Hillbillies, Go Do Your Farming Somewhere Else

The Alternative Norma Jean

Like manna from Heaven this next bit just sort of floated down on top of me. While digging around in the bowels of iTunes for obscure Pretty Miss Norma Jean albums for a recent post  I stumbled over a band who call themselves Norma Jean. Ever curious I clicked play.

Okay, first let’s back up. I was looking at a shoddily produced album of Pretty Miss Norma Jean’s hits when I noticed, inexplicably, 104 people had reviewed the album. Striking me as odd I went into the reviews and that is when I discovered the alternative Norma Jean. The next thing that struck me was how harsh the fan reviews on our Pretty Miss Norma’s album were, very harsh. Mean spirited really, angry at iTunes for selling the record, Norma Jean for not being the Norma Jean they wanted her to be and the world, for reasons largely unclear. One reviewer even thanked iTunes for ruining his life. We’re hoping that was just a bit of creative expression. Nothing like a fanboy’s anger after being cleaned out of ten bucks for heedlessly clicking download. Here’s an example painstakingly copied verbatim from iTunes:

“good job itunes….hey i tunes get ur s*** strait this is freakin country music not the hardcore norma jean i was looking for congratulations once again for almost getting me to waste $9.99”

Now, a couple of things to note. One, that’s an actual quote, nothing changed including the dorky asterisks. You can look it up on iTunes yourself and read it. Two, I would come to find out this other Norma Jean is a Christian band. I wonder if the reviewer kisses his Mother with that mouth? I didn’t know they were a Christian band though when I first read that review, so this next one seemed really strange:

“Attention all christian fans of Norma Jean! Guess what!! This isnt’t the Christian Norma Jean this is a whole other band! Just if you were wondering. Plus its stinks. God Bless!

Now, that is an awesome album review. It’s succinct, informative, pulls no punches and leaves you on an upswing. Nicely done. Plus, my curiosity was definitely piqued – or peaked if I were writing an iTunes review.

So, for those who don’t know, here’s the scoop: Norma Jean is a Christian alternative metalcore /mathcore (yeah, who knew?) band and before you ask, no that’s actually not possible. But, there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. So, there we have it.

Formed in a Georgia suburb, and really where else could it possibly have been, in 1997 the band first recorded under the silly name Luti-Kriss. That seemed to get them mixed up with the hardcore rapper Ludacris though so before their Facebook page got too hard to manage it seemed time for a name change.

A short digression: You wouldn’t believe dear reader how much abuse your steady-as-she-goes country music blogger receives from the wee fans of one Chad Kroeger simply because I’ve criticized him a couple of times. Geesh. Know then that I take my own blogging life in my hands as I write this. Norma Jean fans, 159, 352 by Bookfaces count, look to be the opposite disaffected side of the same Chad Kroeger coin. Yikes.

Where were we? Name changing, yes. I find it impossibly funny that when changing their name to avoid confusion with one musician they changed their name to another musician (two if you count the 70s disco queen) . Apparently, in this case, the members of alternative Norma Jean were inspired to take as a band name the given (Christian, get it?) name of Marilyn Monroe. And while that makes no sense whatsoever, we now have the following combustible mixture: Christianity, harcore heavy metal and the sexiest sexpot actress of all time who died of a drug overdose. Oh, brothers and sisters, these are dark days indeed.

Another Pretty Miss Norma Jean album review seems to be in order:

“wow itunes your bad at putting music and crap on here lol this music hurts my ears”

Their break-out album appears to be 2002’s Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child. It also happened to be the first album under their new moniker. I read on wikipedia (the same place i first encountered “mathcore”) that band members hasten to let us know that in fact “Norma” means pattern, and “Jean” means God’s grace and mercy, so combined the name means patterns of grace and mercy. Cool, I guess.

With that I think we’re ready to hear a little bit of this metalcore /mathcore Christian band. It was a tough decision on what to play for a couple of reasons. One, I can’t tell which are the really good songs. Two their song titles are mind boggling: The Entire World Is Counting On Me and They Don’t Even Know. That could be Newt Gingrich’s campaign slogan! Or how about Creating Something Out of Nothing Only To Destroy It. Or, Pretty Soon, I Don’t Know What, But Something Is Going To Happen. That is the greatest slacker title of all time, no argument possible to the contrary. Also, it’s over fifteen minutes long! How about this one, Sometimes It’s Our Mistakes That Make for the Greatest Ideas. I think I read that before at a gas station that always puts up puzzling quote jokes on their signboard on 45th Ave. in Wallingford. Okay, two more, Organized Beyond Recognition. What? And finally, the one we’re going to hear, which also happens to be the best song title I’ve read all day, I Used To Hate Cell Phones, But Now I Hate Car Accidents:

I Used To Hate Cell Phones, But Now I Hate Car Accidents, Norma Jean

I should really just end this blog right here and now. Instead let’s read another review and again may I remind you these are not made up and all can be found easily on iTunes:

“This is not the hardcore Norma Jean. This is some other piece of crap poser band. So stop saying that it’s the Norma Jean that actually makes listenable music…hillbillies, go do your farming somewhere else.

That final bit about hillbillies doing their farming elsewhere is a gem. And finally, almost painfully, a true fans lament:

“should have a different name, ya i know that there was a person named Norma Jean, but the metal band is more well known now than her. it would have been better if they named it something not called Norma Jean.

Amen, brother, Amen.


About Iaan Hughes

Iaan Hughes is a deejay on 91.3 KBCS in Seattle. He plays country & western music.
This entry was posted in Country, Music, Politics, Pop, Rock, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Hillbillies, Go Do Your Farming Somewhere Else

  1. I’m pretty sure this blog post itself has surpassed the total contribution to humankind of “hardcore” Norma Jean and all their fans. Where did I put my hoe?

  2. mike says:

    I love both of your Norma Jean posts!

  3. Bruce says:

    Ya it’s crap, but I’m not going to stand on my soap box of musical good taste and proclaim thus. I think of all the great artists who despite being called crap blazed new and innovative musical paths that were later followed by many….. O.K so it’s still crap.

    • iaanhughes says:

      The point isn’t that alt. Norma Jean is crap musically. Yes, they are clunky, but hardcore metal isn’t suppose to swing so much as bludgeon. And for what it’s worth, technically they can play really well. That said, its sad they’re so angry and I do think their song titles are terrible, overwrought mumbo jumbo. Also, the guy who coined the term “mathcore” should be slapped. Little Richard should get to do the slapping, too!

      Don’t forget though I didn’t go looking for a fight, the fight found me. 104 negative, and not just negative, but down right hostile, reviews on a country Norma Jean album just because their favorite band picked the name Norma Jean. To a certain extent bands are reflections of their fans and fans are reflections of their bands. Their fans suck, so they kind of suck too.

  4. Bruce says:

    I re-read and get your point.

    I looked up mathcore in the meantime and find that you also have noisecore, grindcore, math rock, noise grind, and hardcore techno all being related to mathcore/metalcore. It gets a bit confusing in the world of hardcore doesn’t it? I shall stick with the original Pretty Miss Norma Jean, there’s no confusion there.

  5. Lee says:

    Hey there,
    I know this is an old post but I’ve just stumbled onto your blog and this post made me laugh until tears ran down my face.

    Other favorites include your son’s cookie dough email, Brother Claude Ely, and David Allan Coe/Steve Goodman <– how I found you here.

    You are doing God's good work here, sir and keep it up.
    Best regards,

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