Dreamworks Records, 2002
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/01/2002
Batter up! Bottom of the 9th, two out, full count, bases loaded. What are you going to do?
If you are Papa Roach, you release Lovehatetragedy and hope for a good wind and a stroke of luck. This sophomore release by Papa Roach has to fend off the jinx of bands that don't do anything with their second release (1st out), coupled with the fall in grace of rap-metal (2nd out) as bands like Nickelback, Puddle of Mudd and Godsmack surge on.
Lovehatetragedy is not the grand slam that you would expect. Overall, the songs on here are weak, re-working cliches for a new audience - do we need another song broadcasting how "I'm strong and fearless/ only 'cause I got rock'n roll/ I'm knee deep in our blood/ only 'cause I got rock 'n roll"? Themes like that have been done (see KISS's "Rock And Roll All Night," Joan Jett's "I Love Rock N' Roll," others subreferenced as "see also" topics) before and opening track "M-80" doesn't add much to the songs that have been done before. Its chorus hook "C'mon/ Baby c'mon/ Yeah!/ Baby c'mon/ break it" could have been lifted from a Poison cutting room floor inhabitant.
Second track "Life Is A Bullet" doesn't do much for me either. "Life is a bullet/ the bloodstainds prove it/ it's tearing through you and me/ not caring about you or me." There is a generalness to the lyrics that begins to grate on your nerves. The lyrics on tracks like this are meant for us to be sympathetic to the speaker's plight, but it's like we need at least one specific "thing" to grasp onto.
Then you get to track three "Time And Time Again" and you get crappy lyrics like "Emotional swords slash my soul and now the pain takes control/ I think about you/ I think about me/ think about the way that it used to be." Emotional swords? What kind of garbage is that? The band comes closer to the mark with "Decompression Period" and the lyrics, "mile by mile we're farther apart/ and it's one empty bottle and two broken hearts/ night after night/ we're falling apart." There's an image I can grasp.
It isn't until the first single "She Loves Me Not" that the band seems to hit the nail on the head. You get a vivid image of the relationship "over the past five years/ I have shed my tears/ I have drank my beers and watched my fears fly away . . . fighting all the goddamn time . . ." before vocalist Jacoby Shaddix bellows, "Life's not fair!" Gee, tell me something I don't know. Of course life isn't fair if you are touring the world, playing in a band. Don't tell me about being out on the road for 18 months in a row. That is what the band wanted to do. Given my criticisms of the song, it is my favorite song on the CD.
And my only one. I know there is an audience for this band. They made this CD debut high on the Billboard Top 100. But I''m not that audience. I read criticisms that the 80s metal bands sucked because they were "too cliche". Sorry, but "Life's not fair" seems as cliche as you can get.
The pitch is low inside, the batter swings and the ball sails into the outfield, the right-fielder backing up and . . . it's . . . on . . . the . . . way . . . down . .