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Nerf Herder: How To Meet Girls

Album: How To Meet Girls
Label: Honest Don's

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There's perverse irony in the history of Nerf Herder: Perhaps the most calculatedly disposable band in modern-day rock history, it's one of the few to achieve immortality, recording the unmistakable theme song to TV's slavishly adored Buffy The Vampire Slayer. There's nothing wrong with the song that made it famous—it's certainly better than the momentary guilty pleasure "Van Halen," the only other song to put Nerf Herder on the map—but that's because it's an instrumental. Everything else in the group's canon is undermined by the most obvious and omnipresent pop-cultural name-dropping this side of L.F.O. The new How To Meet Girls couldn't be more perfunctory, with 32 minutes of rote pop-punk about girls ("Vivian"), pop culture and girls ("She's A Sleestak"), pop culture and love ("Pantera Fans In Love"), and, in the album's one truly clever moment, death ("5000 Ways To Die"). Nerf Herder's winking self-satisfaction would be forgivable if the songs were catchier (like, say, Harvey Danger's smug but infectious "Flagpole Sitta"), but How To Meet Girls is as melodically forgettable as it is lyrically hard to stomach. Speaking of self-satisfaction and dumb lyrics, the willfully moronic metal-dance-rap-novelty outfit The Bloodhound Gang has made a career of proudly catering to the lowest conceivable common denominator. At times, that self-conscious frat-boy idiocy is almost refreshing—Hooray For Boobies' hit single, "The Bad Touch," is so catchy it often seems clever—but frontman Jimmy Pop far too often substitutes thuggish hostility for playfulness. That works fine on "I Hope You Die," but not on the loutish blow-job anthem "Yummy Down On This" or overlong, shock-for-shock's-sake drivel like "A Lap Dance Is So Much Better When The Stripper Is Crying." Like Nerf Herder, The Bloodhound Gang revels in obvious pop-culture references: From current porn stars (Chasey Lain) to faded pop stars (Falco, Frankie Goes To Hollywood), it drops names at a dizzying pace. But if Nerf Herder has taught the world anything, it's that when you're trying to be clever, there's no cheap substitute for wit.