Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CD review: "311" by 311

1/8th of 1 out of 5 stars

For a long time, I’ve wanted to go through my CD collection and review everything I’ve got, and determine what has aged well, and what’s crap. The idea ultimately would play to my growing minimalist thinking by letting me know what could be kept/condensed by burning songs of several artists onto single disks.

Or, I could just burn the best of certain CDs onto iTunes then sell them. Works on a lot of levels.

And that leads us to 311’s CD, 311.

This has not aged well at all.

This is their third release and, allegedly, their “hit.” It went triple-platinum, meaning more than 3 million copies sold.

Fortunately, I bought this at a used record store. I don’t really know what I was thinking. The Omaha band’s sound is heavy on guitars and droning riffs with a whiteboy-rap lyrical style.

Basically, it sounds like the kind of shit that would be played as background music on video games about skateboarding and extreme sports.

If I found MMA fighting even remotely interesting (it’s crude and stupid), I would bet I would find that there are “bands” who have their music appropriated for bouts. They probably all grew up listening to 311.

I bought this CD because of the disc’s fourth song, “All Mixed Up.” Hey, I ain’t hatin.’ “All Mixed Up” is a catchy, breezy tune and I like it to this day. As they say, even a blind squirrel can find an acorn every now and then.

I’m listening to this CD, and forcing it down like a child who doesn’t want to drink yucky medicine but knows that he can’t refuse it. If you have to eat a shit sandwich, maybe you can at least throw some mustard and onions on it.

So, 3:02 has not been time wasted. The CD’s first song, “Down,” is supposedly another “hit.” I listened to it twice. Still didn’t connect. The next two songs (“Random” and “Jackolantern’s Weather”) are awful, but infinitely better than the fifth track, “Hive.”

When my daughter was small, we would go check out events out of our norm. I always wanted to expose her to different things. Once we went to a motorcycle event at the AAC in Dallas. They trucked in dirt and made ramps for huge jumps and tricks. It was the only time we went to see this, and we had fun. Before the show began was a crap band called “Pit Bull Day Care.” Loved the name, but the music was so gawdawful that I wanted to stick pencils in my ears. We still laugh about this band.

As I write this I am listening to 311, I have to open the iTunes window to see which track I am hearing. That’s because this shit all sounds the same.

This classic is called “Misdirected Hostility” which followed “Guns (are for pussies).” I respect the latter’s message. It’s just not backed by compelling music. Track 8, “Purpose” doesn’t completely suck. When a strength of this group surfaces, it seems to be that vocalist Nicholas Hexum has a decent voice. But the riffs are just simple and stupid. When a track ends, you’re relieved for three seconds. Then the next track begins and you’re plunged back into a few minutes of dread.

Song titles don’t really even mean anything any more. It’s just two or three minutes of crap followed by two or three minutes of slightly different crap. I got to track 10 before I gave up and moved to the next song midway through it.

iTunes classifies this music as “alternative.” That’s fair: 311 is an alternative to music.

Track 11, “Don’t Stay Home” did not completely suck. Man, that’s a low standard. Track 13, “Sweet” had a little reggae-like lilt and was almost listenable. But the bottom line is that neither of these two songs were so compelling as to need to be in any rotation you’d actually want to listen to. The disc closes, mercifully, with something called “T&P Combo.” I think after listening to 311’s 311, I will need some TP for sure to wipe the shit out of my ears.

I’m burning “All Mixed Up” fo sho. Other than that… if anyone wants to buy a copy of 311 in good shape (rarely played!), it’s yours for $2 plus shipping and handling.

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