From the start, The Prozacs hits the line running, with just about every song on Thanks for Nothing hitting above the 120 bpm mark. No power ballads for this Massachusetts punk outfit. While the songs are short (the longest clocking in at a prog-rockin' 2:41!), with fast tempos, the songs still seem to lack in energy. It seems this is safely blamed on studio nerves. Most bands fail to capture their live energy, though there are levels of success and failure, and this album seems to tend towards the low end of the spectrum.
Lyrically, many of the songs are "safe" punk songs ("I've Got to Get Away" and "I First Noticed You at the Dairy Mart") and these make up the most boring cuts on the album. However, the band picks up when they actually try to say something. On 'Do You Hate Yourself Yet?' assuming the role of an MTV exec, they write "I'm sorry but it's my job to make you hate yourself / If you want to be attractive you better look like someone else / Your insecurity is our profit/ Do you hate yourself yet?" Its a great song, hindered only by the roughness of the lyrical rhythms. Sometimes, there's just too many syllables for a line, and it gets a little ugly sounding.
Another lyrical standout is "Clone." Skewering corporate rock (and pop, for that matter, like there's that big a difference), they praise the attributes of being able to be "a puppet. . . I want someone to pull my strings." In the modern rock scene, its certainly an apt image, since most bands' musical decisions are made at the label by morons in suits who know what will sell best to the victims, I mean viewers, of MTV. A&R execs are now ranking members of the bands they represent, overruling all decisions based on sales figures, and what Puddle of Mudd sold last week, and how Blink-182 are charting.
Again, and throughout much of Thanks for Nothing, the lyrics are shoehorned into the music. Maybe a little more time should have been taken to craft the lyrics into something the fans can sing along with. Instead words and parts of words get swallowed in an attempt to get to the end of the line before the music does. What really makes this even more difficult to listen to are the tracks with lyrics that fit perfectly, as in "Double Feature." True, itís not a "message" song, but its a well-written song, which can be more important, sometimes.
All in all, Thanks for Nothing is a promising album. I know I always say this, but this is a band that I would like to see live. Like I said, I think they failed to capture their energy on the recording, but while that leads to a less than stellar review this time, that doesn't make them a bad band, it just means that their next album could be something special, if they can capture that energy.
Dustin Kreidler is a Contributing Writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.