The Ernies - Meson Ray
Record Label: Mojo Records
Release Date: April 20, 1999
There’s a certain market demographic that grew up at just the right time where songs from the Playstation video game "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" have top priority in the nostalgia department. The familiarity of “Here and Now” was enough to prompt the purchase of Meson Ray for me, even if it was in the cutout bin of a used CD store. With tax, the purchase put me just over one dollar. And I wish that I had that dollar back.
I really can’t think of why anyone would want to sing like this. It really sounds like the vocalist is trying to sabotage the music to get back at his band for something. The riffs are drums are punchy like what 311 does, but there’s just no way to get past that nasal stuttering dribble in the front of the mix. This guy seriously makes Fred Schneider from the B-52’s sound like Frank Sinatra.
If you were to fast-forward through every single verse and just listen to the choruses, you’d be a lot better off. It’s not that the vocals are any less ridiculously over-pronounced, but there’s simply less words for the singer to choke out. And besides, for the sake of it being chorus time, he actually bothers to give his words a melody which is a nice touch seeing as this is, you know, music.
Take, for example, the song you might already know, “Here and Now.” It’s a huge shame to let that CKY-sounding verse riff go to waste, and the chorus can definitely be sung along to. But those vocals - it’s like if John McCrea from Cake was using Hooked on Phonics to learn to read: “You... struggle, grasp... your night shirt... and turn.” And I know it sucks to insult a band so much just because of their singer, but they’d be better off with Fran Drescher singing lead.
How about these lyrics too, while I’m at it? The chorus of “Bacteria” is as follows: “And you are taught that you are you, that you alone are you and you.” Once I got to “You have recently microwaved the neurons,” I made a mental note to not analyze this crap. And by the time the album was over, my head was so full of incomprehensible, pointless lyrics I turned on a blender just to hear something that sounded way better.
Sure, I know I could recite almost all of the lyrics to “Hear and Now,” but if I’ve learned anything from hearing Meson Ray again, it’s that nostalgia and good taste are not the same thing.