During the early aughts, a groundswell of garage based, mostly indie rock came bubbling up after the death of new metal. Bands like the Hives, White Stripes, and maybe most notably, the Strokes helped to usher in a new age of rock n roll. Hailing from NYC, the capital of American attitude, the five piece consisting of Julian Casablancas, Albert Hammond Jr., Nick Valensi, Nikolai Fraiture, and Fabrizio Moretti on drums released an album that was defined by its devil may care logic in quick, punctuated music that touched on issue of being reasonable, lost in thought, and more notably, fun times spent laughing about the memories, good and bad. I haven’t done one of these “Albums of My Life” in awhile so I thought it would be great to discuss one of the overall best albums of the last 20 years, without a doubt. Here are my thoughts on the Seminal album by the Strokes, “Is This It?” I hope you enjoy it.
At 35 minutes, this album is quite short, but what it lacks in duration is quickly forgotten because nearly every song is a classic anthem and perfectly exemplifies everything that was amazing about the early indie movement. The opening title track starts with a mild electronic beat before becoming a very evenly paced instrumentation section. It’s only made better by the slow murmurings of singer Casablancas. Much has been made of the bands seemingly lax relationship with how normal bands do things, but from the start they made that known, and have basically stuck to their guns in the following two decades.
Musically, the opening is a nice teaser for a more immediate next track “Modern Age.” It’s easily one of my favorite songs the band has ever recorded, the guitar part is contagious, and the song takes off like a coaster on Coney Island. It’s one of the more fun energetic tracks on the album, and overall is a masterpiece. It’s powerful, defensive and ready for attack. I think that’s what I like about it most.
Many of the songs on this album stay with you for way longer than they maybe should. Much of what was released during those years of the garage rock revival has been forgotten, like any fading genre, but this record always seems to get classier with age. As the album progress, we get a solid round or so of songs that would end up helping the band become such a well known act. “Someday” is filled with this sense of longing and regret, which I think is still relevant of the times. The lyrical content is used from points of frustration and apathy, but also of redemption and finding the strength to be the best person you can.
Following that we get the massive hit “Last Nite,” the song that was the first big break the band got on radio and (even then) music videos on MTV. I think the song is good but not the best in their arsenal. Having said that, it’s hard to be as great as you can be when the next track “Hard to Explain” blows everything out of the water. It’s a fast paced but beautiful song of remembrance. I have a friend who was going through a difficult time, with a lady, and he described to me the freedom of flying down the interstate on New Year’s Eve, blasting this song and being freed of all the burdens of the last year and the Strokes played it, seemingly just for him in that moment. It’s stuff like that that always stays with me. It’s the power of music, and while this album has many high points, “Hard to Explain” is not only the best track on the album, but more than likely the band’s best overall song. I hope you enjoyed this. Thanks for reading
For years i thought TV on the Radio was going to be the next huge alternative rock band, like Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and the others. That didn’t happen, and in recent years the band is virtually nowhere to be found. They've gotten plenty of critical acclaim, but never quite got to the place that earlier albums seem destined for. Each album has seen the band grow in not only the musical sense, but also grow from difficult experiences, death, depression, and use all of that to become one of the most interesting, thought provoking bands I've ever heard. In preparation for the band's upcoming album, today we're talking about the top ten songs from the explosive TV on the Radio.
10 DIRTYWHIRL: RETURN TO COOKIE MOUNTAIN
The slow chatter of a tambourine starts us off, while vocalist Tunde Adebimpe gradually opens up to expose us to his sultry and prominent voice. I like the song because among all of the awesome songs on Cookie Mountain, it's one of the better examples of a mid tempo jam. It also reminds me of a glorious autumn day while you sit outside and enjoy the weather. The background vocals are also well used. You might think that mousey sounding vocals might be a little bit much, but for some reason here it works.
9 LOVE DOG: DEAR SCIENCE
Such a lovely song. When this album first came out, this was easily the most played track for me. I love the slow, hazy opening. For some reason, so much of this band reminds me of a lazy sunday. When listening to it, you can't help but imagine a sweet puppy dog crying out for nurturing and love. I'm sure that that's not what the actual song is about, but as a father to badass animals, my mind is often on my babies. Getting back to the song though, it very well might be a song about the complexities of human relationships, and the story here is about a relationship winding down. TV on the Radio, as a band tend to be a little metaphorical in the themes of their songs, and the symbolism they often use brings the listener to a sort of vague understanding of what the song is trying to convey. This isn't a bad thing at all. Oftentimes, you don't need exact meanings in songs to feel empowered by them. You just need the music and tone of the piece.
8 DLZ: DEAR SCIENCE
Everything about this song is made for a late night chill dance party. The beats open up, and before you know it bodies are swaying together in gorgeous unison. I also love the opening line of “Congratulations on the mess you made of things.” The band was heavily anti- Bush during his presidency, and knowing that, it's very easy to see this song as a critique and criticism of not just his administration, but also of the whole political system. The song continues to have a great flow to it, and at times it feels like the musicians are trying to keep up with the urgent pace of the vocals. Dave Sitek on drums also gives more weight and tension to the situation. One of the better songs on this album, “DLZ” really helps to tie the themes and emotion into a nice arrangement before the conclusion of the album finds us.
7 CAREFUL YOU: SEEDS
When you listen to a song produced by band member Dave Sitek, you should always expect some fragmentation and abstract form of mixing. “Seeds” is no exception. Musically and rhythmically the track is dance house subtle, with Tunde’s voice keeping a measured course of vocal as the bass erupts over your speakers. I still don’t know what the French phrases are, but the regret surrounding it is clear. The lyrics speak to the frustration and complexity of caring about others, and the bridges that can be made or unmade by our reckless, carelessness when it comes to other humans and how we perforce them and vice versa.
6 KILLER CRANE: NINE TYPES OF LIGHT
Here we start getting to some real emotion. This song, or at least the opening, always makes me think of the last scene in Jurassic Park where Sam Neil is watching the pelicans soar through the air. The track itself, though, is very clean and beautiful. It's one of the best songs on the highly overlooked “Nine Types of Light” record. Among positive songs, this one is at the very top. It's full of hopefulness, and the themes speak of understanding, patience, and the ability to move away from the sad events that deter our lives. It also should be mentioned this was the last album recorded with Gerard Smith, who unfortunately passed away from lung cancer. Details about how long he was sick prior to passing are vague, but it's easy to hear the somber tone of their life in the tracks on the album. However, the song remains remarkably poignant, and the visuals painted in the lyrics are some of the best of the band's entire career. R.I.P. Gerard Smith.
5 STARING AT THE SUN: DESPERATE YOUTHS,
Likely the first song many heard by this band, and after more than a decade of having this song around, it's still a really great track. The simmering intensity never rises like you thinking would, but that’s part of the excitement at not getting what you’re expecting. Upon first listen, you might think that the song will eventually pick up, but it doesn't. The lyrics are pretty tight too, and it's here where you get a brief taste of what this band is capable of. One of my favorite parts of this group is the use of metaphors and symbolism in lyrics. “Know the trees because the dirt is temporary” has and continues to be one of my favorite lines in any of the band's work.
