Mindless Self Indulgence - If
The one thing I’ve always loved about punk, as a scene, is the ability of everyone within it to completely let go of conformity. Say whatever other complaints about the genre you may have (and I have plenty), you’ve got to hand it to all those involved for being so god damn against the grain.
Well, at least that’s supposed to be the idea.
Far too often punk aspirers blend together in similar acts of rebellion, sound, or image. Punk music, like true death metal, tends to do better amongst its core fan base when it sticks to a familiar formula. Originality and creativity is not necessarily the most important element of a punk song. So, in a sense, punk (as a whole) conforms fairly well, just within itself.
There are great exceptions to this blanket accusation and one example may not be viewed as punk by some but, for me, is the most punk band I’ve heard in recent history.
At least they were.
In every way that punk should be, Mindless Self Indulgence was. Jimmy Urine (singer and main force behind the band) took taboos and ran them proudly up his own personal flagpole. On their first release Tight, the band reproduces an incredible cover of Method Man’s “Bring the Pain”. Urine was able to take that song and turn it into a cleverly profound statement on race and the use of certain slang words. In 2005 the band released You’ll Rebel to Anything under the category of “religious” through iTunes, until Apple finally caught on some time later and changed the categorization.
Taking every opportunity to creatively make mayhem: that’s punk.
With their latest release If, Mindless Self Indulgence have finally “jumped the shark” of their own nonconforming greatness. The energetic, aggressive, sonic assault of previous albums is nearly entirely absent. In its place are fifteen flaccid and uninspired tracks, ripe and ready to be played at a Hot Topic near you.
The general tempo of albums passed has been scaled way down to ease digestion. The inflammatory song themes have been tempered and geared almost strictly toward typical junior high school hallway drama. This isn’t to say that MSI was considered mature in the past, far from it. There has always been an aura of immaturity and youthful silliness to the band. Part of their charm was the childish, undisciplined way they seemed to carry themselves. But they never shied away from making sharp and intelligent accusations about the world around them, rather than the world they were in more than ten years ago.
The element that separates Mindless Self Indulgence from their peers most is their cybernetic, electronic approach to punk music. It’s very likely the type of punk music kids in the future will be listening to. It’s almost certainly disregarded as any kind of punk music at all by the genre’s purists. And with If, they will receive no argument from me. This album is closer to Orgy’s Candyass than it is any kind of musical rebellion. Yes, MSI is finally poised to make their run at mainstream appreciation. For their benefit I hope it works out. There may not be many original fans waiting for them should they have to return unsuccessful.
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on 2008-07-03 Sinist3r Punk Said:
First off I want to come right out and say to classify Mindless Self Indulgence as punk is seriously unfair. I think with these types of bands you really cant classify them because they blend so many genres of music that you have to be really specific and I dont think punk is the most specific word you can use. But enough about that. If is the strongest album by Mindless Self Indulgence so far. The people that write the reviews for Rolling Stone and other magazines dont really take a look at the content and the meaning of the song like they should. What I mean is that there are 3 things that MSI always sings about. Getting Laid, Doing Drugs, and Killing Yourself. That has been the basis for their music since 1999 with their first release Tight. But I dont want people to get the impression that their music has sounded exactly the same for almost a decade now. The truly amazing thing with If is that Mindless Self Indulgence has been able to change their sound, noticeably, and go mainstream, while singing about the same exact thing that got them started. Whether its about women in Never Wanted To Dance or drugs in Prescription, its clear that MSI will keep their fan base while expanding it tremendously. It is true that if you compare Tight to If you will notice some pretty big changes with the way their sound correlates to their lyrics. But nonetheless the music has always been great and the band is strong as ever with no signs of letting up.
on 2008-04-28 digitalbath Said:
how'd you get this album so early?
I JUST saw a commercial for its release last night on the tube.
If you're saying they are crawling into mainstream light though, I think I'll pass on purchasing this album.