Thursday, May 30, 2013

Alice Cooper - Super Hits

There are a lot of Alice Cooper compilation albums out there. Super Hits was produced by Bruce Dickinson (yes the vocalist from Iron Maiden) and features tracks off albums like Trash, Hey Stoopid and The Last Temptation.

This album contains ten tracks, that are a mix of singles and album cuts, or tracks that should have been singles and weren't, and few tracks that I don't understand why they were included. There are a bunch of tracks I would have left off this album.

As you read on you'll wonder why I even ever bought this album, and eventually I will explain it.

The album opens with Poison. This is the biggest song on this album, and needs to be included for that reason, but I would personally have left it out. After that is Lost In America, which is another song that I feel as good about as I do with the opening track. Both are great representations of what Alice was doing at the time, and I understand why some people like them, but they aren't for me.

Next is Hey Stoopid, which I love. It's a great song that's just a really fun listen, right down to Ozzy Osborne's cheap cameo background vocals. This song is dated with it's sound, but I don't care. I think this entire album is underrated, and was messed up through mismanagement. It could have been much bigger.

Why Trust You is the second of three tracks included from the Trash album, and while I'm glad it's not Bed Of Nails, I really would have prefered Hell's Living Without You instead. This song is just so basic and boring for Alice. It's a filler track.

I feel the same way about Love's A Loaded Gun as I do about the last song. This may be the worst song on the Hey Stoopid album. It's a ballad, that shouldn't be a ballad, and if they had included Hell's Living Without You, which is a much better ballad, they could have switched this track out for Wind-Up Toy or Hurricane Years, even Dirty Dreams. All of which would have been better options than this track.

There are four songs on this album from The Last Temptation. lost In America was the first, You're My Temptation, is the second, and the only one I'm totally okay with having included. It's not my first choice, but it's a decent song.

Trash, from the album of the same name, is the only song on here from that album I enjoy. I'm thankful that only three songs were included from that album, and twice as appreciative this is one of the representatives for my audio pleasure.

Stolen Prayer is supposed to be like the softer side of Alice. I don't like it. This is yet another song I never would have included. Like seriously why would this one be included but Bad Place Alone is left out? It just doesn't seem right.

Sideshow is yet another song that was included for reasons I can't understand. Nothing's Free is the one I would have switched for this one. It's not that Sideshow is bad, it's just not a Super Hit.

The album finishes with one of my favourite Alice Cooper ballads. Actually there's only two Alice Cooper ballad sI truly like. The first is Hell's Living Without You, which I've already stated should have been on here. The second is Might As Well Be On Mars. The lyrics captivated me very early on. "The city streets are wet with rain tonight / Taxi drivers swerve from lane to lane / A lonely guitar man playin' down the hall / Midnight blues comin' through the walls / I tried to call you on the telephone / I left it off the hook / Just to hear it ring / You told me you were better off alone / I never knew that tears could stain / I'm on the roof and I'm starin' at the stars / Lookin' down at all the cars / I can see you / In the window of your favorite corner bar / But to reach you is just too far / And I might as well be on Mars / The city seems so old and grey and beat / It closes in and makes me wanna suffocate / And you just live across the street / But that's a billion miles away / You've turned my world into a dark and lonely place / Like a planet lost in space, my light is fadin' / I'd cross the universe to be right where you are / But I'm right in your backyard / And I might as well be on Mars / I might as well be on Mars / You can't see me / I might as well be the Man on the Moon / You can't hear me / Oh, can you feel me so close / And yet so far / Baby, I might as well be on Mars / Baby, I can't fly / If I could I'd come down to ya / Maybe I should try / I'm on the roof and I'm starin' at the stars / Lookin' down at all lthe cars / I can see you / In the window of your favorite corner bar / But to reach is just too far / And I might as well be on Mars / I might as well be on Mars / You can't see me / I might as well be the Man on the Moon / You can't hear me / Oh, can you feel me so close / And yet so far / Baby, I might as well be on Mars". Then there's the prodution and grandious sounding choruses mixed with singular lonely sounding verses. This song just speaks so much of that longing love. It's also a fantastic end to the album with all the great soloing. This song in this placement is the only part of this album I can't complain about.

I remember picking up this album because I was stupid, that's why. I had no need to pick up this album. But, it was produced by Bruce Dickinson, it was Alice Cooper, and I wanted to foolishly waste money. I wouldn't suggest this album to anyone, and I think it's a crappy representation of the songs Alice was releasing at the time. If you stumble across this one, feel free to leave it be.

