When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11
High school fucking sucked. We can all agree about that, right? Being surrounded by hordes of the hormonally unbalanced, the insipid jock-o-rama culture and good teachers forced to dumb down their classes to accommodate the stupidest of students was pretty much my very definition of hell. There was not a single redeeming thing to be said of the entire miserable four year experience. So it was a bit disconcerting to hear Teething wax nostalgic about high school on the song “1996,” which has got to be the least punk thing a punk band could do. Sure they say it sucked, but the song also romanticizes things like smoking in school bathrooms and getting good and underaged wasted. I remember 1996; I was in high school in 1996; 1996 can kiss my ass.
Not to pick on that one ill-conceived song, but I think “1996” underscores the broader problem I had with the Spanish punks’ rough-throated hardcore. For all the spit and pissing, I just don’t get the feeling Teething really mean any of their generic punk sloganeering. Some of the songs sound almost like a middle aged scriptwriter’s fantasy of what teen punk rebellion feels like for some lame-ass weepy teen flick. Case in point, sour-note starting point “Hell Song” is all “I’m a worthless piece of shit” and chants of “666,” which to Teething’s ears are probably meant to sound bad ass. I just don’t get the feeling they really mean any of it. It’s more punk pose than something heartfelt. It borders on parody. Teen self-loathing is certainly a punk-worthy topic that would be instantly relatable, but “Fuck This Face,” which leaps out with blastbeats and then fizzles to mediocrity, doesn’t convey any real human connection as the singer talks about how much he hates his features and his parents.
My problem is Teething seem to be mouthing the words without delivering the emotional substance. They very well could be deadly serious about this stuff, but their approach just doesn’t convey sincerity. I get the feeling Teething very much want to their songs to be meaningful, but that’s the area where their music needs the most work.
[Full disclosure: Teething sent me a download.]