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.
Head on over to the tab labeled, you guessed it, Top 100 Shows of my Life..... I hope you enjoy, comment, share, etc!
WELCOME TO THE FIRST EDITION OF MY TOP 100 SHOWS! There's plenty of variation and surprtising picks to read about this month, so lets just jump right into it! Enjoy!!
100 CANNIBAL CORPSE
FEBRUARY 3rd, ENGINE ROOM, HOUSTON
Ever been to a show where some guy's arm gets ripped from the socket and said guy refuses to leave. Well, I have and let me tell you its fucking gnarly to witness. This show at a disgustingly packed Houston club was memorable for plenty of reasons, such as the three hour 30 song set by the death metal pioneers and the wild experience I had getting to the show, but in the nearly 20 years since I witnessed that concert, I’ve never forgotten how much that crazy asshole refused to leave. It's still one of the most aggressive shows I ever went to, which is why it opens our countdown at number 100.
NEW METAL & HARDCORE FEST, APRIL 2003, PALLADIUM, WORCHESTER
This one time, years ago, I ventured to the town of Worchester Massachusetts for the now defunct New England Metal & Hardcore Festival. Although many memorable performances were seen, it was the homecoming of sorts set by Hardcore thrash legends Converge that remained in my brain for years to come. The blink and you’ll miss it 30 minute co headlining set never let up as the opener “Concubine” blurred the lines between chaos and celebration, with vocalist Jacob Bannon taking the form of a beast as he prowled the stage, in all his metal glory.
98 KANYE WEST
COACHELLA, APRIL 29 2006, EMPIRE POOI FIELDS, INDIO
He wasn’t even supposed to be there, but 2 days before, low and behold there he was on the Main stage schedule, in between Common and Sigur Ros. He was late by twenty minutes, raced through all the big hits from his first two blockbuster records, and had the crowd eating from his palm for the duration. Everyone sang along to all the obvious choices i wont list, mostly because if you’re a fan you know all the hits from His early records. It was a tremendous surprise, an early statement of arrival from Mr. West, and another perfect Coachella “I was there moments,” but we’ll get there in time.
97 LIMP BIZKIT
FAMILY VALUES TOUR, OCTOBER 17 1998, CAJUN DOME, LAFAYETTE
This might be laughable now, but there was a time when we all did laughable things. For myself, especially in 1998, this kind of music set off so much movement in my life that its stayed with me. Entering the stage from a giant, extremely cool crashed UFO, the Jacksonville upstarts tore through an energetically angry set full of eventual nu metal classics. “Faith” killed, as did “Counterfeit,” but overall the set was defined by one the early badass stage designs i had witnessed and its played a role in my love for stupid large stage shows that captivate.
96 MASSIVE ATTACK
COACHELLA, APRIL 30, EMPIRE POLO FIELD, INDIO
At the time I didn't really enjoy the set, but over the years my thoughts have wavered. The show could’ve had a better slot, as being right before the first Tool show in 4 years doesn't exactly translate well to the more intricate, subdued at times set by the legendary British duo. Having said that, technically speaking the show embraced the technology of the time as more of a complement to the setlist, which with perfect set pieces like “Teardrop” only added to the specialness of the evening. It was steady, perfectly paced, and a festival set for the ages.
95 EAGLES OF DEATH METAL
COACHELLA, APRIL 29 2006, EMPIRE POLO FIELD, INDIO
Even beyond the swagger of Jesse Hughes, or the double drumming of Joshua Homme & or Samantha Maloney, the show at Coachella towards the end of the first day was memorable because of the magnificent introduction speech from legendary actor Denny DeVito. “Welcome the Motherfucking Eagles of Death Metal'' echoed across the stage and the crowd as the California group roared their way through a fifty minute set of hip shaking, flirtatious growls. Hughes is nothing if not sexually charged, but the set was chalk full of the band's early hits, some of which haven't aged as well as we’d hope. Either way, you know what you’re getting into with a EoDM show, and that night at Coachella they didn't disappoint
SAILING THE SEAS OF CHEESE TOUR, MARCH 2 2004, STATE PALACE THEATER
I’m not even friends with the person I went to this show with (Apparently me not having enough time for them at my wedding was the last straw for this person) but the show was one of the first times i went to a single band concert. There was no opening act, with the band instead performing two sets of various selections from their career, but the main attraction obviously was the full album performance of “Seas of Cheese” which was as quirky and bizarre as you’d expect from Claypool and cohorts. The record itself is only about 40 minutes, but the “Seas” set was well over an hour, culminating with a twenty minute rendition of “Fish On,” featuring about 15 pig mask clad bands members.
93 THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN: SOUTHP 2016
NOVEMBER 7 2016, SOUTHPORT HALL, NEW ORLEANS
Right on the eve of the night we as a nation would elect a literal sexual predator who’s orange glow makes the sun jealous, Dillinger Escape Plan, made a stop on their farewell tour to a little club nestled somewhere in uptown New Orleans. All the songs fans wanted to hear were represented with the capacity crowd jumping, thrashing and generally being assaulted by the blinding quickness of the music and the lights. It was the only time i saw the headline their own show, but goodness was it intense and unforgettable. Even today, it feels like never ending controlled chaos.
