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  Payable On Death
Artist: P.O.D.
Label: Atlantic 
Length: 12 tracks
P.O.D. has more than one good reason to approach their Meterora World Tour with unshakable confidence and effervescent enthusiasm. P.O.D. and Linkin Park will undoubtedly strike the world with a double whammy as they tour together with the unbridled, unrivaled force of duel rocket engines. P.O.D. blows so many first-decade bands out of the water with their fresh fusion of reggae, hardcore metal rap, and soulfully tempered hard rock, accented with the rock-rap-reggae vocal skills of Sonny Sandoval. 
Since they entered the world stage back in 1992, P.O.D. has been busy planting solid seeds of spiritual truth with their transcendent, trend-setting music. As if Korn didn't have enough to worry about with Kern County rivals Adema and My Beautiful Secret nipping at their heels, crushing more kernels from their colossal cobs with every passing day. While Korn continues to evoke images of hostility and chaos, P.O.D. brings rhyme, reason and stability to the table. Nothing rivals the powerful message underlying P.O.D.'s lyrics. Moreover, their message is matched in tone, verve and passion on this selection of earth-shattering songs. 
As a musically oriented psychologist, I perceive many musical acts as bearers of spiritual truths embedded in psychological secrets and enshrined in solid walls of sound. But my intention is not to enervate the reader with an exhaustive psychoanalysis of every song on the CD, but, rather, to bring the biggest gems in the treasure chest to the forefront, and to give you an honest estimate of the psychological and spiritual value each contains. 
Like the famous underdog-of-a-race-horse, Seabiscuit, “Wildfire” bursts from the gate like a bat out of heaven and shows no signs of letting up until it reaches the finish line. Majestic thrusts of divinely charged power chords introduce this lightly polished gem-the first cut on P.O.D.'s sensational set of supernatural songs. Musically speaking, the song is the antithesis of the Michael Murphy's sleepy, if engaging, mid-seventies folk ballad of the same title. Murphy's horse was suppose to be wild, but it was decidedly tame compared to P.O.D.'s “Wildfire,” a wild stallion of a song.
P.O.D.'s opening number may have a lot of horse power, but the song is not about a horse. Still, it makes a great deal of horse sense. Consider the opening lines: “Come and give me that wildfire. The uncivilized sound that I love...”
Could these lines be a reference to Freud's id-a central structural feature of personality governed by what Freud referred to as primary process? If we skip a few lines, we'll discover that to be a specious hypothesis at best: 
“...the untamed flame that I desire 
Me want uncultivated Jah glow 
Foolish intensity, versatile
Fly the spirit high, take me higher...”
The lyrics more accurately reflect the spiritual emphasis that Carl Jung, Freud's student, aligned himself with. While allowing himself to be greatly influenced by his erudite teacher, Jung rejected Freud's dismissal of the divine, along with his dogmatically dogged insistence that all conflicts are, at their core, sexual in nature.
The songwriter's underlying message is also redolent of the classic works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his contemporary, Henry David Thoreau. Both of these literary, if lofty, pioneers held steadfastly to the notion that the further one gets away from civilization, and the closer one gets to nature, the closer one gets to truth, and the more intimately one begins to know and understand oneself. For Emerson in particular, passion and authenticity in language is not to be found in fusty libraries, but in the living language of primitive, bucolic civilizations. Now, let's fast forward and focus on the next track. 
See you sitting next to the window in the bedroom 
She breaks down (breaks down)
Crying over something and staring into nothing 
Afraid now (hate now) 
Wanting, needing, haunting... 
