Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music

Outrider

All in a Hard Day's Work

(JFG)

The question has, of course, been posed, and just about everywhere, as it would seem: does real rock and roll exist?


There’s not an easy answer, of course-based on what standard, what band, opinions are like assholes, etc., etc.—but the marketers over at JFG Records seem to think they’ve found the answer with their San Francisco Bay band Outrider and Outrider’s first album on the JFG label, All in a Hard Day’s Work.


My answer is this: if this is real modern day rock and roll, I’ll stick with my old CCR albums. Hell, I’ll stick with Pearl Jam.


The first strike against them, even before the music starts spinning, is that they’re named after a horrible album by the great Jimmy Page. This comparison is, of course, unfair, but after giving All in a Hard Day’s Work a coupla spins, the criticism is not unwarranted.


It’s really easy to describe the music on All in a Hard Day’s Work. In one word, you might say, um, crap…or maybe derivative, if you’re feeling nice…or maybe shamelessly derivative, if you’re not feeling as nice…but crap will suffice. From start to finish, this CD is more suitable for use as a pet toy or a coaster.


Let’s start with the music. If you mix all of the worst drivel of Cheap Trick, Kansas, Great White, George Thorogood and Kansas into a bag made out of cheap leather and chains, toss it on a Harley and send it down the road with an angry kick, you get the music on All in a Hard Day’s Work. It’s not that the music is bad, per se: The musicians are more than capable of playing their music, it’s just that the music is so damn tired. We’ve heard it all before, from the cheesy ‘70s rhythms of bands like Bad Company (and don’t get me wrong, I have a tender spot on the left side of my heart reserved for Bad Company’s musical legacy), to the paper thin rock and roll echoes of Great White in the ‘80s, this music is certainly nothing new. The sad thing is this: the music is the best thing about the album…


...and that’s because the lyrics are so damned horrible that I could hardly make it through the many listenings I like to give an album before I put pen to paper (er, pixels to monitor, or whatever). Take, for instance: “Sometimes fate, fate plays a little rough/You get knocked down, but you get back up” from “Unchain your Heart”; or, even better (er, worse, depending on your viewpoint) would be this: “Sometimes it’s all I understand-It’s my guitar!” and insert cheesy guitar solo here. What tripe! What makes the delivery so horrible is the seriousness of the songs…nothing is tongue-in-cheek, these guys are apparently real-life rock and roll has-beens that fell asleep during the late ‘70s, early ‘80s, and woke up on a Harley with a bag full of bad rock and roll derivation riding with them!


Positively illuminating is their motto, pulled from the liner notes and attributed to “Unknown”: “On the plains of hesitation lie the bones of thousands; who at the dawn of victory rested, and upon resting, died.” Whoa-musical philosophy taken to extremes! I wish they would do the same with their music-encourage it to hesitate out on those proverbial plains, just leave it there at the dawn of victory…


...to rest…


...to die…

Rating:

discussion by

Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.