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

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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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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Australian Method Series and 1996 Part 3.7: John Farnham – Romeos Heart

“Romeo’s Heart” was released in Australia on 3 June 1996 by John Farnham.

His comeback to mainstream success started with “Whispering Jack” released in 1986. It is certified 24x Platinum in Australia, Platinum in Sweden and Gold in Canada and Germany.

“Age Of Reason” came in 1988 and it is certified 11x Platinum in Australia.

“Chain Reaction” in 1990 is 7x Platinum in Australia.

“Then Again…” in 1993 is 4x Platinum in Australia.

This album is also 4x Platinum in Australia.

The band is top notch as well with Brett Garsed from Nelson fame on guitars along with Stuart Fraser from Noiseworks.

Joe Creighton from The Black Sorrows is on Bass and Angus Burchall also from The Black Sorrows is on drums with Steve Williams on harmonica.

Vocals are provided by John Farnham with Lindsay Field and Lisa Edwards providing excellent backing vocals.

And from when Farnham made his comeback in the mid 80s as a solo artist, the songs he performed on his albums were written by other artists/songwriters.

This album is no different, with every song on it coming from outside writers.

Have a Little Faith (In Us)

Written by Russ DeSalvo (who at the time was writing and working with Celine Dion) and Arnie Roman (who also was working with Celine Dion).

Great song title and a major key chord progression to give its uplifting vibe.

But press play for the gospel like backing vocals in the outro which

Little Piece of My Heart

Written by C. Celli, A. Levin and Jack Ponti.

The same Jack Ponti who co-write “Shot Through The Heart” with Jon Bon Jovi and a heap of songs for Baton Rouge, Alice Cooper and Babylon A.D.

I’m not sure on why they would use this song title for a totally different song. It’s like reusing “Smoke On The Water” for a totally different song and not for a cover.

But in the end a simple funky rock groove is heard throughout the song and it’s cool to jam to.

A Simple Life

Written by Jon Lind and Richard Page. The same Richard Page from Mr Mister and Jon Lind had written or co-written songs like “Crazy For You” for Madonna and songs for Earth, Wind And Fire.

This one is a soft rock song.

Check out the vocal melody for the Chorus.

All Kinds Of People

Written by Eric Pressley, Sheryl Crow and Kevin Gilbert.

Yep the same Sheryl Crow and her songwriting partner Kevin Gilbert from her debut album were in demand and writing songs for other artists as well.

It’s in that soul contemporary pop rock vibe which was prominent in the 90s.

Romeo’s Heart

Written by Jennifer Kimball and Randy VanWarmer it appeared on Randy’s solo album “The Third Child” released in 1994.

And here it is a few years later as the title track. It has a soft rock Springsteen vibe.


Don’t Let It End

Written by Aaron Hendra an Australian-born songwriter, singer and guitarist who lives in the U.S.

It reminds of “Time Of My Life” from the “Dirty Dancing” movie.

Hearts On Fire

Written by Tom Kimmel and S. Lynch. I was wondering which S Lynch is a co-writer.

Could it be the Steve Lynch from Autograph?

Nope it’s Stan Lynch, the ex drummer from Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers who became a successful producer and songwriter.

On a side note, “That’s Freedom” was also written by Kimmel which Farnham recorded and it became a Top 10 hit for him in late 1990. So it’s no surprise that Farnham used him again.

The “Rocky IV” track comes to mind but it’s not it. The song is more blues soul rock.

Hard Promises To Keep

Written by Kimmie Rhodes ‎and the song appeared on her “West Texas Heaven” album released in 1994 and it’s in the vein of country ballads musically, but the vocal melodies are more in line with pop melodies.

Over My Head

Written by Ricard Pleasance and A. Tanner.

Richard Pleasance is an Australian rock musician and producer. He was a founding member of Australian band “Boom Crash Opera”.

It’s a ballad and it’s chord progressions is more like country rock ballads, reminding me of current songs like “Home” from Daughtry.

May You Never

Written by John Martyn it’s an up beat acoustic track that is played in the way Nuno Bettencourt plays on “More Than Words”.

John Martyn, is a British singer-songwriter and guitarist who released 23 studio albums over a 40-year career. He’s been described as blurring the boundaries between folk, jazz, rock and blues”.

