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"Lazy Bones" Green Day
"Where Will We Go" Iamdynamite
"Red Hands" Walk Off the Earth (this song is "restricted in playlists" or something like that; but it's still amazing.)
"Beta Love" Ra Ra Riot
"Sleep Alone" Two Door Cinema Club
"Overrated" Mika
"Time Bomb (Walk Away)" Chris Wallace
"Give Me Love" Ed Sheeran
"The Falling" Eli Young Band
"Gone, Gone, Gone" Phillip Phillips
"D Train (Broke My Heart)" Momma Holler
"The Last Time" Taylor Swift featuring Gary Lightbody
"C'mon" Ke$ha
"Young Girls" Bruno Mars
- E


Chris Wallace

       I wrote a really short tidbit about Chris Wallace the other day, but he deserves to have a more in depth post. He's from a small town in Indiana and says that that small town mentality is the reason he is able to sing so loudly and set such high career goals for himself. He was a guitarist when he began his first band (Quad Four) as a teenager, but then took the role of lead singer and never gave up that spotlight. After establishing his role as a lead singer, he uploaded a song ("Allow Me to Introduce Myself... Mr. Right") to his MySpace page where he was discovered by a music scout. 
       At this point, he left Hebron, Indiana for New York where he became the lead singer of The White Tie Affair. That band was successful, making it onto the Top 20 with their song "Candle (Sick and Tired)" (written by Wallace), as well as touring with Lady Gaga, Secondhand Serenade, Innerpartysystem, and Metro Station, as well as Stereo Skyline and Runner Runner when they went on their first headlining tour. After the success of their first album, Walk This Way, the band's label insisted that the members begin working with the songwriters and producers which the label had chosen, rather than allowing the band to continue making their own music. Wallace wanted to continue making his own music though and announced (in May 2012) that he would be beginning his solo career (the band later announced that they had broken up in June 2012).
       Wallace's solo career has all the possibility of taking off, simply because he has that likability factor and the great stage presence which are so necessary in creating a star; he just draws attention, it's as simple as that. Plus, he is just mature enough that his lyrics will go over the heads of that teenybopper group and he will be able to create a fan base that is composed of, generally, early to late twenty year old's (mostly female, of course, but what else would you expect from an artist like this), and that age group is easier to grow with, musically, than those teenage fans.
       Wallace writes his own music, so it has to be true to him to be created, and honest lyrics from the musician who felt them are better than any lyrics written by a songwriter for another artist (when an artist sings a song they did not write, even if they have felt these emotions, they are still just mimicking someone else's expressions of that feeling). Though this album does sound, superficially, as if it is just another pop/dance album that has been churned out by the big record exec's, when you listen to it, you can hear how truly great the lyrics are (listen to "I'll Be There," "Don't Mind If I Do," or "Keep Me Crazy" [or any song on the album, Push Rewind]). The composition is not just another pop anthem soundtrack either though; when you start to listen to it, you can hear that it has been played around with just enough that it has that electronic signature that is so satisfying to hear (and the sound tones itself down throughout the album, incorporating a lot more piano and back beats than flat out dance beats as it progresses). Also, there is nothing I hate more than when an artist is drowned out by their own music (it makes me think that their voice just is not that good), but even when those beats swell, you can still hear Wallace's voice coming out above them (he makes it obvious that his vocals are good). 
       Even in songs like "Best Mistake" where he sounds like he's slipping a little towards a boy band sound, he pulls himself back into the realm of a great artist by keeping those lyrics pure and following it up with "I'll Be There" and "Time Bomb (Walk Away)" (which is reminiscent of "Keep Me Crazy" because both are really great dance songs, yet the lyrics ring so true that it just becomes a good song on its own, regardless of the dance beats pulsing through the track). "Invincible" may be cheesy, but that does not mean that it cannot be written greatly (and honestly) and make people feel good, and "Hurricane" is just altogether great (get past the dance beats and listen to the lyrics). "Don't Mind If I Do" is this weird, great mix of jazz and dance, while "Ready To Fall" breaks up the pop album with a composition created by piano, strings, and Wallace's clean voice, and "Do It All Again" closes the album by pulling that dance sound back in, put keeping it just low key enough that it's easy to focus on the really great lyrics Wallace so easily manipulates. Of course, there's "Remember When (Push Rewind)", and I may never grow tired of this song; it gets better the more you listen to the song and the more you focus on those lyrics. 
       This guy puts his heart into his music and he's kind of awesome so, if you like him, make sure to share his music and talk him up so that this is not the last you hear from him.
- E


