Give Puddle of Mudd a bit of credit for the title of their fourth album, Songs in the Key of Love and Hate, as it shows awareness of their obsessions while dropping an offhand allusion to Stevie Wonder and Leonard Cohen. This doesn’t necessarily make aforementioned songs much more palatable, because Puddle of Mudd remains blissfully mired in a grunge muck, playing Nirvana as if they were party music like Stone Temple Pilots and lifting an STP move or two for good measure. Sometimes, Mudd manages to crank out a brute-force recycled riff that hooks deeper than it has any right to, and there’s some amusement to hearing “Spaceship,” “Keep It Together” and “Out of My Way” play as the life cycle of a love affair with a stripper in its progression from sex to love to hate, but the whole enterprise is torpedoed by the group’s oppressive, mean-spirited vulgarity. Rock & roll isn’t meant to be tasteful, but rampant grossness is another matter entirely, and that’s what Puddle of Mudd delivers here, opening with a track that concludes with a dump in the toilet and ending with a song about skipping school to jack off. It takes Wes Scanlin no more than five words to sing “sh**” on “Stoned,” following it up with a “sh**” and a “f***” in the chorus. He’d be well off to heed the sage advice of Larry David -- “You already said f*** once, you don’t need two f***s” - but since his music clobbers home the obvious, there’s no reason his words should be any different.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine