Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

2020 On Spotify

It’s no surprise that the decade I listened to most on Spotify was the 80s. And “Stormwind” from Europe is my most listened to track from that decade.

I also didn’t mind Podcasts this time around.

Bob Lefsetz had some great guests on his show that had some involvement in my favourite decade like Bob Rock, Bob Ezrin, Derek Schulman, Joe Bonamassa, Lawrence Lessig and Desmond Child.

There is a Tom Werman interview that just came a few days ago which I will be checking out because a lot of artists like Nikki Sixx and Dee Snider had their say on their time with Werman but Werman has remained quiet.

My top song for the year was “Moon Of Forever” from an Australian act called Free Spirits Rising. I didn’t know it but I played it 835 times.

Actually my top 5 listened songs on Spotify came from Free Spirits Rising.

I discovered 278 new genres this year

But the main ones are;

And I discovered 289 new artists.

These new 289 artists found their way into a list of 943 artists, I listened to throughout the year.

This is the problem that every artist right now is up against. Too much supply and the history of music at our fingertips.

When I was purchasing music heavily and listening to music at home, I would probably have less than 10 new artists come into my life and no more than 50 artists throughout the year that I would listen too.

The top 5 of these artists are made up of;

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

2019 – Part 3

Remember the movie Blade Runner, released in 1982 and set in 2019. Well I guess we are now living in the future.

Anyway, moving on from useless facts, here is Part 3 of my 2019 list for albums released in 2019.

Hey You (You Make Me Rock)
When I Think Of You (Color Me Blue)
Trouble Is Your Middle Name
Flesh And Blood
Well I Never
Sands Of Time
Whitesnake

David Coverdale started writing songs on his own and revisited songs he wrote in the past for this album and it’s a welcome return, as the fans get a very diverse album, with some all-out rockers and shred feasts when DC collaborates with Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra and some gritty blues rock gems when DC takes the reins himself.

And the stand out song is the epic sounding “Sands Of Time”, a co-write with the mighty Reb Beach and a lyrical theme of two lovers living in the same time in parallel worlds.

Purpose For Pain
Red Clouds
Scott Stapp

His career, both public and private always made the news. His baritone voice (more like Eddie Vedder’s voice) was so far removed from the helium banshee screams of metal vocalists like Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford and I liked it.

I followed Creed because of Mark Tremonti’s guitar playing and I follow all of his works post Creed. And I also follow Scott Stapp’s career, as a solo artist and vocalist for Art Of Anarchy.

On this album, “Red Clouds” is the song.

These are the days we live in
Sliding, winding, finding our way through the maze

And the maze is more convoluted than ever because we are constantly distracted. It’s like the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. The system is designed to keep us poor, and the world we currently live in is designed to keep us confused and distracted.

We Can Make It
Keep On Dreaming
Roulette

Another band from Sweden, with a very generic sounding band name which makes them very hard to find on Google.

These songs are from the “Now” album and they play a style of American Rock that even US bands cant capture at this point in time.

Rolling down the highway
We just leave it all behind

From the song “We Can Make It”. It was a rite of passage, to grow up and get your driver’s licence, as it gave you the passport to escape the borders of your town. Even if it was for just one day.

Cut It All Away
Rearview Mirror
Art of Dying

From the “Armageddon” album but the “Vices and Virtue” album is still my favourite and nothing they have done since has topped that album.

However, each album always has a few songs that get my attention, and these two are the ones from this album.

I will outrun the battle from within
The beginning of the end is to cut it all away

When we are left to our own devices, our own thoughts, we are different creatures. Some people never recover from the darkness, and some people just deal with it and some people seek help from it.

But you need to start somewhere and it starts with recognizing that a darkness exists.

What comes next is up to you?

Die Young (Acoustic)
Machine Head

An acoustic cover by Robb Flynn of a classic Sabbath/Dio era cut. It’s raw, its emotive and powerful all at once and it was released as a sort of pseudo B-side to a live re-recording of “Davidian”.

Robb Flynn also posted in June in one of his email blasts that the song on Spotify had passed over a 100,000 streams within a month of its release. And it all happened from people’s word of mouth and sharing it on our own playlists.

That’s the power of fans.

Watch Your Back
Black Oak County

From Denmark and so far removed from the 262 population of Black Oak a town in Craighead County, Arkansas. I guess you better “Watch Your Back”. (Yep, I know. Bad joke.)

Shutting Down Our Town
I’m In A Bad Mood
Jimmy Barnes

From the “My Criminal Record”. It’s a crazy world when one of my favourite rockers in the 80’s who lost me when he reconnected with his soul influences, drops one of his best albums since the early 90’s.

