Posts Tagged ‘Album’

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The original banned cover

For this week’s album of the week, I wanted to pick an album that had changed the landscape and sort of brought some legitimacy back to the sunset strip scene. The scene had become too over-saturated with bands that cared about the way they looked rather than the music they played. That is where Guns N Roses comes into the picture,a band that was staring the LA scene down and saying that they weren’t going to follow those rules. Guns N Roses were the biggest badasses in LA at a time where a band like Poison ruled the scene. The band was made up of five guys who were different in their looks and personalities, but man were they a force to be reckon with. Axl Rose (Vocals) and Izzy Stradlin (Rhythm Guitar) left their homes in Indiana to pursue rock and roll stardom where they would join forces with a punk rocker in Duff McKagan (Bass), wild child Steven Adler (Drums), and the cool and collective man who went by just one name, Slash (Guitar). One of the coolest stories about the band coming together was the fact that Slash was supposed to audition for their eventual rivals Poison, but when he heard he had to wear make up, Slash said no way and he left. The album is one of the highest selling debut albums of all time and has been certified platinum 18 times with an overall worldwide sales equally 30.5 million copies.

File:Welcometothejungle.jpgThe iconic Welcome To The Jungle, a tale about a person who visits a big city for the first time and the things he learns opens up the album. The breakdown or main riff originated from a song Duff had written when he was in a punk band called The Vains. The high energy It’s So Easy follows as the next track in a song about a time in where the band was broke, but they had plenty of girls to live off of. Nightrain an anthem that serves as a tribute to a cheap, but infamous bottle of California wine with Izzy Stradlin playing the lead intro and the first half of the guitar solo. Out Ta Get Me is a track about all the trouble that Axl went through while living in Indiana. It’s also one of the fastest songs written by the band which means it was written in under three minutes. Mr. Brownstone is the first song the band wrote after they were signed by Geffen Records. The song explores a day in the life of Heroin addicts with Brownstone being slang for the drug. It’s one of the most iconic songs GNR wrote besides the aforementioned Welcome To The Jungle and the next track. Paradise City is an a true rock and roll anthem that as a fan of the genre you cannot ignore it’s awesomeness. The song was written in the back of a van when the band was making a return trip home from a gig in San Francisco. The style of the song has the ascending chromatic riff style while it’s the only song on the album to feature a synthesizer.

gnr 3The next track on the record is a dark tale about a friend named Michelle. Of course, you knew I was talking about My Michelle which was written after Axl and this friend had heard the song Your Song by Elton John. She had apparently said she wished someone would write a song about her and sure enough Axl did. Surprisingly to the dismay of Slash, she loved the song. Think About You isn’t a ballad, but it’s a rock and roll anthem begging for lovin from someone special. You’re Crazy is one of the fastest songs in GNR’s repertoire that was originally recorded as a slower acoustic track.  Sweet Child Of Mine might be the most overplayed GNR song that has ever existed and it’s their only US number one single. The song is played according to wikipedia in “D (D-Flat)/C (C-sharp) mixolydian, which is a mode of G♭/F♯ major.” In a issue of Hit Parader Duff told them, “The thing about ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine,’ it was written in five minutes. It was one of those songs, only three chords. You know that guitar lick Slash does at the beginning? It was kinda like a joke because we thought, ‘What is this song? It’s gonna be nothing, it’ll be filler on the record.’ And except that vocal-wise, it’s very sweet and sincere, Slash was just fuckin’ around when he first wrote that lick.”

gnrAnything Goes is one of the earliest written GNR songs as it was written in 1981 and even played by Hollywood Rose. I call it a mix of dirty rock and roll and some punk rock attitude mixed in with it. Rocket Queen is the most legendary song on the record for what I am going to say. In an interview with Hit Parader Axl told them, “I wrote this song for this girl who was gonna have a band and she was gonna call it Rocket Queen. She kinda kept me alive for a while. The last part of the song is my message to this person, or anybody else who can get something out of it. It’s like there’s hope and a friendship note at the end of the song. For that song there was also something I tried to work out with various people—a recorded sex act. It was somewhat spontaneous but premeditated; something I wanted to put on the record.” During the recording of the song, Axl took Steven Adler’s girlfriend at the time, Adriana Smith, and had sex with her in the booth. Those are the moans that you hear in the track. It is definitely one of the greatest debut albums by any band, but unfortunately they could keep the act going. I believe that they would have been the biggest band ever, but you know how it goes in show business. I am going to give the album five stars out of five because it is that iconic.

