Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault – Daughtry Debut

Daughtry dropped a new album recently and it’s great to hear the hard rock side kick back in after a couple of albums that lived in a popular rock/beats area. Even the metal sites are reviewing the new album.

A review of the new Daughtry will come soon, but it did get me in the mood to listen to earlier Daughtry and so let’s kick off the next Record Vault series with the debut album.

Daughtry is the debut album, released in 2006 by RCA Records. He came to fame by competing in American Idol, but he didn’t win Idol, however he’s had a bigger career then the actual winner Taylor Hicks. I guess the kiddies voting don’t really purchase records.

It’s Not Over

The Bm to A to G chord progression is familiar (think “Kryptonite” from Three Doors Down) but it’s the tone of Chris Daughtry’s voice which hooks me in.

Chris Daughtry, Gregg Wattenberg, Mark Wilkerson and Brett Young are listed as the songwriters and what a song they wrote, sitting at 90.325 million streams on Spotify. But it’s not the most streamed from Daughtry. That goes to “Over You”.

And if the songwriter names are familiar, well, if you own a Train or John Legend or Goo Goo Dolls album, you will see Gregg Wattenberg listed as a producer and writer. Mark Wilkerson was the lead singer and guitarist for Course Of Nature, a rock band which was also known as COG. The Chorus was written by Brett Young, a singer in the same season of American Idol as Daughtry.

It’s also certified 2x Platinum as a single in the U.S. Back in 2007, it got a Gold certification for CD physical sales of the single in the U.S.

Used To

Daughtry, Howard Benson and Zac Maloy are listed as the songwriters.

A simple drum and bass groove start the song, but it’s the repeating guitar arpeggios in the verse which moves the song along.

Another infectious chorus.

We used to have this figured out / We used to breathe without a doubt

So what changes as we get older. As we learn more, do we fear more.

Home

Sitting at 76.8 million streams on Spotify. Certified 3x Platinum in the U.S as a digital single, with its most recent certification happening in September 2019. Back in 2008, it got a Gold certification for CD physical sales of the single in the U.S.

And as an artist, this is exactly what you want. People still consuming your songs, many years after they’ve been released.

It’s written by Chris Daughtry.

My favourite song on the album. It crosses over to so many different styles and genres. If you like Southern Rock, you’ll like this. If you like Country Rock, you’ll like this. If you like Hard Rock, you’ll like this.

And the message of returning home after been away for a while is a message that everyone can understand and relate to.

Over You

This is the most streamed Daughtry track, at 116.8 million streams. And it also has a 2x Platinum in September 2019, for digital sales in the U.S.

Written by Daughtry and Brian Howes it could have appeared on a Jovi album at the time.

It’s a mid-tempo rocker and Daughtry’s vocals are excellent.

And Brian Howes is a Canadian songwriter who has written songs with Adelitas Way, Airbourne, Caleb Johnson, Halestorm, Hedley, Hinder, Nickelback, Rev Theory and Skillet to name a few. A lot of chart cred right there. So if the song sounds familiar, I’m sure some of the melodies from Howes would have been reused.

Crashed

Written by Daughtry, Nina Ossoff, Dana Calitri and Kathy Sommer and the Chorus is catchy.

Feels Like Tonight

Max Martin, Luke Gottwald and Shep Solomon are the writers. These guys wouldn’t come cheap. I would be surprised if Daughtry is listed as re-couped for this album. I am sure the record label creative accountants still have him in debt, even though its 6x Platinum in the U.S.

It starts off like “Chasing Cars”. That’s what writers of hits do. Take what came before and tweak it.

And of course, a Max Martin /Dr Luke song, isn’t a song without a massive Chorus.

What I Want

Written by Daughtry and Howes and features Slash.

Just by featuring Slash, the song already has a hard rock swagger to it more like the “Velvet Revolver” swagger. But it’s short. Just over 2 minutes long.

Breakdown

The songs which are solely written by Chris Daughtry highlight his skills and style as a writer. “Home” showcases his story telling and use of simple chords to deliver an emotive vocal melody.

“Breakdown” is also written by Chris Daughtry.

It’s actually a rewrite and combination of two songs “Conviction” and “Break Down” previously recorded by Daughtry’s former hard rock/alternative metal band, “Absent Element”.

