Tag Archives: heavy metal

valentine’s day – and the most influential or interesting love songs of the previous two decades

15 Feb

Since it’s right after Valentine’s Day, I decided to pick some of the most influential and/or interesting songs on love from the last 20 years (2011 not included, of course).

I generally percieve the 1990s and 2000s as a very important moment in popular culture. Not only because it was the time of my high school/university years but mainly because it perfectly mixed influences of the music made by previous generations with new possibilities and music techniques. Grunge emerged from the influence of the 1960s rock. So did R&B which is rooted in funk, soul and, most importantly, blues. Rap continued to develop since the 1980s and so did punk rock. The 1990s however were direct descendants of the 1980 electronica and new wave. And since our age is defintely the computer age, we witnessed creation of new electro music genres and blending them with other musical influences. We witnessed the birth (or continuous development, as some may say) of industrial rock and industrial metal, nu metal, electro in a variety of genres – from early 90s trip-hop to contemporary electroclash.

Also, I think many things have changed in terms of defining ourselves as human, naming our needs and our emotions. Not only feminism became more important than ever but also many countries started their fight for LGBT rights. Racial and class divisions were and are discussed in all the parts of our world, especially since there is still a large group of fundamentalists in each and every of the religions that has ever existed – not that I am anti-religious, not at all. But,
frankly, I hate every fundamentalism.

Sex is also discussed in a different manner. And popular culture has been very important in the process of expressing our sexuality, our love, our desires. I think some of the songs of the last two decades reflect that process. Let’s take a look at some of them.


Sinéad O’Connor Nothing Compares 2 U
Written in 1986 by Prince, O’Connor re-recorded this song in 1990 and quickly it became not only one of the greatest hits of this year but also O’Connors trade mark which made her rise to fame. A falling apart relationship of the past reaches its climax in the lyrics full of regret and passion at the same time which is only strenthened by a great voice of O’Connor. Her vocals tremble with passion and are torn apart with pain. Mesmerizing.
To view video click here.


Justify My Love

Written by Lenny Kravitz and Ingrid Chavez. Highly controversial song with even more controversial video that’s  been censored and/or banned almost everywhere in the world. It marks the point in which Madonna slowly shifts from corny pop songs of the 1980s into much more ambitious projects which may have been pop but remained top quality and the best example to follow for the future generations. Also, it marks a slow shift from corny and puritan Reagan/Thatcher-era love imagery to a vision of a somewhat complicated sexuality. After all, can we imagine love and sex today without general questions about ourselves and human nature? Can we think of it not reffering to pain, hurting someone/ourselves, rediscovering our sexual identities, whether we’re straight, gay, or avoid labels at all costs? In 1990s it wasn’t that obvious. Luckily, we’ve got Madonna and we know that she turned her attention to wherever she spotted a taboo-topic.
To view video click here.



Pearl Jam Oceans
Hard to say whether Eddie Vedder sings about his love to another person or about his love to surfing. Whatever it is, it is emotional and it marks the rise of grunge which dominated popular music for the most of 1990s.
To view video click here.



En Vougue My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)
In fact a very difficult song – not every vocalist will be able to repeat it, trust me. Marks a trend for the years to come of forming girlsbands which do not necessarily need to know how to play an instrument but have to be sexy and, ok En Vogue, I gotta give you that, need to sing damn well to get to the top. It’s years before Destiny’s Child or Spice Girls (this one isn’t maybe the best example cause they vocally suck, LOL).
P.S. Check the choreography! What the fuck are these guys doing??? X-DD I just looollleeed! Nobody dances like this in vids anymore.
To view video click here.


Red Hot Chili Peppers Under the Bridge
Kiedis sings about his love to L.A. A true classic. And a classic video displayin less of L.A., more of Kiedis’ hairless chest opposed to long, shiny, commercial-like hair on his head. He actually moves his whole body in a way so you can take a closer look at both X-D
To view video click here.



Metallica Nothing Else Matters
An anthem. And a very insightful and sincere confession of James Hetfield (“I never opened myself this way”). Is he confessing to his bandmates or his girlfriend? Noone knows, but, what the heck, nothing else matters.
To view video click here.