Second Skin

Written by John Farnham, producer Ross Fraser and Chong Lim.

Finally Farnham gets a co-write in a track that is a cross between “Superstition” and “Play That Funky Music”.

If you want to hear John Farnham in a rock way, then “Whispering Jack” and “Age Of Reason” would suffice. If you want to hear Farnham in a soul and country rock way, then this album would donyje

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The Record Vault: Daughtry – Leave This Town

Chris Daughtry said that Daughtry is a band. The first album, has Chris Daughtry on the cover, plus a picture of him in the booklet and on the back cover there is a picture of a band. But all the songs were written by Chris Daughtry and outside writers and the music was played by session musicians.

So after getting some flak about his band, “Leave This Town” has a cover which shows a band, leaving town. And while the songs are written by Chris Daughtry, with outside writers, the music is played by the band members and some songs have the band members as co-writers. Of course contractual issues would come about with this band arrangement ideal, because the label deal with RCA Records is with Chris Daughtry only.

So.

“Leave This Town” was released on July 14, 2009, by RCA Records. I like it better than the debut as it’s a hard rock album done in a style I like.

I’m a big believer that quantity equals quality. 70 songs were written for this album, narrowed down to 19 for recording in the studio and 12 songs made the final cut, with the other tracks made available as bonus tracks for different digital stores.

Daughtry co-wrote the songs on the album with Richard Marx, Chad Kroeger from Nickelback, Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic, Jason Wade from Lifehouse, Adam Gontier from Three Days Grace, Eric Dill from The Click Five, and Mitch Allan from SR-71 and Tommy Henriksen, along with the usual suspects of Brian Howes, Ben Moody and David Hodges. No Max Martin or Dr Luke this time around.

The songs written with Marx, Tedder, Gontier and Wade didn’t even make the standard edition of the album, but were released as bonus tracks in the various markets and then as an EP called “Leave This Town B-Sides”.

The band for the album is Chris Daughtry on lead vocals and rhythm guitars, Josh Steely on lead guitars, Brian Craddock on rhythm guitars, Josh Paul on bass guitars and drums were handled by Joey Barnes on tracks 1 to 6 and Robin Diaz on tracks 7 to 12.

Howard Benson is back producing and Chris Lord-Alge is mixing. Session guru, Phil X also made an appearance to do some additional guitars. Again, RCA spent a lot of money to make this album a success, but only three singles were released from this album compared to the seven singles from the debut. Regardless it still was a success.

Certified platinum in Canada and the U.S and Certified Silver in the U.K.

For the charts (although the Charts were become irrelevant at this point in time), it was a Top 10 album in Canada, New Zealand and the U.S (also going to Number 1). It was a Top 20 album in Australia, Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

“You Don’t Belong”

It’s listed as a Chris Daughtry track and it blasts out of the gate with its heavy metal like intro before it moves into a Nu-Metal like riff.

The verses are more relaxed with clean tone guitars and a vocal melody dominating while the Chorus is loud and angry.

“No Surprise”

The song writing committees begin, with Daughtry, Chad Kroeger, Eric Dill, Rune Westburg and Joey Moi listed as writers.

This was the lead single for the album. As a single it is certified Platinum for sales in the U.S.

Lyrically, it’s about a break up that both sides saw coming.

An acoustic guitar starts it off with a catchy vocal melody. It reminds me of the songs that Mutt Lange was doing in the 90’s with Bryan Adams and Shania Twain.

The physical single had the Adam Gontier co-write “Back Again” as the B-side. This track is excellent and hard to believe that it was left off the album.

“Every Time You Turn Around”

Written by Daughtry and Andy Waldeck. Loud drums and grungy like guitars kick it off, but the verses remind me of the Classic Rock era.

The bridge vocal melody, although brief is my favourite part of the song. And like all the songs on the album, there isn’t a verse or chorus or bridge, which isn’t catchy.

And yes, finally we get some melodic leads and outro leads in the songs.

“Life After You”

The second single, which also has a certification from the RIAA for sales in the U.S, this time its at Gold and closing in to Platinum.

Chris Daughtry wrote the song with Nickelback vocalist Chad Kroeger, producer Joey Moi and Brett James.

It was actually Kroeger who offered “Life After You” to Chris Daughtry.

