Friday, May 31, 2013

Metallica's Orion Festival Week Away

Metallica's Orion Festival Week Away Metallica's second Orion Music + More  festival is only a week away. Last time it held in NY/NJ area, and it was a huge success. This time around however, Metallica has taken a chance and hosting in a city that only partially exist - Detroit! I thought people in Detroit were only into turntables :-)

Orion is taking place on June 8 & 9. I think this one's going to be better than last one simply because Red Hot Chilli Peppers is highlighting the first night, and Metallica on second, unlike last year when Metallica was the only headlining band on both nights. I believe they should extend the festival to at least three days to include all the excitement from two successful mainstream bands.

Further information can be found on www.orionmusicandmore.com

If you are planning on attending the concert, have a safe ride, and hopefully you'll make out of the dead city in one piece.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Song Meaning & Analysis: Run to the Hills by Iron Maiden

Song Analysis: Run to the Hills by Iron Maiden
Run to the Hills from Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden

The classic Iron Maiden heavy metal, "Run to the Hills" gave Iron Maiden the much needed commercial and critical acclimation. The single helped launch the album, Number of the Beast, to number one on UK charts, and put Maiden on mainstream rock and heavy metal radio stations across the US and Europe.

The Song is about the British Invasion of the US in the early colonial times. First two choruses were written from the point of view of Native Americas. The lyrics are very self-explanatory. "White man came across the sea" refers the English crossing the Atlantic, invading the Eastern shores of the US. "We fought him hard we fought him well" states the resistance put forth by the Natives to stop the Brits from advancing further into the mainland. Of course, the Native Americas lost. This is now known as Western Expansion. In the song, natives are referred to as the "the Cree."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Song Meaning: Master of Puppets by Metallica

Song Meaning: Master of Puppets by Metallica
Title track from Metallica's third studio album
This is the song you have to listen to when you wake up in the morning :-) It'll set the tone for the rest your day. "Master of Puppets" is the title track from Metallica's third studio album, which is now considered to be one the greatest heavy metal albums in the history. When you listen to the album in it's entirety, it's easy see why such recognition is attributed this album.

The song emphasizes the negative effects that result in the use of alcohols and drugs, like addiction and inevitable death. If GNR were to write a song about drugs, on the other hand, like Mr. Brownstone and Nightrain, they would put more emphasize on the enjoyment aspect of it. This contrast is one of the many features that distinguishes heavy metal from hard rock. But I think both genres are equally enjoyable.

Song Meaning: Another Brick in the Wall, Part II by Pink Floyd


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/cb/PinkFloydAnotherBrickCover.jpg 

I'm not a big fan of Pink Floyd because they usually put me to sleep. But my personal judgement in no way defines the success of a band that has sold over 300 million albums worldwide!

The song appeared on Pink Floyd's 1979 studio album of The Wall. It was the second of the total of tree songs under the same title. The song is also known No Education. Upon released as a single, Another Brick in the Wall, Part II was a hit in UK,US, and Europe. Since then, song has become a fan-favorite, and a reputable rock song around the world.

Song Meaning & Facts: Johnny B Goode by Chuck Berry

Johnny B Goode is Chuck Berry's signature song. It's been covered by many prominent rock bands over the years, and has attributed numerous accolades. Part of the reason was, not just the brilliancy of the song itself, but due to the fact that Chuck Berry was phenomenal electric guitar player. No one covered ( cover songs ) Berry's songs for the white audience in the 50s, because none of them played the guitar like him. It's arguable, if it wasn't for Chuck Berry, there would be no Beatles, Rolling Stones or Pink Floyd!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Song Meaning & Facts: My Generation by The Who

my generation by the who 
Along with The Beatles and Rolling Stones, The Who was one of the legendary bands of the 60s. They were unique in the sense that The Who made much more 'heavier' music, but they themselves considered to be a pop band. Pete Townshend, the band's primary song writer, continually attempted to write hit songs, but The Who never had a number one! Nevertheless, their music has had a lasting impacting on rock n' roll. 