Nirvana Heart Shaped Box
Grunge at its height, less than a year before Kurt Cobain’s death. This song’s got it all. A strong riff, powerful chorus, amazing lyrics. It’s debatable whether it is about love although many sourses claim that the song was written for Courtney Love. Everything about love-hate relationships is written exactly here. And, though from the grunge era musically it is Alice in Chains and Soundgarden that I value most, I have to admit Cobain had a mesmerizing voice and great ability to write lyrics. As Wiki says: “Charles Cross wrote in his biography of Cobain Heavier Than Heaven that with the lyric “I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black”, Cobain “sang in what has to be the most convoluted route any songwriter undertook in pop history to say ‘I love you'”.”
Well, I won’t argue with Cross.
To view video click here.


Radiohead Creep
Less about love. More about the lack of it. An anthem of all the freaks, geeks and nerds. All those who were and are misfits. And a generation anthem as well. Used in Fincher’s Social Network last year and, earlier, covered by KoRn during their Mtv unplugged session – and there was a good reason for it.
“I want a perfect body. | I want a perfect soul. | I want you to notice | When I’m not around. | You’re so fuckin’ special. | I wish I was special (…)”. Hell yeah, welcome to modern times in which you have plenty of identity possibilities, well, far more than your grandma had, and, at the same time, none of them really suits you.
To view video click here.



Blur Girls & Boys
Marks the point at which britpop is gathering more attention. Also, marks slow changes in our society that are still pretty new for some: “Love in the nineties | Is paranoid. | On sunny beaches | take your chances – looking for | Girls who are boys | Who like boys to be girls | Who do boys like they’re girls | Who do girls like they’re boys” – and a sweet conclusion – “Always should be someone you really love”.
To view video click here.


Tool Prison Sex
Less about love. More about the dark side of being a human. After all, it’s Tool. And, since it’s Tool, you can be sure it’s about pain, desire, having power over one another and excercising it on one another. Amazing song.
To view video click here.



Alanis Morissette You Oughta Know
A feminist and a little hysterical scream in the post-grunge genre which, at the time, was considered rebellious. Today noone would consider these angry lyrics rebellious. Today it’s rather common that we express the feelings like: “It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced | Are you thinking of me when you fuck her?” At leasts in the songwriting, LOL.
To view video click here.


Portishead Glory Box
The video features Beth Gibbons dressed as a man. And, with her amazing and touching voice she sings: “give me a reason to be a woman”. Tiredness and helplessness. As in most alternative songs love is a more of a haunting experience rather than a sweet, pink-colored commercial for selling mascara.
To view video click here.



Tori Amos Professional Widow
Widely rumored to be about Courtney Love who, maybe because of her artistic pseydonym, is definitely the muse of most rock and alternative songs of the 1990s.
Whether it is about Love or it’s just about any difficult man/woman relationship, it’s there. And, as it always is with Tori Amos, it’s breath taking and hard to classify.
To view video click here.


Bush Swallowed
Partly on love, partly on drugs. Definitely about obession. A rather forgotten British post-grunge band whose frontman is known more as Gwen Stefani’s husband. A pretty sensual video which more or less shows the tastes and trends of the 1990s.
To view video click here.



Björk Jóga
An amazing song with the ever powerful vocal of Björk. Dedicated to a friend. Soulmate love and a very Shakesperian/turn of rennaissance/baroque theme of universe being in perfect harmony.
To view video click here.




Massive Attack Inertia Creeps
A cryptic sensual message that doesn’t include love and sex only. Intense Middle Eastern/Indian motifs and a trance rhythm. Also marks the rise of trip-hop and development of future electro genres. Extremely powerful lyrics that start with: “Recollect me, darling | Erase me to your lips | Two undernourished egos | Four rotating hips” and a disturbing video.
To view video click here.


Placebo Pure Morning
The rise of softer still alternative rock. And an another cryptic message that makes me guess the relationship is or was somewhere in between being sex friends and lovers. Of course, it’s rock, so some guilt and regret spices up the whole. Amazing video and a sexually disturbing image of the androgynous Brian Molko.
To view video click here.



