Saturday, July 14, 2018

Song Of The Week: 7/15/18







Song: "Given To Fly"

Artist: Pearl Jam

Album: "Mansfield, MA 7/11/03" bootleg

Year: 2003

Place Of Origin: Seattle, Washington

Years Active: 1990 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

Here is what the writer of the song himself, Eddie Vedder, had to say about "Given To Fly", "[I imagined the song as] a 20-page cardboard (children's) book with a line on each page and a picture to go with it. It's a fable, that's all. The music almost gives you this feeling of flight, and I really love singing the part at the end, which is all about rising above anybody's comments about what you do and still giving your love away. You know? Not becoming bitter and reclusive, not condemning the whole world because of the actions of a few." The origninal version of "Given To Fly" appears on Pearl Jam's 1998 record "Yield". The version I chose for my song of the week is taken from the live bootleg of Pearl Jam's concert in Mansfield, MA on July 11, 2003. I was there!! Yippeee!! ;)

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)
2017 - Let's Play Two (Republic Records)

* Since 2000, Pearl Jam has started releasing official live bootlegs of their tours through their website. These are made available after every major tour that the band embarked on since the Binaural Tour. There are way too many for me to list here but you can check them out at pearljam.com and either purchase a hard cd or a digital download.

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 released 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. More good news out of the Pearl Jam camp in 2018 is along with a tour of South America and some stadium dates in the United States, the band also released a brand new single in March titled "Can't Deny Me". The song is said to be part of a brand spankin' new studio album that could be released later this year! 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. Do The Evolution
10. Light Years

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Song Of The Week: 7/8/18







Song: "Dirty Frank"

Artist: Pearl Jam

Album: "Even Flow" cd single

Year: 1992

Place Of Origin: Seattle, Washington

Years Active: 1990 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

"Dirty Frank" is a tongue-in-cheek song written about Pearl Jam's tour bus driver back when they were opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the early 90's. The running joke between the band members was that their bus driver, Frank, looked like a psycho serial killer. Thus, "Dirty Frank" was formed with it's funky guitars and lyrics that made their tour bus driver seem like Jeffrey Dahmer! "Dirty Frank" never made it to a proper studio album, although a slightly different version did appear on the band's 2003 b-side compilation "Lost Dogs". This version I chose for my song of the week appears on the 1992 "Even Flow" cd single.

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)
2017 - Let's Play Two (Republic Records)

* Since 2000, Pearl Jam has started releasing official live bootlegs of their tours through their website. These are made available after every major tour that the band embarked on since the Binaural Tour. There are way too many for me to list here but you can check them out at pearljam.com and either purchase a hard cd or a digital download.

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 released 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. More good news out of the Pearl Jam camp in 2018 is along with a tour of South America and some stadium dates in the United States, the band also released a brand new single in March titled "Can't Deny Me". The song is said to be part of a brand spankin' new studio album that could be released later this year! 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. Do The Evolution
10. Light Years

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Song Of The Week: 7/1/18







Song: "White Noise"

Artist: Everclear

Album: "Slow Motion Daydream"

Year: 2003

Place Of Origin: Portland, Oregon

Years Active: 1991 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

"White Noise" appears to be a song about being there for someone when everyone that they know is turning their backs on them. The vocalist sees something in this person that nobody else does and he wants this individual to know that he is there to lean on and to catch them when they fall. He believes in this person and vows to always be there when they need him. The song in the video takes about a minute to kick in so be patient or fast forward a little bit ;)

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". Art Alexakis is currently working on a solo album in 2018. 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

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Song Of The Week: 6/24/18







Song: "Louder Than A Bomb"

Artist: Public Enemy

Album: "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back"

Year: 1988

Place Of Origin: Long Island, New York

Years Active: 1986 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

Chuck D., the main rapper and lyricist for the hip hop group Public Enemy, has said that "Louder Than A Bomb" was written about the fact that his phone was being tapped by the government. Not surprising considering some of his views on the FBI and CIA and how he feels they were involved in the murders of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. He kind of shrugged off the phone tapping because he said that everything he had to say about those organizations and the American government as a whole will be right there on his albums so there really is no need to tap his phone. He left it all out there in his lyrics.

