Alice In Chains - "Brush Away" (Alice In Chains, 1995)
We start this Five the same way we ended last week’s—with a spooky sounding AIC tune. On second thought, is there any other kind of AIC tune?!
Collective Soul - "Skin" (Blender, 2000)
Say what you will about Ed Roland and Collective Soul, but I used to have a huge crush on this band and tried to get my hands on everything they put out. But things started falling apart, Ross Childress left, the band started running into label issues, and I lost interest. As an aside, I think some of Ed’s solo projects held more interest for me than latter-day Collective Soul, especially his Sweet Tea Project. Anyway, at this point in the game, Collective Soul was experimenting with electronic textures and drum machines, but I still like this.
Victor - "The Big Dance" (Victor, 1996)
There’s no way you could convince me that this is Alex Lifeson if I didn’t already know it. Victor is all over the sonic map, some of it really good, some of it not so much. This tune finds Alex and I Mother Earth’s vocalist Edwin channeling their inner Nine Inch Nails. Good for an occasional listen, but not something I would go to often.
Judas Priest - "(Take These) Chains" (Screaming for Vengeance, 1982)
One of my all-time favorite Priest songs!
Scorpions - "Holiday" (Lovedrive, 1979)
Ditto for this Scorpions tune, and a fine way to end this Five. Have a great weekend, Fivers!
The Beatles - “She’s Leaving Home” (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)
I have a cover of this tune that Billy Bragg did for something called Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father where his accent is much thicker than Paul’s ever was.
Ozzy Osbourne - "Little Dolls" (Diary of a Madman, 1981)
That may be a “guide” solo on the track (per the AllMusic guide), but Randy’s work on this album is stellar. Funny story—just last night I was driving with my 14-year-old son with the radio on one of the local classic rock stations, something I almost never do (because for the most part, those stations suck balls). “Over the Mountain” came on, and Randy’s solo was enough to pull his face out of his new-to-him iPhone 4 long enough for him to exclaim, “Whoa!” And this is a kid who is mostly into hip-hop and rap.
Dierks Bentley - "Draw Me A Map" (Up on the Ridge, 2010)
I know next-to-nothing about Dierks Bentley, but I love this song. As I mentioned before, I’m not much of a “new country” fan, but this has enough of the elements I really like in country music to make the cut and remain in my library.
Alice In Chains - "Dirt" (Dirt, 1992)
An archetypical spooky-sounding AiC song with a burning Cantrell solo. Not sure what else to say.
What happens when you shuffle a playlist of songs from my iTunes library containing terms of endearment and love?! Not your set of typical love songs, that’s for sure.
Atomic Opera - "Love Is As Strong As Death" (Gospel Cola, 2000)
No chugging, down-tuned guitars here. And no sappy, puppy-love, sweetheart lyrics, either. Instead you get atmospheric ode to love that transcends life itself, more akin to an orchestral number than the band’s typical rock groove, and complete with cello, recorder, and other instruments not normally heard on a rock album.
The Cars - "Bye Bye Love" (The Cars, 1978)
Always it’s some other guy. More like an unrequited love song, but this is one of my favorites from the Cars’ excellent debut.
Whitesnake - "Hungry for Love" (Slide It In, 1984)
I don’t think it’s love you’re hungry for, David.
Shandi’s Addiction - "Calling Dr. Love" (Kiss My Ass: Classic KISS Regrooved, 1994)
This track is the lovechild of Tool’s Maynard James Keenan, RATM’s Tom Morello and Brad Wilk, and Faith No More’s Billy Gould for the KISS-endorsed, -sponsored, -directed, and -created tribute album Kiss My Ass (think about that for a second—what other band on the face of the planet would be so in love with itself that it would create its own tribute record?!). Definitely not the best track on the album, but given the members in this one-off “band,” it definitely could have been a whole lot weirder than it ended up.
Hayseed Dixie - "Love Gun" (Kiss My Grass: A Hillbilly Tribute to KISS, 2003)
This country/bluegrass unit slows the pace a bit on this KISS concert staple and gives it a yearning vocal delivery that puts a twist on Paul Stanley’s original over-sexed execution.
The Wildhearts - "The Jackson Whites" (Chutzpah, 2009)
I’ve been on a bit of Ginger kick lately with the release of his Albion PledgeMusic project, so this is a welcome way to start off my Five.