Daughtry wasn’t sure if the song would fit with the band, but the melody was that good and once he wrote the bridge, the song could not be denied.

“What I Meant to Say”

Daughtry and Brian Howes proved to be a good song writing team on the first album, so they are back again on this one.

A rocker, reminding me of Jovi and “Have A Nice Day” album. And a guitar lead is heard, although its less than 10 seconds.

“Open Up Your Eyes”

Written by Daughtry, Ben Moody and David Hodges.

It’s got a Chorus built for the arena.

“September”

My favourite song on the album, written by Daughtry and guitarist Josh Steely.

It’s got this Coldplay “Fix You” section in the middle of it. Check it out.

It’s also the third single, inspired by Daightry’s childhood memories growing up with his brother in Lasker, North Carolina.

“Ghost of Me”

Daughtry and Howes are back with a track that sounds like “Bounce” from Jovi.

For me, it’s the back half of the album which really connects.

Check out the Chorus.

Its massive.

“Learn My Lesson”

Written by Daughtry, Mitch Allan and Chris Tompkins.

A ballad which is another favourite with a good melodic lead.

“Supernatural”

A rocker and another favourite, in the vein of Jovi’s “Bounce” album.

This one is written by Daughtry, Josh Paul and David Hodges.

The lead break echoes Richie Sambora.

“Tennessee Line”

Written by Daughtry and guitarist Brian Craddock, this country song is also another favourite.

Country superstar (albeit a very reluctant one) Vince Gill guests. And for Gill to perform is a real coup as he doesn’t just appear as a guest at every invite.

I thought that this would be a single, as it would crossover into the Country charts, but it never was released.

“Call Your Name”

The official closer, written by Daughtry and drummer Joey Barnes. It percolates on acoustic guitar until the 2.38 mark, when the whole band kicks in for the guitar solo moment and the Bridge to Chorus to come.

A perfect way to close the album out.

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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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1996 – Part 3.2: Bryan Adams – 18 Till I Die

“Reckless” was massive and is still massive. The follow up “Into The Fire” was seen as a failure but “Waking Up The Neighbours” re-established Bryan Adam’s as a tour-de-force. Mutt Lange was on board for that album as co-producer and co-writer, with Jim Vallance only appearing on half of the tracks as co-writer.

Released in 1996 and five years after “Waking Up The Neighbours”, “18 Till I Die” hit the streets.

Bryan Adams and Mutt Lange are back at producing and writing most of the tracks but Jim Vallance is missing.

The band for the album is Bryan Adams is on rhythm guitar and vocals, Keith Scott is on lead guitar, Mickey Curry is on drums, Dave Taylor us on bass, Mutt Lange is on guitars, Michael Kamen is on piano and string arrangements.

The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me

It’s like a ZZ Top track. No blues purist would give them the credit but ZZ Top with “Eliminator” and “Afterburner” brought back the blues into the pop mainstream in a big way. And those little lead breaks and fills on this song are loaded with Texan spice.

The title is one of those cheesy pick-up lines, but hey, Adams makes it work as he sings about how they stick like glue and how she’s the only thing that looks good on him.

Do To You

It reminds me of a song called “What I Like About You” from The Romantics merged with a bit of “Love Shack” from the B-52’s and a little bit of punk from The Clash and somehow it still sounds like Bryan Adams.

And I like the harmonica licks that kick in between the vocal melodies.

Let’s Make A Night To Remember

This is a Def Leppard cut through and through about getting together and getting it on. It could easily be interchanged with a song from “Adrenalize” and people wouldn’t notice.

The video clip has various women posing for Bryan Adams as he photographs them, an attempt to change his image to fit into some voyeur playboy kind of image.

I like the lead break although its only four bars and way too short.

18 Till I Die

I like the arpeggios in the intro.

When the power chords come crashing in, I feel like it’s like a Rolling Stones or The Kinks like track musically. Lyrically it’s about maintaining youthful traits, even as you grow older.

Star

It’s different, more ballad like and very similar to another song he co-wrote called “Glitter” with Motley Crue. And melodic rockers from Sweden would start to have ballads like this in the mid 2000’s.

I guess Adams was a bit ahead here.

(I Wanna Be) Your Underwear

Stupid title, but hey, management and the label were trying to alter Adam’s image from working class hero to playboy.

