Song of the Moment

J. Cole - Lost Ones

Friday, April 30, 2010

Rant #7 - "Can't Leave Rap Alone The Game Needs Me!"



So B Side Fans, it's been a while since I came at you with an editorial piece of what is on my mind. Because of that, and I'm even on my reviewing of genres, it seemed like a good time for one. Plus, I've had something on my mind for about a year now that has been bugging me.

What is wrong with the rap game today?

Seriously...you used to be able to find a new record once a month that was not only good, but some new artist that made you hungry for more hip hop. When I'm sitting down at work, it's very rare I actually feel like rap right now - and at first I thought I was just going through one of my cycles, but truth is, it's because nothing new and exciting is out there. Jay-Z dropped Blueprint 3 last September - that was honestly the last really good rap record to come out. Ludacris dropped Battle Of The Sexes which stunk. Young Jeezy has been promising Thug Motivation 103 for over 2 years since Recession dropped, and that continues to get pushed back. DMX hasn't been relevant in a decade, but he's going to put one out this year sometime - date again keeps getting pushed. Dr. Dre has been promising Detox will come out, shocker folks, been pushed back to no release date again. What is going on? Lil Wayne put out one of the best hip hop records of all time in Tha Carter III 2 years ago, and has followed that up with garbage. Snoop, Game, 50 Cent...the list goes on and on of guys who have once upon a time put out quality work that have gone lackluster. This trend is getting very frustrating for those of us who really enjoy the genre. When are the fans going to have the joy of good music again? Can anybody tell me that? We keep getting promised by artists and record labels that good stuff is coming soon - and when that date approaches, it's delayed for various reasons. Guys keep dropping mixtapes to generate buzz, and even those are bad!! Drake and Kid Cudi seem to be two guys that are actually working hard right now, and both are poised for big hits again this summer. Would it surprise me if they stunk? Not at all. Isn't that sad? A huge fan like me feels that jaded by the rap game nowadays. I have people frequently come up and ask, "what's good in hip hop today?"...I haven't had a good answer in over a year! I simply do not get it. These artists need to start making an effort again. Luda needs to STOP putting out one album per year and focus on putting out hit first GREAT one since Word of Mouf. Jay needs to stay retired and get some new and exciting talent in Roc-A-Fella. Kanye is due for another one and something needs to come out of the Aftermath camp soon. Even Em dropped the Refill side of his record that was a HUGE flop. He claims he knew it was bad and will be putting out something soon too. It's like, these guys know there is a lull and it's a problem but no one wants to step up. Record execs, figure this out and make something happen. With the resurgence of STP and other 90's alt bands keeping it going - rap might lose me for a long time to something that puts more emphasis on keeping fans happy.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Black Crowes - Shake Your Money Maker



Talk about a band that doesn't nearly get the recognition it deserves...this brings me to The Black Crowes. These guys have put out some really great music over the years, and no one seems to notice or care. One of the better live bands I've ever seen - they do a great job of just jamming away on stage. This cd is very - VERY good. I don't like to get into the 'underrated' argument, but these guys are if there is such a thing. This album mainly is totally under appreciated if nothing else. Starts off rockin with Twice As Hard...slows it down with Seeing Things, jumps back into high gear with Hard to Handle then DOMINATES all music history with She Talks To Angels. Top to bottom, very good work by the Crowes. One could certainly argue that they peaked too early, as this was their first and easily best selling album. That might even be true - but that doesn't make them or this record any less great. You HAVE TO check this one out if you've never heard it. There is certainly something for everybody and check your pulse if you're not moved by Angels. I'm going to have a hard time picking a top 3 because this really is so good start to finish. The price I pay for being committed to you - the fans!! As always, thanks for reading and for sure pick this one up. I'd love to hear what other people think of this one!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Twice as Hard
2. Jealous Again
3. Sister Luck
4. Could I've Been So Blind
5. Seeing Things
6. Hard to Handle
7. Thick N' Thin
8. She Talks to Angels
9. Struttin' Blues
10. Stare It Cold

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. She Talks To Angels
2. Twice As Hard
3. Seeing Things

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Rodney Atkins - If You're Going Through Hell



Apologies have been owed to country fans for the last few genre posts I've done. The country reviews have been less than stellar over the last month or so. Everyone knows I'm not a big fan - but I try to be extremely open minded. Even when it comes to country music, I sit back - listen to every track and try to drift into the music. Especially with country, I feel like it's about telling a story, and when I'm drifting away - I should be able to feel like I'm a part of the story. I want to make it clear I don't give this stuff bad ratings because I have some sort of bias - and I also want to be clear that just because it's not for me, it could still be really good music. Having said all that, here comes Rodney Atkins. I know nothing about this fella, other than this was his best selling record of all time. He only has 4 albums released, and this is the sole record that went platinum. What is semi crazy is singles were dropped from this in 3 different calendar years. That's really a long time to not put anything else out. Fans who bought the album probably felt gypped when listening to the radio. Anyway, I'll give this one a little credit for changing styles. Although the voice is monotone, Atkins makes a nice effort to switch up the arrangements which is good on the ear. I feel like some of the lyrics on this album are trying to really serious and contemplative, but they feel phony to me - and I'm not really sure why. I just don't get the wave wash over me that this is really what he might be facing in life. Who knows. Well, check it out if you like country - and let me know what you think of it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. These Are My People
2. About the South
3. Watching You
4. Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)
5. In the Middle
6. Man on a Tractor
7. Wasted Whiskey
8. Invisibly Shaken
9. Angel's Hands
10. If You're Going Through Hell

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Invisibly Shaken
2. About The South
3. These Are My People

FINAL RATING:
2.25 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Beastie Boys - Licensed To Ill



Man do I love when I get to hip/hop day. As all of my devotees know, I probably listen to rap overall more than any other genre. When I finally get to that review, I'm like a kid in the candy store. I strum through my collection trying to decide which gem to drop on the B Side world! Seems like many of you aren't big on rap, so I seriously hope you give some of these albums a chance. Most of them I think you'll enjoy - even if you generally hate rap. Beasties are probably the easiest rap to listen to. Most of the major issues folks have with hip/hop - the lyrical content, inability to understand lyrics, crude remarks about women and the idea of promoting killing - Beastie Boys have none of that stuff. I can't immediately come up with a song I remember them cursing in, and they usually talk about "fun" stuff as opposed to other artists out there. Personally I have no problems with an artist expressing themselves to the fullest - and I feel the Beasties do that without having to talk about anything rough. This is far and away my favorite record by them, and has a lot of songs that many of you would recognize. You watch these guy perform or even on some of the videos, and they look like such nerds from your local high school - but they survived over two decades in the rap game. They garnered a ton of respect from current artists and even paved the way for a guy like Eminem to drop onto the scene. You HAVE TO check this one out today. No question your hump day will be over in what seems like an hour if you toss this on!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Rhymin & Stealin
2. New Style, The
3. She's Crafty
4. Posse in Effect
5. Slow Ride
6. Girls
7. Fight for Your Right
8. No Sleep Till Brooklyn
9. Paul Revere
10. Hold It Now, Hit It
11. Brass Monkey
12. Slow and Low
13. Time to Get Ill

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Brass Monkey
2. No Sleep Till Brooklyn
3. Paul Revere

