Sunday, May 29, 2011

Song Of The Week: 5/29/11

Song: "Fallen"

Artist: 30 Seconds To Mars

Album: "30 Seconds To Mars"

Year: 2002

"Fallen" appears to be a song about escaping from your own reality, perhaps going to a space in your own mind where you can still relate to the things that surround you. "Fallen" was originally titled "Jupiter" and it is the oldest song in the 30 Seconds To Mars catalogue. 30 Seconds To Mars formed as a band back in 1998. It was originally a family project of sorts for brothers Jared and Shannon Leto. Though Jared gained some fame as an American actor, he refused to use his success in film to jumpstart his band. He was determined to keep the two separate from each other. Of course, fans of his movies would have an obvious interest in his other career as well, however. By the time of the band's 2005 album "A Beautiful Lie" was released, Leto would not have to worry about the band standing on it's own. "A Beautiful Lie", backed by the hit single "The Kill", was a huge success for the band which enabled them to go from opening band to headliners in a short period of time. The band's third album, 2009's "This Is War", would keep the band in the spotlight as one of the biggest rock acts of the mid to late 2000's. 30 Seconds To Mars draws their musical style from several different influences from Tool to David Bowie to Alice In Chains and even Bjork. I've heard them labeled everything from post-grunge, progressive metal to alternative rock. They are definitely a band that is driven by creating whole album concept rather than records that are driven by two or three singles. Currently, 30 Seconds To Mars finished up a world tour in support of "This Is War" in December of 2010. They are also signed on to be the headliner of International Lollapalooza in Santiago, Chile.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Song Of The Week: 5/22/11

Song: "Over The Hills And Far Away" (live version)

Artist: Led Zeppelin

Album: "How The West Was Won"

Year: 2003

After reading the lyrics to this song, it appears to me that the vocalist is searching for love that will last. It seems he has made his share of mistakes when it comes to relationships and he is on a quest, of sorts, to find that "pocket full of gold". I've heard some say the song is about sleeping around with as many women as possible. I can see that, but I sense he's doing it because he hasn't found the "one" yet that he feels comfortable and confident he can settle down with. "Over The Hills And Far Away" is a classic Led Zeppelin song that was originally released on the band's 1973 album "Houses Of The Holy". The version I chose to use was taken from the band's 2003 live release, "How The West Was Won". The song was recorded during the band's stop at the L.A. Forum on their 1972 U.S. tour. Led Zeppelin formed as a band out of the ashes of The Yardbirds in 1968. Originally, guitarist Jimmy Page wanted to form a supergroup with himself on guitar along with Jeff Beck and The Who's rhythm section, John Entwistle on bass and Keith Moon on drums. That band would never see the light however. Page worked with bassist John Paul Jones in some studio sessions in the past, so Jones has an inside track to the new band. Plant was also recommended to Page by a friend. Plant was the one who introduced John Bonham to the band and alas, Led Zeppelin was formed. At their height, you can argue that Led Zeppelin was as important and influential a band that The Beatles or The Rolling Stones were. That's how solid and innovative they were. Though based on a solid American blues foundation, Led Zeppelin was not afraid to push the envelope when it came to experimenting with different styles of music, as well as different instruments. When you talk about being the best of your craft, you're talking about Led Zeppelin. Robert Plant, arguably the best lead singer in rock and roll history. Jimmy Page, one of the best guitarists ever. John Paul Jones, perhaps the most talented musician in the rock world. John Bonham, the best hard rock drummer of all time, period. Led Zeppelin would rule the rock world from 1968 until 1980, when tragically, John Bonham would die in his sleep from choking on his own vomit. The band decided that Bonham was too important to the band to carry on and Led Zeppelin would be no more. Zeppelin would reunite for some shows, most notably Live Aid in 1985 and a benefit concert in 2007 for Ahmet Ertegun, a concert which trully showed the raw power of one of the best bands of all time, and also featured Bonham's son, Jason behind the drum kit. After this 2007 show, Page, Jones and Jason Bonham wanted to embark on a full scale Zeppelin tour. Robert Plant however, wanted to focus on his solo career and seemed to want to close the book on Zeppelin. Currently, the hopes of a Zeppelin reunion do not look good and Page has said that they would not tour under the Zeppelin name unless Plant is a part of the project.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Song Of The Week: 5/15/11

Song: "Get It Right"

Artist: Don't Look Down

Album: "Start The Show"

