The press release for Paris, Texas’ Like You Like An Arsonist can be read one of two ways. Writers being how they are, I’m not sure whether it was intentional. Reading it one way seems to imply that the band members had gone through hell and high water to finally be signed and start on the road to success. Reading it the other way seems to suggest that these guys just don’t seem to get the hint that someone up there wants them to quit this noise.
It tells of a backhoe crashing into the wall of the studio where they had been recording. Now, if the construction equipment in question had crashed into the studio while they had been recording, or at least minutes after, that might have been harrowing, but instead, it crashed hours after they had left. Yawn. It goes on to say that PTX (as it abbreviates them) is an `emo-punk zombie: Each time you think it’s finally dead, it comes back stronger.’ I’m not sure that’s the best image to attach to the band. Tales of broken down vans, tour problems, and multiple breakups ensue to no avail…we are still stuck with Paris, Texas.
On to the actual music, the album plays like a teenager singing for Billy Squier. The guitars are pure 80’s cheese and the vocals thin, reedy, and without a hint of edge. One of the craziest things about this album is that is billed as a punk record. I couldn’t think of a less punk record than this one. It’s glossy, poppy, and overproduced. This is an eighties pop record disguised in the veneer of emo-punk. Listen to these song titles: “Bombs Away,” “Action Fans Help Us,” “Rebel Radio,” and “Hip Replacement.” These names strike me as a plea for punk credibility. They might as well have just named some songs “Blow Up Stuff,” “Safety Pin in my Skin,” or “We Try Real Hard to be Anarchists.”
New Line Records knew what it was doing when it signed The Sounds, but must have been desperate to get their roster up to a whopping eight bands when it recruited Paris, Texas. Hopefully they didn’t just pick the first film development intern with headphones to head up their music division. Just a bit of advice to the advertising folks at New Line: the next time you do a press sheet for a band like Paris Texas, make sure to omit any references to God nearly smiting the band. It had me rooting for God.
Jet- Get Born
Billy Squier- “The Stroke”
Every teen movie soundtrack out there