SAM TOPIC V. 2: You should analyze Papa Roach’s last resort video for your blog. It is one of the best examples of late ’90s culture ever. [via BBM]
Let it be known that, prior to this moment, I don’t believe I have ever seen this video (when it came out I was moving from Massachussetts to Portland and was TV-less and poor), so in general anything to do with late ’90s Papa Roach scummy, ornery, mainstream/non-hip-hop skaterboy culture is completely lost on me. Sam is like 192 years younger than I am so he was probably rocking this song and pulling 360 kickflips while in diapers. I don’t think I even know what Papa Roach sounds like. Here we go. For the sake of the First Amendment, this is the uncensored version. Also unembeddable thanks to the exasperatingly reliable folly of major record labels’ youtube game.
Oh! Papa Roach is one of those rapping metal bands. Wow Sam. Wow.
Fisheye lens was apparently a requirement for late ’90s videos whether they were featuring Bad Boy artists, Madonna (remember when she tried to be Bjork), or Papa Roach, apparently. Recently brought back into vogue by your boy Rik Cordero.
DISAFFECTED YOUTH IN FULL EFFECT. It is evident they are disaffected because of their sullen scowls, socially deviant hairdos, general aloneness and the fact that their dark, dank rooms are plastered top to bottom in unframed* rock posters. Sam just informed me the reason this video was censored was because there is a line about suicide. In the censored version, they bleep out “cut” and “bleeding.”
Rap metal may be the worst genre of music ever (please take note, actual rappers with your hankering for shredder pedals), but I can see why pissed off kids were into it… all the moshable yelling and monster minor-key guitars seem pretty effective for channeling teen angst, as evidenced by the stadium of thrashers in “Last Resort,” a song about offing oneself when the pressures of calculus and finding weed and dealing with one’s parents become too great to handle. The video documents approximately the second wave of the mainstreaming of alternaculture, when a certain look no longer necessarily expressed values, only angst rooted in… what? Clinton was still in office, Lewinsky ordeal was already over. Suburban disaffection? Is Papa Roach the Richard Yates of late ’90s suburban white teenagers? Wasn’t the late ’90s when they started prescribing Prozac like it was Sour Patch Kids. Does this video, made for folks a few years younger than the Gen Xers, represent the actual despondence and rage of a generation, or the popularization of a vague notion of despondence and rage as a visual and cultural meme? The chorus is fully singable: “NOTHING IS FINE! NOTHING’S ALL RIGHT! I WANT SOMEONE TO TELL ME I’M FINE!” According to wikipedia, which Sam recommended I check for background info, Papa Roach lead singer Jacoby Shaddix and drummer Dave Buckner “met on the Vacaville High School football field during an intense match, where the two ended up talking about music.” Also according to wikipedia, one of Shaddix’s favorite books is “The Power of Now.” Can someone tell me if their music got less angry after he read it?
* [SIDEBAR: One time I was interviewing Josh Homme for Spin magazine and was stuck for like five hours in his suite at the W Union Square while Josh did a photo shoot with this writer for High Times and his girlfriend, who had already gotten their interview but stuck around, I think, because they were–yes–high. I will never forget the High Times writer telling me that the moment he decided to get all his rock posters framed? That’s when he knew he was a man.]

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  1. Syl says:

    “a song about offing oneself when the pressures of calculus and finding weed and dealing with one’s parents become too great to handle.”
    You know, Dr. Shepherd, it is in fact possible to condescend to Papa Roach without condescending to the kids who listened to them, whose problems were just as painful and valid as those of kids who listened to Sleater Kinney, Bjork, Mary J. Blige, or any other acts from that era whom you might deem credible.

  2. julianne says:

    uh huh. understatement > sarcasm > literary device. rip david foster wallace.

  3. A friend of mine recently told me, half-“this is heavy”, half “I know why this story’ll be hilarious” about how she and her friend used to cut themselves to Papa Roach. ?!

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