Styx - "Mr. Roboto" (Kilroy Was Here, 1999)
And just like that, the mood changes. “Mr. Roboto” is not a bad song (I have always quite liked it, thankyouverymuch), but I agree with Tommy Shaw—it must have been maddening to come up with synth-laden songs about robots when you were coked out of your mind and just wanted to rock.
Miranda Lambert - "Makin’ Plans" (Revolution, 2009)
Genre whiplash! I have very few songs in my library that would be considered country, and most of them are actually of the bluegrass/newgrass persuasion or guys like Willie Nelson or Johnny Cash. So I was a bit surprised when this popped up. Where did I even get this?! Turns out, it’s not even in my local library but is a song that resides in my iCloud storage. I’m not a fan of the country whine and drawl—that only works if you’re Hank Williams. Sr., that is.—but if I’m going to listen to country, this is the kind of song I would pick.
Pink Floyd - "Run Like Hell" (Delicate Sound of Thunder, 1988)
Snap! Whiplash again. I have always liked this live album, but this song just seems to be missing some of the energy of the album version.
Hüsker Dü - "She’s a Woman" (Warehouse: Songs and Stories, 1987)
Short, sweet, and catchy. Seems to be as good a place to end this all-over-the-map Five as any. Have a great weekend, Fivers!
Leaving Araby - “I Hurt. Can I Hurt You?” (Slightly South of Scene, 2006)
If you can get past the monotonous refrain “I’m not quite sure what you’re waiting for,” this is a great track from this indie band’s 5-song debut EP.
U2 - "Love and Peace or Else" (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)
Despite my waning interest in U2 by this point, I thought HTDAAB was quite a good album. This however is not one of my favorites.
Tool - “Faaip De Oiad” (Lateralus, 2001)
OK, so this isn’t a real track, but it totally freaked me out the first time I heard it.
King’s X - "Pray" (Live Love in London, 2010)
30 plus years on, and this trio shows it still has the chops in this 2009 show at the Electric Ballroom in London. Need proof? Watch the show here.
Jars of Clay - “Crazy Times” (The White Elephant Sessions, 2000)
A (very polished) demo version of the lead single from Jars of Clay’s second album Much Afraid from a demos and rarities companion piece to their 1999 third album If I Left the Zoo. Over the years, The White Elephant Sessions has actually become one of my favorite “albums” from the band.
Slammed at work today, so this will be a short on commentary…
Joe Satriani - "Secret Prayer" (Crystal Planet, 1998)
I started losing interest in Joe somewhere around this time. Not sure why now that I listen back to this. The man has such great phrasing and taste in his selection of notes.
Queensrÿche - "Spreading the Disease" (Operation: Mindcrime, 1988)
OK, joke’s over. Can I have this version of Queensrÿche back now, please?!
Ginger Wildheart - “Unlucky in Love” (Potatoes and You, 2011)
Live acoustic cover of a song that came out of Ginger’s Clam Abuse project with Alex Cane of Life, Sex & Death. More from Ginger’s Bandcamp store where you can purchase the “album”:
Recorded at TJ’s in Newport, Wales during an acoustic tour in 2005, this album was released as a tour only CD, and was sold on subsequent acoustic tours, but never in shops or iTunes. Now deleted, we want to make the recording available to everyone.
Tommy Stinson - "Something’s Wrong" (Village Gorilla Head, 2004)
Tommy runs hot and cold with me. I think I remember not liking this whole album much despite quite a few good songs and a couple of excellent ones.
Tesla - "We’re No Good Together" (Mechanical Resonance, 1986)
Ah, a good ol’ tender jam to start things off today. I normally skip right over this one, forgetting how good it is in a cheesy, schmaltzy ’80s ballad kind of way. Such a good debut, and to think I picked it up at a record store (remember those?!) along with Anthrax’s Among the Living without ever having previously heard a single note of either album.
The Cult - "Aphrodisiac Jacket" (Electric, 1987)
A good friend of mine and fellow musical misfit—we were the oddball metalheads in our very small Mississippi Delta private school, though I definitely didn’t look or act the part—very nearly burned me out on this album after its release. There was a point in the late ’80s and early ’90s that I couldn’t even listen to it, familiarity breeding contempt and all that. I still alternate between cringing and loving it when a track from this album pops up.
