1998, Music

Hellbilly Deluxe (1998) by Rob Zombie

At some level I think I just don’t get Rob Zombie. When I’ve heard his music it’s never made much of an impression on me. (I think I enjoyed the video for “Dragula” when I was 17, though.) I absolutely hated House of 1,000 Corpses and so never bothered to see The Devil’s Rejects or any other movie he’s made since. (I think I’ve caught pieces of the Halloween remake on the TV, but only a few minutes here or there.) I don’t know whether I was the wrong age when I first encountered him or what, but I just don’t quite get it. And that’s weird for me because I’m not opposed to camp, especially horror-themed camp.

And, rest assured, this is campy. This is, to the best of my knowledge, the industrial metal equivalent fo psychobilly, pairing pummeling guitars and pummeling programmed beats with ridiculous lyrical imagery that belongs not in a serious horror film but in one of those temporary horror amusement parks they set up for Halloween.

Zombie himself mostly appears to shout or speak, rather than truly sing, over the various riffs, beats and samples. Looking at the credits, I am left wondering about Zombie’s role in this almost as much as I do about George Clinton in Parliament or Funkadelic. Apparently he and his writing partner wrote it on a computer? Brave new world we’re living in.

Whatever this is – whether it’s camp for the sake of camp, a joke or a lark, or something more serious – I feel I’m not quite giving it its due. One look at the wikipedia page for this record, which is more than twice as long as many of the entries for many of the albums I talk about on my podcast, and you can see that people take it quite seriously. But I don’t get it. At all.


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