Posts Tagged ‘Grammy’

aI want to remind everyone that the Grammy’s do not make a band legitimate or not even though they have tried cleaning up mistake after mistake. The Grammy’s tend to drop the ball when the nods come in for Best rock song, etc. In past years, we have seen the committee get lazy and pick only bands that had been around for decades with cover songs as the songs they have chosen for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental to Jethro Tull instead of Metallica. One of the biggest embarrassments for the academy was the 1989 awarding of Best Metal Performance We have also seen them drop the ball as far as what deserves to be considered for Best Rock Album, but all of that has changed with this years nominees. This year, it seems like things have gotten better with the academy and that they actually woke up. Bands like August Burns Red, Body Count, Code Orange, Mastodon, and Meshuggah were nominated for Best Metal Performance. Metallica received two nods at the show as they were nominated for Best Best Rock Album (Hardwired… To Self Destruct) and Best Rock Song (Atlas, Rise!). Other bands that received multiple nods were Nothing More (Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song, and Best Rock Performance), Mastodon (Best Metal Performance and Best Rock Album),  and the Foo Fighters (Best Rock Song, Performance). This could be a sign of things to come, but then again this is the academy we are talking about here. The award show airs live on January 28, 2018 on CBS and check out the nods below:

Best Metal Performance
August Burns Red – Invisible Enemy
Body Count – Black Hoodie
Code Orange – Forever
Mastodon – Sultan’s Curse
Meshuggah – Clockworks

Best Rock Album:
Mastodon – Emperor of Sand
Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct
Nothing More – The Stories We Tell Ourselves
Queens of the Stone Age – Villains
The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

Best Rock Song:
Metallica – Atlas, Rise!
K.Flay – Blood in the Cut
Nothing More – Go to War
Foo Fighters – Run
Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage

Best Rock Performance:
Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
Chris Cornell – The Promise
Foo Fighters – Run
Kaelo – No Good
Nothing More – Go To War

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ghostFor years, we have bantering and bickering about just how the National Academy Of Recording Arts And Sciences just didn’t get rock or metal. For years, they have fumbled the award and shamelessly given it out to acts who didn’t deserve like Tenacious D or even Jethro Tull. It’s not that I do not respect those bands, they just didn’t deserve the award over some of the acts that were nominated. This year, it looked as if the Grammy’s were finally getting it right when they nominated some heavy hitters for Best Metal Performance. They nominated Ghost (Cirice), August Burns Red (Identity), Lamb Of God (512), Sevendust (Thank You), and Slipknot (Custer). The other thing that bothered me the most about the award is that they never televised it, so it was always a why bother watch the show if they do not respect your genre. This year that all temporarily changed as the award was not only given to a deserving band, but it was also televised. Ghost won the award for their track Cirice which is off of their amazing album Meloira (read the review here) and they accepted the award on stage.

ghost 2The only sad thing that I saw all night was the awful interviewers on the red carpet that asked the dumbest questions. “What is your band’s overall image about?” was one of the dumb questions asked by someone who has no idea who the band is. CBS needs to hire better interviewers for their red carpet who are more diverse in music which makes it better for everyone. The Grammy’s can be an opportunity for a band to expand on their fan base, a platform so to speak. Nevertheless, congratulations are in order for Ghost on the big win. Some of the other bands that didnt fair as well were the Foo Fighters who were nominated for Best Rock Performance and didn’t win and Slipknot for Best Rock Album which they also didn’t win. Check out Ghost accepting the award below and check them out giving thanks as well.

It’s another Saturday which can only mean one thing and that is I have another Soundtrack Saturday pick for all of you. In the early 90’s Arnold Schwarzenegger was still a huge star and one of my favorite 90’s films with him was Last Action Hero which also starred Austin O’Brien, Charles Dance, Anthony Quinn, and so many more. One of the cool things about the soundtrack is that 80’s metal was still a big thing and it was mixed with some of the 90’s metal acts as well. The soundtrack featured the likes of Def Leppard, Alice In Chains, Tesla, Queensryche, but I decided to choose a track from one of my all time favorite Thrash Metal acts in Megadeth. Dave wrote the song in one day apparently while he was going through a rough stage. The song is called Angry Again and it was written at a time when he was on drugs again and he was mad at everyone from the band to some industry people. He describes the track, “I wrote ‘Angry Again’ right after I got out of a treatment center in Arizona. They had done one of those happy little 1990s interventions where everybody who’s not loaded gets to point the finger at everyone who is. And the day I got out of rehab, they threw me into a studio in Phoenix where I wrote ‘Angry Again’ for the movie The Last Action Hero.” The song was written around the time that Countdown To Extinction was written so it has that awesome sound that the album possessed. The song ended up earning the band a Grammy nod for best metal performance which was their fourth nod at the time. It’s definitely one of my favorite Megadeth songs, so you should check it out below and bang that head.

