Saturday, September 16, 2017

Song Of The Week: 9/17/17







Song: "Jumpin' Jack Flash"

Artist: The Rolling Stones

Album: "Jumpin' Jack Flash" single

Year: 1968

Place Of Origin: London, England

Years Active: 1962 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

"Jumpin' Jack Flash", according to Stones' vocalist Mick Jagger, is about getting away from the acid induced state that the band had been in during their previous album, "Their Satanic Majesties Request". From taking a read of the lyrics, to me it appears to be about rising above an abusive past. Each verse paints a picture of someone that has endured pain and struggle and abuse and starvation, but the chorus gives you a sense that he has made it through it and is better for it and he is alright now. Though "Jumpin' Jack Flash" was recorded during the "Beggars Banquet" sessions, the band decided to release it as a stand alone single. The song is their most played song in concert and one of the band's biggest singles of all time!

THE ROLLING STONES DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1964 - The Rolling Stones (London Records)
1964 - 12 x 5 (London Records)
1965 - The Rolling Stones, Now! (London Records)
1965 - Out Of Our Heads (London Records)
1965 - December's Children (And Everybody's) (London Records)
1966 - Aftermath (London Records)
1967 - Between The Buttons (London Records)
1967 - Their Satanic Majesties Request (London Records)
1968 - Beggars Banquet (London Records)
1969 - Let It Bleed (London Records)
1971 - Sticky Fingers (Rolling Stones Records)
1972 - Exile On Main St. (Rolling Stones Records)
1973 - Goats Head Soup (Rolling Stones Records)
1974 - It's Only Rock 'n Roll (Rolling Stones Records)
1976 - Black And Blue (Rolling Stones Records)
1978 - Some Girls (Rolling Stones Records)
1980 - Emotional Rescue (Rolling Stones Records)
1981 - Tattoo You (Rolling Stones Records)
1983 - Undercover (Rolling Stones Records)
1986 - Dirty Work (Rolling Stones Records)
1989 - Steel Wheels (Rolling Stones Records)
1994 - Voodoo Lounge (Virgin Records)
1997 - Bridges To Babylon (Virgin Records)
2005 - A Bigger Bang (Virgin Records)
2016 - Blue And Lonesome (Polydor Records)

The band has also released 23 official live albums which i'm not going to list here.

CURRENT STATUS OF THE ROLLING STONES:

When it comes to rock and roll, one of the most argued items is, who is better? The Beatles or The Stones? The Beatles were often perceived as the guys you wouldn't mind marrying your daughter. They wore suits, were clean and their music was almost, "happy". The Stones, on the other hand, were the guys you didn't want your daughter talking to. They were dirty. They were the wrong side of the tracks. The Beatles were heavily influenced by 50's rock and roll. Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard. The Stones were influenced by the blues, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and Willie Dixon. So, regardless of who you thought was or is better, both of these bands are at the pinnacle of rock and roll music, there's no questioning that. Also like The Beatles, The Stones first couple of albums featured mostly cover songs. Vocalist Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards began working harder together to form their own musical compositions. "Heart Of Stone", one of their first originals to become a successful single, gave the duo added confidence that they could write hits. In 1965, the band released another orignal song, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", and the band was set to soar. Along with The Beatles and The Who, The Rolling Stones also rode the wave of the British Explosion and became household names in their own country as well as across the pond here in the States. The Stones went through a bit of a psychedelic phase in 1966 and 1967 for their albums "Aftermath", "Between The Buttons" and "Their Satanic Majesties Request", perhaps trying to follow what The Beatles were doing at that time. Luckily, the band decided to strip down and get back to their roots in 1968, starting a four album run in four years that is considered the "golden age" of The Stones' career. "Beggars Banquet", "Let It Bleed", "Sticky Fingers" and "Exile On Main St." is simply The Rolling Stones at their best, blues inspired rock and roll. The late 70's scene was shifting musically, with punk rock and disco but The Stones still remained relevant with their 1978 release, "Some Girls". With a shift to new wave in the 80's, this decade would prove to be the most tumultuous for The Stones. A rift between Jagger and Richards which had been bubbling in the late 70's really came to a head in the 80's. There was thoughts that the band was going to break up it got so bad. The two seemed to make amends by the end of the decade the band went on a record setting tour to support their album "Steel Wheels". By the 90's, the releases were a bit more sporadic. They did release two albums in that decade, 1994's "Voodoo Lounge" and 1997's "Bridges To Babylon". It was the touring that really set the bar for The Stones by this point however. In the mid 80's, The Rolling Stones were almost seen as an act that wore out it's welcome, who's time has passed. In the 90's and 2000's, they now became an act that you must see before you die! In 2016, the band released their latest album, "Blue And Lonesome", which is a blues covers album. With all of the members of the band in their mid 70's, they still do massive stadium tours and they plan on releasing an album of all original music, perhaps next year. The band still boasts original lead singer Mick Jagger, original guitarist Keith Richards and original drummer Charlie Watts. Original guitarist and founder Brian Jones left the band after "Beggars Banquet" and drowned to death in his swimming pool in 1969. He was replaced by Mick Taylor from 1969 till 1974 when he left the band. Ronnie Wood, of The Faces fame, joined the band in 1975 and he's remained with them to the present day. Original bassist Bill Wyman departed the band in 1993. As I said earlier, The Rolling Stones are one of the most influential rock and roll bands of all time. Mick Jagger is the consumate frontman and Keith Richards oozes rock and roll. Every decades top bands were probably influenced by The Stones to the present day. For the band's first three decades together, they were literally almost releasing new music every year! An astonishing feat, especially considering how many hit singles were involved in all those releases. Multi platinum selling albums, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, one of the top touring acts of all time and one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. Nuff said!

