This Week I Have Been Mostly Listening To…

Skilletskillet1.jpg

The ‘Challenge Alex’ experiment continues. This weeks suggestion comes from Kay. I didn’t ask, and was not informed as to what style of music I was about to encounter – so I looked them up beforehand. Skillet is, according to Wikipedia, an American Christian rock band formed in Memphis, Tennessee in 1996.

Now, I have to declare a dislike for ‘church music’, by which I mean the ‘happy-clappy-guitar-strumming-we’re-all-one-family’ music, not traditional hymns (I like some of those). So, not sure what’s going to happen here!

So time to genuflect (if my poor old knees allow) and get me some of that ‘old time religion’ with Skillet…

N.B: this is NOT a review – it’s simply an experiment in expanding (and challenging) my listening tastes.

What I listened to –

1. Feel Invincible (RD: 2016)– Had a familiar feel to it, was sure I had heard something similar before….. Straight in with the thrash guitar and a good catchy rhythm; and quite dynamic. Introductory verse sounded like lead singer,John Cooper’s voice had been meddled with on one of those nasty electronic vox machines (hated that).

What does it sound like to me? Rock/Pop/Stadium Rock.

Did I like it? Kind of. My feelings about this were quite divided – I hate ‘Stadium Rock’ for it’s crowd pandering blandness, and yet…I didn’t hate this.

2. Back From The Dead (RD: 2017) – Another slappy guitar opening, though not as solid as the previous. Has a rather dated feeling, like something from a 90s American TV teen show. The lyrics are kind of…mainstream, commercial…boring.

What does it sound like to me? Commercial Rock-Pop

Did I like it? No.

3. Gasoline (RD: 1996) – So I decided to head right back to their first album and see what had changed/progressed/improved. This sounds less over-produced, has a less ‘polished’ feel, which actually adds to it, for me; I hate over production in music.

What does it sound like to me? There is a definite rock feel, with a dash of early 90s electronic dance music and a slice of Grunge on the side.

Did I like it? It was okay! Better than previous two.

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Skillet – Invincible

4. Collide (RD: 2003) – Big strings opening, violins, cellos…then the thrashing guitar belts out (can I hear an electronic keyboard in background? Distracting). The first song that I can hear lyrics about faith; “there’s something deep inside that keeps my faith alive”, religious or otherwise.

What does it sound like to me? Any old Hard Rock band.

Did I like it? Nope!

5. Better Than Drugs (RD: 2010) – Don’t do drugs kids! Oh no, dum-cha-dum-cha drums, whispery, electronic voice – (‘Gag me with a spoon’ as Mr Zappa’s eldest would say).

What does it sound like to me? Any old soft Rock band.

Did I like it? Nope

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Skillet have won 14 music awards!

 

6. Comatose (RD:2006) – Again with the perky strings intro…generic vocals, generic melody interspersed with a twinkly piano and stop-start guitar and drums.

What does it sound like to me? Yet another Rock Band…

Did I like it? I didn’t hate it!

7. Monster (RD: 2011) – Feel like I’ve gone back in time! What you expect from any old rock band re- rhythm and bass, drums, vocals. I envision a hundred sweaty teens bopping up and down at the chorus.

What does it sound like to me? Stadium Rock

Did I like it? Not really.

8. Stars (RD: 2016) – WTF! Electronic keyboard, synthy voices. What happened here?! This was what I expected from a ‘Christian’ Rock band, what happened there then?!

What does it sound like to me? This feels like the bland, poppy pop music I was subjected to in the 80s.

Did I like it? I had to stop listening to it, made my bowels loose…

9. Watching For Comets (RD: 2016) – Seem to have lost their guitarist! Where’s the rock, the thrash, the vocals?! Let’s all just sway side to side with candles/lighters held aloft and embrace…

What does it sound like to me? Dreary. The worst kind of Pop/Rock! And too long!

Did I like it? Do I need to fill in this space…really!!!

10. We Are The Saviours of The World (RD: 2016) – Well God help us, ‘oh, oh, oh’ etc. Electronics, again, not something I would associate with Rock music.

