I gave the High Speed Scene a chance for one reason. It wasn’t that the band’s name comes from the poster for Two Lane Blacktop, an admittedly awesome movie. It wasn’t the album’s positively dull cover; it wasn’t the promo photo that makes the band look like a cross between Nickelback and Third Eye Blind. I gave the Los Angeles-based trio a chance because they’re on Star Trak, and if it’s good enough for the Neptunes, it’s good enough for me. Famous last words.
I was actually able to make it through this entire album, although not in one sitting. Along the way, I searched my soul and questioned my existence and wondered if I should go on. And I learned this: the High Speed Scene is so awful that it isn’t really worth addressing the music, much like it isn’t worth staring at the sun to find out if you’ll really go blind.
On the band’s Web site, band members brag that the Neptunes signed them without ever seeing them live. Apparently, this is supposed to be a compliment. But it eliminates the one rational explanation that the Neptunes signed this band: that they are better live than on record.
Opening for the indescribably better Futureheads this spring, I wouldn’t be surprised if this were, in fact, the case. But it isn’t just the production that ruins this music: lyrics this unbearable couldn’t be saved by a Hendrix guitar solo during an acid trip. The fucking thing begins with “I ride my BMX, I smoke my Cali weed, I dig on NoFX, rich kids on LSD.” There’s thirty-two minutes more of that, and I listened to it all for you. I’m accepting cards and gift baskets.
Maybe the High Speed Scene is just a crappy, slightly more pop-punk version of Weezer, if Rivers Cuomo couldn’t write songs and looked like Bon Jovi (really). Maybe one day soon you’ll be at a family gathering and your twelve-year-old cousin will tell you he likes The High Speed Scene. Just remember all the embarrassing music you liked when you were his age, lean back, and hope he downloaded it or bought my used copy so we don’t reward people for being professionally vapid.