92 DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE:
BONNAROO, JUNE 15 2008, MANCHESTER
The weekend had been long, and mostly annoying, but the music had been great. Standing in that field Sunday evening, watching Gibbard and the rest of Death Cab wind down the fest with the last pre headliner set, everything felt worth it. The skies in Manchester at sunset can be otherworldly at moments, and that backdrop served as a perfect compliment to the band's mild mannered indie rock. My then girlfriend and i left immediately following the set, embarking on a 10 year trip home after just hours of sleep, but sometimes you sacrifice yourself to keep the music going.
91 STONE TEMPLE PILOTS
VOODOO FEST, OCTOBER 28 2000, CITY PARK NEW ORLEANS
As the encore began, a naked Scott Weiland, clothed only with an American Flag around his nether regions, danced manically across the stage as Dead & Bloated echoed over the crowd of thousands. The band, closing the then one day Voodoo Fest, showed all the legendary status of one of the bigger alt rock acts of the now extinct 1990’s. For 90 minutes they cranked out intense hard rock, with Weiland especially worth watching as his snake-like movements provoked and entertained the crowd. I remember going with my dad who remarked it to be one of the best shows he had seen, even though he may have just been saying that to make me feel better, although that was never really his style.
90 BLACK LIPS
SEPTEMBER 10 2004, TIPITINAS, NEW ORLEANS
King Khan and the Shrines opened the show, and were extremely entertaining, but the punk rock styling of the Black Lips were enough to make everyone forget about the openers as the show progressed. I’ve seen the band four or so times by now, but this show always stands out to me. Covered in sweat, hopping along the dirty beer soaked floor of uptown Nola’s Tipitinas, I felt like a teenager again as I sang along to “O, Katrina,” their most memorable sing for my money.
DECEMBER 3 1993, UNO LAKEFRONT ARENA, NEW ORLEANS
For the record, some shows, no matter how technically bad they were, are able to still be memorable. For obvious reasons, the band never toured again after this trek, but just getting to see this monumental 90’s band was enough to make the memory worth it. The show wasn’t great, with opening acts Shonen Knife & the Breeders both putting on better shows with superior sound. For Nirvana though, even though the band was clearly fucked up and not focusing, it was still memortable just because at moment the arena came alive for some big known hits we all already know the names of. It’s a sad reminder that sometimes our idols are clearly human, full of sadness and personal turmoil, and that even they have bad nights, weeks, months or years.
88 RUSSIAN CIRCLES
FUN FUN FUN FEST, NOVEMBER 4 2011, AUDITORIUM SHORES, AUSTIN
The heavines, good lord treh heaviness! To say I was unprepared for my first Russian Circles show is an understatement, but I left that set a huge fan of the band, and that love continues even now. The three piece band is never easy listening, but they're so in sync and on the same page that they act as a moving juggernaut of thick riffs, heavy rises and falls, and not a word said throughout the entire set. For all metal fans, these guys continue to be one of the most consistent bands around.
87 ANGEL OLSEN
NOVEMBER 5 2019, CIVIC THEATER, NEW ORLEANS
As the house lights made the room big and bright, an ornately elegant but spooky backdrop featuring stars hung quietly in the background, the evening paused while we the audience waited. Eventually, the house lights dimmed to allow the band to enter the evening. e off flawlessly, with Olsen’s voice straining beautifully under the weight of emotion that surrounds the record. I’ve seen plenty of shows, but her voice was something I wasn’t prepared for. So full of volume, depth, and exactly how she sounds on records, she allowed the backing band, fully equipped with amazing musicians playing guitars, bass, and classical string instruments to propel her own vocals to make something so beautiful.
COACHELLA, APRIL 6 2006, EMPIRE POLO FIELDS, INDIO
Typically I would never pay to see a Madonna show, but absolutely I’ll see her in the Dance Tent on the closing night of Coachella 2006. Playing just an hour before Tool was to begin on the main stage, a pack of thousands migrated to get a spot. The Queen of Pop arrived late, byt about 20 minutes, but as soon as the beat of “Hung Up '' started creeping into the packed Sahara Tent, it didn't matter. It really was insane to be there at her first ever festival set. During her four or five song set, she had teh crowd easily dancing to her disco infused pop. In the end, theres not much to actually say, other than shit i saw Madonna one time.
85 DAVID BYRNE
SHAKY KNEES, MAY 4 2018, CENTRAL PARK, ATLANTA
Definitely one of the strangest, but also thoroughly engaging of the entire festival. With a veritable marching band behind him, Byrne dominated the crowd and stage for the whole set, mixing in newer tracks and reworkings of classic “Talking Heads” that everyone seemed to devour in joy. He’s a true king of his craft and the ability to pull in a crowd that seems to be flawlessly easy, it was easily the most imaginative display, and a stark contrast to every other set of the weekend. It may not have been this reviewer's best set, but I feel sorry for you if you attended and happened to miss this show. No one does shows like this, especially when it comes to the rock genre.