4/10 - content

7/10 - production

4/10 - personal bias

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Alice Cooper - Greatest Hits

I own Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits for two reasons, I'm a stupid hard core fan, and the vinyl artwork is totally worth owning. Other than that I don't have one good reason to own this album. At least I don't anymore. When I first bought this cassette as a kid I didn't have lot of these songs, and for the longest time it stayed that way. Which is how I ended up with the cd copy as well.

I would suggest this album to anyone looking to discover the original group. That being two of the most under rated guitarists of all time Michael Bruce and the late Glen Buxton. Then there's the alien bassist Dennis Dunnaway, a nick name I remember hearing and thinking was an awesome compliment. Then finishing out the musicians is Neil Smith, a drummer that's sadly over looked. After that is the vocalist we all know as Alice Cooper.

The first side of the vinyl release contains tracks that I've already covered in my reviews of Love It to Death, Killer and School's Out. So for the first six songs I'll be using slightly remixed versions of the original write ups, because it's a funny inside joke that way. The joke being ths album was remixed when released in 1974, because it contained no new material.

This album kicks off with the song that made Alice Cooper famous, and it's all thanks to a song that Bob originally thought was called I'm Edgy, or something to that effect. It was actually I'm Eighteen, which I'm sure if you are reading this you know exactly what song I'm talking about. This song was made famous by CKWW in Windsor, Ontario. Long before it became a completely crap talk station. Why would a song like I'm Eighteen get so much airplay in 1971? Because the words were clear and they could easily appeal to the masses. "I got a / Baby´s brain and an old man´s heart / Took eighteen years to get this far / Don´t always know what I´m talkin´ about / Feels like I´m livin´ in the middle of doubt / Cause I´m eighteen / I get confused every day / Eighteen / I just don´t know what to say / Eighteen / I gotta get away." This song is so good that for the longest time it was a go to song when I would perform live.

After that come Is It My Body. This is one of the best slow sexy groove rock and roll songs of all time. Dennis Dunnaway's bass playing is what drives this song, the guitars just add that little bit of dirty charm. What's even better is listening to a guy sing "What have I got / That makes you want to love me / Now is it my body / Someone I might be / Somethin' inside me / You better tell me / Tell me / It's really up to you / Have you got the time to find out / Who I really am". This was just the start of Alice's now famous gender bending.

As a side note. I love Is It My Body even more when my significant other/sexier half/writing editor sings the song. It get's me uber hot. Thank-you Alice!!!

The third track on this compilation album is Desperado. Now, if you don't know this song, and you should be ashamed of yourself if that is the case, don't go Googling just the song title. This song won't even show up on the first page. The first thing you get is a couple of entries for the movie starring Antonio Banderas, then a few other things, and somewhere in that mess is a song by the same title that was released by The Eagles in 1973. That's two years after the much, much, much, better Alice Cooper track. Hell, one could easily argue that the movie starring two of the sexiest actors/actresses ( Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek) in Hollywood at the time was based on this song. Part of me was upset not to hear at least a cover of this song on the soundtrack. It's just that sweet, and would have been great during one of the shoot out scenes.

Under My Wheels opens with the classic line, "The telephone is ringing,..." then the music punches in before, "You got me on the run / I'm driving in my car now / Anticipating fun". From there it just turns into a great energy pumping song, that has you bouncing. Then it continues with, "I'm driving right up to you, babe / I guess that you couldn't see, yeah yeah / But you were under my wheels honey / Why don't you let me be? / Cuz when you call me on the telephone, sayin / Take me to the show / And then I say honey I just can't go / The old lady says You can't leave her home. " Those lyrics make up the first three verses, which pretty much just repeats as the song goes on. This is the type of Rock that inspired bands to keep songs short, sweet and simple. However, the musical work on this song is far from simple.

I love songs where Alice reverses the rolls on women, and Be My Lover is one of those songs. "She struts into the room / Well, I don't know her / But with a magnifying glance / I just sort of look her over / We have a drink or two / Well, maybe three / And then suddenly she starts telling me / Her life story, she says / "Baby, if you wanna be my lover / You better take me home / 'Cause it's a long, long way to paradise / And I'm still on my own" / I told her that I came / From Detroit City / And I played guitar / In a long-haired rock 'n' roll band / She asked me why / The singer's name was Alice / I said, listen baby / You really wouldn't understand, then I said / "Baby, if you wanna be my lover / You better take me home / 'Cause it's a long, long way to paradise / And I'm still on my own, on my own". Musicly this song has such a great Jazz Lounge kind of vibe to it. I could easily picture a woman like Ette Jones singing this one. In fact, I always like this song better when sung by a female, but that's just because I'm a straight man. Also, listen to all that bass on this song. Dennis Dunnaway is the man when it comes to bass between 1970 and 1974. His work since then is just as good, but those years marked his true genius.