Samples and Covers

       After hearing how Willie Nelson completely butchered "The Scientist" (but maybe that's just because I truly abhor Nelson's voice and Coldplay will always be better than him), I began thinking about all of the truly great songs that have been created, then ruined by awful covers. That's a little depressing though, so why not focus on the positive and talk about the best covers of some great songs? Sampling is just as important once you begin discussing covers, because they run along that same sort of line; both are taking something from a former song or artist and using it to create something that is even better. Who has not heard a song and thought, "Gosh, I wish I had written that"? Doing a cover or taking a sample of a song just shows that the covering artist respected the song or the original artist's composition; it's kind of a great compliment.
       One of the best examples of the thin line between sampling, covering, and supposed stealing, is "Bitter Sweet Symphony". It's an amazing song by a great band (The Verve) and, though they have received no royalties from the song's success, they still continued to perform the song and it became the song which the band is most recognized for. They are said to have sampled 'too much' from "The Last Time" by The Rolling Stones and had to give credit for their song to Jagger and Richards. Ashcroft (The Verve) later did a live performance where he stripped the orchestral sound and stated that, even without those sampled bars, the song is still great; and it is, the lyrics and melody are fantastic.
       I love Jason Derulo. Really, I love any artist I have ever had to write a paper on because, the more you know, the more you like them (usually). He's a great song writer and just a nice guy and, even though "Whatcha Say" does not have the best meaning (he's basically telling a girl that she should forgive him for cheating because, one day, he'll be rich and famous and it will be worth having stayed with him...), but the lyrics are put together greatly and he did manage to bring a song ("Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap) that had become nearly dormant, after its early success in 2005, back to the spotlight. The fact that he took a song that is so very far removed from his pop genre and mixed it perfectly with these lyrics is amazing and something which he should be praised for; you have to know, and like, the song to get to the part of the lyrics which Derulo samples.
       "Addicted to Love" was a great hit by Robert Palmer, but Florence + the Machine did a great job with the song and kept it pretty close to its original composition, changing it only slightly from its rock sound to keep with the alternative sound the band has become known for.
       Ellie Goulding did an amazing job with Elton John's "Your Song" and I actually prefer her version over Elton John's, though that sounds slightly blasphemous, so we can call it a tie between Goulding's cover and John's original. The fact remains, no matter how great her cover is, Elton John is still the one who wrote and composed this perfectly beautiful song; he gets all the credit for whatever amazing music is created from, or with, this song.
       "Suspended In Gaffa" by Kate Bush has truly amazing lyrics and, it may just be because I am a Ra Ra Riot fan, but if anyone could take a song that amazing and make it better, it would be them, and I much prefer their cover version (which does stick close to that original composition) over Bush's original.
       "Sing For The Moment" by Eminem is the only song that could successfully sample such an iconic Aerosmith song and do it ("Dream On") justice.
       "I Cry" is great and Flo Rida has not been given as much credit for this song as he should; the song does a great job of sampling "Cry (Just a Little)" by Bingo Players' (a song which sampled "Piano in the Dark" by Brenda Russel). Also, lay off Flo Rida; "Cry (Just a Little)" was more than pointless before he turned it into something great.
       Sons of Admirals did a really great cover (back when they were still together; oh, finicky bands...) of "Here Comes My Baby," incorporating the composition from Cat Steven's original version with the upbeat vocals in The Tremeloes cover version. It's a perfect mixture of the two versions, with just enough of the band's unique sound mixed in (the band was cool, because the members have all done work on their own and came together to create more exposure for the member's work). If you like Sons of Admirals, check out Alex Day (his music is really great and I only found him, and every subsequent band in this paragraph, because Kristina Horner [ALL CAPS] did a song about him), Tom Milsom, Charlie McDonnell, Ed Blann, Chameleon Circuit, or Chartjackers (though this was a project that featured no composition nor lyrical work by Day or McDonnell, it's just a cute fun song for a good cause).
       Ratham Stone's cover of "Everybody Talks" is actually more fun to listen to sometimes because it does feature a female vocal and, if the Neon Trees were missing anything in their original composition, it was that female component that works so perfectly into a song like this. Neon Trees are awesome though, and the original still beats the cover, but Ratham Stone does do one of the best live covers of "Pumped Up Kicks" that I have heard (and that's a lot (almost too much), because every 'undiscovered band' seemed to latch onto that song this past summer). Ratham Stone (and Neon Trees) is just fun to see live though; if they get famous it will be, in part, due to the energy which they exude on stage.
       No band can perform a live cover of a classic by The Cranberries like Passion Pit in a hazy club though. Despite my new(ish) feelings on the band, the first time I saw "Dreams" performed live, it was great; the band did an amazing job with the cover and may be the only current band who could do so, so flawlessly.
       Travie McCoy's "We'll Be Alright" samples Supergrass's "Alright" and it's great. It was later covered by Bruno Mars, though Bruno Mars helped to write the song, so I'm not sure how much this would be considered a cover and how much is just Mar's rights to record himself singing along to the song (which is basically all the cover is anyways. And I do really like Bruno Mars, as you can tell from this, I just like Travie McCoy so much more). Also, Mars version was not, and could never, be better than Travie McCoy's because he will never be that cool; Travie McCoy is kind of awesome.
       "Cheers (Drink to That)" by Rihanna used a sample from "I'm With You" by Avril Lavigne, though the backing vocals were sung by L.P. so, basically, Rihanna sampled a song that was then covered during the song. Besides the fact that the song simultaneously includes a sample and a cover, it also has one of the best covers by a band: Walk off the Earth. If you're looking for musical ability versus a catchy drinking/party song, go for Walk off the Earth. This band is the king of covers (though they have fantastic original songs), simply because the vocal and instrumental abilities of their members are so amazing; calling their version the best cover may not be fair as they are so great and I'm kind of biased (Walk off the Earth is better than Rihanna, in my opinion), but it is a really great cover.
- E