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Ted Nugent - Self Titled




Hooray for classic rock! I've taken a lot of flack over the years for enjoying the work of one Ted Nugent. He's a little bit out there, and one of my friends would go so far as to call the guy "an inbred hick" - but say what you will - he made some good music. This was his first album ever made on the solo side. After he left Amboy Dukes, he went solo in a big way with this release back in 1975. Uncle Ted has to be in the discussion for Top 15 guitarists of all time too. He really puts down some tasty riffs on pretty much every record I've ever heard. Currently, Ted does all sorts of crazy television hunting shows, has a cookbook and seems like he's always out there toting a weapon and talking about how great it is. Nugent seems to be one of those quiet great selling artists too. A few of his albums are multi-platinum - but no one really seems to notice. I personally only own 1 of his records, but I do enjoy almost all of them. This isn't even the one I own, but it has probably his greatest song on it. Maybe you could focus on just getting a greatest hits record by the Nuge, if you're not a huge fan. But check this one out, I think if you like rock - you'll really enjoy at the very least the Top 3!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Stranglehold
2. Stormtroopin'
3. Hey Baby
4. Just What the Doctor Ordered
5. Snakeskin Cowboys
6. Motor City Madhouse
7. Where Have You Been All My Life
8. You Make Me Feel Right at Home
9. Queen of the Forest
10. Stormtroopin' - (Bonus Track)
11. Just What the Doctor Ordered - (Bonus Track)
12. Motor City Madhouse - (Bonus Track)
13. Magic Party (Outtake - Bonus Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Stranglehold
2. Just What The Doctor Ordered
3. Stormtroopin'

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hole - Nobody's Daughter



Here is the continuation of 'New Music Tuesday' as Hole dropped Nobody's Daughter today. I have to admit, I absolutely LOVED the 'Live Through This' record and would have reviewed that very soon had this not come up. They haven't put any records out since 1998's 'Celebrity Skin'. The reunion brought on this record, which at first listen seems pretty solid. It's got a sound more similar to This as opposed to Skin...which is a GREAT thing. I think the passion vocals are what made it so great, and this focuses on similar principles and maybe even better lyrics. Courtney Love wrote all the tracks on the record, and it's clear she's writing about all the crazy stuff she's gone through in life. She also gave a couple co-writer credits to Billy Corgan of the Pumpkins. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of her since I feel she drove Cobain to kill himself, but that's a different post. I wish there would be a little more arrangement musically here, as most tracks are a simply guitar strum and lyrics. There are a couple neat tracks with the piano though, and that helps break up the album so it's not so similar track over track. I think this is worth checking out - especially if you were a Hole fan back in the day. It's better than Skin for sure, and I'll have to listen to it 20 more times before I can really compare it to their older stuff. Until then, take it in and let me know how you feel about it!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Nobody's Daughter
2. Skinny Little Bitch
3. Honey
4. Pacific Coast Highway
5. Samantha
6. Someone Else's Bed
7. For Once In Your Life
8. Letter To God
9. Loser Dust
10. How Dirty Girls Get Clean
11. Never Go Hungry

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Nobody's Daughter
2. Letter To God
3. Someone Else's Bed OR For Once In Your Life

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Caribou - Swim



Not only is it 'Techno Tuesday' but it's also the start of what I hope to be a 'New Music Tuesday'! As you probably know, music comes out on Tuesdays - meaning that's when the cd is available to the public. So I'm going to try to profile at least one new album a week every Tuesday. It's kind of a two-fer this week, as Caribou just dropped last week and you'll see what I've got coming up next. Anyway, this band was totally new to me. The band is actually a guy, that has performed under the name Manitoba and now Caribou. He's put out a plethora of albums since 2000, but to my knowledge never really cracked into the mainstream. After my rant about iTunes the other day - here is another cool thing about it, they can help an artist reach places and people once unthinkable. Millions of people download the freebie of the week, and last week it was the single for 'Odessa' which is actually a really awesome track. This has a beat and stretched out funky vocals that I dig. I need to buy this record so I can put it on my iPod and transform that onto my 7.1 surround system at home. I think it'll hit pretty hard and sound amazing once I get it off my headphones. (Quality headphones mind you, I don't run a cheap organization) Check this out though, it's really cool. Really pay attention to the arrangements in your headphones - as he does some neat stuff there too. Enjoy!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Odessa
2. Sun
3. Kaili
4. Found Out
5. Bowls
6. Leave House
7. Hannibal
8. Lalibela
9. Jamelia

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Odessa
2. Kaili
3. Found Out

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Monday, April 26, 2010

Marilyn Manson - Antichrist Superstar



Ahh Manson. What a strange fella. I can't say I ever got super into his music, but I did listen to this record quite a bit in the mid 90's. I can always recall Manson getting so much flack from the public for turning sweet innocent kids into animals. Does that stuff still happen? I mean, when the tragedy that was Columbine happened, I remember everyone blamed Manson, Eminem etc instead of you know - the relative that gave them guns, or the parents for not really caring, or the doctors for putting them on medications that didn't interact well together. Since I work in my box and blog about music and music only - I have no clue what the general public has to say about controversial music anymore. Maybe they've gotten to be more accepting. One can hope anyway. Regardless, Manson put out some pretty crazy and rockin tunes in his day. This album is a little heavy in spots, and is about as metal as it gets back in '96. I put him right up there with showmen like David Bowie and even Garth Brooks when he did that stupid pretend to be Chris Gaines thing. Manson also writes ALL of his own stuff, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. I won't tell you that you have to be a metal fan to enjoy this. It's different, and you might like that. It's not the greatest album of all time, but it's neat. Check it out as a follow up to DMB!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Irresponsible Hate Anthem
2. Beautiful People, The
3. Dried up, Tied and Dead to the World
4. Tourniquet
5. Little Horn
6. Cryptorchid
7. Deformography
8. Wormboy
9. Mister Superstar
10. Angel With the Scabbed Wings
11. Kinderfeld
12. Antichrist Superstar
13. 1996
14. Minute of Decay
15. Reflecting God, The
16. Man That You Fear
17. Untitled (Hidden Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. The Beautiful People
2. Antichrist Superstar
3. Tourniquet

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Dave Matthews Band - Before These Crowded Streets



If you found yourself in the high school phase around the mid to late 90's, you know how huge DMB was and is to this day. People flocked from everywhere in the country to see them play at Alpine and maybe you even had a friend or two follow them around the country. Well B Side fans, I don't get it. I mean, their music is good, this album is actually VERY good - but come on. I don't feel DMB has provided tuneage that will go down in the history books as some of the greatest ever. They do put on a good show, which I guess could be the reason why people always want to go. They had two records previous to this one, but 'Streets' is easily my favorite. The two tracks I listen to most happen to be on this record. Do I need to attempt to explain their style to anyone? I guess I'll say - if you have never heard DMB, pick this album up. Most of you probably heard this and every other album they've created, as they seem to be one of those bands. Maybe I'll suck it up and go to another show one of these days just so I have something else to write about. Maybe...we'll see. Until I make my mind up on that...enjoy this one as it should ease your case of the Mondays.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Pantala Naga Pampa
2. Rapunzel
3. The Last Stop
4. Don't Drink The Water
5. Stay (Wasting Time)
6. Halloween
7. The Stone
8. Crush
9. The Dreaming Tree
10. Pig
11. Spoon

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Crush
2. The Last Stop
3. Don't Drink The Water

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Timbaland - Shock Value



This record is a shout out to all the pop followers of the blog. I guess one could argue that this is also a hip/hop type record, and all I can say to that is - listen to it. There really isn't anything rap about this album except maybe Timbaland's beats and a couple people who make cameos on the record. I think this also helped Keri Hilson blow up, even though she's been a huge songwriter and backup singer in the industry for years. I have to say - as much as I dislike pop music, I love this record. From start to finish, it's really solid. There are a couple odd tracks that are let downs, but very few records are perfect - especially nowadays. Personally, I have huge respect for guys like Timbo, Dre and Pharrell who make beats for all these artists and don't ever get much spotlight. You can't blame Timbaland for finally thinking - hey, I can do this record sales stuff too. No question this also made OneRepublic blow up too - I think they have sold millions of their records too. I have to implore you to check this one out. I think it has something for everyone on it. My Top 3 is probably going to span 3 different genres. Keep in mind this record has appearances by She Wants Revenge, Fall Out Boy, Missy Elliott, Dr. Dre, Elton John and others I've mentioned. This is really the best way to cap off your weekend - drift off to Shock Value.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Oh Timbaland
2. Give It to Me
3. Release
4. Way I Are, The
5. Bounce
6. Come & Get Me
7. Kill Yourself
8. Boardmeeting
9. Fantasy
10. Scream
11. Miscommunication
12. Bombay
13. Throw It on Me
14. Time
15. One & Only
16. Apologize (Remix)
17. 2 Man Show

