Songs You Should Listen To Part Three
Goo Goo Dolls, "Name"
The Goo Goo Dolls out of Buffalo, New York, as many bands do, began life as a punk band. Makes sense, punk rock is easy to play, especially while drunk and/or high. But, with A Boy Named Goo (Warner Brothers, 1995), the Goo Goo Dolls came into their own with this sensitive and tender ballad. The mellow, sweet guitar riff, whispered and unassuming vocals and barely audible drums just add to the sweet charm of this song. Even though the Goo Goo Dolls have gone on to write a catalog of hits over the years (Long Way Down, Naked, Iris, Slide ), Name is the one that continues to take my back to my high school years, listening to the radio as the Oregon rain rolled steadily down my bedroom windows. it's beautiful and elegant.
"Scars are souvenirs you never lose/The past is never far"
Blue Oyster Cult, "Burnin' For You"
Any band with the audacity to put umlauts in their name, better live up to the hype. Blue Öyster Cult certainly does. Even though my generation is probably more familiar with B.O.C.'s Don't Fear the Reaper thank almost entirely tot he infamous Saturday Night Live Will Ferrell/Christopher Walken More Cowbell sketch, I prefer Burnin' for You. It has B.O.C.'s trademark vocal harmonies and driving rock rhythms and an incredible bass line. Plus, it's hella fun to play on guitar and one of my favorite songs to teach my students (Yes, I said "hella".) B.O.C. is one of the most underrated rock bands of all time, but, with catchy riffs, great 70's hair do's and mustaches (vocalist Eric Bloom very much resembles Stephen Hyde of That 70's Show fame), great songs and amazing melody, Burnin' For You is always the right choice!
"Time is the essence/Time is the season/Time ain't no reason/Got no time to slow"
Ray Charles, "America the Beautiful"
What can be said about one of America's premier R & B singers and one of the world's most beloved entertainers singing a song about America. This is my absolute favorite version of the Katherine Lee Bates penned song. It fills me with a sense of pride in my country which I often take for granted. Plus, musically, it's, for lack of a better word, beautiful. Charles has perfect control of his voice and gently pounds out a nice bluesy piano rendition of the song that will cause you to sway, preferably hand in hand with love one while watching fireworks!
"America! America!/God shed his grace on thee/And crown thy good with brotherhood/From sea to shining sea"
Death Cab for Cutie, "Title and Registration"
I didn't play guitar much for several years. I was involved in an unhappy marriage. I was working sixty hours a week at a job I hated and playing craps or poker the rest of the time (I was living in Las Vegas). When I finally picked up the guitar again, this was the first song I taught myself to play. It's simple and catchy. The lyrics tell the story of a failed relationship through the items found in a glove box (hence, the song title) and it's one of my favorite poems, of any form. The album from which this song is culled was DCFC's last great album (yes, they're still around), though they've released several since. Few have had the poignant urgency of Transatlanticism (Barsuk, 2003), though, with Death Cab, their are always going to be moments of brilliance. Title and Registration is one of those. The video is also incredibly creepy and visually stunning with a concept very fitting the lyrics of the song. Also, kudos to lead singer, Ben Gibbard on marrying New Girl and She & Him star Zooey Deschanel.
"I was searching for some legal document/As the rain beat down on the hood/When i stumbled upon pictures i tried to forget."
Kings of Leon, "Sex on Fire"
is this song about venereal disease? I dunno. I kind of hope so. Regardless of the songs' subject matter, Oklahoma's Kings of Leon have a great sound. Southern rock mixed with the gospel they grew up on, blues and straight ahead rock n roll. Vocalist Caleb Followill (the whole band, actually, is a Followill) has one of the most unique voices in modern rock n roll, and maybe ever. There's something infectious about Sex on Fire off of Only by the Night (RCA, 2008), which, if the subject matter is indeed venereal disease, would make sense. The groove. The hook. You'll be singing it for days.
"Soft lips are open, knuckles are pale/Feels like you're dying, you're dying."
Smashing Pumpkins, "Tonight, Tonight"
Not to be confused with the also super awesome Tonight Tonight Tonight by Genesis, Tonight, Tonight is the opening track off the 28 song double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (Virgin, 2005). With this album, and particularly this song, the Pumpkins made a bold statement against the grunge pigeonhole with which they'd been labelled (a label they all but killed with 1998's forgettable Adore .) This song had an orchestra, soaring guitars and drums and a message that was typically ambiguous (though, I tend to think it's about being true to yourself). Underrated on first listen, the song is now my favorite Pumpkins song and starts off the album perfectly. The video is also visually breathtaking.
"Tonight/So bright/Tonight/We'll crucify the insincere tonight."
The Chariot, "Giveth"
The Chariot, from Atlanta, Georgia has been playing time signature, tone shifting, key changing metal core/math core for since vocalist (and sole remaining original member) Josh Scogin left Norma Jean and formed the band in 2003.. They are abrasive and raw and absolutely one of the best bands I've ever seen live, which is why i included both a live and a studio version of this song. As a testament to their tightness, you will notice that live music sounds like the studio record, just with less quality. If you don't like loud music with lots of yelling and feedback, don't listen. But, if you do-- or you're curious-- enjoy! I advise you to listen.
"Figure out your confidence/But the tango begs for a partnership/So make it a romance."
