So I've purposely not talked about nin too much because of my never ending love of this band. But today we’ll be adding another record to the “Albums of My Life” series with Nine Inch Nails massive breakthrough record, 1994’s “The Downward Spiral.” Enjoy!
The first thing you hear on this increasingly violent record is taken from the sci-fi cult movie “THX-1138” but from then on you're treated to aggressive industrial rock that didn’t really fit in with the current state of music at the time. The song is a perfect start for the story of a man meeting his end and falling out of control, and all the touches here only add to the already high level of tension that permeates all of “TDS.” This record tells the story of a man propelling to his demise, but it also propelled Reznor and company to the top of the pile during the early to mid 90’s, and even for a record that's now legally allowed to drink, you can still hear what made it such a promising, strong minded album.
Many of these songs have since become staples, and again it’s not surprising. “Piggy,” follows up “Mr. Self Destruct,” but it changes course in terms of style and intensity. Musically it’s slower in tempo, but the lyrics are just as dark as anything Reznor faces on the rest of the album. Frankly, I’ve never been a huge fan of the studio version, but as a piece of a narrative it fits in exceedingly well. Songs three to five though are where you really start the see the desperation and darkness surrounding our main narrator. “Heresy” has some of the most anti religious lyrics Reznor has ever put to tape, and after you’re done belting out “Your God is Dead, and No One cares,” you’re treated to what’s likely the most high energy, quickly intense track presented here. “March of the Pigs,” to this day, remains a rabid favorite among fans and it’s inclusion during shows has become the standard by which you measure the intensity of the crowd, and the band overall. It’s short, but even if it's under three minute in time, it more than gets the job done.
Track five though is easily among the band’s most well known songs, and when the desolate synth beat of “Closer,” honing in on the environment of the song, you know what’s about to happen. While I could easily go without listening to this song or hearing it live for a long time, the song itself was the major push the band needed to graduate to the grand arena rock band they became. It’s slimy, sleazy, masochistic, and boy did it piss off a ton of parents when it was spreading it’s vulgar lyrics all over our country. My Aunt absolutely hated the song, going so far as refusing to even have it playing in her car while my cousin and I were just loving it. The best part for me though is the heavy electronic breakdown that brings everything up in tempo but also signals the finale of the well orchestrated and mixed track.
From here on the album gets only more experimental. “Ruiner” is still way ahead of the game in terms of pulling off ideas that both sell the music and genius of the band, but also push along the concept of the record. By this point the main character is slipping, falling further away from sanity, and images are starting to appear in his brain where they shouldn’t be. Musically the track has one of the best, most triumphant instrumental sections on the whole record. When Reznor mumbles “How’d you get so big, how’d you get so strong,” he’s backed by an impressive thrust of anthemic guitar parts and electronic sections that to this day stand tall up against some of the best instrumentals the band has ever constructed.
From here though, things only get worse for the listener and the character presented. “The Becoming” signals the hard left turn that his life has taken, where multiple personalities are prevalent in the person’s head, while “Big Man with a Gun” is furious and very tongue in cheek in terms of displaying just how hopeless this man’s life is becoming. The last five songs on the record though all deliver eye opening, yet very starly contrasting themes and arrangements. “A Warm Place,” remains beautiful in it’s presentation, but offers little reprieve in the grand scheme of things, while “Eraser” is a slow burn of evil and desperation that gradually pays off on it’s way to the huge musical bomb that’s set off at the song’s conclusion. It perfectly builds tension in the world of the album, and when the drums, guitars and screaming take full hold, there’s really no good that could come of it.
As the record finishes though, “Reptile” stands up excellently when compared to it’s name. The track has a venomous, stalker-like vibe that resonates with the title, but the song works well simply because of the thought and precision used in managing it. It’s also the longest track of the record, which gives it ample time to worm and crawl it’s way to the conclusion you all see it coming, not only on the track itself but the album too. After making it through that though, the title track only adds fuel to the fire, and it’s epic slow build up purposely sets up the foregone conclusion everyone gets to when they think about the story of the record: The main character kills himself, or at the very least comes damn close.
Probably the best known track off “TDS” also happens to be the track that concludes the record. To this day “Hurt” remains a poignantly tormented song, with Reznor singing more clearly and vulnerable than he has throughout the record. The chorus also happens to be infectious, and very easy to sing along to embrace the pain this man is feeling. It’s a cathartic song on the record, but it’s also cathartic to the listener who has been put through a myriad of personal torment on their journey through this very good, but very deeply troubled record. Thanks for reading.
Doom, gloom, Australia. All of these things help to describe Nick Cave and the Bad seeds, but over nearly 49 years has taught the band to never get tired and routine. Below you’ll find what I feel is a pretty comprehensive list. The Bad Seeds have A LOT of material, so sadly not all could be represented, but regardless.
Follow us for more content at @thedeathofthemixtape on instagram, facebook and Spotify. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy
10 BRIGHT HORSES: GHOSTTEEN
During this most recent period the band, Cave has been delving into even more introspective pain than before. The cause, or push of emotions all started with the death of Cave's son in a hiking accident. The somberness of this track, not to mention the other records made during this mournful period, bites at the listener, and fills said listener with a deep pain that only Cave's deep, sullen voice is capable of fixing. It’s a haunting sound you don’t quickly forget, yet it moves you to the core.
9 ABATTOIR BLUES: ABATTOIR BLUES/ THE LYRE OF ORPHEUS
Most of the work of the bad seeds is steeped in a certain sadness which makes it easier to relate to. Songs like “Abattoir Blues,” off the 13th record from Cave and his Bad seeds, fit in with the future of Cave as well as his past. The musicianship in the band is at the height of their musical intelligence. And it shows. The drumming, along with the whispered manner of the lyrics and the feminine backing vocals all make the song a necessary inclusion on this list.
8 PUSH THE SKY AWAY: PUSH THE SKY AWAY
Like a lifeline ending amid a sea of emotions, “Push the Sky Away” has an innate ability to make you feel all the weight of the world as Cave implores you to keep going. The track is rough and awakening at the same time, with the rare drum thump nesting in the background of an ominous keyboard section that makes me feel like I’m walking to the light at the end of the tunnel. It also features some of my favorite vocal deliveries in Cave's whole discography. The man truly is a master of adult contemporary, eye opening emotional music.
