Archive for May, 2011

Lady GaGa / Born This Way

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 230000005UTC 12 by marky7235

Born This Way

Gaga’s second studio album and third major release Born This Way was released on May 23, 2011. She announced the title of the album during her acceptance speech for Video of the Year at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.[87] Its arrival follows the release of its eponymous lead single on February 11, 2011.[88] The previous date for the single release of February 13, 2011, was tweeted by Gaga at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day, 2011.[89] Described as “a marriage of electronic music with major […] metal or rock ‘n’ roll, pop, anthemic style melodies with really sledge-hammering dance beats”, Born This Way will be Gaga’s third release in three years.[90] She stated, “It came so quickly. I’ve been working on [the album] for months, and I feel very strongly that it’s finished right now. Some artists take years. I don’t. I write music every day.”[91] With two tracks already confirmed by Gaga—one she has been performing during The Monster Ball Tour,[92] she has referred to the album as “about what keeps us up at night and what makes us afraid.”[93] Likening Born This Way to “bad kids going to church” that are “having fun on a high level”,[94] Gaga characterized her new music as “something so much deeper than a wig or lipstick or a fucking meat dress” and upon hearing it, Akon remarked that she will take music to the “next level.”[95] On February 13, Gaga performed live for the first time her single “Born This Way“, released on February 11, on the 53rd Grammy Awards. She was carried by fashion models through the red carpet in a gigantic embryo-shaped incubator (called “The Vessel” by its designer, Hussein Chalayan[96]), from where she emerged onstage for her performance. The song debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100, being the 19th number-one debut and the 1,000th number-one single in the history of the charts.[97] On April 18, it was announced that Queen guitarist Brian May provides electric guitar for the track “Yoü and I”.[98]

Lending her vocals elsewhere, Gaga also paired with Elton John to record an original duet for the animated feature film Gnomeo & Juliet. The song, titled “Hello, Hello”, was released on February 11, 2011, without Gaga’s vocals. The duet version is only featured in the film.[99][100] She undertook her job as a fashion columnist for V, where she wrote about her creative process, her studying of the world of pop culture, and her ability to tune into the evolution of pop-culture meme.

The Analysis—-

Marry The Night—-Gaga begins the long-awaited journey in a rather sedate manner at the onset…delivering a vocal that is wonderfully sedate and emotive. The song quickly becomes a huge disco flavored romp that you almost expect and demand. Magically switching between incredible hype and seductive singing, you could never ask for more as an opener on this anticipated release!!!!

Born This Way—-Trying to approach this listen without all of the Madonna references echoing in my brain, I still find this track inspiring and uplifting. this is a new millennium anthem to every disenfranchised person that lives on this planet. This is energetic, effective and damn powerful…as GaGa urges us all to be as unaffected by scrutiny as she seems to be herself. A huge anthem for NOW!!!!

Government  Hooker—-Huge points from the onset for the title of the song itself…okay? Beginning with an Italian House style delivery in the music, this is another classic GaGa romp that is not likely to be played on the radio!!!! This is infectious and delivered with a bit more of an aggressive electronic sound…it is also catchy as hell thanks to the vocal delivery and the simple fact that it actually sounds different from most GaGa songs…..I love this!!!!

Judas—-I have spent considerable time with this song and video…trying to really get the message. GaGa meant for this to be a bit controversial…even releasing the single on Good Friday…..I have given up on the divine message…instead deciding that this is just a huge classic Lady styled dance track that will make me dance for ages to come. The video is magnificent, GaGa sounds divine and the message is for someone else to decide.

Americano—-Wow….fantastic! GaGa delivers the intro vocal in broadway style while the flamenco style guitar slowly awakens and the bass begins to kick. This is fantastic…..this woman never seems to disappoint…delivering a track that actually sounds fresh and different. I am wonderfully impressed and swept up in this track….making me think of classic scenes from Mamma Mia!

