Wednesday, June 25, 2014

under-covers: Suicidal Tendencies / Body Count

Back when I maintained this blog on a regular basis, I had a column called under-covers, that showcased…you guessed it, ridiculous cover songs. The weirder the better was my motto. Anyways, flash forward to present day and I stumble across a song that’s not necessarily a cover, but a modern day re-imagining of a classic 80’s hardcore/thrash anthem that made me pull the Under-cover’s tag out of retirement. Check it out.


Suicidal Tendencies were one of the seminal underground bands of the 1980’s. They were one of the few acts that skate punks and metal heads could agree upon without murdering each other. The band’s frenzied musical output helped foster the cross pollination [aka: crossover] of the genres extreme music weirdos like myself enjoy today. Their 1983 song “Institutionalized” is easily their biggest hit, ever. It’s a timeless jam about teenage alienation… and fiending for a cold Pepsi.

How cool was that? Spoken word styling mixed with circle pit goodness. My 10th grade English teacher played that in class when the dregs of the public school system failed to bring anything for “analyze song lyrics” day at school. Mind blowing stuff for a padawan metal kid.


Here’s the new version brought to you by the freshly resurrected rap-metal juggernaut, Body Count, led by the one and only: Ice-T. If you didn’t know about Ice-T’s stint as gangsta rap pioneer turned heavy metal frontman and one time adversary of George H.W. Bush, you need to watch the dude’s Behind The Music ASAP. You’ll never watch Law & Order: SVU the same way again.

Musically, “Institutionalized 2014” stays pretty true to the original. The beefed up production and Ernie C’s precision shredding pushes the track more toward the metal side than Suicidal’s crossover middle ground, but still keeps the manic vibe of the original. The major difference here is Ice-T’s post millennium lyrical overall.  Mike Muir’s diatribe against parental authority from the classic version is genius, but Ice M.F. T is no slouch either. His modernized take down of our increasingly politically correct, technologically dependent society is like everything else the man touches, pure gold. Goddamn vegans.

Ultimately, the original "Institutionalized" will always win out in the end. It's just such a rad song and partially why I love Pepsi so much. That being said, Body Count's 2014 adaptation is probably the perfect cover, will haunt me every time I get my Call of Duty on, and cements Ice-T's status as being all around awesome for a whole new generation.