4. PROVINCE: RETURN TO COOKIE MOUNTAIN
Finally, we find ourselves at the David Bowie featured “Province.” For a long time I had no idea it was even Bowie. His voice has a way of being present and the listener not being aware that it's him. In this instance, his contribution really helps. If not for my wife, there's no way to know how long I would have been ignorant to this presence here. Having said that, even without him the song works. So Many of their songs are midtempo, but this one is purely triumphant and overjoyed. Maybe not in the traditional sense, but for me it's a song for celebrating life and victory. Preferably on a mountain at the top of the world. The background claps are a great but subtle touch as well. The band has so many layers and different things going on, that it's hard to not get swept up into sincerity and beauty.
3 FAMILY TREE: DEAR SCIENCE
After countless listens, this song feels less like deep love or more like deep thought or regret as the time flies by. It’s musical effect is still and poignant, and although you get the sense of love in the heart of the track, the shadows of the song are aware of the imminent danger of unknown passions and attitudes. It’s like a beautiful breakup that no one wanted but one that everyone knows is for the best. That type of thought is hidden in the messaging, and even as the track ends and we’re hopeful for celebrations, you never know what the future will hold, so protection of our loved ones, and of our “family trees” are essential to a full joyous journey through this thing we call life.
2 YOUNG LIARS: TV ON THE RADIO EP
This song has a weird, ominous vibe to it, but it still sounds exactly like the band we’ve come to expect. It's interesting that the track wasn't ever used on a full length album, because it's good enough, if not better than many of the still cool tracks on the full lengths. Another downbeat song that doesn't even reach an apex, “Young Liars” is song that doesn't make a lot of sense lyrically, but it's a cool ass track regardless. The interesting thing about this and though, is that they aren't really the same on albums as they are live. Live it's very emotional and bounce, and at all the shows I've seen them perform you're drawn to the upbeat dancing happening. They somehow find a way to make a relaxed downtempo album song into an upbeat, energetic live song, and while i'm not sure how they pull it off so flawlessly, I'm not complaining.
1 WOLF LIKE ME: RETURN TO COOKIE MOUNTAIN
Probably one of the best uses of a song I've ever seen in a tv show was during the firehouse drama “Rescue Me” where the episode closed with Dennis Leary's character sprinting down the street with this song noisily breaking barriers behind him. Beyond the usage in the show, it's an incredible song, and as you can see, my favorite by the band. For a band who does slower, more textured songs, this song is urgent, angry, and even more textured than the vast majority of their other works. It's a song full of dancing motives, and the lyrics are some of the most concise to date. It's not as subtle and metaphorical as other tracks, but here it really works. The song at once seems to be very much about transforming into a beast, and in a sense it is. The beast is probably not a werewolf though. I think the beast in the question is humanity's need to feed on the less capable, and how it's shaping our world to be a ruthless ugly place. Hopefully it's not too late, we can stop ourselves from “Howling Forever.”
In case you weren’t aware, last year was not the year anyone wanted, or planned for. It didn’t matter in the end that we all had plans, lives, and things we sought to accomplish. Regardless, billions of people found themselves stuck at home, with little more to do than an average day for the bums of the world. I bring this up, because during this quarantine time, as my wife and I called it from time to time, we found ourselves enveloping ourselves in a multitude of entertainment options, indulging in everything from new video games like Ori and Doom Eternal, hobbies like knitting, listening to records, and of course, reading.
Since I first started noticing books in my formative teenage years, I naturally gravitated towards Maine landmark Stephen King, whose “It,” I first read at the totally appropriate age of 13, leaving me with tons of nightmares I never mentioned to anyone. Had I done so I risked not being able to read more of this King Fella, or so my young mind thought at the time. Either way, since those years I've read over twenty of his novels, but we’re veering off point here, so I'll leave it at that.
All this comes back to me sitting at my new apartment, unsure of the state of the world. I found myself wanting to read King's masterpiece “The Stand,” which probably wasn’t the best option, given the circumstances, but I was already stuck in the house, so I dove in. Reading The Stand during this particular situation ultimately served as a more than welcome, ultra hyped up scenario, very much unlike the real life lethargy that was sweeping the world. I finished it in 6 days.
When you begin the book, the situation is dire, with millions at least having died from what's referred to as Captain Trips in the novel. It's more lethal than the Covid-19 strain, by far, but the anxiety of the uncertain remains very similar to the world stage in 2020. Work stopped, seeing friends stopped, you got calls here and there, but everyone was stagnant. Many in the Stand face similar situations in the opening pages of the book, which at 1200 ages is a behemoth to undertake. Granted, there wasn’t mass death and erracti violence and supernatural forces like what's described in the novel, but it was a very eerie, still time.
When we first meet the major characters of “The Stand,” you naturally gravitate towards Stu Redman, who’s down the line approach to life offers a mirror into the type of person who needs to work with everyone in order to survive. Now the book isn’t about Stu only, but through the course of this long journey, it's Stu who becomes one of the focal points of the book, trying to as swiftly and efficiently bring back some semblance of normal, or maybe a new normal, like what we’re going through now.
Now, in the real world, sides were already being drawn, chiefly among people who were pro masks and anti masks, with plenty of people choosing to ignore the evidence of their ears and eyes, much like another dystopian masterpiece, “1984.” That doesn’t really happen in the book, with everyone being very aware of the virus, but you can definitely see the differences among the two main groups in the book. Some were led by the elderly Mother Abigail, while the more unhinged types ultimately end up in Vegas, being casually manipulated by a figure known as Flagg, as well as many other things, in other worlds than this.
The book ends up taking on a life of its own, with both sides gradually trying to cement their own types of worlds. One side, the Colorado group, is seen purposely rebuilding their area in a way that's beneficial for all the residents, while the other side is more concerned with derailing the “opposing team's” goals through denial, violence, and plenty of fear mongering. Thank god this never happened in real life…
At first, at least for me, I viewed the dynamics between the groups as being the fight for good against evil, which it is in some context, but pigeonholing the characters like that creates an issue as your journey expands and continues through all the chaos. The crux, or the fact that the “bad” people aren’t inherently bad starts to wear on the reader as the muck and mire are showcased. Folks like Flagg, the main antagonist, are out for blood. Others like Trashcan Man, Nadine and Lloyd are all victims of their own circumstance. Every choice, event and action has led them there, whether they seeked it out or not.
As I briefly touched on, two of the most polarizing characters featured in terms of grey character morality, when I think about it, are Nadine Cross and Donald Elbert, also known as the Trashcan Man. The way King writes his characters, especially his so-called villains, shows the brilliance of the writer. When I met Cross in the book, I viewed her as a desperate figure looking for sanctuary and people needing help, while over time she morphs into a figure that you manage to despise while still feeling pretty crappy for her. Sure, her actions throughout might suggest a person angling for the benefit of evil, but she’s utterly confused as well. As Nadine’s journey to Vegas is documented, it becomes clear she's not the ring leader pulling the strings. Rather, she’s just a very important, albeit unstable piece of property of the ‘The Dark Man,” I at the very least felt bad for her, and as you experience her cruel, violent journey to Vegas, the feelings just get worse. She’s not a wonderful person, she’s just too weak to stand up for herself, until she finds her strength and meets her wanted end.
