#133 – The World

starting__61136_zoom

Artist – The Starting Line
Album – Based on a True Story
Year – 2005
Genre – Pop-Punk

Pop-Punk mainstays The Starting Line have always brought a real sense of melody and relatability to their music, but 2005’s “The World” takes it to a whole new level. The melodies and just sheer force of this song are unreal, and if you’re not ready to take on anything and anyone by the end of this song…well I don’t even think that’s possible.

Right out of the gate the band just lays out the power with a great upbeat riff and some clap-along fun. Frontman Kenny Vasoli just blows me out of the water in this song. Right from the first verse, he hits every note of the fun, bouncy melody perfectly. The quick acoustic strumming and Vasoli’s staccato passages make this song ripe for singing along in the car, as do the gang vocal repetitions scattered throughout each verse. The melody in the verses alone is amazing, with Vasoli pushing himself each and every time to to the top. But…

…you’ve never heard a more triumphant chorus in your life. Vasoli pushes himself to his absolute limits during the chorus, and the passion is so rich and full that you just want to explode. The soaring melody is just out of this world. The instruments roar to life and you just feel alive as you hear it happen.

If you thought that one was good, try getting through a even better second verse with more gang vocals and harmonies that’ll make your spine tingle. Then comes another chorus with an added second melody with harmonies that just…ugh they’re too good.

A quick bridge with a bit of cool guitar work and great gang vocals leads into a quiet chorus repetition from Vasoli, who builds up perfectly to a release of power in the final chorus. It’s everything from the preceding parts of the song put into one amazing package. The instruments hit the ceiling, and with stunning harmonies and a melody that’s just to die for, you better throw this one on repeat.

The lyrics are just so empowering. I mean, what’s more relatable then just letting things go and having a good time. More than that even, the song is about just recognizing your place in a world where anything can happen. It’s a message that just hits home with literally everyone. We all are a part of “the world” but we also can be a part of each other’s world, and it’s not hard to do. So do yourself a favor. If you’re feeling down at any time, just put on this song. I guarantee it’s worth your time.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to see some comments about what you thought of the song! After all, we all are a part of the world, of course! Bonus points for likes, follows, and shares!

Advertisements

#132 – Someday, Someway

43d9626a23c1fa22111b40b8cfe7753ea4fd94a4

Artist – Marshall Crenshaw
Album – Marshall Crenshaw
Year – 1982
Genre – Rock/Rockabilly

Now begins the tally of songs I’ve heard at my new job, promptly decided I liked, researched, downloaded, and put onto this blog. I literally knew nothing of Marshall Crenshaw after looking him up, but quickly discovered his proficiency as a songwriter and a musician, despite his one hit wonder status in the 80’s. If you’ve heard of him, that’s cool and I’m jealous of you. If not, then prepare to hear a song whose melody and hook will ring in your ears until you’re in the grave. And probably in the afterlife too.

From the opening riff, you’ll probably think you’ve traveled back in time to the sock hop at Mel’s diner. The song’s retro riff and it’s clean twangy guitar tone is a huge musical turn on from the start. The drums give the song that galloping beat that will get your feet tapping, and as soon as Crenshaw starts singing, it’s over. Put this song in the dictionary under the definition of catchy.

I adore Crenshaw’s voice, and it’s a shame more people don’t know about it. It’s so melodic and clean, and with the slight echo added in the song, it sounds damn awesome. His emotion is right there in every note, and his slight waver at the end of each line is just heaven. And this is just the verse, which is amazing on it’s own.

When the chorus hits, you’ll die a little bit. In a good way. The sequence of notes in the “someday, someway” will repeat in your head as you try to sleep forevermore. It’s too late now. It’s just so damn catchy. His voice is tip top during the whole thing, and the whole melody just gets your endorphins firing like crazy. Your brain will thank you later for listening to this chorus.

I shouldn’t forget about the band in this song, and the bridge is the perfect part to bring them up again. If you listen close, the guitar is really funky and the chords are very strange, but somehow they fit in perfectly. The bass is the same way and the drums just keep on their merry pounding way. Just great.