What does it sound like to me? ‘heavy’ pop.

Did I like it? ‘No sir, I don’t like it.’

To round-up – Phew, glad that’s over. Okay, so maybe I’m being unfair, it wasn’t horrendous music… just awfully bland and uninteresting – at least it wasn’t ‘happy-clappy-guitar-strumming…’, and I’m not sure that Skillet should be classed as a Christian Rock band, more like a Rock band whose members happen to be Christian? Did I get me some of that ‘old time religion’? Nope – and if that’s what you’re expecting when you read Christian Rock – then you’re going to be disappointed. Skillet obviously heard that old saying ‘the Devil has all the best tunes’, and have tried to make amends. So….it that respect…I have to concede that Skillet challenged my preconceptions of what ‘Christian’ music is.

However.

Will I be listening to Skillet again? No. Why? Because, as mentioned in a previous ‘Challenge Alex’, there are better bands from previous decades if I want to listen to Rock (Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones). Did it challenge me musically? Not at all, it left me asking “So what?” Weird thing is, the stuff they were producing back when they began sounded much better to me. I’m no expert, and again, this is not an educated criticism, but I do feel like the genre of Rock music struggles to define itself in modern culture, it doesn’t seem to have moved on like, say, Dance music, so what we end up with when new groups do Rock, is the soup of the soup, (i.e. watered down.).

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Skillet latest album – Unleashed Beyond
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This Week I Have Been Mostly Listening To…

Image result for thunder rock band
Thunder

Thunder

The ‘Challenge Alex’ experiment continues. This weeks suggestion comes from Jack. When I asked what genre of music this was I was told it is a kind of Heavy Metal/Rock. Despite having been around for approximately 28 years, I had never heard of this group. Described by Wikipedia as an English hard rock band from London. Formed in 1989, many of their albums are sold under the genre Metal. Thunder is this weeks challenge.

N.B: this is NOT a review – it’s simply an experiment in expanding my listening tastes.

What I listened to –

1. River of Pain

What does it sound like to me? Rocky. Not exactly hard! Some typical guitar solo and predictable drum n bass rhythm.

Did I like it? Was inoffensive, and uninteresting.

2. She’s So Fine

What does it sound like to me? Deep Purple anyone? Sounds to me like a poor man’s imitation of Deep Purple and AC/DC combined. Good vocals from Danny Bowes. I had the strange feeling that a tiny amount of Country Rock had snuck in there at points.

Did I like it? Nope.

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Thunder in their hirsute days.

3. A Better Man

What does it sound like to me? This is not Hard Rock! The writer must have been listening to C&W again – and that harmonica!? Why? A little guitar riff stolen from The Who thrown in there too.

Did I like it? Absolutely hated it.

4. Low Life in High Places

What does it sound like to me? A little slappy guitar, sad vocals. Not until halfway through does it turn into, what I recognise as, real Rock music; gravelly voice, heavy drums, whining guitar.

Did I like it? No.

5. In a Broken Dream

What does it sound like to me? Soft Rock/Pop. Oo, an organ! Intro has a little of the 70s influence going on, then dreary vocals; despite the effort to sound like Robert Plant (that ain’t gonna happen!) Makes me think of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar- Gethsemane song – but less emotional.

Did I like it? Meh.

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Still from ‘Dirty Love’ video shoot, 1989

 

6. Preaching from a Chair

What does it sound like to me? Rock/Pop. There is a maturity here which was missing from the previous pieces. Can imagine this used on a TV crime show. There’s the organ in the background again, albeit briefly, but the solo guitar returns the piece to teenage-boydom.

Did I like it? Best so far. But like it? Not much.

7.Right From the Start

What does it sound like to me? I get the feeling they were trying to get this used as opening theme for James Bond; that kind of Rock!! More love song stuff. Some typical guitar riffs. Dull rhythm.

Did I like it? Not really (and I’m trying to be nice here!)

8. Resurrection Day

What does it sound like to me? Rock. Thump-drum-cymbal-over-and-over-dum-cha-dum-cha-dum-cha-dum etc…

Did I like it? Yawn

9. Broken

What does it sound like to me? Like I want to cry out – “Where’s this Hard Rock I was promised!” Broken hearts and tambourines -bleurgh!