This album has one of the two songs I think will always live on, the other is We Will Rock You. As long as there are sporting events, the latter will survive. As long as there is school...

School's Out has got to be the most recognised song in history. It opens with a riff so legandary that is was even inscribed on Glen Buxton's (the guitarist that wrote and played it) tombstone. If you don't know the song, I'm sorry you spent your childhood in a coma, or under some cruel dictatorship.

Side two is made up entirely of tracks from Billion Dollar Babies and Muscle Of Love. The latter is the only original group album that was not originally produced by Bob Ezrin. If you are a hard core fan there is no need to point out Pretties For You or Easy Action, or the fact that the Producer listed on certain albums is not Ezrin, but someone else. Well we all know the truth, and that is why my statement is fine.

There are two songs on Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits that I do not like. The first one is Hello Hooray. It is a fantastic song, and the production is top notch. I love the way it sounds and everything they were trying to accomplish with this song. I love what this song stands for. I just don't care for the song. I can think of other songs from Billion Dollar Babies that should have been included instead. But then again this song is one of the four songs that came off an amazing album.

Next up is Elected, which is actually a reworking of a song called Reflected from the Pretties For You album. Imagine Alice Cooper running for office. Not the blood soaked, evil sadistic Alice Cooper that we associate wth Metal. I mean the rough and tumble, Detroit Shock Rock band of misfits lead by a spokesman that enjoys flaunting money into a crowd on his long phalic joke. While wearing a jump suit and platform cheetah, or maybe it's leopard print, boots.

I love No More Mr. nice Guy. It's a great song, but I think it's too polite and polished. If ever there were a complaint to be made about this song it would be that it's too slick. I would love to have heard the original band do it dirtier.

As a drummer I consider Billion Dollar Babies one of the greatest songs ever performed. It has one of the greatest drum patterns ever, and it's a nightmare to try and play. I love Alice's scream in this one. The guitar work is top notch, and I have no clue at the moment who the other vocalist is, but as I listen to this song it doesn't matter because it just sounds so cool. Oh yeah, the dude's name is Donavan, I think.

The other track on this album I don't care for is Teenage Lament '74. I have never cared for this song, and even as a kid I would often fast forward my tape. I had no choice because I couldn't just simply skip the last song.

Muscle Of Love closes the album. This song has one of the best Guitar riffs I have ever heard. It's wild, wicked, and pumps out the testosterone that this song requires. Then there's the lyrics, which are so dirty. "Who's the Queen of the lockeroom? / Who's the cream of the crop? / Joey took her to the matine (Joey took her to the matinee) / Thank God she wouldn't stop (Said "God, she wouldn't stop") / Holy muscle of love, my heart's a muscle / Well I must have gone to their crazy head, (well it must have gone to their crazy head) / Where everything is hot. / Cuz I don't know if the things I'm thinkin' / I know the thoughts are not (are normal thoughts or not). / Holy muscle of love, my heart's a muscle / I read Dad's books like I did before, / Now things are crystal clear. / Lock the door in the bathroom now, / I just can't get caught in here. / I got a muscle of love / Holy muscle of love / My heart's a muscle of love / Holy muscle of love / I got a muscle of love / Yeah / Must be a gift from above ". I think this is one of the most under rated Alice Cooper songs in the entire catalogue, not just from the original group era.

Of the twelve songs that make up the album ten of them are fantastic. If you have never owned an Alice Cooper album, then there would be nothing wrong with grabbing this one for those songs. I would rather have switched out the other two tracks for an album cut or two. Teenage Lament '74 could be switched out for Man With The Golden Gun, and Hello Hooray swapped with Generation Landslide, just to keep it friendly. If I had been the one putting this album together, it would have had to have been a double album, so the fan favourites could have been included too.

8/10 - content

8/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dethklok - The Dethalbum III

I love the cartoon Metalocalypse. It's Spinal Tap for the new generation of Metal fans. It's not my kind of Metal. I'm more of a Classic Metal fan. Bands like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple for example. However, my friend Julie hooked me up with the first three albums, so I figured why the hell not give them a good listen.

Julie said that III was her favourite album, my buddy Drew says II is his favourite album, and Andria says something about the show being stupid. She just hasn't watched it right, but that's not the point. The point is I opted to review The Dethalbum III first based purely on the fact that it was the shortest album at first glance. It's also the album I've listened to the most at this point, but that's due to my Mp3 player displaying four albums, and my getting confused. That's a different story for my review of the first Dethklock album.

