A few aspects of "Getting Away With Murder," Papa Roach's new single, are open to interpretation. The video isn't one of them.
Singer Jacoby Shaddix wrote the song from an introspective point of view. "From my state of mind, it's about being a liar, a cheat and a thief — and I've been all of those," he said.
Other listeners, meanwhile, might envision the tune directed at an emotionally abusive lover who takes advantage of his/her masochistic partner's inability to break off the relationship. One look at the video, though, set on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor, and it's obvious that the companies of corporate America are the ones really getting away with high crimes.
Watching the Motion Theory-directed clip of the title track to Papa Roach's third major-label album, due August 31, images of Martha Stewart, Enron, Tyco and Halliburton immediately come to mind as traders scuttle about in a frenzy of buying and selling. Other targets are more subtle: The stock-market ticker pauses from its usual stream of abbreviations and decimal points to scroll the words, "In guns we trust." A little later the crude graphic of a jet laying down a line of bombs appears.
"We're just pushing all those political hot-point buttons," Shaddix said. "We want people to videotape our video and watch it in slow motion, and read all the stuff that goes by in the back. We're just pushing those buttons because it's the right time to do that and because it's an American freedom to do so."
And then the unexpected happens. The women on the floor suddenly stop their ticket-waving, take down their hair and start stripping. Soon they're making out with one another in the back room.
"Sex sells," Shaddix offered. "We all know it, straight up. Turn on the TV. I didn't mind watching chicks make out, to tell you the absolute truth."
Despite the gratuitous objectification fix in its video, the band has actually grown up some on Getting Away With Murder. Besides a musical maturation that dispenses with the chunky percussive riffs that cemented Papa Roach's place in the nü-metal pantheon, gone is the self-loathing Shaddix used to great effect on P-Roach's breakthrough "Last Resort" and subsequent single "She Loves Me Not," from 2002's Lovehatetragedy. It's been replaced by a confrontational central figure who challenges the source of his pain on songs such as "Scars" and "Done With You." Like most 180-degree turnarounds, Shaddix had to hit rock bottom before changing his attitude (see "Papa Roach On Getting Sober And Getting Away With Murder").
"When I was writing Lovehatetragedy, I was at the bottom of myself," he explained. "I was the most depressed I've ever been. That was a really dark record. I wasn't a happy person. I was taking a look at myself and how I was living my life and going, 'Now I'm at rock bottom, so the only way is up out of here.' The only way I could change my life is try to get more positive ... so this record is laced with liberation, laced with hope. This isn't a pity-rock record. I'm not asking for anyone's sympathy in these songs. I'm just stating where I'm at as a person, and I'm in a pretty good spot."