This one percolates, living in the grey area between soft rock and hard rock.

Check out the head banging riff at 2.30.

Gone

Written by Chris Daughtry, it starts off slow, ballad like but by the end of it, it becomes a great melodic rock song.

There and Back Again

Written by Daughtry and Brent Smith from Shinedown who also plays guitar on it.

It feels like a track that would appear on “The Sound Of Madness”. It’s heavy and it rocks hard.

All These Lives

Written by Daughtry and Mitch Allan, it’s in the soft rock domain moving between acoustic verses and distorted choruses.

What About Now

Written by Ben Moody, David Hodges and Joshua Hartzler.

Moody and Hodges had a certain style of writing. They both came to fame via the “Fallen” album from Evanescence and when Moody left the band mid tour, he became a songwriter for other artists. Kelly Clarkson recorded a few of their songs, I think, “Because Of You” was written by Moody and Hodges.

Well this one follows in that vein. It has a piano riff which at the start reminds me of “Alone” from Heart.

Sorry

Written by Daughtry, Alexander Rethwisch, Christopher Langton, Konstantin Rethwisch and Matthias Weber. A lot of writers.

It lives in this acoustic Fuel/Alice In Chains space because it reminds me of Fuel’s “Something Like Human” album and “Sap” from Alice In Chains.

For a debut album from an American Idol contestant who came 5th, every cent was spent by the label on getting the correct songs as evidenced by the different songwriters on each song.

And he had a lot of musicians on the debut album. Phil

X who performs with Bon Jovi now, is on lead and rhythm guitars. The excellent Josh Freese is on drums. Paul Bushnell plays bass except on “What About Now” which is Chris Chaney. Producer Howard Benson also plays keyboards on the album and Chris Lord-Alge is mixing. These guys and production team don’t come cheap.

In an era of low sales, Daughtry also showed that great music can still sell. In Australia and New Zealand it went Gold. In the UK its certified Silver. In Canada its certified 2x Platinum and in the U.S, its certified 6x Platinum.

The album produced 7 singles. Yep, 7, but then again, every song on the album could be a single, hence the different writers.

And Daughtry sings for most of the album so his voice is left, front and right.

Critics did write, what is the point of having Slash appear on a 2 minute track. Or what would have happened if music took the lead in a song instead of Daughtry singing over everything.

But then again, critics don’t normally sell 6 million albums in the U.S.

Crank it folks.

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Australian Method Series: Wolfmother – Wolfmother

The Wolfmother debut.
 
Sometime in 2000, founding members Andrew Stockdale on guitar and vocals, Chris Ross on bass/keyboards and Myles Heskett on drums got together to jam.

But it was in 2004, when Wolfmother was born.

And suddenly things started to happen. After playing a gig in April 2004 in Sydney, they got a record deal with Aussie independent label Modular Recordings with whom they released their (EP) “Wolfmother” in September.

While touring on the EP, Universal Music came in and signed em to an international recording deal.

The self-titled debut produced by Dave Sardy was originally released in Australia via their independent deal on 31 October 2005.

The album was later released internationally by Universal in early 2006.

Like other Aussie artists who got a later international release, the album had an additional track and a rearranged track listing. Spotify carries the international release listing and release date.

As an owner of a book of Frank Frazetta paintings, seeing “The Sea Witch” on the album cover grabbed my attention immediately.

Prior to the release, the band had some serious momentum in Australia. They had the EP out on the charts, they toured and nationwide radio station Triple J, had the band in constant rotation.

Dimension

The bass and drum groove reminds me of an amalgamation of Sweet and Cream in the verses before a Chorus kicks in that sounds like a Sabbath cut.

And a new game is created here in which the listener has to guess which band or song influenced the next song.

And I like games like these.

White Unicorn

You know that section half way through in “Stairway To Heaven” when Jimmy Page starts to play major sounding triads over a droning D note.

Well that’s how “The White Unicorn” starts off. And I like it. Take something that came before and create something new from it.

Woman

Its basically a Sabbath cut with that driving galloping groove from “Children Of The Grave”.

Then again “Roadhouse Blues” comes to mind as well.

The addition of the keyboards makes it sound like a demented Doors cut.

