Everybody stop. What the hell is going on? Someone has taken Rob Zombie out of the world of Spookshow and placed him in some happy, clappy, "rock is back" kind of band. Educated Horses is the new Rob Zombie album. Ooh, yes, cower in fear, for the heavily made-up, dreadlocked Zombie has transformed into a cowboy with a new voice.
As a long-time listener of Rob Zombie, I was looking forward to this album with incomprehensible excitement. I don't listen to Rob Zombie to get something out of his music so to speak; I listen to his music because it's trashy fun with great metal riffs and an entertaining homage to horror movies. These elements have been greatly reduced for Educated Horses, so much so that even your own mother will be in love with Mr Zombie at the end of this album.
This is not to say that an artist can't change. I'm all for change – if it's good. Educated Horses falls a little short of the good changes in Zombie's music.
The album opens with "Sawdust in the Blood," which is really just a pointless opening track. Unlike The Sinister Urge in which we are told we are sinners and that we are going to a painful everlasting fiery hell, "Sawdust in the Blood" tells me nothing other than I'm in for an unexpected ride. Judging from the track, I'd say that I'm probably not going to like this ride - much.
Just when I think I'm going to fall off my chair in boredom, "American Witch" kicks in. The song is Rob Zombie heaven and you will immediately notice the change in Zombie's voice. It's less gravely then on previous endeavors, which means listeners can actually understand him. However, "American Witch" doesn't turn out the way it's all cracked up to be. First of all, it goes for a tad bit long. When you think it should have ended at least two minutes ago, it keeps going blurring into the background. Of course, we won't forget the most important annoyance of this song – the clapping.
Once you think the clapping madness is over when the next track "Foxy, Foxy" begins, you start losing faith in Rob Zombie. Skip ahead a few more tracks and notice this motif, the clapping, can be heard in five of the 11 songs. Considering that two of the 11 songs are just filler tracks, this means that five out of the nine actual songs contain clapping. That's probably four too many songs that involve the clapping on a Rob Zombie record. Clapping is something you associate with a Franz Ferdinand record or a Jet song, not Rob Zombie.