Smashing Pumpkins Ava Adore
Marks the slow death of the grunge-era bands. Smashing Pumpkins are, also, slowly going down. But Billy Corgan still remains disturbing being stylized as Nosferatu, from the 1922 German expressionist horror classic Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, and singing: “It is you that I adore | You will always be my whore”. Of course in terms of style it’s a little rip off off Marilyn Manson. But, heck, it’s Corgan. I will always forgive him.
To view video click here.


Foo Fighters Walking After You
A Foo Fighter love song which embarrasses Dave Grohl until today. The song’s cute. His acting in the vid is a bit hysterical. Still, many of those who were raised on grunge as teenagers consider it a damn sexy video (even though Grohl looks funny in a suit.)
To view video click here.



Nine Inch Nails We’re in This Together
It’s Reznor, so it’s always about torment, pain and obsession. Off of The Fragile, one of the most amazing rock albums in the history. And a culminating point of industrial rock hitting the largest audiences in history ever. Of course, as it always is with NIN, a damn good video. And, btw, more or less a moment when each rock star cut their hair and one day all of them (Chris Cornell, James Hetfield, Reznor and many more) appeared with a completely new hairdo X-D
To view video click here.


Beck Sexx Laws
Off of Midnite Vultures – the album which is totally devoted to love and sex. With a little of Beck’s amazing wit and some funky tunes.
Those who happen to know this album and live nearby the Baltic probably will remember Mixed Bizness with the lyrics: “Do you wanna ride on the Baltic Sea | I’ll be your mistress C.O.D.” although I suppose Beck meant the Swedes not the post-communist block X-D
To view video click here.



PJ Harvey This Is Love
She keeps on rocking in the good old style. And still having a great sense for catchy rock riffs and sharp lyrics.
To view video click here.




Peaches Lovertits
She’s a hardcore feminist, she’s crazy, her performances are awesome and she speaks of love and sex with an almost exhibitionist sincerity. And she’s amazing. It’s the year 2000! Electroclash is rising!
To view video click here.




Depeche Mode Dream On
Depeche Mode’s big come back after David Gahan’s fight with drug addiction. And a further rise of electro which actually owes a lot to Depeche Mode.
To view video click here.




White Stripes Fell in Love with a Girl
A catchy rock song of a great band that in a quick time proved to be extremely professional and true to the roots of American rock. Great rhythm and a great riff. Plus, of course, Jack White’s vocal which you cannot confuse with anything else in this world. And lyrics in which he treats love seriously and she’s a player.
To view video click here.



Beyonce Knowles feat. Jay-Z Crazy in Love
A consequent rise of the mix of R&B, soul and a bit of funk. And an addition of rap/hip hop. From En Vogue until Beyonce it’s over 10 years. Today, noone can imagine the world without Beyonce, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Sean Paul, Busta Rhymes and many more. Well… it’s not so obvious. It’s enough to imagine the pre-1990s with Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Prince etc. Not that I do not value them (I value Prince the most) but it’s been a long time and much has changed. Also the fact that Beyonce and Jay-Z are now a married couple X-D
To view video click here.


HIM Join Me in Death
The iconic anorectic kinda (but only kinda) dark and kinda (but only kinda) gothic king of Finnish rock. Lame lyrics and lame songs. And dozens of bands following this path. A slow birth of emo-crap.
To view video click here.



Maroon 5 This Love
The iconic anorectic kinda (but only kinda) nerdy and kinda (but only kinda) cute king of whinining pop rock bands for teenage pussies. And dozens of bands following this path. A slow birth of contemporary “alternative” pop rock bands which have nothing to do with the word “alternative” whatsoever.
To view video click here.

Yes, I want to doom the year of 2004 and erase it from the history X-D


All-American Rejects Dirty Little Secret
A little pop rock shit with some teenage boys trying hard to look all sexy. Sadly, this is what defines many bands pop & rock bands today. But at least they play their instruments.
The love message is unclear but, heck, what do I know about contemporary disturbed teenagers?
To view video click here.



Amy Winehouse Back to Black
She may be drugged, hideous and sick. I don’t care. Noone sings with her voice. Noone sings with such tension. Noone is as funky and soul-ish at the same time. And noone is so cruel as she is when she sings: “He left no time to regret | Kept his dick wet | With his same old safe bet | Me and my head high | And my tears dry | Get on without my guy”.
To view video click here.



