On The Shell Corporation‘s first full length album Force Majeure, the track “Ozymandias” uses a quote from the 1976 film Network – “You’ve got to say I’m a human being, God damn it! My life has value! So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!'” I don’t think I need to sit here and tell you the world has been going to shit. We’ve got that fucking idiot man child in the oval office keeping us on the brink of full blown nuclear war. Every other day it seems like some piece of shit is shooting a group of people and no one does anything about it. We are dying because we can’t afford health insurance. The richiest of richies are getting huge tax breaks, and we are all down here fucking struggling to survive every goddamn day.
It’s been six years since the release of Force Majeure and The Shell Corporation is still mad as hell. Fucked gives us 12 tracks of pure vitriol and anger about the shitty fucking world around us in typical Shell Corp fashion. But angrier. “There’s racism and violence on BOTH sides. I just don’t really see a difference, you know?” is the first line of Fucked’s first track “Kumbaya.” It’s uttered in a completely sarcastic tone followed by other key right-leaning catch phrases like “snowflakes.” The string of oblivious opinions on protesting comes to a sudden end as singer Jan Drees says we are all thinking – just a guttural frustrated scream.
The Trump supporting maniacs are not the only people in The Shell Corporation’s crosshairs. The money hoarders get their comeuppance in “Make It Rain” while “Not Funny” calls out the lackadaisical and apathetic with lyrics like “You better get woke or you’re gonna get fucked.”
Then there is the track “Von Braun Waltz.” Besides being strangely catchy as fuck, is a kind of character study of Wernher von Braun. “Who the fuck is that?” I can hear you saying. Well friend, Wernher von Braun was a scientist who worked under the Nazi party in Germany during World War II who helped develop the V-2 rocket. He swore up and down throughout his life that he was not really a Nazi but basically just associated with them so he could develop rockets and reach his ultimate goal of getting into space to put a human on the moon. After the war, he was recruited by the good ol’ USA to build rockets for the ‘good guys,’ eventually joining the newly formed NASA and did just that. His indifference to being a high ranking officer in the SS and involvement in the Nazi party and probably responsible for the death of around 20,000 people made him the target of good old fashioned 1965 humor, like the song “Wernher Von Braun.” Written by the 60’s version of Weird Al, Tom Lehrer, the song states “Don’t say he’s hypocritical/ But rather that he’s apolitical/ ‘Once the rockets are up/ who cares where they come down? That’s not my department’ says Wernher von Braun.” Now someone cue up that “The more you know” rainbow.
The angriest track on the album surprisingly isn’t aimed at crooked politicians or former Nazis though. Nope, that honor is reserved for a former relationship, as heard in the album’s last track “One Last Thing.” I’m not going to get into gossip regarding the personal lives of band members, but if that isn’t an apt metaphor for humanity in general, I don’t know what is. You can be angry and pissed off at the way of the world and want to burn it all down. But in the end, it’s what affects you personally that fuels your rage. Being content doesn’t inspire the willingness to act. It’s the parents who don’t give a shit until it’s their kid that’s affected. It’s the person who never did any charitable acts until their partner is taken by cancer. It’s the reason we have pills that give old dudes gross boners but we still can’t completely cure certain diseases which affect millions. How many scientists do you think are HIV positive? Now how many have a little limp dick in their pants? I’m just saying The Shell Corporation all but disappeared these last four years, and now here they are.
The Shell Corporation’s third album is exactly what you expect The Shell Corporation’s third album would sound like. That’s a good thing. Sometimes you get the bands that stray too far from their sound and it just doesn’t fucking work. Sometimes you get bands that put out the same thing over and over and over and that’s just as shitty. Shell Corp managed to land in that sweet spot once again, being just familiarly different, and bringing their biting sharp criticism of the world with them just when we need it the most.
Shout out to “They Live” for being one of my favorite tracks on the album after reading the lyrics.
Fucked: X+7X+19=3 x 12 – 4+(5 x 16) – 5 out of X^2+x-110=0
I think that adds up. Give me a break. I’m not a fucking rocket scientist, you dink.
Vinyl Nerds! La Escalera Records has pressed 100 copies of Fucked on a Black and Blue Swirl vinyl, 100 copies on Clear Pink vinyl, and 300 on standard black vinyl. Or if you’re over in Europe, Gunner Records has 100 on Clear vinyl and 400 on Red vinyl.