Did I like it? No!

10. No One Gets Out Alive

What does it sound like to me? Rock. Finally! Some good solid beats and strings. Typical sounding ‘old style’ rock, decent lyrics, obligatory guitar solo, a little thrashing, strong vocals. Nothing new here.

Did I like it? I didn’t hate it!

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Thunder. Photo from Times Free Press

To round-up – I won’t be listening to Thunder again. Why? Because it’s boring and other bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, do it better. Reading that they were classed not only under the Rock, but Metal genre, I struggled to find anything ‘metallic’ about any of it. For supporters of the group, I would remind you that the point of this’experiment’, was for people to challenge my listening habits, get me out of my comfort zone – rattle me, make me struggle, make me make an effort. So far, not a single suggestion has done that – least of all Thunder! Was it challenging? No, not at all. Not so much Thunder, as a rain-shower.

http://www.thunderonline.com/www/band

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/chattanooganow/music/story/2013/may/23/thunder-rock-bike-rally-festival-returns-monteagle/108776/

This Week I Have Been Mostly Listening To…

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Motionless in White

The ‘Challenge Alex’ experiment continues. This weeks suggestion comes from Beckie. When I asked what genre of music this was I was told it is a kind of Heavy Metal/Rock. Wikipedia tells us it is Metalcore/Gothic Metal/Industrial Metal – so let’s see what happens to my middle-aged-lady sensibilities!!!! Turning up the volume for…

Motionless in White…

N.B: this is NOT a review – it’s simply an experiment in expanding my listening tastes. 

*** WARNING*** THERE WILL BE PROFANITY***

What I listened to –

1. Necessary Evil feat. Jonathan Davis – Reminded me a little of Marilyn Manson. The opening has this familiarity that I cannot put my finger on; a repeated refrain on an unidentifiable instrument. With lyrics stolen from Lesley Gore’s 1960s “It’s my party” for the verse – ‘It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to, Cry if I want to, cry if I want to…” Becomes, “It’s my body and I’ll die when I want to, Die when I want to, die when I want to…”. All very Goth with Emo lyrics – of course all teens have this dark side (No-one likes to talk about it though). There’s some lyrics sung in ‘Screamer’ style. I first heard this type of singing from Norwegian bands about 10 years ago.

What does it sound like to me? Sort of what Beckie said – Heavy Metal/Rock. I can hear it’s roots in the Metal genre, completely updated to include the Gothic and Industrial.

Did I like it? Yes! My head was banging and my foot tapping from the first notes on.

2. Reincarnate – Opening with electronic, industrial guitar sound. Vocals vary between growly to ‘poppy’. This has a softer feel compared to the first song. Heavy on the drums, briefly.

What does it sound like to me? Pop, with a ‘screamer’ influence.

Did I like it? Not as much as the first one. It was okay.

3. Eternally yours – Sounds like a keyboard and drum opening, which was rather ‘pretty’ (Hey, I’m getting used to the hard-core dudes!). Again the growler voice makes way for the pop; chorus and verse see-saws between two vocal styles – intense, dark and aggressive to lighter vocals and guitar.

What does it sound like to me? Pop/Metal/Goth

Did I like it? Nah.

4. Black Damask – Piano melody, light Gothic, almost something one might hear as film intro, then pow! All of a sudden to screamer vocals (No, I do not know what he was saying!) and then the pop voice briefly, but mostly the ear-splitting, teeth-grinding roaring bile of an angry (young?!) man.

What does it sound like to me? Goth Metal

Did I like it?Kind of.

5. Puppets 3 (The Grand Finale) Feat. Dani Filth – Strafing the guitar again. Did some one scream or was that keyboard. High octane, racing lyrics, drums and guitar chords. The speed is quite exhilarating; however, I did have a look at the lyrics and find it’s a kind of ended romance and felt a little aggrieved that this sound should be slave to yet another ‘love song’. There is a brief moment we hear guitar solo, and it so reminded me of those 1970s Metal Bands.

