Released in 1996, I got this on cassette originally, which I found in a 3 for $10 bin.
But I didn’t get it when it came out. It was a few years later and I got the CD recently at a record fair. Again it was in a 3 for $10 box.
Press play to hear the bass guitar riff.
It’s basically an artist writing a song, without a thought of it being a hit. And somehow it gets released as a single and it’s seen as a hit. I like the feel of the verses, the way the bass rumbles and those open string droning notes on the guitars builds up into the Chorus.
The lead single, and it followed a “Live (band) vibe”.
At 30.5 million Spotify streams it’s definitely the hit song from the album. But it pales compared to “Glycerine” at 151 million streams or “Machinehead” at 91.6 million streams.
Press play to hear how the song starts with the snare groove and how it just keeps building. You get to hear Rossdale throw his throat out in the singing.
It has a cool drum groove, with the guitars decorating the song in a nice way, as Rossdale is singing, “you will get yours” with the volume and intensity increasing. And at six minutes long, it’s the anti-single, but it still got released as a single.
A Tendency To Start Fires
The verses hook me, but the Chorus loses me.
It’s almost like the song “Black Sabbath”. Listen to it in its doom like feel.
“Nothing hurts like your mouth”
Truth right there. We might forget the words but we never forget the feeling.
Straight, No Chaser
They tried to re-write “Glycerine” but they didn’t get close.
I like the intro guitar riff on this. It just didn’t go on long enough.
The Chorus is a favourite, very Bowie like.
It’s “Mouth” part 2.
Another cool guitar riff to start if off but overall the song doesn’t connect with me as I felt they really tried hard to recreate “Glycerine”.
They should have ended the album with “Synapse” as the last three songs drag it down.
Like “Sixteen Stone”, it was the accessible singles of the album that got me interested in the album and then it was a matter of discovering some cool sections here and there.
They did an electronic remix album after this and they lost me with that cash grab. And I didn’t check out “The Science Of Things” until recently.
Without even realizing, it’s a special U.K edition.
Bush – Razorblade Suitcase
I got this album a few years after it came out on cassette tape, via a 3 for $10 bin, so it was a no brainer.
Gavin Rossdale got a lot of crap from journalists and critics.
Like he was too handsome to be considered grunge but then he’s labelled a Nirvana clone. And when the debut album sold in the multi-millions, the band was labelled as slick rock.
He got worse treatment in his homeland. As the U.K ignored them initially, Bush landed a U.S deal and became successful in the North American market first before their album was released in their home country.
He mentioned that Pixies are an influence, and the press called him a Kurt Cobain poseur as Cobain also said that the Pixies are a massive influence. So he said “fuck it”.
“Swallowed” is the lead single. My favorite on the album.
“Greedy Fly” is basically an artist writing a song, without a thought of it being a hit. And somehow it gets released as a single and it’s seen as a hit.
“Cold Contagious” has a cool drum groove, with the guitars decorating the song in a nice way, as Rossdale is singing, “you will get yours” with the volume and intensity increasing. And at six minutes long, it’s the anti-single, but it still got released as a single.
And the band toured for 14 months to promote the album. In the process they moved 6 million copies of the album in the U.S alone.
But with every peak, there is a valley waiting below.
A fight with the label delayed “The Science Of Things” and when the album came out, their sound was suddenly seen as “old” by the press, in the same way that hard rock became old circa 1991/92.
Deep Purple – Purpendicular
It’s not on Spotify but YouTube has it. It’s ridiculous why some albums are missing from digital services.
“Purpendicular” is the fifteenth studio album. It is their first album with guitarist Steve Morse. His injection was seen a breath of fresh air.
“Vavoom: Ted the Mechanic”
The blues boogie is excellent and the Mixolydian lead break from Steve Morse is guitar hero worthy.
What a way to introduce yourself to the Purple fans.
“Loosen My Strings”
Arpeggios kick off the song, but its Roger Glover’s bass line that takes this song to a new level and then Morse starts to play a distorted chord riff which complements the bass riff.