7 FROM HER TO ETERNITY: FROM HER TO ETERNITY
From my initial hearing of this song, it always played to me like a piano puzzle, with Cave racing through a mysterious, thin walled maze as he looks to go “From Her to Eternity.” The intensity of the piano and the slow burning build of the accompanying instruments make the tension even more engaging and palpable. It’s an early sign of Cave and the Bad seeds brilliance, and it finds the countdown at number 7
6 HIGGS BOSON BLUES: PUSH THE SKY AWAY
The rhythm on this slow but meaningful song stands in firm contrast to the lyrics that we’re created on the spot. At seven minutes, “Higgs Boson Blues,” is a slow winding late night dive bar kind of track. It’s easy to imagine the rusted out drunks in a dark bar after midnight with this song humming softly over the speakers. Cave often times is more deliberate and less loose lyrically than he is here, but it adds a new exciting side to the already great work of Cave and the Bad seeds.
5 I LET LOVE IN: LET LOVE IN
The opening paints in the listeners head a serene country valley, with regret and beauty as the sun cascades across the peaks and plains of the valley. “I let Love In” has a quality that’s both heartwarming and bitterly cold, as the wind of the world comes for its battle as the song progresses. To me it fits in brilliantly with most classic western movies, which makes it stand out even more when you think of it’s place in contemporary music.
4 JESUS ALONE: SKELETON TREE
Easily the most haunting song on this list, Cae and his bad seeds yet again manage to sound distinct not only among their contemporaries but also compared to the other records the band has produced in their long storied career. It’s a eerily slow song with minimal production backing it, but it’s in those moments that Cave shines. Perfect for a person lost in the wilderness surrounded by fog, “Jesus Alone” starts the record on a super somber note filled with death, and those feeling persist through the rest of the album.
3 DIG, LAZARUS, DIG!!!: DIG, LAZARUS DIG!!!
You can try, but I Donny you find another song as upbeat as this one on this list. “Dig!” Has always spoke to me as a rambling, stream of consciousness illusion of what the after life might be. Caves vocals are sarcastic, more rushed than typical, but that makes a perfect pairing with the quick nature of the instrumentations. I still laugh at the song, the dirty language that’s well hidden during the track, and of course the imagery of “Larry” who never actually asks to be resurrected.
2 THERE IS A KINGDOM: THE BOATMAN'S CALL
I’m gonna just throw myself under the bus and say that for years, for some reason I kept remembering this as a Leonard Cohen track. It definitely isn’t, but I’m hopeful you readers can understand why. Anyway, the song is monumental in its powerful Imagery, with a much more awakened idea of the afterlife and the powers that be than we typically hear from the Bad Seeds. The piano section at the song's onset is soft and elegant, and while the song never really explodes in its energy, it doesn’t have to because the message is just as strong on its own.
1 RED RIGHT HAND: LET LOVE IN
This classic, likely the band's best known song, has appeared in the Scream films also the way, but the song speaks a much more sinister tone than its usage in the movies leads you to believe. It’s a rustic nightmare of a country western, with the man with the “Red Right Hand” coming across like a classic villain in a Stephen King novel. In fact, the term “Red Right Hand” was a nod to Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” which to some is scarier than a King Novel. A lot of the music of the Bad seeds has a forbidding counter western wine to it, and the inclusion of the Theremin during the songs second half add an even more mysterious, dark tinge to the track. For those reasons, “Red Right Hand” stands at the number one song from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
When I was younger, I rarely if ever gave thought to what my favorite artists were like behind closed doors. In short, it was easier for me to separate and ultimately to not care. Those times are done.
As I grew older, I started caring about the perceptions and reality that sits outside of the entertainment industry. I feel like this is a natural response to maturity. Of course at a young age I marveled at the careless cool behavior of rock stars and their various outrageous antics, but at some point, even rock stars need to stop acting like gods and children. This brings me to today's topic, judging artists for their private lives and human shortcomings.
For me, it all starts with one person, Michael Jackson. When I was young, I’m talking like age 3-10, I was obsessed with the “King of Pop.” The music was insanely catchy, mesmerizing in terms of production, and in a word, legendary. For fuck sakes there was nothing Jackson couldn’t do in the 80’s and 90’s, until at least shit started to fall apart.
The news of Jackson’s possible, extremely bad interactions with children became a focal point of his past and a troublesome part of his still massive fame. For years I was sure it was untrue, and that he was simply weird and eccentric, but the more I thought, and the more I read, the more unsure I was of his private behaviors.
Even up until 2014 or so, I was still listening to Jackson’s music, and loving it, in spite of what I had heard. These days, I can’t seem to split my feelings enough to still enjoy an artist that was once massively important to me as a person.
For me, there’s certain things I can overlook. For instance, Metallica has more than a few times done their fan base incredibly dirty and they certainly take advantage of their massive fan base, but is that worth not engaging in any way with the band? In my case the answer is no, it’s still worth it, and even though some of their older songs and some recent (in the last several years) statements by James Hetfield leads me to wonder how far off the trail he’s gone in terms of politics, sedition and other warnings for democracy. But until something more concrete crosses my path, Metallica is still one of the best metal bands of all time.
That point brings us back around to how you measure artists with sketchy backgrounds. Even though there are plenty of curious events surrounding the Jackson allegations (many articles have been written about the parents of the suspected abused and their history of blackmail and of course, lack of any real proof) but at what point do you draw a line in the sand and say, I can’t tolerate this?
In the case of Jackson and the sordid allegations, there’s much to be proven or confirmed (we’ll likely never know for sure) while for other artists, there’s substantial proof of their wrong doings.
Case in point, Kanye West and Marilyn Manson. Manson, aka Brian Warner, has since the 90’s dabbled in the kind of shock rock antics that made him a household name in the rock and metal world, all the while skirting the line between acceptable and off limits. At an early age (17-21) I was a die hard Manson fan. His albums during that time were blisteringly explosive, with more angst and venom hurled at the world than the likes of MTV could appropriately handle.
