Smells Like Bleach
A Punk Tribute to Nirvana (Cleopatra)
by Scott Hefflon
Like the movie 15 Minutes, they’ll keep making them if you keep buying them. Both A Punk Tribute to Metallica and A Punk Tribute to Nirvana are awful, and I doubt anyone’s surprised. Whoever compiles these things – aside from being ashamed of themselves – really oughtta stop abusing words like “punk” and “industrial” and just call it shit, cuz that’s all it is. Actually, this probably is what punk was, but it’s the part I’ve tried to ignore and distance myself from, that being the uninspired duh-rock speeding-up and dumbing-down of perfectly good songs. If punk is (was) the uglier anthems of the disenfranchised, sure, it makes sense that they’d pay homage to a band by shouldering their way through the song, disrespectfully missing any nuances and, well, most of the notes, but that kind of thuggish stupidity is so commonplace in the inaptly-named “nü metal” that I always figured punk’d rebel against it. Simply put: When “rock” got arty (Queen, Yes, Bowie), punk rock (Sex Pistols) brought it back to the beer-sticky clubs. But when rock is already loud fashion-victim buffoonery (Limp Bizkit, Korn, Slipknot – the list is far too long), punk rock is the anti-rock, these days incorporating beautiful melodies or flat out swiping from pop (hence punkpop and now emopunk and more fractured sub-genres than anyone can keep track of). Hey, I’m not saying I agree or like it, but punk is historically the opposite of whatever the popular kids like.
So these two tributes? Yeah, they’re terrible. Really half-assed versions of songs that mattered, that changed things. No new light is shed on anything, and everyone involved should be scolded severely, if not pelted with rotting fruit. I’m all for old school punk anthems (and even covers) that hit the mark, that snarl what needs to be said in a voice stripped of all the polite/afraid bullshit that’s made even most angry genres seem safe and tiresome and, well, neutered, but there ain’t none of that here. Oblivious in L.A., Not Boston: Vibrators, Blanks 77, UK Subs, Agent Orange, Total Chaos, Dee Dee Ramone, Vice Squad, Burning Brides, Flipper, DOA, Dr. Know, I.C.U., Sloppy Seconds, Anti-Government, Söur, Shotgun Remedy, S.B.I..
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