The riff before the lead break is excellent, but make sure you check out the lead break and the outro lead break, which sounds like a Boston outro, ala “Don’t Look Back”.
It’s a strange song, with a riff that sounds a little bit exotic and a bizarre staccato like vocal melody on top of it. The organ work on this track is stunning and you are reminded why Jon Lord is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
“Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming”
The intro guitar from Morse is haunting and sad. He then plays this melodic lead in between the verses which is memorable.
The guitar solo is amazing.
It’s one of their best and should be known with their classic songs.
Did I mention that the guitar solo is amazing?
Do yourself a favour, check it out and start playing air guitar to it.
And did I mention there is an outro guitar solo as well?
There is. So check that one out as well. In other words, Steve Morse rules on this track.
“Cascades: I’m Not Your Lover”
The churchy organs of Jon Lord kick it off, while Steve Morse plays a bendy melodic lead, before it takes a left turn and a U-turn and becomes a hard rock song with a “Highway Star” like vibe.
The guitar/organ harmony solo from 2.15 to 3.15 is one of the great moments on this album as Lord/Morse go to town playing arpeggios, in a similar way that Lord and Blackmore did for “Burn”, just a lot faster.
Morse brings out the country and folk influences to create a major key “good vibes” medieval arrangement. Make sure you check out “Highland Wedding” from Steve Morse’s “High Tension Wires” from 1989 as Morse has been dabbling with these kind of melodies previously.
“A Castle Full of Rascals”
The beginning sounds like a cross between ELP and Led Zeppelin in the blues rock vein.
And the song changes at 1.58 mark with a bass groove, lush keys and a progressive like vocal melody. Morse at first is playing single note lines before crashing in with power chords and distorted single notes, paving the way for Jon Lord and his Hammond Organ solo.
“A Touch Away”
It’s got that feel good 70’s progressive vibe.
It sounds like “Hit The Road Jack” on steroids. Hell, it could have come from a Van Halen album. Make sure you stick around for the guitar and organ harmonies from about 4.08 and then Morse breaks loose with his fast alternate picked Mixolydian lines.
“Somebody Stole My Guitar”
What a riff to introduce the song. It grooves, its heavy and bluesy. I haven’t mentioned the swing and soul feel of Ian Paice yet, but man, this dude can play.
At the 2 minute mark, Morse starts this palm muted arpeggio riff, while Lord plays these Organ chords before Morse launches into the solo, while Lord plays the palm muted arpeggio riff on the Organ.
“The Purpendicular Waltz”
It’s a blues shuffle built around a cool groove and a great closer to the album.
For all the debate about Blackmore and Morse, forget it.
Listen without prejudice.
Bruce Dickinson – Skunkworks
I didn’t like this album when I first heard it. And it stayed on the shelf for a long time before I pulled it out and re-listened. I still didn’t like it and back on the shelf it went. But over the last 8 years, the album has taken a life on its own.
I didn’t get it back then, but goddamn this album sounds progressive. The cover design from Storm Thorgerson (RIP) should have been an indication of its progressive intentions, but it escaped me.
It was meant to be a band album but the label wouldn’t release it under anything except Bruce Dickinson. Jack Endino a Seattle producer who worked on Nirvana’s “Bleach” is producing. The sound is like an amalgamation of 80’s Rush with alternative rock and metal.
And I’ve never heard of Alex Dickson again after this album but he does a stellar job on the guitar and as a co-writer on all the songs. But as Rod Smallwood said, “Bruce Dickinson is a heavy metal singer and that will never change”. His attempt to shake off the image of his Maiden past was futile.
“Back From The Edge” has double time drumming over a jangly chord progression, but it’s the bridge and solo section which gets me interested.
“Inertia” could have come from any Maiden album, past or future.
How good is the riff to kick off “Faith”?
At times I feel like I am listening to a Dream Theater cut from the “Falling Into Infinity” album with this song.
Make sure you check out the solo section.
