Sunday ∗ 13 Jul 2008

the young and angsty is all you get

It’s always a struggle, whether or not to spend good hard-earned money on OPM CDs that have no Tagalog songs in them. But then again, maybe an all-English album is but a measure of how music-making still remains a luxury, i.e., those get their albums out there are those who can afford to.

With that struggle down the drain, The Vince Noir Project’s self-titled album had much going for it. Listening to it at the music store, I cajoled my husband into getting the album, if only because I was interested in what sounded like techno music from a local band. How could I pass it up in this age of rock bands and novelty songs?

Not for everyone

Well, as it turns out, I could’ve. Don’t get me wrong the sound is unique, at least for third world Philippines and our penchant for fads and sure hits. VNP had it in itself to decide to be otherwise, and sound different from the current crop of rock bands. And I say rock, because it is a little bit of that, plus much of techno/electro and psychedelic music, as the band would label itself with a lot of hesitation on their Multiply site.

But as the sound of the album depends much on the technology of a computer and not just good ol’ mixing in the recording studio, VNP is obviously not for everyone. Suffice it to say that you’d need to stretch your listening wings, and allow for the album its own identity, distinct from what you expect or might want to hear. It is redundant, as is true of much of techno music; lead vocalist Aless Tinio barely proves her singing chops, too. In fact, it’s easy to brush it off as an album for the younger generation – the kind of music they can dance and drink to, and whatever else it is that they do these days.

Angsty lyrics and nothing else

Which is to hit the nail that is the songwriting of VNP right on the head. The music notwithstanding, you won’t get much lyricism here. Reading through the band’s song lyrics is like reading the diary of a stereotypical angsty teenager who feels like the world’s ganging up on her. With a smattering of designer brands, computer hardware, foreign places and musicians, it’s also pretty clear that the influence behind VNP’s concerns doesn’t necessarily come from here.

And yet, even then, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a whole generation getting a kick out of lyrics such as this: They’ll always try to patronize you, / Spread disease about you all over town, / They’ll always try and bring you down, / Down, down down down down, down …. (“Alavet”). Or this: I’m 6 million gigabytes / I’m your desired hard drive / Do you like it on your lap or on a desk? / Have you seen my mouse / Cuz I saw your USB / Lots of space in there you can rip my files anytime / Just make sure you’re virus free? (“6 Million Gigabytes).

Rebels without a cause

Sounds like the perfect outlet – and voice – for the angst that only adolescence can bring, right? As the song “Whose Vince Noir?” tells us: He’s the king of all the mods / but he can pull off goth / he’s got girls of every kind / animals with human minds / had an affair with a polar bear / a young hot rebel who doesn’t even care.

And that is pretty much what you get from this debut album by The Vince Noir Project. Rebellion without a cause, self-centered angst that doesn’t care for anyone or anything else. That it will undoubtedly find itself a market in this crises-filled context is not so much a measure of a generation’s self-centeredness, as it is a measure of how much importance they put on their angst-ridden lives.

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