I am glad people are angry. Anger is good, anger causes revolutions and we need a revolution in this country. The thing we don't need is a revolution led by annoyingly angry people who overuse their voice and overextend their bounds. This is Xiu Xiu. Led by a very angry Jamie Stewart, this is an album full of overt sexuality and emo mediocrity. His voice grates on my nerves and the music seems to lack any real cohesion to be effective. He can challenge the fundamentals of pop music all he likes, but please... please get the fuck over yourself.
"Did you know you were going to shoot off the top of a 4-year-old girl's head?" begins the lame spoken word of "Support Our Troops (Black Angels)." The minimalistic noisey backdrop is appealing, but Stewart's over-the-top proselytizing is too much. "Oh wait, you totally did know that would happen because you're a jock who is too stupid and too greedy and too unmotivated but be the biggest and still do the things people tell you to do" he continues. Let's give a big round of applause for simple-minded generalizations. Good job! Tow that line! It gets all dramatic at the end with a bunch of faux-strings and cheesy synths. It's like I'm supposed to be all shocked and amazed by these graphic depictions of bone-headed troops killing innocent people. You know what? I'm not a fucking idiot. I get that a lot of awful shit has been done in the name of America and that some troops grossly overstep their bounds. Don't feed it to me like I'm a dimwit watching Dateline NBC. And while I'm at it, you want to know why should you care if they get killed? Here's a thought: you should care that anyone gets killed. They're as much a part of the human race as you are. What a whiney little prick. I got made fun of by the football players in high school too. Hell, my best friend got the shit beat out of him by those same assholes. But I've also learned that most people, even our troops that you despise, are good people doing what they have to do to survive. So get the fuck over yourself already.
I don't want to listen to something that sounds like the singer is about to either start crying at any moment or is going to start a support group because some big bad jock teased him in high school. Playing a defenseless victim seems to come natural to him, and whining about it is the natural progression.
The title track is some awful combination of Elliot Smith and Pansy Division. "Fabulous muscles cremate me after you cum on my lips." Fantastic. And that cum is from a deformed penis nonetheless! Yes! I think I've figured out what I'll write my next album about. I think I'll just talk about how I fuck my wife and shove all the delightful details down your throat. I mean, you want to know about all that, right? Right?! Parody and satire are a good thing. Marilyn Manson goes over the top to make a point. People can't stand Manson because that's what he wants; they play into his hands and his point is made. I can't stand Stewart because he lacks substance but insists on dropping album after album on an unsuspecting public. Not only does he have nothing interesting to say, his music is just not good. This goes back what I've often said about fusion. Some styles should be put together and meshed into a new and interesting form. Others, like '80s synth-pop and '60s folk? Yeah, not so much.
I'll at least give Stewart credit that he seems sincere. Now, whether or not that's a good thing is a debatable point. There are more constructive and interesting ways to deal with your issues from being teenager, but I hardly think the world needs more albums full of nauseating people bitching about how they've been done wrong. Do us all a favor and choose psychotherapy. 2/10 -- Brad Rose (25 May, 2005)