As a concerned owner and operator of a pair of ears, I always want to make sure that what I put into them is something worthy of my time and effort. I have always liked to bum around different websites that will give me a sampling of opinions on what new discs are like or on what kind of live show and atmosphere a band will bring. The sites that I have gone to have given me information such as the best tracks on the CD, similar bands to look out for, or upcoming tour dates. It wasn’t until recently, though, that I finally found a website that would tell me which bands and CD’s would lead me directly to the fiery pits of Hell.

I stumbled into Plugged-In Online not long ago. As a practicing Christian myself, please let me tell you that I am thoroughly embarrassed by sites and organizations like this. While well-intentioned in screening stuff that is “bad,” these groups go overboard to the point that they will make up lies or reprint seventh-grade gossip into shaming everyone into believing that because an artist called a ho a “bitch” or vice versa, that we all should be crawling on our bellies. This same website is so out of touch that it recommended against seeing a Disney movie (Pirates of the Caribbean) because of its "creepy violence." It is this kind of “holier than thou” embarrassment that Plugged-In Online exhibits and it is what we are going to look at today.

I prefer to listen to music that is a little harder and more on the alternative side, so I was not surprised in the least to find out that I would be mining coal for the furnaces in Hell. But before you go and get all high and mighty, you need to realize that if you listen to anything that consists of more than two voices humming along with a steady cowbell, you’ll be pitching coal right next to me, pal.

To start with, the first disc I saw reviewed is an enjoyable little number from System of a Down called “Toxicity.” Not my favorite band, not my favorite album, but an enjoyable collection of songs to be sure. If you’ve ever heard this CD, it’s not exactly something that your grandmother would be embarrassed to listen to. But will Bob Waliszewski, resident pantywaist, give it a chance?

“For the most part, Toxicity peddles guitar-pounding lyrical obscurity and head-scratching streams of consciousness. Yet there’s an ebb and flow of anger running through this disc. What’s biting sarcasm? What’s meant to be taken at face value? Hard to tell, and not worth the effort. “

Either the woman in white mistakenly thought she was at a Rotting Stiffs concert, or Shania Twain has inspired her to throw up the devil horns. I think it's safe to assume that all the people who "felt like a woman" at this particular show will be feeling like a demon before they know it.

This review yields a lot about Bob’s musical tastes and should further beg the question “Why does the same damn guy review every single CD regardless of genre?” As we see, anything where the instrumentals override the lyrics makes Bob scratch his head and protect himself from the boogeymen entranced by the sounds of System of a Down. Also, God did not invent anger and therefore it is a forbidden emotion and not suitable to listen to. Missing here is one of Bob’s witty and incredibly clever (now THAT is “biting sarcasm”) phrases that incorporate the band or CD in some way. We’ll get to those later.

With System of a Down already axed, I decided to move on to the much heavier sextet plus three (Bob also bans the word “sextet” for being too “penisy”) from Iowa, Slipknot. Slipknot is considerably more aggressive and you can imagine your grandmother listening to them but only if she is Ozzy Osbourne. You can say what you want about Slipknot’s massive instrumentals and sometimes violent lyrics and create enough of an argument against the band, but Bob pulls a trick out of the Jerry Falwell handbook and decides to fabricate new stories to make them sound as impossibly evil as he can. In his review of their self-titled album, Bob slips us this little gem:

“Nine guys. Nine masked, demented guys. The members of Slipknot have developed a cult following even more for their gross-out stage antics than for their hateful lyrics. In concert they’ve been known to masturbate, defecate, vomit, urinate on one another and light each other on fire. Sick and twisted. It’s safe to say that young fans of this band have far deeper problems than a simple lack of media discernment.”

Rob Zombie once performed here in Fargo and there was a community uproar after three girls climbed onstage and showed their breasts to the crowd. I’m talking about front-page newspaper headlines, reports on the nightly news, and a feeling of disgust from the locals about such a putrid show being let into town. This town and venue also hosted Slipknot in support of the very CD that Bob is reviewing. I can tell you without hesitation that if one of the members had decided to rough up the bishop in full view or hot karl Corey Taylor, a lynch mob would have set their bus on fire and the clown's head would have been placed on the main avenue overpass crowned by a sign reading "Beelzebub, metal-loving sinners!!!!!!!." There’s not a single person with any common sense who believes that this stuff has EVER happened at one of their concerts. But Bob is either unbelievably naïve, or even worse, obsessively dishonest enough to push his agenda through in any way possible. The closest thing Slipknot ever did to what he described is that the side percussionists used to beat each other up and wreck their drums, which even Bob would have to agree was sinfully hilarious, if not a little expensive for the band.

So far we have established that System of a Down gets angry sometimes and that Slipknot is going to piss on your face. I’m sure many people are smugly asserting that they don’t listen to this brand of music anyway so it doesn't concern them.