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File:Metallica - ...And Justice for All cover.jpgLast month we celebrated the 30TH anniversary of the release of Metallica’s Kill Em All and now we are celebrating a different release by Metallica. On August 25, 2013, …And Justice For All turned 25 years old which means it celebrates its silver anniversary (I believe). By the accounts of a lot of different people, this album signified that a lot of changes were going to come to the beloved Thrash metal genre and it signified the beginning of a new era. For starters, it was the first album to be recorded without Cliff Burton and the first with former Flotsam & Jetsam bassist Jason Newsted. It signified the end of a traditional thrash metal sound for Metallica as they took a more progressive metal approach with this album. Lars commented on the band’s change, “We took the Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets concept as far as we could take it. There was no place else to go with the progressive, nutty, sideways side of Metallica, and I’m so proud of the fact that, in some way, that album is kind of the epitome of that progressive side of us up through the ’80s.” The albums lyrics were also very different and dark while being rooted in politics, inequality, and freedom of speech just being some of the topics. There is also a rumor that if you notice, you’ll barely hear the bass tracks because Metallica supposedly turned the bass down.

andOne of the most badass Metallica songs ever kicks off the album in the form of Blackened, a song that deals with the subject of the environment. I love the slow fade up tactic that Metallica chose for the track which signifies the beginning of the madness. It’s also the best drumming I have heard from Lars in my opinion and I love the breakdown after the 2:30 mark, it’s just punishing. …And Justice For All is the next track on the album and it’s a track that was inspired by the drummer Lars’s aggressive riff and drum patterns. Famed music critic Cosmo Lee once said that the song is, “”a linkage of blocks” rather than “a progressive opus”, because “the song is mid-paced and very playable. None of the riffs are that technical.” Eye Of The Beholder is another track that starts with a slow fade up as the track keeps building up and then it explodes into an all metal assault. The track is played at a conventional 4/4 rhythm while the chorus is famous for being played at a 12/8 time. The tracks lyrics deal with issues of limitations that are constantly placed on freedom of speech and freedom of expression. It makes sense considering the PMRC was hammering down on Heavy Metal at the time.

oneI hate to call the next track a power ballad, but that is exactly what One is. It’s the Grammy award winning track from the album whose lyrics are very anti-war. The song was inspired by a book by Dalton Trumbo that was called Johnny Got His Gun which was released in 1939 and dealt with a soldier who had lost all his limbs in battle.  The song begins in 4/4 time before it gradually switches in 3/4 and even 2/4 time. My favorite part of the song is the machine gun guitar build up with the double bass madness. Here is what James told Guitar World Magazine in 1991 regarding B-G modulation, “I had been fiddling around with that B-G modulation for a long time. The idea for the opening came from a Venom song called “Buried Alive”. The kick drum machine-gun part near the end wasn’t written with the war lyrics in mind, it just came out that way. We started that album with Mike Clink as producer. He didn’t work out so well, so we got Flemming to come over and save our asses.”

harvesterThe Shortest Straw is the next track on the record with it’s stop and smash playing in the beginning, it’s a song that deals with the topic of blacklisting. According to wikipedia, Harvester Of Sorrow is a song about, “a man who descends into madness, taking out his anger on his family. At the end of the song, it is hinted his sanity snaps and he murders them.” The song is a live staple at any Metallica show and deservedly so as the track hits you like a sledgehammer when it kicks off. Frayed Ends Of Sanity is the next track and it deals with the subject of a man who cannot live with the mania inside his head as he tries to become stronger than the demons (at least that’s what I get out of it). To Live Is To Die is the only song on the album where credit is given to Cliff Burton. The song samples a lot of different bass lines that Cliff had done before he passed away, but they were recorded with Jason for the album.

and justiceDyer’s Eve is the last track on the record and it’s a straight forward, cut ‘n dry message to his parents with some awesome and crazy stop and play metal madness in the beginning. Then out of nowhere the madness becomes even more maddening as Metallica embark on all out metal assault. This is definitely one of my favorite albums that started off with Mike Clink as the producer because Flemming Rasmussen wasn’t available when they needed him. After not being happy with what Mike Clink was doing, Flemming was finally brought in as he saved the day. Happy 25TH Anniversary to …And Justice For All you get four stars out of five.