TEN THE ROLLING STONES SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Sympathy For The Devil
2. Honky Tonk Women
3. Gimme Shelter
4. You Can't Always Get What You Want
5. Brown Sugar
6. Jumpin' Jack Flash
7. Under My Thumb
8. Tumblin' Dice
9. Beast Of Burden
10. Angie

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Song Of The Week: 9/10/17







Song: "Rearviewmirror"

Artist: Pearl Jam

Album: "VS"

Year: 1993

Place Of Origin: Seattle, Washington

Years Active: 1990 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

"Rearviewmirror" appears to be a song about breaking free from an abusive relationship. Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder has said that the song reminds him of driving in a car and getting as far away from a bad situation as possible. It's like putting the past in the rear view. The song is connected to the song "Daughter", which is also on "VS". But, in "Daughter", the victim closes the shades, hiding the abuse that she is enduring. In "Rearviewmirror", the victim raises the shades, sees the light, and escapes her abuser. Simply put, one of the best Pearl Jam songs of all time!!

PEARL JAM DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1991 - Ten (Epic Records)
1993 - VS (Epic Records)
1994 - Vitalogy (Epic Records)
1996 - No Code (Epic Records)
1998 - Yield (Epic Records)
1998 - Live On Two Legs (Epic Records)
2000 - Binaural (Epic Records)
2002 - Riot Act (Epic Records)
2003 - Lost Dogs (Epic Records)
2004 - Live At Benaroya Hall (BMG Records)
2006 - Pearl Jam (J Records)
2009 - Backspacer (Monkeywrench/Universal Music Group)
2011 - Live On Ten Legs (Universal Music Group)
2013 - Lightning Bolt (Monkeywrench Records)

CURRENT STATUS OF PEARL JAM:

