Crapped out in two weeks and recorded in another two, and fueled by his public feud with former collaborator Sebastian Bach, "Credit Where Credit Is Due" should go a long way toward erasing the international good will HENNING PAULY achieved with the stellar new FRAMESHIFT album earlier this year. It's not that it's all terrible — there are a few good songs — but they're bobbing in a sea of cheap jokes, bad drum machines and inane throwaway songs.
Here's something I'd like to see — when someone admits in his liner notes that he wrote the album on the spot, recorded it for no budget, and basically just did it to vent his spleen about some dumb thing going on in his life, should we have to pay full price for it? Maybe there could be a sliding scale for records like this — FRAMESHIFT is worth your $14.99, sure, but "Credit Where Credit Is Due", let's say, you send Henning five bucks, he drops one off at your house some time. Get what you put into it.
So why does "Credit Where Credit Is Due" suck, in intention and execution?
For one thing, we all know Bach has been a douchebag before. Taking the high road when he started pitching fits about copyrights and staples in his face in the FRAMESHIFT booklet would have been the best bet. He'd have looked like a bitch, like always, and Pauly would have come off as the serious artist saying "what are ya gonna do, these singer types?" and shrugging his shoulders. Instead, Pauly's CD has a picture of a stapler on the disc, a song called "Copyright Conspiracy", and lyrics like "how do you spend your nights? / Have you gone back to skid row?" and "I say only what is true / I won't ask you not to sue." He almost makes it look like he did deliberately mess with Bach in the first place, or is at least willing to sink to Bach's level of playground taunts and bickering.
You can almost hear the stretching of these thin ideas to make them into an album on such short notice — "Copyright Conspiracy" descends into a Dr. Seuss-derived breakdown ("I am a mouse, I think I can / I like my toast without jam / I do not like green eggs and ham"), while the most fully-realized track rips off elements from the score of the Halo video game. "German Metalhead" is a song any actual German metalhead would find inexcusably slick and poppy, with clumsy vocals that brush dangerously close to being bad white rap. And speaking of video games, Pauly sure does like 'em, as Juan Roos is forced to sing on the particularly heinous, borderline techno album closer.
It should be stated that vocalist Roos shouldn't share much, if any, of the blame for this inane trainwreck. He's in fine voice throughout, it's just that he was handed this corny, self-indulgent mess to sing. Hopefully, Pauly will have him back when there's a real budget, real songs to write, a real drummer, and a real reason to make a new album. Six months after the release of FRAMESHIFT's second CD, Pauly lacks all of these things. Unfortunately, that didn't stop him from making "Credit Where Credit Is Due".
Hey Henning — grow up, will you?