The harmonies are so wonderful to hear along with Crenshaw’s voice, as are the “oohs” in the background, and as the song closes out, you’ll feel a strong sense of contentment of hearing this song. Just take it in. Let it seep through you. Don’t fight it. Shhhhhhhhhhh…

The lyrics in this song are a huge standout as well, due to Crenshaw’s writing abilities. It’s both a kind of heartbreaking love song and a song about finding understanding and compromise in a relationship.

I can’t stand to see you sad
I can’t bear to hear you cry
If you can’t tell me what you need
All I can do is wonder why

After all you’ve done for me
All I really want to do
Is take the love you brought my way
And give it all right back to you

These are the two verses. What simple, honest songwriting that is. These are feelings of love put into a great song with everything going for it. Again, it’s a shame that Marshall Crenshaw isn’t more well known, but now I’m giving you the opportunity to hear a one hit wonder you won’t soon forget. Seriously, you can thank me later.

Thanks for reading, and maybe someday, someway, you can leave a like, a comment, follow this page, or share it with a friend. You all are the best!

#131 – We Sleep Forever

VR334

Artist – Aiden
Album – Rain In Hell – EP
Year – 2006
Genre – Emo/Post-Hardcore

The voice is a powerful emotional force. Conviction in singing is a skill that all vocalists should possess in some way shape or form. If they believe it, you believe it and feel right along with them. Aiden, a post-hardcore group known for their “horror punk” style, didn’t really appear on my radar until I heard “We Sleep Forever,” with frontman Will Francis’ voice and well crafted chorus melody catching me off guard and making me an instant fan of this song.

The band kicks this song in with a huge bang. It’s one of those openings that crowds go nuts for. The band is a talented bunch, with some powerful rhythm guitars and quick drumming forming the backbone, and some quick riffage from the lead guitar and even some piano thrown in for atmosphere.

Francis sits front and center in the song with his voice falling right in line with many of the modern emo groups that currently rock the scene. The verses keep you in place with some interesting vocal melody explorations, but it’s the chorus that knocked me on my ass.

The melody is great, Francis is singing with all his belief, and a song whose verse lyrics are mediocre and elude me becomes infinitely stronger in the chorus. You’ll be held at full emotional investment as Francis pours his heart out in his singing and conviction. Every time he sings “Hey, call the angels” I get chills. It’s a chorus that just sticks with you on more levels than one.

The bridge is nice interlude, with the guitar taking a bit of the spotlight off of Francis. The drums also get a chance to shine here as well, and every piece comes together in a great breakdown rhythm that will have you headbanging along.

The last choruses are exactly what you want to hear to cap off the song. Nothing like ending with the best parts of a song. It’s just as strong as before, and you’re going to want to have another go at this one by the time it ends. As for the lyrics, as I mentioned before, the verse lyrics fall into place with Aiden’s M.O.; dark, twisted words of passion and dark violence and despair. It works for them, but the chorus is just much more universally appealing with a kickass melody and words that just seem to grab me more.

If you’re looking for a new punk jam, I highly recommend “We Sleep Forever.” It really appeals to the darkness in you and hooks you with Francis’ emotional voice and the band’s instrumental power. It stands with the best of what modern post-hardcore has to offer.

Thanks for checking out my blog! If you like what you read and heard, please give it a like or leave a comment! I’d love to hear your opinions on the music. Also, be sure to follow me for more songs like this one, and share the blog with a friend to get them listening as well!

#130 – Head Over Heels

Songs+from+the+Big+Chair

Artist – Tears for Fears
Album – Songs from the Big Chair
Year – 1985
Genre – New Wave

Keep in mind I will be reviewing the section of the song that goes until 4:20 on the video.

I saw an article that stated if you had to choose one of the most seminal albums of the 80’s, Songs from the Big Chair would take that title. I wholeheartedly agree. The album, which spawned several huge hits, included “Head Over Heels” one of my favorite Tears for Fears songs. It may come across as all 80’s glitz and flash and may seem all show at first listen, but this is actually a heartbreaking song about unrequited feelings.