“Dreamstate” in the verses sounds like a Nirvana cut. Yes, that’s right folks, Bruce is channeling Cobain.
How good is “I Will Not Accept The Truth”. Listen to the repeating arpeggios in the verses. Sinister and melodic in the same breadth.
The whole mood and groove in the interlude/solo section of “Strange Death In Paradise” while Dickinson sings the title is a must listen for any Dickinson fan.
In the end, unless you were interested in what Dickinson was up to, there was nothing really here to get you to commit. Then again, the 90’s was an interesting time for 80’s artists and the fans of those artists.
“The Kingdom” took me by surprise. This is their best album since the first two albums. Its heavy and it’s the Bush I like.
“Flowers On The Grave” has the riffs.
She covered me in loneliness like flowers on a grave
What a lyric?
Relationships could be like death. When they end its sad, So many memories are attached to things. You might not like your favourite artist anymore, because that artist was tied to the relationship.
“The Kingdom” starts off with a bending note, before it explodes into a heavy riff that reminds me of Tool and Rossdale is nailing the vocal.
Hey, people just soldier on
I guess that’s what we know how to do. Marching forward in the name of the progress.
Only in the silence we can see who we are
When we are alone with our thoughts, that’s when it’s real. That’s when we know who we are. Are we thinking of how to make it, or are we thinking how to get back at someone who upset us or to get it on with someone else.
“Bullet Holes” has a bass riff that reminds of “Comedown”. It appeared in John Wick 3, which these days, placing songs in movies is a perfect vehicle for artists to promote their music and also get some of that licensing money.
“Ghosts In The Machine” has an intro riff that gets the head banging before it gets subdued in the verses.
“Are we not slaves?”
“We are slaves, under the illusion of free will”.
My father said that to me once upon a time. He borrowed money from a bank on two occasions, $20K each time and he paid off those loans super quick. He’s never owned a credit card. As far as he’s concerned, being in debt to a financial institution is slavery. Because you are not free to make the best choice available in life, because if you are in debt, you live with fear, like what will happen if you lose your job.
“Blood River” has an angry chorus.
Blood River, let it all go
Rage is like a blood river, a flood of red which overwhelms the senses. Let it go, move on, whatever has got you worked up, is not worth it.
“Send In The Clowns” has the riffs.
Send in the clowns as tonight we are going to rage
It brings back memories of the Joker movie, right at the end, when they all just raged and went nuts.
“Undone” moves me, every single time.
On my grave nothing really matters
Death gives us perspective and what actually matters. I saw a research paper on one of those BBC Science news posts a while back that asked a range of questions to people who are terminal.
And all of them wanted more time to do things they wanted to do or should have done. And most of them said they should have spent more time with family.
Because it’s at this moment of death, your mind finally understands that you will not be around anymore, so you get a sense of what is most important.
How good is that riff in “Our Time Will Come”?
“Crossroads” reminds me of “Machinehead” (the Bush song, not the Deep Purple album or the band).
“Words Are Not Impediments” has this bass groove which gets me interested.
When I’m with you I feel no pain
There is always something or someone that makes you feel invincible. When I was growing up, that was heavy metal and hard rock music.
There is a saying that by the time an artist reaches album number 3 or 4, they are at the peak of their powers. It’s not because of some mystical power or magical power or magical powder; it’s basically a combination of having enough life experiences to create better art.
And if you look at the history of music, there is a consistent trend about the 3rd or 4th album being the album which makes it happen. Some artists deliver again a few albums after and some artists deliver again as solo artists or via a new band they formed.
If you study history, you will know that beyond every fall of an empire, there is a rise and beyond every rise, there is a fall. And the cycle just keeps repeating. An artist’s career is no different.
But the third Bush album “The Science Of Things”, released in 1999, doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The glory or the rise, went to “Sixteen Stone” and “Razorblade Suitcase”. But the third album is also worthy, however it falls into the side of “the fall”. It doesn’t have hits, it has songs. And albums were designed to be a statement of songs, not cherry picked songs, released as singles.