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Oh Timbaland
2. Apologize
3. Bounce

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

She Wants Revenge - Self Titled



So I learned about She Wants Revenge back in 2006 when iTunes unleashed the 'Tear You Apart' single as the freebie of the week. Small rant here - people really bag on iTunes because they used to have DRM's on all the music and now because it's DRM free, but some tracks cost 1.29 instead of the standard .99 cents. Well I think iTunes is still setting the standard of legal downloading out there. Sure, some tracks are more expensive, but the DRM free is nice - and they do cool stuff like put out a couple free songs, music videos and TV shows every so often. The music is nice - because it's a way to learn about new exciting talent. I got to learn about these guys, The Fray and a handful of others just by listening to free music. Not shabby. Well anyway, SWR is a punkish type rock band that has only put out a couple records. The duo is still together - but from the best I can tell not putting out new tunes. This particular record is really a different bag. It spans a few genres and has a totally different feel to it than most anything else out there. I don't groove on it very often, but on the rare occasion I toss it on and give it a go. I can't even seem to come up with words to describe how the arrangement flows, as it's really all over the board. The best I can say is, check this album out. It may not be for you, but you'll never know until you try it.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Red Flags and Long Nights
2. These Things
3. I Don't Wanna Fall in Love
4. Out of Control
5. Monologue
6. Broken Promises For Broken Hearts
7. Sister
8. Disconnect
9. Us
10. Someone Must Get Hurt
11. Tear You Apart
12. She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Tear You Apart
2. These Things
3. Sister

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, April 23, 2010

Deep Purple - Machine Head



When you think of iconic classic '70s rock, very rarely does the name Deep Purple enter the conversation. Perhaps it should B Side fans, perhaps it should. These guys made a TON of good music in that decade. They put out stuff all the way into the 2000's - most of which I never heard. It amazes me when people hear a Deep Purple track, sing along to it - talk about how great this song is...but have no clue who it is. Doesn't that drive people crazy? If you're listening to a song and you love it, don't you have a need to figure out who it is and pick up more by that artist? Maybe that's just me being a music nut. Anyhow - this record and most stuff by '70s DP is really good stuff. I'm sure you've heard a couple tracks from this record already - so check them out again. If you think you haven't heard DP anytime in your life, sweet lord pick this up. There no is question you'll end up celebrating most of their catalog. Probably my favorite DP track isn't on this record, so I'll have to get to another review for them sometime soon. This was their highest selling album, so it's a good place to start if you're a Purple newbie. Toss this on and enjoy an excellent start to your weekend!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Highway Star
2. Maybe I'm A Leo
3. Pictures Of Home
4. Never Before
5. Smoke On The Water
6. Lazy
7. Space Truckin'

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Smoke On The Water
2. Lazy
3. Highway Star

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Blink 182 - Enema Of The State



One of my friends is going to the Angels and Airwaves show this weekend in Chicago - so I figured why not review the group that got them started, Blink 182. I wasn't a huge fan of these guys when I was younger. I did listen to this album quite a bit - but that's mainly because you couldn't 10 minutes without hearing Carson Daly talk about it on TRL. I think these guys brought a style to music that no one had really seen yet. They have that poppy, emo, punk sound all combined into one. This album is also unique because it's one of the few records by bands like this that contains real thought out lyrics. Yeah, some of the tracks are just poppy nonsense, but my favorite track has substance as well as a couple others. Sounds like they're going to make another record sometime soon - for the first time since 2003. I'll be curious to listen to it and see if their style has changed since all the crazy things that have happened. I'll get to A&A sometime too...I've never heard anything by them before. Until then, Blink will have to do. Kick your feet up and get some Enema today!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Dumpweed
2. Don't Leave Me
3. Aliens Exist
4. Going Away to College
5. What's My Age Again?
6. Dysentery Gary
7. Adam's Song
8. All the Small Things
9. Party Song, The
10. Mutt
11. Wendy Clear
12. Anthem

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Adam's Song
2. What's My Age Again?
3. Dumpweed

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, April 22, 2010

2Pac - All Eyez On Me



How can someone like me, a HUGE hip hop supporter - a guy that listens to all sorts of rap - old school, 90's - stays current with all new artists...how does a guy like that have a music blog for 3 months now, and not review 2Pac? Serious fail on my part. Obviously in the discussion for best rapper of all time, 2Pac did things on the mic that other emcee's wish they could dream about. Pac's lyrics were the sickest, and combining his beats with Dre made this guy a monster in the rap game. The only thing I guess I wasn't a huge fan of, was pressing these double albums instead of just focusing on maybe a dozen tracks that you liked the best and put out that record. I do tend to skip a lot of tracks on this double cd, but when you're trying to navigate through 27 tracks, that's bound to happen. I do however have the extremely daunting task of trying to pick a Top 3 out of all these gems. I could go into this huge rant about how rap 'beefs' are so stupid and about how Pac died WAY too young - but I won't. I'll save that for another day. Plus, if you really sit down and think about it - the awareness that took place after Pac and Biggie died was monumental. It's sad that it took those two tragedies, but it really changed the mindset going forward. Sure guys still argue and pull guns - but you don't see this kind of stuff happen anymore. I just wish they would attain justice for Pac's killer. Alas, great album. Listen to it - enjoy it and never put it down.

TRACK LISTING:
DISC 1:
1. Ambitionz Az A Ridah
2. All About U
3. Skandalouz
4. Got My Mind Made Up
5. How Do You Want It
6. 2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted
7. No More Pain
8. Heartz Of Men
9. Life Goes On
10. Only God Can Judge Me
11. Tradin War Stories
12. California Love (Remix)
13. I Ain't Mad At Cha
14. Whatz Ya Phone #

DISC 2:
1. Can't C Me
2. Shorty Wanna Be A Thug
3. Holla At Me
4. Wonda Why They Call U Bitch
5. When We Ride
6. Thug Passion
7. Picture Me Rollin'
8. Check Out Time
9. Ratha Be Ya Nigga
10. All Eyez On Me
11. Run Tha Streetz
12. Ain't Hard 2 Find
13. Heaven Ain't Hard 2 Find

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Got My Mind Made Up
2. Ambitionz Az A Ridah
3. Picture Me Rollin'

FINAL RATING:
4.5 out of 5 stars

George Strait - Blue Clear Sky



Country day strikes back with George Strait today. This appeared to be his best selling record at three times platinum - so I figured I'd give it a whirl. This is again very similar to the country that I've been reviewing lately. For some reason this record seems to annoy me a lot less than most others. Maybe it's something to do with Mr. Strait and not specifically this record? I have no clue. This is honestly the first Strait album I've ever heard, and I don't think I've ever heard any of his singles. I again - still wouldn't actively listen to it, but it's not that bad. If I was jamming to my country playlist on my iPod, I don't think I'd skip a few of the tracks and that is really saying something for me. The same ol, same ol still irritate me - songs sound the same quite often and the vocals are always that very deep, accented country pitch. The lyrics seem pretty standard in the country realm - so nothing too different there. I guess start to finish it had a slightly different feel than most stuff I've been reviewing lately, so I'll give it a slightly higher mark. Happy Thursday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Blue Clear Sky
2. Carried Away
3. Rockin' in the Arms of Your Memory
4. She Knows When You're on My Mind
5. I Ain't Never Seen No One Like You
6. I Can Still Make Cheyenne
7. King of the Mountain
8. Do the Right Thing
9. I'd Just as Soon Go
10. Need I Say More

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. King Of The Mountain
2. Blue Clear Sky
3. Carried Away