One of the many things I found myself struggling with was how I felt about some of the people In Flagg’s army. We meet Trash and it’s obvious he’s been pushed around his whole life. As a person who stutters and was bullied and consistently teased, it felt to me like very real trauma he was trying to work through. Perhaps it was the same with Nadine Cross. I’m not convinced that these people were always truly evil. Cross especially you can feel her excitement but also apprehension in what will eventually happen with Flagg. What ended up being awesome and ultimately justified was the way the characters themselves are changed as the story unfolds. The feeling of desperation through the book was also staggering to me.Even as I was stuck in the house dealing with numerous health concerns, “the Stand” still called to me, especially as we delved into the deep hearts of the multitude of characters presented here.
Really though, the character development is off the charts too. Trash, Lloyd, Glenn, and especially Nick Andros were all great characters on other sides of the pendulum. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as bad for a villain as I did Trash when he meets the Kid, which was fucking crazy in and of itself. I was on edge the whole time. You want him to kill the Kid so badly, but at least for me I kept trying to figure out a way for him to be safe, even though his being safe implies that the world is gonna burn.
Yet, the real world situation kept jumping out at me as I forced my stubborn path through this behemoth of a book. Going outside you were distant to strangers, scared of the invisible danger filling up our world, which brings us to the difficulty of finding something in a situation where everyone is afraid of everyone else.
This thought brings me to the segments of the book in the Boulder Safe Zone. Watching Stu, Frannie and the others try to get the world back off the ground was difficult, and you want it to work so badly, but you never know exactly what is gonna work and what won’t. The real life pressures helped bridge the gap for me in terms of what each camp was doing and how the stakes changed as the Stand evolved.
But even in the apocalypse, there are still romantic entanglements, moves and countermoves as parties navigated who to watch the world burn with. These moments in the book mirror what we were going through in a much more aggressive way, but that’s not to say that people didn’t get lonely during our covid lockdowns. I, as mentioned earlier, was inseparable from my wife for months, who was struggling with the pandemic and also Cancer. We were together, and fighting a very real battle, but many others had to go through it alone, with no loved ones or significant others to help them. In that way, we were appreciative of the bond shared during our months in the house.
I will admit though I was initially confused during some of the first half. I’ve seen the old Miniseries a few times and never even knew Rita was an entire separate character in the book. That ended up being way more interesting to me, if only because you get to see Larry really struggling with new reality. He’s a deeply conflicted character and not initially the all around great guy he becomes throughout the book.
In short, this was probably the 18 or King book I’ve read, and it quickly became not only my favorite King book, but one of the best I’ve ever read in my life. Absolutely beautiful and catastrophic in equal parts. It’s incredible and makes me love King the Man even more. I’ve read that great writers read constantly and get new ideas and this has been the same for me. I’ve been writing more and more of my own novel, picking little things up as I go. It’s both a privilege and a teaching lesson to read his books and figure out how to be a better writer. I can’t wait to see how this changes my approach years down the line. Thanks for reading everyone. I hope you enjoyed this!
Rarely has there been a band more deserved of the acclaim that Radiohead has garnered over their long, ever evolving career. Once considered one hit wonders, that early success forced them to challenge and view music as something ever changing and wondrous. Today we discuss a newly reworked top ten of what I consider to be among their best songs. Plenty are likely to disagree on certain aspects, but Radiohead for me is among the bands that reflect the listener, which is just ani]other way of saying different people found and clicked with them at different points. Either way, I hope you enjoy reading, and consider sharing your thoughts.
Follow us for more content at @thedeathofthemixtape on instagram, facebook and Spotify. Thanks for reading.
10 TRUE LOVE WAITS: A MOON SHAPED POOL
At number ten, we have what very well might be the saddest song created by Yorke and company thus far in their career. A long coveted B side that finally made it to an official album, “True Love Waits” is indeed a heartbreaker of a track. Finishing up an emotionally brutal and messy album, it lingers in your bones as Yorke recalls “I’m Not living, I’m just killing time.” the stillness is something you notice almost from the outset. The song can mean many things for many people, but the extent to which the band conveys general sadness with just a voice and a solemn piano layered background is testament to the energy of the group. It’s heartbreaking to think about, but the message is an overwhelming positive one, you just have to get through the pain of losing your true love, in whatever way you can.
9 NUDE: IN RAINBOWS
One of the prettiest songs ever heard from the band, until of course you start to listen to the lyrics. That’s one of the many things Radiohead does well as a band. The music, while often sublime, and even uplifting, is still able to get the listener to open their eyes to the whole truth surrounding any particular song. “Nude” does this brilliantly. It’s a song that seems confident and strong, but the underlying gloom of the song makes it more palpable in terms of fear and desperation. Among all of that though, it still somehow manages to come across as a sultry and provocative song that is as much about anger as it is passion. When Yorke sings the words “You’ll go to hell for what Your dirty mind is thinking,” you can sense the frustration and unhappiness surrounding whatever issue is happening in the narrative of the song.
8 AIRBAG: OK COMPUTER
I’d have to think for a moment should i try to figure out a better, more pronounced album opener than “Airbag,” which joins us at number eight. Airbags can act as sort of alarms at times, but its already too late. In that way it makes sense for this as the beginning of the record. It signifies that things have already broken down, from there bringing us into a thickly guitarred presence, Yorke’s whirlwind voice bouncing off the mix in a clear yet chaotic manner. The visuals are mesmerizing, but again it's just the beginning. “Airbag” is a fan favorite for many, and because of its success as the jumping off point of a perfect record, as well as just a great song to sing along to, it's hard not to include here.
7 WEIRD FISHES: IN RAINBOWS
The drum sets the groove, sexy tone right away, but this song isn't sexy at all. Perhaps the feel and vibe of the song is, but the lyrics are tensely sad and thought provoking. Thom Yorke is one of those singers who can make you feel anything he wants when he wants. The background vocals as the music picks up get to me everytime. These dudes know how to perfectly mix a song. " Everybody leaves if they get the chance," is a punch to the stomach that struggles with the realization that life isn't always going to be good, but somehow you have to keep going, keep trying to figure out the puzzle.
6 LUCKY: OK COMPUTER
Another of the great openings from “OKC,” the Floyd-esque atmosphere of the track fills a space with natural harmonics and guitar sections that blow you away.. I love the way Yorke is singing amid a slight guitar part, and then it’s almost as if the Greenwoods, O”Brien and Selway envelop him in an ocean of sunlight. The textures are also intricately played and mixed. Even now, this album is still decades ahead of anything currently happening in music, due in part to killer arena rock tracks like “Lucky.” There’s a reason this has been called the album of the 90’s. It’s easily my pick for the honor, and every time you go back to it, you understand why a bit more.