Pearl Jam came from the ashes of Mother Love Bone and exploded on the Seattle music scene in 1990. The band's debut album "Ten" is a landmark album which has been certified diamond. What does that mean? It means that album has sold massively worldwide! It also propelled the band to superstardom, almost before they knew what had hit them. At the forefront of the grunge explosion of the early 90's, along with bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, Pearl Jam kept the heat on with their next two releases, 1993's "VS" and 1994's "Vitalogy". The pressures of being that big, that fast began to weigh on the band, especially vocalist Eddie Vedder and the band made a conscious effort to start pulling back the reigns. No more videos and less media obligations. They also did a 180 on their next album, "No Code". This was a much softer, more experimental side of the band and really an effort to change it up musically. Battles with Ticketmaster and going into a shell of sorts began to alienate the band from some of it's fans. The band itself was having some inner struggles and wondering if they were even going to co-exist much longer. Luckily, 1998's "Yield" was a return to form for the band. It also marked a full band collaboration whereas Vedder really took over creative reigns on "Vitalogy" and "No Code". From this album on, every band member would contribute to all future Pearl Jam releases. The early 2000's were a bit of a weird time for the band. "Binaural" and "Riot Act" were both good albums but seemed to be lacking something. The band also began offerering their bootlegs from every show available at this time, beginning with the "Binaural" world tour. Their bootlegs continue to be offered through their website to this day. This period also marked the biggest tragedy that the band was a part of, the 2000 Roskilde tragedy where 9 of their fans were trampled to death during their performance. In 2006, the country was becoming more and more split over the actions of the Bush administration post-9/11. The scene was ripe for a band like Pearl Jam to get their creative juices flowing and write what is perhaps their most political album yet, the self-titled "Pearl Jam", sometimes referred to as "Avocado". This album was a breath of fresh air to me. Urgent and hard hitting, an album with a definitive purpose. 2009's "Backspacer" is probably the band's most positive and fun album. The band's most recent effort was 2013's "Lightning Bolt". This album proved that Pearl Jam is still relevant in an ever-evolving music scene. The band also has plans to release a live album/dvd in the fall of 2017 called "Let's Play Two", which chronicles the band's two performances at historic Wrigley Field in Chicago in 2016. Pearl Jam's sound is a culmination of a slew of influences from The Who, The Ramones, Kiss, Neil Young, Dead Kennedys, Pink Floyd and many, many more! Of the 4 major grunge bands to emerge from the early 90's, Pearl Jam's sound always commanded arena crowds. Their music is powerful. Their lyrics personal and emotional. They have influenced hundreds of rock bands who came after them. They are equally comfortable playing arena anthems ("Alive"), acoustic ballads ("Elderly Woman"), punk influenced hardcore ("Mind Your Manners") and groove laced stompers ("Evenflow"). The band takes more time between albums as they tend to focus more time on their growing families as well as keeping busy with solo and side projects, but they always get back together to tour all over the world and their shows are always epic and must see performances that rival Springsteen and the Grateful Dead. I'd say they are overdue for a new album. Perhaps the band will be inspired by their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2017 or the current political turmoil in the United States and drop another aggressive album with a purpose!

TEN PEARL JAM SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Alive
2. Release
3. Yellow Ledbetter
4. Corduroy
5. Rearviewmirror
6. Go
7. Given To Fly
8. Not For You
9. In My Tree
10. Light Years



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Song Of The Week: 9/3/17







Song: "I Will Believe"

Artist: Oasis

Album: "Supersonic" CD-single

Year: 1994

Place Of Origin: Manchester, England

Years Active: 1991 - 2009



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

"I Will Believe" is a song that appears to be about trying to find yourself. Perhaps the vocalist has someone in his life that is keeping him down as well. Though he is in a rut, you sense his hope that one day he will find his peace of mind and believe he can break free of the things that hold him down. "I Will Believe" was actually recorded live in 1993 and appeared as a b-side on Oasis' 1994 cd-single "Supersonic".

OASIS DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1994 - Definitely Maybe (Creation Records)
1995 - (What's The Story) Morning Glory (Creation Records)
1997 - Be Here Now (Creation Records)
1998 - The Masterplan (Creation Records)
2000 - Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants (Big Brother Records)
2000 - Familiar To Millions (Big Brother Records)
2002 - Heathen Chemistry (Big Brother Records)
2005 - Don't Believe The Truth (Big Brother Records)
2008 - Dig Out Your Soul (Big Brother Records)

CURRENT STATUS OF OASIS:

