KROQ's Curious Five: Rise Against, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer, Linkin Park, 30 Seconds to Mars

Categories: radio musings
It's not KROQ's fault copious amounts of sonic garbage spew from their massive antenna on Tonga Peak in Glendale. No matter how cutting edge they purport to be, they're a mainstream radio station with salaried programming directors who strictly adhere to a business model. As such, they are going to play a handful of songs (or more) with mediocre (or less) artistic appeal.

And like any mainstream radio station, they're going to play those songs ad nauseum.
It would be interesting to find out who was at fault for this unfortunate assault on the ears--slack-jawed music fans for requesting these sonic atrocities or the station itself for cramming it down their throats. That may be a blog post for another day. Until then, here's a list of the five most gag-inducing artists in heavy rotation on station 106.7 today.

1. Linkin Park - This group is just horrible. Forget for a second that rap metal is as irrelevant today as it was in 2004 when inter-band strife led Limp Bizkit douchebag Fred Durst to hang up his backwards ball cap. What is most irritating about these guys is that every super-produced measure of their music and over-the-top, sing-song vocals are firmly planted in steaming piles of inane, obsessively rhyming, hollow lyrics. These are in turn hyped by ominous synthesizers, record scratches and insipid open-chord strums to sound more significant than they actually are.

"I've become so numb/I can't feel you there/Become so tired/so much more aware/I'm becoming this/all I want to do/Is be more like me/and be less like you." And the listening public can't get enough. At any given time of the year, this band might have as many as four songs in rotation played multiple times throughout the day. Ear vomit.

2. Rise Against -  This band out of Illinois plays an über-generic brand of punk rock bearing the footprint of the genre's 90s-era resurgence. As a beacon of mediocrity, it would make sense that they too have multiple songs in rotation on KROQ, among them, the shiteous "Savior."

The tune begins with singer Tim Mcllrath doing his best to invoke his inner Sinatra with a melodramatic pseudo croon. McIIlrath oozes faux profundity about an unknown girl, the color of whose eyes he's forgotten.

He follows this intro with the lyrical gems: "There is no reconciliation that will put me in my place/And there is no time like the present to drink these draining seconds/but seldom do these words ring true when I'm constantly failing you." Be sure to check them out at the LA Rising Festival with Muse and Rage Against the Machine July 30th.

3. Red Hot Chili Peppers-  Perhaps the most baffling band on this list, the Chili Peppers remain in heavy rotation with boatloads of songs more than two decades after they're past their prime.

Like the previous groups on this list, the Chili Peppers play a rap-infused rock that lacks the explosive musical elements that made them great on albums like Mother's Milk and Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Even though the band has seen guitarist extraordinaire John Frusciante return to the group periodically after stints with heroin addiction and preoccupation with other projects, the frenetic guitar playing he demonstrated on songs such as 1989's "Stone Cold Bush" lacks. The guitarists they've gotten to replace Frusciante at various points during the last 15 years, including Janes Addiction axeman Dave Navarro, haven't done much better. 

It also seems like bass virtuoso Flea has been phoning it in lately with a lackluster rehashing of his previous work.

But leading the scatological charge in this cavalry of dung is singer Anthony Kiedis, who's rap-funk rhymes are both tired and flaccid. Though the opening bass line and guitars on the band's new single "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie" strike a promising groove, hopeful anticipation is shattered by Kiedis's annoying, staccato, white-boy raps about lipstick junkies and a woman named tugboat Sheila. The song features this bit of pastiche poetry: "I want to rock you like the 80s/Cock Blocking isn't allowed." Mmhmm. Good to know.


4. Weezer-  A quick qualification before trashing these deified alterna rockers: Weezer created one of my top five favorite albums--1996's critically maligned (at the time) Pinkerton.

Frontman Rivers Cuomo must be pleased with the bevvy of songs that have gotten airplay since the band's last good single, 2001's "Island in the Sun." Pick from the list of winners:  the Timbaland edifying "Pork and Beans" or the incest-themed "Where's My Sex?" off the album Hurley, which edifies the eponymous local clothing company.

Perhaps the most glaring example of Weezer's stellar fall from grace is the droning, musically simplistic "Beverly Hills,"  featuring sluggish, chugging guitars, which belie Cuomo's ample musical abilities, and childish lyrics obsessing over fame and fortune--A long way from the literary narratives of Pinkerton, which focused on a star-crossed, trans-Atlantic love story.  Big ups to KROQ for playing this song til eardrums rupture.


5. 30 Seconds to Mars-  The rabid fans of this band, who refer to themselves as "The Echelon" will never understand how bad their musical tastes are.

One of the more popular groups in KROQ's galaxy of dubious stars, it features teen heartthrob Jared Leto, who some of you older folks will remember from the short lived CBS high school drama My So Called Life.

If you get a chance, check this band out live. In addition to amorphous, hookless songs such as " King and Queens"  featuring Leto's overwrought, reverb-heavy howl, you'll get to see him use his acting chops (endless twirling and incessant banter with the audience) to disguise the fact that he can't really play guitar that well.

We could post a clip of one of the band's songs here, but we'll do one better and post a song as it appeared in a recent Sunkist commercial. Enjoy!

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