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The majesty of rock!
on 12 February 2006
Spinal Tap returns! The most prolific nonexistant band ever is back with "Break Like The Wind," a wonderfully warped metal album that celebrates rock'n'roll, bad lyrics and exploding drummers. This a bad album -- gloriously, magnificently bad, in the way only a spoof can be.
It opens with the roaring male dominance rocker "Bitch School," which would be offensive if it weren't tongue-in-cheek, then lurches on to the wonderfully bloated "Majesty of Rock," a gloriously ghastly duet with Cher, the insanely pretentious "The Sun Never Sweats" ("Bolder than the pirates who used to rule the sea/Braver than the natives, who never heard of tea...")
The peak of this album may be the song "Break Like the Wind," which aspires to be deep and inspirational despite lyrics like "We are the thumb on a stranger's hand." And two of the most priceless songs are at the end: the mope ballad "All the Way Home," and the truly twisted Christmas song, "Christmas With the Devil."
The world was first introduced to Spinal Tap in "This is Spinal Tap," the classic rockumentary about England's loudest band. With the help of Cher (yes, that Cher) and Dweezil Zappa, they take it upon themselves to roundly mock metal, hard rock, rock ballads, and quite a few other things as well -- they're funny because they put so much effort into doing a nudge-wink bad job.
The music itself is pretty standard hard rock riffs -- it's merely okay, and therein lies the irony. What's really startling is that while the music is not amazing in the technical sense, it's actually much better than many real-life bands were. Scary, no? It does have its moments of brilliance, due to Zappa and Jeff Beck mostly, as well as some gloriously ghastly sitar.
It's not the music but the lyrics that are genius. Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer are true geniuses of the bad song -- what's even better, these are the sort of bad songs that people write, but don't know that they are bad. "And that's the Majesty of Rock!/The Mystery of Roll!/The darning of the sock,/the scoring of the goal!" Does it get worse than that? Yes, if you include lines like "Rise! for you are cream" and "We may be gods or big marionettes/But the sun never sweats."
"Break Like the Wind" is a wonderful album by the loudest band in Britain, and the best band that never technically existed. Tap into this!