Regina Spektor Fidelity
One of those who follow the path once established by Tori Amos who is a pioneer in here. Ok, some may argue Carole King was first but that’s a different story, imho.
An amazing example of how alternative pop may mean something ambitious and, still, widely known.
To view video click here.



The Raconteurs Old Enough
A little bit of folk rock and a little sour lyrics: “you never speak so I have to guess you’re not free”. Great song and a little hope that maybe whining teens is not everything that is left.
To view video click here.




Lady Gaga Poker Face
She actually looks kinda pretty in this vid. Who would have guessed she’d become the Marilyn Manson of pop? Still, though I’m not a pop fan myself, I’m happy for her achievements. She’s still far more talented than most of the pop starlets and, at least, she has a strong voice she knows how to use instead of Britney’s hums, ohs and umhs which annoy me as hell. Plus, when it’s about love, Gaga is more into obsession, gambling with the feelings and love/hate relationships. And she tries to escape any label. As an electro fan, I definitely prefer this when it comes to pop than Spice Girls or Backstreet Boys :-]
To view video click here.



Deftones Rocket Skates
As usual for Moreno the lyrics are cryptic. But, in my opinion, it does include a difficult love/hate relationship. Moreno’s voice is perfect as ever and the whole strength of emotions that tear him apart culminate with the words: “Guns, razors, knives | Fuck with me”. One of the best singles of 2010.
To view video click here.



Violent Soho Jesus Stole My Girlfriend
A nice rock tune with a little sarcastic lyrics by an Australian alternative rock band. She leaves cause Jesus means more to her than him.
To view video click here.






straight from… Dubai

6 Feb

Who would have guessed that Facebook adds actually serve some purpose? And that the advertised music can be soooo damn good?
Who would have guessed that you can get one of the best albums of the previous year from… Dubai?
Hah! You don’t believe me, don’t you?

Personally I hate Facebook adds and I never pay attention to them. If I ever do, it usually means they have to be utterly stupid to focus my attention. However, an add for a band called Absolace haunted me for a while and at some point, though I get lots of music adds, I decided to give it a try. And I was blown away totally! Their debut album, Resolve[d], was released last year (sometime early summer but cannot find exactly when) and, oh, what a shame, I found out about it only now 😦

A rather unknown band from Dubai, consisting of different members – a multicultural taste (Arab vocalist, Greek drummer, American guitarist/bassist/pianist) – this is what Absolace is. And it’s just amazing.

Ok, I have to admit that guys are not revealing nothing that we don’t know already. The similarity to other contemporary art/prog rock/metal groups influenced by Middle Eastern rhythms is obvious. Especially Tool resemblances are huge! Still, I have to admit that in the world in which, really, nothing new is created and everyone copies after other musicians, I have to admit that guys from Absolace chose a real hard way. After all, copying Tool (even if it is a copy) is aiming at the stars. And, well, you gotta learn, right? Why not learn from professionals? 😉

On the other hand, I would probably defend Absolace as a unique thing. The similarities are there, ok. Each band has its own masters and influences. Absolace, however, being very Tool-ish remains geniuine. First of all, the amazing voice of Nadim Jamal. He has a natural way of singing. Not streching his vocal cords, not trying to pretend anything. This simplicity proves to be actually far more emotional than any screams. Although, when needed, sure he can scream. Luckily, we’re past the 1980’s and nobody expects rock and metal singers to pretend they’re having constipation (Brian Johnson of AC/DC and Axl Rose for instance, though, as a child of the 1980’s I have a little sympathy for Rose). Jamal is just amazing in this. The simplicity of melodic lines and the natural way in which he uses his voice create something which is just touching.

The other thing is that – however weird it may sound since Tool is a very progressive and experimental band and has always been – Absolace seems to be more eager to experiment with electronics. Sure, it’s not industrial and the electro tunes do not go far beyond a pretty simple synthesizer. Still, it adds a nice prog-spice to the whole.

And speaking of Dubai… not all of the rhythms come from the Middle East or traditional Arabic music. Some of the tracks will really surprise you by how true they are to the American rock tradition.

Just enjoy. You will love it! Honestly – I did.
And, please, do share this information, spread it, buy their CD! All the info you need is available at their myspace profile – click here). These guys need our help in promoting their music!


diamond? it’s a gem, right?