Atomic Opera - "Fade" (Penguin Dust, 1997)
Speaking of oddball, Atomic Opera is one of those bands that elicit strange looks when I bring them up (I mean, Atomic Opera, what the hell kind of name is that?! Then again, what about Foo Fighters or Toad the Wet Sprocket? Not exactly marketing-friendly, either. Just ask Dave. But I digress). Then I mention their pedigree as being part of Sam Taylor’s “Houston” triumvirate along with King’s X and Galactic Cowboys (funny since none of them originally hail from Houston) and their Christian leanings and spiritual themes. Then the litany of non-rock instruments—many of them run through distortion or other effects—the band incorporates into its heavy, chuggy, detuned low-end groove: cello, organ, recorder, basouki, dulcimer, jembe, ocarina, mandoin, and Chapman stick, just to name a few. You get the picture. Anyway, decent tune from a great album. That is if you are into weird, rule-breaking rock bands with a spiritual message.
AC/DC - "Back in Black" (Back in Black, 1980)
What can I say that hasn’t already been said? One of the greatest “comeback” albums of all time. Who would have thought AC/DC could have bounced back from Bon’s death like this?
KISS - "Strutter" (Alive, 1975)
One of my favorite KISS songs ever. “You wanted the best, and you got the best!” If only that were still true.
PFR - "Home Again" (Pray for Rain, 1992)
Average song from this very good 90s CCM band.
Anthrax - "Panic" (The Greater of Two Evils, 2004)
I can only think of a few reasons a band covers itself, most of them having to do with money. In this instance, it was a marketing stunt by the band (or their management, or their label, but I digress) to have fans vote on their favorite songs from the Neil Turbin-fronted debut Fistful of Metal and the classic—and more familiar—era with Joey Belladonna and have the band cover them “live” in the studio. I think the true purpose of the effort was to act as the exclamation point on the “We’re Anthrax, we’re back, we’re better than ever, and we’re not looking back” statement made by the excellent We’ve Come for You All. Unfortunately the band imploded soon after, with Frank Bello leaving for awhile to join Helmet, an Among the Living “reunion” of sorts with Belladonna and guitarist Dan Spitz that ultimately led to John Bush’s exit from the band, and the disastrous comedy of errors surrounding the hiring and firing of Dan Nelson and the shelving of what would later become Worship Music, the band’s “comeback” album with Belladonna. Anthrax caught a fair amount of flack for having Bush cover the Belladonna material, but despite that (and the eventual drama), The Greater of Two Evils stands as a testament to how good a “live” band Anthrax is and Bush’s strengths as a singer and frontman, even when covering songs that were originally in a vocal range way above his husky baritone growl. “Panic” is not the best of the bunch—frankly, none of the Turbin-era material was ever that strong—but the album is solid throughout and a must-have for any Anthrax completist.
Black Sabbath - “A Hard Road” (Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978, 2002)
Huh. Can’t say I’ve ever heard this one. According to (the mostly reliable) Wikipedia, this is the last song Sabbath recorded with Ozzy until 13. After listening, I find it a bit surprising to learn it was the second single from Never Say Die! but not surprising at all to find that it was Ozzy’s farewell with the band.
Glen Philips - “Simple” (Glen Phillips with Nickel Creek Live at the Red Light Cafe, Atlanta, GA, 2003)
Live performance of a love song—at least as much of a love song you’re going to get from Glen—that would eventually make its way onto Glen’s criminally overlooked solo disc Winter Pays for Summer. Several tunes have popped up from this particular bootleg over the years, so you should check it out over at the Internet Archive if you haven’t done so already.
Caedmon’s Call - “Open Letter” (The Guild Collection, Vol. 1, 1997)
Introspective, if not completely impenetrable, navel-gazing-ish pre-Caedmon’s statement on the music industry from Derek Webb on this fan-club-only release.
The Beatles - “I Will” (The Beatles (White Album), 1968)
I love this McCartney-penned tune from the White Album. Simple, short, and sweet, I would never have guessed it took 67 takes to get it right.
Cheap Trick - “You’re All Talk” (In Color: The Unreleased Steve Albini Sessions, 1998)
Late 90’s as-yet-officially-unreleased version re-recorded by Steve Albini that supposably captures a sound much closer to what the band originally intended before Tom Werman managed to castrate the band, their fiery live sound, and the entire album. According to (the mostly reliable) Wikipedia, Rick Nielsen claimed in 2010 that Albini’s version of In Color had been finished and would be released “in the not so distant future.” Still waiting…
The Police - "King of Pain" (Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings, 1993)
I was totally infatuated with everything about this song back in the day.
