1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 110

Page Avenue, by Story of the Year
Suggested by Craig Scott

My favourite graphic novel is Watchmen.

It’s a literary superhero tale, exploring a parallel Earth in which being a masked vigilante in the Batman mould is outlawed, and also obsoleted by the creation of an honest-to-goodness all-powerful super-being. I can’t begin to do it justice in a paragraph, so I won’t even try.

The comic’s Superman is Dr Manhattan, a scientist that became imbued with omnipotent power in a nuclear accident. He has both mentally and physically transcended his paltry humanity, and he presents himself as a colossal, bald, naked, blue Adonis. Why should a god be encumbered by the insignificance of clothing?

The film adaptation of Watchmen stayed true to the comic in all the ways that mattered. It was cerebral, poignant, dynamic and stylish. I enjoyed it a lot.

Most people fixated on the massive blue wang.

To be fair, it was pretty huge. Dr Manhattan is often fifty foot tall, and a six-foot blue cock that takes up half the screen does tend to pull focus.

Page Avenue is the debut album from the American rockers Story of the Year. It’s an accomplished release, with poised and powerful riffs bolstered by clean and present bass and drum tracks and a lead vocalist with a faultless, unwavering tenor. The songs are well crafted, the music is driven they lyrics are personal and deep, and the production is professional.

And then, every now again, the singer brings out his stock metal growly voice, and the screen is filled with massive blue wang.

It’s becoming a joke now, my dislike for a guttural growl. It’s like an off switch to my enjoyment, a binary flag from which I give no quarter or forgiveness. I say that I don’t mind it if it’s used sparingly, like a fascinator or a pinch of nutmeg, but if truth be told it’s like an unexpected pinkie up the bumhole. It’s uncomfortable, confusing, and definitely unwelcome when you’re in Morrisons.

When I’m distracted by the growl, it makes it so much easier to pick holes in rest. The unwavering vocals become reedy. The personal lyricism become an emo whine. The professional production becomes a soul-less over-polish. What was fresh and exciting now seems to be wilting, the joy being dragged toward an empty centre by the bleak gravity of the growl.

But I did enjoy this, despite the gigantic penis. My favourite son, the fast and driven Falling Down, is the most in-you-face and brutal track on the album, and the growl? Well, there’s Spam, egg, sausage and Spam, that’s not got much Spam in it.

I suppose the big question is this: how much superhero schlong can you stomach before your enjoyment is soured? And it’s a reflection on myself, too. Am I so blinkered that I can’t see past the overpowering penis to see the genius of the project as a whole?

Apparently, I am. 5/10.

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