10 Jun

Since I was a little disappointed with the latest rock/hard rock/metal records lately, I was kinda cautious with listening to the newest album of Deftones. Sure, there was Alice in Chains’ Black Gives Way to Blue which I think is amazing. But Godsmack’s The Oracle was disappointing and the new records of Hole and Stone Temple Pilots were amusing and a lot of fun – still, nothing extra-ordinary. So, here I was, stuck with Deftones and terribly afraid that I would get another disappointment which would only make me weep and long for a record more similar to their old ones. Plus, you know, the pressure of another argument was entirely overwhelming – that most of my fascinations this year were more connected with the alternative/electro/ethno/indie scene than with hard music – hence my positive reviews of Gonjasufi’s A Sufi and a Killer or This is Happening by LCD Soundsystem.

Huh! Surprise, surprise! Deftones ROCK! This is a killer album! And no, I don’t want to hear any whining that they’re sell outs and don’t play as good as they did in 1988, 1990, 1997 or whenever the fuck they were playing 😛

Diamond Eyes is a great album. Most of all, it’s not boring. It’s harmonically diverse, songs differ in atmosphere and melody. It’s full of great, complex and heavy riffs – a true heaven for any fan of any kind of hard music. The music definitely builds up tension – moods change, the rhythmical section is very varied and… Gawd… Chino Moreno… he is in an unbelievable, amazing, great, shockingly GREAT form. Sure, he does the things that we are used to. He sings in a way that is so typical of him. And he does it in a perfect way. Moving easily from a tense whisper, through a trembling moan, lyrical, sweet, almost ballad-like melodies and finally – until a powerful, spasm-like, torn scream that makes you shudder. Hell yeah! Moreno is just brilliant!

Songs are very melodic and even though the whole album is very powerful, heavy and rough, dark – you could even say, it has got parts which completely astonish you with their delicateness, sweetness and tenderness.

And yes! Diamond Eyes is a true gem! Just listen to the whole, you will not be able to have enough of it.

3 guitar riffs – but it’s not John Lee Hooker

9 Jun

Once upon a time my father, who is a musician, sat in front of the TV (I was a teenager, so, of course in the 1990’s I was watching MTV) and he said: “This is just amazing. He’s got like three guitar riffs but still has the vibe and can enchant you totally with only a few sounds”.

Well… unfortunately you cannot say that about the newest album of Godsmack. Personally I’m not a huge fan of Godsmack but I appreciate their music and I think they’re pretty good, not outstanding though. Much has been said already about their newest album. That it’s confident rock, that it’s definitely recorded by mature musicians, that Godsmack has changed and that… you can feel the vibe (or whatever new age thing you should/ought to/want to say here). And, sorry, but somehow I get the feeling this is not how it works.

The whole album is correct. Sully Erna is a good vocalist, he knows the rhythm, he knows his abilities, he is by all means… “proper”. And the same goes for the rest of the musicians. But it’s just… too “proper”. There’s nothing “dirty” in it. The album is clean, perfectionist, and every detail is arranged like it should be. And, honestly, I expected something more from “mature musicians”. I don’t know what’s going on but the record doesn’t surprise me one bit. It’s sounds very similar to Alice in Chains, to Metallica, it’s deeply rooted in hard rock/metal music but I feel as if there would be nothing new, nothing really personal and nothing really touching in it. All of the tracks, maybe except The Oracle, lack any kind of fresh insight, any kind of fervent spirituality that Godsmack did have earlier. All of that makes it a big disappointment. I’m into hard rock/metal/industrial/grunge/you name it. But this is just not enough experimental. It’s not breaking any borders, it’s not provoking, it’s not an attempt of going beyond what one has already created.