Warrior Preview

       Sometime yesterday, iTunes began offering a free listening of Ke$ha's new album Warrior (to be released next week) for a short period of time and I am only more excited for its release now. The entire album is great and Warrior sounds like it is better than both of her previous albums combined. Despite what people may have previously thought, Ke$ha has made it clear, on this album, that she does have a good singing voice (without the help of autotune) and that she is a good song-writer; and that she's kind of awesome. This album sounds amazing, so get Warrior on December 4th because now I can say, with confidence, that it will be worth it. 
       Full length singles which have already been released from this album: "Only Wanna Dance With You", "C'mon", and, of course, "Die Young".
- E

Ra Ra Riot

       Ra Ra Riot formed in 2006 in Syracuse as an indie rock band. Currently, the band consists of Wes Miles, Milo Bonacci, Rebecca Zeller, Mathieu Santos, and Kenny Bernard. They have toured with great bands like Art Brut, Editors, and Tokyo Police Club, as well as completing two tours in the UK and two headlining tours in the US. They have released two albums, The Rhumb Line (2008) and The Orchard (2010), and they are currently working on their third album, Beta Love, set to be released January 22, 2013. This band is great in every way and, despite a strong fan base (small, but strong, much like Tokyo Police Club and Sleeperstar), the band is still not famous; the fact that a band like Of Monsters and Men or Band of Horses could become famous before Ra Ra Riot is slightly ridiculous (and both Of Monsters and Men and Band of Horses are great bands, but Ra Ra Riot is just better).
       Shortly after I was getting interested in music again (see here), my oldest sister introduced me to this band; they are amazing. Their sound is just so pure and the music itself is almost cleansing. Most music attaches itself to you in one way or another, whether it's Ke$ha and wakes you up or makes you excited, or Death Cab for Cutie and depresses you, or your favorite band that just makes you happy, but Ra Ra Riot seems completely adept at creating songs that spew truth and emotions that wash over the listener and leave them feeling good. Not excited or sad or happy, but just good; their music is like a detox for your soul. There is not a lot of music, nor bands, who are able to make you feel perfectly at peace with just a few songs, which is why Ra Ra Riot is so great.
       There is not a single song on their first album (The Rhumb Line) that is bad; it is one of the few albums where saying "each song is better than the last" is more a factual statement than a common phrase. That is truly saying something, because "Dying Is Fine" is, to me, perfection, but I am willing to accept the fact that every song after it on the album ("Can You Tell," "Too Too Fast," "Oh, La," "Suspended In Gaffa," and "Run My Mouth") is just as great and that the compositions and lyrics do get better as the album progresses. All of the lyrics are written so beautifully and the compositions are put together perfectly to match those lyrics and Wes Miles delivers each line with so much emotion that it's easy to get caught up in the music. Of course, just because the album becomes progressively better does not mean that the first few songs are not as good. This is a band whose music begins as something amazing, and only grows from there. "Ghost Under Rocks" is just amazing, "St. Peter's Day Festival" has great guitar and violin riffs, and "Winter '05" and "Each Year" are both fantastic. I could describe every song on this album as "perfect" in one way or another, but the only way to truly realize how great the band and their album are is to just listen to it.
       Their second album, The Orchard, came out just as perfectly as the first and shows just how much the band has matured, composition wise and lyrically. You can hear those sharper sounds in the violins and the more ominous tone of the drums because the album is less starstruck and expectant while being more realistic, but it is still a cleansing relief from everything else. "Boy" actually did garner some attention for the band when it was used in a commercial, but that does not lessen the greatness of the song. While "The Orchard" is a truly great song and, again, my favorite song(s) is not at the end of the album, the album, yet again, gets better as it progresses. "Too Dramatic" is just an amazing song and I can never get enough of it, but every song after it gets better, and "Shadowcasting" is just one example of how much better the album becomes as it progresses and the lyrics and compositions from the band grow and become more thoughtful, intricate, and wonderful. "Foolish" and "Massachusetts" may be ignored because they are placed in the middle of the album, but they are just as wonderfully put together as the other songs and, like every Ra Ra Riot song, just get better the more you listen to them. "You and I Know" is one of the few songs which features their female vocalist, and that is the only way the song could have sounded as great as it does. "Do You Remember" and "Kansai" sound just as perfect as any other Ra Ra Riot song filled with meaningful lyrics and perfect compositions. "Keep It Quiet" is amazing; it's just pure Ra Ra Riot and pure perfection. There is nothing better than the closing song on a Ra Ra Riot album, because it is always the absolute best which the band has to offer from that album. "Keep It Quiet" has a composition which does just that and emotions which are so clearly defined with expertly written lyrics and a vocalist who does an amazing job of portraying all these feelings. 
       Every band grows up between albums and Ra Ra Riot shows how to do so flawlessly. I cannot wait for their third album to be released and every time I listen to "Beta Love" I get a little more excited for January 22nd.
- E

"Remember When"

