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“…I pledge no allegiance and I bet they’re gonna drive me crazy yet…”
The fifth single of the year, one of already four possible band-wide anthems, and the final fourth helpful hand appropriated from W.A.S.P.’s selling-well ten-track debut is the more commercially chosen “School Daze”, the album's a-side ender which kicks off with the pledge of allegiance just like every American public school day.
Even as one of the lesser songs (to me) that pales to “The Torture Never Stops”, “Hellion” and about four others, the adolescently-charmed, written-for-giggles “School Daze” was the obvious next choice should the album ask for another push. Musically, the song embraces the tried n’ true pop hit songwriting blueprint drafted sometime way back in the mid/late ‘50s or before by keeping it short, simple, understandable and, most importantly, catchy. The fact that it’s geared toward yer average fifteen year old didn't hurt, either.
Rescuing the worthwhile, vocally-overdubbed Stones cover “Paint it Black” from the obscurity of its limited-press L.O.V.E. Machine single not only lets the rest of the world in on this ancient Japanese-only secret, but makes the disc more worthwhile for those who already dished out some dough for “School Daze” when they bought the debut and didn’t need another b-side replica of “The Flame” or “B.A.D.”.
Now, snagging either the 7” or 12” versions got you the same two tunes, but the pot sweetens just a little with the special edition, 7”-offered poster bag version which came with a six-way fold-out color poster that your parents could stare at on yer wall and wonder where they went wrong.
Overall, the final promotional bend in the eventful road of W.A.S.P.’s debut more than likely sold a few more copies right around the holidays, and like the Hokey Pokey, that’s what it’s all about.
I’m reading the lyrics and it pretty much sums up my experience in school, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who can relate. It’s got more of an impact in the writing than it does in the actual music, but they both reflect on each other accordingly. The song sounds more serious and pissed off, bordering a half and half ballad but not entirely so. The solo itself soars above everything, but is like what less than ten seconds? Damn, Holmes could have easily strung it out and made this song completely awesome. Instead, it becomes one of the more passable tracks on the album that isn’t too standout.
“Paint It Black” isn’t a track known all too well within W.A.S.P. circles since it’s overlooked on the debut by the other staple tracks. However, I find it to be a really comforting cover that’s more colorful than a good handful on that very album. It has this psychedelic appeal with a groovy bass, plus who can forget that spacey solo!? It totally nails the vibe down - even in a genre such as this. I’ll give props to The Rolling Stones for writing it, but the character comes out on this cover version much more.
Both songs have more substance to them than most of the early W.A.S.P. songs, though they aren’t the most hard-hitting. They’re a good indicator when it comes to the general sound of the album, helping the anticipation kickstart until you actually hear the debut.