Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Bad Song That I Enjoy

"Silent Lucidity" by Queensryche.

The lyrics are embarrassing. The music video is so awful that I won't post it here. OK, fine.

This is the kind of song that I hope my favorite metal bands never write. A toothless, glitzy and overproduced power ballad aimed at the airwaves. It entirely shuns the intensity of their earlier songs (although those were also a little goofy.)

My guess is that a lot of Queensryche fans can't stand "Silent Lucidity" either. They probably feel that "Silent Lucidity" fans are like people who claim to like Andy Kaufman just because they saw him on Taxi. I can kind of relate, but it's hard because I also really, really like this song.

Why? Maybe because it testifies to the intangible forces of music. Despite the Geoff Tate's portentous talking/singing performance, the shameless Pink Floyd-ripping chorus and bridge, those ridiculous lyrics, that horrible music video and all my best taste and judgment, I could listen to this song again and again. Chris DeGarmo's solo, the ham-fisted orchestra and yes, even that what-are-you-smoking voice montage in the bridge all move me. I almost can't even bring myself to laugh when it ends with a few measures of "Brahms' Lullaby."

With "Silent Lucidity," Queensryche may have alienated their metal fanbase, earned an unfortunate "wuss-rock" reputation and blown any chances they'd have of being taken as seriously as Iron Maiden, but they somehow came up with something pretty special in the process. Just don't try to explain it.


Ellen said...

Hey Ben,
This reminds me of the firestorm that surrounded one of my favorite artists when she "sold out", Liz Phair. It really started with Whitechocolatespaceegg when she got voice training and lost the aching edge of someone trying to sing out of her range, but the real suckage began when her self-titled fourth album came out. She wasn't writing the bulk of the songs anymore. The voice that was singing them was barely hers, and still barely good. But when we went to see her in concert that spring, she played mostly her old songs, but with an energy and an audience that she hadn't had before. I like it when artists make something sucky but still maintain a connection with and an enthusiasm for their old work. It gives me hope.

Ben Apatoff said...

Hey Ellen,

Good comparison. I'm sure many Queensryche fans take to "Silent Lucidity" the way that Phair devotees wince at "Why Can't I." Of course as artists, they have the right to experiment and take risks, but why anyone capable of writing "Stratford-on Guy" would work with the Matrix is beyond me.