Mer de Noms Turns 10

A Perfect Circle is one of those bands that nobody realized was needed until it happened. A grand claim, perhaps, but there's little question that the addicting combination of Maynard James Keenan's aching voice and Billy Howerdel's accomplished songs and production skills made for one of 2000's best splashes in whatever was left of "modern rock."

- Ned Raggett, All Music Guide


Exactly 10 years ago today the band released their debut album Mer de Noms [Interscope], the de facto answer to the musical question What if The Cure went metal? (Truth be told, Deftones may have gone to that well first.)

A platinum seller and one of the bright lights of the otherwise boy band/nü-metal landscape of the late '90s/early 2000s, Mer de Noms is full of anthemic, haunting, yet bone-crunching tunes that greatly reward with repeated listening. It had been a couple of years since we'd heard it and decided to revisit the album for this post. Surprise, surprise: the power and majesty that drew us in a decade ago has not faded one bit. Maynard, Billy, Paz Lechantin, Josh Freese: you did well. Thanks.

Two favorites of ours: first single "Judith" (we could not embed its trés cool video clip, but do check it out); and "Orestes".


G.R. said...

I saw them open for NIN. Such an amazing album. Judith was such a fantastic condemnation of Christianity. 3 Libras captured unrequited love so perfectly and achingly well. Fuck. 10 years? Really?!?

Kiko Jones said...

While I don't share the sentiment behind the lyrics in "Judith", I still love the song, regardless. Also, I feel it's a testament to the strong faith of Keenan's mom--the "Judith"--that she still believes despite her condition. (Of course, your mileage may vary.) As for me enjoying the song, despite having different views than that of the songwriter, I guess if Tom Araya can front Slayer and still consider himself a Catholic, then...

G.R. said...

"Fuck your Lord, Your Christ"

Not getting anything other than beautiful Atheism here, Kiko. The entire premise of the song is definitely about someone who still believes, but is in no way a "testement". The writer is clearly saying that he cannot stand Christianity, and the fact that this person still believes despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary is an inspiration to be completely opposite. This may disrupt or annoy your own sense of faith, but I don't think there can be any other interpretation. You might have a little bit of Judith in you. ;-)

Kiko Jones said...

Oh, I'm not implying there is anything different or an abstract interpretation of what the lyrics state. I'm just saying I like the music enough to enjoy the song and not pay attention to the lyrics.

No, I don't think the song is a testament to Maynard's mom's faith. Au contraire. What is a testament to her faith is that she believed despite her illness and subsequently being confined to a wheelchair for 30 years. Others may see that as utter stupidity. Different strokes, Todd Bridges, etc.

Finally (and I will grant you this is not the best of forums for this kind of statement), but I personally feel that either end of the spectrum, from those completely convinced in the absence of the divine to those unequivocally convinced of its existence, are two sides of the same coin.

G.R. said...

Well, I wouldn't call her faith "stupidity" if for no other reason that it's just rude.

She believed despite her lot in life, just as people believe despite all the horror done in the name of Him. Not to mention all the horror done to each other under the get-out-of-hell free card "free will". It's ludicrous and enslaving and it's drummed into children before they can talk. It's disgraceful.

But I disagree with you respectfully. A respect not afforded most infidels.

And anyway, we've got bigger things to discuss. Like the heart-wrenching 3 Libras. Merde, that one killed me.

Yrs. In Friendship and Fandom,

Kiko Jones said...

This is the kind of conversation I would prefer to have in person; the cyber world is one lacking in nuance, and this is no "my favorite color is green" topic.

"3 Libras" is some shit, my friend. So is "Orestes". But "Judith" and its video hit me hard. As you can surmise by our exchange on the subject, the lyrical content could've been a recitation of the contents of the Yellow Pages and I would've dug it. (Btw, the scene in which Paz pulls up her hair and goes back to playing bass is so cool. Yeah, I know I'm crushing here, but seriously...)

There is some very emotionally-engaging music on that record. In a way, it's more of an "emo" record than 95% of what gets labeled as such.

As for the band itself, there's less of the heavy stuff on the subsequent albums. I liked the mix; it was...perfect.

G.R. said...

It was directed by David Fincher. But of course.

Paz was something special, indeed.

My favorite color is purple, btw. ;-)

Hope to see you at Substance on the 6th.

Kiko Jones said...

I enjoyed Fincher's The Game, with Michael Douglas and Sean Penn. I have not seen his other films. (Yes, I have yet to see Fight Club.)

Found out a while back that Paz is a vegetarian. Well, she couldn't be perfect. heh, heh

I'm most partial to royal blue.

My every intent is to be at Substance.