The Dethalbum III opens with I Ejaculate Fire. With a title like that you already know this album is Metal. Dethklok is the only band I can think of that could honestly get away with a song like this. This is a brutal song. Also it sets the tone for the album very well.

Next Up is Crush The Industry. This is your pretty standard Death Metal kind of track. It might be Black Metal, I'm not really sure. It's some type of typical Metal, that involves playing fast, scream growling into a microphone, and almost no bass. After that comes Andromeda which has a bitching solo that starts just after the two minute marker. Other than that you can take what I said in the previous song and put it to this one.

The Galaxy is the first song on the album that really catches my attention. The opening, suits the title perfectly. While I don't care for the lyrical delivery on the song, it mixes in so well with the music. I mean this song does one thing I love from music, it breathes. But even more importantly, this song is epic. I dig the lyrics too. "Darkness (Darkness) / The end of days / Planets (Planets) / Kinetic haze / Arrive (Arrive) / The last dimension / Reject (Reject) / the apprehension / Convicted (Convicted) / We don't look back / The storm (The storm) / Electric black / This war (This war) / is formed in vengeance / The story (the story) / Has been predicted / We are the dark and the light! / We have the power of time! / We are the serpents intertwined! / The galaxy will unite! / Perfect liars, promising us / Can't stop the beast, we got no other choice (Got no other choice) / Unforgiving soulless nature / It's not gonna tame us, gonna beat him (Gonna beat him) / Not gonna stop reaping (Stop reaping) / The prize is deth (The prize is deth) / We made the pact when we took our first breath (When we took our first breath) / Fearless (Fearless) / This is our quest (This is our quest) / That leads me on, man the star-gates! (Star-gates!) / Star-gates! (Star-gates!) / GO! / We are the dark and the light! (We are the dark and the light) / We have the power of time! (We have the power of time) / We are the serpents intertwined! (We are the serpents intertwined) / The galaxy will unite! (The galaxy will unite) / This is the beginning! / This is the beginning! / This is the beginning! / This is the beginning! / This is the beginning! / This is the beginning! / This is the beginning! / Its all starting NOW! / This is the beginning! / This is the beginning! / This is the beginning! / This is the beginning! / This is the beginning! / This is the beginning! / This is the beginning! / IT'S ALL STARTING NOW!!! / IT'S ALL STARTING NOW!!! / IT'S ALL STARTING NOW!!! / IT'S ALL STARTING NOW!!! / It's all starting now!"

Starved has me thinking of Pantera with Dimebag trying to do a solo like David Gilmour. That's a bit over simplified, but it sounds about right.

First off when a song is called Killstardo Ambominate you can't help but take notice. Secondly, you should be surprised when it sounds like some type of space monster, running on cosmic radiation, and pretty much leveling the solar system. This puppy is heavy, and vicious.

If I'm not paying attention I don't notice when the song switches to Ghostqueen, until I notice a clear difference in the music. I'm not sure how to describe this song, but the solo sort of reminds me of something you'd hear from Dragonforce, or something like that.

When a song is called Impeach God, you expect it to sound a certain way, and that's how this song sounds. While I know that the lyrical content is not for the Religious, I will say this is a pretty decent song. I could really see this one being on my Mp3 player for a long time.

Biological Warfair also sounds like a song with that title would sound like. In this case I'm not such a big fan. I find this very atypical Metal. This could easily be considered like a Slayer track to the non casual listener.

Skyhunter is okay, for those into the music. For me it's another well played guitar track with way too much double bass drum. My favourite song on the album is The Hammer. It has some killer riffs and reminds me of mid to late seventies Black Sabbath, if they had over used the double bass drum. Maybe even Dio era. This is one of those songs that I would want an open stretch of highway, and some good old pure American Muscle car that just wants to roar.

The album ends with Rejoin. This isn't a bad track. It's actually pretty good for the type of Metal it represents. I could see me listening to this one on it's own over time.

While I'm not a huge fan of the music genre, because a lot of it starts sounding pretty basic to me, I do enjoy some of the songs on their own, without all of the awesome animation surrounding them, that you get from the cartoon.

7/10 - content

7/10 - production

6/10 - personal bias

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ramones - Mondo Bizarro

I wouldn't say that the album's title is a true reflection of the music that's contained within, but I will say that Mondo Bizarro is a sketchy album, with an interesting underbelly. There are some really top notch Rock tracks on this album, as far as I'm concerned. There's also some completely useless album filler as well.

The album kicks off with Censorshit, which is a solid track musically. A bit typical for the band, but when the Ramones give it, they give it good.

