In a major missed opportunity, “Rock N' Roll High School Murder” by I Am Ghost is not a morbid homage to Rock N' Roll High School, the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek 1979 cult flick where The Ramones eat pizza and wreak havoc. Instead, the track from 2008's Those We Leave Behind is played straight, offering a melodramatic account involving killing classmates and awaiting death. Amidst a melodic salvo of Screamo and Metalcore, the chorus goes, “So cover us in sheets and move a little closer/ Our high school murder is over/ So can we rest in pieces?/ Just cover me in roses/ Our high school murder is over.”
Without intending to do so, the song pinpoints the problem with the Long Beach, Calif., quintet's approach to the concept of drama.
Rather than incorporating any subtlety or precision, I Am Ghost cycles through over-the-top macabre motifs (vampires, blood, guns, fire, coffins, etc.) that Atreyu and My Chemical Romance would have utilized in their early days, and bashes their dark aesthetic over your head. (Other songs on Those include “Buried Way Too Shallow,” “Bone Garden,” and “Burn The Bodies to The Ground.”) Those press pictures aren't helping, either — the make-up-wearing, black-clad gang tends to be airbrushed to the point where brooding becomes a fashion statement.
While IAG mastermind/singer Steve Juliano cited dour '80s acts The Cure and Joy Division as influences in a past interview, he should be paying attention to the Misfits instead. Even though those New Jersey punks talked about rape and massacres, they were gutsy enough to throw in ridiculous, kitschy lines like “Brains for breakfast/Brains for lunch” to alleviate the serious chaos.
A plea to the deranged creatures behind I Am Ghost: Don't take things too seriously.
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