Hair—-Yes, this song is largely about hair….but even more about identity and the reasons we relate to ourselves. All delivered with a magical bass beat and a fantastic dance floor romp. GaGa sings in a deeper tone…it is magically refreshing and alive….I love how she manages to weave a message into almost every song…allowing me to believe that even though people might assume her superficial, she is deeper than all of us put together!!!

ShieBe—-Wonderful!!!! What can be better than GaGa and rough German? This is a huge dance romp that makes me hard at the very onset. The bass enters with the swirls of synth and makes you almost positive that this has SINGLE written all over it. This is another of those pure Madonna driven tribute tracks…..but it works wonderfully well. The voice is fantastic and the chorus is damn contagious…we will all be studying German very shortly!!!!

Bloody Mary—-Another track that from the onset has SINGLE all over it for me. I love the lazy style that GaGa delivers her vocal…and of course, like Madonna before her, this has strong religious overtones as well. This is magical…delivered with a ton of effects and a huge attitude…I can’t stop smiling. This is magical, wonderful and one of those tracks that will repeat forever in your head. Magnificent!!!

Bad Kids—-I will assume from the very onset that some people will assume this to be a negative song. I read something really different from the song…this is positive and is delivered in the view of others that perceive things in a false light. GaGa delivers a vocal that is just wonderful…it is devoid of effects and seems wonderfully ‘clean’. I love this song…another huge and bona-fide hit for the girl of the moment. Tremendous!!!!

Highway Unicorn—-Yet another bona fide smash with conceptual video written all over it, GaGa is back to a more processed vocal and a huge bass beat that will smack you upside the head. This is tremendous and will set the clubs on fire…there is just enough sexual innuendo involved yet a positive message that will sweep the nation. This may be the biggest track from this release…..I said it first!

Heavy Metal Lover—-This is not what I expected from the onset! I guess I expected some guitars and a bit of a rougher sound…this is smooth, magnificent and pure bona fide hot!!! GaGa again delivers a processed and distorted vocal that is set to so many swirling effects you almost dig the music more than the voice. this is fantastic…another huge favorite of mine….this is a pretty fantastic release!

Electric Chapel—-This is so Madonna flavored….but delivered with enough of a difference to still remain her own song. The bass is huge…the swirls of effects make me smile and the gentle vocal style only hints at the Lady’s abilities. I love this…but it is a little bit repetitive….still a pretty fantastic song!

You And I—-Delivered with a nice piano base that reminds you of a country flavored romp through Glam-wood, this is magnificent. This song was made for GaGa….delivered with lots of drama and fun while still sounding a bit serious and sedate. This also gives you a nice taste of her ability….is there nothing this lady can’t do….this might invade Nashville…..would that be a hoot or what? This is the major surprise of the entire release……

The Edge Of Glory—-Finalizing this release with a rather generic but still huge sounding track, GaGa still manages to leave me thirsty for more even after 14 tracks. this is a classic Kelly Clarkson sounding track that Lady manages to make her own…it is full of empowering vocals and a huge lyric that will play in your brain forever. This is wonderful…sad because it is the last…but hopeful…because this lady is only just getting started!!!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

Creed / Greatest Hits

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 230000005UTC 12 by marky7235

Greatest Hits

Creed is an American rock band formed in 1995 in Tallahassee, Florida. Becoming popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the band has released three consecutive multi-platinum albums, one of which has been certified diamond, selling over 26 million records in the United States[1] and an estimated 35 million records worldwide.[2] While often criticized and parodied, Creed is often recognized as one of the prominent acts of the post-grunge movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s and is one of the most commercially successful rock bands of all time, with vocalist Scott Stapp and guitarist Mark Tremonti collectively having been noted as one of the most prolific songwriting teams in the history of rock music.[3] Billboard ranked Creed as the 18th best artist of the 2000s.[4]

Along with founding members Stapp and Tremonti, the band also consists of bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips. Creed released two studio albums, My Own Prison in 1997 and Human Clay in 1999, before Marshall left the band in 2000 to be replaced by touring bassist Brett Hestla. Their third record, Weathered, was released in 2001 with Mark Tremonti handling bass before the band disbanded in 2004 due to increasing tension between members. Tremonti, Phillips, and Marshall went on to found Alter Bridge while Stapp followed a solo career. After months of speculation, Creed reunited in 2009 for a tour and new album called Full Circle.

