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Why Are America's Rock Bands So G-d Angry?

William Shaw

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Nine-year-old Kurt Cobain stumbled upon the answer when he angrily scrawled "Dad hates Mom, Mom hates Dad" on his bedroom wall. Blink-182 know all too well. So do Nickelback, Staind, Papa Roach, Korn and a nation of kids who have suffered the painful emotional fallout from their parents' divorces. "Is this a damaged generation?" asks Blink's Tom DeLonge. "Yeah, I'd say so."

The day Blink-182's Take Off Your Pants and Jacket came out, Lauren Levy, of Middletown, New Jersey, was desperate to buy a copy. Lauren was 14, and a huge fan of Blink-182.

...It was track seven, "Stay Together for the Kids," that knocked the windout of her. The lyrics hit home: "The anger hurts my ears, been running strongfor seven years/Rather than fix the problem they never solve it; it makesno sense at all/I see them every day; we get along so why can't they?"

Blink-182's Tom DeLonge wrote"Stay Together" about the misery of his parents' divorce. Lauren loved Blink'sgoofy, self-effacing punk, but this was something else entirely. It couldhave been written about the way her parents used to fight. Or about how herfather moved out when she was 6. This song, Lauren thought, could be abouther.

If there's a theme running through rock at the beginning of the twenty-firstcentury, it's a pervasive sense of hurt. For the past few years, bands likeKorn, Linkin Park, Slipknot, Papa Roach and Disturbed have been thrustingforward their dark accounts of dysfunctional upbringings. Albums burstingwith tirelessly autobiographical tales of anguish are selling millions. Evengood-time punks like Blink-182 are telling how deep their emotional scarsrun.

...It's the same stories again and again. It's a vast communion of pain. "Youshould see some people who I meet after shows," says Nickelback's Kroeger."They break down weeping, and they're like, 'I went through the exact samething!' Sometimes it's terrifying how much they relate to it."

...A cynic could say that divorce has become a fast track into the hearts andwallets of a teenage audience. "Even if writing about divorce is just a marketingtool," Wood counters, "that doesn't stop the fact that there is real sentimentbehind these songs."

For the complete article go to the Blender Magazine website.



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