A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1996 – Part 4.7: Semisonic – Great Divide

Those 70’s Classic Rock vibes came back in full force in the mid 90’s, rebranded as Alternative Rock.

“Closing Time” in 1998 made them Superstars so I was curious to hear more.

Semisonic is an American rock band formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1995.

The band has three members: Dan Wilson (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), John Munson (bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, guitar), and Jacob Slichter (drums, percussion, keyboards, backing vocals).

“Great Divide” is the debut album released on April 9, 1996 by MCA Records. The band had signed a record contract with Elektra Records to record the album. During recording, Bob Krasnow, the president of Elektra Records had quit, and in the changeover to a new president, the Neglektra dropped Semisonic. The band then signed with MCA Records, and finished recording the album.

F.N.T

The main riff is catchy.

If I Run

I like the groove on this and the way the vocal melody sounds.

Delicious

It reminds me of Everclear and that whole power pop and post-grunge scene.

Down In Flames

Very Pearl Jam like and bleak.

Temptation

Press play on this just for the bass groove and the way the guitars and keyboard play the riff.

The sort of falsetto like vocal melody is also different and catchy.

The Prize

Before Creed wrote “Higher” there was “The Prize”.

Brand New Baby

The best song on the album. Press play to hear the Chorus.

Hearing this album so many years after it’s release is a fun trip. A lot of people see this album as better than the second album. Then again, they are labeled as a “one hit wonder”.

Ignore all that and just press play.

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Australian Method Series and 1996 – Part 4.5: Powderfinger – Double Allergic

“Double Allergic” is their second album released in 1996.

It peaked at No. 4 on the ARIA Albums Chart and was certified triple platinum by ARIA for shipment of 210,000 units by 2007.

Like all second albums it contained material that had been written for the debut album.

You know the saying. Artists have their whole lifetime to write their first and second album and only a few months to write their third.

They worked with an expensive producer on their first album but worked with a less well known producer for this.

From 1992 until their break-up in 2010, the line-up consisted of vocalist Bernard Fanning on vocals, guitarists Darren Middleton and Ian Haug, bass guitarist John Collins and drummer Jon Coghill.

“Pick You Up” was the first single and is by far the best pop song on the album.

“D.A.F.” is the the second single, and it’s title is the chord progression.

“Living Type” was the third single written about the Manson Family cult, and came with an X-Files style music video.

But if you want to press play on a song, then press play on “Oipic” and let the Led Zep exotic Sounds take you away.

By the way, this isn’t the album that got me interested. It was the next one “Internationalist” and the song “Passenger”. But that’s for another post.

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2001 – Part 4.5: Skillet – Alien Youth

It was the “Comatose” album released in 2006 that made me a fan of Skillet and I followed em up to to “Rise” album released in 2013.

And although I listened to “Unleashed” released in 2017 and “Victorious” from 2019, I didn’t really feel the need to relisten to em.

And when I went looking at their back catalogue I was surprised how much their sound had evolved.

“Alien Youth” is their fourth album released in 2001. Their sound on this is like industrial rock.

The band for this album is John Cooper on vocals, bass, sampling and programming, Korey Cooper on keyboards, sampling and programming, Lori Peters on drums, Kevin Haaland on guitars (except “Earth Invasion”) and Ben Kasica on guitars (“Earth Invasion”).

Alien Youth

It reminded me of Motley Crue’s “Generation Swine” album. And I like that connection.

Vapor

It reminds me of the whole “industrial rock” movement.

Earth Invasion

The best song on the album.

Very “Smells Like Teen Spirit” like.

You Are My Hope

The usual ballad.

It’s catchy and derivative.

Eating Me Away

A fuzzed out bass riff dominates the verses and once the Chorus kicks in, it’s Stabbing Westward and Korn like.

Kill Me, Heal Me

I like it’s swinging drum groove in the verses. I’ve heard Good Charlotte songs with these kind of beats and melodies, but they came after this.

Otherwise it’s all grunge rock.

The Thirst Is Taking Over

My favorite song on the album.

The verses have a programmed drum beat with clean tone and lightly delayed guitars.

And in the Chorus, there’s a distorted and fuzzed out guitar.

One Real Thing

The Chorus is hard rock and it has this “Teenage Dirtbag” vibe.

Stronger

Nirvana meets Ministry.

It has some cool riffs to jam on but lyrically it’s a bit cliched with the repeating “my god is strong” melody.