The Analysis:

Torn—-At the onset of the band’s career, it seemed as if they were struggling to sound like everyone but themselves!!!! This song at the onset reminds me of so many generic Alternative bands…but seems to come full circle with the Stapp vocal direction. Scott does at times sounds amazingly like Layne Staley….but in latter recordings found his own ground. this is classic 90’s style Alt Metal…powerful, muscular and delivered with intense emotion.

My Own Prison—-Delivering a bit more stable but often imitated sound, this is a track that was never really big in the US but overlooked and really appreciated now a days. This has a melodic quality to it that just makes my heart ache…I love the subtle yet quasi-aggressive sounds that flow in and out of the song. This is classic Alt Rock…from the late 90’s when bands like this were struggling to stay alive in the emerging Rap and Dance scene….

What’s This Life For—-One of the many singles that really helped to break this band huge in the US, this Eddie Vedder flavored track is full of emotion and sadness, feeling and anger, urgency and vitality. The track poses many questions that makes you sit back in your chair and question…comes across as pleasant and acoustic…but still manages enough power to make an arena go crazy. This is fantastic!!!

One—-Another of those defining tracks, and one of those tracks that cemented the separation between ordinary ans stellar Alt-Rock for me. This is so melodic and delivered with a heartfelt melody…you can’t escape the majesty of the song. there are huge ebbs and tides in the song that allow you to flow like you can’t imagine…this is classic stuff….combining a new and fresh sound while still falling back on the tried and true!!!

Are You Ready—-Beginning a bit odd and full of tin, the song comes alive in classic Alt Rock manner…building and building with aggressive vocals and loud guitars that are magically kept by the production in the back drop of the song…all the while providing the necessary injection that pumps the song up. This is incredible….brings back lots of ‘backlash’ memories but still incredible none the same……

Higher—-One of the two biggest hits of this bands career, the power chords that are delivered on this song still manage to give me goosebumps. The vocal is sedate, emotive and delves into a magical power that transcends emotion. There is that magical tempo increase when the song just explodes that still to this day makes me a bit crazy and euphoric….classic stuff.

With Arms Wide Open—-The second of the two huge songs from this landmark career, this track is infused with the same magical power that allowed this band to move 30 million units in two years time. The song begins rather sedate, but grows and becomes larger than the band itself…leaving me with a pleasant feel and a smile that last for quite sometime after the track plays out.

What If—-What leads you to believe will be a bombastic track at the onset, turns into a Scorpions style ballad intro sounding right out of the 80’s. The track finally opens up and delivers a bit of a blues touch that really plays well in hyped up arena settings. This is nice….but rather ordinary for me.

One Last Breath—-The guitar clarity at the onset of this track is welcome after the bit of a fuzzy sound on the last song. Stapp delivers his trademark emotive vocal that makes you cringe with sadness one moment and manages to elevate you the next. This is a favorite of mine and still plays damn well!!!!

Don’t Stop Dancing—-With zero introduction, Scott enters with his vocal at the first second of the song. The track slowly comes to life…building with life and gaining momentum as it progresses. This has a nice pleasant sound to it, but still comes across as rather generic and lacking energy.

Bullets—-Another track that came during the final days of the first incarnation of the band, it seemed the magnetic ambitions had waned and the band had lost a bit of direction. This is perhaps one of the most aggressive songs the band ever released…and again I think of Alice In Chains….this is just so far removed from the ‘golden’ era of the band that it is difficult to accept.

My Sacrifice—-Returning to a more trademark sound, this is aggressive and powerful without being overly heavy or pretentious. Stapp again delivers a classic vocal that reminds you of the band you fell in love with at the onset…the lyrics are dark, intense and emotive…the music a huge wall of Alt-Rock…..pretty fantastic!

Weathered—-Ending this collection with a track that is familiar and trusted, only leaves a good taste in your mouth and reminds you why you liked this band so much. Although the ‘reunion’ CD lacked any passion, you are still hopeful for the future and what can be produced.