"My Generation" is among many iconic songs that The Who produced in the 60s. The song is consistent with some memorable sound effects and lyrics. One such incident is Roger Daltrey's continuous stutter throughout the song. My analysis on this is that it's an evidence of acid rock. Daltrey is simulating the effect of being high on drugs while singing. Apparently, use of drugs/ counterculture was prominent at the time.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Song Meaning: I Can't Get No Satisfaction by Rolling Stones

I can't get no satisfaction by Rolling Stones
The Beatles set the tone for the 1960s. Their songs, dress code and attitude was the protocol at the time. They were so popular to point where all the bands wanted to be like them. Those who tried to imitate the Fab Four, however, failed miserably. One such band was the Rolling Stones. But after realizing they couldn't out-Beatle the Beatles, the Stones took a very different approach. The Rolling Stones wanted to establish themselves as the anti-Beatles. They never dressed like part time lawyers or had greasy hair on stage. Unlike John Lennon or Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger had some of the craziest moves on stage that rock n' roll had never seen before.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Song Meaning: Man in Black by Johnny Cash


Johnny Cash - Man In Black

I believe Johnny Cash is the greatest country musician in the history of American popular music. Growing up as a child protege, his musical influences were deeply rooted in southern country music. He was also talented in variety of other genres spanning across blues, soul, folk and rock n' roll. Cash worked with prominent rock n' rollers in the 50s, including Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Song Meaning & Facts: American Idiot by Green Day


American Idiot made Green Day relevant again! The title track of the album brought them back to the mainstream radio. They weren't afraid to explore their old-school punk rock roots when it wasn't the hip music in 2004. However due its massive appeal in the pop and rock radio alike, the album was a massive commercial success, selling in excess of 15 million copies worldwide. The song was recognized as one of the best 500 songs ever by the Rolling Stone magazine in 2009.

American Idiot is a anti-establishment song that outlines most of the things wrong with the US: guns, racism, bigotry, sexism, general stupidity, and, of course, wars. In fact, the album was released following the year of Iraq War, and months before the 2004 US presidential election. Nevertheless the album did not manage to prevent Pres. Bush from reelecting back to the White House.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Song Meaning: Dream On by Aerosmith

"Dream On" is a well thought-out, well-written, and well known song by Aerosmith. It's simply a masterpiece for a rock duo known as "toxic twins." (Steven Tyler and Joe Perry are referred to as such due to their heavy drug use. They were out-did Zeppelin!). It's also a fan favorite, and according, has become a staple on their liveset. To this day, it's very popular among rock and pop radio stations. In fact, "Dream On" is one of the handful of songs that is recognized as a rock anthem.

The song is about the life in general, with an emphasis on the process of aging. "Every time when I look in the mirror/ All these lines on my face getting clearer" states a person who has come to accept the fact that aging cannot be stopped, and it's a part of life. Instead of saying "time flies", Steven Tyler sings "The past is gone /It went by, like dusk to dawn" with the use of an alliteration.

"I know nobody knows /Where it comes and where it goes" refers to idea that nobody is intelligent enough to understand life in it's deepest form, and all the attributes of it - aging being one. So everybody, like the singer himself, kind of has to "go with the flow" and eventually die.

"Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away" states that death could come upon us any minute. So,as sung in the previous lines, try to enjoy every minute of life. "Sing with me, sing for the years/ Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears / Sing with me, just for today" refers to just that. Singing is the best way to enjoy life? That's what Tyler says :-). It seems to contradict their drug-heavy rock n' roll life style, but whatever. Aerosmith fans should adopt what Aerosmith is saying, not what they do. If you do what the "toxic twins" did in the 1970s, you are definitely going to spend some time in a hospital bed.

The chorus repeats with "Dream On". I exactly don't know this is referring. Shocking, isn't it? But I think it's open to your own interpretation. I have few: Steve was so dunk when he wrote this, he just put together two words to complete the chorus. It could also be viewed as the singer asking the listener to keep working hard until certain goals in life are achieved, "Dream until your dreams come true." Fell free to correct me if you think otherwise. I welcome your input.


