From January 3 to April 18, the Billboard Modern Rock Top 40 has averaged 2.07 new entries per week. Even by contemporary chart standards, with a Top 10 that basically stays the same every godforsaken week, this is incredibly sluggish. So when I saw four entries—double the average—had made the April 25 chart, it was like Christmas in springtime for a committed pop masochist like me.


by Hollywood Undead


Compression, the "squashing" of vocals and instruments into humungous crunching sound-wash, is utilized across the pop spectrum, but Modern Rock's use of it is garish and constant—the format/genre and compression go together like chain strip joints and silicone tit jobs. Anyone who thinks that louder/bigger is automatically better is an oaf, of course. And there are times when I, too, am an oaf. But not for this baldly unimaginative youth-angst grunting, which entered at number 34. Even via YouTube, the soft-to-loud ratio of "Young" was so ridiculous it made it impossible to hear the record as anything but a gizmo, like an obviously fake pair of 44-double-Ds. The mask-hat combos they wore in their video, though, made me laugh out loud.

"Death of Me"

by Red


As someone with almost no religious training, Christian music has never drawn me strongly one way or the other. But in the case of this awful hunk of light aggro, which entered at number 37, the religious aspect at least does us the favor of adding some extra dimension—maybe the chorus that sounds at first like the usual teen angst ("You tear me down and then you pick me up/You take it all and still it's not enough/You try to tell me you can heal me/But I'm still bleeding—you'll be the death of me") means something else, too. Not that it improves anything, mind.

"Two Weeks"

by All That Remains

(Prosthetic/Razor & Tie)

Metalcore is not my specialty either, so number 39 is even more of a learning experience. Main thing learned: Man, does some of this stuff have soggy choruses.

"Sound of Madness"

by Shinedown

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In at 40, this song's actual chorus goes like this: "I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain/Somehow I'm still here to explain." What I thought I heard the first couple times I listened to the song: "I created the sound of madness for the football brain." What the song reminds me of in audio fact, subject matter or compression or screaming vocal aside: "Seventeen," by Winger. recommended