And like other Aussie bands, (Airbourne comes to mind) they capitalized on the video game phenomenon that was happening. “Woman” was licensed to appear in over 12 video games which came out between 2006 and 2008.

Where Eagles Have Been

The beginning reminds of “Goin To California” from Led Zep or “Mother Nature’s Son” from The Beatles or “Brain Damage” from Pink Floyd.

This is the beauty of music. Familiarity is in every song which is created.

Check out the sound effect which increases in intensity at 3.42 and then the guitar solo. This is the best part of the song.

At 4.24 to 4.46 reminds of me of “Dazed and Confused” from Led Zep.

Apple Tree

It has a punk style “My Generation” feel from The Who in the Intro and first verse.

Joker & the Thief

This song has crossed over onto a higher astral plane. It’s everywhere. If you sit down to watch a movie or a TV show, there is a chance you’ll hear it. If you buy a video game, there is a chance you’ll hear it.

When I hear “Detroit Rock City” by Kiss, it reminds me of this song.

“The Hangover” and “Shrek” movies have scenes in the movie, which has this song playing.

Colossal

It feels like a Sabbath cut that hadn’t seen the light of day.

How good is the riff that comes in at the 3.30 mark?

It reminds me of “Ace Of Spades” from Motörhead.

Mind’s Eye

My favorite track.

The arpeggios to start it off are hypnotic. Metallica used a similar progression for “The Day That Never Comes”.

When the verses come in, simplicity at its best. It’s just a single strummed chord and a haunting vocal melody.

I like the simple ascending chord progression just before the Chorus. And it comes back again after the Chorus.

How good is the organ riff?

And they jam on it till the end.

Pyramid

Another song that became a favorite amongst people that didn’t even like this kind of music because it appeared in the “FlatOut 2” car racing game.

Witchcraft

A flute solo. Jethro Tull anyone.

Tales

It’s not a favorite.

Love Train

Listen to “Moby Dick” from Led Zep. Imitation is a form of flattery.

Vagabond

A simple drum metronome style click and an acoustic guitar playing a sort of Country Blues Delta riff start off the song.

Swampy it is and the album is done.

I’ve read reviews that they are copyists and unoriginal. But music is judged on the fun and enjoyment you get out of it. And this album is a whole lotta fun.

Going back to the originality question, the bands that influenced em where also copyists. Led Zeppelin’s first album is a great cover album rebranded as a Zep album.

After all was said and done, the album was certified 5× Platinum in Australia, Gold in Canada, Gold in Germany, Gold in the U.K and Gold in the U.S.

By the time the band started to record album number 2, it was just Andrew Stockdale who remained. But the sound and the songs still remained.

You can read my review on “Cosmic Egg” here.

And spend your weekend cranking Wolfmother.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault: Dio – Holy Diver Live

The rebuild of the Dio brand in the 2000’s involved a revolving cast of musicians.

Tracy G served as the guitarist from 1993 to 1999. He brought in different elements to the band and assisted it keeping the band going throughout the 90’s.

Craig Goldy came back in between 1999 and 2002 to help with a new album “Magica” and keep the live show going.

Doug Aldrich came in between 2002 and 2003 for the album “Killing The Dragon” and to keep the live show going. Warren DeMartini did a small stint in 2003 for the live show, with Craig Goldy to return for a new album called “Master Of The Moon” in 2004.

Doug Aldrich returned again as a touring musician for 2005.

Interest in Dio was high, as “Master Of The Moon” was highly praised and recommended. The 1983 “Holy Diver” was also reissued by Rock Candy during this time.

The band for the tour was Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Doug Aldrich on guitar, Scott Warren on keyboards, Rudy Sarzo on bass and Simon Wright on drums. The show was filmed at London’s Astoria Theatre on October 22, 2005 and released in 2006. The DVD booklet describes the concert as “one of the best hard rock gigs of all time”.

The stage show is not as extravagant as the 1983/84 stage shows. Wright is only 70cm off the ground, instead of the 3 metre drum riser that Vinny Appice had to contend with.

“Tarot Woman”

From Rainbow.

When I saw it as the opener, I was surprised, but goddamn, the song is full of energy and the riffs in the song are perfect foot stomping live riffs. Blackmore wouldn’t create anything else.