Every time when I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It went by, like dusk to dawn
Isn't that the way
Everybody's got the dues in life to pay

I know nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes
I know it's everybody sin
You got to lose to know how to win

Half my life
Is books written pages
Live and learn from fools and
From sages
You know it's true, oh
All these things you do come back to you

Sing with me, sing for the years
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good lord will take you away

Yeah, sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tear
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away

Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream until your dreams come true
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream until your dreams come true
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on

Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tear
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away
Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tear
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away.

Song Meaning: Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin

Song Meaning: Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin 
An iconic hard rock song by Led Zeppelin, "Whole Lotta Love" was a must at every party in the 1970s. It was Zeppelin's first hit in the US, and brought them into the mainstream rock n' roll movement. It was mixed with "light and shade", as it's the case with many Zeppelin song that would eventually be released later on. The easily recognizable guitar riff is widely acknowledged as one of the best in the history of hard rock. John Bonham's drumming is simply perfect. The mid section of the song consists with a "hollow grove" put together by Bonzo and bassist John Paul Johns, departing from the distorted guitar riff earlier.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Song Meaning: Walk This Way by Aerosmith

"Walk This Way," released in 1975, is one of the three well known signature songs of American hard rock band Aerosmith; the other two being Dream On and Sweet Emotion. The song propelled the album, Toys in the Attic, into commercial success, and put the band on the mainstream rock n' roll scene of the 70s. Since its release, it has a been a staple on their liveset as well as rock and pop radio stations.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Explore Songs

Explore Songs: List of all song meanings, facts and analysis

Song Meaning & Facts: Let's Spend the Night Together by Rolling Stones

Single from Between the Buttons by the Stones
The Beatles set the tone for the 1960s. Their songs, dress code and attitude was the protocol at the time. They were so popular to point where all the bands wanted to be like them. Those who tried to imitate the Fab Four, however, failed miserably. One such band was the Rolling Stones. But after realizing they couldn't out-Beatle the Beatles, the Stones took a very different approach. The Rolling Stones wanted to establish themselves as the anti-Beatles. They never dressed like part time lawyers or had greasy hair on stage. Unlike John Lennon or Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger had some of the craziest moves on stage that rock n' roll had never seen before.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Song Meaning: Cyanide by Metallica

Cyanide from Metallica's Death Magnetic
"Cyanide" is the third single from Metallica's Death Magnetic album. The song is heavy driven by kickass guitar riffs, and less weight is put on the lyrics. In fact, very little can me made of the lyrics. But the song was very well received by critics and fans alike.  James Hetfiled also said, "I very much enjoyed playing [Cyanide] live. Hopefully it's going to stay on our setlist."

Song Meaning & Analysis: Creeping Death by Metallica

Creeping Death from Ride the Lightning

A well known song among heavy metal headbangers, "Creeping Death" has been a live staple on the Metallica settlist since it's been released. It's often to the concert opener.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Song Meaning: Livin' on a Prayer by Bon Jovi

Artist: Bon Jovi | Album: Slippery When Wet | Released: 1986
Riding on the popularity of the glam metal scene in the 80's, "Livin' on a Prayer" shot to the top of the charts. It was Bon Jovi's second consecutive #1 hit from Slippery When Wet album, the first one was You Gave Love a Bad Name. Since it's release, it has become Bon Jovi's Paranoid, their signature song. It's never been excluded from their live setlist. Still to this day, it's very popular among rock and pop radio stations.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Song Meaning: One by Metallica

Artist: Metallica | Album: ...And Justice For All | Released: 1989
Second power ballad ( if I'm not mistaken ) by Metallica, "One" put the 'thrash' metal band on MTV. The single also marked a milestone for the band: they made the first music video to promote the song on MTV. The music video, however, was like no other other at the time - filmed in a gloomy setting, running over seven minutes in length . Nevertheless, the video compelling enough for the band to be nominated for a Grammy in 1988, but lost to Jetro Tall. This was later recognized as one of the f#@ed up moments in the history of Grammy Awards.

