|Shitty iPhone photo of BrokeNCYDE performing on 12/1/11 at the Nile Theater in Mesa.|
It all started innocently enough on Nov. 5, when BrokeNCYDE's publicist sent me a link to stream the band's new album, Will Never Die. Before that, my exposure to BrokeNCYDE was limited to a couple YouTube videos that had pretty much convinced me that they were not only the worst thing that had ever happened to music, but quite possibly a sign of the apocalypse. Of course, being the masochist that I am, I immediately clicked on the link and started typing a sarcastic review before I'd even finished that first listen.
Then, something funny happened.
The stream ended and I started it over. As I was writing, I began to realize that, even though BrokeNCYDE is in many ways the embodiment of everything I hate about popular music, their shit is just fucking catchy. Somehow, BrokeNCYDE has managed to combine two of my least favorite forms of music - screamo and ringtone rap - into a whole that far exceeds the sum of its questionable parts. That, combined with the fact that nearly all of my friends and colleagues utterly despise them, made me want to give them a second chance. Thus began my brief love affair with BrokeNCYDE.
Coincidentally, just a few hours before Wednesday night's show, my editor at New Times sent me an e-mail asking me to put together a list of my Top 25 albums of 2010. I had already been thinking about such a list and how my newfound status as a faux BrokeNCYDE fanboy would factor into it. I've pretty much painted myself into a corner. I suppose I could put them at No. 1, but then people might think the entire list is a goof. If I put them anywhere else, people might think I actually like them. It's a no-win situation. So there's my first reason for putting this charade to rest.
The second reason is that I've come to the realization that I don't hate BrokeNCYDE as much as I thought I did. The first time I saw the video for "Freaxxx," I genuinely believed that these crazy kids from Albuquerque had reached some sub-Nickelbackian level of awfulness that scientists had previously only speculated might exist, but upon closer examination, BrokeNCYDE are actually quite a bit better than such standard-bearers of suckiness as Daughtry, Creed, Hinder and, of course, Nickelback. Even more than their trite lyrics and unoriginal sound, what makes those bands so unbearable is their ridiculous popularity. Creed and Nickelback sell out fucking amphitheaters. BrokeNCYDE, despite a seemingly rabid online following, barely drew more that 100 people to Wednesday night's show. Also, BrokeNCYDE don't take themselves nearly as seriously as those groups. The title of their debut album, I'm Not a Fan, But the Kids Like It, displays more self-awareness than Chad Kroeger or Scott Stapp could ever hope to muster.
And really, that's what it comes down to. As a music journalist, I try to keep an open mind, but as I get older, I don't expect to like or understand everything that "kids these days" are listening to. Nickelback represents a much greater threat to "my generation" than BrokeNCYDE does. Most people my age have never heard of BrokeNCYDE, and the ones who have spend way too much time obsessing over how awful they are. Like I said, that was my initial reaction too, but in reality, BrokeNCYDE is relatively harmless. It's simply the new sound of teenage rebellion, and don't tell the kids this or anything, but it's actually a lot tamer than those 2 Live Crew cassettes collecting dust in your closet.
The third and final reason why I'm giving up on my BrokeNCYDE crusade is that, as I discovered last night, it's already way too trendy to ironically like BrokeNCYDE. I try to stay ahead of the hipster curve, so I was dismayed to find several other people who were at Wednesday's show with tongues planted firmly in cheeks (interestingly, the handful of other sarcastic concertgoers seemed more fascinated by opening act Millionaires than BrokeNCYDE).
So I guess what I'm trying to say is, rest easy people. I don't really like BrokeNCYDE, but then again, I don't really hate them either. What can I say? I'm not a fan, but the kids like it.
Oh yeah, and about the show:
Caught the last couple songs of Kill Paradise's set. Sounded like super glossy, Auto-Tuned pop. I've gotta admit, they had some decent hooks. Millionaires came out and did that song about their tight pussies. Then they did a few more songs. They looked chunkier than in that video where they're snorting coke. Then BrokeNCYDE came out and played a few songs. None of the three acts featured guitar or bass, although Kill Paradise and BrokeNCYDE appeared to share a drummer.
Here's my stab at the BrokNCYDE set list. I might've missed a song or two:
Tell Me What You Want
Teach Me How to Scream