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

Call Me – Shinedown

This song is a hit, however it was never released as an “official” single. How can that be? The fans have spoken. “Call Me” has racked up 12.83 million streams on Spotify and 11.2 million plays on YouTube. These are the numbers that matter. It is the most played/streamed song from Shinedown.

In a recent interview with the website “artistdirect”, Brent Smith, the vocalist from Shinedown was asked the question if they had played “Through The Ghost” live yet.

“We have not. We’ve actually been asked if we’re going to do that. “Call Me” also gets asked for quite a bit. It wasn’t a single, but it is asked for. There might be a possibility of adding a few songs.”

I can understand the reasons why the band is not playing the song, as it is deemed a ballad and probably not suited for the high energy show that Shinedown puts on, plus they already play a ballad in “Second Chance”. However based on the numbers above, it is a fan favourite.

When I first heard “Call Me”, I immediately thought of Tracy Chapman. The vocal style and the phrasing was the trigger. It is written by Brent Smith and Tony Battaglia.

Tony Battaglia is an interesting choice. He is a frequent colloborator with Shinedown and has also co-written songs for Puddle of Mudd and Submersed (a very underrated band that is sadly no more. Eye Empire has the vocalist and Creed has the original guitarist as its backing guitarist). He also played guitar and composed songs with the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. He was the vocalist in a band called BlackJack that goes back to 1978.

Having the additional song writer can be a double edged sword. The song could be clichéd or it could sound forced or it could lack personality. In this case, it works well. The song is perfect with as a piano/orchestra style song, as the vocal melody is so strong, it doesn’t need anything else.

Wrap me in a bolt of lightning
Send me on my way still smiling
Maybe that’s the way I should go,
Straight into the mouth of the unknown

If you have been addicted to something in your life, you would understand the bolt of lightning reference. You are charged up, electrified.

I left the spare key on the table
Never really thought I’d be able to say
I merely visit on the weekends
I lost my whole life and a dear friend

Coming into this album, Shinedown took 18 months to get it right. Brent Smith wanted “The Sound Of Madness” to be the record that would define him. You know the saying, that an artist gets their whole life to do their first record and then they are given about three months to do their second one.

That is what happened to Shinedown. The first album, “Leave a Whisper” took a lifetime and it achieved platinum status. The follow up “Us and Them” had all the writing, recording and everything else done in six months and it achieved gold status. While all of this “success” is happening, the main creative force behind Shinedown is getting burned. Two band members would leave before “The Sound Of Madness” was even started.

That is what you hear on the album and in the strained voice of Brent Smith. His experiences. This is what Rock Music got right once upon a time. It was about music that defined culture. Then came the dollar signs and that is where Rock Music has remained. Shinedown’s “The Sound of Madness” is a monster of an album on the same playing field as Motley Crue’s “Dr Feelgood” and Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet”.

I’ve said it so many times
I would change my ways
No, nevermind
God knows I’ve tried

When Brent Smith decided he wanted no time limit for this album, he wasn’t looking for anything connected with money. He was looking for that raw and honest connection. The music became the vehicle for it. That is why songs like “If You Only Knew”, “Second Chance” and “Call Me” resonate with people. We have lived it and we have experienced something similar.

Call me a sinner, call me a saint
Tell me it’s over I’ll still love you the same
Call me your favorite, call me the worst
Tell me it’s over I don’t want you to hurt
It’s all that I can say. So, I’ll be on my way

Great music will last forever. Five years since “The Sound of Madness” was released, “Call Me” is still being played/streamed/viewed. “Call Me” wasn’t the hit song from the album, however it is the song from the album that will not be an obscure footnote in history.

I finally put it all together,
But nothing really lasts forever
I had to make a choice that was not mine,
I had to say goodbye for the last time

When you are at rock bottom, you find something to get you through. As much as people talk about support from family and friends, in the end if you don’t want to fix yourself, no one else can make you. Music is always there for you. There is a reason why Motley Crue didn’t give us “Dr Feelgood” as a debut album.

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

Are we settled in life? Are we happy with what we have in life? We always want something else, that when we are asked what we want, we answer back that we don’t know, but we know that we want something else.

Brent Smith broke down a lot of walls on “The Sound Of Madness.” It’s personal and as a fan it is an emotional roller coaster ride. It’s evolution through experiences.

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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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