Rippin’ Me Off

It starts off terribly, with programming and sampling. Then a Nirvana like riff kicks in.

It’s a response to Marilyn Manson and his views on God being dead.

Check out the chorus. It’s heavy and angry.

You say that God is dead but you’re rippin’ me off/ You can’t infect my mind with your vanity/ You’re rippin’ me off!

Will You Be There (Falling Down)

This is a great ballad.

It feels like Bryan Adams and Celine Dion are singing it.

Come My Way

The closer. it starts off with a piano riff that sounds like it came from a soundtrack.

And it’s more hymn “Hallelujah” like.

They are labeled as a Christian Rock act, but they delivered an album that people from all walks of life would like.

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Australian Method Series: Eskimo Joe – Black Fingernails, Red Wine

Eskimo Joe are an Australian alternative rock band that was formed in 1997 by Stuart MacLeod, on lead guitar, Joel Quartermain, on drums and guitar, and Kavyen Temperley, on bass guitar and vocals.

Their road to fame started with a University Battle of The Bands contest. They won their local campus event, won the State event and then won the National event.

Released in 2006, this album is Number three and it’s noted for having the sound of the early 1980s Australian rock movement.

From the bands point of view they wanted to make a record as if they were stadium rock band. In other words if they were like INXS, what kind of record would they make.

The band recorded “Black Fingernails, Red Wine” on the central coast of NSW’s The Grove Studios. The Grove Studios were originally known as Mangrove Studio and were formerly owned by INXS bass player Garry Gary Beers.

In Australia it was certified 4× Platinum. It went to number one and spent 62 weeks on the ARIA Charts.

I never really appreciated this album when it came out. I was heavily into Progressive Metal, Nu-Metal and Metalcore bands at the time and I was devouring bands from those genres. I heard the singles and I liked em, but didn’t invest time.

A decade later, I finally did.

Comfort You

A great pop song with a piano line that reminds me of “Speed Of Sound” from Coldplay.

As soon as the drums and the fuzzed out guitar kick in, I was hooked. It’s almost new wave, but hard rock as well.

Lyrically there’s not much to it with a simple repeating line of “I will come, come to comfort you”.

But that’s all that is needed as the music and the groove is intoxicating.

If you’re not tapping your foot and nodding your head by the end of it, check for a pulse.

New York

This song is excellent.

It’s constructed with all the right atmospherics and ambient noises, plus an emotive piano melody and Temperley’s glimmering voice powers the melody.

Hey, hey, I know it wasn’t New York
Where I lost my mind.

The opening lines. A habit will always follow you regardless of which city you wake up in.

Black Fingernails, Red Wine

This song is huge. And the hook.

Black fingernails, red wine
I wanna make you, all mine

It reminds me of Icehouse, Eurythmics and INXS.

The Chorus is arena rock.

Breaking Up

An acoustic guitar and an addictive vocal melody.

And how descriptive is “A mouthful of glass / That cuts up your words”.

Setting Sun

The song was called “Forever Young”.

U2 comes to mind but press play on this track to hear the bass playing.

If your scared about the future,
I’m scared about the past

While you’re at it, check out the guitar melody which starts at 2.32.

London Bombs

Coldplay comes to mind. And I like it.

Sarah

Killers comes to mind with a bit of Rick Springfield.

This Is Pressure

An acoustic strummed passage starts the song.

There is no romance in suffocation

Truth right there.

Beating Like A Drum

If you like INXS, you will like this song. it’s not that it sounds like the band, it just has this spirit and attitude of Michael Hutchence.

I had a lot to drink last night
Now I’m feeling old
Is there anything that I can buy
That I have not sold

I’ve grown up with a father who likes to drink a lot and an older brother who likes to drink more. And all they think about is the next drink. Lucky for me they didn’t sell stuff to feed their habit.

Reprise

It’s a short instrumental, cinematic like piece.

Press play on it to hear the emotive piano melody.

Suicide Girl

Oasis and Radiohead comes to mind.

My social suicide girl
Poison in the wall
Razors in the apple core

These lyrics are hard rock. Nikki Sixx and Rachel Bolan would be proud.

How Does It Feel

A piano riff and a Muse/Coldplay feel.

You’re gonna lose everything / How does it feel

Not the best when it happens but as time goes on, a lot better.

There isn’t a song on this album that I will skip. It’s perfect from start to finish. So if you want to experience Australian Pop Rock, press play on this.

