Papa Roach frontman Jacoby Shaddix (the once-abbreviated Coby Dick) could probably stand some marriage counseling from the still-smitten Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, who hired Papa Roach as headliners for last year’s Ozzfest. At least two songs on the band’s second major-label album, lovehatetragedy, find Shaddix bitching and bemoaning – his wife doesn’t understand him, things are testy between them, and life in general blows. He’s even gone so far as to make one of these cuts, the bludgeoning ”She Loves Me Not,” the first single. On another groanfest, ”Time and Time Again” (Shaddix is clearly a sucker for the cliché), he details their problems from her supposed point of view. In ”Decompression Period,” he needs ”some space” to sort it all out, preferably as far away as possible. Given that the couple has a baby, maybe some Osbourne child-rearing tips would also be helpful.
I wish I could go into even more detail about the album, but in order to ”maintain security,” the band’s label, DreamWorks, allowed critics to hear it only via streaming from a special website (at least, that was the case by the time EW went to press). Compounding matters, the site’s buffering made the music cut in and out; I felt like I was listening to a vinyl LP that was constantly skipping. From what can be ascertained, ”lovehatetragedy” downplays the rap-metal quotient of the band’s first album, 2000’s ”Infest,” in favor of more brooding narratives, albeit set to the same type of meat-pounder riffs. They also remake the Pixies’ ”Gauge Away,” but technical snafus prevented me from hearing any of it. I was as filled with ire as Shaddix is. Wait a minute – perhaps that was intentional, the label’s way of making me feel his pain!
Papa Roach were fairly distinctive two years back, but in a twist we’ve witnessed many times before, the band that helped beget so much of the rap-metal grudge rock we’re now hearing resembles all its followers. (”Born With Nothing, Die With Everything” is such a generic song title for this subculture that it could be a parody.) Papa Roach also suffer in comparison with the purveyors of the new garage rock, who make nü-metal sound even more monumentally bloated than it did before. But don’t tell that to Shaddix – he doesn’t need to bring any more problems home from the office.