PUBLIC ENEMY DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1987 - Yo! Bum Rush The Show (Def Jam Records)
1988 - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back (Def Jam Records)
1990 - Fear Of A Black Planet (Def Jam Records)
1991 - Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black (Def Jam Records)
1994 - Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age (Def Jam Records)
1998 - He Got Game (Def Jam Records)
1999 - There's A Poison Goin' On (Atomic Pop Records)
2002 - Revolverlution (Koch Records)
2005 - New Whirl Odor (Slam Jamz Records)
2006 - Rebirth Of A Nation (Guerilla Funk Records)
2007 - How You Sell Soul To A Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul (Slam Jamz Records)
2012 - Most Of My Heroes Still Don't Appear On No Stamp (Slam Jamz Records)
2012 - The Evil Empire Of Everything (Enemy Records)
2015 - Man Plans God Laughs (RCS Music)
2017 - Nothing Is Quick In The Desert (916% Entertainment)

CURRENT STATUS OF PUBLIC ENEMY:

Chuck D. and Flavor Flav used to work together delivering furniture way back in the day. They began trying to form a rap group early on. Before they even became Public Enemy, Chuck D. wrote the song "Public Enemy No. 1" as a diss track against another local emcee. That track eventually got into the hands of producer Rick Rubin and the newly named Public Enemy was signed to Def Jam records. Coming out of the "golden age of hip hop", Public Enemy firmly left their stamp on the rap map, especially in the span of 1987 to 1994. Their albums on Def Jam were all instant classics but especially 1988's "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back" and 1990's "Fear Of A Black Planet". Rap music was definitely seeing a shift to a more socially and politically conscious state and Public Enemy would be at the forefront of this movement. While the west coast had things locked down on street violence and gang mentality themes thanks to artists like Ice-T and N.W.A., the east coast was shining a light on racial inequalities and social injustices with groups like Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions. To me, Public Enemy was almost like a hip hop punk band. Their sound was so unique. It was loud, frenetic, in your face and hard hitting and Chuck D. had the perfect commanding voice to compliment those crazy beats. P.E. put out anthems, period. "Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos", "Fight The Power", "Don't Believe The Hype", "Welcome To The Terrordome", "Can't Truss It" to name a few. When it comes to rap groups, Public Enemy is right at the top of that chain, along with N.W.A., Wu-Tang Clan and EPMD. By the 2000's, hip hop music was really changing, and in my mind, not for the better. The old school rappers, while respected, were getting passed over by artists who were much more concerned with their image and what they have than of any types of issues to shine a light on. Rap videos were becoming fashion shows. How much money can I show off. How much jewelry can I flaunt. How many women do I have. It was all image with little to no substance. Don't get me wrong, their are still some rap artists that I believe are true to the game. Guys like Eminem and The Game, but those guys are kind of throwbacks to the golden age. They have respect for the craft. Public Enemy is still very much a band. They've dropped eight full length albums since the year 2000, but the gold and platinum selling days of their Def Jam years are long gone. Chuck D. has actually formed a new group called Prophets Of Rage with Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford of Rage Against The Machine and B-Real of Cypress Hill. They have an album and have also been touring extensively. Not quite sure what the future holds for Public Enemy but for all intents and purposes, they are still considered active. Public Enemy is just one of the most well respected groups in rap history, or any genre of music for that matter. "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back" is one of the most important albums in music. Bringin' Tha Noize since 1986!!! Strong Island, New York style bitchez!!!!!

TEN PUBLIC ENEMY SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos
2. Welcome To The Terrordome
3. Rebel Without A Pause
4. You're Gonna Get Yours
5. Buckwhylin'
6. Fight The Power
7. Can't Truss It
8. Public Enemy No. 1
9. Give It Up
10. I Shall Not Be Moved

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Song Of The Week: 6/17/18







Song: "Complicated"

Artist: Face To Face

Album: "Live"

Year: 1998

Place Of Origin: Victorville, California

Years Active: 1991 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

"Complicated" is a song that appears to be about a person who is so stubborn in their beliefs or opinions that it may wind up costing them in the future. If you have no ability to reason, you're basically living life down a one way street. If you feel strongly about something, no doubt fight for it and stand behind it, but not every issue is black and white, so when there's gray area, you should be able to engage in debate and perhaps even have your opinion altered. I chose the live version of "Complicated" for my song of the week. The original appears on Face To Face's 1996 self-titled album.