When news broke last year of the horribly abusive lifestyle Manson maintained and doled out to his various alleged victims, suddenly everything that seemed off about the man named Warner made sense. Yes he had been skirting the line between controversial on stage antics in the name of rock n roll, but if the reports are to be believed ( nearly all of them seem likely and the amount of similar things in the multiple victims statements lead me to believe the allegations are true) Warner never gave up that rock n roll lifestyle when he wasn’t entertaining. Instead, he seemed to live in the world of Marilyn Manson, behaving as though lines and limits didn’t exist, and essentially torturing more than a few innocent women along the way. After I read those allegations and articles, I never listened to another Manson song, and I never plan to.
On the other hand, you have a person who, though never accused of rape, kidnapping and other things associated with Manson and Jackson’s private life, but who nonetheless is a legitimately bad person. You know him as Kanye West, but for the last five years or so, West has consistently shown the public a few very important things. One, that you can be a brilliant artist while not being a good person. Two, he’s a person capable of making the ultra up their own ass, self -importance of Kim Kardashian seems somehow normal and in need of support, when in fact she’s neither. She’s still the same horrible human being we’ve always known, but it’s to be applauded at how “normal” she seems when compared to the behaviors of her ex-husband.
West at this point is making the downfall of Sly Stone look tame, which is hilarious when you think about it. It’s also really sad. I don’t even consider myself a fan anymore. It’s just not worth the effort, and he hasn’t had a brilliant album in nearly a decade. To me that’s more important. As long as he was making good thought provoking music I could justify the darker sides. But with that essentially gone and this new, abusive husband Kanye seemingly staying out, who fucking cares. The guy is a joke, and mental illness or not, we deserve to not have Kanye around to deal with.
And lastly, well, just look at the types of behaviors and things he’s said. He’s a known agitator and resistor of democracy, he’s racist to his own race, openly supports abusers, rapists, racists and even will go to bat for a guy we all watched stand there making jokes as attendees of his own festival are literally crushed to death. I’m referencing Travis Scott if you were unsure.
The point is, making art doesn’t make you a good person, and being a bad person doesn’t instantly mean your art is unimportant. It does however mean that we can pick and choose our level of comfort when engaging with artists you don’t like as people. Be careful, but enjoy as best you can.
Since bursting into the music scene via MTV during the late 1990’s , Eminem, aka Marshall Mathers has had no shortage of hit songs, while confidently using his lyrical style to fit into every facet of both hip hop and pop culture. His tracks are often biting, critical indictments on the importance of celebrity self worship, mixed with tongue in cheek lyrical content. Doing this has cost him no shortage of publicity and drama, yet after over twenty years in the game, there are still more than enough people getting owned by betting against the Michigan innovator. With that, here are the top ten songs by Eminem.
10 RAP GOD: MARSHALL MATHERS LP 2
Over the course of this scorching, six minute track, Mathers intersects blink and you’ll miss it lyrical jabs, while accompanying those lines with his trademark style of hard to squeeze in words and content that both elevates the rap world while giving props to the MC’s who came before. The beat is simple enough to catch the listeners attention in service to the song, which is as controversial in moments as anything in his discography, but if you’re still tuning in at this point you shouldn’t be surprised by anything being presented during an Eminem record.
9 WITHOUT ME: THE EMINEM SHOW
By this point in his career, Mathers had become the biggest name in music, a few times over. On this, his third record, all bets were off, but still the record and this list wouldn’t be complete without this satirical fuck you, pointed at everyone not named Eminem. During the roughly four minute track, shade is appropriately thrown at Dick Cheney, the mother of Eminem, and plenty more celebrities prominent during that time. The lyrics are intense and ready for aggression, but the jolly feeling of the instrumentation make it almost too easy to sing alone to all incendiary lyrics being tossed at exceptional pacing.
8 LIKE TOY SOLDIERS: ENCORE
Written as a sort of call to action to squash the rampant violence of rap feuds far and wide, “Like Toy Soldiers” also offers an insight into Marshall the man, not Eminem the star. Lyrically it’s heartfelt and strong, but the rarely shown vulnerability surrounding the song is an eye opener. The usage of samples is just as expertly executed as the lyrics, and the song is infinitely better because of that flawless execution. For instance, Mathers rarely mentioned personal events and family members (other than his mom) in tracks, which makes this one all the more important and musically relevant. It’s totally underrated in his discography, and we'll say that's just not cool, especially when you see how far Mathers went lyrically on this track.
7 CLEANIN OUT MY CLOSET: THE EMINEM SHOW
Another one that’s emotionally poignant, “Cleanin out my Closet” speaks to me like a teenager's irrational fantasy about leaving a turbulent past while also opening up about why he’s leaving. The narrative is filled with terrible moments for any child to go through, but it paints a clear picture of the abuse Mathers suffered at the hands of his parentage. The strength to bring these things to the forefront is a strength few people have when it comes to parental abuse. Beyond that, the track was a huge hit and a real moment of reflection to many in the music world who just assumed ‘Em had only a dark macabre sense of rumor, with very little emotional weight behind him.
6 KILL YOU: MARSHALL MATHERS LP
At what point does a listener of music start to brush off violent images and undertones in music? If you want to be an Eminem fan, it should happen as early as possible. Much like the lyrical content in a Gwar song, none of these lines during the first verse of “Kill You,” are serious, but again, that didn’t stop the media from pouncing. For good measure, Mathers never backed away from the sensational lyrics, even going out of his way to make sure everyone knew no danger would come to anyone referenced in the track. Still, it’s a hilariously dark song.
5 WHITE AMERICA: THE EMINEM SHOW
America! Maybe not the best ‘Em song ever, but honestly, when I first heard it I was captivated by the bravado of the opening musical moments. Those moments are only elevated once Em’s vocals come bouncing into the mix. “White America” at its center speaks to me as a sign of acknowledgment of Mathers’ success, and how relatable as a human he is to his millions of fans. You have to remember, during his blossoming dominance during the late 90’s -early aughts, it wasn’t common for white rappers but it was very common for white fans. Because of that, millions of white mothers and fathers were suddenly aware that rap could be just as dangerous for oppression whether it came from one shade of skin or the other. In fact, being a success just made white kids that much more in love with Hip Hop culture than they were before.
