Monday, September 7, 2020

Music Review //
Tedd Hazard
"...And the Flowers are Still Standing"


https://open.spotify.com/album/0T1zVGIK0to0lbS0owiYc2?si=rAwNiIpWTU-IMH0H61lbfA //
https://tedd-hazard.bandcamp.com/album/and-the-flowers-are-still-standing //

As I'm listening to the second album I've heard from Tedd Hazard (though it is not his second overall) I begin to hear things and wonder if they are something I've heard on another album by a different artist or if it's just what is becoming defined as that Tedd Hazard style.   I'm not always sure but there is an extensive back catalog for Tedd Hazard so I'm just going to start thinking of many of these sounds as going back to him.

Lyrically, this album really kind of makes you think about what's going on in the world right now but also in general.   There are a lot of "everything sucks" vibes, but also a lot of "I hate everyone" type of vibes as well.  Since April or so of this year it just seems like it's been one disaster after another and in many ways, lyrically, this album captures that sentiment.  The song "Fear and Loathing in Schuylkill County Pt. 4: Don't tread on me, but in a pretty font" touches on the racial injustice being highlighted this summer and it is what the kids would call topical.

Of course there are still a lot of pop culture and professional wrestling references and that's just within the first song.   During "Penultimate Warrior", Tedd Hazard sings about being second best and makes many comparisons with things such as Jabberjaw vs. Scooby Doo, Superman vs. Shazam and even Ridley vs. Tony Scott.  He references the Intercontinental Championship as well, but hey, that's no small accomplishment- some of the greatest wrestlers held that one and not the big one (RIP Rick Rude/ RIP Mr Perfect / RIP Owen Hart)

Just within the first song still we also have this line: "Everyone thinks I'm being funny but honestly I'm depressed" which I think is just so important because so many people who are depressed use humor as a shield in a way.   You know, you have this idea of depressed people acting sad all the time but most of us use humor to kind of mask that and, well, it's just that whole Robin Williams thing and I think people really need to be made aware of it as much as possible.

My other favorite line has to be in "Honorable Disgrace" because Tedd Hazard says: "Call me Shawn Michaels cause I think I lost my smile", which is not a reference I think everyone will get.  Tedd Hazard does use his lyrics to reference how critics have called him honest and depressed and I think, if anything, one of his only real downfalls would be that some of these (well, maybe a lot of them) references are not the type of thing that everyone is going to get.  Some people might not even know who Jabberjaw is.    I'd rather listen to someone sing about something I don't get than feel like they're just throwing out popular references to appeal to everyone, though I might be biased because I get these references.

The second song brings in the harmonica and there is an overall angst to the way this acoustic guitar is being played.  It's not quite folk punk but it's more of just an acoustic punk.   There is a rhythm on the titular track as well and I just, through the music as well as the lyrics, begin to really think of Tedd Hazard as being this powerful voice like Billy Joel but maybe also Tom Waits.   It's just one of those sounds where it reaches the point where you no longer compare it with others but when you see the singer picking up the guitar you stop whatever you're doing and you listen.

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