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 Scorpions filmed three live acoustic shows at the Lycabettus Theatre in Athens, Greece in September 2013 for an upcoming MTV Unplugged CD/DVD release. Here frontman Klaus Meine shares the stage with German artist Cäthe for the title track of In Trance.
Klaus’ voice still seems incredibly strong for 65, especially when you realize he is more than twice Cäthe’s age.
Chris Cornell - "Mission" (Euphoria Morning, 1999)
Not sure what I expected from this solo effort from the Soundgarden frontman, but I remember liking this at the time that it came out, probably because it was just different enough from Soundgarden to be interesting while retaining that unmistakable voice and that scream. I’m not so sure what I think about it now. I usually just skip tracks from this album when they come up.
Scorpions - "As Soon as the Good Times Roll" (Love at First Sting, 1983) Love at First Sting was the album that really broke the Scorpions here in the States, and due to the hugeness of songs like “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” there are some overlooked gems. This mid-tempo number is one of them.
Queensrÿche - “Guitar Solos” (Live at Harpo’s, Detroit, 1984)
Does just over 2 minutes of live guitar wankery count as a track?! Since the guitarist is Chris DeGarmo doing harmony leads with Michael Wilton, I’ll let it pass.
Transatlantic - “Stranger In Your Soul” (Bridge Across Forever, 2001)
26 minutes of pure modern(-ish) prog goodness with a “hidden” track of in-studio nonsense at the 27:30 mark.
Dokken - "Heartless Heart" (Tooth and Nail, 1984)
Rockin’ with Dokken! Except with this particular track… not so much. This sounds tame, tired, and dated. Kinda like me most days.
Scorpions - "Holiday" (Love Drive, 1979)
Another tender jam from the Scorpions. These guys did the hard rock ballad so well. Love it.
Neal Morse - “Mercy Street” (Testimony 2, 2011)
As the title suggests, this is the second autobiographical album that details how this Spock’s Beard leader decided to leave one of the most respected modern progressive rock bands to embark on a solo career that matched up with his conversion to Christianity. I like the tune, but it seems it really needs to be listened to in the context of the entire album. Despite that, there are several vocal melodies from this that are absolutely golden.
Nirvana - "Lounge Act" (Nevermind, 1991)
Meh. I’ve never really liked this one much. It lacks the energy of the rest of the album until the last third of the song when Cobain starts screaming.
Collective Soul - "Maybe" (Disciplined Breakdown, 1997)
Say what you will, but I really liked Collective Soul back in the day. Some of their tunes have aged well, while others haven’t. As far as I’m concerned, “Maybe” is in the list with the former.
Saint Vitus - "Look Behind You" (The Blasting Concept Volume II, 1990)
I was listening to the excellent previously-unreleased Hüsker Dü outtake “Erase Today” from this SST compilation just yesterday. And since I absolutely loved this comp and very nearly wore the cassette out back in the late-80s, you would expect that AllMusic would give it a 1.5-star rating and lead off their review with this comment:
Perhaps unwittingly, The Blasting Concept, Vol. 2 marks pretty much the exact point at which SST Records irretrievably lost it.
That may be true, but it doesn’t make me love this Saint Vitus track—and most of the others on here—any less.
Y&T - "Don’t Stop Running" (In Rock We Trust, 1984)
Dave Meniketti has a great rock voice that reminds me a bit of Sammy Hagar, and he’s a great guitarist to boot. Not sure why these guys weren’t bigger.
Scorpions - "Lady Starlight" (Animal Magnetism, 1980)
This song has always seemed a bit out of place on this album—it’s too clean and too pretty, and the mix of Klaus Meine’s voice with the background vocals is almost too perfect, but I really like it. I guess the Scorps could have been an adult contemporary band if the rock thing hadn’t worked out so well.
Mötley Crüe - "Come On and Dance" (Too Fast For Love (Leathür Records version), 1981)
Dirty, sleazy rock ‘n’ roll, but Vince’s slightly off-key vocals almost ruin it for me. My favorite part of the song—and the both versions of the album for that matter—has always been Tommy’s cowbell. Rock ‘n’ roll definitely needs more cowbell.
Mae - "Embers and Envelopes" (Destination Beautiful, 2003)
More Mae goodness this week, although this is one of my least favorite songs on the album. Not that it’s a bad song. The rest of the album is just much stronger.
Rush - "Leave That Thing Alone" (Different Stages, 1998)
OK, so the next song iTunes served up was the first track “Fart and Wiener Jokes” from Brian Posehn’s comedy album of the same name. My thought is that if it’s not a real music track I’m not gonna include it here. “More Metal Than You” would have totally counted, though. Skip.
Next up is another Different Stages track, this time the instrumental “Leave That Thing Alone,” originally from Counterparts. I love this song, if for no other reason than Geddy’s excellent funky bass groove.