4 LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE: RECOVERY
This might not be a great inside look at a successful relationship, but it’s down to earth in a way that makes it even more plausible and honest. With the backing from Rihanna’s powerful vocals, Mathers uses his too close for comfort past as a springboard for a chaotic portrait of a relationship on fire. For the listener it’s likely easy to put yourself in the musicians' shows, which naturally makes it easier to love as a piece of art. The unsureness permeating through the vocals are a reality for myself and many who deeply love a person while still not being sure how to make a peaceful happy life with another broken person. The best songs come from real life moments and emotions, and with “Love the Way You Lie,” Mathers created an honest look, full of difficulties, and that’s what the major takeaway should be, that even mega stars have difficult private and romantic lives.
3 THE WAY I AM: MARSHALL MATHERS LP
When I was making this list I found myself casually rewatching some of these videos, and while it’s not nearly as cool as I remember, the visual of ‘Em falling speaks particularly well to the song itself, as it seems at times like Mathers had nowhere else to go to escape the bullshit controversy that seemed to follow his early years. In truth this song is one of most relatable for me in terms of subject matter. I, like Mathers, struggle with the similarities between myself and my parents, along with having a quick mouth capable of making an entire room pretend they didn’t hear what I just said. “The Way I Am,” in short, is an unapologetic anthem for the loose cannons of the world, who despite their best intentions and efforts, still end up saying scandalous shit from time to time.
2 STAN: MARSHALL MATHERS LP
We all have our ideals, but the rampage of this particular fan stands out as a cautionary tale of disillusionment that stands as one of Eminem’s most powerful songs. It’s two decades old, but the lyrical content still haunts the listener with various what ifs. Also, it works two fold. It’s a powerful song for the listener, but for the musicians who consistently deal with obsessed fans it’s entirely different. You feel for the main character, sure, but I find myself relating more to Mathers here. You can’t please everyone who will ever enjoy your art, but where do you draw the line? How do you deal with unstable people who feel oddly, delusionally connected to you? For the vast majority, you don’t. It's a sad reminder of the dangers of fame, and of a person's inability to separate real life from entertainment.
1 LOSE YOURSELF: 8 MILE
Oh Marshall, here we go. Eminem has skirted controversy gleefully since breaking out in the late 90’s, and plenty of his songs have been called offensive, insensitive and downright filthy. However, he’s at his best when he uses his personal history to build a song that is as thoughtful as it is meaningful. Probably the best part of the film 8 Mile is the ending “Battle” section, where Em obliterates his music adversaries. This song stands as the pinnacle of what he’s able to do lyrically. There’s no clever lyrics dissing celebrities. Instead, it serves as not only the cornerstone for the film itself, but as the best song in his vast, sometimes hit or miss repertoire. This proves his versatility in lyricism, and it’s still an anthem all these years after it’s release. You really can’t not get into the chorus- it's strong, in your face, and a testament to the power of this particular lyricist.
As an young man, I gravitated more to heavier music, in the vein of Slayer, Pantera, Cannibal Corpse, and the like. As I got older though, I discover all different types of sounds, and unless you want to remain stagnant and stuck in one spot, you have to give everything a chance. One of those early albums was the Flaming Lips’ “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.” Before this record they had been known more for “ She don’t use Jelly,” but by this point they had changed their sound in favor of a more experimental, dreamy, lush landscape. Before Pink Robots, they had proven themselves to be a band unique to themselves with albums like “ Clouds Taste Metallic,” “Zaireeka,” and the “ the Soft Bulletin,” among others. This is a band that is constantly producing results. Check out “ Race for the Prize” off of Bulletin, it’s one of the best alternative songs of the last thirty years.
The album opens with a type of reverb, almost like giant robots being called into action. I imagine a giant factory of Pink Robots being assembled, and finally, the day for war has come. Some of the lyrics suggest my theory, but when you’re dealing with this band, I find it better just to enjoy the overall chemistry of the song and just let it flow. Much in the same way Muse did back in the day, the band, composed of just three dudes from Oklahoma manage to craft a sound that sounds like it’s at least 2 more members. Wayne Coyne, the leader and head weirdo in this outfit, brilliantly weaves in and out of this first song. The overall album, while not a concept album, has the general feel of a proper concept album.
The whole album has this otherworldly feel to it. Especially on the second track “ One More Robot, Sympathy 3000 – 21.” I picture this happening on some very clean space ship floating through the galaxies, most likely after the destruction of our precious planet, either by Pink Robots or politicians ( Seriously, can’t you imagine the government sending out Pink Robots to control the masses?)
Anyway, the first song that’s pure sing along comes when the third song “ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part I” arrives, but it quickly enters part two amid explosions in the musical sense. It’s very upbeat, immediate, and quite terrifying. This album is fucking visual from start to finish, at least for me. The album is one of the best and most beautiful albums I’ve ever heard, and it’s genius still continues to build. This just isn’t the type of album you come across very often, and that should be celebrated. It’s even more of a feat that while this was going on, band member Steven Drozd was apparently in the slums of a matter Heroin addiction. This of course no one outside of the band's inner circle was even aware of.
One of the best songs of the entire album is without a doubt “ Are you a Hypnotist??” The drum beat, the texture of the background, and the amount of vocals all roll into one to create another mind blowing song. It’s not often that the second half of the album is better than the first, but this is an exception to that rule. If you listen to the track, it’s downtrodden sure, but the struggling vocals by Coyne and the epicness of the last minute of the song really drive the emotion home.
As a rule, you should always play the song “ It’s Summertime” during, you guessed it, the summer. It’s amazing to lay down in a field, and close your eyes. For a moment, all can be right. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to forget your problems and to think of all the beautiful wonders this world offers, even if it’s for a short time. This plays into the next song also. That song is “ Do You Realize?” Now, this song is equal parts hopeful and melancholy. It’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard in my life. I found myself playing this song a lot around the time my Grandmother left this world. It’s important to replace those sad,lonely feelings with one more joy filled. I highly doubt people who have died would want their loved ones to only think about how they were in the end. They’d rather you think about them how they were in their prime, not how everyone is near the end.