FACE TO FACE DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1992 - Don't Turn Away (Dr. Strange Records)
1995 - Big Choice (Victory Music)
1996 - Face To Face (A & M Records)
1998 - Live (Vagrant Records)
1999 - Ignorance Is Bliss (Beyond Records)
1999 - Standards & Practices (Vagrant Records)
2000 - Reactionary (Vagrant Records)
2002 - How To Ruin Everything (Vagrant Records)
2011 - Laugh Now, Laugh Later (People Like You Records)
2013 - Three Chords And A Half Truth (Rise Records)
2016 - Protection (Fat Wreck Chords)

CURRENT STATUS OF FACE TO FACE:

Face To Face formed as a band back in 1991, with Trever Keith on vocals and guitar, Matt Riddle on bass and Rob Kurth on drums. Their very first album, 1992's "Don't Turn Away", featured the song "Disconnected" which started giving the band some following especially in the southern California punk scene. The band was asked to re-record the song for their second release, "Big Choice", in 1995. Matt Riddle also left the band at this time and was replaced by Scott Shiflett. The success of "Disconnected" and the subsequent rise of punk rock in the mid-90's with bands like The Offspring, Rancid and Green Day led to Face To Face signing with major label A & M Records for the release of their self titled album in 1996. Being on a major would only last that one album however for Face To Face. In 1999, the band threw it's fans a curve ball with the release of "Ignorance Is Bliss". This album strayed from the melodic, catchy three chord punk rock songs that Face To Face was known for and went in a more mainstream, almost emo like direction. For a while, Trever Keith kind of disowned this album, refusing to play any of the songs live, but soon he came around and began playing those songs, in fact, Face To Face did a whole tour in honor of the album. 2000's "Reactionary" saw Face To Face get back to their punk rock roots as did 2002's "How To Ruin Everything". Those two albums were released through Vagrant Records which had the longest relationship with the band than any other label. By 2005, lots of things were going on within the ranks of Face To Face. Original drummer Rob Kurth left the band in 1997 and was replaced by Pete Parada. Second guitarist Chad Yaro, who joined the band in 1994, decided to leave the band in 2000. The feeling within the band was that maybe it was time to step away. What started as a hiatus was later said to be an official break up in 2004. Luckily for fans of Face To Face, the break up was short lived. The band got back together in 2008 with Keith on guitar and vocals, Shiflett on bass, Yaro returning on guitar and new drummer Danny Thompson as Parada joined The Offspring. The band's first album after their hiatus was a triumphant return. 2011's "Laugh Now, Laugh Later" put Face To Face right back on the punk rock map. The band hooked up with Rise Records for 2013's "Three Chords And A Half Truth". The band's most recent release was 2016's "Protection". This album was released through legendary punk rock label Fat Wreck Chords in what seems to be a match made in heaven for label and band. When you think punk rock bands of the 90's, lots of names come up. Face To Face has to be one of the most respected of all of those bands who came out. They're kind of like, gruffy punk, for lack of a better term. No nonsense, three chords, melodic and gravelly vocals. I'd say they are similar in sound to bands like 88 Fingers Louis, Good Riddance, The Bouncing Souls, Hot Water Music and the Street Dogs. The foundation of their music has been done by countless bands, but it's something about the delivery of that music that makes Face To Face stand on their own. The great news is that since they've returned from their little hiatus, Face To Face seems to be firing on on cylinders. Three more albums, constant touring, and look out for a brand new all acoustic album coming soon from this incredible punk rock outfit!

TEN FACE TO FACE SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Disappointed
2. It's Not All About You
3. The New Way
4. The Devil You Know (God Is A Man)
5. Double Crossed
6. Disconnected
7. Blind
8. You Lied
9. Right As Rain
10. That's Entertainment (The Jam cover)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Song Of The Week: 6/10/18.