Oasis formed as a band back in 1991 but it wasn't until lead singer, Liam Gallagher's brother Noel saw them play that he saw the band as a vehicle to get his own music out to the masses. When Noel joined the band, he became the defacto leader and songwriter. Fast forward to 1994, while the grunge movement was exploding in the United States, Britain was having their own resurgence in the world of pop/rock music. Oasis, along with Blur, would be at the forefront of this movement when they delivered their debut album, "Definitely Maybe". This album entered the U.K. charts at #1 within a week of it's release, making it the fastest selling debut album at that time in U.K. history. The roller coaster continued with their sophmore effort, 1995's "(What's The Story) Morning Glory". This album featured the band's first #1 single in the U.K., "Some Might Say" and on the heels of monster singles, "Wonderwall" and "Don't Look Back In Anger", has sold over 22 million units worldwide. Though the band was on top of the world in terms of success, the relationship between the two Gallagher brothers was beginning to disintergrate. The band's next album, "Be Here Now" was initially selling big, but sales died down quickly. As the 2000's began, Oasis began dealing with losing band members and the tension between Liam and Noel seemed to be getting worse. Noel was leaning on his bandmates to collaborate a little more and the albums "Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants", "Heathen Chemistry" and "Don't Believe The Truth" reflect that. In fact, "Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants" features the first cut penned by Liam Gallagher, "Little James". 2005's "Don't Believe The Truth" was a bit of a comeback record for Oasis. Behind the hit single "Lyla", this album has sold over 7 million units worldwide. Oasis would release one more full length studio effort in 2008, "Dig Out Your Soul". While touring in support of this album, a fight backstage between Liam and Noel would turn out to be the last call for Noel. On August 28, 2009 he announced to the world that he quit Oasis and could no longer work with his brother Liam. Noel has since created his solo band, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds while Liam formed the short-lived band Beady Eye and is currently supporting his very first solo album. Oasis was a great band. Influenced heavily by The Beatles, you also hear some Stone Roses, Rolling Stones, The Jam and The Smiths influences in their sound as well. Noel had a knack for creating simple pop songs that sounded huge while his brother Liam had a nasally snarl and rock and roll star attitude that made him be one of the top frontmen in rock and roll. They say sometimes the hardest thing to do is work with family and this was very much true for Oasis. The tension and fights and arguments between the Gallagher brothers would be too much and eventually led to the downfall of the band. On the outside, the band was still achieving success as a headlining act, but on the inside they were imploding. While the new projects the Gallagher brothers are involved in are great, it's not Oasis. Here's hoping these two can come to some sort of peace with each other and they can resurrect one of the best bands in the business. Right now, however, that seems like a pipe dream for Oasis fans.

TEN OASIS SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Live Forever
2. Morning Glory
3. Rock'n'Roll Star
4. Acquiesce
5. Lyla
6. Don't Look Back In Anger
7. Go Let It Out
8. Whatever
9. Stop Crying Your Heart Out
10. All Around The World

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Song Of The Week: 8/27/17







Song: "Junkhead"

Artist: Alice In Chains

Album: "Dirt"

Year: 1992

Place Of Origin: Seattle, Washington

Years Active: 1987 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

"Junkhead" is a song that appears to take you into the mind of a drug addict. It's almost like the beginning phase of drug addiction. At first, the pleasure overshadows the pain. Alice In Chains vocalist Layne Staley has said himself that the drugs used to work for him, now they are working against him. "Junkhead" is the period when they are working for him. Of course, if you listen to the span of songs on "Dirt" from "Junkhead" to "Dirt" to "Godsmack" to "Hate To Feel" to "Angry Chair", you see the slow deterioration of the man from his addictions. The brutal honesty in Staley's lyrics would actually detail his own downfall from heroin. "Junkhead" is the inital high, the initial rush and it's seen as a beautiful thing. The later songs reveal the pain and hopelessness.

ALICE IN CHAINS DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1990 - Facelift (Columbia Records)
1992 - Dirt (Columbia Records)
1995 - Alice In Chains (Columbia Records)
1996 - MTV Unplugged (Columbia Records)
2000 - Live (Columbia Records)
2009 - Black Gives Way To Blue (Virgin/EMI Records)
2013 - The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (Capitol Records)

CURRENT STATUS OF ALICE IN CHAINS:

Alice In Chains formed as a band back in 1987, the second band out of the "big 4" to come out of Seattle, just after Soundgarden and about the same time as Nirvana and just before Pearl Jam. Early on, they caught the ear of major label Columbia Records who signed the band to a record contract. 1990's "Facelift" was the band's debut and thanks to the song and video "Man In The Box", that album would eventually be certified double platinum. By the time 1992's "Dirt" dropped, the Seattle "grunge" explosion was in full force. "Dirt" fell right in line with Pearl Jam's "Ten", Nirvana's "Nevermind" and Soundgarden's "Badmotorfinger". It would become the band's highest selling album, certified 4X platinum! The singles "Would", "Rooster", "Them Bones" and "Angry Chair" were all over rock radio. In 1994, the band went into the studio bearing acoustic instruments and created the classic EP, "Jar Of Flies". In what Cantrell thought was just kind of a throw away turned out to become the first ever EP to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts. That EP would be certified 3X platinum, spawning the classic songs "I Stay Away", "No Excuses", "Nutshell" and "Don't Follow". While Alice In Chains were on top of the world, addictions started to destroy the band within. Bassist Mike Starr was let go from the band after "Dirt" due to drug problems and replaced by Mike Inez. Guitarist Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney were dealing with drug issues and depression, but no one was sinking deeper than lead singer Layne Staley. Heroin was beginning to take a hold of him. The band released "Alice In Chains" in 1995, their last studio full length album to feature Staley on vocals. On April 10, 1996, the band performed live for the first time in two and a half years for the acoustic MTV Unplugged, which would also be released as an album. The last live performance to feature Layne Staley on vocals would be on July 3, 1996 when the band opened for Kiss. At this point, Staley was in the grips of heroin addiction. When his fiancee Demri Parrott died, any hopes of Staley kicking his habit seemed to go out the window. The band managed to get Layne to contribute vocals to two songs, "Get Born Again" and "Died", in 1998 for a box set called "Music Bank", but that was pretty much the last time that Staley would be heard from publicly. He would become a recluse, basically locking himself in his condo and doing heroin. On April 5, 2002, Layne Staley died of a drug overdose. His body would be found two weeks later. Not disbanded, but already on a pretty long hiatus, it appeared that Alice In Chains would be no more. Staley's voice was so important and seemingly could not be replaced. In 2005, Cantrell, Inez and Kinney reunited with several guest vocalists for a benefit show in Seattle. One of those guest vocalists would be Comes With The Fall frontman William DuVall. DuVall toured with Cantrell on his solo tours and performed several Alice In Chains songs in those gigs. While he couldn't ever totally replace Staley, there was definitely a chemistry with he and Cantrell. Eventually, DuVall would be welcomed into Alice In Chains and in 2009, the band released their first studio album in 14 years, "Black Gives Way To Blue". This album debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200 charts and marked a successful return for Alice In Chains. Tragedy was never too far away from the band however, and on March 8, 2011, original bassist Mike Starr died of an overdose. The band's latest release would be 2013's "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here". Alice In Chains is one of the most influential rock bands to come out of the 90's. While they are considered to be a grunge band, Alice In Chains had more of a metal feel to their music. Cantrell took pride in keeping metal elements in their music as that was his own major influence, Black Sabbath especially. It was such a huge loss to the music world when Layne Staley passed away. He was a major voice of a generation. The way he and Cantrell harmonized their vocals was so unique in that genre of music. Their sound was dark, brooding and heavy. Their lyrical content was heavy and brutally honest. Alice In Chains is just one of the best hard rock bands of all time. It's just as simple as that and it's great that they are still out there firing on all cylinders with William DuVall. As important as Staley was to this band, you cannot deny what Cantrell means to the band either. While I miss Staley, I'm always ready for new material from Cantrell and the rest of Chains.

TEN ALICE IN CHAINS SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Would
2. Nutshell
3. Man In The Box
4. Down In A Hole
5. No Excuses
6. Get Born Again
7. Them Bones
8. Angry Chair
9. Again
10. Check My Brain

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Song Of The Week: 8/20/17







Song: "Heroin Girl"

Artist: Everclear

Album: "Sparkle And Fade"

Year: 1995

Place Of Origin: Portland, Oregon

Years Active: 1991 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

Been on a little Everclear kick lately! "Heroin Girl" is a fictional story that was inspired by true events that happened in Everclear lead singer Art Alexakis' life. When he was just 12 years old, his older brother died of a heroin overdose. He also lost a girlfriend, who was also addicted, to suicide. As a recovering addict himself, Alexakis describes the feelings of helplessness and isolation that comes with drug addiction. The character "Eshter" who helps the vocalist score drugs, winds up being found dead of an overdose at the end of the song. The line "I heard the policeman say just another overdose" was based on what a real cop said about Art's brother when his mother had to identify the body, obviously infuriating her.

