Posts Tagged ‘rock songs’

Soul Asylum originated from the same Minneapolis music scene that thankfully gave us The Replacements and Husker Du in the 80’s. While Dave Pirner & Company did not have had the same overall musical influence as Bob Mould and Paul Westerberg did with their respective bands, Soul Asylum definitely has been more commercially successful.  Their 1992 release GRAVE DANCERS UNION marched up the charts with hits ‘Somebody to Shove’ and ‘Black Gold’,  and then exploded with ‘Runaway Train’  which led to a Grammy for the modern-rock band.

Despite their multi-platinum success in 1992/1993, GREAT SONGS NEVER  DIE has to fast-forward a bit to the track ‘Just Like Anyone’  from their 1995 release LET YOUR DIM LIGHT SHINE. The energy and attitude of this hard-driving song captures Soul Asylum at the top of their game. The entire release has such a full and warm sound. I think Sterling Campbell on drums made a huge difference bringing a solid foundation to the band. Plus, Butch Vig with his outstanding production. [Butch is drummer for the band Garbage and produced Nirvana’s mega-seller NEVERMIND].

Accented drum hits, open hi-hats time-keeping, and guitar support the verses of ‘Just Like Anyone’  leaving you on edge just waiting for the chorus to kick in. Take a deep breath if you want to sing along because Pirner does not pause during the chorus as he tells the elegant story of a girl in an outhouse contemplating life. Using a series of homophones, the lyrics continually push the song forward along with the late Karl Mueller’s great bass line that closely mirrors the vocal melody and phrasing.

The band is still making music having released a new studio effort, DELAYED REACTION, this past summer. Unfortunately, guitarist Dan Murphy, who has been will the band since 1983, recently announced he was leaving the band. Also be sure to check out their 2006 release THE SILVER LINING with ‘Bus Named Desire’, ‘Lately’, and ‘Good For You’ as the stand-out tunes; plus their more recent DELAY REACTION in 2012 and my favorite track ‘Pipe Dream’.

Power-pop rock song with an alternative edge. Nothing overly original, but well-done rock song formula,  production, and full sound. Sometimes only part of a song makes it a favorite – on ‘Tell a Lie’ the vocal phasing in the verses and driving guitar that kicks in the middle of the verses are components that elevate the song from just average to ‘I HAVE TO HEAR THAT AGAIN’.  Unfortunately never heard from this band again — I believe they were dropped by record label due to lack of sales. I often wonder how song like this can not be all over the radio. It kills me when I hear radio stations preach “we play anything” and it is the same songs that have been played on the radio for the last 30-plus years. If you really play anything,  then play this song.

Back in 2005, there was a TV Show called ROCKSTAR INXS, where the Australian Band INXS looked to replace original lead singer, Michael Hutchence who passed away in 1997. I would have loved to see Sinomatic lead singer, Ken Cooper get an opportunity at that gig, I always thought his vocals and phrasing had a Michael Hutchence-like quality to them and imagine his voice could have worked well on the original INXS material.

Sometimes great songs will find me and actually wake me from  my sleep. A few songs from ‘The List’ that became immediate favorites were first heard from me being jolted awake by the song performance after I had fallen asleep during Letterman, Leno or some middle of the night performance show. A few I can think of off the top of my head would be “There’s More to Me Than You” by young country artist Jessica Andrews, ‘Spin’ by Lifehouse and ‘What a Catch, Donnie’ from Fall Out Boy singer, Patrick Stump as he performed on Live From Daryl’s House.

The most recent awakening was a late night performance by Cheap Trick of  ‘When The Lights Are Out’ on the PBS live concert show, Austin City Limits. It had been a while since I had heard anything from the 4-piece band best known for their classic hits ‘ I Want You To Want Me’ ,  ‘Surrender’, ‘The Flame’ and many others. At first I thought ‘When The Lights Are Out’ was a Cheap Trick original, but later learned it is a remake of the 1974 song by British rock group, Slade.

The song is a track on Cheap Trick’s 2009 release ‘The Latest’. I personally have never heard the studio recording, but will check it out. I was sold with their live version of this catchy. mid-temp rock song. The tight toe-tapping, shuffle feel and Robin Zander’s vocals grabbed me immediately.  I love the phasing of the lyrics.  They stayed pretty true to the an original Slade live version I found, which I suprisingly liked just as well.