The song on the album is “Shutting Down Our Town” and it’s written by Australian country artist Troy Cassar-Daley.

This used to be a place where a man could find some work
Put together Holdens or a foundry job at worst

Australia was built on the backs of our steel and car industries.

Eat, sleep, work, drink, that’s all they ever did

And it was okay. People looked happy. It felt like we had each other’s backs. Then the kids grew up and we all moved out, into different towns and with neighbours we don’t even know.

Oh, they’re shutting down our town
They’re cutting down our town
No more production line blue collar can be found

For some people, they couldn’t get reskilled and ended up on the unemployment line.

Herded all together
From many different lands

Australia’s intake of immigrants changed the dynamics of the country.

Satellite
Cabin Pressure Drops
The Night Flight Orchestra

TNFO are building up to something, with two singles released over the course of 8 weeks. “Satellite” is your typical TNFO fare, a new take on an old sound, with heaps of melody and arena rock choruses, while “Cabin Pressure Drop” is an instrumental.

Can’t Sleep
Lay It On Me
Keep
Blacktop Mojo

From the “Under The Sun” album. I became a fan of this band when one of their songs came up on a Discover Playlist a few years back, and the new album, has a few good rockers on it.

That’s it for part 3.

Parts 4 and 5 to come.

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

2018 Spotify Stats

I listened to 6,178 different songs and devoted 43,201 minutes to music on Spotify.

So to all the people who say music is finished, remember there are millions of people around the world with similar listening habits. But “we need stronger Copyright”, the RIAA would say.

I started the year listening to “Dream Evil” by Dio and Headstones became the first new band I checked out based on a review by Deke over at ThunderBay.

I spent 34 hours or 2,040 minutes with Machine Head.

My five top artists for 2018 are Machine Head, The Night Flight Orchestra, Def Leppard, The Butterfly Effect and Dee Snider.

As you can see there are no new artists in the list. It’s a lifers game. If you are in it for a quick buck, get into the stock market or deliver Pizzas.

My top five songs for 2018 based on listens are “Monolith” from Thirty Seconds To Mars, “A Love Unreal” from Black Label Society, “Final Conversation” from The Butterfly Effect, “The Peace” from WASP and “This Is War” from Audrey Horne.

Spotify tells me that I listen to non-mainstream artists 73% more than the average listener – so here’s to being different. I’m sure there are a lot of others who are exactly like me.

Here is my Top 100 playlist Spotify put together for me.

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

Spotify 2016

In 2016, Spotify tells me I listened to 25,538 minutes of music. On average, this equates to 70 minutes of music per day. The listening minutes are made up of 958 unique artists and 3,277 unique tracks got a spin.

Remember back in the 80’s and even the 90’s, when only a handful rock and metal artists would get our attention.

  • It could be because we laid out money for their record, so we had to spin it.
  • It could be we saw the music video on TV and recorded it to VHS tape and watched it over and over again.
  • It could be due to the record labels promotional campaigns we got caught up in their scorched earth PR policy.
  • It could be due to radio playing the songs non-stop.

In the process, we made the small number of artists into global superstars and lined the pockets of the record labels in the process.

Well in 2016, I am just one fan who listened to 958 unique artists on Spotify and I am sure I am not the only one. In my case, those 958 artists came from the rock and metal genres, which means the current bands, with their current releases are competing with the history of music, plus their past hits for our attention.

And my time listening to music is fragmented between iTunes, CD’s, Vinyl, CD and Spotify. I listened to a lot of music in the 8 weeks I spent in Europe but it all came from iTunes.

My five top artists for the year are;

  • Kingdom Come – does anyone even remember them? While the commercially successfully version of the band lasted between 1987 and 1991, vocalist and main songwriter, Lenny Wolf kept the band name going with German/European musicians until he retired the band in August 2016. And since the majority of their releases are on Spotify, it was happy days listening for me.
  • Sixx:A.M. – as a Motley fan from the 80’s it was only natural I gravitate to this and it’s the best of the side projects apart from Vince Neil’s first solo album back in the 90’s. And they are a band who had new product out in 2016 and it was good enough to compete with the history of music.
  • Saxon – there was a period between April and June this year that Saxon got a lot of listens as I got myself re-acquainted with their 80’s output and then I started to delve into their 90’s plus output.
  • Whitesnake – no new product in 2016 but still a big favourite of mine.
  • Tremonti – a lot of new product over the last few years so it’s no surprise the band ended up on this list.

My top 5 genres are;

Rock, Hard Rock, Album Rock, Metal and Glam Metal.

I always hated the genre labels and their stupid pigeon holed definitions.

Seriously, what the hell is Album Rock?