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Testament - Low



It's time to show me some metal again B Side! At a request from follower Janis, Testament's Low comes across my headphones today. This record comes out in the heart of alternative rock craze, 1994. I can safely say, I'd never even heard of these guys until the recommendation was typed out on the blog. I've gone through this record twice now, and it's pretty good. Not sure how these fellas escaped me for almost two decades. I understand they used the same producer as RATM for this album, and their styles could not be any more different. These guys are super heavy guitars, lyrics that I can't really understand - but then every so often this record will slow it down for you. I may have mentioned 2,3 or 100 times that I admire that in any artist. This band has gone through more members than you can shake a stick at, and perhaps that's why the style seems to vary quite a bit album to album. I think I'll have to check out more by these guys - and hope that 'Low' isn't the climax of their discography. If you're not a metal fan, you probably want to skip this one - as it's not the most diverse record out there. There are a couple of those "shouty" tracks that a lot of people think is just noise. If you rock out to heavy stuff, check it out. Also, if you heard of these guys and think I'm a huge dummy for not knowing who they were, let me know. I'm curious how many people dug this band and never told me. Happy hump day!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Low
2. Legions (In Hiding)
3. Hail Mary
4. Trail of Tears
5. Shades of War
6. P.C.
7. Dog Faced Gods
8. All I Could Bleed
9. Urotsukidoji (Instrumental)
10. Chasing Fear
11. Ride
12. Last Call (Instrumental)


Listen To Samples


Top 3 Tracks:
1. Trail Of Tears
2. Low
3. Chasing Fear

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Enya - Watermark



So, in the very rare occurrence, I like to listen to something super slow, and maybe even instrumental. I've always been a huge fan of the piano - I never learned how to play it, but I love to listen to it. For some reason, it has an intense calming effect on me. Enya is probably one of the most recognizable names when it comes to slow, brooding piano tracks. Plus as a bonus, I'm classifying this as my 'odd' review of the week! I kind of dig this. As stated, I wouldn't go out of my way to toss this on, but it's not bad. It reminds of getting a massage or sitting at a beautiful Hawaiian beach. The only problem I personally have this this type of tuneage, is it inspires too much thought. If I put this on while working, I'd end up getting nothing done as I'd just continue to drift off in wonder. It's good for that too though, as if I had a big life decision to make - I could easily toss this on and end up thinking more clearly. I'd say if you're a fan of this genre, check Watemark out. It certainly has my vote as an album that could really change your mood. If you're in position to, drift away to this one today.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Watermark
2. Cursum Perficio - (Latin)
3. On Your Shore
4. Storms in Africa
5. Exile
6. Miss Clare Remembers
7. Orinoco Flow
8. Evening Falls...
9. River
10. Longships, The
11. Na Laetha Gael M'Oige - (Irish Gaelic)
12. Storms in Africa, Pt. 2

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Orinoco Flow
2. The Longships
3. Exile

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

AC/DC - Back In Black



Here I've been trying to avoid doing an AC/DC review like pirates tried to avoid picking up scurvy. Now I have to go and admit how I don't really care much for them - as I feel all their music sounds the same. Super heavy guitars, pretty loud - in your face vocals and lyrics that mean absolutely nothing. The lyrics are really just background noise for the fans to murmur along with. That doesn't mean their songs aren't super catchy though, as they certainly are. And they have a pretty bigtime following, so all those people outweigh my opinion. This is probably my favorite album by them, and that's only because of the sheer 'hype you up' principles behind it. If you're feeling down and need a pick me up, you can toss this on and feel like you can punch a hole in a brick wall. If you went and listened to 30 professional sports teams locker rooms, I bet at least half play AC/DC on a regular basis. Not sure why, as it isn't exactly peppy type stuff, just for some reason that heavy guitar and the simple lyrics you can sing along with make you feel invincible. How many tracks have you heard play over the system at sports venues? It's crazy. AC/DC could easily live off the royalties from sports arenas everywhere. Anyways, check this one out. It's a neat record.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Hells Bells
2. Shoot To Thrill
3. What Do You Do For Money Honey
4. Given The Dog A Bone
5. Let Me Put My Love Into You
6. Back In Black
7. You Shook Me All Night Long
8. Have A Drink on Me
9. Shake A Leg
10. Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Hells Bells
2. Back In Black
3. Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution

FINAL RATING:
4 out of 5 stars

Alice Deejay - Who Needs Guitars Anyway?




I have to admit, at first it was just a clever tagline - but this whole Techno Tuesday thing is really starting to grow on me! Not only is it a bit of consistency for you, the reader, but it also gives me some hot dance tracks to look forward to every week! This Tuesday, the selection is one Alice Deejay. This happens to be the one and only album they ever put out and they have not graced a stage since back in 2002. A bit of a shame, as their tuneage was pretty good. I do need some help from the dance crowd though, as I'm running out of stuff that I enjoy and need new artists!! This album runs a little bit of emotional gambit. There are some super upbeat songs and then some real down beats that make you think. I like records that do that. The electronics used by Alice are really cool as well. Too many times dance is just about jacking the bass up to 900 and calling it a night. They use a nice amount of bass with flat out mind bending electric chords. Check out the Top 3 and see if they are your cup of tea. I hope you enjoy this one, and then enough people can revolt and make Alice Deejay toss out another record!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Back in My Life
2. Better off Alone
3. Celebrate Our Love
4. Lonely One, The
5. Who Needs Guitars Anyway?
6. Will I Ever
7. Elements of Life
8. Fairy Tales
9. Waiting for Your Love
10. No More Lies
11. I Can See (See It in Your Eyes)
12. Everything Begins With an E
13. Got to Get Away
14. Alice Deejay

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Better Off Alone
2. Will I Ever
3. Got To Get Away

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ben Folds - Songs For Silverman



Let me start by saying, I'm a Ben Folds fan. When they were the Ben Folds Five I enjoyed their stuff, and then when they dropped the 'Five', I enjoyed their first record 'Rockin' the Suburbs'. One thing irks me a little bit though, everytime they come up in coversation - I feel like people act like they're gods. Seriously, they're good, don't make them out to be The Beatles or something. The songwriting is clever, they put on a good show, they keep making really good tuneage. That's about it. I don't think Mr. Folds even thinks he needs to be your favorite artist ever. Anyway, this is a pretty solid album. If you've never tuned into Ben, check him out. His arrangements are typically second to none. There is always some great vocals and some great piano and some great background beats. I personally have to be in the right mood for Ben Folds, and maybe you do too - but check them out. Especially the Top 3 here as I think I'll give you a pretty good indicator what he's all about. I can finally say - Enjoy! and make your Monday disappear with music!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Bastard
2. You To Thank
3. Jesusland
4. Landed
5. Gracie
6. Trusted
7. Give Judy My Notice
8. Late
9. Sentimental Guy
10. Time
11. Prison Food

Listen To Samples

1. Landed
2. Late
3. Bastard

FINAL RATING:
3 out of 5 stars

Ke$ha - Animal



Wow. Just....wow.

So, I'm going from creating my Top 100 of the '90s - which for the most part were some of my favorite songs of all time in my favorite genres. Then I go to Ke$ha, which is really, quite simply - awful. I mean, in theory I should have known it would be terrible since, how many reputable artists replace s's with dollar signs? I could go on another huge rant about what's wrong with pop music, but I'll do that some other time. I can't even blame her too much, she did write the music - but some producer actually listened to this and thought - "WOW, this blew my mind!" I don't get it. You can tell she's trying to span genres by appealing to the teens, the pop fans and then the dance crowd. I'm sure she'll continue to be huge with the first two - but I don't think it's nearly groovy enough to hit the good dance clubs. I implore everyone, please listen to the track "Dinosaur". It is EASILY one of the WORST songs I've ever heard. Again, any track that the artist spells words - probably not going to be a gem. Just an FYI there. I would leave you with an ENJOY, or some quip, but instead I'm too sad and angry.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Your Love is My Drug
2. Tiktok
3. Take it Off
4. Ki$$ N Tell
5. Stephen
6. Blah Blah Blah
7. Hungover
8. Party at a Rich Dude's House
9. Back$tabber
10. Blind
11. D.I.N.O.$.A.U.R.
12. Dancing With Tears in My Eyes
13. Boots & Boys
14. Animal

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Animal
2. Blah Blah Blah
3. Your Love Is My Drug

FINAL RATING:
.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Yes Pete, it is. In fact, it's pronounced 'mill-e-wah-que' which is Algonquin for 'the good land'."