The whole recording industry blamed Steve Jobs for allowing people to cherry pick songs and just buy them. Well, the label bosses had been doing it for decades in order to make people believe they needed an album. Which is why for me, it was always special to buy an album, when I had no idea what was on the album. But I wouldn’t invest that time today.
“Warm Machine” and “The Chemicals Between Us” satisfies the fans of the debut album. “Spacetravel” is a bit more progressive, an artist writing to fulfil their creative urge, rather than writing for a song to be a hit. Even “40 Miles From The Sun”, it’s the a song The Doors didn’t write.
“Prizefighter” is a favourite, with the jangling guitar strumming over a fuzzed out guitar, and nicely decorated with another shimmering guitar playing natural harmonics. “Disease Of The Dancing Cats” is a terrible title, but that’s what also makes it unique, plus its “Zero” like riff from Smashing Pumpkins. “Letting The Cable Sleeps” also has this melancholy like vibe, it starts off with two major chords and ends with a minor chord, giving the song a yin and yang of happy and sad.
Gavin Rossdale sings in his normal baritone voice. There is no need to copy or mimic another singer whereas on the first two albums, people compared his voice on some songs to Kurt Cobain. And you definitely won’t hear Rob Halford wails on a Bush record, then again Halford went more industrial and guttural during this period with “Fight”.
And an album doesn’t need to be number one on the charts to be a good album, nor does it need to have diamond like sales. But it always happens, when everything is judged against the commercial appeal of an album.
For U2, everything is judged against “Achtung Baby”, for Pearl Jam its “Ten”, for Metallica it’s the self-titled Black album, for AC/DC its “Back In Black”, for Bon Jovi its “Slippery When Wet”, for Europe its “The Final Countdown” however, I believe Europe has surpassed “The Final Countdown” on many occasions musically, but not commercially. For Van Halen, its 1984, but their Sammy Hagar albums sold less, but gave them an even larger audience because of the mainstream sound of the songs.
For Aerosmith, well they had a few mega sellers, like “Pump” and “Get A Grip” in the 80’s as sales of recorded music in the 70’s is really hard to see as accurate, as it’s based on shipping rates and other creative payola ideas.
But there are bands who more or less remain consistent in relation to their output and sales but still play to packed houses, like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Ozzy solo era, Deep Purple, Motley Crue, Rush and Judas Priest. Well Judas Priest did have a big album with “Screaming For Vengeance” and everything else that came before and after supported their legacy.
The problem is when an artist has commercial acceptance of their music, they chase it a little bit more and want it again and again. But it rarely works that way, and some artists, bite the bullet and sell their creative juices to outside writers.
Bush, up until this point, kept everything in house and you can hear that they didn’t really chase the Billboard Hot 100 chart parade with this album. Maybe to their detriment financially, but respect is earned when you play the game your own way.
I was a bit late to the Bush party. It took the single “Comedown” to get me to pay attention and then “Glycerine” came out and I was “yep I like it and I will purchase the album on my next outing”, but that didn’t transpire as I kept pushing the album out of my purchase list in lieu of hard rock and metal bands. Then “Machinehead” came out as a single and I committed financially.
The album came out towards the end of 1994, but it was in 1995 that it started to get people’s attention and for me, it was around May/June 1996 that I committed financially.
The picture you see is not the original. I gave the CD to a friend circa 2001, who then claimed that he lost it, and then gave me back a copy, with the cover printed on an inkjet printer and the CD burned onto a blank disc. I gave him the benefit of the doubt until many years later, other friends told me, he did the same to them, so the prick was scamming us.
As soon as the “Rockin In A Free World” vibe of “Everything Zen” kicked in, I was very interested. And then a bit lost with “Swim” and “Bomb” and “Little Things” brought it back into focus with its “Smell Like Teens Spirit” vibe merged with a Tom Petty “Free Fallin” vibe.