To me, it’s either Metal or it’s Rock.

Friday was my favourite day to listen, followed by Saturday and Sunday. Then came Wednesday and Thursday, with Monday and Tuesday been my least favourite days to listen to music.

And finally, here is a selection of my top tracks for the year from Spotify are;

Prayers For The Damned – SIXX:A.M
The album came out in April this year and this song was the lead single that hit streaming sites in February. It’s more or less a perfect modern hard rock song like “Life Is Beautiful” and a constant on my playlists.

Run To The Hills – Vitamin String Quartet
My kids prefer this version over the original and they found it by accident by searching for “Run To The Hills” on Spotify. To be honest, the eastern European vibe is intoxicating and since I was never really a fan of the original song to start off, the Vitamin String Quartet version has become a staple.

Twilight Cruiser – Kingdom Come
It’s 21 years old and the title track to the 1995 album. The feel and the groove and that guitar lead that sounds like a wolf howling are just perfect.

Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr
Another track courtesy of my boys, especially my 4-year-old. I hear it and i remember Huey Lewis.

Back In Black – Vitamin String Quartet
Another track courtesy of my boys and my four-year old loved hearing the vocal melody played by a violin, which he then sang along with.

Hall Of Fame – The Script
It was the reason why I got a family premium account. The song must have screwed up the Spotify algorithm because since this was listened to by my kids, my Discover playlist has been a mess.

Dust – Tremonti
The brilliant title track of the new album.

In The Fading Light – Andy James
He came up in a Discover Playlist. It’s an instrumental from an EP released in 2013 and it’s been on my Drive Home from work playlist since i heard. The guitar lead melody is perfect and I find myself chanting it as I drive home.

Sail On – The Night Flight Orchestra
The best classic rock side project from guys in Soilwork and Arch Enemy.

Funky Town – Pseudo Echo
My kids again, however I was a fan of this version in the 80’s, so it was cool to be re-acquainted with it.

Iron Man – Black Sabbath
My kids again, because of the Iron Man/Marvel movies.

Slip Of The Tongue – Whitesnake
It’s one of my favourite cuts and it’s Led Zeppelin on steroids.

War – Live – Bruce Springsteen
My kids again and it was good that they pulled up Bruce Springsteen performing live as I wouldn’t have listened to this song or the other live songs this year if it wasn’t for the kids.

Living Out Of Touch – Kingdom Come
Quick call the stupid plagiarism lawyers. Yes, I know it sounds like Led Zeppelin. Gary Moore even wrote a song called “Led Clones” about Kingdom Come. But there is no denying that Lenny Wolf was a master of re-creating classics, in the same way the Gallagher brothers recreated Beatles classics.

Good Enough – Van Halen
The boys were watching “Spaceballs” and this song came up. I totally forgot about it as it’s been 30 years since it came out and “Dreams” proved to be the cross over hit. But the Van Halen I like is the distorted groovy rock version of the band and this song is one of the best opening tracks for an album.

So I searched it up on Spotify and added it to my Drive Playlist.

“Hello Baby”. And all hell breaks loose. Enough said

Distance – Evergrey
The opening track from their new album “The Storm Within”. As the lead single, it got a lot of listens.

My Way – Kiss
It’s from 1987’s keyboard heavy “Crazy Nights” album. It’s a cool track, I dig the clichéd lyrics and it’s cool to hear Paul Stanley squeeze his balls even tighter for some of those highs. And now my kids dig it and it’s getting constant listens.

Stargazer – Kingdome Come
My kids had one of those toy keyboards and they figured out the intro, so it became a constant song we listened to on Spotify.

Rise – Sixx AM
The lead single to Part II – Prayers For The Blessed.

Trains – Porcupine Tree
Steven Wilson just did what he wanted and wrote songs the way he wanted. He wasn’t a songwriter that was locked in to a particular genre and that is why Porcupine Tree is a favourite of mine. Love the groove, the feel of the acoustic guitars and that epic ending.

Black Rose – Volbeat
I was hooked on that 60’s bubble-gum pop vibe in the Chorus.

My Last Mistake – Tremonti
The heaviness of the music.

We Are The Ones – Dee Snider
The title track and the opening track to Dee’s solo album.

Live In Love – Times Of Grace
Does melodic pop rock heavy death metal make even sense. If it does, then this track is for you.

The Threat Is Real – Megadeth
You get the Arab voices at the start and the chainsaw pedal point riff. The threat is indeed real.

Do You Like It – Kingdom Come
A simple ode to rock music and the live show and yes, I really like it.

The Devil’s Bleeding Crown – Volbeat
This song is a favourite of mine, because it’s a boogie-fied version of “Children Of The Grave”.

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