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The Big Hurt: Strung Out

Vitamin Records classes up the joint — kinda
By DAVID THORPE  |  July 29, 2009


A friend of mine is getting married soon, and she's been looking around for some classy wedding music. One piece she found was a tasteful string-quartet cover of "Just like Heaven" put out by a label called Vitamin Records. Upon investigating Vitamin's site, she found that it's made a cottage industry of string-quartet tributes — not just to cerebral stuff like Radiohead and Tool, or classics like Led Zeppelin, but to pretty much every band, regardless of merit. In fact, the company seems to lean heavily toward the world's worst groups: Creed, Limp Bizkit, 3 Doors Down, etc.

Shocked as I was by the ridiculousness of the selections, I was blown away by the promotional copy. I understand that being a copywriter can be a pretty soul-crushing job; I myself have stayed in a cubicle till midnight writing blurbs for things like Skittles and Magic: The Gathering. As such, I feel pretty sorry for the dude (or lady, but I'm too lazy for gender-neutral pronouns) who has to write product descriptions for all these godawful string-quartet tributes — fortunately, he manages to keep himself amused by writing the most outlandish, hyperbolic bullshit possible, and it's astonishing what he gets away with.

BREAK STUFF: THE STRING QUARTET TRIBUTE TO LIMP BIZKIT | "Relentless touring and the occasional call to 'break stuff' has pushed them to the top of the charts, firmly positioning Bizkit as rock royalty." This album was released in 2004, just after the band released the worst-selling and most critically derided album of their career. This has to be intentionally funny.

CLASSICAL CONTROL: THE STRING QUARTET TRIBUTE TO TRAPT | "Strung Out on Trapt [sic] takes their tough rock formula and turns it inside out. Violins, viola, and cello transform the band's intense and grueling music into stellar miniature symphonies." This dude probably high-fived himself after getting away with using the word "grueling" as an ostensible compliment. By the way, I should note that the CD ends with a Trapt-inspired original composition called "Bear Trapt."

IN THE CHAMBER WITH STAIND | "Staind's emotionally driven music has pushed the envelope of new metal. They have been compared to the likes of Nirvana & Soundgarden, but prove that they are much more than just recycled music; rising above and carrying this genre into a new era." Yes: he just implied, in a roundabout fashion, that Staind is better than Nirvana. Even people who hate Nirvana would find that statement hilarious.

ARE YOU BREATHING: THE STRING QUARTET TRIBUTE TO DISTURBED | "Drowning deep in the sea of loathing, can you feel the sickness that is Disturbed? Let me enlighten you about Vitamin Records newest release Are You Breathing: The String Quartet Tribute to Disturbed; You will be left gasping for air as our string quartet chugs through each brutal and sweeping song." Pure showboating — basically just undisguised mocking of Disturbed fans here.

LEAVE NOTHING BEHIND: STRUNG OUT ON HOOBASTANK — THE STRING QUARTET TRIBUTE | Amazing as the absurdly long title is, it's not the best part. The copywriter goes absolutely hog-wild on this one: "The romantic undertones of Hoobastank's catalog are brought front and center with Strung Out on Hoobastank. Is it possible for 'The Reason' to be any more breathtaking? Well, yes. And the result can be found on this album, along with other select cuts from the band's catalog. Strung Out on Hoobastank is best enjoyed under starlight or with candlelight. Buy this album and get 'Lucky.' " Yes, we've just been told that this Hoobastank string-quartet tribute will get us laid.

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Related: The Big Hurt: Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, The Big Hurt: Rock in a hard place, 'Who Charted', More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Entertainment, Staind, Staind,  More more >
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 See all articles by: DAVID THORPE

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