Song Meaning: Paranoid by Black Sabbath

Artist: Black Sabbath| Album: Paranoid | Released: 1970
Song Meaning: Paranoid by Black Sabbath
Paranoid is the title track of the second Black Sabbath album
A classic heavy metal song by a band that pioneered heavy metal in the 70's, "Paranoid" perfectly defines the themes of a true heavy metal song: death, depression, daemons, and darkness. The single was a hit on rock radio. It was facilitated on the back of the escalating Vietnam War; many people related the heartbreaking news stories of the war to the paranoia described in the lyrics.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Song Meaning, Analysis & Facts: Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N' Roses

Artist: Guns N Roses | Album: Appetite for Destruction | Released: 1987
If there's one song that perfectly sums up G N' R perfectly, and captures the essence of rock n' roll, it's "Welcome to the Jungle". The song is the definition of sex, drugs and rock n' roll.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Song Meaning: Fade to Black by Metallica

Artist: Metallica | Album: Ride the Lightening | Released: 1984
fade to black by Metallica from ride the lightening
First power ballad by the legendary heavy metal band Metallica, "Fade to Black" generated much controversy among hardcore thrash metal fans for its "bluesier", acoustic sound. But today the song is considered to be one of the best ballads in the history of rock n' roll.

Song Meaning: Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison

ARTIST: POISON | ALBUM: Open Up and Say... Ahh! | RELEASED: 1988
"Every Rose Has Its Thorn" marked Poison at their best, highlighted by the fact that this is their only No. 1 hit on Bill Board 100. As a rock n' roll fan, but necessary a fan of the glam metal stuff, I'll admit that this indeed is a good song - both musically and lyrically.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Song Meaning & Background: November Rain by Guns N' Roses

ARTIST: Guns n' roses | ALBUM: use your illusion i | RELEASED: 1992
This used to be my favorite song for a while as it gave me great comfort when I was going to through some rough times in my life.

About

Hi I'm David Thomson - an avid Rock N' Roll fan. I've been listening to Rock, hard rock and heavy metal for a better part of my life. My favorite bands/musicians are ( may be in order of most liked to least, I dunno; it depends on the day ☺) : Metallica, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Guns N' Roses, Aerosmith, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Bon Jovi, Green Day, and many many more.

When I first created this blog, I thought I was going to only write about the themes hidden in songs, because most hard rock/rock n' roll songs have a deeper meaning that we conveniently ignore. We get so wrapped up in melodies, riffs and solos, but never take enough time to focus on the message. The reason why I say this is because since the 60's ( Beatles' era ) the band had much of the creative saying, meaning the song-writing was done within the band - giving the artist much room for his/her own creative saying. The best example is, none other than, Elvis. Elvis ruled the 50's, but didn't write a single song. The studio managers had song writers to do that for Elvis. This was due to something known as division of labor. It may be a little known fact that Elvis was the only Rock N Roll artist who had a major label, but it was surely no coincident, because major labels wanted artists who coincide with their policy of division of labor.

So as I was considering all this, I thought I should expand this blog beyond just the songs. I thought I should talk about the history of rock music, how bands were formed, background on some key artists/bands, the difference between Heavy Metal and Hard Rock, and evolution of rock itself.  But for now I''ll stick to exploring the meanings of songs. As I said, many rock songs are wrapped around in depth themes, much more than the fun things - you know: sex, drugs and rock n' roll :-). Stairway to Heaven is probably the best example. It's hard to put this song into words! It's the most frequently request song in the 70's; not surprising, given that Led Zeppelin was the band of the decade. I shall embark on a journey to break this song down, but not right now, of course. Being a HUGE Metallica fan, songs like Fade to Black, Unforgiven part I, part II and part III also come to mind.

When I write about song means, I'll probably have the lyrics right beside my own interpretation of the song. I also would like to see you own take on the songs I post on the blog. So please feel free to leave comments suggesting what you think of the song, and if it affected your personal life in way. In the future I might further expand the blog to popular music of today, but that's very unlikely. Can you guess why?