It's Friday. It's the day after tax day. I grew up during the time. I think it's the best decade for movies. I think it's the best decade for music. The other lists I've seen are terrible.

How many reasons do you want? Wait, you probably don't even know what the post is about yet. Well, the day is finally here B Siders!! I've assembled a list of the Top 100 songs in the '90s!! Here is a quick key as to how I came to my Top 100:

Weighting:
50% - How Much I Enjoy It
25% - Repeatability
10% - Made Artist Blow Up
10% - Cultural Influence
10% - Popularity
-5% - One Hit Wonders

As you can see, being a one hit wonder will count against you here. Not that it matters too much with me, as if I really like it - it'll be on the list. The other rule is you can only have ONE track per artist. I think that makes the list more valid, as otherwise someone like me will have all alt rock and rap artists 1-100. As always, comment on how stupid my list it or how brilliant I am. I think it turned out pretty well! Oh, and now I want to watch Wayne's World again... Here it goes!

First, the list of tracks that didn't quite make it: (in alphabetical order)

Ace Of Base - The Sign
Arrested Development - Mr Wendal
BBD - Poison
Barenaked Ladies - The Old Apartment
Breeders - Cannonball
Bryan Adams - I Do It For You
CC Music Factory - Gonna Make You Sweat
Cher - Believe
Christina Aguilara - Genie In A Bottle
Color Me Badd - I Wanna Sex You Up
Deadeye Dick - New Age Girl
Digital Underground - Humpty Dance
Duncan Sheik - Barely Breathing
Ed McCain - I'll Be
EMF - Unbelieveable
Fastball - The Way
Fiona Apple - Criminal
Fugees - Ready Or Not
Gerardo - Rico Suave
Geto Boys - Still
Hanson - MmmBop
Jamioquai - Virtual Insanity
Lauren Hill - Doo Wop (That Thing)
Lenny Kravitz - Fly Away
Live - I Alone
Meatloaf - I'd Do Anything For Love
Meredith Brooks - Bitch
Naughty By Nature - OPP
New Radicals - You Get What You Give
NSYNC - Tearin Up My Heart
Paula Cole - I Don't Want To Wait
Ricky Martin - Livin La Vida Loca
Right Said Fred - I'm Too Sexy
Sarah McLachlan - Building A Mystery
Shaggy - Boombastic
Sheryl Crow - All I Wanna Do
Snow - Informer
Sophie B Hawkins - Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover
Spice Girls - Wannabe
Superdrag - Sucked Out
Temple of the Dog - Say Hello 2 Heaven
Tom Petty - Learning To Fly
Wilson Phillips - Hold On


AND THE TOP 100!!

100. Billy Ray Cyrus - Achy Breaky Heart
99. Chumbawumba - Tubthumping
98. Matchbox 20 - 3AM
97. Montell Jordan - This Is How We Do It
96. Kris Kross - Jump
95. Celine Dion - My Heart Will Go On
94. Garth Brooks - Unanswered Prayers
93. Michael Jackson - Black Or White
92. Third Eye Blind - Semi Charmed Life
91. Mariah Carey - Vision Of Love
90. Destinys Child - Say My Name
89. Public Enemy - Fight The Power
88. MC Hammer - Can't Touch This
87. Hole - Doll Parts
86. Crash Test Dummies - Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
85. Lisa Loeb - Stay (I Miss You)
84. Garbage - Stupid Girl
83. Will Smith - Getting Jiggy With It
82. Vanilla Ice - Ice, Ice Baby
81. Backstreet Boys - I Want It That Way
80. LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out
79. Sinead O'Conner - Nothing Compares 2 U
78. Marky Mark and the Funkybunch - Good Vibrations
77. Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise
76. Marcy Playground - Sex And Candy
75. Madonna - Vogue
74. Pantera - Drag The Waters
73. Jewel - Foolish Games
72. Britney Spears - Baby…One More Time
71. Cranberries - Zombie
70. Deee Lite - Groove Is In The Heart
69. Cypress Hill - Insane In The Brain
68. Missy Elliott - The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)
67. Joan Osbourne - One Of Us
66. Blues Traveler - Hook
65. Sugar Ray - Fly
64. Counting Crows - Colorblind
63. Technotronic - Move This
62. Van Halen - Right Now
61. Marilyn Manson - The Beautiful People
60. Korn - Blind
59. BLACKstreet - No Diggity
58. Blind Melon - No Rain
57. Offspring - Smash
56. Prince - 7
55. En Vogue - My Lovin (Never Gonna Get It)
54. Puff Daddy - Can't Nobody Hold Me Down
53. Megadeth - Symphony of Destruction
52. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You
51. Sir Mix A Lot - Baby Got Back
50. Spin Doctors - Two Princes
49. TLC - Waterfalls
48. Goo Goo Dolls - Iris
47. Incubus - Drive
46. Guns N Roses - November Rain
45. Eric Clapton - Tears In Heaven
44. The Gufs - Smile
43. U2 - One
42. Salt N Pepa - Shoop
41. Fatboy Slim - Right Here, Right Now
40. Dave Matthews Band - Crush
39. No Doubt - Don't Speak
38. Smashing Pumpkins - Thirty Three
37. Collective Soul - Shine
36. Hootie and the Blowfish - Let Her Cry
35. REM - Everybody Hurts
34. Warren G - Regulate
33. Jay Z - Hard Knock Life
32. Presidents of the USA - Peaches
31. House of Pain - Jump Around
30. Alice in Chains - Would?
29. Eels - Beautiful Freak
28. Snoop Dogg - Gin And Juice
27. Cake - The Distance
26. Rage Against The Machine - Bulls On Parade
25. Ice Cube - It Was A Good Day
24. Spacehog - In The Meantime
23. Bush - Glycerine
22. Pearl Jam - Yellow Ledbetter
21. Beck - Where It's At
20. Radiohead - Just
19. Weezer - Say It Ain't So
18. Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know
17. Metallica - Bleeding Me
16. Sublime - Pawn Shop
15. Daft Punk - Around The World
14. Green Day - When I Come Around
13. DMX - Ruff Ryders Anthem
12. Beastie Boys - Sabotage
11. Oasis - Wonderwall
10. Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun
9. Stone Temple Pilots - Interstate Love Song
8. Eminem - My Name Is
7. 2Pac - Hail Mary
6. Nirvana - Dumb
5. Notorious BIG - Juicy
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Soul To Squeeze
3. Black Crowes - She Talks To Angels
2. Foo Fighters - Everlong
1. Dr Dre - Nothin But A G Thing

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream



A follower of mine was discussing how one of her biggest regrets was never going to a Pumpkins show in her life so far. I have to say, these guys put on a pretty solid show. It made me realize that I've never put anything of theirs out on the B Side!! Better late than never I suppose. I could have started with Gish, which is one of my faves, but I figured I'd start with a record that would receive a more favorable review. I think I may like Mellon Collie a little better, but this was up there with some of the earliest music I ever purchased. I still toss it in fairly often to this day. It seems like a lot of folks talk about the Pumpkins and talk about how they enjoy their tunes, but I don't hear it all that often. If I'm over at someones place and there is ambiance music in the background - it's very rarely ever Smashing Pumpkins. That's kind of sad. They have made a ton of good music over the years. Personally I feel they peaked a bit with Mellon Collie - but that's just the way I feel. Adore and the following didn't have the classic vibe to them - and I think those albums were a little weaker on their discography. They put one out sometime in late 2009 called Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, but I honestly don't think I've heard anything off of it. If you're casual fan, check out their Rarities and B-Sides too. They do a great cover of Landslide and You're All I've Got Tonight. Happy listening!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Cherub Rock
2. Quiet
3. Today
4. Hummer
5. Rocket
6. Disarm
7. Soma
8. Geek U.S.A.
9. Mayonaise
10. Spaceboy
11. Silverfuck
12. Sweet Sweet
13. Luna

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Cherub Rock
2. Today
3. Disarm

FINAL RATING:
4.5 out of 5 stars

Derek And The Dominos - Layla And Other Associated Love Songs



Classic Thursday brings an absolutely amazing album to the forefront. Many people know Layla, but because of his superior solo career, think that it was done by Clapton alone and forget about the Dominos. Well, this record was the first of four (which is really only one, the others are In Concert, or Greatest Hits records) put out by this clan. And everyone still knows Layla, and how amazing that track is. I think it stacks up versus any other song ever made in the conversation of greatest ever. Who doesn't love a 5 minute piano solo? If Layla wasn't on this record, Bell Bottom Blues would easily by my number one in the Top 3. If you've never heard that track, go out on iTunes, Amazonmp3 - ANYWHERE and pick it up. It's flat out amazing. This record is pretty bluesy, seems to have lent a lot of influence to Clapton for his solo work. Crazily enough, I don't own this - so I'm going to tell you the same thing I'm telling myself - GO GET IT!! Top to bottom this is a great record and has something for everyone. Even if you skip to certain tracks most often, still worth it. Enjoy!