5 HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY: KID A
The opening line "That there, that's not me," has always struck me as a pretty funny line, but the underlying tone of the song is anything but humorous. This person appears as though he's thrilled that no one notices him, but is that the case? He could potentially be faking it. Maybe the years of isolation have turned him into a person who loves not being recognized, or even acknowledged. Who could live this way though? That's why the song is so upsetting to me. In the end though, the instruments do as much for the overall dreadful, upsetting vibe as the lyrics do. It just seems like this person has no hold over his own life, and that might be the saddest thing of all. A haunting song that sees Radiohead at their most somber, and their best.
4 FAKE PLASTIC TREES: THE BENDS
Always a favorite of mine. Its tenderness and compassion always had a lasting effect on me. Everything for me changed though when I saw them at Lollapalooza. The end of the set was nearing, and the song started. Behind them however, very light, soft fireworks built up (We found out later the fireworks were from a Cubs game). As the song progressed, the explosions got more intense and by the time the big ending hit, we were singing, and marveling at the unprepared perfection of the situation. There's not a lot in the world that beats crying in a field, singing a song you've loved for years and being surrounded by 100,00 people who feel the same.
3 IDIOTEQUE: KID A
This song, but the whole album especially, was the first time I think most people realized that not only could electronic music make it in the mainstream, but it could also be intelligent and thought provoking. Sure, people have always loved electronic music, but obviously Aphex Twin and the Chemical Brothers weren't selling out stadiums left and right, at least not in the States. This song also proved that as a band, Radiohead could do anything and pull it off. If “OK Computer” is the best album of the 1990's, then surely this album, which is better, and probably the best they've done, is the best album of the 2000's.
2 PARANOID ANDROID: OK COMPUTER
This could very easily be their best known song, and if you’ve been living under a rock for over twenty years, please do yourself a favor and seek out the animated video. I had of course heard of the band before, but this was when they knocked the wind out me. The craziness of the song and the places it goes, as well as the sheer genius of the musicianship set it apart from every other band out there at that moment, and for the most part, it still does. When the song takes a crazy turn, as you the listener are right there prepared to hold on for dear life, and for me, that's where the realness and amazing qualities of the song truly burst out.
1 PYRAMID SONG: AMNESIAC
Never have I been so captivated by a music video before, or since. It's calming, majestic and haunting. Everything the song ultimately is. It’s a rare thing for something in space and time to sync up so vividly and ambiently wonderful, but this song does so with ease. I mean, when you watch this clip, and you see the lone diver visiting subterranean worlds enveloped by liquid, you can’t take your eyes off it. But, let’s also mention this otherworldly track. When the album first came out, this song instantly struck a chord with me. For years upbeat was the name of the game for me, but this song did, and still does fill me with joy, and a sense of knowledge that human beings are capable of amazing things. The textural components work well with Selway’s casually precise drumming, and Yorke’s wandering, unsure voice provide even more depth to this new world. It’s eye-catching, in every sort of way, and that’s why I love it.
The Cure have always been one of those bands that people had been exposed to. They have a massive following, which is great considering they haven’t made the most amazing records lately. That said, the live show is something to marvel at. Regularly playing three hour plus shows, this band is a behemoth onstage. They still sound exactly the same as the voices and music we’ve all heard on classics like “Disintegration,” “Boy’s Don’t Cry,” and “Pornography.”
The Cure remain not only one of the most interesting bands in alternative rock history, but they are still making music and inspiring bands to get a little bit dark. This list mostly draws from the better known albums, but it works out that way simply because those are the best, in my opinion. Hope you enjoy it!
10 THE HANGING GARDEN: PORNOGRAPHY
Opening this top ten list is a classic goth masterpiece from Robert Smith and the Gang. His trademark voice is sharp as nails, with mythical elements and occurrences filling up the vocal portion. It brings images not of a lush garden, but of a nightmarish fire sweeping across the lattice work of a once plentiful world. Still yet the drums are manic and disorienting, and ultimately are the driving force (no pun intended) behind the tracks excellence.
9 PRAYERS FOR RAIN: DISINTEGRATION
Like peeking through a looking glass to observe a harsh cold world , “Prayers for Rain” hits on all manner of doom and gloom over the course of the six minute run time. The guitar section is thick and lustrous, with the lyrical element showing a more hostile, agitated Smith than we’re accustomed to. One of the best things about the band's work is how well the mixing always is. You hear certain elements, sure, but it fits in in a sort of disorienting way, which is to say it muddies the waters and showcases the feeling of the tenseness in the song, while still proving to be an emotional metaphor filled track.
8 IF ONLY TONIGHT WE COULD SLEEP: KISS ME, KISS ME, KISS ME
The song clearly has an off-world oriental feel, but for a band from bloody England, it’s not the easiest thing to accomplish. “If Only Tonight We Could Sleep” is a slow-moving journey through unknown territories, showcasing the band’s ability to move with ease from one section to the next. The song is very much an adventure, albeit an adventure into dark terrains of the heart of a disimpassioned person. This band relies so much on shadowy nuance, but the tension in “..Sleep” is palpable and ever present.
7 THE END OF THE WORLD: THE CURE
This might come as a surprise of sorts, but it felt important to include a later song to the list. This album gets more slack than I think is warranted, but by this time the Cure had already cemented their rock n roll status. Smith's voice is more clear here than one other featured tracks, and the instrumentation is polished and glossed in a manner that actually helps the band more than you’d think. At number seven, the thoroughly underrated “The End of the World.”
6 FRIDAY I’M IN LOVE: WISH
What’s not to love about this classic early 90’s lovelorn anthem? For starters, not much to be honest. The song is firmly outside the scope of what you might expect from the darkness, yet it works well in a catalog dedicated to the shrouds of the world. It could be construed as a weekend warrior anthem, although to me it speaks more as a freeing type of song. The regrets of the past slip away as we become our true selves, unburdened by the weight of everything else. If those things speak to you, there’s still a happy go lucky sounding song underneath all our life’s burdens.
5 ONE HUNDRED YEARS: PORNOGRAPHY
The first time I ever heard this, I was fittingly at a very dark gothic bar. The beat is quite pulsing, and it feels like something you would hear in a dark forest on the show “Twin Peaks.” It’s just a spooky song. Now, I haven’t heard every Cure record, but this is still one of the more sinister songs in their catalog. I imagine a helpless woman meandering through long hallways, lost and trying to find her way out while strobe lights are going, complicating the situation. This is also the first song on the album, so you kind of get the vibe they were going for with this. This isn’t a pretty, romantic Cure album. This was something more dark and unnerving, and something I wished the band would do more.
4 BURN: THE CROW SOUNDTRACK
Since the first listen, I’ve been devoted to this song. The movie is still great, and the song is easily one of the highlights of this often overlooked soundtrack. At their Voodoo Music Experience performance, this band performed “Burn” for the first time ever. That is a big deal in itself, but when bands play songs that are over 10 years, going on nearly twenty years old, that is a big deal. For a fan of both the film, and the song, it was the highlight of their whole set.From the opening notes of the whistle, to the deliberate drumming, this is the perfect choice for this list. It’s not a Cure song you hear mentioned often, but it really should be. Even after probably two hundred listens throughout my life, I still love it, and if you haven’t heard it and are a fan of the band, I suggest you check it out. You’re going to love this song
3 BOYS DON’T CRY: THREE IMAGINARY BOYS
I thought this song was from their first album, but apparently I was wrong. Created as nothing more than a single and then released on the United States equivalent of their first album(Three Imaginary Boys),this gem crowded the airwaves and is still a staple among post rock circles. Initially, I had no idea it was the Cure at all. For some reason, my fourteen year old mind thought it was Joy Division or something in that vein. Now I look back and realize that though Joy Division, and especially Peter Hook are amazing, the Cure are just better. This is still a staple of the times, and it’s not hard to see why. The song has a certain masculinity to it, even in the face of the more feminine undertones, and it is just a great song.
