A looming stench befouled the air as I opened up yet another email from my editor.
“Review 311 next.”
“You want me to review Winnipeg Directory Assistance? That’s the worst idea since I had two (now) ex-girlfriends move into my apartment building.” I replied, somewhat bewildered by the request. A few bong rips later, he got back to me.
“No. 311. The band. Remember that shitty song “Down” from the 90s? They’re number 3 on the Billboard charts right now.”
I fired up BitTorrent and, as it inched along like a doomsday clock countdown towards revisiting a band I didn’t give a shit about 15 years ago, I had a peculiar notion. Knowing this would likely be a tragic evening and that I needed some visual stimulation to keep things interesting. I decided to listen to this record while watching The Human Centipede.
The concept here was simple – I would watch people eating shit while filling my ears with shit. Match made in heaven.
How does a band not change over the course of 15 years and 11(!) albums??!! I can’t even explain how laughable this effort was. The same funky ska-reggae monotony peppered with rap parts as hard as my dick after an 8-ball. “Revelation of the Year” gave me a revelation of my own. How many dicks did 311 suck to get a record contract? (Smart money is 1000 give or take – but mostly take).
As “Boom Shanka” piddled out out of my laptop speakers with a weak shimmy and “Make It Rough” pissed all over my day with the bravado of 1,000 dying Gilbert Gottfrieds, I felt an unfamiliar twinge – empathy.
You see, all the women I’ve dated over the years will tell you that when I drink I tell the same stories I’ve told before. I used to laugh it off but now I feel their pain. 20 times over.
As the album continued with “The Great Divide” and this trend of similar sounding white-boy-funk continued, I starting snacking on imitation crab chunks in a desperate plea for help.
What could it mean?
I don’t know.
Picture Michael Jackson’s classic “Smooth Criminal” written by someone with the ska-reggae equivalent of autism and the sensibility of a sugar-addled toddler. Now picture listening to that 16 times in a row like some sort of twisted Groundhog Day.
As my attention waned late in the album, I felt that perhaps having my mouth sewn to an Asian man’s butthole was not such a bad fate overall in comparison to the position I was currently in. This album actually made watching The Human Centipede a pleasant experience which was certainly something I did not expect. Maybe that doctor was onto something.
Summary – 311 Stereolithic
Imagine there’s a presidential election where ska’s running mate is reggae, funk is the Republican nominee and rock’n’roll is the fringe third party candidate. No matter who you vote for and no matter who wins, it’s all the same shit.
If a sniper were to take aim from a grassy knoll and take all 3 of them out and we could be spared an 11 album career, I would like to shake that man’s hand.