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Layla
2. Bell Bottom Blues
3. Thorn Tree In The Garden

FINAL RATING:
4.75 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

TAB The Band - Long Weekend



STP! STP! STP!!

Okay...so here's the story. TAB opened up for STP at the Rave show last month. Let me give any aspiring band a piece of advice, don't be some no name, never heard of band and try to perform for one of the greatest groups in music history. If I formed a band of my own, the last thing I'd do is decide to open up for a Led Zeppelin reunion tour. Why you ask? Because everyone in the building wants to see one thing, FREAKIN LED ZEPPELIN!! When 'The B Side All Stars' come out jammin, we're going to suck no matter how good we actually are. Just silly. Well anyways, I decided to give these guys a real chance. So I picked out Long Weekend as that's all I could find samples to. Seems they only have a couple records out there so far, and they don't get a lot of attention from anyone. This is fairly surprising because they licensed some tuneage to tv shows, they've gotten press attention from some very large publications and did some work on television for various programs. I guess nothing much works for these fellas. Well, maybe The B Side can change all of that. I'll even give these guys a decent review, because they're really not that bad. They've got a Cheap Trick meets the garage type feel I guess. Check this one out, you might find a couple gems in there.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Backseat Lover
2. Looking Pretty, Pretty
3. Where She Was On Monday
4. Sticky Wickets
5. Apple Of An Eye
6. I Know That You're Leaving
7. Skip Your Class
8. My Baby Is Fine
9. Heavy Idea
10. Sallie Maw Wilcox: Ramblings Of A Suitor

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Sticky Wickets
2. I Know That You're Leaving
3. Looking Pretty, Pretty

FINAL RATING:
2.75 out of 5 stars

Kenny Chesney - The Road And The Radio



Country day on The B Side seems to be approaching a certain theme - I may have run through all the 'modern' country a little too fast, as the last few seem to be that older, methodical country that I'm not a huge fan of. I do enjoy some of the background on this record - it has a few more beats and more than a twang guitar compliment. I don't think Road and Radio offers much substance lyrically - but overall it was more entertaining for me than Randy Travis. I wouldn't put this high on my list of stuff to listen to - but I wouldn't totally shut it off either. It sounds like this record was put out at a very odd time in his life, he got married, divorced and put out 2 records all in one calendar year. This being the 2nd album he released in 2005, and after all the personal shenanigans took place - I think it's completely reasonable that this one feels rushed out. Especially later in the record the tracks all start to blend in and feel the same. I guess I'm not sure whether to think Chesney has a sound all on his own or if he's trying to blend styles a little bit from some inspirations of his. Perhaps I'll have to listen to more Chesney in the future.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Road and the Radio, The
2. Living in Fast Forward
3. Who You'd Be Today
4. You Save Me
5. Summertime
6. In a Small Town
7. Beer in Mexico
8. Freedom
9. Tequila Loves Me
10. Somebody Take Me Home
11. Like Me

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Who You'd Be Today
2. Summertime
3. You Save Me

FINAL RATING:
2 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Muse - The Resistance



I'll be the first to admit - Muse and the like are typically bands I'm not super familiar with. I know a lot of folks who are big time Museheads - but I've never paid all that much attention to them. They have a similar sound to the Killers for me - whom I'm a big fan of. The 'US of Eurasia' track has a little bit of a Queen feel to it also. Some of the guitar riffs are pretty cool on this record too. It definitely has a progressive rock type feel to it - and not really that of an emo type band like Taking Back Sunday or Fall Out Boy. They're also more peppie than the White Stripes. All in all - I feel they're a pretty unique band. Unfortunately, that doesn't always mean it's going to be a solid album. I've gone through start to finish on this twice now, and nothing is really sticking out to me. It's possible that in two weeks something will catch in my brain and I'll start listening to it all over again. I don't really understand mixing the orchestral stuff in at the end of the record - but I'm sure they had a good vision when they created it. To me - it doesn't really fit, but what do I know? It's a very bold choice which will either go down as incredibly visionary or a risk that didn't pay off. Let me know what you think!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Uprising
2. Resistance
3. Undisclosed Desires
4. United States of Eurasia (+Collateral Damage)
5. Guiding Light
6. Unnatural Selection
7. MK Ultra
8. I Belong to You/Mon Coeur S'Ouvre a Ta Voix
9. Exogenesis: Symphony, Pt. 1: Overture
10. Exogenesis: Symphony, Pt. 2: Cross-Pollination
11. Exogenesis: Symphony, Pt. 3: Redemption

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Uprising
2. Undisclosed Desires
3. Unnatural Selection

(Wow that's a lot of U tracks)

FINAL RATING:
1.5 out of 5 stars

Prodigy - Fat Of The Land



Techno Tuesday has arrived at The B Side! Once upon a time, a man said that the 'Fat of the Land' album has better than any record Jimi Hendrix ever put out. A bunch of die hard Jimi fans laughed hysterically and made fun of that man for the rest of his life. Well, that probably isn't true - but this record is still really, really good. Start to finish, has to be one of the best dance albums in the genre's history. I'm not sure I've ever put this on in the car and whoever was listening wasn't moving along with the beat. The music video for 'Smack My Bitch Up' is also phenomenal. These guys have been making incredibly good music for a long time and not that many people seem to notice. Although this is dance/electronic music - it's also just fun to listen to on a rainy day. I've talked about it before, but tossing this on at work can make your day fly by. If you've got a large subwoofer at home - toss this in and crank that sub up. Wake the neighbors and drift away in some sweet dance tuneage!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Smack My Bitch Up
2. Breathe
3. Diesel Power
4. Funky Shit
5. Serial Thrilla
6. Mindfields
7. Narayan
8. Firestarter
9. Climbatize
10. Fuel My Fire

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Breathe
2. Smack My Bitch Up
3. Firestarter

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Monday, April 12, 2010

DMX - It's Dark And Hell Is Hot



It is a real honor to have this album cover grace my blog with its presence. When X busted on to the scene in '98 or so, he hit the ground running. I was all of 14 when this record dropped, so I didn't know the hip hop environment at the time, or a way to hear underground stuff before it hit the commercial shelves. So when DMX popped out - it seemed like it was out of nowhere. Hearing this record for the first time was quite amazing. I mean, you had your gangsta rap with hardcore lyrics. You had your west coast style that was almost trying to tell a story. You had your east coast rappers trying to also be gangster and tell stories. Well, no one did either of those things like DMX. One of my favorite X lines of all time, "I'm the only n***a walkin the streets with four felonies.." It's true. He is one of the few artists out there that can talk about crime, jail - all that is associated with the rap game and really say that he's lived it. His storytelling abilities are truly second to none. When he comes at you with a prayer skit, you sit and listen. You can hear his struggle between finding himself with the lord and falling back into his sweetspot with crime. The conflict alone makes it worth listening to, because similar to Eminem - his life is detailed on his records. I love that. This was DMX's first studio album and I'll get to all of them. He's slated to put a gospel record and a hip hop record out on the same day sometime in 2010. Hopefully they live up to his high standard.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Intro
2. Ruff Ryders' Anthem
3. Fuckin' Wit' D
4. Storm, The (Skit)
5. Look Thru My Eyes
6. Get at Me Dog
7. Let Me Fly
8. X-Is Coming
9. Damien
10. How's It Goin' Down
11. Mickey (Skit)
12. Crime Story
13. Stop Being Greedy
14. ATF
15. For My Dogs
16. I Can Feel It
17. Prayer (Skit)
18. Convo, The
19. Niggaz Done Started Something