Keith Scott has got some Steve Vai talking guitar happening with the guitar whistles to kick off the song.

Check out the bass work in the verses from Dave Taylor. Excellent.

We’re Gonna Win

It’s a punk song, but a rock song. And I like it.

I Think About You

A ballad, but more in the country rock ballad arena, something which Mutt Lange was using a lot of Shania Twain.

I’ll Always Be Right There

Strings, an acoustic guitar and a Steve Perry like vocal delivery. It feels like a movie song but two ballads in a row, lost me.

It Ain’t A Party, If You Can’t Come Round

The cheesy titles are back which also reminds me of a Vince Neil song title and so is the loud country blues rock.

Black Pearl

The country blues rock from the Mississippi Delta continues with this one and a riff inspired by “Peter Gunn”.

The lead break (although brief) from Keith Scott is Grade A Nashville stamped.

You’re Still Beautiful to Me

I like the feel of this song. It’s a simple drum beat, a strummed acoustic guitar, a great Adams vocal deliver and how good are those licks in between the verses and Choruses and under the vocals.

Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?

Written by Adams, Lange and Kamen and featuring the excellent flamenco guitarist Paco DeLucia.

I came across DeLucia via Al DiMeola and the trio they had with John McLaughlin and became a fan with his acoustic guitar playing.

Featured in a movie I can’t remember but these movie placements ended up being huge promotional vehicles for Adams.

It was a Top 10 album in Australian, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Holland, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K (which also had it go to Number 1).

In Australia and Canada it was certified 3× Platinum. In the U.K it was certified 2x Platinum. Platinum in the U.S, New Zealand, Japan and Switzerland. Gold in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany and Spain.

And the label still saw it as a disappointment.

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

Australian Method Series: Orianthi – O

Orianthi’s breakthrough was “Believe”, her second album, which came out in 2009 and the hit single “According To You” which she didn’t write as the album had a star studded line up of songwriters and producers either writing songs for Orianthi or working with Orianthi to write songs.

“O” was released in 2020, after her collaboration with Richie Sambora known as RSO finished up or put on hold.

It’s on Frontiers, produced by Marti Fredericksen and it’s great to see Orianthi back out on her own.

And from reading interviews it looks likes the drumming is created/programmed by Evan Frederiksen.

“Contagious”

It’s got a riff that reminds me of Sixx A.M and DJ Ashba like “Lies Of The Beautiful People”.

The song is written by Orianthi and Marti Fredericksen, who has worked with a lot of artists and since I was listening to Motley Crue a few weeks ago, he co write all the tracks on the “Saints Of Los Angeles” album.

And “Contagious” has that sound. It gets me rocking, as it amalgamates blues rock with a bit of Muse chucked in and a modern rock mix.

Lyrically it’s about hatred, and how easily we could all be infected with it.

“They shall not break us ‘cause hate is contagious”

Check out the guitar lead. It’s short but good.

“Sinners Hymn”

It’s is a nice amalgamation of the devils blues music with modern rock to create a sinners anthem.

Check out the section after the solo. It gets all quite with a riff that reminds me of “The Bleeding” and “Prayers Of The Damned” as it builds up again.

“Rescue Me”

This track could appear on a Rag’N’Bone album. It’s got that “Human” feel.

Orianthi is all soul in her vocal melodies on this and delivers an emotive lead break.

“Blow”

It’s a sleazy, sexy and sultry groove that percolates until it explodes in the Chorus.

“Sorry”

It’s a contemporary pop song with a funky hip hop beat. There are synths and a killer vocal delivery from Orianthi.

And I like the mix between merging hip hop beats with a melodic rock vocal melodies and in the Chorus it’s pop rock.

The solo is very Santana inspired and I like it.

“Crawling Out Of The Dark”

It’s on acoustic cut, quite, subdued and melancholic. It wouldn’t be out of place on a country rock record.

Lyrically it’s about a relationship break down and how she’s crawling out of the dark. And when she got out, she didn’t know she had fallen that far.

And check out the blues influenced solo.

“Impulsive”

It’s got this Rolling Stones/Free inspired riff that I like.
 
The lead break is very SRV influenced.

“Streams Of Consciousness”

It starts off with a music box.

