Pretentious attention

I’m genuinely stumped here. I think of myself as a fairly serious (if spotty these days) consumer of pop music. But there’s this song I keep hearing, called “Empty Walls,” whenever I’m in the car and toggle over to to the Bay Area’s reliably terrible Live 105 – the new rock alternative – that has me perplexed as to how I’m supposed to take it. There’s the operatic dexterity and franticness in the vocals usually associated with high-kitsch Euro-metal like the Scorpions and (um) Europe. And then there’re these flagrantly, audaciously, transcendently moronic lyrics:

Pretentious attention
Dismissive apprehension
Don’t waste your time, on coffins today
When we decline, from the confines of our mind
Don’t waste your time, on coffins today

Don’t you see their bodies burning?
Desolate and full of yearning
Dying of anticipation
Choking from intoxication

These lyrics are anchored in the titular metaphor, which is virtual nonsense: “Left behind those empty walls.” (“Empty walls”? Don’t you mean “bare walls”? The emptiness of walls is supposed to convey some kind of paradigmatic feeling of hopelessness that it, well, doesn’t, because what would it mean for walls to be “full”? Full of what? Foam insulation? Is our despair, then, over heat loss?) But there’s something so deranged and unembarrassed about the performance that I can’t help suspecting that the singer- Serj Tankian, on a solo flight from his band System of a Down, which I’ve only heard of – is pushing into some new dimension my stodgy aesthetic can’t comprehend and can appreciate only via a sort of personal critical crisis. I should hate this song, but I find myself waiting for the loony vibrato in those high notes and then, when it comes, truly digging it. What the Hell’s wrong with me?