Graded on a Curve:
Papa Roach,
Infest

Where’s Raid when you need it? Because the scurrying of little feet across the linoleum floor of stupid that’s Papa Roach’s 2000 LP Infest calls for an exterminator. On Infest Papa Roach do the seemingly impossible-namely produce a “step on it before it disappears beneath the refrigerator” species of rap rock that out-sucks anything by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

How is it possible, you ask? It’s not a question of which rap-rock band rocks harder. Papa Roach has the metal in Nu Metal part down flat, even if every song on Infest sounds the same. No, what makes Papa Roach an even more unhygienic musical health hazard than the Red Hots is their complete lack of a sense of humor.

The Red Hots are an insufferable frat rock party band whose main appeal is to essentially good natured ignoranamouses. Papa Roach, on the other hand, are a sullen bunch of pissed-off post-juveniles whose main appeal is to actual juveniles harboring grudges against life, parents, fate, “the system,” and God knows what else. The fact that Papa Roach’s emotional range is limited to enraged apoplexy makes every song on Infest an annoying bummer, and anyone with even a smidgen of joy coursing through their veins will find themselves reaching for the nearest pesticide.

Papa Roach suck for a variety of reasons. I find it appalling that there’s someone out there whose “rapping” is more wooden than Anthony Kiedis’, but Jacoby Shaddix pulls it off. What’s more, Papa Roach’s funk quotient is only slightly higher than that of Rush, and their emo levels are as dangerously high as those of Fall Out Boy. And don’t even get me started on Shaddix’s lyrics. Whether he’s feeling sorry for himself or promising violent revenge, his lyrics aren’t just dumb–they’re an insult to the intelligence of every member of order Blattodea.

Every song has a lyric or two that’ll make you wonder if evolution was a good idea. Shaddix starts things off with a bang on the puerile title track, on which he sings “My name’s Coby Dick/Mr. Dick if you’re nasty/Rock a mic with a voice that’s raspy.” I’m betting Herman Melville wishes he’d said that. Meanwhile, on “Dead Cell” Shaddix sings “Jah, mighty warrior, nothing’s scarier/Kids are getting sick like malaria.” Call in the quinine! And on the same song he sings “I don’t believe what my eyes behold,” making himself the punch line of the old Groucho Marx quip “Who are going to believe, me or your own eyes?”

On “Blood Brothers” Shaddix calls corruption and abuse “the salesman of the soul,” raising an interesting theological question because he seems to be suggesting that the human soul is inherently evil. But I think we can take it on faith he has no idea what he’s suggesting. In the same song he coins the word “dumbin’” and complains about his shitty life and dysfunctional family. Suggested song title: ”Keep on Whining.”

On the PSA “Broken Home” Shaddix sings about a real societal problem and its emotional toll on children without saying a single dim-witted thing, and for once I can’t find it within myself to knock the dimwit. But he dives back into deep end of dumb on the down-with-materialism diatribe “Between Angels and Insects.” “Take my money, take my possessions,” he sings, “I don’t need that shit.” Yeah right. I’ll bet you fifty bucks he’d scream bloody murder if you asked to borrow his lawnmower.

Look, I could go on and on all day, but all you really need to know about Papa Roach is they have a horrible name and make horrible music with horrible lyrics that make Kid Rock look like Virgil. No one over the age of 14 should ever listen to these Nu Morons, and if it were up to me I’d slap a parental warning label on Infest for the sole reason that listening to it can lead to permanent IQ loss. Be a responsible parent and buy your kid a copy of Never Mind the Bollocks instead. Teens have every right to be angry, but they don’t have to be stupid about it.

GRADED ON A CURVE:
F

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