And the band is still active releasing new music and touring. But those reviews will be in other Australian posts.

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The Record Vault: Digital Summer – Counting The Hours

“Counting the Hours” is the album number 2.

It was released in May 2010.

On this album they amp up the radio rock songs, with bigger Choruses and concise song arrangements. They sound heavier, like Sevendust, more commercial than Three Days Grace and Staind and when they do the slower songs, they definitely know how to set a mood.

The band for the album is Kyle Winterstein on Vocals, Guitar and Producer, Ian Winterstein on Guitar, Johnmark Cenfield on Guitar
Anthony Hernandez on Bass and Ben Anderson on Drums and Assistant Engineer.

Counting The Hours

Dropped D down tuning, syncopated guitars and bass kick and a melodic droning lead kicks off the title track.

There’s nothing like an apocalypse to open your eyes

Great lyric, it reminds me of the lyric in “Life Is Beautiful” from Sixx A.M. when James Michael sings, “there’s nothing like a funeral to make you feel alive.” So don’t wait for those moments, seize the day.

The two guitar attack is very reminiscent of Machine Head during the Supercharger era. One guitar would crank the rhythms while another would play melodic motifs and leads over it during intros and verses and so forth. Korn’s two guitar team is another example of this.

Just Run

It’s basically a hard rock song, but played in a dropped D tuning and the riffs are more syncopated with the drums, which didn’t happen with hard rock bands in the 80’s.

You’ve been running your mouth for quite a while now

These days its more keyboard warriors running their mouths (aka fingertips) on social media.

Check out the Chorus.

Hostage

A fast alternate picked riff is played throughout while the other guitar embellishes with melodic leads.

It’s aggressive and angsty about a “relationship awakening” in which the writer realises they have changed so much that they have become a hostage to the relationship.

I don’t want to be a victim of this pointless game

Playing the Saint

It features guest vocals from Morgan Rose of Sevendust.

Industrial electronics kick it off and then the riffs start.

Kyle is not happy in this one.

I can see right through you and everything you do

The aggressive verses give way to a melodic Chorus about that someone in your life pretending to be someone their not and how they can do no wrong.

A four punch knockout combo so far.

Shallow (Closer than the Angels)

A more rockier bass riff that reminds me of “My Friend Of Misery” starts off the song but the overall feel is like a Five Finger Death Punch song as “The Bleeding” comes to mind.

Press play for the falsetto vocals and then the Arena Rock Chorus.

Anybody Out There

Morgan Rose also appears as a guest drummer, so it’s no surprise that my brain starts to think I’m listening to Sevendust.

And the riffage certainly helps.

SCREAM for help now, is anybody out there
Is anybody listening, does anybody care

There are people who care but they are the first ones we argue with, so let’s hope that are still around and still care in your time of need.

Morphine

Musically, it reminds me of the Limp Bizkit songs which have clean tone riffs and vocally, its melodic.

Not even morphine can kill the pain
Increase the dosage but I feel the same

We live in a drugged up world.

We take tablets for medication and some do it to get high. We take alcohol for various reasons. People still smoke cigarettes when they even know that smoking will kill you and some turn to illegal drugs.

The Thrill

It blasts out of the gate with fast riffing, reminding me of Godsmack.

Never cared for consequences, we take no prisoners
Don’t bother with regrets, we push forward till it hurts

It’s got the spirit of the early 80s.

Rescue Me

This appeared on the “Hollow” EP and was released as a single back then.

So maybe I’m the one that needed saving
Someone to rescue me from myself

Contemplation.

Maybe we are not so perfect after all.

Today

It stars off with a bass groove and drums, while the guitars kick in with shimmering arpeggios and clean tone melodies.

In the Chorus, they blast out the distortion.

The song is a bit derivative of the other songs and if I was John Kalodner, I would be leave this song off.

Inside My Head

The clean tone Intro reminds me of something but I can’t think of what.

It also sounds like part two of “Today”.

Use Me

This appeared on the “Hollow” EP as an acoustic track and here it gets the plugged in treatment.

Morgan Rose from Sevendust appears again as a guest drummer on this track.

The Chorus is melodic and excellent. Press play to hear it.

So Beautiful, So Evil

How good is the intro?

From the moment she laid her eyes on me
I knew how dangerous she could be

It’s like a Coverdale lyric about serpentine women.

Not Even God

Nonpoint and Sevendust come to mind but like “Today” and “Insiee My Head”, I would have done a Kalodner.

