Home Alive compilation dead on arrival

by Joey Guerra

Daily Cougar Staff

Addressing social issues through music has always been important, but sometimes noble stances fall prey to an artist's pretensions.

This is the sad case with Home Alive, a two-volume collection of spoken word and song whose profits are all donated to the Home Alive project. This project is dedicated to self defense and was formed in response to the 1993 July rape and murder of former Gits vocalist, Mia Zapata.

The album's selling points are big name contributions by Nirvana, Pearl Jam, The Presidents of the United States of America and Soundgarden. What it boils down to, though, is an overly-involved, annoyingly self-conscious trash heap of loud music and louder singers.

No-names, like Shark Chum and Lydia Lunch, are almost unlistenable. Are expletives and angry lyrics the right way to fight violence? Every artist seems intent on letting the world know that they are angry, but no one has a point.

There are a few saving graces. Spoken tracks by Bobby Miller ("Keep Your Mouth Off My Sisters") and The Body Has A Head ("A Little Restraint") are right on: biting, sarcastic and laced with a straight-forward humor absent from other tracks. These artists know how to get a message across.

Home Alive also offers up a few gems of the musical kind. Pearl Jam's "Leaving Here" offers a listenable distraction, while Catfood is hearfelt with its "Bruises."

The biggest surprise, though, is Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson, who deliver the album's best track, the haunting "Momma Why." Written and recorded specifically for this project, the song's theme of incest achieves its intended impact through lyrics and an eerie delivery by the sisters. Ann and Nancy prove that the loudest noise doesn't always get heard first.

Visit The Daily Cougar