What does it sound like to me? Goth/Metal

Did I like it?I think so; though I didn’t enjoy the sentiment in the lyrics.

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Puppets 3

 

6. Death March – Industrial alarm like the workers are finished, rolling heavy drums lead into screamer vocals. Lead singer, Chris ‘Motionless’ Cerulli, sounds even more like Manson in this. Pretty tame considering it’s called Death March.

What does it sound like to me? Metal.

Did I like it? It was okay – would have liked more Industrial sounds included.

7.Immaculate MisconceptionTwenty-eight seconds of what sounds like a single chord on a church organ gives way to an angry roar “What the fuck?!” and continues to rant throughout, backed by, what I would call regular pop vocals. A sudden halt – the ears sigh with relief – and twelve seconds of what sounds like wind through abandoned warehouse.

What does it sound like to me? Industrial Goth

Did I like it? Would have liked more of the eerie industrial stuff and it’s beginning to sound very ‘samey’ by now.

8. Creatures – Spoken word from, what I believe to be, archive radio footage, scratch,“Death”, rattle, rubbing, clink, ring and tapping sounds are the intro. Breaks into a frantic drum and guitar rhythm with a slower keyboard accompaniment. Just after the mid point the vocals take on the cleaner more innocent quality before reverting back to screamer. Ends with the ‘itchy’ metal and a woman’s voice saying “There is more inside of me.” and stops dead.

What does it sound like to me? Industrial Goth/Metal

Did I like it? I think so. I liked the intro and ‘outro’ especially and the frantic drums and bass.

 

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M.I.W  America

9. America – Was that an animal or a horse screaming at the very beginning?! Carousel music and a voice played backwards, stretch into the tune then other eclectic sounds and a cricket? A steady drum and guitar beat matching the growling vocals provide a very coherent piece. Feels like this is the band’s actual sound, it’s has more confidence (you don’t need to scream to sound confident) and isn’t trying to ‘fit in’ as much angst and variation as possible.

What does it sound like to me? Industrial Goth.

Did I like it? Yes. Second favourite after Necessary Evil.

10. Loud (Fuck It) – Nirvana style trash guitar intro. Bit of a contrast to what I’ve become used to with this group.

What does it sound like to me? An anthem. More rock than anything Goth. If the vocals were sung without roaring, this could be a rock song, a good rock song (I hate stadium rock), but not Goth.

Did I like it? Kind of. Not sure if it’s good or mediocre.

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M.I.W’s Chris ‘Motionless’ Cerulli

To round-up – I will probably be giving Motionless in White another listening to. I do not, as a rule, watch the music videos that are made for the songs I have been listening to – I do believe that the audience today puts too much emphasis on these visuals, which in turn, takes away from the actual thing they should be paying attention to – the music. I have peeked at one or two (just to see) and I did with M.I.W. I had mixed reactions – Oh, not more of this/Cooool/Derivative much?/I wish I was a teenager again. Another issue I have is the names of the band members – Chris “Motionless” Cerulli (lead vocals), Ricky “Horror” Olson (rhythm guitar), Devin “Ghost” Sola (bass); I mean, really? Come on guys, how old are you? (Turns out, Cerulli is 31, Olsen is 29, and Sola is 27).

There was a lot of swearing in the vocals, much of it I think I missed too!! But swearing doesn’t offend me – I like a good swear myself sometimes – but repetition is the sure way to make that word impotent. And who wants an impotent Fuck!?

 

Rediscovering – Patrik Fitzgerald

In the mid 80s I went to a Polytechnic (now a University! Of course it is, aren’t they all) to study Fine Art. Whilst there, I met my future husband who not only taught me patience, the art of not caring what others think and how to play the guitar, but introduced me to the music of Patrik Fitzgerald.

As art students, it was our prerogative, nay, our duty, to lie in bed in the morning and arrive late. Sit around being fey, poetic, or as Jarvis Cocker once sang, It may look to the untrained eye like I’m sitting on my arse all day.”

One day, whilst not attending class, my other half put on a cassette – you remember those,you had to wrap the brown tape around a pencil when it got tangled or twisted, and then the damaged bit would be a permanent wobble – anyway, he puts this tape on.