**** out of 5

God Dethroned / Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 130000005UTC 12 by marky7235

Under the Sign of the Iron Cross

God Dethroned is a blackened death metal band from the Netherlands.

The New God Dethroned album ‘Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross’ was released through Metal Blade on November, 22nd 2010 and met rave reviews. It marked the first time God Dethroned became ‘Album Of The Month’ in Holland’s Aardschok magazine.

Sattler announced that 2011 will be the last year of the band and their final show will be in December.

The Analysis:

The Declaration Of War—-This short yet powerful instrumental introduction only lends a hand at preparing you for the melodic yet brutal onslaught that is about to smack you in the face and leads into……

Storm Of Steel—-Once the onslaught begins, there is very little time for you to catch your breath. the music hits you hard and heavy…reminding me of the classic Dimmu of the past. The lyrics are hard to understand…yoet you catch bits and pieces which put the track together for you. the drums are literally incredible…the most impressive part of the band outside of the vocal…this is exceptional…I have to get some of this older stuff!!! There is an underlying melody through the entire thing that makes you an instant fan…STELLAR!!!!

Fire Storm—-The drum onslaught that welcomes the intro to this track is only eclipsed by the subtle death growl that is almost buried in the noise. This is melodic, intense and brutal as anything you could ask for. the track is loaded with dark lyrics…huge energy and a pummeling bass.drum delivery that puts you on the edge of your seat…gosh…where have I been?

The Killing Is Faceless—-You are given very little time to catch your breath as this ‘concept CD’ moves from idea to idea….centered around the chapters of World War I, the music is a ruthless and brutal as the war itself. the vocal is incredible….this guy can sing like nothing I have heard in quite sometime. This is layered with drums, bass and an underlying melody that sucks you in and comes back time after time. There are some leads on this track that are incredible…please dont tell me this is really the end?

Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross—-Almost…at the onset…reminding me of Iron Maiden, this quickly dissolves into a classic death rage that brings an ever bigger smile to my face. The drums on this track are like nothing you have ever heard. The vocal is very acceptable…understandable and clear…but the barrage of musical noise is almost orgasmic….this is incredible!!!! Perhaps the best track I have heard in this bands catalog!!!!

Chaos Reigns At Dawn—-Beginning much as you expect, a complete progression from the previous track, the drums…again…are just stellar. the voice is clear yet full of guttural admonitions that urge you to pay attention to the mistakes we have made in the past. this is a natural story…you can feel the progression without a history lesson…the concept is well in tact….war kills people…brings about horror and cause damage that last forever!!!!!

Through Byzantine Hemispheres—-Again, this is much more Metal influenced at the onset….onlyu the vocal causes a pure differential from the mainstream. the drums are incredible…but the3 leads are even BETTER….this is exquisite. the energy is all encompassing…the song has these slight mood changes that wrap around you like a huge electric blanket…all the while tighter and tighter  by the drum propulsion and the bitter voice. This is fantastic…perhaps my favorite track on this release!!!!

The Red Baron—-Leaving no time for introduction or sedate musings, this is right out of the gate pure and brutal. the vocal is stellar…this is classic black metal…delivered with a genuity and commitment. the guitars that emerge as the track progresses are huge…this is just incredible…this reminds me of Satyricon…..even more every time I listen to it. This has melody, brutality and a real delivery that you can’t walk away from….stellar!!!!

On Fields Of Death & Desolation—-Winding up the release with a rather sedate beginning to the last track, this is not to last for long. Although the entire thing again makes me think of classic Maiden, this is superb. There is a heaviness in the track that pulls you in…and you find yourself entranced by the ‘end of the war’……but the eclipse of music reminds you it was not the end for many…as far as Black Metal goes…this is stellar…as far as concepts go…this is stellar….if this is the swan song for real…well done my friends!!!!

****1/2 out of 5

The Cars / Move Like This

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 130000005UTC 12 by marky7235

Move Like ThisMove Like This is the seventh album by American rock band The Cars. The album is their first since 1987’s Door to Door and features all of the original band members except for bassist and vocalist Benjamin Orr, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2000.

