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Single Serving
Album cut review by psychologist Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen,
a.k.a. Dr. B. L. T., The Song Shrink
Song Title: The New Me
Band: Stereotype
EP: Stereotype (self-titled)
Label: Indie
I'm a child of
happy endings
Forever afters
Nothing, endings
I'm a product of imagination
And a faint subscriber to my generation
I'm a victim of noise pollution
Angry drivers and mass confusion
I'm a vision of optimism
And a subtle version of nuclear fission
Stereotype, whose members are 16, 17, 18, and 19 years of age, are arguably rock's youngest and most promising philosophers.  Boldly tackling philosophy's historically defining issue ”the issue of free will vs.
determinism, Stereotype transport the listener to a world of introspection in this pithy "pity me" plea.

Precocity is the word that most adequately describes Stereotype in this conspicuously expressive, deeply reflective modern rock track.  But it is not only the Sunny Knable, the band's lead singer who is precocious.  The tension between victim and self-determined shaper of one's own destiny, vividly
depicted in Sunny's lyrics and vocal vulnerability, is distinctly echoed each time aspiring psychologist Angel Rodriguez strangles the strings of his angst-ridden guitar with his variegated and deftly executed guitar runs and strums.  Similarly Joe Menke's avante garde bass patterns and Justin Goings precise, yet impetuous, drum and percussion parade intuitively align themselves with the philosophy of the band's frontman.

"The New Me" is a captivating, emotionally charged piece that quintessentially defines the angst of the new mill generation.  It is an angst that rebelliously clashes with the superficial sound and meretriciously merry message of bland boy bands and gooey-girl-scout-cookie-cutter "artists" and bands that opened the turn of the millennium.

Philosophy and physiology are the parents of psychology.  In addition to introducing the listener to the band's philosophy, one that is grounded in the puzzling paradox between bound and determined, "The New Me" tackles a fundamental psychological issue—that of identity.  Stereotype's recipe for "The New Me" is a mixed one, co-mingling elements of Freud's instinctual, biological drives; Adler's social determinants; and Fromm's compatible notion that our identify is shaped, to a large degree, by a society that bombards us with what he referred to as "pathogenic stimuli."  Consistent with the Christian existential philosophy of the Sand Diego band Sisera Fell, Stereotype's "The New Me" makes distinct allusions to the absurdity, alienation, and ultimate despair associated with the futile efforts of individuals striving to determine their own destiny and to operate as self-contained islands.

The bottom line in "The New Me" is that there is no escape from the forces that shape, or rather disfigure, the psyche of the individual.  There is no human way out.  For the existentialist, this realization is the starting point for a latent leap of faith that promises to transport the pitiable human being from a place of despair to a place of exhilarating hope in the prospect of divine intervention.  Stereotype is living proof that being a teen of the first decade of the new mill doesn't mean you have to leave your brain at the front door of the recording studio to create music that other teens can relate to.  With the future resting in the hands of such articulate, prolific Sacramento bands such as Stereotype, Forever Gold Rush and Cake, you won't need to blow your brains out either. In this era of unprecedented terror and tension "The New Me" may just be the harbinger signaling the end of pop's pitiful tide of shallow water.  Stereotype are a work in progress, but if "The New Me" is any indication of what's to come, I'd prepare myself to jump off the deep end.



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