2 PICTURES OF YOU: DISINTEGRATION
So many of the band's songs, especially on this album, use the chimes as an instrument that really does add a depth of fantasy and romanticism to it. There’s a reason why Kyle explains in South Park that “Disintegration is the best album ever!” It really fucking might be. It took the Cure to a level of mythological proportions, and it’s still the best thing the band has ever done. This song, found at number five on our list, is another sad reminder that love can die just as it was born. The sound has a lush, thick template at its base, and the raw sound of Smith’s voice only help to make the song better.
1 FASCINATION STREET: DISINTEGRATION
So many of their songs have a story telling quality without actually telling a story, and this is the song that best exemplifies that. I imagine a smoky street, slight rain coming down. Picture Times Square in the 80’s, at the heart and center of its seediness and shadowy underbelly. On “Fascination Street,” things are always interesting, but never reach good times. The bass parts through the song are very important to the overall cautiousness of the song. You can also sense the desperation in Smith’s vocals, and it really ties the song together. What I like most about the song is its ability to keep going through wall after wall of pure sound, adding and subtracting layers as the machine sees fit. Not to be lame, but it’s a fascinating song full of moral quandaries and questionable content, and of course, a song from the timeless “Disintegration” has to be the number one on this list.
Guilty Pleasures. We all have them, whether or not we choose to admit it, in various forms of entertainment. Why are they called “Guilty Pleasures though?” Yes we enjoy them, but should we feel bad about our entertainment options? In short, today’s entry won’t be super long, or have scientific research to back it up. Quite simply, I’m going to share my thoughts and feelings on why the term exists, and why I think it’s silly and unfair.
If you;ve been following my instagram posts over at @thedeathofthemixtape, you’ll know this week is my unofficial “Guilty Pleasures” week. I bring this up as a point of reference, not only because my weekly mixtape was themed “GUILT,” but more importantly because all the songs featured are genuinely good songs, that most folks wouldn’t openly admit to liking.
For instance, take a song like “Mandy” from the classic crooner Barry Manilow. Sure it's cheesy as hell, but the song itself is filled with emotional currents of regret, sadness and all the other somber tones that made the song so memorable and popular in the first place.
One the other hand though, you have artists like Kiss or Disturbed. You might say to yourself, those bands are way past their primes, and you;d be correct, but that doesn't mean they dont have at least one good song. That to me is the damage of acknowledging things as Guilty Pleasures.” For the record, no i don’t think Distubed, Kiss or even other mixtape included bands like Dave Matthews are inherently good bands (they aren’t), but it doesn mean that certain songs have a way of latching on to you and delivering a great moment on music, even if its few and far between.
You might be wondering- what am I working towards here? WELL, my point is that in this day and age, fan bases and genres are starting to merge, and become obscured. People aren’t just sticking to one style or genre, but exploring everything. It’s much easier to go down unfamiliar paths and find great artists. This is helped greatly by how easy it is to get new music, and also to music festivals that push the boundaries of the types of acts they stick together. I once saw Public Enemy, Phish, the Dillinger Escape Plan, and Bon Iver in a weekend. That simply would not have happened twenty years ago.
Years ago I spent a weekend at my sister's wedding, and being a groomsman I was with the groom's family for a significant portion of the time, and one thing stuck out to me. In the limo, on the way from the church, I found myself with multiple grown men… dancing and singing along to “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift. Unabashed, thrilled, and fun. Now I’ve grown love Taylor Swift, but back then they already loved the song. This is why the term “Guilty Pleasures” is both unfair and bullshit. In truth I’ve thought about this for a long time.
I’ve been told I myself have GP’s for a long time and I've Always defended them. I have a certain penchant for Romantic Comedies starring African American casts. I love them, just like I love bands that you would think wouldn't be caught dead listening to. I’ve also unproudly spent the majority of the last year watching every Wrestle Mania and Royal Rumble (it was the pandemic yall, cut me a break). My point is, no one should be ashamed of where they get their pleasure from, especially in forms of entertainment. Yes I may think some choices are simply not of good quality, but who am I to tell anyone they should feel bad for liking it. I’m the guy that happens to like death metal such as Cannibal Corpse and Deicide, but I also LOVE Sade, “Two can Play that Game,” and even Taylor Swift. They bring me joy and pleasure in various ways, and i don’t give a shit if you think a man who is of a certain age can’t like things that might not be the norm.
The too long didn’t read of this article for too long is this: Who cares what anyone thinks about what you like. You do you, and enjoy what you want. Life is short, and we’re all allowed to like what we want, even if it’s not expected. Thanks for reading!
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Fifteen years ago, an electronic album was released that not only redefined what was possible in the scope of the genre, but was far reaching in its logic of what could be a thinking man’s EDM record. Many artists are similarly ahead of their time, but rarely these days does an album surface that is and has remained as far ahead of the curve now as it was then. Come with us as we explore the cold energy of the magnum opus from Swedish siblings, “Silent Shout” by the Knife.
It was a rainy night in Louisiana, and my friends and I were on our way from New Orleans back two hours west, to Lafayette, Louisiana after seeing a show. My ride, Jules, had asked earlier if I had ever listened to the Knife before.I hadn’t really gotten into the band but upon being shown their lavish yet at times sparse beats i was hooked.
Almost from the opening beats of the scintillating title track, you can tell it’s very different from most of the electronic music around. The beats are slow, cold and atmospheric, from a distant planet, and it perfectly sets the mood for any late night adventure where you have no idea when or where the road will end. Following the opening track, we’re invited to a world where everything exists as a possibility and this type of music is the only thing you need to get by.
“Silent Shout” sends you to a cold, futuristic world, with the rare exception of the more upbeat second track “Neverland.” Not many albums, especially electronic ones can make you feel alone, and minimal, but “Shout” triumphantly makes the distant world bearable in a way most other albums simply can not. The beats emanating from the speakers as “The Captain” slowly bleeds into your system like a trickling, slow growing excitement are perfect. Karin Dreijer Andersson and her brother Olof manage to construct not only a thought provoking record that can be many things all at once, but also can bring you new sounds and worlds we hadn’t seen in this type of music.