84 KING GIZZARD & the LIZARD WIZARD
JUNE 21 2018, THE REPUBLIC, NEW ORLEANS
This being my second time catching the seven piece in little over a year, i was oddly more pumped than i was the first time. But to be fair, it was a far better concert than previously. With Stu at the helm, the band tore through a two hour set in the sweltering club. I remember my friends and i got way too drunk but we couldn't have cared less. It's the type of show where fun is boundless and you just lose yourself in the experience. King gizzard is great in that way. It's also a constantly changing show full of all sorts of different sounds, so its able to stay fresher than other bands.
ISSUES TOUR, FEBRUARY 21 2000, NEW ORLEANS ARENA
My time with the Nu metal titans has nearly completely come and gone, but i’ll never forget that day with two of my best high school friends. Staind opened, we met them, and by 9:00 Korn was about the come on. Opening with “Falling Away from Me,” behind a giant circular tarp, the energy was high as the drape fell, showcasing the asylum theme of the stage show, with gothic style architecture and a circular stage taking up an immense amount of height and space. I thoink back toi how aggressively I would head bang and it makes me dizzy, but 18 year old me was on top of the world, even though I had absolutely no reason to be.
82 LYKKE L
FUN FUN FUN FEST, NOVEMBER 5 2011, AUDITORIUM SHORES, AUSTIN
I remember being with my friend, drinking all you can drink Tecate all day because of “Pretty Important Person” passes and then bearing through a hellacious sandstorm to see Swedish mistress Lyke Li perform the pre headliner set on the second night of the fest. Banners hung from the back, swaying in the erratic wind as her voice billowed out from the stage to a field of masked fans, trying to avoid the sand filling the air. I’ve met people who didn’t enjoy this set, but as my headliner for the evening, it was everything you could have hoped for. Ending the night with the lovelorn seductive songstress, simple amazing.
MARCH 25 2005, UNO LAKEFRONT ARENA, NEW ORLEANS
By the time the iowa 9 hit the UNO Lakefront Arena on that almy summer night, an opener, Lamb of God & Shadows Fall had all rocked the crowd. It hadn’t even started though in hindsight For two solid hours Corey Taylor, the Clown, Jim Root and company filled the finale with every track you’d want to hear, ramps, fire, lasers, rotating drum sets and plenty of head banging. The crowd was into it from the start, but with tracks like “Purity” “Surfacing” and “Left Behind” filling in the needed anthems of the night, there was no stopping the band as they tore through a twenty song set. It was one of the better metal package tours I’ve ever attended, and foir that reason Slipknots set comes in at 81.
80 BLACK SABBATH: OZZFEST 2004
AUGUST 5th 2004, SMIRNOFF MUSIC CENTER, DALLAS
By 9:30 pm, after 21 other bands and over twelve hours of heavy metal, the gods descended on the Amphitheater for a ninety minute set of classics. There’s too many to name them all, but tracks like “Paranoid,” “Children of the Grave,” “Iron Man” and “Snowblind” all sounded just as good as they had decades earlier, with a few minor setbacks. Osbourne’s voice wasn’t quite its old self, and the between song banter was hard to make out as english, but Ioomi especially carried the show. Often I lost myself just seeing Tony play the most difficult classic metal around at his age, but blowing away virtually every other band that had appeared that day.
79 DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE:
APRIL 9 2019, ORPHEUM THEATER, NEW ORLEANS
This might be the most recent on today’s segments, but iyt left a very cleat and lasting impression. Its the type of show that makes you want to go back and revisit all the songs you heard in the days and weeks after the show. That night in New orleans the band was tight but also jovial,making several jokes throughout the set. Highlights like the emotional “What Sarah Said,” or the always evolving love of “I Will Follow You in the Dark.” But still, selections like the more upbeat “Sound of Settling” or “Cath” gave the crowd the right amount of pep when it required it. But of course, the epic conclusion of “Transatlanticism” just served as the icing atop a delicious cake.
78 WEEZER: VOODOO 2010
OCTOBER 29 2010, CITY PARK, NEW ORLEANS
At this particular fret the band played right before Muse on an opposite stage, but while the band wasn’t positioned to headline, they certainly seemed to be while on stage. The set had all the characteristics of a great song along set, with frontman Rivers Cuomo even cloning into the crowd scaffolding during a memorable moment while singing “Beverly Hills.” Other tracks like “Hash Pipe” “Island in The Sun,” “Buddy Holly” and especially “Say It Ain’t So” made the show even more exciting, if not for the sheer noise and vocals being generated by the crowd. It was nearly everything you want out of that type of set, which is why it ends up on this list.
