Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Brent Smith (Shinedown) – What Do You Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

Another week, another “What Do You Mean I Dont Write Good Lyrics” post.

This week, Brent Smith from Shinedown is under the microscope. For the first two records Leave A Whisper (2003) and Us and Them (2005) he was addicted to cocaine, OxyContin and alcohol. By the time The Sound of Madness (2008) came out, he was drinking a lot of alcohol. For some reason he reminds me of Nikki Sixx.

Burning Bright from Leave A Whisper (2003)

There’s nothing ever wrong but nothing’s ever right
Such a cruel contradiction

Such a cruel contradiction it is. We tell everyone that everything is okay, however it never is. It could be debt problems, work problems, gambling problems or something else.

Adrenaline from Amaryllis (2012)

Which way is up, when your high is low?
It’s time to find it are you ready to go?

How do we know how to go up when we have been down the whole time. When the time comes to go higher, are we ready to go? Do we want to go higher?

Cry For Help from The Sounds Of Madness (2008)

‘Cause when you lie like the devil himself
No angels gonna hear your Cry for help!

I have been friends with quite a few people like that. All they do is lie. With each lie, they dig their hole deeper. Then one day no one is going to give a shit about them anymore. The song Enemies from Amaryllis (2012) also has a similar lyrical theme. “You started something that you just couldn’t stop, You turned the ones that you love into the angriest mob, And their one last wish is that you pay for it, And there’s no way you’re getting out of this.”

Bully from Amaryllis (2012)

Seems I’ve crossed the line again
For being nothing more than who I am

This is how the metal / rock community was treated in the Eighties. Employers bullied us, teachers bullied, the police bullied us.

Atmosphere from Us and Them (2005)

Once I met a leader
Born from genocide
Once I knew a preacher
To his faith, he said goodbye

The lyrics are great in this song. It’s just about how messed up our world has become. A leader born from genocide, what a brilliant line. It brings up so many different meanings.

Second Chance from The Sound of Madness (2008)

Sometimes goodbye is a second chance

I have always seen goodbye as one door closing and a million other doors opening.

Sound of Madness from The Sound of Madness (2008)

Somehow I’m still here, to explain,
That the darkest hour never comes in the night

The darkest hour comes when you least expect it and it is never at night.

Call Me from The Sound of Madness (2008)

I kept my whole life in suitcase,
Never really stayed in one place
Maybe that’s the way it should be,
You know I live my life like a gypsy

When I first heard this song, I immediately thought of Tracy Chapman, as the vocal delivery is very similar. Are we ever settled in life? We always want something more, something different, something else.

Heroes from Us and Them (2005)

All my heroes have now become ghosts
Sold their sorrow to the ones who paid the most

We all die in the end. What legacy will we leave behind?

My Name (Wearing Me Out) from Amaryllis (2012)

My name is revenge and I’m here to save my name

Enough said.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Shinedown, Trivium, Mutiny Within, Machine Head and Corroded – Classic Songs To Be Discovered

Driving into work today, I had the music on shuffle.  It is interesting to hear in which order songs come up.  In this case, the shuffle got it right, putting five metal/rock bands together, that have different styles, but when played one after each other, form a sequenced album.

BULLY – Shinedown
BLACK – Trivium
BECOME – Mutiny Within
BE STILL and KNOW – Machine Head
BELIEVE IN ME – Corroded

If these five songs where by one band and they were on one side of a LP, the album would be called a classic.  Back in the day to play these five songs, I would have had to change the LP five times.  Alternatively I could have copied them onto a cassette tape as a mix tape.  It was okay to copy songs onto cassettes back in the eighties, however it is not okay to copy songs on the internet today, or to burn a CD of your favourite songs. 

Seems I’ve crossed the line again
For being nothing more than who I am

Shinedown is a combination of the eighties and seventies, repackaged in the two thousands.  They have the seventies classic rock element, the eighties sleaze and the nineties move to modern alternative rock.  They can be soulful and heavy, bluesy and poppy.  They tick all the boxes and cover a lot of styles.  Bully is from their most recent album Amaryllis, the follow-up to the mega successful The Sound Of Madness.  How simple and yet effective is that lyric?  Getting punished for being who you are.  We have all suffered this fate in our lives.    

Even though the bands play different styles, for some reason, when the syncopated intro for Black starts right after Bully, it sounds like it could come from the same band.  Instead it came from Trivium, and it’s from the album In Waves released in 2011.  After the epic sounding Shogun album, the band moved more into a shorter format of song writing, much like how Metallica did the Black album, after the epic And Justice For All album.

You can say that in the eighties, Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Exodus were the big 5 in the thrash metal genre.  The nineties saw the rise of the Pantera juggernaut.   No one could come close to rivalling the power of Pantera.  The two thousand’s say Machine Head evolve into a thrash juggernaut, especially after The Blackening, along with bands like Slipknot, Trivium, Killswitch Engaged, Shadows Fall and Chimera. 

Black!
Downfall of decimation!
Black!
It tears apart the night!

The intro of Become from Mutiny Within kicks off, and it brings back memories of Megadeth’s Lucretia from the Rust In Peace album.  Mutiny Within, had a major label deal with Roadrunner.  The first album they released, was promoted as Killswitch Engage meets Dream Theater by Roadrunner.  Being a fan of both bands, I decided to purchase it.  I heard the Killswitch Engage similarities but couldn’t really get the Dream Theater vibe.  Anyway, due to low album sales, Roadrunner dropped the band. 

Seriously, who measures low album sales as gauges for success.  Obviously Roadrunner does, as well as the singer of Mutiny Within, who is involved in some stupid website called Embers, which is a voice against piracy and how piracy effects artists.  Here is a tip.  Piracy is here to stay.  Accept it, and start competing with it.  Piracy was alive and well, when Five Finger Death Punch released American Capitalist, and it didn’t stop it from moving 500,000 units.  

I can’t justify this life,
I have no reason to start again,
Can’t forget what I’ve become

I read a few interviews from the band on-line, and from what I gathered, they all believed that they made it once they signed to Roadrunner, and when the untold millions didn’t eventuate and they were on their backsides, they needed someone to blame.  That is when they should have gone to their fans.  Look at what Protest The Hero did with their Indiegogo funding.  Mutiny Within had fans, but failed to connect with them.  Regardless, Become is a tough song, check it out.  This band has a future, lets see if they can fulfill it by doing what the new paradigm requires, connecting with fans.  At the moment, they are still stuck in the old paradigm.     

The mighty Machine Head was up next.  What can I say, I have seen Machine Head live on three occasions.   I love this band.  They have survived so many trends in the music business and in the end have come out on top, by doing it their way.  How good is that 7/4 intro , that always seems to remind me of Iron Maiden’s Wasted Years.  How insane is that solo section and the super quick double bass drumming.  Unto The Locust was an album without any filler.  The songs were tight, trimmed and lean.

And the sun will rise
Dawn will break through the blackest night
Distant in its glow
This shall pass be still and know

Finally, Corroded.  From Sweden or Sveden, depending on how you want to say it.  Believe in Me is from their third album, the excellent State of Disgrace.  It’s groovy and it rocks.  It’s heavy and it boogies.  This is one band, that I am hoping can break out of Sweden.  They fill a void in the heavy rock scene.

 

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