One of Seattle’s greats proves they’ve still got it.
Mudhoney, one of Seattle’s last alternative strongholds from the late ’80s/’90s, just released a concept album entitled Plastic Eternity on what they most like to talk about in their album: issues like pollution and fascist ideologies, and the political commentary that comes with it.
Plastic Eternity marks their 15th studio LP, which is no mean feat, especially for bands from that era. Clearly, vocalist Mark Arm still has serious topics to tackle in their songs. He starts off the album by yelling “Everyone tells me it’s nice to have me back,” which is completely true for those who love the ’90s.
Staying true to the name, the album starts off with “Souvenir of My Trip,” which sounds like quite the trip. If you got Curtis Mayfield bongo funk and Dry Cell nu metal together in a studio, that’s what the instrumental sounds like on the second track. Then add Mark Arm’s psychonaut, spacey vocals and you have “Almost Everything” it takes to make a psychedelic song that even Hunter S. Thompson would appreciate. In fact, I think he would play this entire album on repeat.
The instrumental in “Cascades of Crap” puts you in the middle of a desert. A Mad Max-esque desert, to be precise. The lyrics, however, depict the social satire that Gen Z wants. They are their own political commentators in this concept album.
One of my favorite songs from this album was “Plasticity.” I mainly enjoyed the intro with the vocoder, that was followed by guitars and synths galore. The whole song consists of the singer naming plastic objects, not unlike Kanye in “All of the Lights.” Another song that I appreciated a lot was “Flush the Fascists,” because it’s another song whose title and lyrics feed into the political commentary that Arm sets as a solid precedent. The song depicts the band’s desire to rid society of fascists, or rather “flush ‘em down.” This is very much solidified when Arm describes them as “teeth that are rotten to the core,” needing to be pulled out.
The song “Severed Dreams in the Sleeper Cell,” especially the chorus, sounds like a satirical answer to Rage Against The Machine’s “Wake Up,” which was coincidently used in the movie “The Matrix.” Where Zack de la Rocha (RATM vocalist) belts “WAKE UP,” Arm sings “We don’t wanna wake up now,” attempting to convey the message that people don’t want to get out of their day-to-day rat race.
Also, move over Justin Timberlake, Mudhoney is here. Where “Cry Me a River” is a tale depicting Timberlake’s unsuccessful relationship with Britney Spears, the Mudhoney track “Cry Me An Atmospheric River” boasts a manic Arm taking the persona of the weather on Earth who cares not “what happens to humans.”
While the album isn’t bad, I feel like there is a quantity-over-quality issue here. Songs like “Human Stock Capital” and “Tom Herman’s Hermits” could’ve been killed off the tracklist and put in a vault for B-side releases.
The other songs, such as “Flush the Fascists” and “Move Under,” give a hint of what the band feels towards our society. Yes, it is true that you can’t go into too much detail when singing about a pressing topic. However, the runtime of Mudhoney’s songs on this record are shorter in comparison to other alternative bands, and even compared to their own older hits like “Touch Me I’m Sick” and “Suck You Dry.” Overall, listen to your discretion if you want to hear old ’90s Seattle drug-infested-port-city mavericks rage against our society.
Trial Track: “Almost Everything”