“Last Resort,” the 2000 single by Papa Roach, has had a weird second life as a symbol of turn-of-the-millennium eyebrow-ring angst. In some ways, this is to the song’s credit: as trite as the lyrics are, they pack a surprising amount of specificity into their brand of suburban adolescent fury, and singer Jacoby Shaddix perfectly embodies the lumbering, lunkheaded flow of so many nu-metal “rappers” of that dark era.
Mostly, though, the song just sucks and is funny, which is part of why this supercut of teens performing it in front of their webcams is so great.
The real comedy, though, comes from the go-for-broke earnestness of their performances, which glows with that unique blend of shame and blind fury that defines the pubescent experience. There are bleeding-throated death-metal guys; a handful of fellows studiously avoiding eye contact with the camera; one endearingly whisper-yelling the song so as not to wake up his parents. There is much shredding, in basements, computer rooms, bedrooms, and at what appears to be a talent show held on a hill. The whole sweeping panorama of poorly performed despair is, as one YouTube commenter notes, “a breathtaking snapshot of a generation.”
Too true. Nothing’s all right; nothing is fine.