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The original headscrew!

I had NEVER in my life heard anything like it. I immediately went out and bought an album – that’s a record, NOT a CD people – ‘Gifts and Telegrams’.

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gifts and telegrams by Patrik Fitzgerald

I played it until future hubby was sick of listening to it. I still have it. I haven’t listened to Fitzgerald’s music for over a decade – until today.

Fitzgerald is hard to classify/pigeonhole. Wiki describes him as –

Patrik Fitzgerald…is an English singer-songwriter and an originator of folk punk he began recording and performing during the punk rock movement in 1977, after working briefly as an actor.”

I had never heard an album that sounded like it had been recorded in someone’s bedroom (though that’s where all the new young things start today – on social media *rolls eyes) I had never heard music that incorporated sounds that apparently didn’t belong to instruments. Singing in an amateurish, yet compelling, manner. And odd techno bleeps.

So today, as I was writing, I decided to look for my NaNoWriMo Novel Writing Soundtrack, and the wonder of the internet brought me to Patrik, it was an odd feeling I have to admit. Kind of like coming full circle musically, rediscovering your youth is a bizarre thing – just you wait!

Fitzgerald is incredibly unique in the history of British music and I do think more people should be aware of him. For some reason, he seems to have been forgotten. It isn’t Punk in the way most remember it, there’s no aggressive, hyper-tuneless, in-your-face stuff – though I do like a bit of aggro – Fitzgerald is more melancholic.He’s urban before urban was a thing, his introspective, almost suicidal lyrics pre-date Emo’s. Ironic, minimal, bitter, poetic,now is the time for a resurgence of Fitzgerald’s music focusing on the human condition.

I know it can be challenging for some people, but I do urge you to give it a listen to. I’d love to hear what people think.

This Week I Have Been Mostly Listening To…

Rag ‘n’ Bone Man

The ‘Challenge Alex’ experiment continues. Moving on with the idea of me being introduced to ‘new stuff’ in regards to music, this weeks suggestion comes from Ben, who, from my limited experience, does not fall into the same listening category as other students. He has a taste for the old-fashioned; he likes Edith Piaf, for example! (Shh, don’t tell him I told you!)So I am hoping he has something different to offer. This week I have been mostly listening to…

Rag ‘n’ Bone Man (AKA, Rory Graham)

N.B: this is NOT a review – it’s simply an experiment in expanding my listening tastes.

What I listened to –

1. Human. Great voice; a softer feeling Joe Cocker. Clapping and a tambourine keep the beat as ‘the Bone Man’ begs us to not ‘put the blame on me’. Background vocals provide harmony and the continuous ‘yell’ in the background – which, oddly, was not too irritating.

What does it sound like to me? It’s pop, but with a difference, influenced by Blues, Rock and Gospel I think.

Did I like it? Yes, I did.

2. Skin – Beginning a cappella, we get to hear the full power of this man’s voice. A very warm, deep Blues sound. When the music begins, it almost ruins it for me, the verse I didn’t like, but the chorus is strong and thrums away; instruments, vocals and lyrics creating a lovely, pulsing rhythm.

What does it sound like to me? Pop, with a Blues influence.

Did I like it? Yes, but not as much as the first one.

3.Lay My Body DownPiano led intro, and then that voice. A plea to not weep for him when he’s gone, as Graham imagines his death. The piano, voice, drums etc. roll around each other in perfect harmony

What does it sound like to me? Again, it sounds like Gospel influence Pop.

Did I like it? It was okay.

4. Life in Her Yet – A slightly, lighter, upbeat intro, but the lyrics are still quite tragic.I can imagine this being used in a Western movie, the heroine has had a tough life; a hard-bitten woman with the desert ingrained on her face and a rifle always to hand.

What does it sound like to me? Country and Western influenced Blues Pop!

Did I like it? Kind of.

5. Grace – Vocals with a simple piano accompaniment; later joined by a bass, guitar, choir; each ‘instrument’ coming in layer upon layer until it builds to join in the chorus – then back to solo voice and piano. Not so much a romantic love song, but a song about eternal love, humanity.

