There”s something particularly tiring about a day of summer slave labor that goes beyond the crux of the usual monotony of physical duress. It wasn”t spending the day in a green haze from the all day Hash-Piping of my co-workers. What tired me the most was the constant buzz of bad music spitting out from the “80s-style beat-box that seemed to follow us everywhere we went. And with that wicked little piece of plastic came the foul sounds of modern rock radio.

Paul Wong
The Grasshopper is one of the many coffeeshops where you can get the dope in Amsterdam<br><br>Courtesy ATB

Behind the strength of “It”s Been Awhile” Staind”s Break the Cycle has been flying off the shelves faster than Human Clay. “It”s Been Awhile” is a Sugar Ray single. (Author”s note: A Sugar Ray single is defined as a single off the record that, in its manifested suckass nature, sounds completely different than every other song on the record. Furthermore, the rest of Staind”s maste(u)r(bation)piece sounds absolutely nothing like the rest of the godforsaken album.) It has drawn enough cross-station appeal for it to hum on the top spot on the Modern Rock charts. Kojak”s hit (read: Aaron Lewis) cruised up the Top 40 charts generating serious airplay on Classic Rock stations.

Staind”s airwave dominance is a resut of LCD programming. The lowest-common-denominator programming strategy leads to the airplay of the fewest songs with the widest appeal. When you scan the top of the Modern Rock charts, you see Staind suffocating the top spot for the better part of the summer and relinquishing the top spot for a week to Sum 41″s hardcore/Beastie Boys infused pop punk ditty “Fat Lip.” The song”s many influences make it easily accessible to listeners.

“Fat Lip” was swiftly dethroned by metal-pop copycats Alien Ant Farm whose claim to fame is a rip-off of “Smooth Criminal,” Michael Jackson”s smash hit redux”d for today”s n metal enthusiasts.

Sweet.

Bad radio”s blame and burden falls more then just on the not-so-broad shoulder”s of radio programmers. The blame falls on the corporate vicegrip suffocating the public airwaves, and the auxophonic shit is being shoveled from a big pile, with an even bigger stink. Popular Music.

And then the brown stain of blame shifts to the record labels who sign and promote some of today”s most wretched music to the poop-eating masses, who eat by the lovin” spoonful.

Fuel has become some kind of radio sensation with “Hemorrhage (In My Hand)” topping charts last year for almost a quarter of it. Their follow-up single “Bad Day” has enjoyed a similar but diminished popularity, undoubtedly due to the fact that Fuel can”t have too damn much to bitch and whine about with two Gold Records under their belt. What kind of bad days is Brett Scallions of Fuel having? All he”s doing is fueling the iron to flatten out the pink panties he”s wearing underneath his rockstar leather pants.

Unfortunately “Bad Day” had to spend time competing with Staind”s two modern rock ballads “It”s Been Awhile” and “Outside” the latter featuring none other than the chunky playboy himself Fred Durst, (who has a whole slew of musical problems of his own).

Swallowing Crazy Town”s “Butterfly” was a whole lot harder than dealing with the Gorrilaz “Clint Eastwood” both songs catered to the rock-rap crossover on some level, but only one of those songs had a hook and a paisley brit singer.

Bands like Staind, Creed and Fuel evoke a similar sense of nostalgia in middle-aged men which harkens them back to there “70s and “80s heydays, back when they were the ones with the cars and the chicks, rather than the bellies and pickups of now.

The evocation of the spirits of classic rock leads to big airplay for these three artists on “Double Rock” stations (stations fusing old and “new” rock).

Modern rock suffered through a similar dilemma (terrible, terrible music) last year with stock rock bands (Stroke 9, Nine Days, Three Doors Down, Dexter Freebish) tearing up the airwaves in some sort bizzaro Third Eye Blind rip-off fiasco. And for someone to shamelessly rip off Third Eye Blind. Sad.

There is no end in sight, although the decline of the short lived n metal fad is eminent with pop punk making a move toward the unfortunate void it will leave.

Blink 182, Blink 183 (Newfound Glory) and Blink 184 (Sum 41) will all have their fair shot to fill the void left by D-Tuned guitars and primal screams, or deaf whispers of “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor.”

Where”s Pavement when you need them?

Luke Smith is huddled in a corner somewhere bouncing a ball of the walls remembering the good times in music. Bounce your balls with him at lukems@umich.edu

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