Life's not fair

Something I've joked with a number of people about in the last few months is that whenever I talk about how life isn't fair, I say I should start an aggro-rock band and yell "Life's not fair!" over and over again. The deal is, this is a direct nod to Papa Roach's '02 single, "She Loves Me Not." I know life isn't fair, but I find matters amusing with how others talk about this.

"I don't know/If I care/I'm the jerk/Life's not fair/Fighting all the time/This is out of line/She loves me not, loves me not/Do you realize, I won't compromise/She loves me not, loves me not," so the song's chorus goes. Frontman/lyricist Jacoby Shaddix made no secret that this song was about his wife. He openly discussed the lyrics in interviews like this. "Being in a band and being a rock star, I gotta put a lot of energy and emotion into what I do," he said, apparently unironically. "I'm always gone and I'm always on the road, and that's really hard on a relationship. So we fight, and I know I can be a dick. But as much as I'm a dick, I'm also a nice guy. I really recognize the duality in my life and in the world in general. It's like, you got the good, the evil, the love, the hate, the nice guy and the dickhead. It's sad sometimes that I am a dick to my lady, but sometimes she's a bitch to me." Not to be like Dr. Phil here, but this stuff ain't the key to a lasting relationship. Yes, I'm being judgmental because this kind of stuff is not what I consider kosher for my life.

A major facet of lyrics in nu-metal/aggro rock/rap rock is one of a self-punching bag. Treating yourself like a self-punching bag is a totally natural thing, but wallowing and dwelling on it is just something I get no satisfaction from anymore. Call that maturity or just growing up, but there is no pleasure in this kind of pain for me. I wonder if any of these band members think this way now.

By the time Limp Bizkit came along in the late-'90s, the combination of rapping with detuned guitars and industrial-sounding drums had become an utter joke in the mainstream. Earlier in the decade, bands like Rage Against the Machine, Helmet, Faith No More and Quicksand were doing something really unique with heavy rock (with or without rapping vocals). Yet when bands that were influenced by them started popping up and bands like Korn, Deftones and Limp Bizkit got mainstream attention, the sound became a commodity. By the time Limp Bizkit's Significant Other dropped in 1999, this kind of rock was an utter joke to me. The painful part was that us non-fans had to suffer through four years of mainstream attention until the mainstream's interest cooled. Sure, bands like Deftones put out good stuff, but they were greatly overshadowed by the faux-macho industry that nu-metal had become.

Chalk matters up to being older, but I remember grunge giving us fans more tuneful material than nu-metal ever did. I can still hear a song like Nirvana's "In Bloom" and hear a catchy little tune. Yet when I hear something like "She Loves Me Not," I'm baffled that I even listened to this song more than once. Maybe if I didn't have cable TV back in those days I could have been spared. Songs like the Deftones' "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" and A Perfect Circle's "Judas" still hold up really well not just in the pantheon of aggro-rock. Yet there are so many more songs that were DOA on arrival (ie, almost every single song by Limp Bizkit). I wonder how they're gonna package this kind of nostalgia some day . . .

So back to the point at hand: I know life isn't fair but I choose not to dwell on that these days. I'm sure somebody out there (probably younger than me) got some sort of release from "She Loves Me Not" when it came out. I just find that I can't get anything positive out of screaming "Life's not fair!" over and over again and not do anything about it.


Anonymous said…
I've posted on various music boards before how at one point in the early 90's the rap rock hybrid was an exciting genre, full of possibilities and energy.

then simpletons took over the genre, and it became the laughing joke you describe.