The album continues in this way of thought with “All We Have is Now.” It’s true. For a fruitful life you have to take everything in stride. Closing out the album is more of a free jam type song, and honestly it works wonders. This can be a heavy album to take in, topic wise, but if you open up your mind and are willing to go for the ride, it has bountiful rewards.
It's sorta weird to think about Tool, featuring Keenan, Jones, Carey and Chancellor as the ring bearers for modern progressive rock, but after three near decades, it's also sorta impossible not to think of them as being at the top of the heap. Rush no longer exists in a present way, KingCrimson is three decades past their prime, and well that’s where we are right now. Let me know if I missed anyone.
Anyway, When you first heard “Stinkfist,” or at least for me when I did, it felt fresh, and even though I had heard the band before, my fragile teenage mind couldn’t quite make it make sense. Still, I couldn’t turn away from its thumping beats, the whispered, worried vocals, and of course, the weird, coldness of the music video. For many, this album and lead track was the big break that got them into the band.
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 but also have this welcoming quality to them, like a witch luring you into darkness.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.
“Ænima” as a whole has many up-tempo, epic moments, which range from immediate rocking openers, to more gradual builds, especially like the opening of “Eulogy,” Where the strange, almost alien sounds at the beginning, murmured out by Keenan, but soon those same murmurings are replaced by Carey’s drums, and of course, Keenan’s famous howl. At about seven and half minutes, the band was veering more into the longer songs they're mostly known for these days. Just like now, you can rarely tell the length when enraptured by the music. “Eulogy,” like “Hooker with a Penis” and “Ænima” later on go heavy on the frustration, and later the resentment. Those prevalent reactions and emotions are important here when considering where the band was. Which is to say, on the verge of a huge breakout, in the face of those who don’t want you to become some big thing. When this record came out in 1996, heavier music was just becoming larger than the late night hours of MTV or metal bars that I as a then 14 year old couldn’t possibly get into, even in Louisiana.
Getting back to the record, “Eulogy” ends and you’re like “holy crap what did I just listen to?” And then, before you can answer- boom, “H” hits and the album just somehow got more mind boggling and mystical, especially when considering the tones created by Adam Jones on guitar. To me, he’s the glue of the band, and with his imaginative film work and video work, it's clear to see how integral he is in the band's image. Keenan’s vocals are powerful throughout the track, but to me, it's Jones' guitar parts that hypnotize you here more than anything.
From there, another delight, in the shape of longtime fan favorite, “Forty-six and Two.” There are plenty of songs throughout this record that have the capacity to pull in the listener. 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 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 to. 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 it that much more enjoyable and cathartic.
During the 77 minute runtime of this particular Tool record, the band incorporates many interludes between songs. Some of these, like “Message to Harry Manback,” are downright weird, while others, like “Useful Idiot,” “Intermission” and “(-) ions” perfectly accompany the songs they precede. One such interlude, “Die Eier Von Satan,” neither fits in narratively or thematically, but once you know what it actually details and explains, is worth it, and very much a type of joke that the members of the band would think is funny. Google the lyrics, I promise you it’s deliciously fun.
Now, while the first half of the record is an absolute powerhouse, one could argue it’s still not as strong and cathartic as what comes after the explosive finale of “Hooker.” “Jimmy” is an often overlooked track, but good good are the guitar chords full of sludges thickness, while MJK’s voice is clear but foreboding, moving in and out of the mix brilliantly, while the drums ease, and deflate, before rising patiently in the track.
From there, the record is all full blown prof rock, with the last three songs making the record the full masterpiece it was always intended to be. On “Pushit,” a huge fan favorite that has become a lucky sight to see, with it rarely being played these days, is a true triumph of a track.
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.
Again, after the risers and falls that occur thematically, you’d maybe expect the following track to be as a ravine as the one before. That doesn’t happen here, and quite honestly, the next track, the kinda sorta title track, except spelled with an I not an E, is way more of a fuck you than any song on the record.
Instead, on “Ænema,” you get the aggressive vocals, in all their glorious fuck you attitude, as the pour out over the equally abrasive instrumental sections. It’s one of the band's biggest hits, and while it indeed does have brutal sentiments for the coming end, it’s so primal in its frustrations and anger that your typical Tool fan eats it up like pigs to shit.
And now, we get the finale, that is more than worth the wait. “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 lyrics help, 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. Thanks for reading.
Hey it’s 2022, which typically means lots of major music festival news in the first few weeks of the year. But, like last year, and the year before that., we are grounded in uncertainty as yet another strain of a deadly disease makes it way to the world.
Almost always Coachella, based in Indio, California, announces first, as per transition and also legal matters. This year that didn’t happen. In fact the lineup still hasn’t been released, and big surprise, people aren’t thrilled. Coachella has nearly always made up their own rules as they went along, while forcing other festivals to follow their rules as well, but without a lineup to announce, everything has been thrown into disarray as millions eagerly and often not so patiently wait to see where, or if they might be doing a fest this year.
The lineup was expected to feature big names like Rage Against the Machine, and most recently, Billie Eilish and Kanye West were rumored as the additional headliners, but even that hadn’t been confirmed. Instead, tons of people are waiting to see. For reference, if you go on reddits Coachella page, people are losing their minds, and are frequently becoming tired of waiting to make summer plans.
This is a problem for Goldenvoice, who oversees Coachella, but only until the lineup is announced. For the most part, these days, Coachella is less of a music festival and more of a rich kids weekend where the major concern isn’t seeing amazing musical acts but rather making sure everyone knows you’re at Coachella. Either way, people deserve fun.
Regardless of Coachella, and what other fests have up their sleeves, the major question I’m hearing when talking to friends is, should we even get excited? With everything still being extremely fluid in terms of covid, and of what’s safe, it’s easy to wonder if making these commitments, planning, and traveling is all worth it. As a person who is desperate to see live acts but in no rush to do it indoors where the disease is faster, the answer is a resounding, yeah I guess?
