REVIEW: JackieOnAssid - "Zip Me Up"

By Mike Ventarola

Chain Border

Zip Me UpChris Constantino was the bass guitar player with a top-chart new wave act from 1982 to 1985. Since the breakup of this act, Chris has not sat still with the myriad of projects he has accomplished, and is currently gaining headway with his new band JackieOnAssid, an irreverent name pun towards the late Jackie Onassis that is somewhat an inside joke. He is all grown up now ladies, and remains bawdy, bold, and buff. Chris is every girl's idea of the bad boy ideation with a few dashes of charm thrown in to make you swoon.

Mike Varjak, formerly with the Sisters of Mercy, teamed up with the incorrigible Chris, and together they make up the core body of JackieOnAssid. Along with the other credited band members, this team of highly talented musicians poke holes in the smoke screens of the yuppie generation.

Instead of resting on his laurels after a stint with a legendary band, Chris and company set sail to once again create a new sound in the music industry in an attempt to forge yet another legend. The band has covered their bases by including music on MP3 as well as on their own website domain. In keeping with the advancement of today's technology they even offer two video's for purchase on CD at their main site that is a 4 song EP as well.

Company Car has great guitar hooks that would rival today's alternative songs in the mainstream. The song itself is a heavy handed smack to reality about working a 9 to 5 existence and not realizing that most of us are seen as nothing more than cogs in the wheel who are going absolutely nowhere. The video of this song is shot in a guerrilla camera style that examines the city workers of London who are all dressed alike and all seem to be stressed out over things that won't matter 10 years from now. The footage could have been from any major city in any country, which is quite telling about our society of fools grasping senselessly at the imaginary brass ring that always remains elusive.

Mr. Sunday harkens back with a touch of latter day new wave bounce and is destined to be a pop classic. The song perceives a day in the life of an average Joe where nothing seems to be going as planned according to the book of life. It is tongue in cheek where God is asked for a refund on life for a day that is completely screwed up. Hollywood Bedsit is somewhat of a tribute to the nameless stalker that plagued Chris at one time. Despite the subject matter, which is a major worry and concern for most artists, this song has some of the greatest vocal harmonies and chords to come from any music arena in quite some time.

Zip Me Up has an accompanying video that includes "bondage, arson and the gratuitous abuse of mannequins." Oddly enough, the book burning sequence is the part that seemed to REALLY upset Joe Public when it was initially released. The song has a psychedelic/new wave/pop/ alternative hybrid with funky grooves to make you want to tap your foot along. Meditation Man is a rather acerbic view of people who are passengers and not participants in life. It can also relate to the lack of pertinent contact that one experiences either with a priest or with a psychiatrist. There are times when one pours out their heart and soul to these types of individuals and all that is returned is a smug smile and a nod of the head. These folks tend to be the robot's of life who somehow have a tendency to make us feel guilt and shame for what we are conveying, yet in reality, for all their knowledge, they have not learned to live in the real world at all.

Kings X Guru seems to be an homage to the creatures of the night who won't take any abuse from a system that force feeds them experience. Andy Warhol in essence extrapolates on the ass kissing that is done by vacuous people who want to appear as though they are a part of the "in" crowd. These groups gather around and spin in their drug induced insanity. They needlessly ramble about the latest craze and fad that makes up the pop icon world we live in, which amounts to nothing more than senseless blather. When all is said and done, most folks have about six minutes left to their 15 minutes of fame.

Cool Subterraneans is destined to make this band a household name. It opens with a sound that reflects the imagery of driving in a fancy auto during the night time rush hour in any city of the world. We live in a world of baby boomers who believed in a new world order who ultimately sold out to the "man." Those who thought they would make a difference have now become indifferent, numbed by their daily alcohol and prescription drug fix of choice, little sports car, and the house with the white picket fence. The dreamers of yesterday have helped to carve the nightmare of tomorrow. Real Fake expounds upon the notion of the phonies and the back-scratchers. The social climbers who turn everything into verbal gymnastics in an effort to highlight their personal dramas to gain sympathy, support or publicity. Clearly, the band shows no mercy towards these social pariahs and has no sympathy for folks who are in a self-imposed prison who do nothing to climb out of it.

Posing As An Angel takes a pot shot at life in a relationship where the bed has grown cold due to partnering with someone who seems to want to play the martyr role in life. Often this type of person will grant intimate relations on one's birthday or if they know there is a terminal illness looming overhead. Living with these angel posers can be difficult because somehow they squelch the words longing to be said which end up stuck in the back of ones throat.

JackieOnAssid utilizes a measure of lyrical metaphors. The songs, written with a bit of tongue and cheek, also belie a certain angst at the world that is not what it should be. Each tune is ensconced around blends of Pop/New Wave/Alternative and a dash of trance thrown in for good measure. The vocals are on target and provide just enough emotion to carry the lyrical intent along.

Continued listening demonstrates commonly accepted human conditions that require some re-evaluation in order to avoid the mass delusions that we are usually fed from cradle to grave. When all is said and done, JackieOnAssid reinvented mainstream music apart from the throw away pop cliché in order to put life in perspective from new found eyes. Since they have already seen what is on the other end of the "brass ring," their experiential gleanings were put down in song for those ready to hear it and realize it is nothing more than a game and we are all the pawns. From Kerouac to Andy Warhol, we are still nothing more than 15 minutes of fame in an overzealous world that is out of control which uses us like pieces on a chess board. Whether you come away from the music actually learning something, or just tune in to hear some great music, JackieOnAssid will surely delight those wanting something new and vibrant that isn't a rehash of the mess that is bombarded on the radio airwaves today.

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