Aldrich’s tone is stellar and is faithful to Blackmore as much as possible with a bit of improvisation in the lead break.

“The Sign of The Southern Cross”

From Black Sabbath.

How heavy does this sound on this recording?

A perfect addition to the set list and the crowd responds.

“One Night in the City”

From “The Last In Line” album. I used to mix up “Caught In The Middle” and “One Night In The City” and intertwine the lyrics of the songs.

Then we get the whole “Holy Diver” album.

“Stand up and Shout”

The band is on fire. Sarzo and Wright own the foundations while Aldrich comes across like he’s been in the band forever. Dio is vocally good, singing in a lower range, so he doesn’t overstretch those vocal chords knowing that as you get older, they seem to disappear.

At 3.32 long, its fast and relentless.

“Holy Diver”

The feedback leads into the riff of “Holy Diver”. The tempo feels a bit slower compared to the previous live performances I’ve watched.

Dio’s voice is gravelly and perfect. Wright is a monster on the drums and Rudy Sarzo is still making love to his bass. Aldrich here remains as close to faithful to Campbell’s licks and leads. And there is no better singer at ad-libbing on the outro’s than Dio.

“Gypsy”

It’s got a groove riff that’s like a “let’s get this party started” riff. Aldrich here is given the freedom to do his own thing in the lead break. And the song morphs into a “Drum Solo” and you all know my views on these kind of lone solos in concerts.

“Caught in the Middle”

How good is the intro riff?

And I love that melodic rock chorus?

Just press play to hear Dio ad-libbing the outro.

“Don’t Talk to Strangers”

A great song to listen to and Dio is all gravelly on this one as well, giving it a different vibe. By now, Aldrich is sweating and his rock hard abs are on show for the predominantly male audience.

“Straight Through the Heart”

The groove riff to kick it off and the verse vocal melodies are my favourites. Aldrich also shines on the lead break while Wright and Sarzo, along with Warren on the keys and peculiar dance moves, provide a great foundation

“Invisible”

Once the clean tone arpeggios are done, a distorted riff kicks in and it sounds similar to “Shout At The Devil” from Motley Crue.

It’s amazing how many albums released around the same time (1983/1984) had similar songs.

“Rainbow in the Dark”

As soon as the Am chord comes crashing in and the synth lick starts playing, the crowd is involved and loving it.

In the ending part of the song, Dio is saying to his audience, “you are all my rainbow in the dark”.

“Shame on the Night”

The bluesy Pink Panther crime noir style riff always gets my foot tapping.

And just before the Outro of the song kicks in, there is a “Guitar Solo” moment, but done as part of a jam with the band which is a lot better than just the “lone ranger” style of solo. And you can hear how exotic Aldrich is, with his melodic minor soloing.

Then the “Escape From New York” influenced outro kicks in.

And for some strange reason, they reprise “Holy Diver” again, maybe as a way to musically say to the audience that this is the end of the “Holy Diver” album play through.

“Gates of Babylon”

From Rainbow and how can you not like it. It’s got an exotic riff, pentatonic riffs and a killer Dio vocal. Warren on the keys is excellent, Sarzo and Wright bring the power, while Aldrich is excellent especially in the lead break, which goes to show how complex Blackmore can get.

“Heaven and Hell”

The best Black Sabbath song and we get 11 minutes of it.

This time around, the crowd is chanting the opening riff with Dio and they are all in when Dio’s starts singing, as he waves his devil horns salute around.

Rudy Sarzo is one hell of a bassist. Very underrated.

The middle section lead break is faithful to Iommi.

And we get four minutes of the fast outro section with Aldrich wailing away.

I guess the world is full of kings and queens who blind our eyes and steal our dreams.

“Man on the Silver Mountain”

The first song of the encore is from the Rainbow days. And Aldrich nails the song riff, using the pick and his fingers to sort of chicken pick the intro riff.

If you listen closely, you will notice how Dave Sabo was influenced to write “Youth Gone Wild” and “Monkey Business” from this riff.

And I like how they go into the “Little Wing” influenced “Catch The Rainbow”.

“Long Live Rock and Roll”

And those Rainbow days are back again for 3 minutes and 30 seconds of energy and crowd sing-alongs. And if this was the end of the concert, it would have been a worthy end.