       I've been neglecting this site, and my readers, and I apologize. Excuses are worthless and the list has grown too long to put into words which are not considered vulgar in English vernacular anyways. With that aside, enjoy this while I try to come up with some new posts for you guys. The composition is catchy, the lyrics are easy to sing, and Wallace has a face and sound that are easy to sell. Plus, if you can look past that electronic beat and pop sound, the song is actually good; it may not sound deep, but if you listen to all the lyrics, it's actually kind of great. Enjoy this now, because it will be famous soon and you'll get sick of hearing it on the radio all the time.
       "Remember When (Push Rewind)" Chris Wallace
- E


"Killer Queen"

Only one example of how truly amazing Freddie Mercury was.
- E


       I grew up listening to my parents' radios blasting the 'oldies' and a lot of classic rock and country. Every now and then it's kind of nice to listen to this type of music again because they are all great. When these songs were produced, there was no autotune and the composition always sounded full and rich; there's a reason they are so easy to listen to and that they are considered "classics". 
"I Want You Back" The Jackson 5
"Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)" Looking Glass
"Your Song" Elton John
"Addicted to Love" Robert Palmer
"Cold As Ice" Foreigner
"Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch" The Four Tops
"Only The Good Die Young" Billy Joel
"Any Way You Want It" Journey
"No Sleep Till Brooklyn" Beastie Boys
"Hotel California" The Eagles
"Fire And Rain" James Taylor
"Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels)" Jim Croce
"Small Town" John Mellencamp
"Man In Black" Johnny Cash
"Everyday" Buddy Holly
"Wouldn't It Be Nice" Beach Boys
"I'm Into Something Good" Herman's Hermits
"Eleanor Rigby" The Beatles
"Mr. Blue Sky" Electric Light Orchestra
"Bohemian Rhapsody" Queen
- E


New Medicine

       A rock band from Minneapolis, Minnesota, New Medicine (Jake Scherer, Dan Garland, Matt Brady, Ryan Guanzon) formed in 2009 and released their debut full length album, Race You To The Bottom, in September 2010. The band has toured with Halestorm, Hollywood Undead, Stone Sour, Avenged Sevenfold, and performed at Uproar Festival, Rock the Rapids, and Rocklahoma.
       In a little over two years, the band has gone from a few uploaded videos and a handful of amateur recordings of live performances on YouTube to having music videos for nearly half their songs; I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the band has been able to amass a great fan base. The band has an amazingly devoted fan base who will share this band with anyone to get their music out there and a label who took 3OH!3 from obscurity and turned them into a worldwide phenom. This band is, hopefully, only one album away from achieving the fame and recognition which they deserve.
       "Laid" is the best opening song, for the album, which the band could have used. It's awful, but really fantastic. It's also one of the best songs to run to (especially if you're really pissed off) ever.
       If you can listen to, or watch the video for, "Rich Kids" and not love how weird, gritty, and wonderfully honest the band is, you probably should not bother yourself with reading the rest of this post (watch the music video; it will make the band that much more amazing). The band is great, and the fact that an awesome song like this heads straight into "Little Sister" only makes the band that much more amazing. The song ("Little Sister") is just amazing. It's put together perfectly and shows how great the band is at being heartbreaking-ly honest while maintaining that gritty outer core that is so central to the rock genre. The repetition of "do your wings fit good" never fails to rip at my heart, but it's so fantastic at the same time that it makes it possible to listen to again without getting too upset by this perfectly amazing song.
        "End of the World" is such a great song. It would be a great concert song with lines like "let's go crazy, everybody let go," "someone give me something I can scream out loud," or "party till the end of the world". The song is just so upbeat while maintaining that main set of guitar riffs that is so imperative to the heart of a rock song. 
       "Baby's Gone" does not sound like the name of a great song and if you listen to it superficially (focusing on the name and the main refrain) the song sounds a little unnecessary, but if you listen to the entire thing and actually pay attention to the lyrics, the song is kind of great. On the other hand, "Resolve to Fight," is just great. I mean, the only way I can truly define how I feel about it is from my short hand note which simply read "fucking awesome"; and it is, undoubtedly, that.
       "Never Heard" is a great song, from the first drum beat to the last guitar riff. The composition is perfect and the lyrics are put together so thoughtfully that I cannot get enough of the song. Scherer appears to get the bands point across so easily, with the way he can spit out lyrics at the same time he is pouring out his heart to the listener. If the composition and the other lyrics did not make me like the song, then the line "I don't want to feel these things for you" makes me love the song.
       "American Wasted" sounds just like you would expect it to, but does that make it any less fun to listen to. It sounds like a fantastic '80's rock song and, regardless of your personal taste, most everyone can listen to, and appreciate, that era of rock. The same thing goes for "Race You to the Bottom". I do love the fact that a rock song employs the phrase "hell's bells," but it's not quite as terrific as the other songs, whose lyrics are just a little more heartfelt and thoughtful.
       Immediately after this, slightly ridiculous, song is "It's A War," and this song is too great to be shoved in towards the end of the album. The band has this amazing ability to produce these great meanings and lyrics in each of their songs, and this song is the prime example of the band's skills. Of course, the switch up from the beat of the guitar to the addition of the piano into the middle of the song only makes it that much better before it dissolves into the rock guitar riffs and back beats as the song draws to a, slightly discordant, end.
       "Sun Goes Down" is one of my favorite songs; not just by New Medicine, but one of my favorites, period. It's simply an amazing song from "I don't know where to start, I keep falling apart" to "my eyes are blind and all I see, is how the world just laughs at me". The entire song is fantastic from that opening guitar to the simple beat that follows it the entire length of the song; and not one of those lyrics can be described as anything less than perfect. It's an amazing song and deserves so much more attention than it has received. You might not expect a band like this to have great lyrics, but every song on the album is better written and put together than the last and, the fact that this song is the last on the album (if you do not have the 'deluxe version') only proves this point. 
       You should get the deluxe version of the album though, that way you can listen to "The Takeover," on repeat. It's a surprisingly fantastic song and I cannot imagine how anyone decided that it should not have made the original album cut. There is no band I would love to see live more than this band, if only to hear/see the band perform "The Takeover" and "Sun Goes Down".
       "We Are the Fire" is just a great rock song; each of their 'bonus tracks' is amazing enough that it should have made it onto the bands album to begin with. The song is put together so greatly, beginning with a great guitar riff (that almost sounds reminiscent of Mellencamp era country, turned into rock), to lines like "shut up, get up, wake up", before dissolving into the "whoa's"  and the wails of the band that try to follow that last guitar strum out of the song; it's great. 
       "Amen" is a classic rock song that sounds like it could have been produced sometime as the '80's were crossing into the '90's, much like "Race You to the Bottom" and "American Wasted". Not my favorite sound, but I can still appreciate it for its composition and the everlasting quality of that classic rock sound.
       "Love You Now" is a great way to end the album. It is just as amazing as "Never Heard" and "Sun Goes Down" and there is absolutely no reason that it should be as little known as it is. With a great rock sound, throughout, and lyrics like "I wish I would have known a little more when I was younger, would I have been the man I am today" and "I didn't wanna love you now" the song is too great to not know, or to not listen to on repeat. 
       Each song on Race You To The Bottom is better than the last and the band is so gritty and honest that they're great. The band is able to slide so easily from one rock sub genre to the next without missing a beat in their great compositions; and each song, no matter the sound or atmosphere, has lyrics which have been put together perfectly. Buy their album (the 'deluxe' version), it is more than worth it and is one of the few albums that get better the more you listen to them. They are so amazing, I cannot believe that it has been two full years since this album came out and they are not yet famous; they need to be.
- E



