Rush - “Manhattan Project” (A Show of Hands, 1988)
Another Friday Five, another live Rush track to kick off the list, this time from their more polished, synth-based period. Though this is not the Rush I was first introduced to, nor is it the Rush I immediately reach for, I really liked their 80s output. This is a great album, although it is so polished you forget at times you’re listening to concert performances.
King’s X - “Far, Far Away” (Out of the Silent Planet, 1988)
Excellent track from the debut album of my favorite band. Some of the songs from this disc are beginning to sound dated, but I love Ty Tabor’s guitar tone, the vocal harmonies, and the swirling sitar in the background. This is the beginning of the sound that King’s X perfected on its next release Gretchen Goes to Nebraska and the sonic palette some fans wish the trio would revisit.
The Waiting - “Nobody’s Love” (Blue Belly Sky, 1998)
Poppy upbeat fare from a 90s jangly alterno-pop Contemporary Christian band that I had a brief infatuation with. Their lyrics and musical style set them well apart from their CCM kindred whose sickly-sweet bubblegum pop sounds filled the airwaves on my local CCM FM station.
The Isley Brothers - “Love the One You’re With” (Givin’ It Back, 1971)
I love the vocals on this Isley Brothers take of the Stephen Stills song. They seem to be feeling it more than Stills ever did.
Geoff Tate - “Grain of Faith” (Geoff Tate, 2002)
The Queensrÿche frontman’s solo album was quite a bit different stylistically from the music his main gig was putting out a the time. A bit more on the pop side, the songs still have some guitar crunch tempered with more electronic and ambient elements and drum loops than you might expect. But that voice is ever-present throughout. Worth a listen if you’ve never heard it before.