Song: "Blackjack" (acoustic version)

Artist: Everclear

Album: "Closure"

Year: 2004

Place Of Origin: Portland, Oregon

Years Active: 1991 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

Here's an excerpt of an interview with Everclear frontman Art Alexakis which explains what he was trying to convey in the song "Blackjack". "The song "Blackjack" deals partly with Attorney General John Ashcroft and what Alexakis views as his abuse of the nation’s leading law enforcement position. "It just seems like John Ashcroft has used the law as a forum for his own political and spiritual beliefs. And that’s not what America’s about," Alexakis said. "His job is to uphold the Constitution and go after people
who go against that. It seems like he’s made it this bully pulpit for (his beliefs), and might I say with the support and power of the president behind him -­ and not just Bush, but (Vice President Dick) Cheney, (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld and all the guys who pull strings." The word blackjack, by the way, refers not to the card game, but to a small club with a flexible handle. "It’s very subtle and it’s very unimposing looking," Alexakis said. "But it does the damage of 10 men. I kind of liked that analogy, and I liked turning it around on the people that try to use verbal and spiritual and physical and political blackjack to control and make their way happen." I chose the acoustic version of "Blackjack" for my song of the week. The original can be found on Everclear's 2003 album "Slow Motion Daydream"

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". Art Alexakis is currently working on a solo album in 2018. 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

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Song Of The Week: 6/3/18







Song: "Going Down In Flames"

Artist: 3 Doors Down

Album: "Away From The Sun"

Year: 2002

Place Of Origin: Escatawpa, Mississippi

Years Active: 1996 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

"Going Down In Flames" is a song that appears to be about a relationship that's on the outs. The vocalist appears to be fed up with the relationship and he's grown tired of hearing her side of the story. He feels that she has not supported him at all and when he's gone, he feels she will regret losing him because she doesn't realize what she had with him.

3 DOORS DOWN DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

2000 - The Better Life (Universal Records)
2002 - Away From The Sun (Universal Republic Records)
2005 - Seventeen Days (Universal Republic Records)
2008 - 3 Doors Down (Universal Republic Records)
2011 - Time Of My Life (Universal Republic Records)
2016 - Us And The Night (Republic Records)

CURRENT STATUS OF 3 DOORS DOWN:

3 Doors Down formed as a band back in 1996, hailing from Mississippi. Vocalist Brad Arnold actually started out playing drums as well for the band, in fact he played drums on the band's first two albums. Speaking of the first two albums, let's start with the debut. When the song "Kryptonite" found it's way to radio stations, it skyrocketed to #3 on the Billboard Top 100 charts. The album "The Better Life" became the 11th best selling album of 2000 and has gone on to be certified 6X platinum. Success continued for the band with their sophmore effort, 2002's "Away From The Sun". This album debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200 charts. The steamroller kept going! 2005's "Seventeen Days" debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts and was certified platinum within one month of it's release! Their follow up self-titled album also debuted at #1. 3 Doors Down's last two releases, 2011's "Time Of My Life" and 2016's "Us And The Night" also debuted in the top 20 of the Billboard 200 charts but those two albums saw a significant drop in album sales. 3 Doors Down is what you would consider mainstream rock. Most of their songs are written specifically to get play on popular radio. That's not a bad thing, it just doesn't quite give the band lots of cred when it comes to music snobs. They aren't a bad band though and sometimes there's nothing wrong with a catchy tune. Their style is reminiscent of band's like Three Days Grace, 12 Stones, Trapt, Seether and Breaking Benjamin. 3 Doors Down tends to add a little bit of southern rock influence in their music however, showing their Mississippi roots. The band caught a lot of flac in the music world for playing at Donald Trump's Presidential inauguration but I really don't hold that against them. I really don't listen to music or artists to form my political opinions. I listen to them for their music. My favorite band of all time is Pearl Jam and they lean to the left. 3 Doors Down leans to the right. Who really gives a fuck?!! If you're taking your political cues from rock bands then I can't help you with your issues..

TEN 3 DOORS DOWN SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Away From The Sun
2. Kryptonite
3. Let Me Go
4. Here Without You
5. Be Like That
6. Landing In London
7. It's Not My Time
8. Let Me Be Myself
9. In The Dark
10. Here By Me