EVERCLEAR DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1993 - World Of Noise (Tim/Kerr Records)
1995 - Sparkle And Fade (Capitol Records)
1997 - So Much For The Afterglow (Capitol Records)
2000 - Songs From An American Movie Vol. 1: Learning How To Smile (Capitol Records)
2000 - Songs From An American Movie Vol. 2: Good Time For A Bad Attitude (Capitol Records)
2003 - Slow Motion Daydream (Capitol Records)
2006 - Welcome To The Drama Club (Eleven Seven Records)
2008 - The Vegas Years (Capitol Records)
2009 - In A Different Light (429 Records)
2011 - Return To Santa Monica (Cleopatra Records)
2011 - Extended Versions (Sony/BMG Records)
2012 - Invisible Stars (eOne Records)
2015 - Black Is The New Black (The End Records)

CURRENT STATUS OF EVERCLEAR:

Just after the grunge explosion of 1991 and 1992, there was another emerging alternative rock scene that was about to take off as well. Portland, Oregon's Everclear was one of the pioneers of this next phase of rock music. While their music was rooted in grunge/punk/garage rock, it would be the second single from their sophomore album, "Sparkle And Fade", that would really put Everclear on the musical map. "Santa Monica" was like the car moving upwards on a roller coaster. The band's next album, 1995's "So Much For The Afterglow" would prove to be that same car stopping at the top of the roller coaster. This would be Everclear's most successful album, going double platinum thanks to hit singles like "Everything To Everyone", "So Much For The Afterglow", "Father Of Mine" and "One Hit Wonder". The band's next album, 2000's "Songs From An American Movie Vol. 1", featured Everclear's highest charting single ever, "Wonderful". Now, however, the roller coaster car begins going down the hill. The band released "Songs From An American Movie Vol 2" just four months after Vol. 1 creating a bit of confusion among music buyers. Perhaps, it was an oversaturation. After the band released "Slow Motion Daydream" in 2003, their longtime relationship with major label Capitol Records ended and bassist Craig Montoya and drummer Greg Eklund decided to part ways with Everclear leaving frontman/guitarist Art Alexakis to ponder the future of the band. After doing a successful solo tour, many thought Alexakis might just go the solo route, but he would re-tool Everclear with new members and release "Welcome To The Drama Club" in 2006. It would be six more years till Everclear would release a proper studio album but in that time, they would put out a covers album, a few re-recorded albums and a live album. The band's most recent release was 2015's "Black Is The New Black". As I said earlier, Everclear was definitely at the forefront of the alternative rock scene in the mid-90's. Art Alexakis' songwriting is very clear, meaning that his lyrics are usually literal and not obscure. You can pretty much know what he is singing about without having to look really deep into the lyrics. While some of the themes may have been as dark as the earlier grunge bands, Everclear had a way of making even those types of songs appear "happier" for lack of a better term. They had a keen sense of creating a pop rock song, while giving it some bite with fuzzy distortion. I always looked at Everclear as kind of the Tom Petty of alternative rock. Simple songs. Catchy songs. While their popularity waned from the mid 2000's to the present day, the band has carried on, releasing music and touring. In fact, they've created their own summer tour called the "Summerland Tour" which features Everclear alongside other 90's alternative acts like Live, Sponge and Fastball. I actually would like to see Montoya and Eklund return to Everclear. I'm just not sure that will ever happen as they didn't leave on the best of terms. Still, Everclear is one of my favorite bands and I was really impressed with their latest album, "Black Is The New Black".

TEN EVERCLEAR SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Heroin Girl
2. So Much For The Afterglow
3. Learning How To Smile
4. The Swing
5. Wonderful
6. Santa Monica
7. American Girl (Tom Petty cover)
8. Blackjack
9. Pocahontas (Neil Young cover)
10. Be Careful What You Ask For

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Song Of The Week: 8/13/17







Song: "Detroit"

Artist: Everclear

Album: "White Trash Hell" EP

Year: 1997

Place Of Origin: Portland, Oregon

Years Active: 1991 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

There doesn't appear to be much to the lyrics of "Detroit". The vocalist is "dreaming of a Michigan girlfriend". In a way it seems he is wishing for something he can't have. Maybe, she is just made up in his own mind and he's just longing for something that's not real. Just a dream girl made up in his mind. "Detroit" was one of seven demos recorded during the "Sparkle And Fade" sessions in 1994 but it didn't see the light of day until 1997 when it was released on the EP "White Trash Hell".