But the piece d resistance is “Comedown” with its bass riff which reminds me of the “You Give Love A Bad Name” verse riff. And Grunge purists are probably gagging at the thought of this, but yes, the riffs are very similar.
And there is no escaping the power of “Machinehead”. The intro riff octaves, along with the power chords crashing all over the place is perfect.
“Breathe in, breathe out” and the way its sung, with a loudspeaker/telephone vibe, captures the frenetic pace of life, and how we don’t have enough time to take a breath.
And I realised that the accessible singles of the album, got me interested, sort of like how the accessible singles of hard rock bands got people interested who would otherwise enjoy other musical styles.
And with this debut, Gavin Rossdale showed he is a force to be reckoned with as a songwriter.
The cassette was in a 3 for $10 bin, so it was a no brainer. I didn’t get it when it came out in 1996, but circa 1998.
“Swallowed” is the lead single, and it followed a “Live (band) vibe”. “Greedy Fly” is basically an artist writing a song, without a thought of it being a hit. And somehow it gets released as a single and it’s seen as a hit.
“Cold Contagious” has a cool drum groove, with the guitars decorating the song in a nice way, as Rossdale is singing, “you will get yours” with the volume and intensity increasing. And at six minutes long, it’s the anti-single, but it still got released as a single.
And like “Sixteen Stone”, it was the accessible singles of the album that got me interested again. Then the band lost me with an electronic remix album and I’ve never really checked out anything afterwards, however friends have told me that “The Science Of Things” is worthy.
“In This Moment” will regret signing with Atlantic Records. Atlantic Records under the reign of the departed Ahmet Ertegun were well known for not paying their artists. Throughout the Eighties, Atlantic capitalised big time on the success of the metal and rock bands, and once those bands dad a drop in sales, Atlantic started dropping the bands left, right and centre and moved on to the next thing that could make them money.
Let’s look at some of the bands that Atlantic have signed;
The story of the band “Bush” is very similar to “In This Moment”. After three successful releases on a smaller label, “Bush” signed with Atlantic for their fourth release and in return they had their least successful album. So with no mainstream success and a lack of label support, “Bush” called it quits. Which is a shame as the band was coming of three great albums.
“Winger” was signed by Atlantic and they had success with Atlantic Records, there is no doubt about that. However, Atlantic signed a band that had musicians already developed and experienced. There was no artist and development costs associated with “Winger”. With that experience Atlantic reaped in millions from the first two “Winger” albums. After “Winger” delivered their best album “Down Icognito”, “Beavis and Butthead” also happened, and after hanging a Winger loving family in one of their episodes, Atlantic Records suddenly developed amnesia and claimed that they had never heard of “Winger”.
“Collective Soul” already had a demo version of their massive hit “Shine” doing the rounds on radio for about six months before Atlantic picked them up and re-released the same demo album under the Atlantic brand. What an artist and development program at Atlantic. While the band kept selling, Atlantic loved them. Then when the sales started to decline (although still great numbers compared to other bands), the label started to lose interest and after 7 years of making Atlantic wealthy, once their contract ended, it wasn’t renewed.
“White Lion” also experienced a similar fate to “Winger”. When the band was signed, they already had seven years under their belts, plus an independent release. What an artist and development program at Atlantic. So when “Pride” broke out, Atlantic pushed them to write more hit singles. This added pressure to create “hit songs” caused a conflicted Vito Bratta even more conflict and when the record label advice failed to provide an increase in sales for “Big Game”, the label just stopped caring. As a last resort, they gave them a lot of money for the “Mane Attraction” album and while “White Lion” was out of the music scene recording that album, their label had already moved on. So it was no surprise when the album was released with no marketing budget and within 5 months of the album being released the band was over. No one from the label called them and it just ended.
“Twisted Sister” had a huge local following, however US labels just kept on rejecting them. Eventually, they went looking for a deal in Europe and after a false start with Secret Records, they ended up getting signed to Atlantic Europe. Then they started to get traction in the US with “You Cant Stop Rock N Roll”. As an import album, it was selling like hot cakes in the US. So of course, Atlantic US came knocking, signed them (even though they ignored and rejected them for ten years prior to that), made a huge amount of money of the “Stay Hungry” album and then dropped them three years later. Again, what an artist and development program at Atlantic.
