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.