Alien Ant Farm - "Death Day" (ANThology, 2001)
I’m pretty sure I acquired this album under dubious circumstances, and more than likely it was for the frantic, spastic cover of Michael Jackson’s "Smooth Criminal," because I can’t imagine a situation under which I would actually buy something like this. Surprisingly, I like quite a bit of the album. The musicianship is good, and most of the songs have a great groove. Unfortunately this is neither good, nor does it have a groove. Granted, I like the laid-back verse sections, but the chorus and the stupid lyrics absolutely kill it for me. Oh, and pun-ny or not, you don’t name an album Anthology unless it’s a greatest hits compilation. Sorry, but those are the rules.
Eureka Machines - "Wichita Lineman (Acoustic)" (Live Acoustic Sessions, 2013)
Not the greatest vocal performance for frontman Chris Catalyst but a great cover nonetheless of “the best song in the world” (as the liner notes put it) written by Jimmy Webb and first recorded and popularized by Glen Campbell. “I need you more than want you” is indeed a brilliant lyric. The Live Acoustic Session album has mysteriously disappeared from iTunes, but I have linked a video of Catalyst hamming it up at a solo, non-acoustic show before breaking into this song. And if you are not yet familiar with Eureka Machines (despite my singing their praises and begging and pleading you to give ‘em a listen), here’s a free download at their Bandcamp site. No excuses.
KISS - "Mr. Blackwell" (Music from “The Elder”, 1981)
Typical “guess the rhyme” tripe from Mr. Simmons and the much-maligned Elder project. The only thing salvageable here is this guitar solo, even though it doesn’t sound like it was played by Ace.
Spock’s Beard - "Freak Boy" (Snow, 2002)
Sort of a transition/linking song that helps flesh out the storyline on this double-disc concept album and Neal Morse’s last with the Beard. It’s a great album if you have the patience for it.
We thought, “We can make a guitar. Maybe we can make something that’s better than anybody has ever made.” My dad had that attitude, which I inherit, “If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly.” And I kind of extend that. I think, “If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” That’s kind of a Queen thing.