WWE’s Elias Album Isn’t Very Good, and It Shouldn’t Be
This Monday, WWE released a 4-song “Walk With Elias” EP, featuring the wrestler performing music in-character as the obnoxious guitar player we all love and hate. It’s not often that wrestling reviewing takes a hard left turn into music reviewing, but this is the crossroads we’ve found ourselves at.
It goes without saying that, musically, the EP isn’t very good. It’s perfectly passable in how generic it is, but I’ll go so far as to say it’s Not That Bad. (It’s definitely bad, just Not That Bad.) There’s one exception in the four-song collection that’s completely irredeemable from a listening standpoint, which is Nothing I Can’t Do. The premise – a piano ballad specifically made to show off non-guitar skills – is funny, and there’s a moment at the end that’s humorous enough, but listening to it is just a slog.
It’s only four songs long, but the character and generic sound are so grating that the EP is hard to finish.
In this case, “this is bad” the utmost praise.
That’s the weird thing about wrestling, specifically heels. Every negative of the EP just adds to how good it is as a piece of meta-kayfabe. It’s mediocre, but anything better or worse would’ve felt wrong. (I’ll say that Elias himself is a fine player; it’s just the songwriting.) In a way, this Pretty Bad Music pulls off its mission flawlessly by virtue of being pretty bad.
The reason it works is because the music isn’t really supposed to be music; it’s just character work. It’s set dressing. It’s a higher-effort version of that weird phase pop culture went through where every fictional character had a blog.
Elias is one of the most perfect love-to-hate characters for me in an era where striking that balance is really difficult. Another thing for him to needlessly brag about to be even more annoying? That’s worth 20 minutes of generic listening anytime.
–Bobby Murphy (@RobertJMurph)
Image courtesy WWE