CD Review

Rob Zombie - "American Made Music to Strip By"

By Dan Century

American Made Music to Strip ByI'm a sucker for sugar coating and false emotion, so when I spotted the promo copy for American Made Music to Strip By I could not pass it up. $8.99, still in the wrapper, a week before it "officially" hits the stores. Thank goodness for DJs and magazine editors who cash promo CDs in for beer money. American… is a remix album of songs from Rob's previous album Hellbilly Deluxe (see Legends 82), with remixes by NIN associates Charlie Clouser and Chris Vrenna, Limp Bizkit's DJ Lethal, Rammstein, Praga Kahn and others. Thanks to these "studio alchemists" American… improves upon the quality moments of Hellbilly Deluxe, and as a result, surpasses it. Now that I have this album I may never listen to Hellbilly again.

The artwork and packaging for American… is outstanding, despite the fact that it is a "Digi-pak" (the paper CD cases, which hold up as well as "jewel-cases," if not better). Once again Rob drags out every rock n' roll visual cliché available to his sick nostalgia obsessed mind: checkered racing flags, flames, devils, zombies, pentagrams, skulls, robots, race cars, old glory and, of course, mostly nude pictures of his latest girlfriend. Enough eye-candy to make the average teenage child's over stimulated brain hemorrhage (as if video games, Ritalin and sugary breakfast cereal wasn't enough). Rob, a phenomenal cartoonist on par with Coop, Pizz and the old EC Comics, gives you a less-than-disposable music packaging experience. Ah yes, danger has never been more obtainable and sanitary.

So what's the music like, you ask? Well, it's "music to strip by:" more dance than metal with lots of break beats, funkier grooves, techno drumming, electro squeals and heaps of DJ trickery. I haven't spent a whole lot of time in strip clubs, but I think the ladies and gents of the stage will like it…in fact, if Geffen knew what they were doing they would send promo copies directly to strip bar DJs instead of radio DJs. Strippers might shy away from the horror imagery and harsh guitars, but their Howard Stern worshiping working man fans will love it. Of course anyone can strip to this record, not just the pros.

Every song on this disk is superb. Any song that sucked on Hellbilly is now re-built and vastly improved - proof that you can shine poop. The previously disappointing How to Make a Monster, which was mixed to almost inaudible levels on Hellbilly, has been resurrected and repackaged by God Lives Underwater into a sleazy-swank, KMFDM-esque dance-floor romp. Chris Vrenna remixes Return of the Strangler and makes it his own, stripping away the original music and adding club beats and 303 bass sounds, and lots of juicy echo - a vast improvement. Charlie Clouser reanimates the milquetoast radio-hit Living Dead Girl as a Wax-Traxy/NYC Limelight electro-nugget.

There are a couple of non-surprises: Praga Khan remixes Superbeast and it sounds like a Lords of Acid song and Spookshow Baby, remixed by Rammstein, sounds like Du Hast part 2 - not that this is a bad thing, but I like surprises. If you like Zombies and you like to dance, this disk is definitely worth your $8.99, or whatever price you find it for. Grease up those poles and let the boogie begin! Go, Baby, Go!

Contact Information:
Post: Geffen Records, 10900 Wilshire Blvd., STE. 1230, Los Angeles, CA, 90024

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