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Ruff Ryders' Anthem
2. Let Me Fly
3. X Is Coming

Also Check Out:
4. I Can Feel It
5. Damien

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Disturbed - The Sickness



Time to rocket into Monday with some metal! This isn't your grandfathers type of hard rock right here though - this is a breed that's heavy, loud, in your face and lyrically gifted. It's neat when you listen to a metal track and want to go back to listen to the lyrics closer. I picked this up shortly after it came out, and was very impressed. This album (and the band for that matter) don't get the credit they deserve. This is a decade old now, and you can still pop it in and sing along to the great tracks. Sometimes groups fall victim to overpopulation to a certain genre, and maybe that's what happened here. Critics often want to compare them to Korn, Limp, Rage, NIN etc...but I don't want to lump them into that category. If we're painting with extremely wide brushstrokes, sure they all fit into metal - but listen closely to all those bands, and I think you'll find they all have a different and unique sound. Celebrate the decade old 'Sickness' one more time!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Voices
2. Game, The
3. Stupify
4. Down with the Sickness
5. Violence Fetish
6. Fear
7. Numb
8. Want
9. Conflict
10. Shout 2000
11. Droppin' Plates
12. Meaning of Life

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Voices
2. Down With The Sickness
3. Stupify

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Van Halen - Self Titled



For some odd reason, I have gotten turned onto Van Halen again lately. I've been going from STP to Radiohead to Van Halen in fairly consistent rotation. Anyway, I won't claim to be on the Van Halen superfan bandwagon, but I always enjoyed them from time to time. Since I don't have a certain record that sticks out in my head as better than the rest, I'll start from the beginning. When I think of '70s music, Van Halen wouldn't even enter into my thought process. This came out in '78, when I envision the world was still jamming to Zeppelin, Floyd and still trying to understand why Jimi died. I think of VH as an 80's band through and through. Clearly that isn't the case, and if I was alive to live in it - I'd probably know Van Halen was around and kicking. These guys are really into heavy guitar, and solid vocals from no matter who is behind the mic. Eddie Van Halen has to be in the discussion for best guitarist of all time, and that shows brightly with 'Eruption'. What impresses me about them too, is some of the songs actually have some substance. It's not like AC/DC where the lyrics are irrelevant on most tracks and the music is all that matters. I respect that. Check Van Halen out, I think you'll enjoy their tuneage. If you listen and this record isn't for you, grab a different one. I think eventually you'll find something you like.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Runnin' with the Devil
2. Eruption
3. You Really Got Me
4. Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
5. I'm The One
6. Jamie's Cryin'
7. Atomic Punk
8. Feel Your Love Tonight
9. Little Dreamer
10. Ice Cream Man
11. On Fire

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Runnin With The Devil
2. Eruption
3. Ice Cream Man

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds



So funny thing happened to me today. I was chatting with a follower of mine and they indicated that I should get to Justin Timberlake. Part of me thinks that they didn't think that I'd ever in my life listen to him, and that it would almost be like torture. Well B Side fans, I really enjoy listening to his music. Even Justified had some really good tracks on it. Although I wouldn't say I fell head over heels for that one, I totally groove on FutureSex. I think more albums that come out should be like this. The album literally spans almost every genre of music possible. There is a little something for everyone here. There are a couple huge duds on the record, but with the Deluxe Edition, there are 15 tracks. That is double what most people come out with nowadays. I'm a little surprised he hasn't put another record out since this one, but I guess he's busy with making movies now or something. Anyway, even if you're the most grizzled of men - pop this one in. Don't let the name on the cover fool you, you'll actually enjoy it. At the very least, check out my Top 3 as I think it'll span all different genres. Happy Saturday!

TRACK LISTING:
1. FutureSex/LoveSound
2. SexyBack
3. Sexy Ladies/Let Me Talk to You (Prelude)
4. My Love
5. LoveStoned/I Think She Knows (Interlude)
6. What Goes Around... Comes Around
7. Chop Me Up
8. Damn Girl
9. Summer Love/Set the Mood
10. Until the End of Time
11. Losing My Way
12. (Another Song) All Over Again
13. Until The End Of Time
14. SexyBack (Remix)
15. Sexy Ladies (Remix)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Chop Me Up
2. (Another Song) All Over Again
3. What Goes Around....Comes Around

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pearl Jam - Ten



This is really hard for me to talk about. I mean, I have this music blog in which I talk about how much I LOVE music and how it's something that gets me not only through my day, but gets me through life. I think we all can point to music to describe moments and sections of our lives. And I feel that our mood can be totally altered by music. If your environment puts you in a bad mood, nothing can cheer you up faster than listening to your favorite song. Just turning it up as loud as it goes and drifting away - forgetting all of life's problems. And with this, as studious and open as I am and as loving of all music as I am -- I have one thing to admit:

I don't really care for Pearl Jam.

I know...I know...blasphemous! Well, they just don't really do it for me. I respect them like I respect any band that changed music as much as these guys. No question they're super talented, they have great music - they're just not in my Top 50. For those that know them, they loathe the spotlight and prefer to stay out of the mainstream. They do a great job at putting on many shows for fans, and putting the shows recording out for commercial release. Smart. Since I'm not a huge fan, I'll just start with their first record. Some people might tell you it's one of the best records of all time, I'm going to tell you otherwise. Feel free to let me know why you now want to punch me in the face.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Once
2. Even Flow
3. Alive
4. Why Go
5. Black
6. Jeremy
7. Oceans
8. Porch
9. Garden
10. Deep
11. Release

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Black
2. Alive
3. Oceans

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars

Damien Rice - O



Chalk this up to another band I got to hear in a strange way. I was watching the movie "Closer" with Natalie Portman, Jude Law etc...and I loved the movie - but the ending of the movie culminated with this great Damien Rice track called "The Blowers Daughter". It was a perfect ending to a really good movie and the song summed up the emotions that probably everyone who saw it that day was thinking. Not even due to the lyrics really, just the vocal performance and the raw emotion that Mr. Rice was tapping into. I immediately went out and bought this record when I found out what and who it was. Needless to say, this album is pretty solid. I'm guessing most of you folks haven't heard of it - so check it out. It's a very slow, emotional type album, that will certainly not get out up and dancing. As I always say, if you're just in that 'mood', go and put this on. You'll enjoy the hauntingly slow guitar work and the passionate vocals by either him or the other vocalists on the cd. It's not the best album I've ever heard - but it's a nice change of pace on a rainy day. Check it out, especially the Top 3.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Delicate
2. Volcano
3. Blower's Daughter, The
4. Cannonball
5. Older Chests
6. Amie
7. Cheers Darlin'
8. Cold Water
9. I Remember
10. Eskimo

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. The Blower's Daughter
2. Cheers Darlin'
3. Eskimo

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Doors - Self Titled



Yay classic rock! For some reason I always seem to forget about the Doors when I'm strumming through my classic catalog. Crazy since their music is really very good. I decided to start with their first album, as it's a solid representation of what was coming next. This album doesn't contain my favorite Doors track on it, but it's solid all the way through. If you haven't heard them, Jim Morrison's vocals are flat out amazing. His passion for the songs he belts out is just incomparable to any other band out there. There are some great lyrics as credited not just to Morrison, but the whole band. In this era of drugs and a budding sense of what was rock n roll, there were some great bands out there that made some music that will continue to span eras. The Doors are right there in that boat. Their music will live on in my grandkids and their grandkids and will be known and heart in the year 3010. They're not up there with Hendrix, Zeppelin or Floyd in my opinion - but I completely understand if this is your favorite band from '60s or '70s. I encourage you to listen to not just the hits, but the odd duck songs you may not have heard before. Great stuff through and through.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Break on Through (To the Other Side)
2. Soul Kitchen
3. Crystal Ship, The
4. Twentieth Century Fox
5. Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)
6. Light My Fire
7. Back Door Man
8. I Looked at You
9. End of the Night
10. Take It as It Comes
11. End, The
12. Moonlight Drive (Version 1)
13. Moonlight Drive (Version 2)
14. Indian Summer (8/19/66 Vocal)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Light My Fire
2. Soul Kitchen
3. The End