As an avid, hungry music fan, I miss live music so much, but as of now I’m not even tempted to go inside a venue to see a band, unless it’s outside. I want to dance, and laugh, and be free, but with plenty of bullshit still happening, being careful and safe outweighs every other desire.
Since the beginning of the new normal,one of the biggest concerns in the world of music was how would bands navigate the new terrain of performing during a pandemic. Most took at least a year off, some still haven’t announced anything, but some, like Mastodon and tour companions Opeth found the right time (or perhaps just not as bad a time) to complete a quick three week run.
A little over a month ago, during a particularly difficult time in my household (my wife has been fighting cancer and the after effects for nearly two years at this point) I decided to honor my commitment and head out for a concert. My wife was safe at home, being cared for by my sister, but honestly I barely even wanted to go. Opeth is great, but with them as the closer of the evening, I decided to head out, literally just for Mastodon (one of my favorite all time bands) before the snow and health issues came roaring back in the lives of my wife and I. So, formally, Opeth, I’m sorry, but I hope to see you again soon.
Seeing Mastodon has become a highlight in my concert seeing history, and with this being the sixth time witnessing them live, it was with slightly filled excitement that I braved the 20 degree, heavy snow impacted weather to get out of the house and out of my mental health issues for roughly two hours to see the heavy as hell Georgia titans.
This being my first time at Denver’s Mission Ballroom, I was really excited to see a show there, and the lay out of the club is pretty exceptional in my opinion, and right on schedule, at 8:00 sharp, the rowdy foursome of Dailor, Hinds, Sanders and Kelliher emerged and jumped right into new song “Pain with an Anchor,” with its thundering drums, and exquisite mythological guitar arrangements. The track, and the accompanying “Hushed and Grim” record aren’t as in your face as the band has been known to be, but the prog rock nature of this record lended itself brilliantly to a tour with Opeth, who basically perfected the genre.
From there, the band delivered on some of that early intensity with hammering tracks like “Crystal Skull,” the gradual pummeling of “Megalodon,” along with soaring anthems courtesy of “Black Tongue,” which is Walt’s a treat to hear and chant to in a love setting.
Mastodon as a whole is more in line with Black Sabbath and Zeppelin in my eyes than with the modern bands they often share stages with, but the modern aesthetics of Prog Rock, such as blindingly illuminating lights, and trippy visuals, all help to make the band feel like a singular being, with an excellent presentation to boot.
In previous years, I’ve seen the band open for huge acts, play fests, and play midnight shows on Halloween, but as a headliner, I feel bad for whoever plays after them. The massive crowd reaction to closer “ Blood & Thunder,” proved that even though they were technically an opener, many people got exactly what they wanted, which softened the pain of knowing I couldn’t say, but at least I got some metal in my system for a few hours.
BRUNO MARS & ANDERSON. PAAK: AN EVENING WITH SILK SONIC
ROB ZOMBIE: LUNAR INJECTION…
MAXO KREAM: WEIGHT OF THE WORLD
WAR ON DRUGS: I DON'T WANT TO
FLOATING POINTS: PROMISES
20 CONVERGE & CHELSEA WOLFE: BLOODMOON
What happens when metal core heroes Converge decide to create an album that’s unflinchingly heavy but with the somber, chilling accompanying vocals of Chelsea Wolfe as an extra feature? The answer, otherwise known as “Bloodmoon,” captures the versatility of the band, while engaging in a sort of gothic presentation as Wolfe’s dark, ominous voice attempts to overcome the surrounding darkness. Maybe not one of the bands best, but the experimentation and the degree difficulty make it definitely worth a listen.
19 PARCELS: DAY/ NIGHT
For a band from Australia, Parcels sure does sound like they could be of European descent, especially when you factor in the connection they have to Daft Punk. Regardless , on the bands new second album Parcels find themselves embracing even more the worlds of funk, R&B and even disco leanings into a stylish yet long album. It’s 82 minutes long, yet each track is so well sequenced and produced that you feel like you’ve just stepped into a band that’s made up of multiple different sounding bands, all rolled into one.
18 GASPARD AUGE: ESCAPADES
As part of Justice, Gaspard Auge became one of the leading electronic musicians over the last fifteen years. With his proper self titled debut, “Escapades,” Auge took the skills learned and refined over the years and developed an album that sounds like Justice, but with a bit more soul from Auge, who conceptually was alone in the making of this record. Essentially, if you like Justice, I’d be surprised if you don’t find something worthwhile on this record
17 ORLA GARLAND: WOMEN ON THE LOOSE
With her debut album, folk pop upstart Orla Garland has crafted a sincere, leaven at times too sincere and blunted wrapping her frustrations in delicate instrumentation that gives her soft voice room to grow. From the opening of “Things That I’ve Learned” all the way to the oddly upbeat finale of “Bloodline/ Difficult Things” you learn so much about the world Garland is living in, and it’s exhilarating to experience.
16 NATION OF LANGUAGE: A WAY FORWARD
With only two albums under their belt, Nation of Language, helming from Brooklyn, seems destined at this point to be the next big indie infused pop band. The music isn’t really Pop, but it’s not entirely indie either. Instead the three piece decide to blur the lines between the dark dingy atmosphere of a dive bar and the illuminating brightness of a city’s skyline.
15 VALERIE JUNE: THE MOON AND STARS
I talk to plenty of people about music, obviously, but Valerie June and her “Moon & Stars” record doesn’t make it into as many conversations as I’d like. With her natural, laid back approach , the Memphis late bloomer (this is her 6th album) seems finally poised to get the attention she should’ve been getting for years now. Her voice is smooth, often reminiscent of gliding air through a vivid garden, and over the course of a fourteen song record June shares a musical knowledge and understanding that’s more lustrous and beautiful than any garden.