The Analysis:

Blue Tip—-Even as you digest the opening instrumental to this track, you can’t help but be transported back to 1987! When Ocasek opens his mouth, he defies age and years…sounding as comfortable as he ever did behind his shades. This is energetic, magic, throwback and entirely overdue. A triumph!!!!

Too Late—-A bit more relaxed out of the gate, this is still classic Cars…..one of the songs where Benjamin would have really come in handy [RIP]. This still has the magical energy and emotion all wrapped up in one huge track…I can just imagine this playing outside on a huge sunny day with 1000 of my best friends. I love the energy and the nice positive vibe!!! Stellar!!!

Keep On Knocking—-With a huge synth line that again magically takes you back in time, I only hope that there will be fun and futuristic videos to follow-up this great music. The most amazing thing to me is how fresh Rik manages to sound after all of these years…this is like a natural progression. The band has never been gone in my eyes…just on a huge extended hiatus…welcome back guys…and what a return it is. The synth and bass line on this track are huge…propelling me onward and upward!!!

Soon—-Slowing things down quite a bit, this is reminiscent of some of the classic slow material this band produced but really never comes close to Drive. This is has an aching melody that sticks in your brain and refuses to leave you alone…the intricate phrasing of Ocasek makes it even more melancholy. This is pretty fantastic!!!

Sad Song—-Really? This is anything but a ‘sad song’, full of driving synth that takes you back in time and fills you with a magical energy. This is exceptional…Ocasek has never sounded better and the band employs the classic handclap sound that formed the back drop of so many of their songs….this is fantastic…in love all over again!!!!

Free—-Another of those tracks that is so familiar yet remarkably predictable that you will lose it in the release if you don’t force yourself to pay attention to it. The wonderful thing about this song…the vocal harmonies on the chorus and the irresistible synth line that refuses to leave your brain if you really let it settle in…this is great!!!

Drag On Forever—-A bit more straight on Rock n’ Roll that first formed the foundation of the band, the tambourine sound in soooo important to the track. Ocasek delivers that lazy type of vocal that just makes you feel lax about the entire thing…but the deepness of the sound and the laid back almost blues style is exceptional. I love this release!

Take Another Look—-With a slow intro that makes me think of Time After Time, Ocasek enters with his laid back and lazy style that allows you to revisit the old days but still yearn for Orr…I’m sure songs like this were difficult for the band to record. Again, the band displays a huge harmony when singing together that allows for the absence of Benjamin. This is exquisite…a long dong for the band and full of lots of little intricate sounds. Wonderful!!!!

It’s Only—-Energetic and propelled by a nice beat that won’t leave your brain easily, this has such classic Cars sounds to it…that propulsive synth line is so intact it is like they have never been gone. I’m telling you…seriously….1987 is alive and well. this is exceptional…and again…the harmonies only add to the huge sound of the song. This sounds like a band that is very happy to be back together!

Hits Me—-Beginning much in the expected style, this has a nice bass propulsion that is a bit surprising without Orr present. Rik again delivers that laid back but expressive vocal that sucks you in…even though the release is perhaps two songs too long. The progressive synth delivery is remarkable though…I wish more bands were making music like this…I’m in heaven…..again!!!

**** 3/4 out of 5

Low / C’mon

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 110000005UTC 12 by marky7235

C'mon

C’mon is the ninth full-length album by indie rock band Low. It was released on 12 April 2011 (11 April in Europe) on Sub Pop records. The album was recorded at Sacred Heart Studio, a former Catholic church in Duluth, Minnesota where the band previously recorded 2002’s Trust[13]. The album features guest contributions from Nels Cline (lap steel, guitar), Caitlin Moe of Trans-Siberian Orchestra (violin) and Dave Carroll of Trampled by Turtles (banjo)[14].