77 CAGE THE ELEPHANT: SHAKY KNEES
MAY 4 2016, OLYMPIC PARK, ATLANTA
Cage the Elephant is the type of band that makes it easy to move your hips and rock out even when tired, sweaty, or especially drunk. On second thought however, maybe it’s just the mesmerizing movements of singer Matt Schultz, who for sixty minutes on a May Friday in Atlanta Sashayed about the main stage moving quicker than any other person that weekend, all while developing a stunning set with his musical cohorts. This was my second time seeing the band, and it was by far the best I’ve seen by them so far.
HALLOWEEN NIGHT 2015, CIVIC THEATRE, NEW ORLEANS
Metal on Halloween should be the law, and this year was no exception. One of my favorite metal bands of the last ten plus years, Mastodon on Halloween Night in NOLA was made even better by an epic showing from the Atlanta kings. For over two hours they pummeled the crowd with their intricate mix of metallic prog rock, all while costumed and enjoying the reactions of the crowd. A must see show wherever they play, it was made all the better by seeing this with my sister and some awesome friends.
By 2000, Tool were on the precipice of being one the biggest arena rock bands out there. All they had to do was release their highly anticipated new record, “Lateralus.” During the 90’s the band had steadily risen in the ranks of the metal/ rock world on the heels of career making albums ``Undertow,” and 96’s “ÆNIMA.” Tracks like “Sober,” with its ominous opening struck a chord in the early 90’s, with continued momentum occurring around the release and touring cycle of “ÆNIMA.”
By the time they got to ÆNIMA” song progression had gone farther than it had previously. During this period the band begins experimenting more frequently with song lengths, such as the epic “Third Eye” or the cerebral journey of “Pushit.” As one of the lengthier, but equally stand out songs of their entire career, “Pushit” serves as not only an excellent leap forward into more trippy landscapes, but also as a clear indicator as to where the band was heading next. In my opinion, the journey of this song is the tipping point for brilliance. From where I’m standing you can clearly see that not only were they pleased with the road this took them on, but that they were eager to go further with subsequent releases.
That album, more than anything that came after, cemented the foursome, which by this point now included Justin Chancellor from Peach, joining Danny Carey, Adam Jones and Maynard James Keenan. Together they would embark on a big fall tour, which occurred after the bands Ozzfest run, filling mid sized arenas for the first time as the crowd, just as rabid as they are now, started the trend of notorious overthinking Tool fans.
By 2001, the recording process for the forthcoming “Lateralus,” had already been mostly completed, with the band and Chancellor recording together for the first time since Chancellor joined the team. One of the best things about this record is its sonic sphere of elements and how they create an ever evolving, changing sound . Segments are angry and raw, sure, but moments like the finale of “The Patient,” with its all encompassing effect as Keenan’s voice blends in with the atmosphere built by Jones on guitar, Carey on drums and Chancellor on bass. Throughout the song the chimes and cymbals from Carey’s drums are whistling in the background, and you hear Keenan’s vocals echoing distantly in the background until you hear a breath and the words are more intelligible.
I remember the first day it came out, going to buy it first thing at i think nine or ten in the morning. The booklet and coer art is still one of the better designed and executed around, but it was even more ahead of its time than it is now. As you listened to the album more and more, the imagery of the album began to not only coincide with the music, but also make it clearer in terms of the spiritual element casually lingering around some of the songs. Tracks like the two piece “Parabol(a)” fit into this idea perfectly.The piece builds up gradually, with MJK’s delicate whisper hovering right ier the underground tension so palpable as the song morphs into the heavy arena rock territory the band had now begun easily filling up.
Yet, there are songs like opener ”The Grudge” filled with resentments, and punishingly steady drum beats that set the course for the entire rest of the album. It’s nearly nine minutes long, and while not quite as lengthy as some of the tracks that came before, it still does more than enough to get the blood flowing. The vocals are nestled in sections, quietly at first, but as the song and it’s shared intensity with the vocals join together, you get the full scope the band was going for.
The ninth track on the album, which also happens to be the title track, “Lateralus,” begins with a nice but slow guitar part. Before long though, the drums and Justin Chancellor’s bass come thumping in and the song really takes off. The song is probably among the best the band has ever written, and it’s also one of the most popular. Again the lyrics here speak to a certain otherworldly positivity that wasn’t really embraced on previous albums. It’s a song about “Overthinking and overanalyzing” and about “separating the body from the mind.” Pretty progressive stuff happening if you ask me. For many of the shows I witnessed, this was the closer, and it’s perfect. The song makes you want to go into the dark willingly, and tackle whatever obstacles may face you. It’s about the pain we suffer, and the love we give, and how without one we can’t possess the other. It’s an overwhelmingly thought-provoking song, and with this concluding a concert you truly feel like you can go out into the world and be victorious over anything you need to conquer.