"Killin' It" Foxy Shazam
"22" Taylor Swift
"Blown Away" Carrie Underwood
"Twenty Eight" The Weeknd
"Young Girls" Bruno Mars
"Feel Again" OneRepublic
"Bright Lights" Gary Clark Jr.
"Let Go" SafetySuit
"Postcard" Bridgit Mendler
"Diamonds" Rihanna
"Love Letters" Paper Route
"D Train (Broke My Heart)" Momma Holler
"Things That Stop You Dreaming" Passenger
"Give Me Love" Ed Sheeran
"Even If It Breaks Your Heart" Eli Young Band
"Let the Meter Run" Charlie Mars
- E


Music Videos

       I usually focus on the song itself; if you do not like the song, a music video, no matter how good, will not make much of a difference. I do not watch the music video before listening to the song, in its entirety, otherwise it could, either adversely or favorably, impact the song; I want my views on the song to be my own, constructed of my own volition, not those of a director's four minute vision. These songs are all great though, and their music videos only make them better.
       Ed Sheeran came out with his new music video for "Give Me Love" earlier this week (the end of last week...?) and it's so gothic-ly weird and great (not to mention how amazing the song itself is) that I just keep hitting the replay button.
       One of my readers shared The Script's video for "Hall of Fame" with me and I can't help but watch it on repeat. It's just put together so fantastically (both the video and the song). 
       Passenger's "Walk You Home" is great. It's a stalker-ish song, but his dancing is kind of adorable and the song is just so catchy and addictive (and his voice is just perfection. I love it).
       There were people who seemed to think that this video, and song, were controversial, but I think it's great. If she had done anything other than leave him there, I would have lost some respect for Carrie Underwood. If you find it awful that she could leave her 'father' like that, that's a good thing, but the only thing that makes this song better is the music video.
- E

