A Perfect Circle-eMotive
In what I can only assume was a political protest, A Perfect Circle released an anti-war album, eMotive, on November 2nd, 2004. eMotive came as a surprise to most APC fans since it had only been a little over a year since the bands ground breaking Thirteenth Step had been released. Unlike Thirteenth Step, eMotive lacked almost all of the good qualities of other APC releases, mainly taste. Tool and APCís front man, Maynard is quite obviously upset at the direction the country is going in. His reaction was very sixtyís hippie, a protest album. Consider this disc one big open letter to the editor of your local newspaper. I donít care if you agree with his politics or not, Iím more interested in the music itself. Which is why I think eMotive is such a disaster. Why would one of rocks most creative bands release a collection of mostly uninspired covers? The first actual track on eMotive was a no-brainer. What anti-war album can be complete without a cover of Imagine? I must say though that this version does not remind me of John Lennon whatsoever. That is not a complaint. APC manages a brilliant reworking, the albums most successful track. Unfortunately for APC fans the disc doesnít stop there. What follows are embarrassing, obviously hurried covers of Peace, Love and Understanding, Whatís Going On, Depeche Modeís People are People and several others. Interspersed between are the ďfunĒ tracks that add filler crap to all of Maynardís releases. Put these together and you start to wonder if this disc was worth the effort to record it. Two of the songs that stand out are Maynard originals, Passive and an industrial remix of an earlier APC song. Passive actually sounds like an out take from Thirteenth Step, a beautifully pissed off rocker with lots of passion and deeply moving, ďWake up and face me, donít play dead cause maybe/Someday Iíll walk away and say/You disappoint me.Ē Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums is a remix of APCís song Pet from Thirteenth Step. In this incantation it is a disturbing, disharmonic Industrial masterpiece: ďDon't fret precious I'm here/step away from the window/Go back to sleep/Safe from pain and truth and choice and other poison devils/See, they don't give a fuck about you, like I do.Ē eMotive mercifully ends at this point with a very usual track for Maynard, an acapella version of Fiddle and the Drum Ė a Joni Mitchell Vietnam protest song. The most improbable track I would ever expect to hear from Maynard. Funny enough, Fiddle and the Drum ends up as the best cover outside of Imagine. Maynardís voice is actually incredible and we usually donít get to hear it without a distorted backdrop. Who knows if this whole rock/metal thing doesnít work out for him Maynard could always form a boy-band. In the end, I believe that eMotive failed because the art became subjugated to the message. Which doesnít always mean the art wonít work, but in this case we didnít end up with the Sistene Chapel. Beyond that, does Maynard lose some street cred with metal fans for even acknowledging songs by John Lennon, Marvin Gaye and Joni Mitchell? Who knew? What I donít understand is why didnít Maynard just release Imagine as a single? Itís a great cover that would have gotten his point across without dragging A Perfect Circle's otherwise good name through the dirt.
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