Posts Tagged ‘2004’

One song. More to come.

June 11, 2010

So, it’s happened.  I allowed myself to neglect this blog for too long, and now I have a small, yet somewhat substantial list of songs I’d like to write about.  Shame on me.  As a way of gradually playing catch-up, in addition to not wanting to feel overwhelmed, I will, from this point forward (unless some other topic comes my way) review one song at a time until I’m done, at which point I’ll either go in a completely different direction or find something else to write about.  Something that involves music.  Any ideas?

Green Day – “Jesus of Suburbia” (American Idiot, Reprise, 2004)

Coming in at around 10 minutes in length, this sprawling track off Green Day’s blockbuster 2004 album American Idiot could quite easily be one of their best, and could almost stand on its own even if one were to discard the other 13 tracks that make up this landmark record (which would not be a good idea!).  With a variety of musical changes throughout the song that seem to reflect the best eras Green Day gave us, and an incredible ending that launches out of a quiet piano interlude, “Jesus of Suburbia, ” is really quite phenomenal.  The band has never sounded better, both in vocals and instrumentation, giving us yet another piece of music unlike anything we’d previously heard from these punk pioneers.


Random song post, Volume 9

March 27, 2010

Songs I’d forgotten about, or overlooked, but now can’t stop listening to:

Augustana – “Boston” (All the Stars and Boulevards, Epic, 2005): At a time when so many bands are following whatever trend is current at the time (such as Owl City-esque electronica or Brokencyde-style crunkcore), it’s extremely refreshing to hear a band like Augustana, one that owes as much to pop/rock kings like Counting Crows and Goo Goo Dolls as they do to the trendy emo/indie genre.  “Boston, “ has made its way onto the soundtrack of many a primetime soap opera, and serves as background music to any TV advertisement featuring an emotional scene, all for good reason-it’s a well-written, piano-centered, pop/rock gem that never allows the musicianship to get too out of control, yet you know it has that potential.  The slow crescendo starts at the beginning, with just piano and vocals, eventually layering drums, guitars and bass on top as time goes by.  Before long, a string section joins the party, and the song has now hit a stellar high, instantly bringing to mind a group of talented musicians rocking out as hard as possible.  That simple beginning of piano and voice returns at the end, perfectly wrapping everything up, reminding the listener what’s it like to play music with more than just dollar signs in your eyes.  This is precisely what it’s all about.

The Get Up Kids – “The One You Want” (Guilt Show, Vagrant, 2004): In 2004, The Get Up Kids successfully rebounded from 2002’s oft-derided On A Wire with Guilt Show, which showcased a progression from On A Wire while bringing back many of the elements that made the band so special in the first place.  Lead single, “The One You Want, “ features a welcome piano part from keyboardist James Dewees, almost as if to remind the band he’s still a member.  Ryan Pope’s drums are big and wonderful, the guitars are loud but never dominating, and Matt Pryor’s voice sounds just as good as it did on 1997’s Four Minute Mile.  It’s another great representation of their classic rock abilities, while still showing the emo/indie world why these five guys from Eudora, Kansas, are true pioneers of the scene.

A Day to Remember – “Right Where You Want Me to Be” (2009): Released around the end of 2009, “Right Where You Want Me to Be, “ might be A Day to Remember’s best song yet, full of the punk-grooves-into-heavy-breakdowns the band is known for.  And yes, the gang screams that we’re all familiar with consistently show up throughout, perfectly rounding out a near-perfect song.

Hit the Lights – “Drop the Girl” (Skip School, Start Fights, Triple Crown, 2008): After losing frontman Colin Ross in 2007, Ohio pop/punkers Hit the Lights moved guitarist/backing vocalist Nick Thompson into the now-vacant slot and released a second full-length entitled Skip School, Start Fights in 2008.  The album’s second single, “Drop the Girl, “ perfectly represented a band that had not only underwent a massive change, but also taken two giant steps forward musically-kicking off with a simple techno beat and Thompson’s voice, along with a low-fi guitar riff, the song soon launches into a unrelenting series of verses and choruses that continually pummel the listener with sheer energy and entertainment.  Drummer Nate VanDame gives it his all, and the, “Whoa, “ chants in the choruses give it a Jerry Maguire sense of completion.  Yes, a typical emo breakdown is the basis for the bridge, but by that point the song can do no wrong.  Well done.

