Monday, May 23, 2005

Pray For The Soul Of Betty, Constantine can take care of himself

"Pray For The Soul Of Betty", the band featuring erstwhile American Idol hopeful Constantine Maroulis dropped their self-titled album on the shelves recently. They are a versatile band, with rich musical influences from bands like the Doors, Soundgarden and Jane's Additction, not Nirvana clones - the best thing one can say about modern rock bands nowadays.

"Drift" samples some train announcements before launching into a power-driving rhythm, then Constantine jumps into the mix. The song does not vary much in delivery, being a standard rock piece, but the mix is just right of A-B chords and Constantine's voice. Yahoo's Launchcast has a video for "Drift". The song deals with drugs, perchance, and 'the drift in all of life'."...Close your eyes when you see me coming/razor sharp/down the kids that plan/to meet you, to meet you, to meet you/close your eyes when you see me coming/razor sharp/thinking of my master plan/to get to you, to get to you, to get you"

"Rich Bitch" is more good rock. Constantine really soars in this song, an ode to loves lost, not worth the loving, perhaps. "When I think of all your lies/Wonder why I ever did/suffer you/We always make the same mistakes". He steps back in the second half and some great guitarwork from Taylor takes over. A good band is one where the lead vocalist is able to let his/her colleagues shine in the sun.


"Truck Stop Sally" is a clever, naughty song. More slow-paced, it tells the story of Sally, "A girl from Wichita
Pretty little jewel with a Cheshire smile
Grew up in the heart of a trailer park
No one there to raise her but her big bad Pa

Daddy had a streak like a lightnin’ bolt
Sally took the brunt as his whipping post
Waited ‘til the day she turned 16
Got up in the morning, yeah she split that scene
Made for the border down on Highway 1
Man, that girl knew how to make some fun
Free as a bird, oh yeah she’d spread her wings
Take ‘em round the world, oh yeah she knew her thing
She becomes the heart-throb of the truckers, able to "brokenheart a man like a blown-out tire", some image that. Again, appropriate mix of drums, guitar, vocals. Great song, should see more radio-play.

The reason why this band is among the best new American bands, and also why Constantine was not cut out for the sugar-sweet American Idol world, is demonstrated by the next song, "Some Of My Fucked-Up World". This is a true modern American anthem rock song. Fast, acid-fast rhythms, a lament for the American dream, love and the power of music to 'take you higher'. Constantine, once again, takes command of the soundspace, ably supported by Taylor, Clyde & Joao.Did…I know, I know, I know I didn’t get enough
Let me show you some of my fucked up world
Do the music turn you on?
Do it make you higher?

Baby, are you down
For a trip to lost and found
I wanna keep it on the ground
I wanna move you one more time

Where did we go?
I thought I felt a vacancy
Took me straight through the night
I wonder, did you feel it?
I can be anything you hoped or could envision
Now, what ever happened to love?
What happened to our love?

"Cry" slows the pace down, ruminating on the impermanence of dreams and fantasies, with the need to "Slip inside/The world to be/A victim of your sympathy". Taylor lays down a great bass line, well-coordinated with Constantine's crooning.

"the Day" is a Metallica-style power rock song, coupled with quite a bit of originality. Another song where the bass really shines. Constantine's closing tones are just phenomenal. Carpe Diem!


"Cut The Cord" samples a NY Cab dispatcher, and defines the reason why the lover must leave his love, now that he has 'climbed the mountain just to get the truth', and knows that 'there's more to you/or more to outshine'. He wonders why he 'didn't foresee the end', and promises to make it, asking the lover to 'wait 'til the day I rise/never be undone'. The true love affair though, is once again between the bassist and the vocalist:)

The dystopian tones of "Suicide" belie the richness of this song. Greatness is at work here - listen and appreciate.

"Sylvan", perhaps a very personal song, is about parental control. It closes out the album with a hard, power-driving song, that doesn't let up for a second.

Pray For The Soul Of Betty, the band, while somewhat derivative, shows great potential. Their live shows are apparently quite fiery, and the publicity from the American Idol attempt can only have helped grow their fan base. Fan boards are quite active, and the album is doing quite well. The album is also available in a sanitized form, but why would anyone want that really?

Pray For The Soul of Betty/Pray For The Soul of Betty Ten/Pearl Jam Nevermind/Nirvana American Idiot/Green Day

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