EVERCLEAR DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1993 - World Of Noise (Tim/Kerr Records)
1995 - Sparkle And Fade (Capitol Records)
1997 - So Much For The Afterglow (Capitol Records)
2000 - Songs From An American Movie Vol. 1: Learning How To Smile (Capitol Records)
2000 - Songs From An American Movie Vol. 2: Good Time For A Bad Attitude (Capitol Records)
2003 - Slow Motion Daydream (Capitol Records)
2006 - Welcome To The Drama Club (Eleven Seven Records)
2008 - The Vegas Years (Capitol Records)
2009 - In A Different Light (429 Records)
2011 - Return To Santa Monica (Cleopatra Records)
2011 - Extended Versions (Sony/BMG Records)
2012 - Invisible Stars (eOne Records)
2015 - Black Is The New Black (The End Records)

CURRENT STATUS OF EVERCLEAR:

Just after the grunge explosion of 1991 and 1992, there was another emerging alternative rock scene that was about to take off as well. Portland, Oregon's Everclear was one of the pioneers of this next phase of rock music. While their music was rooted in grunge/punk/garage rock, it would be the second single from their sophomore album, "Sparkle And Fade", that would really put Everclear on the musical map. "Santa Monica" was like the car moving upwards on a roller coaster. The band's next album, 1995's "So Much For The Afterglow" would prove to be that same car stopping at the top of the roller coaster. This would be Everclear's most successful album, going double platinum thanks to hit singles like "Everything To Everyone", "So Much For The Afterglow", "Father Of Mine" and "One Hit Wonder". The band's next album, 2000's "Songs From An American Movie Vol. 1", featured Everclear's highest charting single ever, "Wonderful". Now, however, the roller coaster car begins going down the hill. The band released "Songs From An American Movie Vol 2" just four months after Vol. 1 creating a bit of confusion among music buyers. Perhaps, it was an oversaturation. After the band released "Slow Motion Daydream" in 2003, their longtime relationship with major label Capitol Records ended and bassist Craig Montoya and drummer Greg Eklund decided to part ways with Everclear leaving frontman/guitarist Art Alexakis to ponder the future of the band. After doing a successful solo tour, many thought Alexakis might just go the solo route, but he would re-tool Everclear with new members and release "Welcome To The Drama Club" in 2006. It would be six more years till Everclear would release a proper studio album but in that time, they would put out a covers album, a few re-recorded albums and a live album. The band's most recent release was 2015's "Black Is The New Black". As I said earlier, Everclear was definitely at the forefront of the alternative rock scene in the mid-90's. Art Alexakis' songwriting is very clear, meaning that his lyrics are usually literal and not obscure. You can pretty much know what he is singing about without having to look really deep into the lyrics. While some of the themes may have been as dark as the earlier grunge bands, Everclear had a way of making even those types of songs appear "happier" for lack of a better term. They had a keen sense of creating a pop rock song, while giving it some bite with fuzzy distortion. I always looked at Everclear as kind of the Tom Petty of alternative rock. Simple songs. Catchy songs. While their popularity waned from the mid 2000's to the present day, the band has carried on, releasing music and touring. In fact, they've created their own summer tour called the "Summerland Tour" which features Everclear alongside other 90's alternative acts like Live, Sponge and Fastball. I actually would like to see Montoya and Eklund return to Everclear. I'm just not sure that will ever happen as they didn't leave on the best of terms. Still, Everclear is one of my favorite bands and I was really impressed with their latest album, "Black Is The New Black".

TEN EVERCLEAR SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Heroin Girl
2. So Much For The Afterglow
3. Learning How To Smile
4. The Swing
5. Wonderful
6. Santa Monica
7. American Girl (Tom Petty cover)
8. Blackjack
9. Pocahontas (Neil Young cover)
10. Be Careful What You Ask For

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Song Of The Week: 8/6/17







Song: "Black Hole Sun" (acoustic version)

Artist: Soundgarden

Album: Unknown ?

Year: Unknown ?

Place Of Origin: Seattle, Washington

Years Active: 1984 - 2017



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

Chris Cornell has stated that the lyrics of "Black Hole Sun" were really him just playing with words and piecing them into something that he was happy with. He didn't really have a meaning to them when he wrote the song. But, as I read the lyrics, I get a sense that he was thinking about dishonest people and backstabbing people. Perhaps, he's just so fed up in a world that's filled with snakes and cunning people that he wishes for it to be wiped out! The original version of "Black Hole Sun" appears on Soundgarden's 1994 epic release, "Superunknown". This version is an acoustic version that sounds like it was recorded in a studio but I don't think it is on any of the band's releases. Could very well be just a Chris Cornell solo recording also. Not sure when this version was recorded.

