Happy birthday to me! If you remember yesterday’s post, and who doesn’t, I challenged the lot of you to come up with an album for me write up on my birthday. Though I got a suggestion for an album I actually really want to listen to (Nina Simone’s Pastel Blues), I couldn’t grab it in time because Zune Marketplace has it, but one of the key songs is missing, so no go there.
So, acting on my promise to instead bring you the absolute worst music I could possibly think of, may I humbly present the very worst that Christian music has to offer, appropriately named ApologetiX, and their 2002 album Grace Period:
Before I get into what this is all about, let me first tell a little story about how I found these guys.
My mom, dear sweet woman that she is, used to own a Christian book store that also sold music. This may help to explain what knowledge of the genre I have, because CD’s at that time, for me, were either cheap, free, or just brought home anyway. Though I never heard this CD while it was sitting on the shelf, reading the back made me cringe with sheer terror.
The box advertised, quite plainly, that ApologetiX were a “Christian Parody Band” and that their songs were basically “secular hits” that were lyrically changed to be “humorous” and “about God”. One of these two things is actually true, but both things are horrifying. Of course, you may think “Well Christians have bad ideas all the time, look at the Crusades!”, but here’s the thing: this isn’t the band’s only album, they have 12. At an alarming rate, this band has put out a dozen albums filled to the brim with these songs and they show no sign of slowing down.
Now, I could have easily picked any one of the 12 albums these guys have recorded, but Grace Period is the one I saw in the store, and when I finally did let curiosity get the best of me and obtained it for free and listened to it, well, now I have to relay another story.
It’s been a “thing” of a certain friend of mine to lay claim to knowing the absolute worst music in the history of the world (surprisingly, NOT the same friend who suggested I write up Richard Harris). One night, after I told him that I could probably handle the worst music he could throw my way, he proceeded to take me up on that challenge. He prepared a playlist for me to listen to involving songs that were basically unlistenable. Among the songs chosen, which were very creative as musical weapons, by the way, were as follows:
- A rap song called “Double ****ed By Two Black Studs”, kind of a notoriously filthy rap song featuring terrible everything. I told him it wasn’t any worse than regular rap music.
- A song, about 8 minutes long, of an adult man(?) crying like a little baby (literally screaming “Waaaaaaaaaaaaah”) in either a loop or a very painful continuous session, while other music, most of it terrible, played in the background, and there were some other “disturbing” sounds that I don’t remember. I considered it a worthy song to torture people with, but stuck it out through the entire 8 minutes anyway.
- A song that certain Brazillian psychopaths use as kind of the soundtrack to their deadly knife fights, meant to induce feelings of rage and nervousness. I have very little experience with Brazillian music, so I had previously assumed it all sounded like that.
After many more songs like this, he finally gave up and admitted defeat; it was clear that I could not be musically jarred by normal means. Then my turn came around, in the form of a playlist I put together for him and some other friends called “The Best And Absolute Worst Of Christian Music”, featuring many of the songs from albums I’ve already touched on for the “Best” songs, and with a real two-song kicker for my “worst of the absolute worst” songs. Guess what: both of them are from this album.
The first is the song “I’m A Receiver”, which is a parody not only of “I’m A Believer” by The Monkees, but specifically the Smash Mouth cover, yes, the one you hear in most retail stores as the store’s tribute to whichever employee started a suicidal shooting rampage because of it. Didn’t think that song could get any worse when filtered through the ham-filled mouth of Smash Mouth? Guess again:
I thought God was only Jewish fairy tales (oy!)
Meant for someone else with lots more faith
All my doubts oppressed me, but that’s the way it stayed
Till a voice said, “Honey, call My name”
Then I got His grace, now I’m a receiver
I promise that there have only been maybe 2 instances in my own life that I, the person who made it through 8 minutes of pure musical trolling, have ever made it past that line in that song, and that’s only 30 seconds into it.
The guy can’t sing, for one, and the band can’t play, and being a Christian myself, I am just deeply offended at everything having to do with this. This is music that is so bad it rots you to the core, and get this: there are a total of 20 songs on this album alone just like it.
To represent the worst of Christian music, I only needed to play one more song, “Tom Saw Ya”, a re-imagining of the story of “doubting Thomas” from the Bible, set to the tune and general idea of “Tom Sawyer”, the most famous(ly hated) Rush song. The only redeeming thing about this train wreck is that the guy is so bad at singing in Geddy Lee’s register that he sounds like he’s hurting himself pinching out the chorus lines:
What You prayed about has come to be
It’s what King David said in Psalm 16
Christ is risen: that’s no myth
Just a mystery that’s legit
That it sounds like he’s in nearly as much pain as we are for hearing it is a small comfort, like the idea that the band will somehow be punished for all this because there’s no way that a God who is in any way Awesome will ever approve of this.
Anyway, after both of those songs I have become known among my friends as the King of Bad Music. A dubious title, to be sure, but it’s kind of fun knowing you permanently broke someone’s spirit with a few tunes. I mean, what’s so bad about a song like “Corinthians”, a parody of Linkin Park’s “In The End”, featuring a guy who can’t rap with a guy who can’t sing?
How about “Born Above”, a parody of “Born To Run” by Bruce Springsteen? They’re all here!
Ok, I’ll stop now with the titles, I’m starting to depress myself.
Another couple of facts about this band:
- They are pioneers of the whole “Don’t you DARE read my lyrics!” mindset usually shared by “comedy” musicians. Their website requires a special code printed on their physical CD in order to access the “lyrics” section of their official website. Sure you can just Google it and save yourself the trouble, but why would you Google something like that? Are you crazy?
- Their magical Wikipedia Entry is almost entirely made up of describing their many lineup changes, as if anybody could ever care. In Wikipedia’s characteristic “unbiased” presentation, not a word is said about the band’s egregiousness, though the idea is implicit throughout.
- A quick Youtube search will reveal that not only do they assault the elderly and stupid with their “cross between Weird Al and Billy Graham” (which I assume means they combine the spiritual relevance of Weird Al with the humor of Billy Graham), but they spend almost half of their set “preaching to the choir” about Jesus. Yeah, I know this is the way most Christian bands operate, especially since their main venues are usually churches, but this particular band is especially hilarious at it, unintentionally I mean.
- This band is the absolute worst thing ever. There is nothing on Heaven or Earth that makes me more uncomfortable than their music. I can even tolerate Diamanda Galas more than these guys, and that noisy troll tries her damn hardest to make you hate her. She does not succeed on the level of ApologetiX merely because her intentions excuse her on at least some level. You will hate yourself, hate life, doubt your religion (even if it’s Atheism because you will want a Hell to exist for these guys to go to), and probably kick your dog or closest family member upon hearing even a few lines of “Smooth Grandmama”, a parody of “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson (I know, I know, I said I’d stop).
Anyway, do yourself a favor and forget you ever read this write-up and do NOT listen to this band, no matter how curious you may be. It took all of the good cheer and wonderful chocolate marble cake I could eat on my birthday to build up the good vibes enough to only hate this album this much, imagine what would happen if one had to talk about this album on any other day?
Happy birthday, everyone.