn, Disturbed and Staind rose to meteoric heights off the distorted guitar riffs, thick bass lines and Cookie Monster vocals. While many groups had their distinct identities — Korn’s sludge-like bass playing, Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach’s unique and equally embarrassing white-boy rapping — most shared a common element: the mortifying lyrics.

I bet Papa Roach lead singer Jacoby Shaddix (right) is thinking of how to further make a mockery of music right now…

Comedian David Cross once compared the words of most nü metal songs to the writing of 12-year-old girls. He was not that far off the mark. While most listeners are caught like a tractor beam by the crunchy riffs and vocal growls, they might not have enough blood flowing in the noggins — those devil horns need bloodflow of their own — to decipher these nuggets of poetry in songs like “Mudshovel” from Staind:

I feel betrayed
Stuck in your ways
And you rip me apart
With the brutal things you say
I can’t deal with shit anymore
I just look away

Cause you can feel my ANGER
You can feel my pain
You can feel my torment
Driving me insane
I can’t fight these feelings they will bring you pain
You can’t take away
Make me whole again

Amazing how such wordplay can reduce a grown adult man to sound like a toddler throwing a linguistically-melodramatic tantrum. And the threats of anger are as empty as a theater showing a Dane Cook romantic comedy.

Staind’s lead singer Aaron Lewis is pondering why fame and fortune make so damn sad.

This blog would be fruitless if there were not more examples to show. And like the purple-ink diary pages of a tween on the cusp of maturity, Disturbed accurately describes the angst of womanhood in their mega-hit, “Sickness”:

Can you feel that?
Ah shit…

Drowning deep in my sea of loathing
Broken your servant I kneel
Will you give in to me?
It seems what’s left of my human side
Is slowly changing… in me
Will you give in to me?

Looking at my own reflection,
When suddenly it changes,
Violently it changes!
OH NO!, there is no turning back now
You’ve woken up the demon… in meeeeeeeeeee!!

Get up, come on get down with the sickness!
Get up, come on get down with the sickness!
Get up, come on get down with the sickness!
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me!
Get up, come on get down with the sickness!

You mother get up, come on get down with the sickness!

You fucker get up, come on get down with the sickness!

Madness is the gift that has been given to me…

Wow. Never has mother nature’s majesty been encapsulated so eloquently.

Awww… look at how tough Korn is. It’s cute!

It’s interesting that for those going through life changes like being a teenager, 20- and 30-somethings can write for and like their fanbase. It’s almost like they channel the soul of an angsty, self-obsessed teen when scribbling down those catchy ditties, internalizing the fear and loathing that can lead to self destruction, like “Numb” by Linkin Park:

I’m tired of being what you want me to be
Feeling so faithless lost under the surface
Don’t know what you’re expecting of me
Put under the pressure of walking in your shoes
(Caught in the undertow just caught in the undertow)
Every step that I take is another mistake to you
(Caught in the undertow just caught in the undertow)

I’ve become so numb I can’t feel you there
Become so tired so much more aware
I’m becoming this all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you

(It was really hard to pick one Linkin Park song — believe me.)

Now, you might be thinking that these are the angry rants of a bitter 20-something that is poking fun at a tired subject that’s long dead and buried. And while that’s not totally untrue — Disturbed and Staind are still miraculously selling albums — I am easily amused.

After seeing those lyrics above, I bet you might still be skeptical of the claims that the cries of those emo men bear no resemblance to that of teenagers living the so sad, overly dramatic lives. Well wipe that smirk off your face you cynical cynic! Check out THIS BLOG from (Allison), entitled “DOES HE KNOW?”:

when she fell for him
she fell as hard as they fall
when her feet finally caught ground

her eyes awoke her bleeding soul
and realized
that he merely stumbled over her and fell into
anothers arms

but that other just laughed
as he fell right through her
and into an irreversable darkness
where he would be criticized
for his idiocy
and shunned from all that once cared

P.O.D., meet your newest lyricist!

Hell, perhaps xchachickx is the muse of one or many man-child thrashers out there with this love letter:

I opened up to you, got wayyy more comfortable than i ever needed to be, and i got slapped in the face by reality. Karma maybe? Thats ok. It made me realize a lot about you. And if things didnt happen the way they did, i would still be blind sighted. You are childish. You are self centered. And quite frankly, I am better than you. And i dont say that about anyone because i dont think highly of myself at all. But its true. You disgust me and you dont deserve me.

“Gentlemen, I think we have ourselves a hit.”

The life of nü metal may be waning, but there are other musical genres that have taken on the mantel of whining pizzle — emo being the most visible. But we will always have the memories.

We will always have… the memories…


One thought on “Nü metal Soup for the Teenager’s Soul

  1. Dear Diary of a Genial Black Man,

    Thank you for stumbling across a very immature livejournal spewed with poisoned pen notes about a victimized past and sharing a lovely entry with your readers. Always a pleasure to walk down memory lane.

    The muse of many man-child thrashers out there 😉


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