One Direction

       The working title for this was "I Do Not Know"; I really don't. I  cannot seem to wrap my mind around the phenomena of One Direction. What is so alluring about a group of pitchy, pre-pubescent looking boys; and their songs... They're just... Well, the ones I know of are a little super overly produced. The band remains this ephemeral (hopefully) enigma to me. How did they get so famous? Why are young girls so excited over them? How are their pants that tight; how much future damage are they inflicting upon themselves? Do they know the origin of wearing your pants that low? At least one of them is gay, right? How many of them are there?
       Actually, I do like one of the songs; it's fun to play super loud and dance around whilst your neighbors curse your musical tastes. I've just never paid much attention to the band. When they first came out as this huge deal from overseas (thanks England, you could have stopped with The Wombats and Ed Sheeran, but it's fine. Really), I just figured that their fame would be on the same level as Big Time Rush, where they act like they're a really big deal but you have never actually heard any of their music on the radio; that type of deal. Now that they are everywhere, including my morning show (yes, I love the Today show), I figured I should pay a little more attention to them. This research is futile because it only creates more questions for me than answers. For instance, I upset my youngest sister after showing how oblivious I was of the group members after passing a magazine cover.
Me: "Whoa! What? There's a blond one?? When did that happen?"
Sister: "Uh, he's always been there."
Me: "No, he hasn't."
Sister: "Yes, he has!"
Me: "'Kay dude, calm down. Seriously though, they all had curly brown hair a while ago."
Sister: -audible sigh-
       Do not try to have a rational conversation about this band with someone who is a fan. Just don't. Unless you're a fan too, but then rationality probably trips over a window ledge and falls away so.... It's not just One Direction (1D? Really?) fans who are irrational about that sort of subject matter; it's any fan of any band. If someone came up to me and said "Lady Danville sucks" I would resort to my preferred vernacular. 
       I only have three of their songs, and I question the motive behind my purchases every time I scroll past them, but those three songs actually give a pretty a clear picture of how the band (though immature and annoying in theory) has achieved such great success.        
       "What Makes You Beautiful" was this mega hit because thousands of tweens lost their insecurities for a bit (then they turned on the television or saw a billboard). The lyrics are questionable though; not in a bad way, only in a way that makes me think it was written in less than an hour. "You don't know you're beautiful, that's what makes you beautiful"; so knowing you're hot would make you ugly? No, actually, I'm seeing some merit in that now, thinking about past acquaintances.... Okay, well "the way you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed" is just ridiculous; if this makes them faint, what are they going to do when they get to the bedroom? And "right now I'm looking at you" just annoys me; there is nothing I hate more than a person staring. "To prove I'm right I put it in a song"; if it's this easy, why have I worked so hard on my argumentative skills all these years? Overall though, this song is awfully catchy. That's what it all boils down to, whether or not the melody is, as one of my professors preached (Every. Class.), "is the piece hummable"? It is, terrifically horrifically so. If I hear it once, it just keeps running around my head all day. Whether or not it is some great masterpiece that will define our generation and go down as "one of the greats" has no impact on its, or the bands, popularity. The only thing that matters to consumers is the immediate satisfaction they hear in the manufactured beats which blend (and support) perfectly with the harmonies of five guys who look harmless enough to adorn your daughter's pink walls.
       I actually kind of really like "One Thing"; just a little. I think it's that voice break right as the song begins, plus the fact that it (the voice) is backed by a minimal amount of instruments and technology. I'm not even that aware of the lyrics, I just love their vocals and the composition in this song. It sounds so clean, but in that good alternative (no, I am not saying they're alternative; I'm saying that their voices do not sound altered) way; and the composition is actually great. It sounds like it took a lot more time to create the score for "One Thing" than to make it for "What Makes You Beautiful". It's the only song that does not sound like someone's fingers were hovering over the sound board in the recording studio, ready to fix any fault in the vocals or missed cue by a musician; it is so much better than you would expect from this band. So, besides the fact that I actually like this song, what about it makes the band so popular? It does not have that shiny pretentious boy band sheen all over it, it's refreshing. I mean, it's not like the other refreshing artists England has supplied (they will never be able to achieve the quality of Rosenberg or Mercury. Not much of an argument) but this song is not bad, all things considered. It's just cute enough to make younger girls (their main demographic) love it, and lines like "I'm dying just to make you see" or "I've tried playing it cool" make it a little irresistible to those who have actually had these emotions. "Get out of my head and fall into my arms instead" is too great of a refrain to even consider this song as anything less than a success. Of course, that constant back beat is timed perfectly for you to dance around to it, and only furthers any liking you may have developed for the song. As different as this song is from their first mega hit, it really only helped to further the bands success. It's refreshing and does not pander to the insecurities of immature girls.
       Then there's their most recent single: "Live While You're Young". Oh, yes, this one.... Can I just say that, after some research, maybe this song is acceptable for the band members (if you listen to this thinking that they are fourteen/fifteen, it's a little.. questionable[?]), but the average age of their fans is far too young to hear lines like "tonight let's get some," "let's pretend it's love," or "if we get together, don't let the pictures leave your phone". Excuse me, but is this nine year old with one of the curly haired guys' faces on her shirt really listening to, and absorbing, lyrics like this. I am a big advocate for not censoring songs ("Forget You" is just stupid. Fuck you if like it better than the original) and artistic freedom, and I think it's ridiculous to blame Marilyn Manson for the Columbine attack or Eminem for the continued trend of misogyny in America, but if your demographic is young children, you do not use lyrics like this. That's like giving "Glad You Came" to a five year old; eventually they will connect the dots, grow up, and be just as traumatized by the fact that they sang that song, loudly, in public at that age as I was when I grew up and found out what that Uncle Kracker song meant. I guess I have to talk about the commercial merits of this song though, don't I? The guitar in the beginning draws you in and instantly creates the melody; it's already recognizable and easy to hum. The chorus is easy to sing along to, he just says "crazy" a bunch, then makes some "whoa" sounds; despite the fact that the lyrics are questionable, they are crazy upbeat and the lyrical concepts are so basic that anyone can pick up on the rhythm and sing along with, at least part, of the chorus. People like 'party' songs, it's a fact. That's why Katy Perry will always be more famous than Momma Holler; people don't care about deep or meaningful music, they just want something they can dance along to. I'm not really one to talk; I cannot wait for Ke$ha's newest album. The thing that makes this song so popular is the fact that it played off of every stereotype of a popular song: it is upbeat, it has easy and repetitive lyrics, and just enough guitar to make people think the song is 'good'.
       This last song was a bit of a downer. Listen to "One Thing"; it's good. I'm not putting down One Direction, I am only examining the facts which make them so much more popular than any other band right now. They are great; they are crazy famous and their pictures are on every tween girls wall on multiple continents, yet they somehow manage to not sound annoying in interviews and to steer clear of scandals, all while keeping their spot as number one boy band, in the world, while so many other ones are trying to surface. Business wise, they are a terrific asset; musically, they could have potential.
- E



