the problem with Hair Metal--besides the trite decadence, drag-inspired wardrobes, and power ballads--was just how content the members were with the title. the decline of a genre which heralded great bands like Black Sabbath, Metallica, and Megadeth was aggravated because no one ever wanted to challenge the position. similarity bled complacency for fans, the record industry, and the musicians involved. bad music stays that way only because the musicians are comfortable, the result of a failure of nerve to abandon familiar straitjackets. thank goodness for Guns N' Roses.
trip-hop is in a similarly disturbing spot. in the beginning it was hailed as a creative fusion of different genres that yielded accord from different musical tongues. Massive Attack, Tricky, Portishead and others were only trip-hop due to an artificial classification; the artists themselves viewed sound as evolutionary paint restricted only by the wide medium of aural canvas. but such classification effected homogeneity and though some emergent trip-hop artists truly broke from the mold (Lamb, Puracane, Baxter, Everything But The Girl), there existed a veritable armada willing to undertake the preservation of a new style the industry seized upon including: Venus Hum, Supreme Beings of Leisure, Solar Twins, Mandalay, Kosheen, Morcheeba, (late) Sneaker Pimps, Soulstice, and Frou Frou.
what's particularly disappointing is that none of them is particularly bad. most have strong vocal abilities, good looping, and interesting (if not predictable) rhythmic shifts, but they are all derivative, furiously so. this is a natural offshoot of a genre that was seemingly capsized by a wave of heretofore unheard of labels. Frou Frou has the basic ingredients: a young, somewhat despondent but merrily in love female singer and the silent male programmer, his only voice the blips and beeps of the entire record. Details does have a couple of strong spots, 'Breathe In' and 'The Dumbing Down of Love' come to mind, but the rest is an inseparable bond of lyrical pabulum and musical monotony. the rewards are few and far between and quite undeserving of a full listen. there really isn't much to say about the album except that once you've heard one of them, you've heard them all. sad but true.
looks like trip-hop now needs a G N' R of its own.
Release date: August 13, 2002
Rating: 5.0 / 10
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