What does it sound like to me? Oddly, it doesn’t feel completely like a modern song. There is something from the past lingering here that I just can’t put my finger on.

Did I like it? I think so; I enjoy the sentiment in the lyrics.

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Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – Human

6.Bitter EndAs he questions whether a relationship has come to the bitter end, we get swells of Gospel-like choir following his solo voice and lone piano. Like that it ends with the question on a high note and stops dead.

What does it sound like to me? A half-empty 80’s bar, smoky pop/soul. Reminds me a little bit of late Sade

Did I like it? Not sure.

7. Hard Came The RainExtremely deep throated intro! A little guitar riff that reminded me of Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘Fear the Reaper’ – hard chorus with passion and vitality; nice gravelly texture to Graham’s voice. Feels ‘real'(whatever that means!)

What does it sound like to me? Pop/Rock/soft Metal with a C & W influence.

Did I like it? Yes. Best so far.

8. Hell Yeah ft. Vince Staples – rap intro and interspersed throughout. Hell yeah, usually used as definite acknowledgement to a comment, here Graham uses it to say we are all going to Hell – yeah! Quite a short number compared to the previous, at just under 4 minutes, it has an abrupt ending; possibly the abrupt ending some of us deserve! The drums have that tripping hip-hop edge to them giving a very vaguely militaristic feel.

What does it sound like to me? Soul meets Hip Hop.

Did I like it? I think so, I don’t normally like Hip-Hop, but the treatment given here works for me.

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Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – Wolves

9. Guilty what I would describe as a ‘typical’ rock/pop sound; with undertones of rap. Nothing outstanding here.

What does it sound like to me? Soft Rock, Pop.

Did I like it? Not really. A little dull in comparison to, say, Hard Came The Rain.

10. No Mother A black gospel, soulful intro. Graham’s Blues tinged voice goes full on ‘Mississippi man’. The regular beat and metallic clangs, I feel, are meant to inspire in us a memory of black slaves working themselves to death on building the railroads. Here we are listening to the voice of a parent who wants to see the child that they have been denied access to.

What does it sound like to me? Particularly the intro and the ending, make me think of poor black people in the bad old days of the American South. Blues Pop.

Did I like it? No. It is too derivative for my liking.

To round-up – I will definitely be giving Rag ‘n’ Bone Man another listening to. Though I can’t assign a definitive style to his music, I just feel that it is something that I would not, under normal circumstances, bother listening to; but I will. However, that being said, I did find myself thinking, you’re a white man,from East Sussex; why are you singing like a black man? Am I even allowed to say that? There is a particular sound that we equate to peoples of the world, and Blues, Jazz, Soul and Gospel tend to belong to Black Americans. Writers are told to write ‘what you know’, and I can’t help but be suspicious of someone who takes on another cultural style wholesale.

So, maybe this is the challenge for me! The music in itself was not challenging, but its delivery and cultural context were. Maybe I just need to be less narrow-minded when it comes to what people sound like; regardless. Were my middle-aged-lady sensibilities offended? Not at all. I would like to see how Rag ‘n’ Bone Man progresses over the next 10 years or so; he’s relatively new on the music scene; I believe, so plenty of time to comfortably grow into his own creative skin – I’m betting he will be great in his later years.

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Soulful Rag ‘n’ Bone Man

Addendum: After initially writing up this post, I watched the video for Hard Came The Rain, made by Nick Rutter. He makes a story about the violent end of a relationship between a female impersonator and his ex-lover; quite powerful imagery that provides a decent narrative to the song. I still like this song best of the ten I spent time listening to, now I realise that it is quite different from the other nine, Graham doesn’t sound like he is trying too hard, it sounds like his voice – not borrowed from a late, great Blues singer.

This Week I Have Been Mostly Listening To…

Key West

A month ago, I wrote about listening to Imagine Dragons. If you remember, I had invited some ‘young people’ to challenge me, to suggest music; bands, solo artists,etc, for me to listen to (shock, challenge, and make my music neurons wake up!) (I forgot to mention the age group of these young ‘uns – 18 to 21 years). To carry on with the idea of me- middle aged woman, being introduced to ‘new stuff’ in regards to music, I have been listening to Patrick’s suggestion –

Key West.

