This week’s Songs Of The Week was really difficult. I’ve been listening to a lot of Bowie, and you can read about that here. Megadeth, Bury Tomorrow and Wolfmother all released new songs, and my opinions on these in the links. I also found some cool unsigned bands, but I posted about No Hot Ashes here. Basically, I’ve already blogged about most of the music I’ve been listening to this week. Fortunately, I listen to lots of music, so I’ve still manage to grab 5 excellent songs for the week!
Green Day – Jesus Of Suburbia
Unlike most people I knew at the time, I wasn’t a big Green Day fan during their ‘British Invasion’ (the American Idiot album). However, as I’ve grown older (and because my brother always used to listen to it and rave about them so it got stuck in my head), I’ve been drawn to a couple of songs that I find bearable, and some I even find downright enjoyable! Jesus Of Suburbia is definitely up there. It’s the one with the most detail, depth and variety in it. Something in that makes me really like, more than LOTS of other songs.
It’s like a prog punk song (Only song of its genre? let me know of any others) as with most prog songs, it’s long, tells an interesting story and travels through a variety of moods, textures and emotions. This one I think is so interesting because it’s so different to most songs, and the band do a brilliant job of keeping the music interesting. The sudden drops to solo piano from full band are incredibly powerful, the melodies are catchy while the lyrics are relatable and understandable. A great song.
(Also, love that the short version is 9 minutes!)
The Dear Hunter – Is There Anybody Here
The Dear Hunter are a band I’ve heard quite a lot about, but never got round to listening to. They seem to be one of those bands that people either love or appreciate but dislike. There’s no denying the musical brilliance of them, and Is There Anybody Here is one that really caught my eye. It’s simply the tip of the iceberg in relation to what this band have to offer musically. Their songs have such a huge reliance on orchestral instruments, and classical forms; I can’t believe I hadn’t taken the time to sit down and listen to them before.
Anyway, back to the song. This track is possibly the easiest to connect with emotionally, thanks to the relationship between the music and emotions. The song deals with the character from the “Act” series having an identity crisis following the assumption of The Son‘s identity to help fit back into society upon return from The War (I think this is right, I tried to figure it out in about an hour; please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong). What I really like about this is how the music is really off-kilter, slightly eerie, but in an insane kind of way. This follows on from the previous song A Night On The Town (also excellent) to show his hungover/dazed mindset. The opening violin line as a response to the first vocal line sets the tone, that heavy sliding descent is often used in films and music to create tension. This theme is only built upon when the rest of the band enter: the riff on guitars is so well staggered, it’s impressively creepy, then it drops back, muted, to allow the vocals to re-enter. Finally, the best feature used to build the scene is the maniacal laughing backing vocals in this verse, so brilliant.
An emotional and remorseful look into his identity fears in the middle section is a lot smoother as strings becoming more flowing and prominent, mirroring the emotion of the lyrics. The guitar solo towards the end returns to the hungover/dazed mindset as presumable, he staggers home.
The song is excellent, the way that the music is used to paint the picture of what the lyrics mention is excellent. A deep look into many of their songs will create a similar level of awe, which is why I think people love the band. Listeners can build a real relationship with the characters songs. Worth a listen, and a delve deeper.
Mcfly – Transylvania
Wait. I know. Just bare with me for a bit, it’s actually pretty clever for a Mcfly song! The song passes through various distinct movements; okay so the techniques they use are painful obvious and there are few subtleties to the music, but that’s pop. And there’s a really nice call and response between the vocals; they sing in harmony pretty well, but the thing that makes this song special, compared to others by Mcfly, is how well it conveys emotions. The sections have distinct emotions to them, and the transitions are really good, the modulations are prepared. To be honest, I know it’s not the best; there’s not much conviction to make the intro creepy or scary, and the solo is pretty bad. As background music the horrifically obvious cliches are bearable, and it’s pretty catchy. I enjoy it…Stop judging me!
Anthrax – Breathing Lightning
The new Anthrax album, For All Kings, is just around the corner, and this song has just got me really excited for it! It was released over the weekend; and returns to what makes Anthrax really stand out. They’ve never been as fast as Megadeth, as Metal as Slayer, or as progressive/radio friendly as Metallica, but what they do fantastically is songs like this. The melody they bring to thrash is brilliant, Evil Twin was good, but it didn’t feel, to me, like an Anthrax track. This does! And it’s so good! It got elements of bliss and so much diatonic melody to make it instantly memorable in “You always have the chance to do the right thing/ until the right thing comes undone”; but there’s still that huge thrash element in the verse. That riff is vintage Anthrax, would not sound out of place on Among The Living. Good to see the band back to form!
Kingcrow – The Moth
Before I start, I want to say thanks to The Man Of Much Metal for making Kingcrow’s album third in his list of top albums of 2015; and by doing so bringing this wonderful band to my attention. The contrast between light and heavy sections is brilliant; they’re so abrupt, yet sound so natural at the same time. Kingcrow are at it right from the go, 4 seconds before that first drop, 10 seconds later it goes mellow again for the verse. It’s so rapid and somehow seamless.
Early in the first verse is where my other favourite thing happens so perfectly. That transition from the calm verse to heavy verse, the harmonic minor run up to distorted guitars, then the chord stabs and impressively brilliant guitar lick to complete to move. It happens so fast, but all these little things make it work. There are so many little things in this song to take it that step up from being good to being brilliant: the bass fills, the backing vocals; the a cappella at the end! It’s remarkably enjoyable.
Thus concludes my Songs Of The Week this week. There is probably something for most music fans to enjoy in there in has been a busy and eclectic week of music for me. Remember again to check out any posts you’ve missed in the sidebar on the right (I hope it’s there) and all of these songs will once again be added to my SOTW Spotify playlist. Enjoy!