“Zebra” had a huge local following before they got signed with Atlantic Records. Then the “Zebra” debut album became one of the fastest selling releases on the Atlantic roster. Again, what an artist and development program at Atlantic. Not one of the bands that I have mentioned above got signed and developed. They where all developed. Three years later, Atlantic dropped the band, however they kept an option open on Randy Jackson. Randy Jackson finished the “China Rain” record in 1990 and Atlantic Records decided not to release it. Sound familiar. Gatekeepers controlling the fate of musicians. Dee Snider suffered the same fate with his “Desperado” project after experiencing the same shafting when he was in “Twisted Sister”.
“Badlands” was signed by Atlantic. The self-titled debut came out and it achieved cult like status among the jaded metal community. “Voodoo Highway” came next however Atlantic was not impressed with what “Badlands” delivered. It was during the making of “Voodoo Highway” that Lee and Gillen started to disagree over the direction the band was taking. The label wanted hit songs. The label wanted songs written to a strict radio formula. Ray Gillen apparently had songs that suited what the label was looking for. Those frustrations came to a head when Jake E. Lee accused Ray Gillen of going behind his back to the record company in a revealing Kerrang interview. In the end, Atlantic broke the band up and then dropped them when they went chasing the grunge dollars.
Atlantic has a history of extorting hard rock and metal bands. Testament, Skid Row, P.O.D, Mr Big, Taproot, Savatage, The Cult, Kix, Kings X and Queensryche are other bands that come to mind.
“In This Moment” will be next. Their music is a niche style and that style has a niche audience. For them to cross over, they really need to diverge from their style. Their most recent album “Blood” has moved over 250,000 units. For a metal band, that is a great result. For Century Media that is a great result. For Atlantic, that is not a great result, especially when you are on a label that has Bruno Mars, who has sold over 58 million singles. Especially when you are on a label that has Shinedown who are a multi-platinum selling band.
I watched Australia beat Iraq last night, with my family. I watched 80,000 people celebrate as the 2014 theme song, Bellini – Samba De Janeiro started to play on the loudspeakers. It got me thinking about the role music plays in defining moments. If there is a celebration to be had, music is at the forefront.
After the 2014 World Cup theme song finished, the famous A chord groove from Malcolm Young started, introducing Long Way To The Top from AC/DC. The crowd responds. We know the words. Long Way To The Top is slowly becoming another unofficial Australian anthem. It is the video clip that pushed Long Way To The Top into the stratosphere. It’s the band, on a back of a truck, riding down the CBD of Melbourne. It’s raw, it’s honest. More importantly, it captures the band at what they do best. Perform.
So I am driving home, and the family is asleep. I notice that my wife had put the radio on. It’s 104.9. Triple M. Once upon a time, Triple M was on the bleeding edge. It played music that the DJ’s wanted. It broke new bands. Then like all the radio stations, it started to please advertisers and board members. The playlists became the same regurgitated garbage over and over again. However at 10.30pm it was different. Kick Start My Heart is playing. I haven’t heard Motley Crue on the radio since the late eighties.
Then Bush came on. It was the song Comedown. That bass riff in Comedown, is the same as the verse guitar riff in You Give Love A Bad Name. It’s basic, it’s within the Pentatonic scale and it has authority. It screams PAY ATTENTION.
I had forgotten what a great song Comedown is. I really liked Bush when they came out. I still can’t work that one out. I didn’t like Nirvana a lot, but I liked Bush and after hearing Nirvana and then hearing Bush, you can pick up a lot of vocal similarities. Puddle of Mudd is another band that had a large Nirvana influence.
Pearl Jam was up next with Better Man, however after Bush, I already made up my mind to switch to the iPod. The football game finished with music and then I had music on the 90 minute drive home to keep me company.