One of my favorite songs on the album is “We Share our Mother's Health.” The beat is rocking in a way most of the other tracks just aren’t. Karin’s voice is deliberate and weaves in and out like a worm. In a good way though. My former wife and I liked the band so much we even dressed up as the Knife for Halloween one year. It was pretty great, but barely anyone knew who we were. Obviously
The next highlight on “Silent Shout” comes in the form of a beautifully down tempo gem known as “Marble House.” Much like the lyrics in the song, it’s a journey of epic proportions, and the author of the song is yearning for a new start, or perhaps it’s all happening in a parallel universe. With this band, things are rarely cut and dry, but this song has such a stronger story to it that I can’t help but be attracted to it. “Marble House'' is where the band really shines, and I would gladly go on listening to this amazing track over and over again, but the album has so many tricks up its sleeve it would be silly to dedicate your life to just one track.
“Like a Pen”, the next track begins with what I’ve always thought of as the sound of a bubble popping and it’s one of the few songs found here that resembles anything else happening in the edm scene. That’s not to say the song is bad by any means, but if the Knife were to decide to make lame electronic music they could easily do it. They have the ability to appeal to large masses, but I get the impression they take music extremely seriously, and could easily still be doing what they do without any notice from the outside world.
The Knife’s “Silent Shout” not only remains one of the best albums of the aughts, but also demonstrates how interesting and thought provoking electronic music can actually be. It’s a marvel of modern music, and nearly a decade after it arrived in our atmosphere, it’s still light years ahead of most other music. I’m so glad my friend gave me a glimpse into the world they created, and it will likely remain an album I go back to over the years and find new things to love about it.
There are moments when a certain collection of music comes into your life and mixes its inspiration with the nature of your soul. For me, this is true of the second album by Tame Impala,”Lonerism.” It’s has this perfect spectrum to it. For that reason we’re going to be discussing the valuable and timeless album of my life, “Lonerism” by Kevin Parker, aka Tame Impala.
One essential component that never changes in the world of Tame Impala is the process of making the actual music. Entirely done by Parker, it offers thoughtful observations into his psyche. Does he prefer doing everything himself, or does he just feel like he can better get the ideas out in his own time and journey? It’s hard to say and while both arguments could possibly be valid, I think the end results justify the means. This guy doesn’t make bad music, and on “Lonerism” you can see a more clear picture of a musical genius emerging from the background.
It all starts with the whirling, hazy yet fluttering opening of “Be Above It.” Being the first song on any record is important, as it sets the tone and stage for what’s to come. I imagine this track being made from an amalgamation of the other ideas, after they’ve been put into a blender to make something that’s colorful and full of energy. The best never changes or diverges from its early beginnings, but rather expands in density and thickness as all the beats are explored and brought into one harmonious rhythm section.
The whirlwind, psychedelic elements only start on “Above It,” but when you hear Parker’s voice creep in over the musical section of “Enders Toi,” you know the first track was only the musical representation of going up a roller coaster, waiting for the actual adventure to begin. Parker lets the music do the talking more than the scattered vocals, but it allows the music to breathe properly, which in turn makes the song better. By the time the thumping drum beat of “Apocalypse Dreams” comes in, the listener is submerged in deep sounds that fill up a room like a light being shown in a dark field to help illuminate on your path to view the stars above your head. The drumming is crucial here because while it sets the pace, it also gives pointed motives for the rest of the music to become as good as it can be. It’s hard to imagine Parker doing all this himself, but that’s the reality, and none of us will ever be this good at doing something ourselves. It’s ok, I've come to live with the knowledge that Parker is just not human. The breakdown towards the conclusion of the track is euphoric and beautiful, even if you can sense the remorse in Parker’s lyrics. It’s one of the early moments on the album that strikes me as utterly beautiful. It just works and the full, lushly produced music flows effortlessly through the speakers and captures your body and soul as you surrender to the beats and arrangements.
This happens over and over again during the duration, but it never gets old. Each and every song has this kind of deep texture running through it, and the lo-fi production quality only helps to make a record that is as entrenched in heart and soul as it is in imaginative psyche rock. On tracks like “Mind Mischief” is extremely obvious, but it’s also obviously brilliant and thoughtful, which makes it all the more enjoyable to get lost in. I got this record a few years ago for my birthday, to this day it remains one of the best gifts I’ve received in terms of cool music.
Throughout “Mischief” Parker reminisces on a nameless woman he was captivated by. It’s only at the chorus and conclusion that it becomes known that in fact “she remembered my name,” which for any guy who’s thinking about a lady all while being unsure if she even knows you exist, it’s a huge moment of positivity and gratefulness. It’s timing and moments like this that make the album feel like an extension of yourself, and makes you feel even closer to the spirit under which the album was created.
Just to throw this out there, but this album is full of almost nothing that doesn’t pull you in. Every track is a banger, but the middle section is where the road meanders into a truly trippy section of the record. “Music to Walk Home By,” is a thinly veiled attempt at making the drums and synth the focus of the track, but again because it works so well you don’t really care that the vocals are mixed low and muddy in the arrangement. For me it always goes back to how you want to service the song. You don’t always need the vocals to be at the forefront, but Parker writes lyrics that are easy to follow along with, should you choose that path. If you don't, that's fine too because the instrumentation is pulling at you like nature pulls a helpless victim into a beautiful lush garden you might end up being a part of. To me, that doesn’t sound all that bad, as long as I have this album to accompany me.
It’s a pushy album in how it embraces the next gorgeous moment and that push helps to keep it fresh and ever growing. Middle tracks like “Music” and “Why Won’t they Talk to Me,” both work well as intermissions between the more solid sounds surrounding it on either side. These tracks are great, but to me it’s more about where we’re going and not where we’ve briefly found ourselves as listeners. Not to downplay the significance of this song and the former, but it feels like the bridge that crossed over two seperate sections. In that regard it works great.
After that though, the record spirals out in a wave of euphoria, starting with the band’s first taste of mass appeal. “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” is a monumental track that harnesses the power and emotion of a doomed relationship. Parker’s vocals are clear and the pain expelled fills the mostly upbeat instrumentation with a certain murky, unsure quality that really brings out the humanity that Parker was going for. I could listen to this song over and over (and I have), but it never loses its luster. It’s bright in arrangement and the heartache is palpable. There’s a reason it’s a massive hit, this wasn’t coincidental. From there the album continues with what has been proven to work, which is more drums, easy going guitar parts intermingled with a low but gorgeously inspired Beatles vocal style. Parker got a bit of heat for “ripping off Lennon” in these early days again, and well, he does sound like Lennon, but to me the difference is Lennon had three other members to lean on, and Parker is doing this all on his own. At this point pretty much no music can be claimed at “totally original,” but Parker has this knack for taking everything he’s ever heard, laying his own twist on it and coming out the other end with something that is as original as anything being played on radio right now.
One great example of this is the track “Elephant,” found as we get closer to the albums conclusion. It’s a thumping, heavy track that starts easily enough with a crunchy beat and a roaring appetite. The simplicity in the song is one of its strong victories, in that while it diverges to become part of a fuller sound, the drum beat never changes. Like it’s namesake, it’s driving, forceful, and determined. It never loses sight of that as a song, and that’s why it works so brilliantly. The lyrics are also fantastic. It’s somewhat nonsensical in that it isn’t a song about some deep loss or vulnerability. However, it does have the always timeless wordplay of “He pulled the mirrors off his Cadillac (yeah) ‘cause he doesn’t like it looking like he looks back,” which to me is cheeky, adversarial and too cool for school. The high energy featured during the track is a perfect detour from some of the other slower, thoughtfully fuller sections of music we get during the rest of the record.