But there was one more track to come.

“We Rock”

The closer, which became a standard closer for Dio but with the fast metal riff, it could easily be an opener.

At almost 2 hours, the show is done and Dio leaves the building.

P.S. From start to finish the set list flows like a classic metal album, a one stop overview of Dio’s career and if you’re a fan, you will see a lot of songs missing that maybe should have been in, such was Dio’s quality output.

P.S.S. Doug Aldrich is faithful to the past material and the riffs/leads of Vivian Campbell, Richie Blackmore and Tony Iommi. In Whitesnake, he also did an admirable job in being faithful to the past and assisting David Coverdale to keep the brand going.

P.S.S.S. Dio at 63 is aged and his voice is not the same but if you went to the show you wouldn’t be disappointed. He still delivers a worthy performance befitting a man of his age.

P.S.S.S.S. I can’t believe how many great songs Dio wrote/co-wrote across three different bands and over three decades.

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Faktion and The Year That Was 2006

They are no more. According to the internet, they barely existed.

Faktion’s self-titled release hit the streets in 2006. I came across it a few days ago, almost 8 years since it’s release. And I have stayed with it, because it is a damn good album. A real strong album. Back in 2006, it might have sounded generic and formula driven against some of the bands that had records out at that time.

It was up against some stiff competition for listener’s attention. The audience that could have gravitated towards Faktion had already devoted their ears to other bands.

Breaking Benjamin released “Phobia”, Skillet released “Comatose”, Stone Sour released “Come What(ever) May”, Daughtry released his self titled debut, 10 Years released “Autumn’s Dream”, Crossfade released “Falling Away”, Pillar released “The Reckoning”, Red released “End Of Silence” and Papa Roach released “The Paramour Sessions”. Already it is a pretty crowded marketplace. BUT it gets worse.

They had a deal with Roadrunner Recrods. Maybe Roadrunner just didn’t know how to promote them against a crowded modern rock scene and it is as dead set shame. Maybe Roadrunner put all of their energies into promoting the ones that already had a following, instead of trying to break a new band to the masses.

Other Roadrunner stable mates that released albums in 2006 are as follows;

Dragonforce – Inhuman Rampage
Stone Sour – Come What(ever) May
Hatebreed – Supremacy
Black Label Society – Shot to Hell
Cradle of Filth – Thornography
Killswitch Engage – As Daylight Dies
Trivium – The Crusade
Madina Lake – The Disappearance of Adalia [Digital EP]
Theory of a Deadman – Gasoline
36 Crazyfists – Rest Inside The Flames
Chimaira – Chimaira
Ill Niño – One Nation Underground
Roadrunner United – The All-Star Sessions
Dresden Dolls – Yes, Virginia… ‎
Satyricon – Now, Diabolical
Fear Factory – Demanufacture
Soulfly – Soulfly
DevilDriver – The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand
Type O Negative – The Best Of Type O Negative (Comp)
New York Dolls – One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This
Opeth – Ghost Reveries
Black Stone Cherry – Black Stone Cherry
Slipknot – Voliminal: Inside The Nine ‎
Delain – Lucidity
Liv Kristine – Enter My Religion
Bleeding Through – The Truth
Life Of Agony – River Runs Red
Creetins – The Spirit Is Willing ‎(7″)
Caliban – The Undying Darkness
Junkie XL – Today ‎

As you can see from the above list, the label had 32 releases happening for the year that I could locate and in amongst all of them was the monster that is known as Nickelback, who had singles and videos released well into 2006 from their 2005 album. And somewhere in this mix was a band called Faktion. A band that had even more competition from bands on other labels;

Tool released “10,000 Days”,
Rodrigo Y Gabriela released their self-titled debut,
Iron Maiden released “A Matter of Life and Death”,
Europe released “Secret Society”,
Evergrey released “Monday Morning Apocalypse”,
Poets of The fall released “Carnival Of Rust”,
Muse released “Black Holes And Revelations”,
Jet released “Shine On”,
The Killers released “Sams Town”,
Senses Fail released “Still Searching”,
My Chemical Romance released “The Black Parade”,
Smile Empty Soul released the excellent “Vultures”,
Red Hot Chilli Peppers released “Stadium Arcadium”.