The Job That Ate My Brain is more like a jangled train wreck, that makes me wonder how this band is able to still tap that awesome raw nerve of what Punk is really about.

Poison Heart is track three, but the first song on the album that catches my attention. This is one that sounds almost as if it was inspired by a band like The Cure or maybe even a little INXS. I know those words could get my ass kicked in some crowds, but fuck 'em. It made this song kick ass, and the lyrics are awesome. "No one ever thought this one would survive / Helpless child, gonna walk a drum beat behind / Lock you in a dream, never let you go / Never let you laugh or smile, not you. / Well, I just want to walk right out of this world, / 'Cause everybody has a poison heart / I just want to walk right out of this world, / 'Cause everybody has a poison heart. / Making friends with a homeless torn up man / He just kind of smiles, it really shakes me up. / There's danger on every corner but I'm okay / Walking down the street trying to forget yesterday. / Well, I just want to walk right out of this world, / 'Cause everybody has a poison heart. / I just want to walk right out of this world, / 'Cause everybody has a poison heart, / a poison heart, a poison heart, a poison heart ... yeah! / You know that life really takes its toll / And a poet's gut reaction is to search his very soul / So much damn confusion before my eyes, / But nothing seems to phase me and this one still survives. / I just want to walk right out of this world, / 'Cause everybody has a poison heart. / I just want to walk right out of this world, / 'Cause everybody has a poison heart, / Well, I just want to walk right out of this world, / 'Cause everybody has a poison heart. / a poison heart, a poison heart, a poison heart. / a poison heart, a poison heart, a poison heart." I could, see myself covering this one any day. I should also mention that this is a Ramones song that runs over four minutes.

Anxiety is a great follow up to the last track. It gets the album moving again and has the train rolling full speed down a set of rails designed by Tim Burton. This song captures and creates exactly what it tells you it's going to do.

Strength To Endure is a CJ Ramone sung tune. It's not bad, it's actually a really decent Sunset Strip Garage band demo.

It's Gonna Be Alright is an okay song. I can see why some people would like it, but I can go either way about it. I don't feel a need to skip it, but I don't feel a need to hear it either.

After that comes Take It As It Comes, a really blistering cover of The Doors classic. I still find it interesting to hear keyboards in a Ramones track, but when they are being supplied by the original Keyboardist, and the song's composer, that's cool. I do enjoy this cover and would suggest giving it a serious listen.

Main Man is another CJ track, but I like this one a lot more. This is some great Rock.

I think Tomorrow She Goes Away would have been a better track if done by a different band, and given a slightly different treatment.

There's something to be said about an upbeat sounding song, even if it's being performed by a Punk band. Then again the Ramones are allowed to do anything, because sometimes they create songs like I Won't let It Happen, which really is a good song.

Cabbies On Crack is really fucking awesome. It's nothing special, but at the same time it's pure and raw and just right for the soul. Also, a big hello to that guitar solo cranking it out in the background.

I don't mind Heidi Is A Headcase, but I don't feel any need to actually listen to it either.

The album ends with Touring, which is Surf Rock, delivered in a way that I've discovered only this band can do. It's a great way to end the album in one way, and in another I don't think there is any song that could actually close this album.

Since this album came as part of that four pack I've mentioned in other reviews, I don't mind owning it, and some of the songs will even end up on my Mp3 player. I never would have wanted to have paid full price for this album, though.

5/10 - content

7/10 - production

6/10 - personal bias

Monday, May 13, 2013

Chris De Burgh - High On Emotion - Live From Dublin

I own three Chris De Burgh CDs, The Spanish Train And Other Stories, Spark To A Flame: The Very Best Of Chris De Burgh, and High On Emotion - Live From Dublin, which is what I'll be covering in this article.

I want to start by saying that this is the type of live album I really enjoy. You can hear the crowd, Chris really likes to work the crowd and interact, as well as there being a real showmanship to his vocal performance as well. Also, the songs don't all sound the same as the original studio versions. On some songs the lyrics get changed up a bit, on other tracks the music is augmented in slight ways.

There are some parts about this live show I don't care for, as I find it a bit overly romantic, but it's the story telling that's amazing. Also if you are a fan,it's great to hear some of these classics live, as well as being exposed to different material. I only say different, because to this day some of these songs I only know the live versions that are on this disc. He's one of those artists that I've always wanted to explore more, but I know he's hit and miss to my tastes.