As the album finds its conclusion, we’re treated to a song that’s literally perfect for the ending. I picture the album being a journey through the darkness of the soul, but with “Sun's Coming Up,” it feels like the awakening of a new day. At this juncture, the pain felt throughout “Lonerism” can be happily discarded as you embark on an entirely new day as you shed the difficulties of the past. The music also helps obviously. It’s slow at first just featuring a piano and Parker’s voice. For all intents and purposes, it works and the embrace you feel during the track is like an old friend hugging you after a stressful time. It’s easily the slowest song on the record, and it’s placement is crucial because it doesn’t get lost in the same way it might have been placed somewhere else. It’s still a sad track that makes you think, but it’s a pretty, and ultimately fitting end to what really is a remarkable album that I’m able to share my soul with. Thanks for reading
Whether you never understood the appeal, or loved them from the early days of "Hot Fuss," The Killers have built a career based on americana hooks, lonely insight, and triumphant music known to soar when the moment is right, I hope you enjoy this list, and i look forward to hearing your opinions!
10 FOR REASONS UNKNOWN: SAM'S TOWN
Much of Sam’s Town was wrongly pushed aside, but as the years go on, it’s staggering to see just how good this entire record is. “For Reasons Unknown” is classic Killers in its preparation and delivery, but it also has a sullen, heartbreaking element to it. The music is more uptempo, but the contrast to the lyrics is what stands out the most. The listener can feel the sadness and vulnerability bleeding through the speakers, and it makes you wonder and imagine what choices were wrong, but more importantly, it shows you to keep going and strive for something better.
9 BLOWBACK: IMPLODING THE MIRAGE
The synth vibe opening the song is straight out of a science fiction project from the 80’s, yet the song quickly moves on to a more rock oriented instrumental section. Flowers’ voice is persistent but pessimistic throughout, as the lyrics convey a desire to face trauma while also managing to stay on top of your game. Much like the bands others works, this has a down home Mid- west vibe to it, hard working but complicated to its core, which when Sung by Brandon Flowers make the emotion in the song that much easier to recognize.
8 READ MY MIND: SAM'S TOWN
To me “Sam’s Town” was a move done to exemplify their desire to grow beyond how they were perceived during the first album cycle, but there’s way more to it. “Read My Mind” represents the Killers successfully going the route of Springsteen. A track like this has so much to offer. Everything from the Americana aspect prevalent through the song, to the nervous energy of a person going on a date. It’s also a song about regrets, and how little you actually know about what lurks in the brains of the people closest to you. It’s a song that exemplifies middle america without even trying. With this ability to put themselves in a vulnerable mind frame, the song is made that much stronger.
7 MR BRIGHTSIDE, HOT FUSS
For many reading, I suspect this will be a point of contention, as most believe this is the band's best and most popular song, and while it’s a tremendous song that gave the band more open doors than they knew how to handle. It lands on this list at #7. It’s poppy sure, but it has much of what inspired indie rock kids to love the band initially. The guitar hook is infectious and very moder rock, but the real star of “Mr. Brightside '' is the energy the entire band brings to the table. Everything from the lyrics to drums works, which is why it’s still one of the biggest hits of the Aughts
6 TYSON VS DOUGLAS: WONDERFUL WONDERFUL
Some songs just jump out at you from the first listen, and for me “Tyson vs Douglas” represents one of those moments. After one hundred or so listens I still can’t decide if the context of the fight in question is the main factor in the song, or if it's all just metaphor and nuance. Perhaps it's both, but either way it works really well. One of the things this band has never had a problem excelling at is soaring chorus, and here they present one of the best ones they’ve ever written. It’s also a damn fine driving song, and the little guitar part that shines through during the second verse is absolutely great.
5 THIS RIVER IS WILD: SAM'S TOWN
Nearing its 15th year in existence, “This River is Wild” remains one of the best anthems in the band's catalog. It has this buoyant enthusing through it, even if the lyrics speak to tremendous stress and desperation. The beat is determined and forceful, with Ronny”s drum pounding the pavement as the band keeps up rhythmically. Flowers is vulnerably honest for much of this track , yet it all washes away as the soaring chorus latches on and takes the listener on a journey reminiscent of early days of Springsteen.
4 JENNY WAS A FRIEND OF MINE: HOT FUSS
For years I sang these lyrics innocently enough. I don’t know why, but it always seemed to me like a lovelorn song about the end of a relationship,and in many ways that remains true. That is, until you realize the song is more than likely about taking someone’s life. The musical aspects are whirling, bright and darkly optimistic, but the underbelly of the song hints at a much darker band than fans bargained for with some of the more pop friendly tracks. It’s an early reminder of how well the quartet can blur lines to convince you a song is about one thing when it’s not even remotely about that, and while “Jenny” in the song met her demise by someone she trusted, we are gifted a wonderful, bombastic song that opened up an album that brought the band to places they never thought possible.
3 WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG: SAM'S TOWN
One of the band’s biggest hits finds us at Number two on the countdown. “When You were Young” details the lessons you learn through hard and good times alike. The music is immediate in a way but balanced enough to still leave room for vocalist Flowers to work his magic. What tomorrow will bring, and how will we handle it is also a topic discussed on the song, but it’s the presentation by the band, who all co-wrote this song, that makes it all the more important. The song always has a great juxtaposition regarding growing up. When we’re young we believe all these things, and we’re able to trust more people, but as we grow older, our bodies and souls are forced to confront the tough facts. There’s not always going to be a wonderful man to sweep you off your feet. It’s actually a really somber track in the way it takes our innocent childhood thoughts and forces those thoughts to come to terms with all the loss, sadness and humility a person learns as they get older and navigate this often cruel, misunderstood world.
2 RUNAWAYS: BATTLE BORN
Basically this whole list is an after effect of me jamming out incessantly to this song for the last week. As an album, “Battle Born” is easily their least accomplished record, but that says very little about the song in general. Brandon’s vocals are sparingly visible and can easily fill a giant open field with thousands singing his words back to him. Also, I know drumming isn’t a thing the band is mentioned often in regards to, but Vannucci’s skills on “Runaways” nearly steals the show from the vocalist, though they don’t quite get there. Lastly, “Runaways” might be regarded as their best song on their worst album, but it’s an unbelievably strong track, and it ends up at number four on the Top Ten Killers songs.
1 ALL THESE THINGS THAT I’VE DONE, HOT FUSS
Years ago, during a torrentially bad time for me, “All These Things that I’ve Done” was a liftboat for me. There’s no other way to say this. Talk shit all you want, but this song saved me and reminded me that we all need assistance from time to time. The song opens with a soft piano, ambient background noise, and of course, the trademark voice of swooner Brandon Flowers. During this dark period for myself, I was stubborn, resistant, and in way over my head in terms of how I was dealing with depression, fucked up decisions, and various other things I’ve managed to forget over the course of years. When you’re at that point in your life, and you hear this song, you feel as though the band is speaking to you. It was a perfectly sobering experience to be able to relate to the line “You know you gotta help me out,” and feel as though the song itself was actually playing a part in the betterment of my mental health. For that reason, as well as all the others I've named. “All These Things that I’ve Done,” tops the list of the Top Ten Killers songs. Thanks for reading!
