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Aftertaste was Helmet's long-awaited follow-up to Betty that shows them returning to the more streamlined sound of Meantime with a little more studio gloss. After numerous setbacks (the album was re-recorded at least once, and seemed to go through endless mixing sessions), it was finally released in March of 1997 and was an instant hit with their fans, second only to Meantime in many people's minds. Page finally does away with the idea of a permanent second guitarist, although producer Dave Sardy and Orange 9mm's Chris Traynor both played live dates with the band. I personally found Aftertaste a little disappointing after the more experimental (and, to me, interesting) sound of Betty, but I think it is still a great record and certainly deserving of more attention from the music press than it got.

Page Hamilton—Guitar, Vocal
Henry Bogdan—Bass
John Stanier—Drums

Released 1997
Produced by D. Sardy and Helmet
Mixed by Terry Date


Exactly What You Wanted
Like I Care
Driving Nowhere
Birth Defect
Broadcast Emotion
It's Easy To Get Bored
Diet Aftertaste
(High) Visibility
Crisis King





Affected by what you had lost
They're not the habits you'd protect
At any cost
Blur the details of your hand
Anything your barren conscience
Can't defend
The limits of attention span
Successive thoughts you don't have
But you still pretend
Keep on talking anyway
Protected by what you know
No one will ever say
Because you can't be pure
You're self-assured

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When it's time to leave this place
I'll follow what comes easy
Elude the human race
Discover what still feeds me
And if my interest is waning
I can't fake it
Your captive audience
Escaped for "soul renovation"
I know I might be wrong
But I'm sick of pretending
I've listened to you too long
And nothing's ever mended
You can stretch the truth
And patience wears you so thin
It's just as easy to see through
Your high self opinion

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Exactly What You Wanted

I'm not so good realizing
Who I can or cannot trust
It's best to keep what matters vague
With harmless lies I can adjust
I get a "D" for disappointment
Now there's nothing to regret
Everybody's good for something
At least you know what you won't get
I let you down again
What's another harmless
Lie between friends?
Now you can be disappointed
I thought I gave you just exactly
What you wanted

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Like I Care

I'm paralyzed
Just listening to you
Now I am receptive
I know you sleep
So sound every night
And you are deceptive
It always feels good to be right
And if it helps you sleep at night
I'll tell you what you want to hear
And act like I care

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Driving Nowhere

Confront the daily setbacks
All the lows and highs
With anesthetic means I'm
Fit to socialize
Driving nowhere fast
Accelerate to pass
Now I've got time to kill at last
Bombing hometowns I can
Watch it free from harm
United Arab Emirates
Still keep the gas in my car
Driving nowhere fast
Accelerate to pass
Now I've got time to kill at last
Keep the gas in my car
Let me go far
I'm driving nowhere fast
Accelerate to pass
Now I've got time to kill at last

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Birth Defect

All the good that you discover
In people that you hate
Draw them close and pencil thin
Then they're easy to erase
You've got it down just feed them lines
And watch them starve to death
Keep them crowded and short of air
Then you can take their last breath
I'd rather be insulted by you
Than someone I respect
If I don't share the same view
It's just my birth defect
All the good that never comes
From always getting your way

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Broadcast Emotion

I like the way you set yourself goals
The blind ambition you sport like
New clothes
There's nothing bold in the posture
You wear
It's always stunning to show you care
You're so outspoken, the status quotient
Brought up to peak broadcast emotion
As calculated as the news is
At least you've got yourself impressed
Appropriated, the concepts you boast
You love the sound of you own voice
You're always vocal, affecting passion
Wholesale options will stay in fashion

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It's Easy To Get Bored

If I'm half informed
Sympathize because it's easy to get bored
I don't have time to waste
I'm busy cultivating useless good taste
You need to know how to lie
The savage civil servant's beady eyes
I can call him names
I'll tell you how he hurts and cheats
And maims
Then we'll only see eye to eye
And every breath expelled is wasted
And somehow manage the same lie
I'll spread some more good news
Invented facts that you know you
Can use
Sell them door to door with
Religious fervor that no one can ignore
It's so easy to get bored
It's so easy to get bored
It's so easy to get bored
It's so easy to get bored

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Diet Aftertaste

You're everything you want to be
Accomplished, gracious and great company
It makes perfect sense, you're never hated
But then, appearances are overrated
You speak the language everyone knows
Take over when the conversation shows
Another self-made luminary or
Maybe just the fucking tooth fairy
I'd send that brain you ration
To feed the smallest starving nation
But diet aftertaste is rude
And I can't digest a single word

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You're comfortable as the poison dunce,
Completely oblivious
This might come as a big surprise
But since you've been sterilized
You won't bite back
You've always been cut too much slack
And now you're primed
To have a great time
Milk-fed full of boldfaced lies
Canned and homogenized
Perpetuated by the myth
Impassiveness equals intelligence
But you're a star
Just like any accomplished liar
You can make it at last
Never let a good lie pass

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(High) Visibility

Find something mindless I can advocate
Make up the me I want to be
Then always keep a finger on "the pulse"
Maintain high visibility
Grubbing for any contact I can make
Then dig in deep to get ahead
Line up the prospects that I think
Will "take"
You know you have to use your head

And inability remains protected
The company I keep
Won't let me ever be rejected

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It's never easy being ignored
When you're worshipped and adored
Attention starved, inflatable
An ego that is insatiable
You've always been so superior
Avoid eye contact with the mirror
I still admire your toned exterior
I need somebody to hate
I need someone that I can imitate
The attention that I crave
It's self-esteem that I can almost save

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Crisis King

If you're inclined to complain
It doesn't matter, he's got greater pain
Any crisis takes its toll
Then he'll get down, let the bad times roll

You'll never go down fighting
You'll just go down
The crisis king is mighty
In a crisis showdown

The sole provision he needs to live
Is what he can take, he's got nothing
To give

You'll never go down fighting
You'll just go down
The crisis king is mighty
In a crisis showdown

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