N.B: this is NOT a review – it’s simply an experiment in expanding my listening tastes.

What I listened to
1.This is Heartbreak– A slow, romance song with steady drum beat and gentle vocals. “Over and over again I can’t take it”, just about sums it up for me.

What does it sound like to me? ‘Soft’ Pop.

Did I like it? No.

2All My Mistakes Another romance, more upbeat with a cheeky little tambourine in the chorus. Has a kind of summer feel to it and I can definitely see the ‘young one’s’ dancing to it at a party. Me? I’d have to have a few G&T’s first!

What does it sound like to me? Pop/Rock

Did I like it? If I’m being generous, it was okay. Kind of…

3.Carousel Another love song!! Gak!! A little upbeat, nice drum rhythm and clapping. Didn’t make me want to dance though – or ride a carousel!

What does it sound like to me? Pop/Rock

Did I like it? No.

4. Stuck On ReplayAnother song about love, this time unrequited, sort of. A typical pop melody and rhythm that reminded me of so many other ‘love songs’ of the 90s. Even the lead singers voice has a very generic quality to it; ‘croaky pain’, check. ‘whispery pain’, check. ‘high-note sorrow’, check.

What does it sound like to me? Pop

Did I like it? No

5.This SummerDid that intro sound like All My Mistakes??? Slightly heavier beat (though still rather soft) – oh! I can go ‘Fuck yourself’!! Seems like he’s got over the girl/girls in previous 4 songs, and it makes a positive difference. It ends on a discordant note on guitar and piano – which I thought might bode well for future stuff…

What does it sound like to me? Pop/Rock

Did I like it? Almost. Not quite.

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Key West look as thrilled as I did listening to their music

6.Electric Love The opening has potential, a minimalist feel with a slappy bass. But guess what? It’s ANOTHER love song!!! There is a bit of a western feel with the rhythm, like being on a train, which keeps the song feeling more ‘alive’ than others. But it gets quite repetitive after 2 minutes in.

What does it sound like to me? Pop/Rock

Did I like it? Not really.

7.Messages From God Sounds like another love song to me. Blah, blah, blah.

What does it sound like to me? Pop

Did I like it? No.

8.Feels So Cruel Aarrgghh!!

What does it sound like to me? Pop

Did I like it? No

9.The Message Borrr-ing!

What does it sound like to me? Soft Pop

Did I like it? No

10.The Little Things – A stronger vocal opening than previously heard. Picks up into a bouncy little number after intro. Nice guitar and bass. A little experimentation at the end with some ambient sounds.

What does it sound like to me? Pop/Rock

Did I like it? It was okay.
To round-up – I won’t be listening to Key West again. The name suggests a link to America, though they are, I discovered, a Dublin band. I had never heard of them before, despite the fact that they have been on the scene since 2012. The sound is too processed, too audience friendly – middle of the road for my liking.

Was I challenged? No. Were my middle-aged-lady sensibilities offended? Not at all.

By track 4 I definitely felt ‘Stuck on Replay’! I had determined to listen to 10 songs and to give them an even break, but boys, I’ve heard it all before. It’s so hum-drum, pedestrian with little creativity that I can see.

The point of this exercise was to have music that would challenge me, something new, something exciting, perhaps weird or a little ‘arty’. Key West is, for me, none of those things. The challenge was sticking with it long enough to form and write and opinion.

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Key West had me yawning at my key board

 

This Week I have Been Mostly Listening To…

I have been listening to…Imagine Dragons.

I wrote a little about having new Filthy Friends on 9th September, and decided to carry on with the idea of me, middle aged woman, being introduced to ‘new stuff’ in regards to music.

Even more than drugs, I believe that shifts in perspective, challenging tastes and opinions are mind expanding. As humans age, we have a tremendous capacity to think our childhood was best, our music was not so ‘hard on the ears’, our opinions, politics, fashion etc, etc are/were better than ‘the young people of today’. We get stuck in our ways – well I don’t intend to age gracefully!