But also, it’s described as the opening of a LSD trip, where bright colors slowly make themselves known. Now, we talked about the importance of Justin Chancellor earlier, but this is the song where he easily shines the most. Now, one of the most interesting things about this song is the time signatures. I’m no musician, but I think most hardcore music fans can recognize the brilliance. The weirdest thing about this song however, is how the signatures, and the lyrics were both thought of separately and without mutual knowledge from the two key participants. In an interview Keenan goes on to explain while he was writing the theme of spiral’s turning in on themselves stuck out and brought a clear focus not only to the song, but the band’s feelings at the time. Here’s where it gets really intriguing though. The original name of the song was 9-8-7, for the weird time signatures, but then the band realized that 987 was the 16th number in the Fibonacci sequence, which also shares interests with the “ Golden Spiral.” I hope that doesn’t confuse you. In other words, there are lyrical and musical reasons why this is the most important, and strongest Tool Song. The positivity of the song is worth noting. It’s imploring us to live every day to the fullest, and maybe, to always try to expand your knowledge, one way or another. Ride the spiral, to the end.
This tour lasted for about two years, and then a darkness crept in while the band quietly rested. By 2006 it was time for forward progress. A few months earlier, the title had been announced, with many wondering what the meaning was, but also what the references were in the album track titles. As a huge fan i had no idea, but as the roll out began and the record was released, it became clear. Keenans mom had passed away from something that robbed her of ten thousand days, and the “Wings” tracks were all about her memory, in a way I suppose. The song is beautifully sung and written by Keenan and the rest of the band, but it's obviously MJK’s song to showcase his respect and love for his late mother.
To me it’s gorgeous because it's so honest, he doesn't sugar coat this pain and his myriad feelings,, which is part of why it was so difficult to be played live. It's too personal, and a Tool crowd hasn;t quite caught up to the maturity of the band we venture to see time and time again.
You also have tracks like “Lost Keys” and “Rosetta Stoned.” Beyond the thumoung power of “Jambi,” there’s no better track on this record. towards the end of the song though, As the second half of the track glides epically to conclusion, Kerman’s voice erupts over the ambient Egyptian style grooves with the line “Overwhelmed as one would be placed in my position, such a heavy burden now to be the one. Born to bear and read to all the details of our ending, write it for the whole wide world to see. But I forget my pen, Shit the bed again, typical.” I've probably heard that song a thousand time and that part still hits me like a sack of bricks. It’s just so well done, and orchestrated. Beyond that, the mixing by "Evil Joe Barresi” makes the song it's entire world of chaos. It;s a good record still, fifteen years on, but it's nestled in between two behemoths, so there’s a lot of shade.
So before we start the final portion of our reading time together let me just say, Wow, so many things happen in thirteen years. When “!0,000 Days” came out, i was single, going through maybe the worst year of my life, up to that point…. But yeah by 2019 i had fallen in love, got married, gotten a degree, starting writing and making money off of it, lost my last grandparents, got divorced, fell in love again, not to mention countless other experiences I’ll never forget. It's a long damn time and shortly after the release of “Fear inoculum,” I got married again. All of this is to say, it was mostly worth the wait, and in some cases made the band bigger than ever with the big push from Spotify and many other outlets.
So imagine how much a band’s sound can alter itself in that time. It’s a significant album not just because of its brilliance, but also because of just how worth the wait it seemed to be. Keenan’s lyrics, especially in more somber themed tracks like “Invincible,” are poignant and well phrased.
With tracks like “Pneuma” the band and Keenan again allow the music to be more welcoming and nurturing during tracks. The days of angst are… mostly over, but for a song like “Pneuma” this kind of gentleness really pays off when you start thinking about the lyrics. It does have a social consciousness attached to it, but it fits the song well, which makes it more powerful in turn with just being a well written epic song.
Those types of songs are all over these tracks. Keenan, for all his snarkiness, truly is one of the best vocalists and lyricists in rock today. The band is so far from where they began, both musically and I imagine in maturity, that it's refreshing to see a heavy rock band embrace elements that aren't necessarily thought of in the same breath as this type of sound.
There’s regret in the record, feeling like you’re now in a business model you can’t keep up with, the industry has changed. They’re older now too, with other responsibilities. But the record itself is a perfect symbol of where they’ve been and whatever they’ve become. But then, you get a song like “7empest,” which shouldn’t work,but its length and aggression fill teh final moments of yeh record with an urgency not that intense since maybe “Hooker with a Penis” or especially “Ticks & Leeches.”
Except here, there’s no screaming, but then again there’s not a single scream in the entire record. It’s an incredible song, ending one of the most powerfully heavy records in a long time, and should be revered as such. This track, which seemed aimed at a certain non-president small hand man, fits the aggression and frustration te world would face just the next year when we found out how fast the world could stop. The sing was heavily mentioned in early interviews and reviews, so expectations were high, but in my opinion, they were met, its a masterfully complex song.