R.E.M. - "Stumble" (Dead Letter Office, 1987)
From back when I still liked R.E.M.
Queensrÿche - "9:28 a.m. / I Am I” (Promised Land, 1994)
Funny how the Beatles did so much more with 1:45 than Queensrÿche did with album opener “9:28 a.m.” Since this is basically a throwaway track—and makes no sense to whatever supposed theme or concept the album pretends at—I included the next song “I Am I.” I appreciate this much more than when it originally came out. Back then I thought the guys had lost their minds.
The Beatles - “Got to Get You in My Life (Take 5, 4/7/66)” (The Alternate Revolver, 1966)
It’s interesting to see how these iconic songs came together in the studio. It’s clear that by take 5 the boys still weren’t sure exactly where this song was going even though they had the basic structure down.
Moke - “Fluicide” (Carnival, 2001)
I picked up this Moke album based on the fact that they opened for King’s X and after listening to a couple of soulful, funkier tunes of theirs somewhere. This song turns out not to be soulful or funky, but more atmospheric and, unfortunately, monotonous.
Audioslave - "Gasoline" (Audioslave, 2002)
This one is in my library mostly because of the hype and my unnatural curiosity of what a RATM/Soundgarden mashup would sound like. I like the groove on this, but the song nor the album have aged well for me.
Teenage Fanclub - "Tears" (Grand Prix, 1995)
Sweet little ditty from everyone’s favorite Britpop/powerpop band once hailed by Oasis’ Liam Gallagher as “the second best band in the world.”
U2 - "I Will Follow" (Boy, 1980)
Not sure if I like this one because I actually like it or if I’m just that familiar with it. Unfortunately that seems to be a trend with me and U2 after awhile.
Ace Frehley - "Too Many Faces" (Anomoly (Bonus Track Version), 2009)
Decent-ish track from Ace’s “comeback” album that turned out to be much better than I expected. I still think it’s better than most of what KISS has put out in years.
Queens of the Stone Age - "A Song for the Dead" (Songs for the Deaf, 2002) Songs for the Deaf was my introduction to QOTSA, and despite their hits since then (and quite a few misses) and how weird I thought the album was at the time of its release, I don’t think they will ever top it as a whole.. I love the groove on this one, and Dave Grohl’s drumming is impeccable. If you haven’t heard the isolated drum track, you’re in for a treat. Sometimes I think there’s no way Dave Grohl is human.
Chris Cornell - "Follow My Way" (Euphoria Morning, 1999)
I love Cornell’s voice, but I usually skip this one. Just too samey and repetitive and goes nowhere until the last minute of the outro. I actually dig that part.
Hüsker Dü - "Sorry Somehow" (Candy Apple Grey, 1986)
Written and sung by Grant Hart, “Sorry Somehow” was the first single from the Dü’s major label debut. It’s not bad, but I much prefer the second single “Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely,” also by Hart.
Bad Brains - "Leaving Babylon" (Bad Brains, 1996)
This is definitely not what I expect to hear when I think of Bad Brains, despite the fact that the song has been covered by quite a few artists. Where are the fuzzy guitars and the breakneck pace? That’s the Bad Brains I’m more familiar with.
Queensrÿche - "Queen of the Reich" (Queensrÿche, 1983)
My introduction to Queensrÿche was this track battling against the static of the nearest AOR FM radio station in rural Mississippi via a syndicated hard rock program called Metal Shop. Heavily influenced by the NWOBHM movement, the band’s debut EP and followup full-length album The Warning are still two of my favorites from the ‘Rÿche.
Yes - "Miracle of Life" (Union, 1991)
Despite poor sales and lukewarm critical reception (c’mon Rolling Stone, 2 stars?!), Yes’ Union was in heavy rotation in my CD player back in the day. I love the amalgamation of the 90125-era lineup with classic Yes members Bruford, Wakeman, and Howe (and a whole host of session players). Nearly every track is solid, including this one, and Anderson’s voice is in fine form throughout. My favorite part is the 2-minute intro with its cyclical melody and odd time signature. No, this isn’t Fragile, but give me a break—the early 90s was a strange time for most classic rock dinosaur acts like Yes.
Mae - "Goodbye, Goodnight" (Destination: Beautiful, 2003)
It’s hard to put into words why I like Mae’s music so much. While not my favorite, this song is a good start. As much as I enjoy Dave Elkins’ new project Schematic, I wish Mae were still around.
