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

Release Day Friday

The Release Day Friday Spotify playlist offered a lot of goodies this time around.

It kicks off with Dee Snider and his new song, “Prove Me Wrong”.

In my book, Dee Snider is a huge part of my youth growing up. I followed him in Twisted Sister, waited for Desperado to release their album, then that album got canned and the band was dropped from Elektra. He then hooked up with Al Pitrelli for the Widowmaker albums, and I waited for those albums, thinking they would never come out. Finally the two albums dropped, the hard rock influenced “Blood And Bullets” and the grungier sounding, “Stand By For Pain”.

And this song is basically about how he has proven people wrong his whole life. He just kept going and going and trying to make it. He made it in music, he made it in radio, he made movies, he was key in getting Headbangers Ball up and going, and he spoke out against censorship while everyone else kept quiet.

I came, I saw, I rocked
I left it all upon the stage
For almost fifty years
Now it’s time to turn the page

It’s a long time to be in the business and in the 80’s he was only on top for a few short years. And the record labels like Neglektra did their best to kill his career afterwards.

I’ve been abused and used
Been over, under, sideways, down
But still my head’s unbowed
Was there ever any doubt?

If you want a definition of grit and perseverance, look no further than Dee Snider. There is a cool lyrical reference to his Desperado album on Elektra called “Bloodied But Unbowed”, where they spent a long time writing, then recording, then a week before the release, the album is pulled and Dee is dropped, but Elektra is holding on to the master tapes because they don’t want Dee to take em to another label and have a hit album. So Dee has the option to just walk away from his songs or buy some of his masters back.

How they tried, but couldn’t prove me wrong

You want to knock off the monster chip on Dee’s shoulder, go right ahead and prove him wrong.

The best revenge is none
Just be happy and live well
Knowing for your enemies
There is a special place in hell
No one could hold me back
Those who tried, I laid to waste

Truth in these words. The best revenge is to be happy and live well. That’s it.

They had every chance to prove me wrong

And they’ve all failed.

“Atlas Falls” from Shinedown was a surprise drop and it’s a nod to their sound up to 2012 which I like. It doesn’t have the “Imagine Dragons” pop sounds from the last two albums.

So I did some reading and found that “Atlas Fall” is an unreleased track from their 2012 album “Amaryllis”. And it just hit Spotify today, but has been out since 23 March 2020 as a digital download to raise funds for Direct Relief (who provides medical supplies to people in need).

Don’t give up now, there’s already so much at stake
If Atlas falls, I’ll rise up and carry us all the way

We need to support each other more these days than ever. If the world we know, crashes down around us, we need to find a way to survive.

“Skyfall” from Vandenberg really got my attention. I repeat, really got my attention.

Adrian has gone back to his roots. This song is epic 70’s style as the riffs ooze grandeur. A five plus minute song. If you like how Europe went back to their roots in “War Of Kings” then you will enjoy this album. If you like Rainbow, then you will like this song. Plus if you like Adrian Vandenberg’s style, which I do, it’s a no-brainer.

When the sky falls down
Fields are burning all around
I’ll be right beside you

Haken dropped another song “Invasion” and their form of groove/riff driven progressive rock gets me interested and so does the atmospheric groove instrumental music of Long Distance Calling and their song “Voices”.

Reach dropped “The Law”. Metallica dropped an acoustic “Blackened 2020”, which James plays with a nod to the style of Ennio Morricone. There is FM and a song called “Change For The Better”.

The melodic rock “Gathering Of Kings” project keeps ticking all the boxes for catchy choruses with “Highway To Paradise”. Scorpions released “Sign Of Hope” which didn’t really give me hope, but they have a lot of goodwill in my book, so it’s okay. “Ghosts” from Paradise Lost also appeared on the playlist, telling me (subliminally) to check out their new album.

Trapt also released “Tell Me How You Really Feel” which is more in the vein of pop than the alt-rock they have been known for, however I’m still interested to see what the full album

P.S.
Spotify still can’t tell the difference between Helix the rock band and Helix (the dance act).
P.S.S.
Spotify still can’t tell the difference between RSO (Richie Sambora Orianthi) and RSO (some dance act).
P.S.S.S.
Spotify still can’t tell the difference between Jasta (American metal singer) and an Eastern European act called Jasta.

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

Hexes

“Hexes” is from the Tesseract album called “Polaris” released in 2015.

For those who don’t know, Tesseract are an U.K. act, who play a form of progressive rock. If you like genre titles, then they started off as a djent band which then morphed into a math rock style with atmospheric rock elements.

“Hexes” according to a quick search on the internet, means to cast a spell on/put a curse on.

And in this instance, our own decisions and past histories are the hexes we put on our lives.

It’s a progressive, atmospheric tune.

At its core, is a digital delay riff, which just keeps on building into an explosive syncopated progressive riff.

But let’s not forget the vocal melody and that haunting soft piano which just rumbles under the surface.

And that half time section from about 3.22 to the end.

It isn’t a secret this mind’s shrouded in history
It isn’t a secret this mind spirals in disarray
It isn’t a secret this mind shatters in mystery
It isn’t a secret I find terror in memory

Our thoughts are a secret. Unless we talk about em. But we don’t. Because we feel exposed and we don’t like to be exposed.