I can go on, however the point is made. It’s a pretty crowded marketplace for listener’s attention. And “Faktion” was there, one of many bands in the music business trying to break through the noise.

Add to that noise the other big internet stories.

On September 26, 2006, Facebook was opened to everyone at least 13 years old with a valid email address. Suddenly people (including fans of music) had a new outlet that had nothing to do with music.

Then there was YouTube. The site grew rapidly, since kicking off in 2004 and by July 2006, 65,000 new videos were being uploaded every day. The site was also receiving 100 million video views per day. Suddenly people (including fans of music) had another new outlet to focus on.

MySpace was still a giant back then and the 100 millionth account was created on August 9, 2006.

Also in 2006, a little known company called Spotify was created. From small beginnings, large things grow.

The following year the first iPhone hit the streets and the people (again including fans of music) had another new outlet to spend time on that initially didn’t have anything to do with music.

And the paradigm shift that started with Napster in 1999, became a tidal wave in 2006.

Music really needed to compete against different markets. It wasn’t about a cost issue. It wasn’t a piracy/copyright infringement issue. It was a competition issue. It was economics 0.1. Supply and demand. When supply is limited, demand is higher. With supply in abundance, demand is lower.

Fans of music became early adopters of technological products. If they are spending their time and money on those products, that leaves less time and less money to spend on other products.

So what about Faktion? The post was meant to be about Faktion, however when i started researching some papers around innovation and competition for a different post, everything started to link together. Faktion and 2006 became the catalyst.

Reading one of their earlier bios, they make mention of their MySpace play count metrics and maybe those stats played a key role in getting Roadrunner interested. However those MySpace metrics will never equate to a 1 to 1 relationship with sales, the same way that pirated content will never relate to a lost sale.

Who is Faktion? Ryan Gibbs is on vocals and was the last addition to the band. Marshal Dutton played guitar and was the original vocalist. Josh Franklin was also on guitar, Jeremy on bass and another Jeremy with a surname of Moore on drums.

Does the name Marshall Dutton sounds familiar?

It should.

Remember a band called Hinder. “Welcome To The Freakshow” was produced by Hinder drummer Cody Hanson and Faktion’s Marshall Dutton, with mixing done by James Michael from Sixx AM. What a team?

Also remember when Austin Winkler stepped out of the tour for the album. Guess who stepped in as a fill in vocalist. Yep, that’s right, the same Marshall Dutton from Faktion.

So when Faktion called it quits, he formed a band called “Drankmore” with Faktion’s tour manager Jarrod Denton. In that same band is Cody Hanson, the drummer from Hinder.

Remember that music is a relationship business.

And speaking of relationships, I remember reading an interview that Marshal did and he mentioned that he wouldn’t be opposed to doing Faktion again, so lets hope that happens.

It was the lead breaks in Faktion that got me. It was a pretty ballsy move to do leads for a melodic rock band in 2006. Comparing this album now to the bands that had commercial success in 2006, Faktion is streets ahead. And that is because of the guitar work.

A good band is a band that has a lot of different elements. Having breakdown riffs by 2006 we getting old. While it worked for bands like Red, Breaking Benjamin and 10 Years, the audience wanted “Guitar Hero’s again”. Remember back in 2005, “Guitar Hero” the game was unleashed to a massive audience and to great success.

The song “Always Wanting More” is a stand-out. It’s heavy with great guitar work.

All your pleasures have brought you greed
Only thinking about yourself again
All the things that you say you need
Are the poisons that eat you from within

In the end we all end up in a wooden box. Focus on accumulating experiences instead of wealth. Focus on building relationships instead of enemies. The Recording Industry failed to build a relationship with the people who actually purchased music. They exploited the artists and then abandoned them whenever they felt like it.

The one that resonated with me was “Who I Am”.

I know I’m not prepared for a life
That keeps me far from home
But I know if I just sit there,
I’ll never find out who I am

The life of a musician is a tough gig. I love writing music and playing it, however I hate to be away from home. When I was in bands, I hated touring. And this song is about that life to me, however the chorus is done in such a general way, that it can be interpreted that you need to get out of your comfort zone to make things happen.

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