Saturday, March 06, 2004

A new, long-overdue installment in The Paul Rust Annotated Script Archive.

And if that's not enough arrogant self-examination, here's...

A list of every "album" I've ever "recorded"...

1. Paul Rust - "Bored" (1996)

At age 15, newly-christened singer/songwriter Paul Rust ruminates on loneliness, ex-8th grade girlfriend Bobbie Jo Langel, and yes, boredom... in this extraordinary 7-song cassette-only EP. Musical instruments include a bass guitar and one singular voice. But wait, Paul? Didn't you just pick up the bass 5 months ago? And didn't your voice deepen within the last year? Yes! Why should this stop me?!

Influences: Nirvana (followed closely by Nirvana and... Nirvana)
Song Highlights: "Because No One Likes a Bragger," "Insisted Sleep," "Sending Out the Troops"
Choice Lyrics: "You wanna' guy who has big muscles/You wanna' guy who's so damn hot/You wanna' guy who has three brain cells/You wanna' guy who will treat you like shit!"

2. Wuss - "Operation Wuss" (1997)

Gehlen Catholic freshmen Jake Livermore and Paul Rust beat "Indie Rock: Circa 2002" to the punch with their own two-person rock outfit "Wuss." Although most songs utilize familiar pop structures and 4/4 timings, drummer Livermore and bassist/vocalist Rust widen the musical landscape (and consequently grace the hem of prog-rock) with... xylophones and audio samples from "2001: A Space Odyssey!" As expected, it blows everyone's minds. In terms of lyrical content, the songs follow the same path as Rust's earlier work "Bored," in that... it's about having an ugly face that no girls like!

Influences: Nirvana, Pixies, Weezer
Song Highlights: "My Commie Girlfriend,"Narcoleptic Insomniac," "Weezer"
Choice Lyrics: "I see you, then you see me/and I fall to pieces at the comparison"

3. Suzanne - "Lovesick" (1998)

After a year of heavy rehearsals and sporadic gigs at school functions, community centers, and RAGBRAI events, LeMars' second-favorite band Suzanne (named after the beloved Weezer b-side) finally get their act together and release this groundbreaking 14-song concept album. Adding to the previous "Wuss" line-up, bassist/vocalist Paul Rust and drummer Jake Livermore join guitarists Ben Kurth and John Henry Muller for this rousing mix of infectious pop-rock. Lyricist Rust challenges himself and makes sure that every song is simultaneously about both love and sickness (hence, the title) and references to mutilation abound. The main concept? That two people with self-diagnosed psychological problems are meant to be together. Whether this unhealthy world-view was influenced by Rust's then-current relationship with his high school girlfriend or not... has never been argued (it was already painfully obvious to everyone involved).

Influences: Weezer, Foo Fighters, Nirvana
Song highlights: "Crush Me with Your Crush," "Beauty Pageant," "Catholic School"
Choice Lyrics: "When we're older, there's no curfews/And our "I love you's" won't have to be hushed/And we'll be glad we kept our morals/When good-night kisses won't be rushed"

4. Next Wednesday - "Born to Disappoint" (1999)

After the tumultuous breakup of Suzanne, members Rust and Muller took solace in their new project, Next Wednesday (named after director John Landis' frequent use of the phrase "See you next Wednesday" throughout his films). Recorded with a 4-track recorder and a newly-purchased stereo, guitarist Muller and vocalist/bassist/keyboardist Rust tested the limits of pop music by freely experimenting with drum loops, feedback, and audio samples. Songs centered on the boredom of small-town life, the perils of lost innocence, and the agony of Catholic guilt.

Influences: Velvet Underground, Eels, Sonic Youth, Pixies
Song Highlights: "Absolute Solution," "Vacant Parking Lots," "Nine Secrets" (a 17-minute feedback-drenced, "Sister Ray"-inspired scorcher, which dares to list every small-town secret Muller and Rust ever knew)
Choice Lyrics: "Behind the picket fences of people's closet doors/lie Lynch-ian insects and hidden skeletons/with secrets said in whispers, rumors in hushed tones/of things no one knew and wished they always had"

5. Paul Rust - "Promises, Regrets..." (2000)

After a 4-year hiatus from his solo career, Rust treats his long-waiting fans to another album of sad-sack bedroom classics. Recorded in the basement of his father's store basement, Rust flexes his instrument muscles by not only taking on bass and vocal duties, but also, keyboard and guitar duties as well. Drummer DJ Ruden rounds out the outfit. After repeated listenings, the careful listener discovers that the track-listing was intentionally sequenced to follow the arc of conventional post-breakup behavior (from the initial feelings of abandonment to... the final feelings of abandonment).

Influences: Jonathan Richman, Sebadoh, Weezer
Song highlights: "Earnest as Ever," "My Broken Halo," "I Should Have Listened to My Heart"
Choice Lyrics: "And you may say I'm being melodramatic/but someday you will crave what you call melodramatic"

6. The Subordinates - "The Subordinates" (2001)

Not a band to rest on their laurels, The Subordinates write and record this entire album even before their first (of 5) live shows ever occurs. Rust drops his instruments and concentrates solely on lead vocals as he hooks up with fellow University of Iowa freshmen (and near strangers) Justin Putney (guitar), Peter VanRybrock (bass), and Louie Doerge (drums) on this 10-song album. Old-school, back-to-basics rock-n-roll set the stage for songs primarily focusing on Rust's childhood experiences (i.e. his fear that he would be sucked down the bathtub drain, his secret desire to be kidnapped), which rest uneasily next to more adult-themed suject matter (i.e. Rust claiming that he "don't like blowjobs and big world wars").

Influences: The Clash, Pixies
Song highlights: "Brood for Love," "1983," "Older Sisters"
Choice Lyrics: "Well, I could just be an asshole/for you to love me true/but I think I love you too much/to do that shit to you"

7. My Business Failed in Three Weeks - "My Business in Three Weeks" (2001)

Citing dissatisfaction with the dull and complacent Iowa City music scene, Rust (bass, vocals) reunites with past collaborators DJ Ruden (guitar) and Jake Livermore (drums) on this epic concept album. Its stark, minimalist album cover (designed by John Henry Muller) is matched only by the stark, minimalist production of Al "Scoop" Shrank, an old friend of DJ Ruden's father. The majority (if not all) of the lyrics are what would be commonly considered within the music community as "goofy" and/or "retarded." It is believed this change in Rust's lyrical content was the result of his realizing that the overly-emotional and confessional lyrics of his past 5 albums were becoming embarrassing and would eventually grow to haunt him.

Influences: Japanese pop, Michael Jackson
Song highlights: "Oh, How Those Days Draaaag," "Hugh Downsizing," "I Don't Want a Boss"
Choice Lyrics: "Did you see Kramer fall last night?/Ha ha ha ha ha ha/I hope Ross and Rachel get together/Oo la la la la la"

Crap. I used to be on a roll. Since 1996, I'd have one "album" out every year. Now, three years have passed and... nothing. I promise you though. "Chinese Democracy" will be released.

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