By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
So I was in Tower Records the other day, and I saw that System of a Down has a new CD out called Steal This Album. Since their last one was kind of a letdown, certainly not worth the full $17 list price, I figured, "What the fuck? I'll crotch this bitch and we'll just call it even."
Stripped off the shrink-wrap, peeled off the bar code sticker. I mean, they gave me their permission, right? This isn't a setup, is it? Surely they wouldn't charge 17 bucks for something, then tell you to steal it just so you could see how the judicial system works firsthand. Naw, shit's jiggy, yo. I'm all about a bargain. Like Jam Master Jay, I'm gonna walk this way. A few more steps and I'm home free. Nobody lookin' in my direction. Pick up that copy of The Advocate on my way out the door and don't look back. Right on! Mission accomplished.
OK, out of my britches and straight into the CD player. (There are now several Tower Records employees chasing me through the parking lot waving Tasers and Mace, but we won't go there. You do what you have to do when a rock band tells you how to live.) Two minutes later and I've come to the conclusion that this disc is really a great value. Not particularly revelatory or inventive (at least for a band that has always sounded like a Hassidic Metallica), yet infinitely textural and entertaining nonetheless. The chunky staccato quirk factor is still high, but I really dig this new marketing angle. I'm all over this "Fuck the System" mind-set. We steal their disc, and the wholesalers, retailers and rack jobbers are still responsible for the chedda'. (The band still gets paid, in other words.) You have to love that. Some of that "Tommy Mottola" karma Michael Jackson was blabbin' 'bout before he started the baby danglin' bit.
Wait a second. This isn't even my fuckin' car! Somewhere, Abbie Hoffman is missing his keys.