22 May 2014

Puddle Of Mudd - Come Clean

I see Wes Scantlin's found himself in deep doo-doo very recently, and very possibly adding to a long list of misdemeanours given that I'm not very knowledgeable on the Puddle Of Mudd frontman. Aside from this album cover which clearly depicts a child aged perhaps 5 years taking a leak in the bushes, I think it's a fair representation of Scantlin's outlook on life, which on first impressions and a couple of listens of Come Clean leaves me wondering if he is ever going to sort his head out and finally grow up.

By the time this came out in 2001, the Kansas City rocker was nudging on the door of his thirties long before a succession of run-ins with the law, along with personal and marital woes (very possibly of his own doing) threatening to untangle him of his musical career. I guess a few years earlier Oasis were doing the same more or less - alcohol related kerfuffles and when they weren't bitterly falling out over the most trivial of things, they had a habit of making the occasional bit of music that endeared themselves to most of the listening public. And it's the same premise with Scantlin - he's the last remaining founder member of Puddle of Mudd and it's hardly surprising that the high personnel turnover can be attributed to musical differences between himself and the other members in succession.

Come Clean is album number two for PoM, where they first achieved major success although just this morning I discovered that a number of tracks on this were also on their previous outing. Ok, so they might be re-recordings but that's not really excusable. Opening track is Control and is an indicator of what we might expect from Scantlin, the riffs are good, very grungey and memorable and the lyric? Very suggestive and very probably disturbing as this could be a condonement for domestic violence, it's perhaps a fair indication of what goes on in his private life, as if we really needed to know. The next song Drift And Die is where Wes Scantlin seems to be contrite in his past sins and willing to move on, again reasonable guitar notation and seemingly written with a straight head. However, Out Of My Head writes off his previous guilt with what I'm sure is an acid trip.

The mood swings are further evidenced in Nobody Told Me, it's a real cold turkey, and fourth track into the album, has anyone else noticed that so far all songs have been played in a C# key? Thankfully the guitarring rhythms take a different direction with Blurry, it sounds full and very original but again the PoM public face really has an axe or two to grind with what I'm certain are his ex's. To his credit, what he states about having what is taken from him, he makes no real reference to his son. Next, is probably his most memorable write She Hates Me (or rather She Fuckin' Hates Me if you want to remain faithful to his text). My beef is that once again Scantlin is bearing a massive chip on his shoulder, but it's not helped by a few other flaws, excessive use of la la la's and the vagueness behind the theme. What kind of lie has he been living and why he's included 'trust' in the chorus? Not even the music can redeem it for God's sake!

She Hates Me (Censored Version)

Music wise so far, it's been marginal, lyrically it is a serious downer, little wonder Scantlin's made a second home in the cop shop. Now onto the second half of Come Clean, and oh shute...Bring Me Down has verse structure that sounds like Suffragette City. Has David Bowie listened to it yet? I suspect a plagiarism lawsuit would be forthcoming although the riffwork further on does improve I will admit. More evidence of sampling in the underlying bass with Never Change, where Nirvana's Come As You Are is heavily borrowed even though the chorus is an original sounding piece.

The harmonies are a slight redeeming feature, likewise in Basement but again, very lyrically dank and despairing and this time the overtly repetitive chorus suggests that all imagination has gone missing. I don't hate it at all, but I'm not really getting much listening enjoyment out of the record so far. Ironically it feels very enriching on a musical note, but in Said it's another cocaine fuelled story, very disturbing for the straight edged outsider while closing the album is the acoustic laden Pissing It All Away which threatens to be a forgettable tune.

Normally I would've said kudos to Wes Scantlin for putting himself in the firing line in all of his songs instead of speaking as a third man, but this is where the problem lies. Yes, we all know that you've had a rather crappy life on the whole, but rolling up your newspaper and shouting all your woes to the world simply does not do anything for me nor many other listeners I would hasten to add. The other issue I have with Come Clean is the heavy sampling which sadly is becoming prevalent. On a final note, you might want to know that it was Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst who, on hearing a demo, managed to get this album off the ground and shift over five million copies. Just a piece of mindless trivia you might have wanted to know but don't mention Durst if you chance to meet Scantlin as there possibly may be some bad blood between these two children....

4 out of ten. Well, it is alright, but still...
Best track : Drift And Die

Come Clean is available on Amazon

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