In this postmodern age, it's sometimes hard to tell the difference between a brilliant, faithfully executed parody and the real thing (see: Die Antwoord) — and that's exactly the case with Bad's self-titled debut. What is certain is that the album packs such a broad range of rock clichés into its 33-minute run time that it's hard to know what, exactly, the band is mocking, if that's even the case. There's the melodramatic touch of opening with a shouted a cappella poem, the Cheap Trick butt rock of "Where THE Bad Kids ARE," the Thriller-type Dracula breakdown in "When I Die." Carter James's vocals sound like a combination of an opera-singer spoof and the B-52s' Fred Schneider. A couple of songs traffic in sad-key, Alanis Morissette-style piano ballads. It's a glorious, confusing mess, and it all adds up to a wink and a nod...or maybe it doesn't.
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