By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
By the time this goes to print, we'll have a new president. For the sake of pop music, let's hope that my requisite college-girl vote for Ralph Nader serves to place George W. Bush in office and get a band such as Rainer Maria out of sight. The Madison, Wis., threesome is in the right place at the right time, and four more years of that right time could make things unbearable. Only after eight years of leadership to the tune of Fleetwood Mac can a band so wimpy, so trivial, get so popular. Thanks to Bill Clinton, we live in an age where "emo"--a term used by mallrats and stepmoms--describes the watered-down sound of the '80s for those who didn't hear it the first time. This is an age in which girls will buy records regardless of their musical merit, because as long as a female is singing, and, inevitably, playing bass, it must be good.Rainer Maria's fans are bourgeois vegan sheep who have turned sexless and tasteless after their teen years were void of readily available oppression. Rainer Maria is fronted by the placid, emaciated duo of Caithlin Demarrais and Kyle Fischer, two folks willing to admit they met in an undergraduate poetry seminar. The two are also willing to admit they live on the Demarrais farm in Connecticut and spend up to four weeks composing their painful little ditties. All that said about country life, I do hope that the members of Rainer Maria--Demarrais, Fischer, and drummer Bill Kuehn--aren't, in any combination, you know, breeding. To quote The Stranger's David Schmader, "I can't help envisioning these two intense, fragile creatures in a lovelocked 69, quietly sobbing into each other's genitals."
The band's latest album, Look Now, Look Again, was cited in Spin's Top 20 of 1999, possibly as an attempt by the magazine to catch up with musical trends after grunge and all that crazy rap-metal business. An extended exercise in minimalized, unfocused instrumentation and half-assed dramatic vocals, the band obviously intend to put their lyrics, ahem, poetry, at the forefront. "There's so many ways to help you/And I only have two arms," Demarrais sings in a bored tone at the album's midpoint. It's obvious now that this is nothing more advanced than Jewel, ripened in the complexities and blandness of university intellectual life in the Midwest. George W., I'm so excited. I'm sure he has a plan for the end of Rainer Maria. I'm sure he has a plan for the end of me. Regardless, I can't wait to hear punk rock get good again.
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