14 SHANNON & THE CLAMS: YEAR OF THE SPIDER
In this current era, we’ve seen more than a few musicians take the most slog route in their instrumentations and music, but there’s very few who do it as well as the Shannon Shaw led Shannon & the Clams. Their sixth record, “Year of the Spider” glitters with olden sounds, at points experimental, trippy, or just down right groovy and seductive. Shaw’s voice has that smoky charm of old school legends like Joplin, but with the fine tune and an actually good voice. At 38 minutes it’s not a long commitment, but every minute is worth it.
13 THE JOY FORMIDABLE: INTO THE BLUE
I think what I like most about Joy Formidable, other than their rhythm section, is how they’ve matured in their music and presentation of that same art. “Into The Blue” opens with the roaring title track, while other songs like “I Gotta Feed My Dog,” have drums that accompany Rhiannon "Ritzy" Bryan vocals in a haze of synth effect that make the track and album so enticing.
12 ZAHARA: PUTA
In all the years of writing these lists, I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved to an album from a totally non English speaking creator as I was the excellent “Puta” from Zahara. This artist has been making records for nearly two decades overseas where he’s apparently very well known, but I never really heard the name until this year. Which is a shame, because the beats far overpower the need for understanding of the language. You can tell it’s sincere and emotional, and sometimes that’s really all you need when an album is this good.
11 GOJIRA: FORTITUDE
EVERYONE WATCH OUT! IT'S GOJIRA! FROM… France? Yeah you read that right. One of the best metal bands of the last two decades is named after a terrifying Japanese creation. Even so, “Fortitude” is another in a long line of great, relentlessly melodic metal the band has been steadily releasing for 20 years. They’ve opened and played for enormous crowds, and like their predecessors, “Fortitude” had area anthems ready to be blasted, like “The Grind” for instance. If you like metal and don’t know about Gojira, then you probably like metal less than you think.
10 LIL NAS X: MONTERO
In literally two years Lil Nas X has traversed the world of country and appropriately made them more woke and in line with the current world, while also captivating the world of Pop music in a major win for music but also acceptance. “Montero” captures X’s latest two years in a burst of music so energizing it’s hard, nearly impossible to avoid m. It’s positive in a way that few newer entertainers can match. The music is also better than most rap or pop music currently being made. I wasn’t a fan two years ago, but I honestly can’t wait to see where Lil Nas X goes next.
9 JUNGLE: LOVING IN STEREO
On their third album as Jungle, lead guitarist/ vocalist Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland on lead bass and vocalist have redefined what modern funk and soul should sound like. This is probably the best album they’ve made, and frankly, it fills me with warm feelings as the gentle instrumentations whirl amid a sea of optimism and soul.
8 YOLA: STAND FOR MYSELF
Mixing country with soul, and then slathering a thick lustrous voice on top of that wam goodness, Yola dominates the forty-six minutes of “Stand for Myself” with ease though would make Adele blush. I really fell in love with her vocals from the first listen, and the more I delved into the world of Yola and her addictive voice, the more in love I fell with her. This is a record perfect for early mornings, the park on a gorgeous day, or just something to blend into the background.
7 LUCY DACUS: HOME VIDEO
Oh to be young. Naive and to learn the hard way. When listening to the sublime new record from Lucy Dacus, those are the thoughts creeping through my mind most often. Her soft, vulnerable voice beckons out over the mix as her guitar gently strums, only adding to the tension permeating from “Home Video.” Songs like album opener “Hot & Heavy” welcome you to Dacus’ universe, while “Brando” stands up against the best modern anthems regarding growing up and facing the real, often viscous world.
6 BLACK MIDI: CAVALCADE
For a band that exploded onto the indie scene not even 3 years prior, Black Midi have already released two earth shatteringly loud, raucous records. The opening moments of “John L” crash like chaos, while many of the other songs, such as the foreboding uneasiness of “Diamond Stuff” show you just what they can do when pushed to perfection. Probably the best new band of the last 10 years, with two sublimely good albums under their belt.
5 NICK CAVE & WARREN ELLIS: CARNAGE
For the last five or so years, Cave and Ellis, often alongside the rest of the Bad Seeds, have been making some of the most moving, somber music I've ever heard. This time around it’s only Cave and Ellis, yet it feels very much like an official NC & TBS record. It’s wildly imaginative with how the vocals are mixed, and sung, while the unique instruments presented offer a very dark but ornate collection of music. The best moments for me are the three song sections of “White Elephant,” “Albuquerque,” and finally “Lavender Fields.” All three are slower tracks with varying degrees of emotional turmoil, but Cave's voice almost always is able to make a person feel a certain way, which oftentimes Cave and company want you to feel. another raw album from this prolific living legend.
4 PINK SWEAT$: PINK PLANET
The last of the R&B stylings to make this list, it’s also the best. I never really enjoy these types of records, but David Bowden and his record “Pink Planet” is way more in the vein of Prince than any other artist I can think of. He’s not totally comparable to the great one, yet, but this album is well mixed with the sound, backing tracks are spot on, and the overall message is one people should hear more often. Bowden’s voice is elegant, purposeful, and full of heart and soul in a way most singers not named Frank Ocean are capable of doing these days. If you want a record for a quiet, romantic evening with someone, I’d stop looking. I found it for you.
3 HALSEY: IF I CANT HAVE LOVE…
For most, the name Halsey is enough to warrant a desire to listen. For me, a near forty year old music snob, the interest became existent with the addition of Trent Reznor & Attitcus Ross, currently known for Nine Inch Nails and multiple excellent created film scores. With the pair's help, Halsey imagined an album muddied on pop music as heavier industrial beats fight to change the scenery. A few of the songs are slower, more intricately built, while others, such as “Easier Than Lying” or “I am not a woman, I’m a god” soar with industrial tinges and Halsey signature sultry, indie ice voice.
2 CHVRCHES: SCREEN VIOLENCE
Since the early days of their first album, all the way until now, Glasgow’s own CHVRCHES have rarely stumbled, with the limited exception of 2018’s “Love is Dead.” Instead, they’ve continued to make strong electro pop, but there’s something different this time around. Lauren Mayberry and her vocals, as well as her lyrical content, is far more open and strong than she already was previously, but “Screen Violence” finds the vocalist battling with the well known beauty standards of the word, her mistakes, her wins, and all the things she’s learned not to do as she navigates the brutal world of the music industry. Even with the help of legends like Robert Smith in the track “How Not to Drown,” the band doesn’t really do much wrong on “Screen Violence,” which lands at number three.