So I bet you’ll be surprised to hear that Garth Brooks is also the harbinger of rape and lust ordered by Lucifer himself.

In-Pieces, one of Garth’s middle albums, has one, count ‘em ONE piece of pro-social content. That, according to Bob is:

“Branders-and their spiritual roots-are honored in "The Cowboy Song."

But bastard-ass Garth is busy burrowing into my consciousness with his anti-social content which is:

”On "The Night I Called the Old Man Out," a boy respects his father's authority only after dad bloodies him in a fistfight. Also, "love" can be found in a one-night stand ("Callin' Baton Rouge"), an adulterous affair ("The Night Will Only Know") and rebellious teen sex in the back of a pickup truck ("Ain't Going Down"). Alcohol flows on several tracks, including "American Honky-Tonk Bar Association," which replaces church and family with the local tavern.”

And to sum things up, Bob lets us in on some of that undeniable wit that he can barely keep in him.

”This disc soared to the top of the pop and country charts. And it's musically enjoyable. Too bad the family-friendly values Garth conveyed on earlier albums are falling In Pieces.”

At this point, where do you go? Besides making fun of Bob for being a dipshit, you are running out of musical options. Anything hard rock is off-limits for either being too aggressive or feces-covered, while country’s biggest star is a disenfranchised adulterer who would knock up your wife if given the opportunity. How about pop music? They don’t sing about anything of substance anyway, so that must be gold. Not a chance.

Destiny’s Child:

”Nearly every male portrayed on this disc is a louse. To the foursome's credit, they don't advocate killing any of them, but a little balance would've been nice. Young fans might defend the group for its spiritual side, but Destiny's Child is consumed with dysfunctional relationships that feature sex as an instrument of power. Better skip it.”

…or Ricky Martin:

”"My culture is sensual," Martin told USA Today, "I’m not forcing it. It’s just something that flows." But do families want it flowing into their homes? As popular culture—from MTV to WB teen dramas—gets more and more enraptured with no-strings sexuality, songs like "One Night Man" will only accelerate the slide. Sure, Martin’s Latin-lover image isn’t without its benevolently romantic side, but sweet moments are overwhelmed by moral salsa. Too spicy.”

Unfortunately, Bob left out the part in his review where he stated that Ricky Martin was a "vibrant homosexual" and that "his (back)door is always open." These few sentences would have been funny and a shot at maybe being true, unlike most of the stuff that actually made it into his writings.

I'm starting to become convinced that Bob is actually a 1920's grandmother that built a time machine out of a Model T and a tumbleweed and somehow become a 2004 music critic. If you find that hard to believe, just remember this: He just told us that when it comes to love and life, Ricky Martin is one son-of-a-bitch.

Ricky Martin.

Yes, that Ricky Martin.

You can’t listen to his music.

Or Satan is going to eat your family.

Where do we go, Bob? I don’t even dare read a Marilyn Manson or gangsta rap review, for fear that we’ll get something like this for the Mechanical Animals rundown:

”Manson’s guitarist played a six-string fashioned out of rotting corpses on this album. Manson has been known to fondle countless men, women, and chimpanzees on stage while singing his songs, all of which consist only of the words “fuck,” “death,” and “condom.” Parents should be aware that even seeing his name in print will result in immediate blindness and infertility, because Satan will have already dined on the groin of your now-barren child.”

I give up, Bob. Nothing seems to suit you. Everything is evil, nothing is good, and if it has a loud guitar or a man in a cowboy hat, it’s definitely off-limits. What’s left? Friends, there is only one person left in the world that we can listen to.

”Celine Dion hasn’t released a studio album in five years. Teens fond of passionate, upbeat adult contemporary will consider A New Day Has Come worth the wait. A glorious musical celebration of the fabric of life.”

Bob, you might not have seen the granite tablet, but “Christian” is not spelled P-U-S-S-Y. Thanks for doing your damndest to convince us otherwise.

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The following is our courageous reviewer's take on Dr. Dre's 2001 album. I can't help but giggle hysterically at the thought of this sissy popping in the marijuana leaf CD and jamming out to Dr. Dre's phat beats and unbelievably obscene lyrics.

"Born Andre Young, this gangsta pioneer first hit the charts as part of N.W.A. in 1988. Since going solo in '93, he has racked up a number of hits; he hit a police officer, a record producer and a woman in a nightclub. Then he violated probation by driving 90 m.p.h. while intoxicated. Such behavior gives Dre credibility within a twisted subculture that enjoys CDs like 2001--a celebration of illicit sex, brutal violence, drugs and misogyny. The doctor is out."

You say that now, Bob, but I'm sure you've strangled a few skanks in your day just like the rest of us.