“Will You,” the album's second track, vividly echoes the existential themes of alienation, utter aloneness, and unspeakable desperation in the midst of a threatening world. These themes are particularly poignant and woefully vivid in the line, "...crying over something and staring into nothing..." The song as a whole offers something for the white-collared scholar as well as the blue-collared graduate of the school of hard knocks. The scholar is at once transported to the quintessential philosophical argument between Heraclitus, and Parmenides. Over the centuries, Heraclitus has earned the undisputed heavyweight title of the "father of modern existentialism." The thought of this pre-Socratic philosopher is crystallized in the Greek phrase he frequently uttered, “Panta rhei,” which means "All things are flowing." He believed that permanence is an illusion and that there are no absolutes. For Heraclitus, everything was, and always will be, in a state of constant flux. Parmenides, on the other hand, believed just the opposite. For Parmenides, it is change, and not sameness that is an illusion. The scholar may be so well defended with book knowledge that the he or she forgets to feel the song. That's where the blue-collar credentials come into play. 
“It's killing me 
Faking what has happened to live the life like that man 
I break down.”
There's absolutely no way of intellectualizing the intense emotional pain and utter torment that follows the break of a relationship. Shattered valentines are never well received. The course begins and ends with a question. 
Will you? 
Will you love me tomorrow? 
So will you? 
Will you stay with me today? 
Based on the intense anger, bordering on rage, expressed in the vocals on this questioning chorus, it is reasonable to assume that the one who has been left behind already knows what the answer will be. Regretfully for the one left behind, it's a rhetorical question. 
In “Change the World,” the band offers hope to a world poisoned by the second greatest threat to 21st century civilization, a threat second only to terrorism-the cyanide of cynicism. Unfortunately, it sounds too much like a cross between a canned sermon and a commercial jingle to leave a lasting impression. 
In “Execute the Sounds,” the band members practice what they preach, executing every sound as smoothly and as cleverly as ever. The power of the sound has a way of sneaking up on the listener and catching him/her off guard. It can be exceedingly disarming to say the least. It flows better musically than lyrically. These lyrics have a decidedly desultory, sloppy quality to them. 
The band finds its lyrical bearings again in “Find My Way,” a song characterized by lyrical continuity. It is a song that deftly depicts a spiritual journey, and offers a pledge of steadfast devotion, the core element required for bringing any sojourner home. 
Compared with the Beatles’s “Revolution,” P.O.D.'s song by the same title breaks no new ground. Yet the revolution that P.O.D. speaks of is much more spiritually substantive. This is a bold call to arms-arms of love that passionately wrap around a broken world. The message of “Revolution” is re-ignited in “Freedom Fighters.” The music is more mellow than any song that proceeds it and it exposes the band's more tender side. 
The tender, toned-down P.O.D. is further featured on “Waiting on Today,” a song imbued with hope and optimistic anticipation. The message (one that is central to the here-and-now focus of Gestalt psychotherapy) reminds me of another song containing a similar theme previously ushered in by a modern rock, Christ-centered crooner by the name of Daniel Sisco, on his cover of “Today.”
The song “Suffocation” speaks for itself, so I'd like to let the words do the talking: 
Suffocation within 
Because of what you're saying 
To understand is to begin again 
To believe is to live again 
I tried living my life through your eyes 
Smother me with your ways 
To death, no breath 
You're choking me what little faith I have left 
In time I find the truth lies inside 
I would die to breathe again...
I would die to breath again... 
You can breathe a sigh of relief; the CD is not over just yet. “Eternal,” the last track, floats through the auditory chambers of the mind like a gentle breeze as it graces a meadow of melody. Adding a vocal track (unless, of course, it featured the voice of Joni Mitchell or Alyssa Kaess), would simply clutter the runway for an aircraft that has just completed a noble journey through the ever-thirsting, ever-searching soundscape of the human spirit and psyche. The P.O.D. airliner is truly built for speed and substance, never mind that the CD comes complete with a limited edition bonus disc for your PlayStation2 system and a demo version of the videogame Amplitude. The CD stands on its own without the kitsch. With Payable on Death, it's clear. The band has paid their dues and now they're cashing in on their divine inheritance. With the completion of such a smooth landing, I can unhesitatingly declare that the P.O.D. plane has arrived!
A review by psychologist Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT, the shrink-rappin' rock doc


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