Something More

Another song I would have left off the album. Not that it’s a bad song, it’s because it sounds like many others on the album.

While The City Sleeps

One of my favourite songs.

The lyric of cruising the city while it sleeps could be a reference to Kyle’s job as a paramedic. Yes, while doing Digital Summer, he is also a full time paramedic with a generous boss who gives him time off to tour. His brother Ian is also a paramedic.

With the 16 songs, it’s a good album, however if list was cut down to about 10, then it would be a great album.

Either way, if you like heavy rock, crank it.

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The Record Vault: Digital Summer – Cause And Effect

Sometimes a band comes across your ears that you just like.

Digital Summer is one such band. They fuse a combination of other styles, but it’s delivered in a way, which is easily assessable and executed with a high degree of technicality.

It was the “Counting The Hours” release in 2010 that got me interested. And I was on board for the fan funding campaign on the “Breaking Point” album and the reason why I got their CDs and other gear all signed.

They are from Phoenix, Arizona, formed in 2006. Up until this day, they have remained independent and unsigned, while still getting radio airplay and building a fan base. They are a great story to read about.

“Cause And Effect” came out in 2007 and the band for the album is Kyle Winterstein on vocals, Ian Winterstein and Johnmark Cenfield on Guitar, Anthony Hernandez on Bass and Chris Carlson on Drums.

I’ve seen em labeled as Post Grunge, Hard Rock, Alternative Metal, Post Rock, Nu-Metal, Modern Rock and Alternative Rock.

To me it’s all Rock And Metal.

Disconnect

A Nu Metal like intro (think Godsmack) gives way to a heavy and melodic verse (think Staind) and an AOR Chorus (think Fuel). And I love it.

There must be a way to cut the cord.

So much harder to do these days as we live in a society which thrives on connection.

I reject this reality

Social media is a one size fits all approach. You either comply with the regulations the providers have or you get booted from the service or your smart enough to have never joined in the first place.

Crash

This one reminds me so much of Staind and I like it.

Press play on this for the Chorus.

When life crashes down around you

What do we do next?

Pick ourselves up and start again or find someone to blame and go one like nothing happened.

Suffocate

Press play for the mood and feeling in the verse.

The Chorus feels like a Seether Chorus with Fuel added in for spice.

What would you do with the whole world / Rolled in your hands? / I’d like to watch it burn

The best way to sum up the darkness when your feeling down and depressed.

Now Or Never

If you like Three Days Grace and Seether, then you’ll like this.

Vocally in the verses, Kyle Winterstein comes across like Aaron Lewis.

Lyrically it’s got that 80s attitude of don’t look back to the past because if you want to change your life, the door is open but you’ll need to act fast as opportunities don’t last forever.

So don’t hesitate because it’s now or never.

Broken

Arpeggios start the song and then distorted guitars kick in.

Its aggressive and Three Days Grace/Fuel definitely cones to mind.

So break my wings and watch me fall / Cause I’m broken

A true way to describe a feeling post relationship break up.

One More Day

A clean tone strummed riff that reminds me of Incubus starts everything off.

But press play for the Chorus and allow the emotion and the mood take you away.

Just tryin to make it one more day

You can tattoo this as a slogan.

Like how Art Of Dying had the Chorus hook of “if I can get through this, I can get through anything”.

That’s life in a nutshell. Trying to make it one more day.

Chasing Tomorrow

Press play for the Chorus which brings memories of Hoobastank’s debut album which I’m a big fan of.

I cut myself / Made a brand new scar today

The scar is a reminder of a time and a place so you don’t make the same mistakes again.

Sick Inside

It feels like a Heavy Rock cut with a bit of Tool like grooves in the Intro.

And check out the super melodic Chorus which Staind would be proud off.

YOU! / Everything you do / MAKES ME SO SICK INSIDE

A lot of rage as the writer wishes they never met their partner.

This Time

A piano melody plays briefly before the guitars crash in. This song is a favorite as well as it reminds me of Breaking Benjamin.

I don’t care what it takes this time / I’ll do anything to make things right / The hardest day of my whole damn life / Was the day that I said goodbye

From the rage in the previous song to the emotion of loss in this one.

Whatever It Takes

It sounds like a Bush cut and I like it.

And this one is back to theme of doing whatever it takes to get someone out of their life.

Love And Tragedy

The song begins with a feed backing guitar with the use of an eBow to keep the notes sustaining.

