I was rummaging through some old odds and ends while i was home for the Canada Day long weekend, and i managed to find my copy of Big Shiny Tunes 6. I along with many people reaching their late 20’s and mid 30’s hold these releases quite close to their hearts. There are debates as to which of these compilation albums are the best ones (which i won’t get into here at the moment), but what i remember most about them is how much i disliked 6 when compared to 5.
I never gave it too much thought back then, i just never spun it as often as 5 or any of my other CD’s as i just plain old didn’t like it. But i figure now is the time to figure out this particular riddle from childhood. This isn’t really a review of the compilation but it is a track by track breakdown of the CD, so if you’ve for some bizarre reason wanted to add Big Shiny Tunes 6 to your collection then you can take this recommendation of: Don’t Bother.
(i’ve linked the songs in the text so that this doesn’t become a youtube vid overload post, i’ve posted the lyric videos where i can so you can sing along at your leisure)
THE SHINY TUNES
Big Shiny Tunes 6 is just a gloomier record than 5 (or any of the preceding ones for that matter). Just look at the album art for starters, with its grey background and red letters indicating its weather worn atmosphere from a glance.
The problem is compacted with the track list, as the sequencing here just isn’t as uniformly solid as in 5’s. Starting off with Linkin Park’s debut single One Step Closer (which received endless airplay and wasn’t as catchy as their other singles from that album), and followed up with the shiny pop punk tracks: The Rock Show, Flavor of the Weak, and Fat Lip that strand the album opener tonally. They should have put One Step Closer in the dull and gloomy middle section where it belongs.
Also with exception of The Rock Show, the opening five tracks of BST 6 just aren’t good or memorable to me at all. Flavor of the Weak was a successful single for American Hi-Fi before ironically illustrating that the title of the song described the band to a tee. Sum-41’s breakout single Fat Lip is as solid a pop punk song released, but i say the band’s best singles were ahead of them in the form of Motivation, In Too Deep, Still Waiting, Hell Song, and my favorite of all Over My Head all of which are more energetic, and less worn out than Fat Lip (having received exhaustive air play back in 2001 and is still on regular radio rotation).
Whereas track 5 on BST 5 was filled out with a left field oddity, Default’s Wasting My Time exemplifies the default sound of the early 2000’s post grunge drudgery along with Nickleback, Theory of a Deadman, and a host of other forgotten bands (and isn’t the only example of this on the album). Its inoffensive and the chorus is catchy but again the title describes the only value the song had and has now.
The mid album is a hodgepodge of mediocre, great, and inoffensive. Limp Bizkit’s My Way sucks, as Durst’s chipmunk pitched yowels are awful without any of the interesting arrangements from Significant Other to back them up. Puddle of Mudd’s Control is dog shit plain and simple, channeling the worst of the Kurt Cobain major label aping and having none of the guilty pleasure catchiness of their follow up singles Blurry or She Hates Me. Thankfully Weezer’s come back single Hash Pipe and Stone Temple Pilots’ excellent Days of the Week breath life back into the track list with their catchy riffs and choruses.
Sugar Ray’s When it’s Over was another one of their attempts to make the song of the summer when they released it in May 2001 (and they once again succeeded), it’s not bad but by November of that year it was played out by endless radio looping. Our Lady Peace’s Life moved them farther from my preferred post-grunge sound for the band and into the pop rock sound that would mature with 2002’s Somewhere Out There, personally i say the band reached their zenith with their single In Repair and quickly lost appeal from there. The Gorillaz’s breakout single Clint Eastwood while being brilliant and catchy only serves to gloom up 6’s atmosphere even more when compared to 5. Moby’s South Side does its best to liven things back up after almost 2 minutes of the preceding song’s meanderings, and succeeds.
The home stretch of the album is heralded by Bif Naked’s awesome opening riff of I Love Myself Today whose chugging rhythm, badass attitude, and sing along chorus emasculates and buries Limp Bizkit’s and Puddle of Mudd’s putrid earlier efforts. This is only to be followed up by as great a tonal shift as possible with the wimpy Be Like That by Three Doors Down, and honestly you’d be forgiven if you thought Default had two tracks on Big Shiny Tunes 6 as they sound so much alike.
David Usher’s Alone in the Universe is similar in tone to Be Like That but seems more honest and less produced (aka less shit), and with its alt rock chorus it sits better with the rest of the album than 3 Doors Down’s offering. Following that there’s a song by some band called Tantric called Breakdown, the singer sounds like another Default clone and i never was interested in listening to it back then nor now.
The final nail in the coffin for this much more sober Big Shiny Tunes is the closer; The Tea Party’s Walking Wounded. I like it, not as much as their previous single Heaven’s Coming Down but it’s a solid song all in all.
THE BIG LET DOWN
I never bought a Big Shiny Tunes album after 6, it was and still is lackluster compared to Big Shiny Tunes 5. It doesn’t have the same energy and its sequencing is at times baffling in comparison to the previous album. That alone would be reason enough to stop buying these albums, but the real reason was that i got a steady internet connection from then on out and hopped on Limewire and later Kazaa and simply got my own.
I’m going to say that the consensus on this album aligns with mine, most of the other previous releases in the Big Shiny Tunes series were certified at least Platinum here in Canada, but 6 hasn’t even been certified gold to my knowledge. Frankly i’m shocked that they managed to release 8 more of these compilations, i didn’t even know they existed past 8 until recently.
And now i feel really old…