Category: songs

individual songs

You Don’t Mess Around With JimYou Don’t Mess Around With Jim

0 Comments 8:29 am

by Jim Croce

~ How long to retain lyrics in your head? ~

My parents were fans of Jim Croce, and it’s funny how listening to a lot of his songs while riding around in the back seat for several years can be enough to permanently imprint the lyrics onto your brain. Croce was a masterful storyteller, and an impressive acoustic guitar player in a coffeehouse style that wouldn’t become widely popular for another 2 decades after his death. But without a bunch of over-produced orchestration, he created masterpiece slices of 3-1/2-minute radio pop goodness that even 4+ decades later you can still sing along with every word to a song you haven’t heard in 15 years, as though you’re still just a kid cruising around in the car with mom & dad.

Metal Monday: Eyes Of A StrangerMetal Monday: Eyes Of A Stranger

0 Comments 8:29 am

by Queensryche

~ Hard rock tells a story ~

Queensryche always had a… ‘different’ sound than the rest of the heavy-bass bluesy crunch you’d get from the rest of the Sabbath/Purple disciples of the hard rock world. Much more staccato, with more controlled distortion and cleaner lead lines. It’s almost like they wanted you to actually hear everyone in the band instead of just a muddy groove. It’s almost ironic that they’re from the same town as folks like Mudhoney and Alice in Chains and Soundgarden.

But more importantly, Queensryche got miles away from the girls, guitars, and fast cars topics that the rest of the hard rock world lived in. They made some minor dents with tunes like “Queen of the Reich” while I was living in Germany (where they seemed tmore popular on the continent than back home) but it was the Operation: Mindcrime concept album that really put them over the top with hard rock audiences in the US. Everyone was desperate to show off how smart they were with being able to explain the plot of the album to their friends (until we all read the book that came with the special box set 5 years later and realized that we missed half of it) but truthfully they just got better at writing songs, and it showed on this album, with at least half of the best tunes of their career.

This was the closing tune, but also the lead single, and one of the strongest songs. It was a staple of Headbanger’s Ball for about 8 months, and of my mixtapes in the car for probably 18 months. It’s a masterpiece performance not just by Tate, but also Degarmo & Wilton.

Still I Love YouStill I Love You

0 Comments 8:29 am

by Candy Dulfer

~ Lyrical instrumentals ~

Honestly, it’s not hard to imagine that they’re actually is a set of lyrics and a melody written that Candy Dulfer just completely jettisoned to play the entire thing on her sax. It’s a tender and touching and heartfelt tune that doesn’t rely on words to convey the emotion and you probably thought you would only ever get that out of a blues guitarist and not a contemporary jazz saxophonist in front of a funk band. The live version from the Jazztage concert in Leverkusen in 2009 is insanely awesome.


0 Comments 8:29 am

by Charlatans UK

~ Yes, that’s an organ groove ~

How the hell you get a hit single out of a staccato organ riff, nobody really knows. But some frenetic mid-90s UK Madchester-style beats underneath a droning guitar riff interspersed with some heavy effects-laden shimmering chords and you’ve got another oddball 90s late-night MTV hit. The video is typical shoegazer crap, but on the radio, this was a pretty solid tune for windows-down-driving even if nobody’s bothering to try to sing along and just dancing in their seats.

They’re still around, over 30 years after they were founded, and a huge hit in the UK, where they’ve had three #1 albums, and every studio record has hit the top 40 over there. But in the US? If anyone knows them, it’s this, and maybe one other song.

Hannah JaneHannah Jane

0 Comments 8:29 am

by Hootie & The Blowfish

~ The first song you hear ~

In the Pantheon of all time side one, track one, debut album songs, there are a handful that completely set the stage for what comes out of the rest of that band’s career. “Welcome to the Jungle” from Guns n’ Roses is an obvious standout, as is “Bring da Ruckus” from Wu-Tang clan. This one belongs on that list, not as an all-time great song, but as an all-time template of exactly what you are going to get from that band for the rest of their career: big harmonies, a deep baritone, basic-but-catchy guitar hooks, easy to sing-along songs, and a vibe they can’t help but put you right back in the Carolinas in the springtime.

All The MoneyAll The Money

0 Comments 8:29 am

by Electric Angels

~ Even the fillers were better than many bands’ hits ~

I really fell in love with the album while I was working at the radio station in the early ’90s, about two and a half years after it was released. The songwriting, and especially the lyrical phrasing, is light years ahead of most of the crap on the radio before then and honestly, much of what’s appeared since.

Part of the reason for love of this album was that the love/hate relationship with the lyrics and the ladies in their lives mirrored a lot of what was going on in my life at the time. As a guy with a degree in English, a background in journalism, and with a lot of writing under his belt, the wit and overall literacy of Jonathan Daniel (now a high-powered manager in the music biz) always impressed me, and still does today.

This was never getting released as a hit single, and has always been strictly an album cut. But give the lyrics a second listen and while it’s not like someone set Milton to glam-rock power pop, it’s better than what you’re getting from 90% of what’s on the radio these days. It’s a basic snare-driven hammering beat with some hanging chords in the bridge, and a Ryan letting loose an occasional snaky riff under the lyrics.

Metal Monday: Breaking InsideMetal Monday: Breaking Inside

0 Comments 8:02 am

by Shinedown (with Lzzy Hale)

~ Powerhouse duets, the new generation ~

The 2000s have brought us a bunch of great heavy rock music with far better musicianship and songwriting than we had throughout most of the ’80s. If you were a fan of intricate arrangements and virtuoso performance 35 years ago, then you were either listening to Rush or an occasional prog-metal group. They’ve gone far more mainstream now, and the arrangements and production are a million times better than they were in the LA heyday of hard rock.

Here comes a superpower duet who’s only real ’80s comparable was the Ozzy and Lita duet for “Close My Eyes Forever” – which despite the reverence in which it’s held, is a pretty mediocre song.

This one was originally released by Shinedown by themselves, but Brent trading versus with Lzzy Hale really pumps it up to another level and gives the song far more meaning as both sides of the breakup are breaking inside, not just one of them.