The opening piano, strings and guitar are all very New Wave-y sounding and seem to paint the picture of the song as happy and sunny, but upon further listen this is certainly not the case. However, singer Roland Orzabal’s early vocal antics, including some great falsetto jumps, really hook you. His trademark sound is deep, but very melodic and clear. The steady beat drives the song to the chorus, with some synth in the background to keep it interesting.

The melody of the chorus in this song is why it’s a hit. The sad, yet strangely upbeat tempo and tone in Orzabal’s voice, as well as those continued falsetto jumps keep you firmly engaged. The synth behind the chorus also adds some lush texturing and adds a nice body to the vocals. The verses and chorus have their own unique qualities and melody that work together to create one great whole, as opposed to two alright halves.

As the song continues, after some more verse/chorus repetition, there’s a really cool chorus section with some guitar work over the top that, again, keeps the song interesting. This continues to the end, capping off a song that is melodically vocally very well done, and has a lot of interesting tones and textures. Keep and ear open for some cool flanger effects thrown in as well.

To be honest, I never really paid too much attention to the lyrical content and emotion when I used to listen to this song. I always thought it was just a cheesy tune from the era of hair metal and one hit wonders. However, this song is very sad and you can feel Orzabal’s emotion as he sings once you put the lyrics into context. From the beginning, Orzabal sings of just wanting to get to know a girl on the most basic level, something most every guy does. However, as evidenced by the chorus, he quickly develops romantic feelings for her, which are (going back to the verse) seemingly unrequited and he’s left feeling like she’s just wasted his time and trashed his heart.

The way Orzabal hits those high notes and sings the chorus, you can feel his frustration. He channels the feelings echoed in the lyrics straight into his performance for all to hear. You really get the senses he’s fed up with being through this scenario so many times, and is sick of just being lonely. It’s hard when you put yourself out there with nothing given back, or when you’re outright ignored. To that extent, I relate to this song in every way. I can directly mirror my own experience with the lyrics. It’s that ability to relate and emote in a song that makes it truly great. So if anyone’s looking for a great song about wanting to fall in love but it not ever seeming to work out, look no further than this song.

Thanks for reading everyone. I’d be head over heels for you if you leave a like, comment, follow this blog, or share it today! Or anytime really.

#129 – Another Sunny Day

tumblr_l7tmxgYs511qzn2wgo1_1280

Artist – Belle and Sebastian
Album – The Life Pursuit
Year – 2006
Genre – Indie Pop/Alternative

This one’s been a long time coming, as I was planning to do this song all the way back when I was in California. That’s because I discovered Belle and Sebastian in record store in San Francisco, and since looking them up, this song has been on heavy rotation. The sweet, yet melancholic “Another Sunny Day” is full of classic alternative sounds merged with a bright tone that creates a real winner of a song.

The opening has layers and layers of clean, crisp guitar that immediately creates a…ahem…sunny feel to the song. The guitar work throughout the song is right on the money, and it has all sorts of great little flourishes hidden within the layers. From the first verse, frontman Stuart Murdoch’s voice comes across as sensitive and passionate as he weaves this tale of falling in and out of love.

The true triumph of this song lies in the sheer layering of it. The guitars come from everywhere and have at least 3 different parts, and the singing is bolstered from verse to verse by the backup male and female vocals, complete with harmonies and interplay. The drums sound great as well, and there are breakdowns throughout the song that showcase the drumming as well as that oh so good guitar work. It’s the combination of high, emotive vocals, intricate guitar, and powerful drumming that gives this song so much bravado and the power to just make you feel good, despite the lyrics.

Each verse holds something new vocally from Murdoch. He really plays around with the emotion in each line and that keeps your attention square on him as he sings. The lyrics themselves are in ballad form, with Murdoch telling of simple, intimate moments of a relationship and its eventual end. It’s a great glimpse into an ordinary life, but this song proves that sometimes life and love can be anything but ordinary.

Great instrumental passages, story-like lyrics, and a great vocal performance make this track a must listen for any indie/alternative fans, or just fans of some great melodic feel good music. Belle and Sebastian may have flown under the radar for many, but this song deserves to be put on the map for all the right reasons.

