Title: Milquetoast

Artist: Helmet

Album: Betty

Year Released: 1994

What It Is: A strong hard-hitting song from one of my favorite 90’s bands. For some reason they signed a big major label deal (post-Nirvana giddyness by record companies) when they were rather stark and uncompromising. This is toned down a bit from their first major release, and a LOT toned down from “Strap It On” and “Born Annoying”. But still, music of quality and distinction. And….YAAAAAAH!

Riffage / Hookage: Helmet = riffs. Riffs, harmonics and Coltrane-like guitar excursions. That’s what you get with them. Of course, it helps that Page Hamilton, the leader of Helmet, was a serious jazz student who found he loved distortion and worked with Glen Branca.

Cowbell?: John Stanier usually sticks to his toms and pounds them with alacrity.

Words Of Wisdom: “Tell me if you think it’s all right
I’ll give in to what you know
I don’t see the habits that become me
I’ve saved up my useless thoughts

Well means, it works I’m on your side
I said that? Well so, I lied
Remember I tried not to be wary
This failed me once too much

Well preserved
Don’t forget what you heard”

Just like the music, the lyrics are sharp, concise and well thought out.

Mixology Report: Everyone needs a bit of AAAARGH! in their life. Why not have it something meaningful, thoughtful and atypical.

Top Five Genius Results: Soundgarden – Room A Thousand Years Wide
Rollins Band – Low Self Opinion
Fugazi – Repeater
Alice In Chains – We Die Young
Mother Love Bone – Stardog Champion

For The Good Of The Order: Hamilton’s had some…issues…keeping a band together. They broke up in 1998 after some band members came and went, and reformed in 2004. But the personnel still changes seemingly on a whim. Also, I’m not that happy with the direction. Instead of singing (sort of, but at least not growling), Hamilton now just barks out the lyrics. At least he tried to get some melody in there before.

Here are two clips. For some reason, they both start a few seconds into it (so be patient). Here’s the studio version:

Here’s a shot of them live. I did seem them live, in 1992, and yes, it was kinda like this.