Random song post, Volume 8

March 26, 2010

Songs I’d forgotten about, or overlooked, but now can’t stop listening to:

Beastie Boys – “Ch-Check It Out” (To the 5 Boroughs, Capitol, 2004): By the time Beastie Boys released 2004’s To the 5 Boroughs, five years had passed since their anthology release The Sounds of Science and six years since their last proper full length Hello Nasty.  Despite the gap, To the 5 Boroughs is still a solid album, with the honor of preeminent song easily going to the first single, “Ch-Check It Out.  “   The trademark shouts and lyrical trade-offs that made the group so revolutionary in the 80s are quite present here, along with their incessant pop culture references (watch out, Nick at Night, Mutual of Omaha and even Miss Piggy).  The way MCA starts the song is classic-instantly blowing the listener away with a fierce lyrical assault, somehow making Star Trek quite cool in the process.  And later, when Ad-Rock sends it back over to MCA, with a quick, “MCA grab the mic before the mic goes stale, ” the song heads in yet another direction.  The instrumentation is pretty minimal, restricted mainly to drums and a horn section, yet the signature vocals are more than adequate to support the song and keep it moving forward.

Anberlin – “Never Take Friendship Personal” (Never Take Friendship Personal, Tooth & Nail, 2005): After 2003’s Blueprints for the Black Market hit store shelves and the expected great deal of touring, Florida’s Anberlin eventually made their way back into the studio to record Never Take Friendship Personal, an album which to this day still contains many of their more beloved songs (including the single, “A Day Late”).  However, the opening title track deserves its day in the sun as well-it’s a solid, heavy rock number with an opening barrage of chugging guitars and frenetic drums, all eventually coming together into a solid beat that, just as quickly, breaks down into a half-time fist-pumper for the verses.  The chorus brings it all together, jumping back and forth between off-beat and straight-forward rock, all before the bridge builds up into an all-out screamfest.  Some head-banging half-time ends the song, truly leaving the listener breathless and wanting more.

Head Automatica – “Beating Heart Baby” (Decadence, Warner Bros.  , 2004): Glassjaw leader Daryl Palumbo took a bit of a leap in 2004 from his main band’s post-hardcore sound with the release of Decadence, the first album from his electronic-tinged side project Head Automatica.  However, the single, “Beating Heart Baby, ” still managed to win over many who considered the group too different from Glassjaw, what with its infectious groove and Palumbo’s all-too-familiar singing, laced with the yelps and screams one has come to expect from the enigmatic frontman.  The guitars, bass and drums that dominate Glassjaw’s music get a boost from the synthesizer on this song, and the straight-forward nature of the tune takes an ethereal turn during the bridge, all before a quick cowbell-based interlude brings it on home.  As corny as any of this may sound, it’s actually very creative and fun, and a definite step in a new direction for Palumbo.

GP: “Closing Time”

March 3, 2010

Few songs were as big in 1998 as Semisonic’s, “Closing Time, ” off their breakout record Feeling Strangely Fine, and for good reason-the song, despite massive radio overplay, is a well-crafted pop/rock gem that has stood the test of time.  Opening with a simple piano line that continues through the entire song, which leads into frontman Dan Wilson’s voice, the song soon kicks into some heavily distorted choruses, featuring big drums and an excellent guitar solo, all before settling back once again as the final notes ring out.  Though the band never scored another hit as big as, “Closing Time, ” drummer Jacob Slichter released a highly entertaining book detailing Semisonic’s success called So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star in 2004, and their final album (to date), 2001’s All About Chemistry, is a fine album, quite possibly their best.