So we keep thinking and building more thoughts. Which we store away like memories. Fantasy clashes with reality and the mind is confused as to what is real.

History hexes us
I breathe again
History hexes us
I live again

Whatever happened in our past, it doesn’t mean our future is fixed. Each day is a new chance to breathe and live again.

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

A Nightmare To Remember

“Black Clouds and Silver Linings” is Dream Theater’s last album with Mike Portnoy.

The opening track “A Nightmare To Remember” is 16 minutes plus. Four songs in one to sink your teeth into.

The opening 2 minutes could have come from a black metal act or a thrash metal act. But it didn’t. It came from these Jersey dudes. Then from about 1.50 to 2.20 some of the best hard rock bands in the world wished they were writing head banging riffs like this.

The first verse riff is palm muted, with the swagger of Guns N Roses “Appetite For Destruction” album. Then John Petrucci brings out the wah wah pedal, showing Kirk Hammett how it should be used and the. its back into the head banging verse riff.

And the song’s music just keeps morphing as the lyrics detail a car accident that John Petrucci’s family had when he was young.

I really like the clean tone section from the 5 minute mark. It’s very “Diary Of A Madman” and it connects immediately. It’s like a different song, and that chorus like section when James LaBrie sings “hopelessly drifting” is super melodic.

And by 8.30 that clean tone part is done, as Petrucci moves into a jazz fusion solo, then Jordan Rudess starts to solo on the keys and the instrumental section of the song is before us.

They trade solos until the 10.30 mark and the song is back to the black metal style intro with a lot of chromatic style soloing. Portnoy takes over on the vocals here, bringing a growl element to it. It was hated by reviewers and elitists but we liked it. As I’ve said before, you need to accept the cheese elements with Dream Theater.

Then at about 12.10 it moves to another instrumental section. This section has got more of a “Learning To Live” vibe from “Images And Words” which I like.

And at 13.20 its back into the singing, before it moves into a few familiar riffs played throughout the song and then back to the intro black metal riff to close the song off. This time, Portnoy brings out the blast beats.

And at 16 minutes, the ride is over.

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Music, My Stories

Which Band has hidden their Spotify Stream Count?

So I am on Spotify right now and I am curious to see how many streams “Dream Theater” had after 1 week of their album release.  So I bring up the “Dream Theater” Spotify account and I see a Top 10 list.

1 – The Looking Glass
2 – The Enemy Inside
3 – False Awakening Suite
4 – Enigma Machine
5 – The Bigger Picture
6 – Behind The Veil
7 – Illumination Theory
8 – Surrender To Reason
9 – Along For A Ride
10 – On The Backs Of Angels with a 1,120,058 count.

That’s it. The new album streams are not even on the account. I have my suspicions as to why.

Maybe progressive rock fans don’t want to use Spotify so the numbers are too low, and it doesn’t look cool to show them. However back on the 19 Sept 2013, the Dream Theater Spotify Top 10 was made up of the following songs;

1. Wither – 1,838,066 streams
2. A Nightmare To Remember – 1,185,005 streams
3. On The Backs Of Angels – 1,102,232 streams
4. Pull Me Under – 1,060,769 streams
5. The Count Of Tuscany – 909,535 streams
6. Build Me Up, Break Me Down – 713,216 streams
7. Lost Not Forgotten – 518,814 streams
8. This Is The Life – 515,134 streams
9. Bridges In The Sky – 406,309 streams
10. Breaking All Illusion – 404,721 streams

Despite all the marketing, the album just hasn’t penetrated deeply.

Anyway, it is a far cry compared to Avenged Sevenfold’s Spotify streams after the album was out. Back on September 12, 2013, Avenged Sevenfold had the following numbers from the new album songs;

1. Hail TO The King – 1,884,995 with YouTube views of 3,904,022
2. Shepherd Of Fire – 495,889
3. This Means War – 394,868
4. Doin Time – 372,238
5. Requiem – 333,633
6. Crimson Day – 310,412
7. Coming Home – 288,366
8. Heretic – 277,498

Dream Theater had first week US sales of 33,950 units sold and a top 10 album on the Billboard charts. It gets some ink in the papers and of course every website, is reporting on it. However what does it all mean? If bands are focusing on the album sales, they are missing the point?

As a history lesson, here are the stats from 2009 and 2011.

Dream Theater – Black Clouds And Silver Linings had the following 7 week run;

Week 1 – ending 7 July 2009 – 40,300 units sold
Week 2 – ending 15 July 2009 – 5,800 units sold
Week 3 – ending 21 July 2009 – 4,600 units sold
Week 4 – ending 29 July 2009 – 3,500 units sold
Week 5 – ending 5 Aug 2009 – 3,100 units sold
Week 6 – ending 12 Aug 2009 – 2,500 units sold
Week 7 – ending 19 Aug 2009 – 2,200 units sold

Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn Of Events had the following 5 week run;

Week 1 – ending 21 Sept 2011 – 35,750 units sold
Week 2 – ending 28 Sept 2011 – 8,030 units sold
Week 3 – ending 05 Oct 2011 – 4,430 units sold
Week 4 – ending 12 Oct 2011 – 3,120 units sold
Week 5 – ending 19 Oct 2011 – 2,600 units sold

In the end, “A Dramatic Turn Of Events” sold in total 95,000 units.

 

 

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