It’s a co-write with Nikki Sixx and Marti Frederiksen. Modern rock at its best with some good rock riffs.

Nikki Sixx delivered lyrics about the glamorous but filthy side of Los Angeles.

The solo starts off with a Nu-Metal riff before she breaks out the wah-wah and it sounds very Slash like.

“Company”

It has blues guitar but the background foundation is very synth dance driven.

And a chorus that would not be out of place on an album from “The Cure”.

The best way to sum it up is an amalgamation of different music genres. And because the melodies sound melodic and soulful, it all works together.

“Moonwalker”

It’s got this Latin vibe with a bit of an Enya feel. And the song and overall album gets me thinking about Queen, who also incorporated so many different styles into their albums.

In other words there is a lot of variation here and a little bit for everyone.

Press play and enjoy.

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1986 – Part 1.6: Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet

I wrote a post on this album back in 2013, called “What Made Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet Explode”. You can read it here.

You can call this an extra appreciation post.

Like all great movies, the actors and production team had to be in place.

The producer Bruce Fairbairn and the engineer/mixer Bob Rock are there. The band is there. The song writing team of Jovi, Sambora and Desmond Child is there. The three years of playing and touring together is there. Doc McGhee as manager is there. A label looking to break em big is there.

And the band decided that quantity will breed quality.

Along with the album tracks, the band had written over 30 songs for the album. YouTube has a lot of videos up. Start with “The Basement Demos” and then move to the “Pre Production Demos”. A Whitesnake evolutions style mix is required here.

The biggest win for the Jovi team was the release month of August.

For that month it was up against Motorhead – “Orgasmatron”, Vinnie Vincent – “Invasion”, Warlock – “True As Steel” and Great White – “Shot In The Dark”.

If it was released in July, it would have been up against DLR’s – “Eat Em and Smile” for listeners’ attention.

If it was released in June, it would have had to compete against Queen – “A Kind of Magic”, Genesis – “Invisible Touch”, Rod Stewart – “Every Beat of My Heart”, Madonna – “True Blue” and Cinderella – “Night Songs”.

If it was released in May as originally intended, it would have been up against AC/DC – “Who Made Who”, Journey – “Raised on Radio” and Europe – “The Final Countdown”.

In other words, August was perfect.

“Let It Rock” kicks it off Side 1.

Like Loverboy’s “Working for The Weekend”, the song is about letting your hair down on the weekend.

And Fairbairn had a thing that the bands he worked with should have an intro that could kick off the concert.

“Shot through the heart and you’re to blame, darling you give love a bad name.”

Its overplayed now but iconic and unforgettable back then.

Then the band kicks in and Richie does the vocal melody on the guitar until they start the strip bar sleazy verse riff.

“You Give Love A Bad Name” was the one that opened the door and as soon as the band unleashed “Livin On A Prayer”, the album started selling 700,000 records a month.

I saw “Social Disease” as pure filler back then as I failed to appreciate the blues soul swing of the track. And it needed to be written so that “Bad Medicine” could be written.

So you telephone your doctor
Just to see what pill to take
You know there’s no prescription
Gonna wipe this one away

“Wanted Dead or Alive” was already a hit before it came out as a single. But the song didn’t reach number one because when the song was released as a single, the multi-million fan base had already digested it and made it their own.

“And the people I meet always go their separate ways”

“Raise Your Hands” kicks off side 2. The motto of this song is simply. Come to the show, raise your hands and get wild.

Raise your hands
When you want to let it go
Raise your hands
And you want to let a feeling show

“Without Love” is lost on the album behind all the great tracks.

“I’d Die for You” has a guitar riff that reminds me of “Breaking The Law” from Judas Priest.

“Never Say Goodbye” was too slow for me back then. It was many years later that I started to appreciate the song and that guitar melody from Richie is pretty cool to play.

Finally “Wild in the Street” closes the album with its 60s rock vibe.

“In here we got this code of honor
Nobody’s going down”

If you want to experience 1986, then crank “Slippery When Wet”.

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Expectations (Alter + Adapt) = Survival (with Machine Head and Twisted Sister)

There is an interview with Jay Jay French that is doing the rounds at digiday. In the first question, he is asked what tips he would offer young bands today.

“Alter your expectations, because people make the wrong expectations. We adapted our expectations over the years, consistently, and that’s how we survived.”