Thanks for reading, and if you like this song/review, be sure to leave a like or a comment. Also, it’d be great if you could follow this blog or share it!

#128 – Blue Velvet

LANA-DEL-RAY

Artist – Lana Del Rey (originally sung by The Clovers & Bobby Vinton)
Album – Paradise – EP
Year – 2012
Genre – Baroque Pop

I may or may not be choosing this song based on the fact that I’ve fallen in love with this song after watching David Lynch’s movie. Actually that is the reason. Anyway, Lana Del Rey’s cover of “Blue Velvet” was actually inspired by the film, and it really is my favorite version of the song. It’s dark and haunting, but it still remains an incredibly beautiful song through and through.

Right from the start, the song immediately grabs your attention with it’s gorgeous string arrangement, and then it’s droning, echoing beat that’s oh so sexy. But it’s Lana and her voice that are the real stars of the show here. Her smokey, crooning voice fits the sensual, romantic nature of the song to a T, and she absolutely nails the melody. The first line of each verse in particular sounds amazing. The way she hits the “blue” in each line…spectacular. The combination of the strings, echoing beat, and Lana’s passionate voice puts you into a swirling reverie during each verse.

The song is really about a mood, or a feeling. It just brings this brooding, romantic, and even sexual atmosphere that really pervades you as you listen. The bridge brings that feeling to a climax, and after pulling you up into the romance, the final line of

But when she left, gone was the glow of blue velvet

just tears at your emotions. Yes it’s an old song, and many might think the lyrics are archaic, but I beg to differ. I think the lyrics in this song are beautifully romantic and tragically heartbreaking. This is demonstrated no better than at the end when Lana pulls the song into a close with that final, melancholic line:

And I still can see blue velvet through my tears

So many emotions in one single line. It’s sadness, nostalgia, love, and longing all wrapped into one piece of writing. Her voice captures every one of those emotions, and she absolutely kills the final verse of the song. If you thought that was it, though, you were wrong. There’s a whole other section at the end that repeats the lush strings from the beginning, and the way they cap off the song is breathtaking. The filters that the strings run through at the end also add a neat effect and a slow, sad way to end the song. What a track this one is. Darkly gorgeous throughout.

So, if you love great singing, a great melody, and want to bring out the romance and heartbreak all in one, Lana Del Rey’s cover of “Blue Velvet” is for you. It’s a great look back and homage to the past that still has it’s pull on all of us, and it’s a timeless love/loss song, and it will be for years to come.

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think of the song or review in a comment. Or, leave a like, follow this blog for more songs every week, and share it with your friends!

#127 – Me and My Broken Heart

RixtonMMBH

Artist – Rixton
Album – Me and My Broken Heart – EP
Year – 2014
Genre – Pop

And the award for my favorite pop song of the year (so far) is…Rixton’s “Me and My Broken Heart!” Seriously, I dare you to find a song with a catchier chorus. I DARE YOU! Yes, I know about the Rob Thomas connection. No, I don’t think it has any bearing on the song. In fact, I think it’s even better than his song. It’s a simple, relatable, cosmically catchy song that has me singing along every single time it’s on. This is the song where I say “ohhhh, this is my JAM!”

From the opening piano chorus and the first notes of singer Jake Roche’s voice, you’re hooked. That’s it. It’s over. Take everything pleasing about a great earworm chorus: a great voice, tried and true chord progression, and juicy instrumentation. Now mash that into one. That’s this song’s chorus. To be honest, the verses are also good, but I find myself just waiting to belt out that chorus just one more time.

As far as boy band singers go, Jake Roche goes above most of them. His voice is powerful and emotive, but still has that pop quality that grounds him to the nature of the song. Each verse is well sung and the ends especially stand out, but it’s that transition to the chorus that just gets you amped.

Then that chorus. Or, put in modern terms “DAT CHORUS.” Oh man this chorus is so damn good. The melody, though sampled from Rob Thomas, is incredible in every sense of the word, and Rixton takes it to another level. It’s clearer, louder, the pacing is better, and it just flows so much smoother. Every aspect of the chorus is a positive listening experience. That’s a win. A big one.

