By Nickelback Canstett
While I have long believed that music is one of the most subjective art forms, every once in a blue moon, one happens upon a sound that objectively peers in the aural soul that we all harbor inside of our ear drums. I have found this experience with butt rock. While some may mistake butt rock for generic hard rock,it instead finds a sort of je ne sais quoi that is missing in the other contemporary rock sounds.
Butt rock, first originating in the 90s, combines pleasing and simple rhyme schemes, gravel of sound, and welcomed male angst to form music that is quite honestly unlike anything else currently in the industry. I’m talking Theory of a Deadman, Seether, Shinedown, Nickelback, and Puddle of Mudd to name a few of the more iconic and classic representations of the genre. In a world continuously beleaguered by contemporary pop and an emasculated alternative rock scheme, butt rock is a continuous reminder that there is some dirt, grit, and sweaty testosterone pulsating through our radio waves.
Most recently, my love affair with all things butt reached a new zenith when I stumbled upon “Blow” by Theory of a Deadman this spring. “Blow” is butt rock at its purest, combining all the elements that make the genre the breath of fresh air that it is and has been since it broke into the music scene 20 years ago. In order to understand the creative genius on display, one must instead experience the song in its most pure and creative potential.
“Blow,” marked by its stark and biting satire of contemporary American culture, opens up its music video by separating us from the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave by featuring band members Tyler Connoly, Dave Brenner, Dean Back, and Joey Dandeneau dressed as members of a mariachi band.
In order to continue this creative contrast, Theory of a Deadman intersects its usual heavy guitar riffs with twangs of banjos and the hum of a harmonica. It’s the same level of creative dissonance that finds Theory of Deadman proclaiming its respect for women and then two lines later accusing a 12-year-old of being a “ho.”
To sell its message of the decline of American culture, Deadman makes sure to flash plenty of images of Tindr, wearing socks with sandals, gigantic e-cigarettes, and homicidal mail drones to accompany its lyrics, which call out witty targets such as Chris Brown, Kanye West, and the Kardashians. As the song progresses, drummer Dandenau begins to bleed profusely from the nose, hinting at the mental degradation that the song warns us of.
Luckily, Theory of a Deadman’s latest anthem, warning of us of an impending intellectual culture implosion, is not lost on its audience. YouTube commenter SeveredHeadSam explains eloquently, “This is an absolutely perfect representation of today’s economy and people. Everything has no purpose, and we’ve all just become a thousand times stupider.” Similarly, commenter The Frenching Fry shares this opinion, “I love this song, it’s a big f****** dose of truth and reality.” The message has landed, and it could not have arrived at any better a time.
It’s refreshing that to this day we have bands like Theory of Deadman reminding us that there is intelligent music still bubbling its way to the surface in such a crowded industry. Let the butt rock continue for many years to come.