SOUNDGARDEN DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1988 - Ultramega OK (SST Records)
1989 - Louder Than Love (A&M Records)
1991 - Badmotorfinger (A&M Records)
1994 - Superunknown (A&M Records)
1996 - Down On The Upside (A&M Records)
2011 - Live On I-5 (A&M Records)
2012 - King Animal (Republic Records)
2014 - Echo Of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across The Path (A&M Records)

CURRENT STATUS OF SOUNDGARDEN:

When you think of the very beginnings of "grunge" music, this is one of the bands that should immediately come to mind. Before Alice In Chains, before Nirvana and before Pearl Jam, there was Soundgarden. Formed in 1984, Soundgarden along with the bands Green River, Skin Yard, Malfunkshun, The U-Men and The Melvins laid the foundation of the Seattle sound in the form of the 1986 compilation, "Deep Six". Soundgarden would be one of the first bands to sign with underground Seattle label Sub Pop as well. Not to be outdone, or "outshined" if you will, the boys in Soundgarden would be the first grunge band to sign with a major label as their second full length album, "Louder Than Love", was distributed by A&M Records, which the band would have a career spanning relationship with. Now to the good stuff! 1991. Pearl Jam has "Ten". Nirvana blows up with "Nevermind". Laying in the weeds with "Badmotorfinger" is the mighty Soundgarden!! Though they didn't blow up right away like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, their music could not be denied. They were a part of the legendary Lollapalooza '92 line-up, along with Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ministry and the Seattle sound was God! 1994. Soundgarden releases one of the best albums of all time. I didn't stutter. All time!! "Superunknown" with songs like "Spoonman", "Superunknown", "The Day I Tried To Live", "My Wave" and the biggest single in the band's career, "Black Hole Sun", the band was catapulted to multi-platinum status and Grammy Award winning artists. Their 1996 follow up album, "Down On The Upside" wasn't as criticaly acclaimed as "Superunknown", nor as successful, but even among growning tensions within Soundgarden, this album was a killer album. The tensions proved to be too much for the band however and in 1997, the guys decided to break up. In the next 13 years, all of the band members focused on other projects, most notably, Cornell doing some solo stuff then hooking up with the guys from Rage Against The Machine to form Audioslave. Drummer Matt Cameron joined Pearl Jam as an official member while guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Ben Shepherd also kept busy doing their own thing. Much to the delight of their fans, in 2010, Soundgarden announced they were reuniting and headlining select festivals. 2012 saw the band release their first studio full length album in 16 years, "King Animal". This band still had it's teeth no doubt! In 2014, Soundgarden released "Echo Of Miles", a career spanning, three disc album containing most of the band's b-sides and rare tracks. In 2016, rumors were that the guys had about six songs pretty much complete and were working on more in hopes of having a new album out possibly in late 2017 or early 2018. Fast forward to May 18, 2017. After performing a show in Detroit, Michigan with Soundgarden, lead singer Chris Cornell retreated to his hotel room where he committed suicide by hanging. Though Cornell had fought with addiction and depression in his life, he seemed like he was in a really good place. He loved his family. He loved making music. He had so much talent and so much more to give. It's still a bit unreal to know that he is gone. He's one of the most powerful lead singers of any genre, period. He was that good. From his lyrics, you could tell their was a lot of dark in there. Maybe so much that he couldn't get it all out. Soundgarden will go down as one of the most influential and one of the all around best bands of all time. I believe that the early 90's Seattle sound is the last rock music to come out that felt like it changed the world. I'm pretty sure that Soundgarden will no longer exist as a band. Cornell meant way too much to just throw another lead singer in there. Plus, who could they find to replace him? No one has that guy's pipes. Maybe they do something like Nirvana did at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and get some singers to perform with them one last time cuz this band will definitely get in, in fact, they should already be in. I'm hoping the band has a few new songs in the can that surface at some point because we all need more Cornell!!

TEN SOUNDGARDEN SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Outshined
2. Fell On Black Days
3. Rusty Cage
4. Pretty Noose
5. Black Hole Sun
6. Slaves And Bulldozers
7. Burden In My Hand
8. By Crooked Steps
9. Bleed Together
10. Birth Ritual