1 POND: 9
Another one from Australia, Perth's own Pond began as a side project for Tame Impala members, but on 9, the bands ninth album, Pond created a world free of hassle and full of inspired dance rock. Songs like “America's Cup” were made for dance floors, while more mid tempo tracks like “Take Me Avalon I’m Young,” bring the energy down a notch while focusing more on vocal performance. “Human Touch” is another one meant to get sweaty too as well. There’s plenty to unpack and get lost in during 9’s thirty-nine minutes, which is perhaps the most obvious reason it takes the number 1 slot for the Top 20 Albums of 2021.
Somehow, this year outdid 2020 for crazier shit, but at least we had music? I can’t speak for everyone, but this was the year I felt like I gave much more time to detaching from real world stresses through music than anything else. Below you’ll find a collection of the songs that helped me to work through this crazy thing called life. Follow us for more content at @thedeathofthemixtape on instagram, facebook and Spotify. Thanks for reading.
It’s taken me too long to understand the excellence of Frances Gojira, but this year it finally made sense to me. Fortitude is full of future metal classics, but “The Grind,” which comes near the end of the record, has all the ingredients hardcore metal fans love. It has a bounce of energy circulating through it, and the voice of Joe Duplantier growls through the chorus like the best of the best. Gojira has steadily risen in the metal world for the last five or so years, and songs like “The Grind” are a good reason for that success.
9 SILK SONIC: BRUNO MARS & ANDERSON.PAAK
LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN: AN EVENING WITH SILK SONIC
I wasn’t born or even conceived in the 70’s, but goddamn does this song make me wish I was conceived to its glorious Melodie’s and vibes. I’ve never been huge into either of these artists, but there’s something so cool, confident and dare I say sexy about these two modern crooners making an album that’s as authentic and nostalgic as this one. If perfectly captures the romanticized idea we like to have of that decade, yet it never feels stale or redundant.
8 NICK CAVE & WARREN ELLIS
Dammit Nick Cave, why are you always making me cry? Anyway, if you’re a fan of Cave and longtime collaborator Warren Ellis, you probably know the last several years has seen the duo make compelling, deeply unsettling music. On this track, from their recent duet album, the pair continue to make somber, thought- provoking music that can make a grown man bend and break with the best of them. “Albuquerque” is unique in its instrumental approach, while Cave’s deep, smoldering voice does everything it always has, to extraordinary success.
7 MEGAN THEE STALLION
THOT SHIT, SOMETHING FOR THE HOTTIES
At this point there’s very little the public needs to know about Megan that we don’t already know. She’s fine as fuck, intelligent in a way much of the hip hop can’t seem to understand, not to mention her verses and word play are insane. Sure most of her tracks are about unadulterated feminism, the love of sex and being free in your own skin, but with those tracks come a women who is storming the industry, striking while the iron is hot, and flaunting her insane lyrical skills as well as her excellence visual performance skills.
6 GIRL IN RED
SEROTONIN, IF I COULD MAKE IT GO QUIET
Marie, otherwise known as Girl in Red, leaped into the indie pop pool this year, and while many hrs I rated towards her, “Serotonin” and its unflinching honesty certainly latched itself to my household. My wife and I loved this song, and while there’s plenty to enjoy from this album, there’s no song better than this one, which is why it lands at number six on the Top 10 songs of the year.
5 LUCY DACUS
BRANDO, HOME VIDEO
In the recent, more than welcome trend of heartfelt indie female performers, Dacus has become the next in the line of Mitski, Bridgers, etc in crafting thoughtful pop-ish rock that strikes the heart strings of many people, including myself. “Brando,” clocking in right at three minutes, exemplifies the burn of early love, naivety in the face of that love, and the knowledge of being a certain way for certain people, and how easy it is to get wrapped up in those emotions. Lucy’s voice is reserved but to the point,which makes the song all the better and emotional.
4 PINK SWEAT$
It’s only been in the last several years that I’ve gotten more into R&B, but Daniel Bowden, aka Pink Sweats can write a song that’s equal part love and loss, and “17,” is a perfect example of the type of swooning and seduction you get throughout the album. Borden’s voice is easy to get lost in, and the gentle instrumentals lifting up the song are easy going while still being emotionally impactful. I listened to this song and album many times this year, and I hope this type of output continues, because Pink Sweat$ might be the future of classic R&B making a big comeback.
3 BILLIE EILLISH
HAPPIER THAN EVER, HAPPIER THAN EVER
This album mostly missed the mark for me, but our number threetrack of the year, “Happier Than Ever” somehow makes up for the rest of the record. It starts slow and solemn, with Billie's voice cracking and desperate as she tries to escape the bullshit of her current scenarios. It’s a gentle ball upfront, but as the emotions explode so does the musical energy form the songs. The closing section is not quite arena rock, but it has everything that an emotional record finale needs to stick it’s landing, which it does brilliantly.
EASIER THAN LYING: IF I CANT HAVE LOVE…
It’s amazing what the addition of two excellent producers can do for a pop star looking for a sharp change in musical tone. With this record, Halsey, along with Reznor and Ross, created a classic collection of songs that play on her strengths. “Easier than Lying,” with its underlying tension and complicated relationships, brims with intense anxiety, uncertainty, and a killer instrumental section to boot. On an album consistently great and genre pushing, “Easier than Lying” stands out even among the best moments of the record.
1 JAPANESE BREAKFAST
BE SWEET, JUBILEE
As 2021 events began to become more clear and organized, the release of Michelle Zauner's
second major Japanese Breakfast album was one of the things I was most excited about. Yeh album is good, not amazing though, but “Be Sweet” is a masterpiece and a truly triumphant song. The guitar and synth parts are perfectly shaded under the strength of Michelle’s voice, but the positivity and optimism of her voice is enough to make this the Top Song of 2021.
TOP ALBUMS COMING SOON!
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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