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