For over twenty years, fives dude from California, Sacramento to be exact, have been crafting some of the most deeply textured heavy music around. They’re grown with times, and have consistently tried different things, even though it hasn’t always worked perfectly. The majority of the bands records are represented here, and while I hope you enjoy, I also encourage readers to listen to this week's mixtape( also available on @thedeathofthemixtape on IG). now, let’s get unbored and hop right into this!
10 BLOODY CAPE: DEFTONES
I’ve seen this song numerous times live, which is where you get the real in your face interpretation of the song. The guitar parts, mixed with the drums provide that one of a kind bounce that very few bands do as well as the Deftones. Tie that into Chino Moreno’s ever changing range, and his ability to sing softly just as easily as he can scream bloody murder. The song mostly stays on the road created at the opening, with few deviations, with the climax of bass and intensity, all as Moremo’s literally screams for god to help him.
9 THIS LINK IS DEAD: OHMS
When I say the band takes risks, this song is the most recent song in their discography to walk that line. I love that the drums are really the bridge between the various parts, as opposed to the vocals or guitar. The lyrics are aggressively tongue in cheek, smug, and fed up, but again, it just works. The verses also have this sort of shimmering effect, a great mixing technique to blend the drums and low key guitar. Lastly, it's so refreshing to see a band at this point in their career and ages not slow down the intensity, instead finding whole new ways to evolve their sound even more.
8 CHANGE(IN THE HOUSE OF FILES): WHITE PONY
This was for many the first taste of what the concept of the album and sound approach might be, and it was a thrilling one. This is the band firing on all cylinders. Even the video is a great presentation of the song. The placing of the song is cool and unorthodox also. Not often are the lead singles found on the second to last track of the album. It just has to do with the casual fans wanting to hear something they recognize early on before they delve into the rest of the music, but here the band just ignores that. It’s placement is spot on, and for many, this was the song that introduced the band. It’s near the end, but clearly with this gem of a hook of a song, they didn’t just put a weak song near the record's conclusion.
7 KNIFE PRTY: WHITE PONY
Another driving force on the record, and it’s still one of the best songs they have at their disposal. One of the great qualities of this band has always been Moreno’s epic mode of storytelling. He’s able to reach out and speak about normal everyday things while touching on mythological themes and terrifying heartache and loss. “Knife Prty” is one of the better example of his style. For me, the female vocals near the conclusion of the song are the definition of mythological. Courtesy of Rodleen Getsic, they deliver full in tandem with Moreno’s own wailing spirits.
6 SWERVE CITY: KOI NO YOKAN
A song that bounces and makes you want to rock will nearly always get my attention, especially if done correctly. This track is no exception. The opening immediately sets the pace for the remainder of the track, and the overall technique used by the band plays out brilliantly. The guitars shimmer in the way only Carpenter can pull off, while Abe’s drumming is secretly killing it. The real secret recipe though is Chino’s voice and how he wails and lifts himself over the music countless times and makes the song even more gorgeously heavy and epic. .
5 MY OWN SUMMER (SHOVE IT): AROUND THE FUR
Damnnn that opening hook still gets me. I’ve heard it probably thousands of times, at least hundreds, but it never fails to get my energy going. It has this dancey, albeit alternative element to it, especially when you’re working through the verses. By then the energy is ready to burst, which is again elevated and quenched by the in your face chorus. The video also remains one of the cooler ideas executed during that period of alternative rock/ metal videos. Full of great hooks and raw, youthful aggression, “My Own Summer(Shove It)” lands at number five on the Top Ten Deftones songs.
4 DIGITAL BATH: WHITE PONY
A song like “Digital Bath” not only works outside of the normal Deftones range, but they managed to still come off as feeling pure. One of the things that the band perfected on the album was the heavy and heartfelt. Vocalist Chino Moreno’s voice has the shriek of a deadly siren at times, but also the tenderness of a true lover in others. The band surrounding him, bassist Chi Cheng(R.I.P.), drummer Abe Cunningham, guitarist Stephen Carpenter, and new member Frank Delgado are the exact people to back his voice. Frank Delgado, especially, is a huge part of the shaping of this record. Before this album, he had only been a live performer, but on “White Pony” and even now he’s a full-fledged member. The sounds he brings through his board work are remarkable, and they add a layer of lush movement and glistening hope to a sound that was, to say the least, rough around the edges. “Digital Bath” is an early example of how different this album is compared to the earlier records, but it gets even more thick and lush as it goes on.
3 POMPEJI: OHMS
Before the release of this album, many people on the reddit boards and other music websites kept mentioning this track, called “Pompeji” throughout the interviews, reviews, etc. The song not only matches the descriptions written down for us to read, but often rises above the rest of the album, maybe even the bands career, as a testament to their continued dreamy destruction, often executed brilliantly. This entire record feels like Moreno’s call to action against empty platitudes and the willfully ignorance devout through our cultures. It seems like a slap in the face to him, especially when he discusses things like “choke on the water” and “ we drink from the fountain of intent.” To say in no uncertain terms, Moreno’s seems to be speaking from a dark place, faithfully speaking.” And then, after all your grievances have been yelled and you’ve blasphemed, the ending waters in the song wash over you.
2 PASSENGER: WHITE PONY
I'm surprised how many people don't pick up on the connection between this song and Be Quiet and Drive to be honest. To me it seems obvious. I can't help but think it's a companion piece. Maybe this song is from the point of view of the other person in the car, the Passenger if you will. I'm sure it's not meant to be a storyline, but two songs on back to back albums about the explorations of driving, even if figuratively? Seems a little bit too obvious to ignore. Beyond that even, the instrumentation written for the song adds even more darkly atmospheric elements. It makes it easier to envision an escape in the night. Anyway, the imagery in use here is amazing. They perfectly capture what's happening in the song. From beginning to end, it's just an incredible ride. I can’t imagine anyone reading this hasn’t heard the song, but man what I would give to hear certain things for the first time again.
1 BE QUIET AND DRIVE( FAR AWAY): AROUND THE FUR
Best opening of any song they've made. To say it set’s the audience and/or listener to rock out is an understatement.The groove of the song just makes you bounce. This is always a favorite when played live. The video is great too. Performance video's can be tricky. The song has to be right, and the location has to be right. This pulls it off. The choice of the warehouse was spot on. After all these years I'm still not sure if the song if from any one viewpoint, but I tend to think it is. This dude wants this person to get him far away, from something. He's clearly done with whatever life he's attempting to leave. The pain in his voice as the song concludes proves that time and time again. One of the best songs they ever produced, BQAD finds our list at number two.
Landon Murray is a music connooisseur who craves sounds of all shapes and textures. He's seen over 2000 bands and looks forward to welcoming you into his world of sound,
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