The album was released in 1990, and the original recording was made on November 9, 1990. But it's a reference to one of the songs in the encore that helps keep this album a little more current. The song was referenced in a Trailer Park Boys episode from season five. When Gary, a mall security attendant, says to Bubbles: "You're not the one who waits to go to a Chris DeBurgh concert for three and a half years so I can go in and miss the encore of Don't Pay the Ferryman because I'm on the phone in the foyer, talking about stolen shopping carts!" It's because of this album I get and love that reference so much, even though it came years after I first picked up this CD for myself. However, my dad had this albums years before me, and I'm pretty sure he had picked it up when it first came out, so it's been in my life a long time. This album would get some heavy play when we used to go camping.

The concert kicks of with Last Night. This is a decent enough of a song. It's musically a strong start to a concert. Aside from that I don't have all that mush to say about this song. It's a decent enough song, but I can kind of see why it's right at the beginning of the show. One of those get it over and done with kind of track.

Sailing Away is introduced as a brand new track. This would have been from the Flying Colours album, which I haven't heard. Based on the five songs from that album that appear on this live one, I'm not in a rush to pick it up anytime in the near future either. As for this live version of the song, it's okay, but doesn't have that story tellers feel like the songs I generally like from Chris De Burgh.

Actually as I look at the track list for this album, and which studio albums the songs originally appeared on, I notice that only five albums out of a possible nine albums are represented. Of those five albums I own only one, and there's only one other I would pick up based on the live tracks. Which I'm sure gives a much worse impression of this album than I want you to have. In fact, The Revolution, which is up next, is a really passionate song, originally from The Getaway, which is the album I would pick up after listening to this album. There's a slow pick up, but then the song really explodes. Then kicks into one hell of a jig. This one has some real power.

I'm Not Scared Anymore is one of those songs that many would love, but it really doesn' t do too much for me. It's the type of song that would be considered commercial for Chris De Burgh.

The next track is a great piece to start with, but the presentation in this version is just spectacular to me. Not only does he work the crowd, but his performance is just that. He's telling you the story of the Spanish Train, and you will listen and participate, and enjoy, because it's awesome. Listening to this version of the song, makes me want to perform it live.

Borderline is a very pretty war time song. Chris De Burgh paints an image of a boy going of to war and leaving his beloved behind. It's a very powerful song. Then there comes the point when he let's the crowd do all the singing, and it's just rivetting.

The Risen Lord is a shorter track that isn't as preachy as the title may have one think. That's one of the things I like about Chris De Burgh and his religious related songs. The very intellegently written.

The Last Time I Cried is a little to eighties sounding for me. I'm fine with passing by, but I don't mind it in the car either.

If the general public knows one song from Chris De Burgh it's The Lady In Red. While I'm glad it gave him some real exposure, I'm not overly fond of the song. It's very Easy Listening. Way too Easy Listening for me.

Then it's on to a classic from the Spanish train album. A Spaceman Came Travelling is performed with a sweetly picked guitar, which breaks into a brisk strum, and a whole lot of crowd participation. While the vocalist spins out the story of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, just from a slightly different point of view. This is one of those songs where the audience knows every note and you can tell.

From that it's on to the dirtiest song that I know in this performer's repetoire. Patricia The Stripper is started with an extended talking bit that he uses to introduce this classic. I love how tastefully dirty this song is. It's pure naughty Vaudville.

You're not missing anything by skipping Missing You.

Say Goodbye To It All is another slower song, and you can even hear the eighties sound all through it all, but this track is much more powerful. It's not a song I would suggest to the casual listener of my reviews, but it's a not a bad track.

Given a choice between a studio version of Don't Pay The Ferryman and the live version on this album, I'm more prone to pick the live cut. The instrumentation, mixed with the audience doing the background vocals that make this a rockin' song. Personally I would love to hear this song done even heavier, but this track does it for the most part. This is just one of those songs I love to listen to over and over. A lot of it is because of the speed. Seriously, I think Iron Maiden should take a crack at this one.

I guess this album's title track would be High On Emotion, which is the last song of the night. It is an amazing closer and you can hear the audience loving every second of it as they join in with the singing. I find it interesting that this is sort of the big ticket song for this album, since it's from an album that had been released six years prior, The Man On the Line. It's also the only song to played in this concert that appeared on that album. An album that my mom had, but my dad didn't, and later my sister scooped up from my mom, because it had been in one of her cassette cases instead.

When it comes to the song High On Emotion I love the guitar work. It would be a lot better, if it were further ahead in the mix, but it's quite enjoyable. This is one of those eighties big ticket movie closers. I could see this being played over the closing seuqence in a John Hugh movie, and then continuing through the credits.

As a listener of Hard Rock, Classic Metal, and even Classic Rock, I find this album a bit too mellow and ballady. As a Chris De Burgh fan, I find this album a little heavy on the Pop songs, and the love songs, and not the ones I prefer.

