Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The End of the Eighties, Track 26

“Welcome to Paradise V1.0”
Front 242
Front By Front

Before I packed up all my worldly belongings and moved to Central Florida in the Summer of 1990, I threw a party. It was one of those amazingly cool events where all my worlds collided on one now-very hazy night. My parents were out of town, and I took that opportunity to throw a good-bye bash for myself. High school friends were there, co-workers from Warehouse Club showed up, and friends from Bowling Green all drove in town for the party.

I’m going to plead “hazy details” in order to avoid incriminating myself or anyone who was in attendance, but I remember playing DJ that night. Deep into industrial, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Nitzer Ebb, Severed Heads, and Front 242 were staples in my musical diet at the time. And, as much as I associate NIN’s Pretty Hate Machine with New Year’s Eve 1989, I associate Front 242’s “Welcome to Paradise V1.0” with my going away party.

The band brilliantly subverts samples of televangelist Farrell Griswold into twisted mini-treatises on sex, poverty, and religion. At the time, I just loved the shock value of the content (much in the same way NIN’s “The Only Time” and “Get Down Make Love” rocketed to the top of my Catholic Upbringing Rebellion playlist), but as an adult I see there was depth to the provocative challenges. “Welcome to Paradise V1.0” is a criminally underrated track that took what Brian Eno and David Byrne were doing with samples at the beginning of the decade on My Life in the Bush of Ghosts and exploited it to take on everything from ’80s consumerism to the hypocrisy of religion in five-plus minutes of buzz saw synths and jackhammer percussion.