Speaking of The Oracle – which is the title of the album and one of the tracks, and the track is the one that I want to talk about here. Well… to put it as simply as I can, I’m sorry that Godsmack didn’t record a whole album of such precious works. That would be just amazing! The Oracle is one, sole single track that makes you stop doing the things you’re doing and just listen. Sometimes it’s corny, I felt that the guitar solos are very much stylized and consciously reminding you of the 1980’s. Sometimes it’s exaggerating with the mood – especially through the melodic line of the cello (played by Irina Chirkova) the mixed sounds straight out of news or a documentary, a known motif that you could hear in the early works of Marilyn Manson and other artists of the late 1990’s, especially those considered to be part of the industrial rock genre. However, The Oracle is, unfortunately, an exception. The rest of the tracks lack freshness and any kind of magnetism. Sure, they’re energetic, loaded with a great rhythmic section, full of elaborate guitar solos. But they’re all the same. Lacking any mood change, lacking any kind of seductiveness. You listen to it like to a pop record – everything is completely fine but it’s shallow and even though you have to admit it’s perfectly performed, you cannot consider it a good record.

The other disappointment goes with something that I already mentioned before – something I called “mood change”. Basically the whole of The Oracle is actually one song. Repetitive rhythm, repetitive melodies and the same, actually constant expression of Erna’s voice – you get the feeling it’s all based on three guitar riffs and, unfortunately, it doesn’t have the power of John Lee Hooker 😦

I cannot say that I won’t listen to this album ever again. But I’m still hoping that Godsmack will record something much more ambitious than this. And I’m definitely not saying it’s a bad album. But I’m just simply tired of mediocre, “proper” records which are just sooo predictable…

shame on me

26 May

Yes, exactly, shame on me for not listening to the latest Alice in Chains album earlier! I don’t know how but I simply overslept some of the cool albums of the last year. Maybe it was because I was on the road pretty often and when I wasn’t travelling, I was completely loaded with work. Ok, no excuses from now on (“Find me sittin’ by myself | No excuses that I know” X-D).

What am I supposed to say? The album is stunning! I am not a hard-core Alice in Chains fan but I have always appreciated them a lot and I followed their career from Dirt and up (possibly because in my part of the world nobody had ever heard of Alice in Chains prior to Dirt). And, somehow, since the death of Layne Staley, Alice in Chains somehow… slipped my mind. Of course, I was watching Jerry Cantrell closely and checked what was he doing but new plans, getting William DuVall as the new vocalist – I had no clue about it all.

And? Frankly? It’s amazing. I am not expecting DuVall to become the new Layne Staley, I am not even expecting him to sound similar. But he DOES sound similar. His voice is definitely different than Staley’s, I would probably put it somewhere mid-way between Staley and Chris Cornell. But parts which are sang together with Cantrell remind you of the old Alice in Chains so much that, somehow, I did not feel disappointed, uncomfortable or uneasy by the sole fact that it’s somebody different than Staley. DuVall’s voice is softer and higher than Staley’s but still – he’s doing a great job. It’s very emotional, with the amazing vibrato and a fantastic expression – even in the more calm songs (for example, Your Decision). The other musicians are as brilliant as ever and they’re in their top form (amazing guitar-solo in Last of My Kind, which is one of my favorite songs of the album – totally stunning!)

I am looking forward to the future of Alice in Chains with lots of expectations. Last month Jerry Cantrell stated that he did not see any reason for which recording a new album in the nearest future would not happen. Let’s hope so!

The album itself is sort of a coming back to the roots of Alice in Chains. The atmosphere, doubled vocals, rhythm, guitar riffs – it’s all a sort of a tribute to the earlier works of the band. However, it doesn’t mean that the band is stuck with imitating what they had created prior to Black Gives Way to Blue. It’s clear that the album was recorded by very creative and mature musicians. Listening to it I had a feeling that it somehow should be an example of how a path of a musician should look like – constantly developing and consequent. Of course, there are bands which changed their style and experimented with different things and I’m not saying it’s wrong. Absolutely not. But in this case I am absolutely thrilled by how Alice in Chains forged their new album out of what they had been doing earlier. This is slow, consequent advancement that I value so much, that – I think – is not valued enough in this world, and, finally, that I would probably compare to the difference between Tool’s Ænima and 10.000 Days – showing that you’re truly devoted to something, true to what you’re doing and, still, being able to progress, develop, change. Therefore, I am absolutely taken by this record – and very surprised (in a positive meaning of this word) cause it’s a huge relief to listen to something like that knowing that so many bands gave up, totally abandoned their former achievements or got stuck in the same point not knowing how to get out of the cage that they themselves had created.

P.S. Don’t you find it odd that both Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley died circa April 5th? Ugh… Creepy!