The Hold Steady - "Barely Breathing" (Heaven Is Whenever, 2010) Heaven Is Whenever is the first (and only) album I’ve heard from The Hold Steady. I was skeptical at first when a rock ‘n’ roll snob friend of mine introduced me, but I was surprised at how much I liked it. There are a couple of clunkers, and this particular song is not one I play often, but the remainder of the album is solid.
Quite an eclectic mix today. Hope you have a good Friday!
Better late than never, I guess. I had car troubles this morning, and I found out it’s going to take about $3K to fix it (anyone need some web development work done?!), so iTunes better not screw with me today. Please don’t suck, please don’t suck, please don’t suck.
Neal Morse - "Oh Angie" (It’s Not Too Late, 2001)
Now that’s more like it, although a pop tune about a failed, destructive relationship has no right to sound so happy and upbeat.
Iron Maiden - "Iron Maiden" (Iron Maiden, 1980)
Great classic Maiden here. Unfortunately I can’t listen to the original these days without thinking about the Trivium cover from the extended version of Shogun. Yeah, that’s right, the one with the Cookie Monster vocals and the over-enunciation of “i-ron.”
Glen Phillips - “It Takes Time” (Live at Joe’s Pub, New York City, NY, 8/18/2002)
Excellent live acoustic version, but I think I like the original Abulum cut better. There’s just so much texture there that you can’t replicate live, even if the crazy-talented Nickel Creek kids are backing you up.
Nirvana - "Something in the Way" (Nevermind, 1991)
I was trying to come up with something interesting to say about this one, but oh well. Whatever. Nevermind. This downer tune seems like a fitting way to end today’s Five.
Short and sweet this week since I have meetings stacked up all day today.
Jill Phillips - “By a Thread” (Nobody’s Got It All Together, 2006)
There aren’t many Christians—much less CCM artists—who will admit that we don’t have it all together, we don’t have all the answers, and we don’t have the corner on the market of God’s grace. Jill Phillips is one of those brutally honest artists who is not afraid to admit that there are indeed times when “I can’t get it down to my heart from my head” and that “I’m hanging by a thread.”
Soundgarden - "My Wave" (Superunknown, 1994)
Don’t come over here and piss on my gate. Do what you want. Just don’t involve me.
Rush - "Out of the Cradle" (Vapor Trails, 2002)
OK, so I’m one of those oddball Rush fans that liked Vapor Trails and didn’t think the production/mastering was obnoxiously loud and distorted. But then again, I haven’t heard the recently released Vapor Trails Remixed.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - "Don’t Do Me Like That" (Greatest Hits, 1993)
Baby, don’t do him like that. I’ve always liked this tune.
The Knack - "Good Girls Don’t" (Get the Knack, 1979)
…but I do. Doug Fieger and Berton Averre sure could write some pretty pop songs with dirty lyrics couldn’t they?!
The Beatles - “For No One (Take 14, Recorded May 19, 1966)” (The Alternate Revolver, 1966) The Alternate Revolver is an interesting peek into the studio during the making of one of my favorite Beatles albums. It features alternate versions and mixes, sketches and demos, and alternate takes (complete with mess-ups) of songs that I am so familiar with that I’m usually taken aback for a minute when when one pops up on shuffle.
John Davis - "Chant Down Babylon" (Arigato!, 2007) Arigato! is the excellent second solo release from the Superdrag singer/songwriter/guitarist and founding member John Davis, and opening track “Chant Down Babylon” helps to prove there’s no sophomore slump here. And no, despite the song’s title, this isn’t a Rastafarian reggae number. Instead, it’s very stylistically similar to Davis’ former (and current) band, so if you like Superdrag, you’ll probably like this, too. Be forewarned though, this disc is loaded with Davis’ commentary on Christendom and spiritual themes, but not in the same manner as cheesy CCM radio fodder. You might find that you actually like the honesty found here.
Placebo - "Running Up That Hill" (Meds, 2007)
I love Placebo’s downbeat version of Kate Bush’s most successful song. A deal with God?! I think my iTunes has a sense of humor sometimes.
Ozzy Osbourne - "Tonight" (Diary of a Madman, 1981)
I had somehow forgotten about this very un-Ozzy-like song. After listening again, apart from Randy’s playing, I can see why.