So I thought 2003's "Group Therapy" by DOPE was generic, nu-ish industrial-tinged donkey dung. At least it rocked hard. So maybe I was unfairly discounting this one of many second-tier MANSON/ZOMBIE modern "shock" rocker bands (I've got no problem with MARILYN or ROB, by the way). I can appreciate the middle-finger attitude and the heavy groove, as well as the fact that not everyone wants to hear NILE, OPETH, or DARK TRANQUILLITY. I'm sure the DOPE Army would agree. So I figured I'd give DOPE another chance with a review of the band's fourth album, "American Apathy", and keep the subjectivity to a minimum (if that's even really possible).
As a whole, "American Apathy" is a slightly better album that sees the band stick to hard driving rhythms and (not surprisingly) predictable song structures with the usual techno and industrial elements. The paint-by-numbers arrangements and obvious-to-a-fault lyrics on tracks like "Let's Fuck", "Fuck the World", "I'm Back", and "Bastard" are tolerable if you can get past the juvenile silliness of it all. It's hard to do with drivel like "Sex Machine" and "I Wish I was the President" because the lyrics are just…uh…stupid. Hey, I do like the guitar soloing on "Fuck the World". That's worth something, isn't it? The melodious, commercially accessible single, "Always", is so cookie-cutter and built-for-MTV that it's ridiculous. "Dream" isn't much better on a "lets get airplay" level. The worst is the power to the people lyrics on "Revolution". Listening to Edsel Dope singing about leading a revolution against "the man" is laughable. Where's the staging area, Edsel? Should I bring a change of clothes? The cover of DEPECHE MODE's "People are People" is actually ok in a whiny DOPE-does-dance-mix kinda way. Three bonus tracks, including a fairly cool cover of N.W.A.'s "Fuck Tha Police", give the fans more for their money.
If it's a choice between punching myself in the face or listening to "American Apathy", I'll choose the latter. Ok, ok, the album is a bit better than that. It's just difficult to take it seriously. On the upside, the disc would work well as music in a strip club where aural stimulation is secondary. Otherwise, I'd rather listen to PIT BULL DAYCARE's "Unclean" or SOCIETY 1's "The Sound that Ends Creation". If you're already a DOPE fan, I doubt "American Apathy" will make you rethink your position. I tried.