       This band has, while achieving chart standings (number 1 on VH1 Top 20 Countdown ["Stay"] and creating amazing albums, Life Left To Go and These Times [number 7 on Billboard 200]), remained a secret. I think that everyone can agree that it's fun when no one really knows who one of your favorite bands is, but it is also disheartening; the band deserves so much more. Actually, the band has appeared to be more well known on the west coast than on the east, and their sophomore album did receive a lot more attention than their first album (even though I still think their first was better) but they still have yet to become a household name.
       The band (Doug Brown, Dave Garofalo, Jeremy Henshaw, Tate Cunningham) formed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but is now based in Nashville (as all great artists are [Paper Route, GoodNight City]) and has toured with a slew of great artists, including Collective Soul, The Script, 3 Doors Down, Ryan Star, Daughtry, Hoobastank, and Parachute. It would be great to see them live; supposedly, they have great live performances. The band itself is pretty awesome though, and I don't use awesome often (I use fantastic, great, amazing; but awesome is awesome); they are like this wonderful mix of Sleeperstar and The Gaslight Anthem, in that they have this really great rock sound and the vocalists voice is just scratchy enough to be amazing, but in such a beautifully clean and clear form that I cannot get enough of it.
       "The Moment" is just such a great song, if only for the line "you will probably end up with someone half as good as me"; I love it. The song has that classic rock beat, but it maintains a clean sound throughout; there is not a line in this song that is not great.
       "Someone Like You" is a great song; "If I were strong enough... would you have let me come to be with you," "would you, would you be strong enough too". The music video is just as great as the song, even if it is kind of cheesy. I'm just going to make a blanket announcement that all of the songs on the albums, Life Left To Go and These Times, are great before I reiterate the same phrase throughout this post. 
       "Down" sounds like the '90's rock songs that bands like Switchfoot or 3 Doors Down used to make and, while "Gone Away" and "Life Left To Go" may be underrated, they are still just as perfectly written and composed as all of the other pieces by the band. 
       The songs all tie in with each other in a great way; "Anywhere But Here" begins with, "is this the end of a moment" and, though it would be better if it followed the song "The Moment" on the album, it still reiterates that title, tying them together and reminding you of the other songs. It's a form of, possibly subconscious, self advertising, and it's great. The song is kind of fantastic itself though, with lines like "maybe I could be all you ever dreamed 'cus you are beautiful inside... I can't see why I'd do anything without you"; why is this band not more popular? "Find A Way" does the same thing with a simple line like "make you stay" while being directly before the song, "Stay," on the album. Of course, this does not lessen how amazing the song is; "you know I'm going to find a way to let you have your way with me" is just too good.
       After all these years (four, five? oh gosh, I'm getting old... relatively) I still can't get enough of this album. I mean, "Stay" is so fantastic; "what did I do to make you say that to me... what can I do to make you say come back to me". "Apology" is just amazing, period. There are no words to describe how great the entire thing is. "Something I Said" has an amazing composition and the lyrics, combined with the breathy intro by the vocalist (which just sounds great with his scratchy voice) makes lines like "I am on your side, no matter what you do" even better. "What If" would be great for the concept alone, but the fact that the band reiterates the phrase, with such honesty, makes it great. There are no descriptions which would make "Annie" sound any better than it already is; beginning with the spoken introduction, followed by every great line and guitar riff after that. 
       "Get Around This," aside from the great lyrics ("I don't know why I make this hard for you" and the repetition of the phrase, "take me back to yesterday") begins with only the sound of violins, which maintain the same beat and notes throughout the song; I am a sucker for any modern composition which integrates the use of violins into their piece. 
       "Staring At It" composition sounds a little disjunct at the beginning, but no other sound would work with the lyrics or the emotion surrounding the song. "Never Stop" ties into that '90's rock sound that the band has been able to recreate so easily on both of their albums.
       "These Times," the title song of the album, is fantastic; it sounds retrospective and great with lines like "these times will try hard to define me," "I'm only trying to dig my way out of all these things I can't" or "these times are hard but they will pass".
       "Believe" sounds like one of the songs from the bands first album; the same thing with "Stranger" and "Crash" (both great songs, especially "Stranger"). Though I am a fan of the bands earlier sound, their newer sound shows just how much they have grown, and I am loving it more and more each time I listen to These Times. "Let Go" is a really great song, with that combination of techno to their rock sound, and the great lyrics (every SafetySuit song, regardless of the sound, has amazing lyrics; just, their lyrical ability is, amazing). 
       "One Time" shows just how far the band has come, composition wise, since their first album. The song is great and, as always, I love the lyrics. "Things to Say" switches up the composition a bit, adding a country-esque twang, but the combination of rock and country always comes out sounding great; it only makes the band sound more like The Gaslight Anthem on this song. I am not comparing SafetySuit to these bands (Sleeperstar and The Gaslight Anthem) to lessen their greatness (I think SafetySuit is better than The Gaslight Anthem), but only to try and define their sound for someone who has never listened to them before. 
       If any song is capable of showing the composition and lyrical growth which the band has achieved since their first album in 2008, it is "Life In The Pain". The song is, all together, amazing. "What you don't know, will save you from some pain" and "now you don't have a purpose, you don't let anybody in" are simply fantastic. The lyrics which this band is so adept at creating, in all of their songs, are just awe-inspiring.
       "Never Stop" borders on the edge between the sound from their first album, and the sound on their second; as does "You Don't See Me". It makes me excited for their third album, as it sounds like it will be a perfect mixture of the mature compositions of the second album, with the honest and thoughtful lyrics of the first album. 
       SafetySuit is just awesome. They deserve so much more than they have received and I can only hope that, now that their tour is coming to a close, they are going to begin work on an amazing new album that I will play on repeat, much as I have with Life Left To Go and These Times. There will be at least one song whose lyrics (or composition) will make you stop and fall for the band.
- E