Much of the album you’ll be focused on Keenan’s trademark cryptic lyrics, but on “Fear Inoculum” you find that record pushes the work of Adam Jones and Danny Carey to the forefront. The drums and guitars are devastating, heavy, perfectly synced up and working of the strengths of the other members. This is the record that belongs not to the vocals, but the wonder and thickness elevating the lyrical content. Tool is a household name in the world of rock music, and at long last they’ve delivered a record worth the wait.
Even tracks like the devastating, calculated “Descending” revolve more around the trio of Chancellor, Carey and Jones then they do Keenan, who’s well known for writing lyrics quickly after music is completed. It makes sense that it would feature more sections to breathe with instrumentation, seeing where thirteen years got them often to near perfectly mixed and produced effect, it really is a masterpiece, and a record that is more often interesting and thought provoking than most of the rock out there today.
As an album that many thought would never come, much like the sixth Game of Thrones book, or Half Life 3, it's refreshing to see something get released that we thought would never come. Even better than it was so well executed as an album and an insanely cool album package. As a band, Tool has seen and done everything you can do as a successful unit, and over the course of a three decade career, the band has transcended what they once were, replacing it with massive layers of music, swaths of heartfelt thought provoking lyrics, and if you're a concert fan, more video screens and lasers than you could ever imagine.
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For many of us, whether we lived and aged up during the 80’s, there’s plenty of reasons to forget some of the “artistic” choices that permeated the decade with bad hair, poorly thought out clothing choices, and perhaps most importantly when it comes to our topic of the day, videos that make little to no sense. This is where we get to the often maligned and mocked track “Total Eclipse of the Heart,”by the incomparable Bonnie Tyler.
Because of the time period, of course the video opens up with a shot of a mansion where apparently all the lights are out because this cheap ass school can’t keep up with their electricity bills. You see, this is before the time of school shootings, when school administrators were more concerned with literal light than they were deaths. Alas, i digress, but this place is big, dark ,and at the moment the video opens, mostly empty,
Now because they can’t pay their bills, the main room where this catastrophe happens is nearly only candles. Just candles all over the damn place. What’s with all these rich people not being able to pay their bills? Meanwhile, Bonnie Tyler is standing up against a window and wind is swaying through the night. Then there’s a dove just flying through a door for some reason? I don’t know. Maybe the dove came to say “ This video is gonna suck,” but he couldn’t find anyone because its so dark, so he just flew around trying to warn everyone of the impending doom. He’s literally the Paul Revere of this video trying to warn us,
Then Tyler is walking through all these hallways and she sees all the strapping young boys in school uniforms. They’re all giving her vacant, angry eyes, but why? Trust me, the answers are coming and they will shock you. But for real, they probably won’t shock you (No way you can get shocked in a house with no electricity) but when you realize what’s happening you’ll wonder why this video went the way it did. I have to just quickly add, ever since the movie “Old School” I can’t take the chorus seriously at all because all I keep thinking is “I fucking need you now tonight.”
hanks to the writers of that movie for giving this horrible 80’s anthem some much needed levity.
Getting back to the abandoned school this cat lady still lives in, in the course of 30 seconds there’s a boy wearing wings and tossing a dove(hopefully the doves acan find each other and get the fuck out), and more young men, who this time are shirtless though, and someone throwing water on them, and there’s fucking goddamn ninja’s just dancing around the room. It’s absolutely absurd in every way it can be.
The next section of this video that won nothing in the way of awards, shows Bonnie Tyler singing atop a staircase, and there’s light coming through the window. You have a school full of the ghosts of young men and there’s only electricity through this one window? How am I supposed to make a sandwich with one beam of light?
Now she’s running helplessly as all the doors just shoot open and we see all of the boys trashing the place. Why are they though? What deep dark secret is held within these walls that makes them start breaking stuff? After that, all the boys are now dressed in choir robes and have weird white eyes while they’re singing to Tyler. It’s one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen, and it still makes no sense.
This is where it gets really weird and drives right into sexual abuse town. She’s singing about never being wrong and how they’ll keep making it right(by, having intercourse I assume), and she’s surrounded by a whole bunch of sweaty teenagers. I’m pretty sure Bonnie Tyler abused these boys at this school. It might be a leap if you haven’t seen this video, but seriously, I watched this with three other people and we all came to the same conclusion. You think it’s over, but then this shirtless angel man envelops her in his wings and starts stroking her body with said wings.
After the lightning and bullshit we’re treated to a flashback of Ms. Tyler (that bitch ain’t got no husband) walking up to a group of students on a normal day at school. Yes, the same students we’ve been seeing the whole time.
Then it becomes completely clear that she loved her students, but not in the way a teacher is supposed to. She had relations with these boys. Well, maybe not all of them, but the one with the glowing white eyes singing to her as they romantically hold hands as the video closes, you know he definitely got some lovin’. You can just tell by the look she gives him, which is vastly uncomfortable.
The video ends with Tyler standing alone on the steps as the students try to learn something from a book and forget this crazy woman who loves her students. This video is a testament to how inappropriate some videos are, and how clearly people either didn’t put the pieces together, or they were in earnest trying to make a video about teachers sleeping with their students. Either way I hope you enjoyed this, and if you don’t believe it, just watch this wild ass video. Thanks for reading.