220px-Still_portrait_Mike_NicholsIf you are a true cinephile or a true film aficionado, then you know exactly who Mike Nichols is and with that being said, I am saddened to announce to all of you that the directing legend has passed away at the age of 83.  Mike Nichols directed some of the most legendary films in cinematic history like The Graduate with Dustin Hoffman, Working Girl with Melanie Griffith, Catch-22 with Alan Arkin, The Birdcage with Robin Williams, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? with Elizabeth Taylor, and one of my personal favorites in Wolf with Jack Nicholson. What people don’t know is that Mike is one of few (only 12 individuals) to join the EGOT club which means he won an Emmy (for his work on HBO’s Angels In America miniseries), Grammy (An Evening With Mike Nichols And Elaine May), Oscar (Best Director for The Graduate), and a Tony (for Death of a Salesman and others). He was married four times in his life with Dianne Sawyer as his last wife and he has three kids from his previous marriages. He was considered a legend in the industry and his brilliance will be missed. R.I.P. Mike Nichols (1931-2014)

weirdThere is a logical reason as to why there was no Parody Of The Week post because I was saving the ultimate parodies for the King Of Pop Parodies “Weird Al” Yankovic and this week’s album of the week Dare To Be Stupid. “Weird Al” at this point had already established himself in the music world as the Parody guy, but he hadn’t released an album that was a huge hit after releasing just two albums. So, it was back to the drawing board for Al, Jim “Bermuda” Schwartz (Drums), Steve Jay (Banjo, Bass), Jim West (Guitar), and Rick Derringer who played guitar on the record as well as produced it. The band would record four parodies, four style period parodies, an original song, and a polka medley. Dare To Be Stupid was the first musical comedy album to be released on Compact Disc back in 1985 and it peaked on the Billboard Top 200 charts at number 50. In 2003, the album was certified platinum by the RIAA. The album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Comedy Recording in 1986, but he lost to Whoopi Goldberg.

weird 2The first song on the album was one that was suggested by Madonna. Madonna had asked a mutual friend the question of how long it would take until Al parodied the song Like A Virgin into Like A Surgeon and sure enough Al did. The next track on the record was the brilliant original track Dare To Be Stupid which was a style parody that was inspired by Devo and it’s a song that Devo loved and was jealous of for how Al was able to take the synth sound and run with it. I Want A New Duck is the next track on the record and it’s a parody of the awesome Huey Lewis & The News track I Want A New Drug and you have to love the duck sound effects that Al employs in the track. One More Minute was the next track on the record and it was another style parody, but this time “Weird Al” channeled Elvis Presley’s doo-wop style for the track and it’s brilliant as he talks about a woman that left and he is very upset. Yoda is the next track and it’s a parody of The Kinks track Lola  and it’s a track that he discusses the storied iconic Star Wars character. This is a very funny track and one of my favorites on the album.

weird 3The next track on the record is a cover of of the TV Theme to George Of The Jungle. Slime Creatures from Outer Space is the next track and it’s the next period parody on the album that parodies the sounds of 1950’s sci-fi movie songs and it’s actually a pretty cool bass driven song with all the cool sci-fi effects. Girls Just Want to Have Lunch is a parody of Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want To Have Fun and this is another hilarious track on the record with crunching sounds. This Is The Life is the next style period parody that parodies 1920’s, 30’s jazz, swing, vaudeville songs. Cable TV is the only completely original song  as he talks about how great his life is since he has gotten Cable TV and it’s actually great commentary on how you can have 83 channels of nothing, but you’re just happy you have cable tv. Hooked On Polkas  is a polka medley that covers 13 tracks in 4 minutes. Some of the tracks that it covers are Quiet Riot’s Metal Health (Bang Your Head), Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top, Method Of Modern Love by Hall & Oates, We’re Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister, Owner Of A Lonely Heart by Yes and so much more. This was honestly one of my favorite “Weird Al” albums and you have to respect the king of parodies because he made it cool for everyone to do it. That is why I am giving the album four stars out of five for a final grade.