So, I have invited some ‘young people’ to challenge me, to suggest music; bands, solo artists, for me to listen to (shock, challenge, and make my music neurons wake up!) and I am starting off with Scott’s suggestion –

Imagine Dragons.

N.B: this is NOT a review – it’s simply an experiment in expanding my listening tastes.

What I listened to

1.Radioactive – now I had actually heard this song before. A slow burn verse towards a burst of a chorus. Some industrial effects; dripping water, what sounds like wind in a tunnel and then a squeaky toy!

What does it sound like to me? Pop/Rock

Did I like it? Yes

2. Thunder – kind of synth n drums thing going on. Lots of repetition of ‘Thunder’ and finger clicking.

What does it sound like to me? Pop. Like the 1980’s band Men At Work, if they updated their style.

Did I like it? Not really.

3.Believer starts with a slow march beat, leading to some rap style lyrics before bursting into the chorus -You make me a believer .

What does it sound like to me? What I would call modern Rock.

Did I like it? Yes.

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Imagine Dragons

4. Whatever It Takes – kind of rap influenced verse? Synth drums? Chorus slows down the pace with a kind of choral background.

What does it sound like to me? Pop

Did I like it? No.

5.Demons – a slow stadium rock feel with no alteration in pace, tone or anything.

What does it sound like to me? Stadium Rock/Pop

Did I like it? Not really.

6.On Top of The World – opens with a cheery little clapping, whistling, keyboard overlaid by what sounds like something rolling. Solo voice in verse joined in chorus by multiple. Near the end is a set of recordings of President Nixon? And some industrial effects – then back to bouncy, Carribean tinged chorus.

What does it sound like to me? Like it can’t decide what it is.

Did I like it? Not much.

7. I Bet My Life – I could imagine a barn full of people doing line dancing to this one! Someone/something shrieking in the background is annoying! The chorus – I, I bet my life, I bet my life on you,I, I bet my life, I bet my life, I bet my life on you is reminiscent of Ray Davis and the Kinks Days – Thank you for the days, Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me, I’m thinking of the days, I won’t forget a single day, believe mehas that same rhythm.(But not as good)
What does it sound like to me? Pop, gets it’s Stetson and boots on.

Did I like it? Not sure. Pretty much anything ‘country’ flavoured makes me baulk.

8.It’s Time – clapping, synth drums, tapping, something opening, banjo?! Slides into a short, smooth full-bodied chorus.

What does it sound like to me? A heavier early 90’s dance/pop tune.

Did I like it? Was okay.

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Imagine Dragons, Gold

9. Gold – slices of drums, whistling, speech before the singing begins. This is has a rougher, grimier feel than any of the others songs so far. Each bridge between verse and chorus slows to a slow stomp/march feel. Some ‘rock guitar’ solo at the end.

What does it sound like to me? Rock/Pop

Did I like it? I did actually.

10. Monster – a willowy guitar and synth intro suddenly turns to solid drum base. This sounded like another one – – just my imagination or did they run out of melodies? A nice strong chorus.

What does it sound like to me? By this point, it sounds like Imagine Dragons! Pop with a rock influence.

Did I like it? I did.

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Imagine Dragons, Monster

To round-up – I think I quite liked listening to Imagine Dragons, though I wouldn’t go out of my way to do it; I wouldn’t for instance, buy an album, although I might listen online amongst other stuff.

Was I challenged? No. Were my middle-aged-lady sensibilities offended? Not at all.

For my money, Imagine Dragons could be a whole lot better, if they quit trying to make songs that sell, i.e. Pop songs. They have potential to be great; if they used more of the experimental sounds, they have a variety of textures in their music which is overlaid by mainstream pop sounds.

I prefer the rougher, rockier, grimier pieces (later listened to I’m So Sorry, live recording – really liked it), to me, those pieces feel real. I’m not keen on their use of synthetic instrumentals; which is what some of it sounds like to me, I may be wrong, but I’d like to hear the rawness of actual drums, bass etc.

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Imagine Dragons – didn’t knock me out.