What are some videos that have aged poorly that you will never forget? Comment below! Follow us for more content at @thedeathofthemixtape on instagram, facebook and Spotify. Thanks for reading.
Since the early 90’s prog metal purveyors Tool have been pushing the limit of what could be considered mainstream rock. Over the course of five studio albums they’ve more than made a name for themselves, bri ging in fans of metal, prog rock, and even some more jam band friendly listeners. The stage shows are nothing short of legendary and epic, and its left all maybe Toolheads craving for more, even though the band takes their time. I hope you enjoy this list of the best Tool songs. As always i welcome discussion, thanks for reading.
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10 FORTY SIX & 2: ÆNIMA
There are plenty of songs throughout this record that have the capacity to pull in the listener. This one however has become a fan favorite over the years, and when you listen to it, especially with headphones, it takes you on a ride so heavy and thought provoking that it's hard to resist. The guitar work by Adam Jones has this whirling, surreal, almost trace like element to it. The drums, much like the early guitar part, start slow and build as Keenan’s voice provides his signature meandering vocal patterns, going full tilt only to draw himself back with restraint. It’s that kind of restraint that makes Keenan, and Tool as a unit so interesting to watch or listen too. They know exactly when to add tension, and when to ease back. They’ve performed this virtually every time i’ve seen them live, and even if you aren’t a fan of the album version, seeing it live makes its that much more enjoyable and cathartic.
9. PARABOL/ PARABOLA: LATERALUS
Many songs on Lateralus are considered classics by fans of the band, but for my money it rarely gets better than seeing the overflow of energy as the tracks transition from slow and brooding to explosive and brimming with life. “Parabol” shimmers in the darkness like a fire starting to ignite, while it’s counterpart “Parabola” acts like the fire fully grown. It’s a song about life and it’s existence, and how we continue to try to elevate our lives with positivity. It’s a heavy song yes, but the lyrics and vocal work by Keenan make it all the more special for its eye opening interpretation of life’s challenging moments. The guitar work is also second to know , evoking this kind of Egyptian undertone that really works well within the parameters of the song.
8. LOST KEYS/ ROSETTA STONED: 10,000 DAYS.
Let me just say quickly, that while most believe, and I guess rightfully so, that this song is about a hippie on DMT who is hallucinating horrible things, I personally like to believe that not only is this song about a man who has seen unbelievable things, but also that the meaning of what he’s trying to tell everyone is of vast importance. Stumbling, murmuring nonsense he seeks help in the only place he thinks might be able to help him, a hospital. He may be dying, but the listener can’t be sure. This is what is great about the band. Tool recognize the importance of using the art of others and drawing your own conclusions. Now, like I said, While the DMT drug story holds up, and much can be explained away because of that, for me it’s just more fun to imagine the limitless potential of the gift these Aliens have bestowed upon this high school dropout. In that respect it's also a very sad, depressing song. Towards the end of the song though, Kerman’s voice erupts over the ambient Egyptian style grooves with the line “Overwhelmed as one would be placed in my position, such a heavy burden now to be the one. Born to bear and read to all the details of our ending, write it for the whole wide world to see. But I forget my pen, Shit the bed again, typical.” It’s so beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time that it moves you in a way most heavier bands aren’t capable of.
7. 7EMPEST: FEAR INOCULUM
At nearly 16 minutes, this track off the bands most recent is easily the longest in their career. It’s also one of the best instrumentally driven songs in their quartets arsenal. The guitar riff from Adam Jones is tremendous and winding, but also heavy and heavy in tone. The drums by Carey and bass by Chancellor only enhance the track as well, giving Keenan in vocals more than enough leg roof to build a song that’s as clearly about the parasites of society as anything is in their entire discography. Now while there’s no definitive proof that this might be about an recent dismissed orange haired sexual assault and traitor, the lyrics speak for themselves. Either way, the song is a landmark of the bands signature style, and as the record draws to an end, “7empest” remains a transcendent song in the world of Tool.
6. PUSHIT: ÆNIMA
This was one of those first tracks that properly made me comprehend the journey of long songs. While Tool doesn’t even have the longest songs in general ( Sunn O))), Godspeed You Black Emperor, Motion Sickness of Time Travel come to mind), their songs truly are journeys of interstellar proportions. The band has said many times how they meticulously go about searching every rabbit hole, and exploring the boundaries before they decide that’s where this road is taking them. Many bands rush to record, and you can tell because the end product suffers. Tool simply refuse to do this. As one of the lengthier, but equally stand out songs of their entire career, Pushitt serves as not only an excellent leap forward into more trippy landscapes, but also as a clear indicator as to where the band was heading next. In my opinion, the journey of this song is the tipping point for brilliance. From where I’m standing you can clearly see that not only were they pleased with the road this took them on, but that they could dive even deeper with subsequent releases.