Classy words and very simple.

Expectations (Alter + Adapt) = Survival

So what do all of our favourite bands/artists keep on doing? They keep on spending a lot of time writing and recording 10 to 15 songs, just so they can group them together and release them as an album. This “expectation” worked once upon a time. However it is not working today. Metal artists are lucky that metal fans are loyal and that we still purchase the “album.”

Of course exceptions exist, and it only works if all the songs are undeniable.

Machine Head hit the nail on the head with “Unto The Locust”. Seven tracks that will stand the test of time.  For the new album, 5 song titles have been made available and a few more are in progress. So I think it is safe to assume that we will be getting another 7 to 8 tracks as a long player. Instead of providing an album with the “expected” 10 to 12 tracks, Machine Head are focusing on quality instead of quantity. Altering and adapting.

Did “Unto The Locust” set the sales figures alight? Of course not. It did what it needed to do. It satisfied the hardcore audience of Machine Head. Now if metal bands want to reach the 500,000 to 1,000,000 sales targets then they need to have that undeniable crossover song.

Imagine if Machine Head comes out with their own Crazy Train, Enter Sandman, Symphony Of Destruction or Holy Diver. A song like that will satisfy their hard core fan base and it will also satisfy a lot of other people in the hard rock, power metal, heavy metal, progressive and even pop rock genres.

Check out the following comment from Anita Elberse and her book “Blockbusters: Hit-Making, Risk-Taking, And The Big Business Of Entertainment”. It is probably the best advice that any artist will get.

“…out of a total of 870,000 albums that sold at least one copy in 2011, 13 album titles sold more than a million copies each, together accounting for 19 million copies sold. That’s 0.001 percent of all titles accounting for 7 percent of sales. The top 1,000 albums generated about half of all the sales, and the top 10,000 albums around 80 percent of sales. Deep in the tail, 513,000 titles or nearly 60 percent of the assortment, sold fewer than 10 copies each, together making up half a percent of total sales.”

513,000 album titles sold fewer than 10 copies each. So if you are one of those 513,000 bands that sold less than 10 copies, what do you do?

You obviously expected a better return on your investment. A lot of artists will give up, a lot of bands will break up and then there will be a small percentage who will adapt and alter their expectations. Remember, I have always said that in order to be successful, you need to outlast the competition.

What about singles? I have been saying for a long time to anyone who listens that we live in a single world. As soon as fans got the option to cherry pick what they like, the “tracks” became the rock stars instead of the album. The below is from the same book written by Anita Elberse.

“In 2011, 102 tracks sold more than a million units each, accounting for 15 percent of total sales. That is not a typo: 0.00001 percent of the eight million tracks sold that year generated almost a sixth of all sales. It is hard to overstate the importance of those few blockbusters in the head of the curve. And the trend suggests that hits are gaining in relevance. In 2007, 36 tracks each sold more than a million copies, together these tracks accounted for 7 percent of total market volume. In 2009, 79 tracks reached that milestone; together they make up 12 percent of the sales volume.”

If the above statement doesn’t make the artist realise that we are living in a singles world, then those artists need to re-evaluate their place in the music world. Even Robb Flynn stated in his most recent post that he doesn’t feel like they have written the definitive track like “Halo” and “Locust” for the new album.

In relation to Twisted Sister, the band kept on evolving over a 10 year period and by 1984, with the rise of MTV, the timing was right for them to take full advantage of it. However for Twisted Sister, the success proved nasty as Jay Jay explains;

“The downside of it is we exploded so fast that – even though the band had been together 11 years at that point – the heat of the immense popularity, the worldwide success put so much pressure on the band. The band couldn’t sustain itself and eventually collapsed.”

Dee Snider joined Jay Jay French and Eddie Ojeda in 1976. Jay Jay on the other hand was at it since 1972. He finally found success in 1984. Twelve years slugging it out. Twelve years of rejection and broken promises. Do any of the new artists today have that same kind of thick skin? Do they have the longevity to stick it out. To succeed in the music business, you need to outlast the competition and the competition these days is fierce for listener’s attention.

This is what Metallica has done. This is what Machine Head has done. This is what Motley Crue has done. They are outlasting the competition. They are adapting and evolving.

 

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