Posted by: markfender | March 5, 2013

Headphone Diaries – October 30, 1990

It’s time for some industrial.

Skinny Puppy - Too Dark ParkSkinny Puppy
Too Dark Park

If you happened to be engaged in a conversation with someone in the ’90s about industrial music, three bands would inevitably rise to the surface of that conversation: Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, and Skinny Puppy. And yet, I never really cared for Skinny Puppy. I was a ginormous fan of those other bands but Skinny Puppy never clicked with me. I think it’s because of the lack of guitars.

What’s weird is that I like the individual pieces of Skinny Puppy. I think Ogre’s got the perfect voice for the band and I’ve enjoyed some of Key’s and Oglivie’s side projects. I’d even say that the first half of a song like “Tormentor” is pretty cool. But then it doesn’t go anywhere. I need a hook of some kind and Skinny Puppy songs almost never have any. They’re just neat noises combined into a vaguely creepy set piece.

Their next album, Last Rites, was even bigger in the scene. The inevitable black T-shirts on the pasty bodies of the headbangers soon featured Skinny Puppy’s logo, making it into rotation with the Megadeth and Metallica brands. Which really confused me. Why were the headbangers suddenly into Skinny Puppy? These were the same people who thought Nine Inch Nail’s first album was too “pussy.” What did Skinny Puppy offer them that more center-aligned industrial mainstays were not giving them? I was always confused.

As I’ve aged, I appreciate Skinny Puppy more. I have their singles collection (with the amazing name of Singles Collection) and I don’t hate it. Their sound has grown on me. But I still think it’s more of an appreciation than a genuine like. That being said, I always did like “The Killing Game” from Last Rites, and I have no idea why.

Did it age well? Some of their early stuff has a definite early ’80s electronic sound to it, but their later stuff distances them from that somewhat. You might even say that the lack of whatever thing I think the band was lacking kept their sound from aging as much as it probably should have. I’ll just have to explore that with my therapist.

Should this go on your iPod? Do you enjoy being vaguely disconcerted by your iPod?

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