5. THE GRUDGE: LATERALUS
I still remember the day I picked up this record. Long before streaming was commonplace, you had to wait to hear shit before it was “released.” I mention this because as soon as that now familiar sound at the start of the sign, you can feel like you’re preparing for something big to open up. That opening, filled with resentments, and punishingly steady drum beats sets the course for the entire rest of the album. It’s nearly nine minutes long, and while not quite as long as some of the signs that came before, it still does more than enough to get the blood flowing. The vocals are nestled in sections, quietly at first, but as the song and it’s shared intensity with the vocals join together, you get the full scope the band was going for. At number five, I urge you to “Wear the Grudge like a Crown” as you try to overcome your feelings of anger and resentment.
For many, this album and lead track was the big break that got them into the band. I had heard the previous records of course, but when this came out, it lit up my imagination and showed me tons of new sounds I had never knew possible before. This track, the one that begins the record, is as drudge filled and intense as anything else you hear on the remainder of Ænima, but it’s also just a phenomenal way to begin this landmark album. The lyrics are dark and twisted, and while I imagine horrible things happening in the shadows, I can’t turn away to shield myself from the ugliness of the track. It’s quite simply an intense ride that sets us on an off road, difficult course. Seeing this performed live is even more spectacular. The energy Keenan expels makes you melt into tranquility, and the raw emotion of the instrumentation makes you want to move your body. Some heavy bands are capable of this, but Tool is one of the ones who have perfected the art.
3. DESCENDING: FEAR INOCULUM
As the track opens, listeners are treated to a slowly building atmospheric section, almost like a tide coming in. Within a few minutes we hear the ominous tone of guitar work as Jones and his instrument serenade the listener gently, even though we know the song is likely to not end as solemnly as it began. Keenan really does an excellent job of matching lyrics to the cavalcade of atmospheric bass drums and guitar surrounding his huddling vocals. By the five minute mark the drums start thumping outfly in classic Tool fashion, but the lyrics are the most important during these moments. They convey an apprehension that sounds like the end of the road, but the song draws in all types of emotions as it whirls towards its finale in glorious prof rock fashion.
2. THIRD EYE: ÆNIMA
“Think for yourself, question authority,” might as well be the motto of the band. While this song hasn’t been played a lot at the shows I’ve attended, I’ve heard that phrase quite a few times. The opening of the “Salival” version, provided by Tim Leary, basically sets the stage for the most epic, mind melting pieces in their catalog. This song has more loops and turns than an episode of “LOST.” It also happens to have a persistence that doesn’t quit for the entire 14:05 minutes of the song. Seeing this song live, and especially as the show opener is just insane. Most bands don’t have the nerve to open a two hour show with the longest song they plan to play that night, but Tool do it without missing a beat. Speaking on the topic of mixing, and making sure that every part is integral is something no one except maybe Radiohead does better than Tool. They understand the lyrics are not the overwhelming plot point of the song. Everything you hear is meant to induce emotions. Sure the lyric helps, but all parts are equally valuable. With more than five minutes left, the song takes yet another turn. It goes from ominous foreshadowing to the welcoming of a love thought lost perhaps. Then another turn down a spiraling rabbit hole. Imploring us to open our eyes may or may not have something to do with the opening dialogue on the track. Humans aren’t meant to be conditioned by rules. We are too great of a people. Life without boundaries is the most ultimate gift anyone can achieve, yet at times it’s those very rules of society that help us to stay safe. Then another, even uglier turn, this time with the intense drums of Carey while Keenan proclaims “ Prying open my third eye,” as the song comes to a final, full circle resting place.
1. LATERALUS: LATERALUS
This is easily the best Tool song ever made, and a perfect representation of the album. It has every awesome aspect of the album in one perfect, thought out space of time. The lyrics describe the opening of a world to a baby, or perhaps, a rebirth of an older soul. This is where the “ Saturn Return” comes into place again. But also, it’s described as the opening of a LSD trip, where bright colors slowly make themselves known. Now, we talked about the importance of Justin Chancellor earlier, but this is the song where he easily shines the most. Now, one of the most interesting things about this song is the time signatures. I’m no musician, but I think most hardcore music fans can recognize the brilliance. The weirdest thing about this song however, is how the signatures, and the lyrics were both thought of separately and without mutual knowledge from the two key participants. In an interview Keenan goes on to explain while he was writing the theme of spiral’s turning in on themselves stuck out and brought a clear focus not only to the song, but the band’s feelings at the time. Here’s where it gets really intriguing though. The original name of the song was 9-8-7, for the weird time signatures, but then the band realized that 987 was the 16th number in the Fibonacci sequence, which also shares interests with the “ Golden Spiral.” I hope that doesn’t confuse you. In other words, there are lyrical and musical reasons why this is the most important, and strongest Tool Song. The positivity of the song is worth noting. It’s imploring us to live every day to the fullest, and maybe, to always try to expand your knowledge, one way or another. Ride the spiral, to the end.
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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