Then a digital delay The Edge like progression kicks in and I’m all in.

Press play on this especially for the Chorus.

Violent cries of love and tragedy

There is a target to Kyle’s anger and you hear it.

Sxxxoxxxe

The album closer is like a soundtrack song, with a haunting piano, sampled voices and drums and a vocal line processed through a tremolo effect.

Throughout it, you hear guitars feed backing.

And then a vocal melody kicks in without any effects, repeating “just to suffocate with me”.

If you haven’t heard em, get cranking.

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Daughtry – Dearly Beloved

Chris Daughtry (and as a byproduct Daughtry) had a decision to make after “Break The Spell”.

Should they stay with the same sound?

Should they change their sound completely?

Should they stay with the same sound but experiment with a few songs by bringing in different sounds?

“Baptized” came out in in November 2013 on RCA Records and it was an electro synth pop sounding album, a significant departure from the group’s hard rock sound from their first three albums.

Like the previous albums, RCA farmed Chris Daughtry out to work with different writers and to record with those different writers like the debut album. But while the writers previously had some rock pedigree, the writers on “Baptized” album specialized in other styles.

There is a song called “Long Live Rock N Roll” and it doesn’t even rock, as it’s more in the vein of “I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker”, an acoustic folk story telling song of growing up with a certain type of music.

But lead single “Waiting For Superman” did stick around and is at 83.7 million streams at the moment on Spotify.

Then came a “Greatest Hits” album in 2016 with two new songs called “Torches” and “Go Down.

“Torches” is actually a good bridge between the old sound and the “Baptized” sound,

The song “Go Down” has your typical catchy Daughtry vocal melody but it’s instrument sounds are routed in synth pop and electronica. Think of the band “Garbage”.

Most artists who found success playing a hard modern rock style in the 2000’s started to experiment and bring in sounds from Adele, Maroon 5, The Fray, Train, OneRepublic and Imagine Dragons.

Shinedown was in a similar predicament as Daughtry but I believe they did a better job at bringing in those new sounds, while still staying true to their old sound.

“Cage To Rattle” came out in 2018. 10 songs that total 38 minutes. RCA again was spending a lot of money for Chris Daughtry to write with so many outside writers in the quest to find hits.

But what the record executives failed to understand is that Daughtry’s audience is predominantly made up of rockers.

And there is a saying, when your chasing hits it don’t mean the hits would come.

Then Daughtry and RCA parted ways.

And a new look was in play for a dystopian story called “Dearly Beloved”, released in 2021.

Plus the hard rock distorted guitars are back with a vengeance, something which Daughtry hinted to in 2016 when the “Greatest Hits” album came out but then the label got in the way.

The band for the album is Chris Daughtry, Josh Steely and Brian Craddock on guitars, Josh Paul on bass, Elvio Fernandes on keyboards and Brandon Maclin on drums.

Desperation

Written by Chris Daughtry.

It simmers in the verses, with Daughtry singing in the lower registers as he blends his voice with the synth and guitars.

It’s a slow rocker before soaring in the Chorus.

And the heaviness of the guitars definitely captures my attention.

It also sets the lead in for the next track “World On Fire”.

World On Fire

Written by Daughtry and producers Scott Stevens and Marti Frederiksen.

The film clip for this and “Heavy Is The Crown” is set in a dystopian future while Chris Daughtry looks like an “Assassin’s Creed” character.

Heavy Is The Crown

Written by Daughtry, John Cummings, Elvis Fernandezs, Scott Stevens and Marti Frederiksen.

It’s a song writing committee. John Cummings is from the band Mogwai, who is accomplished on guitar, as well as keyboards.

The guitars dominate here along with Daughtry’s voice. Check out the Chorus.

Changes Are Coming

Written by Daughtry, Stevens and Frederiksen.

More of the same 120bpm, guitar heavy modern Arena Rock.

Dearly Beloved

Written by Daughtry, Brian Craddock and Mark Holman.

It’s a ballad and Daughtry knows how to deliver em.

The guitars are load and so is the electronica and keyboards.

Cry For Help

Written by Daughtry, Stevens and Frederiksen.

Acoustics and piano give way to loud distorted guitars and another hooky Chorus.

Asylum

Written by Daughtry, Cummings, Fernandezs, Stevens and Frederiksen.

Its sort of gospel heavy rock cut and why wouldn’t it be, with lyrics like “the lunatics have taken the asylum.”