File:Vince Neil Exposed.jpg

courtesy of wikipedia

I chose an album that just about has as much controversy behind it as any rock or music nerd like myself could want. It was Vince Neil’s first solo album that he would release after he had left Motley Crue and it features two of the best talents in rock/metal at the time. Phil Soussan, who previously played with Ozzy Osbourne on The Ultimate Sin album answered a call to help out a friend write an album and recruit a band to tour with. When Vince secured Steve Stevens, one of the most underrated and under appreciated guitarists of the 1980’s, the controversy begins there. Adrian Vandenburg of Whitesnake fame was originally tapped to play guitars on the record, but to the advice of the label, he grabbed the former Billy Idol guitarist instead. During the recording process of this record, Steve Stevens wanted to write and record all the bass and guitar parts so Phil was let go. Robbie Crane, who was the rhythm guitarist at the time would move to bass, and Vik Foxx was the drummer. After the album was released, apparently all of the writing credits was given to Stevens even though Soussan had written five of the songs before he was let go. He took the band to court and he won the case with Stevens name removed off the tracks. Can you feel the controversy already? Let’s check out the album!

File:Vince Neil Sister of Pain.jpg

courtesy of wikipedia

Look Into Her Eyes has that Ultimate Sin sound to it especially when the song kicks off. Steven’s guitar playing is amazing and the rhythm section is terrific as well. The song has that balls to the wall style of rock with a swagger as big as LA’s and you have to love that ray gun sound you hear during Steven’s solo’s. Sister Of Pain was the second single to be released off the album and the song is like a woman, fast and fun to play. Can’t Have Your Cake has a very funky beginning with the bass before it runs you over like a hot rod in hell. The song is about one of those important lessons you mother teaches you that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Fine, Fine Wine is one of my favorite songs on the song because of how raunchy and kick ass the band’s sound is. This is raunch-filled rock at it’s finest and fans were eating it up like cake and I know the song isn’t about actual wine. The Edge has this amazing flamenco intro by Steve Stevens before it kicks into the heaviest song Vince Neil ever recorded in his whole life. The flamenco will return later in this song and I feel it separates this track from the rest. By far my favorite track on the whole record, hands down.  Can’t Change Me has more of that Spanish guitar feel to it in the beginning as Stevens proves he can do anything. The song isn’t a ballad even though it has that feel to it, but think of this song and compare it to Time For Change off Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood record. What helps this is the fact that Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades  wrote the track for the album. The next track on the album is an amazing cover of Sweet’s Set Me Free.

back coverLiving Is A Luxury is the next track on the album is another raunchy as hell track about reminding that your lucky to be alive in this world. I could have sworn I heard some horns in the track to go with the bands ability to slow the track down before they melt your face off with the chorus. You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come) is probably one of the most recognizable tracks on the record since it was the first single and it appeared in the film Encino Man that starred Pauly Shore and Brendan Fraser. When I saw Vince open for Poison some years back, this was the only solo song he performed. Gettin Hard is one of the coolest tracks, but at times it sounds like something Billy Idol would have sang on. Don’t get me wrong the song is as cool as the breeze and it has that hip shaking body groovin melody to it. Forever was the ballad on the album that was dedicated to EX-Wives Of Rock star Sharise Neil, who divorced him earlier in the year. Vince is always thinking of ya even after the divorce papers have been filed.

Steve Stevens!!!

Steve Stevens!!!

What is there not to love about this record? It is by far the best album Vince has ever appeared on musically just for the fact that Steve Stevens is the MVP of the record. As I stated in the beginning, he is the most underrated guitarist out of the 80s. Just take a listen and tell me that you don’t agree with me because it’s better than Carved In Stone and Tattoos & Tequila. It was definitely better than that hunk of crap Motley Crue answered back with at the time with John Corabi. I am going to give the record 4 stars out of five.