Year: 2002

"Get It Right" follows a common theme that occurs in many pop/punk songs of a relationship on the brink. You get the feeling that outside forces, such as old friends, are influencing the girl to end the relationship while the guy (vocalist) is trying to hold on to the relationship telling her that they don't need them, they only need each other. In the end, it seems like he loses. Maybe next time he'll "get it right". Don't Look Down formed as a band back in 1998 in New Jersey. After several years of being nothing more than a punk cover band, they finally got their break in 2002 and released their first album "Start The Show". This album showed that they were a typical pop punk band, perhaps a cross in style of bands like MxPx and Jimmy Eat World. With their follow up EP "Five" and 2004's "The Fear In Love", Don't Look Down began showing a more mature songwriting style and sound without totally losing their focus on hooks and melodies. It wasn't long after the release of "The Fear In Love" that Don't Look Down ceased to exist as a band. Perhaps it was just getting lost in the overload of pop/punk bands that were coming out at the time or maybe the band just ran it's course. In 2006, Don't Look Down lead singer Ryan Ogren joined another pop/punk outfit Over It as a guitarist and background vocalist. Some years later, Ogren and members of Over It and Rufio formed a new band called Runner Runner. Ogren, once again assumed lead vocals and guitar for this band. Currently, it seems Runner Runner is the main focus for Ryan Ogren which means Don't Look Down probably will not see the light of day anytime soon. Barring a change of heart from Ogren, it's probably safe to close the book on Don't Look Down as a band.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Song Of The Week: 5/8/11

Song: "Radio Prayer Line"

Artist: Sponge

Album: "New Pop Sunday"

Year: 1999

This song is about a mother-to-be. In the song, she's is hoping or praying that her newborn child does not have to suffer the same pains and misfortunes that have plagued her own life. She has seen her own parents go through a divorce and her father pushed most of the blame on her growing up. She's worried that the father of her child will do the same to her that her father did to her mother. By the end of the song, you get the sense that she is being comforted and that she should not have these fears because everything is going to work out fine for her. Sponge formed as a band back in 1991, hailing from Detroit, MI. They are one of the bands that hopped on the grunge/alternative bandwagon and enjoyed the ride, at least for a short while. Their 1994 debut, "Rotting Pinata" was a huge success for the band as hit singles "Molly" and "Plowed" were constant staples on any modern rock radio stations. Their success would continue with their follow-up album "Wax Ecstatic". By the time of their third album, 1999's "New Pop Sunday", the roller coaster ride of success began going down for Sponge. They experimented with a less grittier sound and a more polished pop style, much to the dismay of their fan base. During the 2000's, Sponge would continue on as a band, releasing three more albums as well as an EP. Lead singer, Vinnie Dombroski has remained the only original member in the band as the line-up has changed several times. During their music career so far, Sponge has gone from headlining arena shows, to now filling much smaller clubs but their core fanbase has remained loyal to the band. They're almost like an underground band now compared to their 90's heyday. Currently, rumors are out there that Sponge are going to release a new album in 2011 tentatively titled "Soak It Up".

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Song Of The Week: 5/1/11

Song: "Divine Intervention"

Artist: Autopilot Off

Album: "Make A Sound"

Year: 2004

After reading the lyrics to "Divine Intervention", I get the sense the vocalist is trying to figure out the various questions that life brings us. Why do we bring people into our lives while we leave others behind? Why do we grow attached to some things while letting other things go? Why do we make the choices we do? Perhaps it's just easier to say that the reasons we do what we do are because of divine intervention. Our path has already been determined so there is no need to question our actions, just act. Autopilot Off formed as a band back in 1996. Originally, the band went under the moniker Cooter. They would release a full length album as well as an EP and a split with the band Slick Shoes under the Cooter name. In 2002, Cooter was forced to change their name to Autopilot Off due to legal action brought forth from another band who held the name The Cooters. As Autopilot Off, the band would release a few more EP's as well as their major label debut, 2004's "Make A Sound". While there's nothing extraordinary about Autopilot Off, nor anything that totally separates them from other pop punk/skate punk bands, "Make A Sound" was quite a solid album from beginning to end. This makes it all the more surprising that in 2005, just one year after releasing "Make A Sound", the band would go on an indefinite hiatus. This hiatus would turn into an eventual break-up of the band. This was very unfortunate news for fans of the band. Autopilot Off seemed to have a lot of promise as a band and this abrupt end seemed to happen all too soon. Currently, the band members have all focused on their lives away from the band and on their families. There is no sign of Autopilot Off working together again.