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A Perfect Circle eMOTIVE

By Ashley Ramirez, Contributor
Tuesday, January 4, 2005 @ 12:59 AM


(Virgin)

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"They misunderestimated me...” -- George W. Bush

WARNING! The press release for this album reads: A collection of songs about war, peace, love and greed. That shall give you a good idea what the topic of this review will be like, so if hearing about politics on a album review isn't your thing then you may just want to skip this review all together.

On the outside, A Perfect Circle's new album eMOTIVE may seem like some hippy, let's-all-hold-hands-and-sing-"This is your land, this is my land"-bullshit. If you listen closely and you follow politics in a non-partisan way then you'll see where lead singer Maynard James Keenan is coming from. George W. Bush is the worst president ever, and John Kerry was no answer, yet even though a majority of the country feels that the United States is going in the wrong direction, they chose to keep the nightmare going for another four years. As you can tell I am no fan of Bush, haven't been since he ran for governor of the state of Texas in 1994. However I do accept that he won but I doubt I'll ever agree with any of his bonehead decisions.

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Shut up and sign! Nobody cares what you have to say about the state of the union/world. I'm sure you've heard those spewing out of people’s mouths on this site or many forums like this. Although some of the greatest music in metal/rock history has been protest songs and have been done by some of the biggest names in history: the Beatles, Black Sabbath, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Rage Against the Machine, Megadeth and so on. Add A Perfect Circle to those names now.

While ten out of twelve songs are remakes, one of the new songs is one of the highlights of the album. "Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums" is a Nine Inch Nails meets Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" fury which is a re-tooled *no pun intended* version-another version if you will of APC's "Pet" off 2003's number one album, Thirteenth Step. And the song is in no way affiliated with Bush's favorite book, My Pet Goat.

The other new song, the angry "Passive," tells of a tale of two friends who become bitter enemies. ("Wake up and face me, don’t play dead cause maybe someday I’ll walk away and say, ‘You fucking disappoint me!’ Maybe you’re better off this way.") Songs like this is usually why companies and people who just have the general rule that you should never discuss religion and politics.

The first song off the album is a remake of punk band Crucifix's "Annihilation." A powerful and chilling, sinister sounding piano and lead singer Maynard James Keenan hauntingly whispering reminding us that wars are planned in the boardroom gives you sense of what real fear is all about.

Nick Lowe's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" made famous by Elvis Costello has been a staple for Keenan in the last year or so. He performed the song with Audioslave vocalist Chris Cornell during 2003's Lollapalooza and it appears on the Axis of Justice compilation. Just a sidenote about this song: if you saw the spectacular 2003 movie Lost In Translation, you may remember Bill Murray doing this same song.

Marvin Gaye's classic "What's Going On" is so beautifully done, words just can't do it justice. Add "What's Going On" and Depeche Mode's "People Are People" and it's just about the saddest commentary about how little this country has evolved. Sit a twelve year old in front of the television and let them watch All in the Family and they'll most likely think it's a current show.

More interesting choices that were included is Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks," "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie" by ? and Maynard doing an exceptional a cappellic version of Joni Mitchell's "Fiddle and the Drum."

Devo's anthemic "Freedom of Choice" and Fear's "Let's Have a War"… "Let's Have A War" originally was a satirical song from Fear, then again whoever could've seen anything like what is going on today coming? ("Let's have a war, Sell the rights to the networks, Let's have a war, Let our wallets get fat like last time, Let's have a war, Give guns to the queers, Let's have a war, The enemy's within.")

Last but not least is the most recognizable song on the album and perhaps the greatest song ever, John Lennon's "Imagine." Lennon's version of the song has such a strong sense of hope. Almost thirty years later the APC version has such dismay… I'm not saying the song is bad in any way, but you can clearly hear the difference and that is thanks to the state of the world.

The album artwork is also worth mentioning. There are images of a city under attack with burning buildings and red skies behind some old-style World War II posters. The posters are reinterpreted by Steven Gilmore with messages reading: “Relax! Everything is Fine, You are safe with our blanket of security.” If you remember back during WWII, the government used similar posters to calm the nation, of course, our leaders back then weren't pigs.

emotive features the return of original bassist Paz Lenchantin. While new bassist Jeordie White handles all the bass playing, Paz displays her other talent, i.e., piano and strings, which gives the album it's art/prog sound. Danny Lohner who was almost a member of APC plays on many tracks as well and even help wrote the new songs. The remaining members of the band Billy Howerdel, James Iha and Josh Freese do their part as well. Too bad they couldn't get Troy Van Leeuwen and have an APC all-star band.

Be sure to check out lead singer Maynard James Keenan's interview in the Dec. 2004 issue of Revolver magazine and just see his feelings on things. You either will agree or disagree with his views like the way it was done in the old days, i.e., pre 9-11.

"Think For Yourself. Question Authority." Dr. Timothy Leary

* * * * ½


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