Nirvana, "Heart Shaped Box"
I've always loved Nirvana. They hit my life right as I hit middle school and began to develop my own identity. It didn't hurt that they lived in nearby Seattle. Kurt Cobain was certainly a voice for my generation and, when he died in April of 1994 at the young age of 27 (I believe he was murdered by his junky wife, Courtney Love, and I'm not the only one. I've posted a link to a book on the subject under the photo of the band), was the first celebrity I remember ever shedding tears for. When In Utero (Geffen, 1993) first came out, I didn't appreciate it for what it was, but it was a huge leap forward musically from the classic Nevermind (Geffen, 1991) and Heart Shaped Box, with it's insane video and infectious chorus is one of the best songs of the 90's. Kurt Cobain always said the lyrics weren't nearly as important as the melody, and this song is a great example of that. I have no idea what the song is about, but I know all the words and can't get the tune out of my head.
"Meat-eating orchids forgive no one just yet/Cut myself on angel hair and baby's breath."
My Hubs about Kurt Cobain
- "It's Better to Burn Out Than Fade Away";-- the Kurt Cobain Story
An overview of the life of Kurt Cobain (Feb 20th, 1967- April 1994)
- The Junky's Daughter
a poem inspired by a photograph
- My JFK Moment
April 5th, 1994. they Day Kurt Cobain died. A day that lives in infamy, for me.
Poor Old Lu (Feat. Jeremy Enigk), "Digging Deep"
Poor Old Lu was another one of those 90's Seattle bands that was highly influential in my life. From Scott Hunter's interesting vocal style and enigmatic lyrics, the brilliant guitar work of Aaron Sprinkle,and phenomenal rhythm section of Jesse Sprinkle (drums) and Nick Barber (bass), there was no weak sauce anywhere in Poor Old Lu. At Tom Fest one year (I think it was '95) their set was delayed until 4 am (I think because of traffic or van trouble) and I remember walking around, with Poor Old Lu, waking up sleeping festival goers to come to the show. Poor Old Lu was one of the first band's I became somewhat friendly with and I was thrilled to see myself on the cover of the CD of their final performance (picture in the amazon column, front and center).
Anyway, Digging Deep off the Straight Six EP (Alarma, 1995) also features Sunny Day real Estate front man Jeremy Enigk is a song I didn't really get into until after the band's break up. I wish I'd appreciated it more then, but I'm making up for it now.
"gone through life and death and what remains/ if any blemish hang your head in shame."
Thrice, "All That's Left"
All That's Left off of The Artist in the Ambulance (Island, 2003) isn't even my favorite song off the major label debut from these So Cal rockers, but it's the song that allowed to fall in love with them (Doesn't hurt that the song is featured in one of the Madden NFL Video games). I just saw Thrice on Friday Nov 3rd 2011 for the second time and it's fun to see this band evolve from a punk rock group, to a truly legitimate and creative alt rock band. vocalist Dustin Kensrue is an avid reader and theologian and it shows in his thoughtful lyrics. They are also huge supporters of Invisible Children (they even brought them out on tour with them) and I encourage you to check out the link below for more on this important organization.
"And when we couldn't stop the bleeding/We held our hearts over the flame/We couldn't help but call it treason/After that we couldn't fill our frames."
Check out Invisible Children
Don't Forget to read the Other Installments
- Ten Songs You Should Listen To Part One
Need some new music to listen to, or want to wax nostalgic on some previously heard tunes? Here's ten suggestions!
- Ten Songs You Should Listen To Part Two
another selection of ten songs suggestions. Includes Elton John, Circa Survive, Aerosmith, and others.
- Songs You Should Listen to Part Four
The fourth installment in a series highlighting ten songs you should download and listen to. features La Dispute, Dredg, Pearl Jam, Glassjaw, 2Pac, Glen Hansard, Gin Blossoms, Mumford & Sons, Further Seems Forever and Mae.
How Many of These Songs Have You Heard?
Which of These Songs Is Your Favorite?
My poetry collection
Thanks for Reading.
A FREELANCE WRITER, HONORS STUDENT AND GOVER PRIZE FINALIST, JUSTIN W. PRICE (AKA, PDXKARAOKEGUY) CONSIDERS HIMSELF A POET FIRST AND FOREMOST BUT IS ALSO A SHORT STORY, BIOGRAPHER AND HUMOR WRITER. HIS POETRY COLLECTION,DIGGING TO CHINA, WILL BE RELEASED FEBRUARY 2ND, 2013 BY SWEATSHOPPE PUBLICATIONS AND IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE ON AMAZON AS WELL AS YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER.
HIS WORK WILL ALSO BE FEATURED IN BEST NEW FICTION (2014 EDITION), AND HAS APPEARED PREVIOUSLY IN THE RUSTY NAIL, EFICTION, EFICTION HUMOR, THE CRISIS CHRONICLES, THE HELLROARING REVIEW AND THE BELLWETHER REVIEW. HE CURRENTLY SERVES AS MANAGING EDITOR OF EHORROR MAGAZINE AND THE BRIDGE ONLINE NEWSPAPER. HE PREVIOUSLY SERVED AS THE POETRY AND CORRESPONDENCE EDITOR FOR THE BELLWETHER REVIEW.
HE WORKS AS A FREELANCE WRITER, EDITOR, AND GHOST WRITER, AND IS WORKING TOWARDS HIS PH.D. HE LIVES IN A SUBURB OF PORTLAND, OREGON WITH HIS WIFE, ANDREA, THEIR LABRADOODLE, BELLA, SCHNOODLE, SAUVEE AND BLACK MOOR GOLDFISH, HOWARD WOLOWITZ.
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All rights reserved. Copyright Justin W. Price, November 6th, 2011.
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