If you are looking for a Chris De Burgh album to listen to I can suggest others.

6/10 - content

8/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ramones - Brain Drain

If you read my review for the Acid Eaters album, you'll have noticed a small part about my picking up the last four Ramones album in one great buy. Also, due to now a new work schedule my regular readers will notice a small drop in my output.

However, this article isn't about my life, it's about Brain Drain. A Ramones album I really wish I would have picked up years ago. I could see tons of fans of the band being upset that this album is a little mellower than normal, but I love it.

It starts off decent and slowly builds into a very strong and solid album. There is a bit of a taper off towards the end of the album, but it's forgiveable.

I Believe In Miracles opens up the album. I love this song. I don't know if it's just the lyrics, or if it's the whole feel, but this is one of my favourite Ramones songs. "I used to be on an endless run. / Believe in miracles 'cause I'm one. / I have been blessed with the power to survive. / After all these years I'm still alive. / I'm out here kickin' with the band. / I am no longer a solitary man. / Every day my time runs out. / Lived like a fool, that's what I was about, oh / I believe in miracles. / I believe in a better world for me and you. / Oh, I believe in miracles. / I believe in a better world for me and you. / Tattooed your name on my arm. / I always said my girl's a good luck charm. / If she can find a reason to forgive, / Then I can find a reason to live. / I used to be on an endless run. / Believe in miracles 'cause I'm one. / I have been blessed with the power to survive. / After all these years I'm still alive. / I believe in miracles. / I believe in a better world for me and you. / Oh, I believe in miracles. / I believe in a better world for me and you. / I close my eyes and think how it might be. / The future's here today. / It's not too late. / It's not too late, yeah! / I believe in miracles. / I believe in a better world for me and you. / Oh, I believe in miracles. / I believe in a better world for me and you." To me this is a fantastic way to kick off the album.

After that is Zero Zero UFO, which has it's own cool and interesting vibe that sets it apart from the typical Ramones song. Don't Bust My Chops has a great rough and tumble vibe to it. It's like listening to Joey Ramone all of a sudden really growing a pair and releasing the beast within.

Punishment Fits The Crime is a Dee Dee Ramone sung song. I don't mind when Joey and Dee Dee switch off on vocals during a song, but I don't like when the bassist is the only one singing. Aside from that this is a pretty good Rock song. It sounds stock on this album, but I think a band like Poison or Motley Crue could really do something with this one.

All Screwed Up is another song that's just a really decent Rock song. I also totally can relate to the lyrics. "Without you baby's like suicide / I need you baby, that I just can't hide / I miss you honey when it's cold outside, oh yeah / I miss your body, baby, next to mine / Ooooh, baby, yeah we sure felt fine / I miss you honey, oh yeah / I say baby, baby I'm all screwed up / I miss your body and I need your love / I miss you honey when it's cold outside, oh yeah / Baby, baby I'm all screwed up / I miss your body and I need your love / I miss you honey when it's cold outside, oh yeah / I said baby, baby / Baby, baby, aw ahhh, baby, baby, oh yeah (oh yeah) / Baby, baby, aw ahhh, baby, baby, aw ahhh / Baby, baby, oh yeah, oh yeah / Without you baby's like suicide / I miss you baby, that I just can't hide / I want you baby when it's cold outside, oh yeah / I miss your body, baby, next to mine / Ooooh, baby, yeah we sure felt fine / I want you baby, oh yeah / I said baby, baby / Baby, baby, aw ahhh, baby, baby, oh yeah (oh yeah) / Baby, baby, aw ahhh, baby, baby, aw ahhh / Baby, baby, oh yeah, oh yeah /Baby, baby, baby can't you see / You don't know what you're doin' to me, aw yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah / I need you baby, baby can't you see / You don't know what you're doin' to me, aw yeah, oh yeah, oh / I love the music business but it makes me sick / Everybody's beautiful and full of it / Ooh, I love the way that you shake your hips, oh yeah / I miss your body, baby, next to mine / Ooooh, baby, yeah we sure felt fine / I miss you baby, oh yeah / Baby, baby / Baby, baby, aw ahhh, baby, baby, oh yeah (oh yeah) / Baby, baby, aw ahhh, baby, baby, aw ahhh / Baby, baby, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah".

Palisades Park is hurt by how far forward the snare is in the mix. However, other than that this is a really fun track. It has a circus theme in some parts, while the experience is being translated into the music. It's a really fun song. It's also a cover.