I enjoy the lyrics in this song simply because they’re so relatable. Part of what makes the chorus so good is the fact that I can empathize directly with the words. It’s about just wanting someone in your life to make you feel loved after so long. That’s a powerful message, especially for me. I think most can relate on some level or another. It’s easy to cast it off as a fun pop song, but take the time to look deeper and really find aspects to cling to.

Overall, this song is as great as pop songs get as of late. I like everything about this song, and hopefully you can see why. It’s on a whole new level of catchy, and the words just hit you hard. It’s powerful, full of bravado, and it sticks in your head. A lot. So what are you waiting for? Go. Go now. Go get this song! GO!

Thanks for reading, and be sure to leave a like or a comment, or follow the blog if you want to see more! Share it with friends too!

#126 – Run

fa4a180d

Artist – Vampire Weekend
Album – Contra
Year – 2010
Genre – Alternative Rock

Vampire Weekend had always been a hit or miss band for me. This group, which had captured the hearts of the college youth around the country, had always baffled me, or maybe I just seem to get it. They had some good hit songs that I enjoyed, but I never really took the time to go any deeper than that. That was, until a good friend of mine (from college ironically enough) told me to look up this song. As soon as I heard it, I was hooked on it. I delved deeper into the band’s catalog and found some more great songs that I otherwise would not have noticed. What Ezra Koenig and Co. have done is they’ve channeled the sound of Paul Simon and his penchant for African influenced folk rock and put it into modern contexts that many younger kids, like myself, can get behind and have a great time listening to. The band certainly can appeal to an older audience as well, as Koenig really sounds like a young Simon in his prime. “Run” in itself is a great, catchy song whose music is hooky as anything, and whose exuberance is refreshing and a great nod its influences. It’s a great song that parallels modern living in America with Koenig’s (and Simon’s) observations about the the outside world.

The galloping synth and guitar that begins the song is the foundation that holds the whole song together, and it also happens to be the best part of the song. As Koenig’s gentle voice flows over the top of tribal drums, the song quickly transitions from verse to chorus. The backing synth rise that appears during each chorus is so damn catchy, you’ll be thinking about it days later. Koenig’s melody during the chorus isn’t too shabby either, and both vocal and instrumental parts complement each other perfectly. The synth really takes center stage throughout the song with a multitude of different sounds and textures that the band plays with.

The bridge of the song is sharp and fun, and as the drums and synth pick up for one last chorus, there’s even more layering and a differentiation in the backing pattern, and the bridge is repeated with some of those wonderful trumpet sounds that really give it an ethnic quality that harkens back to Simon’s music. Speaking of that…

The lyrics in this song are about escape, both from a love perspective and a domestic perspective. The real Paul Simon influence comes in the second verse, where he speaks of a land “where a little condensation means so much.” It seems to be referring to Africa, but I’m basing this on the band’s own Afro-rock influences. Still, the whole song and it’s lyrics sound like they came off a futuristic version of Graceland, which I think is really cool. It’s a song that just hypnotizes you from beginning to end, and one that knows its own dual message. This is a band I’ll continue to explore in the future, but “Run” has showed me why the kids like this band. I’m beginning to see the magic in it too.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to leave a like or a comment about the song and review. If you liked this, please follow this blog and share it with your (college) friends. 😉

#125 – Do What You Want

Oh_No_(OK_Go_album_-_cover_art)

Artist – OK Go
Album – Oh No
Year – 2005
Genre – Alternative Rock

OK Go is just one of those bands that has always been a blast to listen to. They put out some great alternative rock and incredible videos to go along with their music. As of late, the band has become a bit more experimental, but their 2005 album Oh No is chock full of straight rockin’ tracks. “Do What You Want” definitely channels that old school Elvis Costello vibe and is a song that pumps you up and makes you want to cut loose, just like the title says.