Evil

Written by Daughtry, Stevens and Frederiksen.

Check out the bridge.

The Victim

Written by Daughtry, Stevens and Frederiksen.

If you like hard rock you will like this.

Somebody

Chris Daughtry is the songwriter and he delivers vocally on this while the guitars get loud in the Chorus.

Call You Mine

Written by Chris Daughtry in and his wife Deanna.

The Intro with the palm muted chugging acoustic guitar is the best.

Lioness

Written by Chris Daughtry.

Check out the Outro.

Break Into My Heart

Written by Daughtry, Stevens and Frederiksen.

A piano and a voice to close the album.

“Dearly Beloved” is a return to form which shows the world that Daughtry still knows how to rock!!

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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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Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault: Coheed and Cambria – Second Stage Turbine Blade

I was waiting for my CD to come in before I did this post.

The debut album was released in 2002, but the story goes back to 1995 when Claudio Sanchez and Travis Stever had a band called “Toxic Parents” which then became “Beautiful Loser”.

Three months later, Stever left and the remaining members renamed the band, “Shabutie”.

Michael Todd was recruited in 1996 and would remain the bassist until his arrest for break and enter circa 2010/11.

As Shabütie, the band released their first studio demo “Plan to Take Over the World” in 1999 and “The Penelope EP” in 1999, shortly after which Stever rejoined the band.

The original drummer left in 1999 and Josh Eppard was the replacement. He would be the drummer on the first three Coheed albums and while he was out of the band between 2006 and 2011 he returned for “The Afterman” albums and is still the drummer at this point in time.

The band went on to release another EP called “Delirium Trigger” in 2000 and several songs that appeared on it, were based on a series of science fiction comics written by Claudio Sanchez called “The Bag.On.Line Adventures”, which were later renamed “The Amory Wars”.

This science fiction story was Sanchez’s side project. Eventually, the band would rename themselves as Coheed and Cambria, after two of the story’s protagonists.

From a story point of view, there is a great summary over at the Coheed and Cambria fan wiki.

In a nutshell, and spoiler alert, Coheed and Cambria are dead by the end of it. Coheed by now had already killed off his children except Claudio and Cambria had to kill Coheed as he unleashed a virus and then unable to live without Coheed, she killed herself. In the process her energy/sacrifice then saved the dying star that Coheed was trying to destroy. Their son Claudio, is left to pick up the pieces.

A lot of pieces of the puzzle are put into place, and backstory’s are told. The fan wiki page does a great job detailing it.

“Second Stage Turbine Blade”

It’s a minute of ambient noise and an ominous sombre piano riff.

“Time Consumer”

The feel of this song in the first minute feels like a Pink Floyd/U2 jam mash up. It is raw and gritty as it grooves its way to the exploding of distorted guitars at the 1.14 mark.

“Devil In Jersey City”

It’s got that pop punk feel, almost happy like but the subject matter is disturbing involving a bashing and a rape by the gang called “Jersey City Devils” on the daughter of Coheed and Cambria and her partner.

“Everything Evil”

This moves into “Everything Evil,” which is arguably the most proggy track on the album. The ending of the song has that piano riff which becomes the first song on subsequent albums

Delirium Trigger”

The heaviest song on the album.

“Hearshot Kid Disaster”

It has a funky riff.

“33”

A pop song which is 3.30 long. Coincidence.

“Junesong Provision”

“Junesong Provision” Heavy guitar and impressive vocals and lyrics make up this noteworthy song.

“Neverender”

The bass is excellent and the riffs are rooted in hard rock. Claudio’s vocals are the most confident on this one and it shows.

“God Send Conspirator”
A clean guitar riff starts the song off, which sounds like an indie song. The bass grooves and funks it’s way throughout.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault – Breed 77

“Cultura” (released in 2004) is an interesting and diverse album. But I had no idea about it when I just picked it up to make my quota of so many albums for a certain price.

It’s metal from Gibraltar.

But with influences of a lot of different styles. Like Middle Eastern/Arabic and Latin/Flamenco and Classical.

“Individuo” has this solo break that reminds me of the work Uli Jon Roth did with Scorpions.

“La Ultima Hora” sounds like a System Of A Down song.

“A Matter Of Time” is one of my favourite tracks. No one was really writing hard rock songs like this in 2004, with kick ass leads, so it was refreshing to hear.

“Numb” is an acoustic track and in its feel it reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

And it wasn’t a big budget production and I liked it.

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