“Try to Sleep” and “Especially Me” were released by the band in advance of the album; “Try to Sleep” was made available through the band’s mailing list in February 2011, while “Especially Me” was premiered on Pitchfork on 25 March 2011. A promotional video for “Try to Sleep” starring John Stamos and Melissa Haro and directed by Travis Schneider was released to coincide with the release of the album.

The Analysis:

Try To Sleep—-As a very long time Low fan, deprived of new music for such a long period of time, I was so anxious to get my hands on this release. This lead off single really could never disappoint…the slow and sludge is well in tact…..the vocal harmonies almost lead me to orgasm and the intricate sounds that lie in the backdrop of the music are more reminiscent of recent releases but still reminds you of the genius of this band. There remains a beauty in this band…one you cannot ignore…it lies in the words….the layers of music and the gentle delivery that takes you paces you had no intention of going.

You See Everything—-Allowing an intro vocal from Mimi almost promises a wonderful outcome!!!! The beginning chords remind me of a long forgotten smiths song….as the music progresses and grow stronger, it becomes their own. this is wonderfully different, but very much the same. The band never has lost it direction…only progressed as the lives of members have done so…and that is what life and music is all about. This is fantastic..perhaps even brilliant…rememinding me of the best of the ‘old’ Low combining magically with the ‘new’ Low…and I am elevated to heaven!!!!

Witches—-Literally beautiful from the onset, this track REALLY takes me back to the very early days of the band. Alan delivers an intro vocal that is a bit more mature, but with even more finesse’. When the two voices come together…admidst the sometimes annoying noise, I am almost taken to an entire different world. This is fantastic, wonderful and literally genius. I think I even detect some banjo in this song…brilliant!!!!

Done—-Again, Alan begins the song…delivered with a wonderfully plodding musical sound that slowly becomes and almost beautiful Country style ode that tends to make me weep! This is pure 100% magic for me….the slow and deliberate delivery is literally fantastic. The magic that is produced from the sound of the steel guitar is long overdue…the huge pounding drum hits you in the middle of your heart and by the end of the song…you are left weeping on the floor!!!

Especially Me—-This is exquisite…..Mimi and Alan combine voices like no one i have ever heard…how did this magic ever happen…that is what i would like to know? The gentle and intricate musical sounds combine with the voices and create a sound that is as joyous as a christmas overture and as sedate as a bright lazy summer afternoon. I could never ask for more…I could never pray for more beauty and I could never expect anything near as perfect!!!!

$20—-Alan enters with the most minimal music I have heard in a very, very long time! This is fantastic and has quickly become one of my favorite Low releases in a very long time. When Mimi joins in the fray, this takes you back to the stark beauty of Curtain Hits The Cast……this is beautiful, heart shattering and goose-bump inspiring…….go and get this record!!!!

Majesty/Magic—-Again, beginning rather minimalist and naked, this band has really recaptured my psyche with this record!!!! Alan begins with his vocal, but Mimi is not far behind and without the joint voices it would never me the same. The timbre of the drums are magical…..allowing you to sing in the gentle sounds of the band…this is A++++++. Where did this ‘Slo-Core’ resurgence come from…..I should not ask..this is stark, beautiful and a dream come true!!!!

Nightingale—-Combining the best of both Low’s, this is from the onset a nice landscape of sound that gets in your brain and stays there. To me, this should have been the first single! The layers of sounds are wonderfully delivered, the harmonies are perfect and Alan’s high voice is perfectly matched to the almost psuedo-jazz delivery. This is fantastic!

Nothing But Heart—-Falling back into the Guns N’ Drums style at the onset of the song, this is a bit noisier and abrasive than you would expect, but still evolves into a rather beautiful song! The Spearhawks manage to deliver a vocal that melts your entire soul…this is magical. when the couple exclaim that they are nothing but heart……you better damn well believe it!!!!

Something’s Turning Over—-Ending this stellar release with another slight Country Ode, the band still manages to leave a taste in my mouth that onely craves more and more. This is stellar….delivered with a slight almost bluegrass feel…and a bit of a poppy feel, this is my favorite track on this release!!! I love the gentleness, the sincerity and the genuity. I could never ask for more…except for more!!!!

***** [!!!!!] out of 5