The opening snare drum leads right into thumping guitar with an infections main riff that sticks in your head long after the song is over. Every instrument seems like it’s turned up to “loud and brash” setting, and frontman Damian Kulash’s frenetic wordplay and fast paced vocals catch you right up in the fast paced nature of the song. The whole beginning of the song just sweeps you off your feet and really gets the party going.

The chorus is very Ok Go, with a repeated phrase that serves as the hook for the song. It’s a somewhat simple song lyric wise, but the message is about having fun and just, well, doing what you want. It’s about breaking free from the norms of life, and the chorus is a rallying cry for all the party people and adventurous souls out there.

The bridge has a great guitar solo that twists and whines over a frazzled Kulash’s yelling vocals. The result is a buildup of huge proportions that just explodes during the breakdown, which features a crunchy, awesomely raw guitar riff that stands alone until the drums decide to just kick it right in, and then the song launches like a rocket. Kulash screams it out for the world to hear while that oh so good riff plays under the guitar breakdown part from earlier. It’s a potent combo, and by the end if you haven’t danced yourself to exhaustion, you’re doing it wrong.

All in all the song really isn’t that long, but it’s an amazingly fun ride nonetheless. It’s a straight up party song to just rock out to and let your cares fall away to for awhile. OK Go’s “Do What You Want” is a necessity for anytime you want to take a chance and let go. Let them spell it out for you, and have a damn good time doing it. Do what you want.

Thanks for reading. It’s true you can do what you want, but I’d love it if you choose to leave a like, comment, follow this blog, or share it with your friends. Trust me, they’ll thank you later.

#124 – Path of Destiny

b0006633_4ccffa5142e22

Artist – Namco Sound Team (composed by Junichi Nakatsuru, Ryuichi Takada, and Keiki Kobayashi)
Album – Soul Calibur III Original Soundtrack
Year – 2005
Genre – Classical/Soundtrack

I think video games are one of the most underappreciated sources of great music. Video game soundtracks have often blown me away where ordinary film scores have not. One of the best video game developers that consistently puts out amazing music is Namco. Being a huge fan of the Soul Calibur series, it was agonizing to pick one track from 4 games worth of soundtracks that I have, but it had to be this one. “Path of Destiny” is a track that plays during the credits of Soul Calibur 2-4, but the version from 3 is just absolutely stunning and breathtaking in its composition and sound. It stands up with the best tracks from any movie soundtrack you’ve heard and then some. It’s epic in scope and will leave you stunned.

The opening flourish is just spectacular. The trumpets are crisp and loud and triumphant, and the whole orchestra is filled with bombast. However, despite the awesome grandeur of the beginning the transition and the next section are much more somber and poignant, but just as emotional.

The lone trumpet followed by the french horn gives me chills every time. It’s melody is a melancholic one, as it seems to be paying homage to all fallen warriors. It’s a beautiful sound, and as the snare rolls in and the next epic section begins, we’re just getting started.

This next section is a slow march filled with fanfare and beautiful orchestration. It has wonderful choral sections and melodies that will make your heart soar. Seriously, try not to get choked up while listening. As the brass comes in, the melody soars even higher and the instruments crescendo over and over, keeping the track interesting and engaging to both mind and ear. It’s literally a roller coaster ride. Crashing symbols, thundering brass, gentle strings and powerful drums create this glorious war march section.

The track slows again to a beautiful section with woodwinds and lower brass that echoes the main theme, and finally picks up once again to another incredibly loud and proud return to the melody with every instrument in tow. It really fills you with pride and spirit, and the song just builds on this feeling until the final ending.

The ending is fit for royalty, with trumpets blazing and then dipping into a final build up to a final loud stop from all instruments. It’s awe inspiring to hear. Every rise and fall of this track grabs you and doesn’t let go. It’s just such a beautifully composed track, and it really is something to hear. And yes, this came out of a video game. Believe it.

If you’re looking for a grand, epic piece of classical soundtrack work that’s different from the norm, this is your song. Everyone should give game soundtracks more of a chance, and here’s the best place to start. Listen, and be amazed at the sound of glory.

Thanks for reading, everyone! Please leave a comment, a like, follow me, or share this page with a friend. Now go forth and slay dragons!