       It's an aptly named playlist, though it does make it sound as if the songs are not great... Every song in this playlist is pretty fantastic, the playlist just provides a much needed distraction (it can only distract you if the songs are great to begin with).
"D Train (Broke My Heart)" Momma Holler
"Everyday" Carly Commando
"Explosions" Ellie Goulding
"The Moment" SafetySuit
"I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked" Ida Maria
"Watch Me Go" The Dollyrots
"I Cry" Flo Rida
"Clarity" Zedd featuing Foxes
"Letting You Let Go" Paper Route
"Things That Stop You Dreaming" Passenger
"Young Girls" Bruno Mars
"All I Want" Kodaline
"Treacherous" Taylor Swift
"Give Me Love" Ed Sheeran
"Winter Winds" Mumford & Sons
"Even If It Breaks Your Heart" Eli Young Band
- E


Best "Grenade" Parody

       Have you voted yet? It took me over three hours to vote this morning (two hours of which included rain. That's why it's always important to befriend those next to you when the sky turns dark; you never know who will have an umbrella), but it was worth it. If you have yet to do so, go vote; it does not take too long when you put it in perspective or think about the fact that your one vote does make a difference. How often does an election this divisive come around?? Take part in it so that thirty years down the road you can walk around saying " fuck yeah, I'm one of those voters that made him president!". 
       Frustrated me wants to bring up the point that, if you say that waiting for that many hours (in the rain/cold/et cetera), with only one scanning machine at a polling place used by hundreds of people, and shorter voting hours in 'democratic' districts and longer hours in 'republican' districts is not voter suppression, you should look up the term 'suppression'; if you can vote with a gun license, but not a student I.D, that's kind of really ridiculous (I brought three forms of "acceptable" I.D; suck on that R-money). 
       Now that I've gotten rained on for two hours, baked in the sun for a third hour, and waited inside the building for another forty-five minutes before getting to work half an hour late (due to the ridiculous lines/number of scanners), I can sit back and enjoy this great "Grenade" parody (before rushing to the hospital to watch election results with my dad). 
- E


       The 1980's were stuffed full of great songs and artists, a lot of whom we idolize today. Who has not gone through a phase where they listened to "The Smiths," dressed as Madonna for Halloween, or given "eight sixty-seven fifty-three zero nine" as an automatic answer? This list is, relatively, short; I think it gives an okay overview of some of the best that we still listen to on repeat, sometimes, though.
"Rag Doll" Aerosmith
"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" Tears For Fears
"Heaven Is A Place On Earth" Belinda Carlisle
"Time After Time" Cyndi Lauper
"867-5309/Jenny" Tommy Tutone
"What I Like About You" Romantics
"I Melt With You" Modern English
"Jessie's Girl" Rick Springfield
"Born In The U.S.A." Bruce Springsteen
"Livin' On A Prayer" Bon Jovi
"Walking On Sunshine" Katrina & The Waves
"It's the End of the World as We Know It" R.E.M
"Come On Eileen" Dexy's Midnight Runners
"Hurts So Good" John Mellencamp
"Take On Me" a-Ha
"Sunday Bloody Sunday" U2
"Bad Reputation" Joan Jett
"Like A Prayer" Madonna
"Free Fallin'" Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
- E