FINAL RATING:
4.25 out of 5 stars

Randy Travis - Storms Of Life



Get your big jug, washboard and a set of spoons - it's Country day! Confession to make though, I wanted to do Garth Brooks, but apparently he doesn't allow any website to post samples of his tuneage. So one of my followers suggested Randy Travis this week. I'm on my second go round with this record as I'm typing - so far, not so good. I think this is why I have issues with country genre in general. Most of the songs to me sound exactly the same. They all seem to have that (how do you describe it), for lack of a better word - beat. One bass, one snare - over and over and over again. For some reason - that repetition really gets to me. Between that and the vocals also staying the same - he pretty much sings monotone with the exception of maybe showing the range of about 3 notes on the mic. This seriously reminds me of my Grandmother listening to Conway Twitty in the car when I was a kid, and thinking about opening the door and making a break for it on a busy interstate. Okay, maybe it's not that bad, but this isn't the music for me. I'm confident I'd like Garth Brooks more than this, as the album I intend to review I've listened to once already. If this isn't indicative of Mr. Travis's normal work - let me know and I'll pick up something else. Right here and right now, I can't wait to move on to the next review.

TRACK LISTING:
1. On the Other Hand
2. Storms of Life, The
3. My Heart Cracked (But It Did Not Break)
4. Diggin' Up Bones
5. No Place Like Home
6. 1982
7. Send My Body
8. Messin' with My Mind
9. Reasons I Cheat
10. There'll Always Be a Honky Tonk Somewhere

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Storms Of Life
2. On The Other Hand
3. 1982

FINAL RATING:
1.75 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere



Sometimes I whole heartedly disagree with genre classification. This is one of those cases. I see a lot of sites list Gnarls as hip hop/rap - no way. Some show this album as alternative - no way. This to me is a pop record through and through. So if you're a pop music fan, this review is for you. If you disagree with my genre classification, let me know about it. I put it there since the way the album is laid out, the lyrics and the general feel for it. I think the reason a couple sites list it as alternative is simply because it doesn't fit into any other genre. I have a problem lumping everything into alt just because it isn't any standard classification. Anyway, this record is pretty solid. I know some people really went gaga over it - and I wouldn't put myself in that venue. I think it's really good, I think it's really different - but I wouldn't tell you to rush out and buy it. There are a few good tracks including a Violent Femmes cover in 'Gone Daddy Gone'. I hear Gnarls puts on a flat out, amazing show. Maybe sometime I'll hit one up and have more respect for them. One more album exists called 'Odd Couple' - but I've never heard any of it. I'll get to it someday - but until then toss this back on. If nothing else, jam out to Crazy one more time.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Go-Go Gadget Gospel
2. Crazy
3. St. Elsewhere
4. Gone Daddy Gone
5. Smiley Faces
6. Boogie Monster, The
7. Feng Shui
8. Just a Thought
9. Transformer
10. Who Cares?
11. Online
12. Necromancing
13. Storm Coming
14. Last Time, The


Listen To Samples


Top 3 Tracks:
1. Crazy
2. Gone Daddy Gone
3. Smiley Faces

FINAL RATING:
3.25 out of 5 stars

Korn - Self Titled



Normally when people think of 1994 they think of alternative rock. Grunge rock. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Soundgarden, STP etc.. What about Korn? Now I'd put them more in the metal category than alt rock, but these guys have had a ton of success and have been making really good music for a really long time. This album came out in 1994 and it doesn't get nearly the credit it deserves. A big thing for me is how songs begin. I love the way some songs build up and peek your interest to keep the track going. This record might have my favorite beginning of all time in 'Blind'. This was their first album, and it very well might be my favorite Korn work. I cannot say that I celebrate their entire catalog either, but I've heard almost everything that they've put out there. For the most part, I think they've stayed true to their metal roots over the years - they made some crazy videos and their album covers were always conversation pieces. If you're not a huge metal fan, some songs by Korn could probably be considered pop, mainly the ones that aren't super heavy. I know they got their fair share of play on MTV and on pop radio stations. You certainly wouldn't like the entire record if you're a pop fan - but check it out. You'll recognize a few songs and you may like the rest of them.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Blind
2. Ball Tongue
3. Need To
4. Clown
5. Divine
6. Faget
7. Shoots and Ladders
8. Predictable
9. Fake
10. Lies
11. Helmet in the Bush
12. Daddy

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Blind
2. Shoots and Ladders
3. Divine

FINAL RATING:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Green Day - Dookie



As much as I may talk about how much I love rap, mood music etc, etc...boy do I love the alternative rock revolution from the '90s. I've been jamming hard on this genre lately and it's amazing to me how great the music was - and how lucky folks in my age bracket were to grow up listening to this type of tuneage. Similar to Smash, this was the 2nd album I ever owned, and still am in love with it to this day. Green Day has since gotten fairly political and their albums are still really good - but I don't think they have the smash to your face that Dookie does. I'll of course eventually review their entire discography, but this is probably my favorite album of theirs. Insomniac was better than people give it credit for - and the only one I really don't like is 'Warning'. I say this a lot, but if for any reason you haven't heard this record - please, I beg you, go get it. I promise you'll enjoy this cd start to finish. Go right now, to any store that sells music - and buy it. Put it directly into your car cd player, and listen to it. Even if you've heard this 1,000 times already - put it back in. You'll remember just how awesome it is. There is no doubt that this will get your through your Tuesday in style!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Burnout
2. Having A Blast
3. Chump
4. Longview
5. Welcome To Paradise
6. Pulling Teeth
7. Basket Case
8. She
9. Sassafras Roots
10. When I Come Around
11. Coming Clean
12. Emenius Sleepus
13. In The End
14. F.O.D.
15. All By Myself (Hidden Track)

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. When I Come Around
2. Burnout
3. Longview

FINAL RATING:
4.75 out of 5 stars

Robert Randolph - Unclassified



Every week I try to put something on the blog that I label as "odd", and that simply means I'm hoping it's something that you've never heard of before. All of them so far have been random bands that I know of and enjoy - but at some point I'll end up putting bands on here that aren't as good. Keeping up with really good bands, enter pedal steel guitar playing Robert Randolph and the Family Band. This trio has been making very good music for almost a decade. They only have 2 studio album releases, and this one should be a mainstay on any music playing device. Another band that has an incredibly unique sound that you're not going to hear anywhere else. I think some of you will be surprised when you listen that you've probably heard one or two of these tracks randomly in your life somewhere. It's family friendly music that literally everyone can jam out to. No question these guys have a ton of talent as they've opened for some HUGE acts - including Eric Clapton at the Bradley Center when I went back in 2001. They also were on the Experience Hendrix bill at the Riverside last month. If I recall correctly, they played 'Purple Haze' and really performed well. Even if you never buy an album of theirs, if they come to your town - go to the show. It's a great atmosphere with great music and everyone in the building will be out of their seats, having a blast. Enjoy!

TRACK LISTING:
1. Going In The Right Direction
2. I Need More Love
3. Nobody
4. Soul Refreshing
5. Squeeze
6. Smile
7. Good Times (3 Stroke)
8. Why Should I Feel Lonely
9. Calypso
10. Problems
11. Run for Your Life

Listen To Samples

Top 3 Tracks:
1. Going In The Right Direction
2. Calypso
3. Nobody

FINAL RATING:
3.75 out of 5 stars