by Craig S. Semon
Telegram & Gazette:Worcester, Mass
Feb 10, 2002
Don’t hate Bush’s Gavin Rossdale because he’s beautiful. His problem is banality.
Selling 12 million records since the British quartet took American alternative radio by storm, Bush has made a career out of being a Nirvana wannabe and cashing in on the camera-friendly good looks of its frontman, Rossdale.
While “Golden State” may or may not duplicate the success of the band’s 7 million-selling debut, “Sixteen Stone,” the latest further tarnishes grunge’s legacy.
Bush plays March 12 at the Orpheum Theater in Boston.
It seems Rossdale doesn’t need solutions as much as he needs a lyrical direction for the leadoff track, “Solutions.” With angst- ridden lyrics, “We brood/We flake/We torch/We take,” the listener doesn’t know if Rossdale is suffering from depression or psoriasis. Bottom line: We don’t care.
Rossdale, fiance of Gwen Stefani’s from the band No Doubt, is standing around aimlessly at “American Weddings” (whatever the heck that means) on “Headful of Ghosts.” Once again, the listener has no clue what Rossdale’s singing about, or worse, if he’s singing about anything. Whether this song is about having cold feet at the altar or staring down at the abyss is never clear. A lame variation of Dr. Zaius’ final words to Taylor in “Planet of the Apes” serves as the conscience of the song — “Be sure that what you dream of/Won’t come to hunt you out.”
The harrowing, hook-laden “The People That We Love” is the album’s first single and first song with a consistent, clear narrative. Here, Rossdale examines the fragile nature of romance and how our harsh actions can inevitably destroy the world that we worked so hard to make. As he establishes himself as the Mother Love of Modern Rock, Rossdale advises that for every negative action, there’s a cataclysmic reaction. Raw and rough around the edges but still radio- friendly, the song fits nicely in the niche occupied by Bush’s previous hits and has plenty for the listener to love.
The listener has to barricade the doors not to get swept away by the sonic electrical storm and lyrical landscape of the winning “Hurricane.” Playing a lost soul spinning out of control, Rossdale cleans out everything in his wake as he intensely relays his whirlwind of heartache.
Rossdale realizes that real love can never fail, but fail it does on the dreary, dirge-like ballad “Inflatable.” Admitting that being in love is not always enough to make a relationship work, Rossdale delivers a pale imitation of the Psychedelic Furs’ Richard Butler as he croons how his lover is “so pretty in white.”
A BRAVE NEW WORLD
On “Land of the Living,” Rossdale finds himself alive and well in a brave new world. Unfortunately, this ditty about spiritual redemption is set adrift by the shortsightedness of Rossdale’s rudimentary, brain-dead lyrics, which even his most intense delivery and the band’s power-chord crunch can’t hide.
Bush gets all revved up with nowhere to go on “My Engine Is With You.” Here, Rossdale’s rapid-fire delivery and his bandmates’ punkish, breakneck speed don’t give the listener a chance to catch his breathe.
Bush supplies the flip side to U2’s “Beautiful Day” on the album’s closer, “Float.” Wanting to be everything Zen to his lover, Rossdale promises they’ll die together. Backed up with grunge-friendly guitar chords, the singer whines, “It’s a beautiful world but everyone’s insane/Either you swim or either you fade.” With an equal blend of pessimism and passion, Rossdale’s trembling, troubling words might make tortured teeny-boppers swoon, but adults will shake their heads in disbelief, disgust and horror.