To this day I will usually state that I Want To Be Sedated is my favourite Ramones song, but the one that I love the most is Pet Sematary. Until I picked up this album, I only knew the studio version through a karaoke version, which I've sung the shit out of. Other than that it's always been the live version from We're Outta Here. But everytime this studio version comes on, I just want to crank it up and howl my little heart out to the heavens.

Learn To Listen is the last song on the album with Dee Dee Ramone credited as a writer. Until this point he is listed on every song from the start. This is the only one that faulters for me. It's a little too typically Punk.

The last four tracks on the album are almost all exclusively written by Joey Ramone. The first one is Can't Get You Out Of My Mind. This one has a very mid sixties, West Coast, LSD inspired feel to it. Jefferson Airplane comes to mind first.

Ignorance Is Bliss is interesting because of the musical performance, but on the whole I'm not a fan of the track. This is the only track with a co writer in the last four tracks, and that is Andy Shernoff.

Come Back Baby is a basic slow Ramones song. I'm not overly impressed with the vocal performance, compared with the rest of the album. This track seriously sounds like Joey Ramone trying to use a song to get his baby back.

The album ends on a cheesy note, but I like it. The last song on the album is Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight). It's a Ramones Christmas song. What more can be said. It's a great closer.

I'm not saying this is the Ramones' best album, but it is really good. Even with my not being overly impressed with the latter third of the album, I would still suggest this album to Rock fans. There's some real quality material on here, and just a little camp.

My only complaint about this album is that the production sounds exactly the same as it had in the 1970's, only with a clearer tone. Of the four albums that make up the set I bought, this one has the most pulled back sounding production value. There is some real production value to individual tracks, but the overall sound is thin and weak.

8/10 - content

6/10 - production

8/10 - personal bias

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ramones - Acid Eaters

I've mentioned my buddy Varg and his over play abuse of certains bands, albums and songs. Acid Eaters from the Ramones was one of those albums. However, I came a across a four pack of the last four Ramones CDs one day, for a very reasonable price and now I have this album in my possession.

While I will admit right from the begining I don't overly care for this album, it is interesting listening to the Ramones do covers of some classic Rock greats.

Journey To The Center Of The Mind opens the album with the perfect sense of speed and tenacity. I'm a huge fan of the original from Ted Nugent And The Amboy Dukes, and while this cover doesn't have the soloing of Ted Nugent, it still has some mighty enjoyable guitar work.

I really like what the band did with Substitute. It sounds very much like The Who, and The Ramones. However, in the case of the song itself, I never really cared about it one way or the other.

I don't like Out Of Time. It's a basic run of the mill slow song, being done by a band that shouldn't be doing slow songs. I don't know the original and I don't want to either, after hearing this.

The Shape Of Things To Come is a good quick Punk number, that I enjoy, but have no comparison point of an original.

While I won't say that Somebody To Love is good, I also won't say that it's bad either. I love the Jefferson Airplane version, and have heard other covers that are decent, but this one has a take that seems slightly off kilt. It's like taking the original and then having the Ramones play it on acid.

I would never call myself a fan of The Animals, but I do enjoy their music. I can hear them all over this cover of When I Was Young. Sure it sounds like a Ramones track, but you can tell where this song came from. It's a pretty decent song.

At this point I have mentioned the song 7 And 7 Is and how I can't stand it. Alice Cooper has covered this song. Rush has covered this song. I am now listening to a Ramones cover of the song, and I still don't get what everyone sees in this song. It is a really quick track, though, and of all bands I've heard cover it, this version is the most understandable.

I do not know My Black Pages, and I really don't care for it on this album. I find that CJ sung songs tend to do nothing for me. CJ should have stuck to playing bass only. His voice wasn't as interesting as Dee Dee's and it's sort of like listening to Duff McKagen sing a Guns N' Roses song.

I don't know Can't Seem To Make You Mine in it's original form either, but once again it's a slow song that I think isn't done right. It just seems off.

I love Have You Ever Seen The Rain in it's original Creedence Clearwater Revival glory. This cover is not that song. The Punk people may dig this track, I think the band spent too much time playing around with slower songs.

I Can't Control Myself is the fist track on the second half of the album that I actually enjoy. It's still not a great song, but it seems right coming out of the Ramones.

The album ends with Surf City, and I will admit that I have a big old soft spot for Surf music. Even these big over played classics. What I find interesting, though, is that this is clearly a band from Queens doing a Surf song, so it sounds a bit weird.

I would never really suggest this album to anyone, unless you can get it cheaply. Unless you are into classic Punk you'll only ever listen to this album once or twice. It has a couple of decent tracks, but that's it.

4/10 - content

6/10 - production

5/10 - personal bias