 

marshall mathers lpWhen Eminem’s new album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was released yesterday, it inspired me to revisit the very first The Marshall Mathers LP for this week’s Album Of The Week. I chose this album because when it was released back in 2000, it didn’t leave my CD player for months. Eminem was coming off the success of his second album The Slim Shady LP which saw Eminem sell over 243,000 copies in it’s first week and he won two Grammy’s (best rap album and best rap solo performance). This album was a little different than the Shady LP because it was more autobiographical in it’s lyrical content and a lot more of the songs were a little darker than the over the top lyrics we had before. The album was produced by The 45 King, Bass Brothers, Dr. Dre (executive producer), Eminem, and Mel-Man and it featured 18 tracks with four being skits. The first half of the record was produced by Dr. Dre and Mel-Man while the second half was produced mainly by Eminem and the Bass Brothers with Stan being produced by The 45 King.

MI0000280511Public Service Announcement is the first track and it’s the first skit of the album lasting only 24 seconds. It’s Eminem telling the public service announcer what to say until he interjects in the end. Kill You is the next track on the record and its another track where he explores his relationship struggles with his mother over a basic beat to emphasize his rapping abilities. Stan is one of the most famous tracks on the record about a fan that claims to be his biggest fan. Eminem for the first three verses voices the character as he writes letters to Eminem, but after not getting any responses, he gets angrier and eventually commits murder and suicide. The track samples a line from Dido’s Thank You as it’s bass line and Dido is featured in the chorus. Paul is another skit on the record and it’s the executive of the label telling him that he received a copy of the record and he’s about to give his opinion and he says “F*** It” and hangs up. Who Knew is one of the tracks on the record that explores his effect on American kids and society as it’s another song with a stripped down beat. Steve Berman is the third skit where Eminem is grilled about the content of the album. The Way I Am is one of the best songs on the record and it’s the first song where Eminem solely produced the track and the beat that you hear. It’s Eminem rapping about how people are putting too much pressure on him from fans to executives. He even mentions in the track how Marilyn Manson was wrongly blamed for the shootings in Columbine.

eminem_-_the_marshall_mathers_lp_us-cdThe Real Slim Shady was a track that was written and recorded hours before the final copy was due. With it’s basic keyboard like beat, he name drops so many celebrities as he talks about what is wrong with pop society back in 2000 from Tom Green humping a dead moose to Pamela Anderson claiming to being beaten by her ex-husband Tommy Lee. Remember Me is a track with a funky bass line that features RBX and Sticky Fingaz (Onyx). I’m Back is another track that explores his rise to the top and how super stardom sucks. Marshall Mathers starts with a dark guitar riff as Eminem raps about how he doesn’t understand why people care about how him now. Ken Kaniff is a dirty skit about the internet creep getting sexual intercourse from the Insane Clown Posse. Drug Ballad has a real funky beat to it as Eminem raps about his drug habits. Amityville has an old school hip hop beat to it with the drum machine as Eminem introduces us to Horrorcore rap and the track features Bizarre. Bitch Please II is the only track to feature Snoop Dogg on a Eminem track, but it also features Dr. Dre, Xzibit, and Nate Dogg on the track as well.

MMLP9Kim starts with Eminem talking to baby Haley before it turns violent with Eminem rapping about hurting Kim (his ex-wife). It’s considered the prequel to ’97 Bonnie & Clyde as Eminem screams his rap the whole time. Under The Influence introduces us to Eminem’s group of friends and comrades in D12 as they spit some serious rhymes. Criminal is the last track on the album and it answers all his critics who think his lyrics are too dark and vulgar. It also brought some controversy along as there is some lines that GLAAD had a serious problem with. For example, “My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge/That’ll stab you in the head whether you’re a fag or les…Hate fags?/The answer’s yes.” The song even contains a part where he robs a convenient store where he promises that he won’t shoot the girl as she hands him money and he ends up shooting her anyways. This is definitely one of the best Eminem albums that he had ever released in my opinion. That is why for a final grade I am giving it 4.5 stars out of five.

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.