Song of the Day (7/10/2018)

I just tore ass on the train and it smells like something heinous. People around me are cringing and disturbed paranoia and frantic confusion have gripped my end of the car with a swift vigor matched only by the violent shifts somewhere between my anus and small intestines. Fortunately, the good people at my hotel have my back(side) covered:

Happy Fourth of July!!! May Reagan bless your feast and affairs. Today’s song of the day is YOLO by The Lonely Island featuring Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar.

I was near President Reagan’s hometown last week before the Fourth:

While many people will tell you that Dixon, IL is a dump best left to the pages of history, I’m not so sure. In fact, like my friend, the SpoiledBBW, Dixon is beautiful…gorgeous…unique…she fine!

Oh, and before I forget to remember, you all need to go out and read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Fucking great read and outlook on life and immortality. Read it last week and it’s quick. I also read The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Awful. I wouldn’t touch it with SpoiledBBW’s ten foot titty dildo.

Reagan bless this day.

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Song of the Day (6/25/2018)

Hey girl! I was ass-deep in my dryer this weekend, attempting to unfuck the heating element when Alone by Heart came on the speakers. I proceeding to listen to it three more times following that initial orgasm. It’s super catchy so be careful, broheims. Speaking of ass-deep, I have to share a visual shared with me by Mr. Arch Stanton. To quote his oft-majestic prose, my ass has gotten hairy. It’s like someone hid a toupee between two couch cushions. Which reminds me, I need to give my coworker his scissors back.

Many of you know I’m a fan of hot foods. You also know I’m a fan of and quadrennial voter for John Wayne. Without further ado:

Do you like Louisiana style hot sauce? Love the heavy-on-the-vinegar taste? Pick up a bottle of this stuff. Delicious, not at all hot, and goes well on everything other than eggs and breakfast food (better left to Chalula):

Like fire Cheetos? Hot and spicy empty carbs? Don’t let the following name scare you, it’s spicy but not as hot as you’d expect:

And finally, for my fellow Wayne Eastwood 2020 voters, I ordered the fuck out of this over the weekend:

And finally, are you a fan of porn? Do you have a favorite website name? Not site, not genre, not tube aggregator, but site name? Currently, I’m digging:

Without ever visiting the site, you know EXACTLY what you’re getting here. That’s effective, high impact marketing. Doesn’t get much more black and white than that. Speaking of inherently knowing something without explicit details:

I don’t know what language that is (I think it’s French), but I again feel like I know EXACTLY what he saying. It’s inspiring how you don’t need to speak the same language to connect and find love. And in Bill Cosby’s case, they don’t need to speak at all. That one may have gone a bit too far. A tough pill to swallow for you SJW types…but like Bill Cosby, I’ll still verbally dress you down. GOOOOT ‘EM!

Arch Stanton Guest Post: Episode 7 of Today I Learned – Aleister Crowley

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Aleister Crowley is another one of these historical figures who’s brief biography always lists an array of bullshit before getting to the thing everyone knows them for. Mr Crowley was identified as a mountaineer, a poet, a theologian, a spy, a traitor to the British people, a sex addict, a drug experimenter, a magician and, FINALLY, an occultist. You may recognize him as, not really the ‘father’ of the metal genre, but more like the creepy distant uncle who you suspected brews meth in his trailer of the metal genre; Aleister Crowley would LOVE some meth while we’re on the subject.
Born in 1875, Crowley was famous for more or less the same reason Marilyn Manson is – being an edgy and outrageous contrarian propelled by deviant rumors despite lacking any real talent. (On a related note – consider how strange it is that, regardless of where in the country you went to high school, you almost certainly heard a rumor about how Marilyn Manson got one of his ribs removed so he could suck his own dick. HOW DID THIS BECOME A UNIVERSAL EXPERIENCE?) Once called “the Wickedest Man in the World” by British tabloids, Crowley was essentially a rock star before there was such a thing. He loooooooved doing tons of drugs and fucking anything that would let him, male or female.
He developed his own religion, the tenants of which I’m not going to really delve into because like Jay Cutler once said, “whooooooo caaaaaaares”, and there’s more interesting parts to get into. He developed the religion of “Thelema” which is basically a specific branch of Western esotericism which is basically just a grab bag of all the bits of pieces you like of various religions; he was the original West coast neo-hippie. The basic premise of this whole religion was “do what thou wilt.” Whoa hey I want to do boat loads of cocaine and have orgies with tons of prostitutes – how nuts is it that God spoke to me and told me this was cool?!? This is basically modern Satanism – most people think it’s about devoting yourself to the actual devil, but its basically hippies who wear too much black and hate their parents for sending them to private school. He basically embraced the bad publicity the press gave him for doing a ton of drugs and made a career out of it, giving himself delightfully malevolent nicknames like “the Great Beast 666”. Again, you and I roll our eyes at how cheesy this all is, but people between the World Wars were TERRIFIED. This was a time when people were still scared of Catholics, so imagine what they thought about a guy who said he was talking to Satan.
His life is pretty interesting in a nonsecular way – he was actually a well-respected mountaineer and hiked K2 and Kanchenjunga, traveled around the world, dabbled in the same circles as Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming (one source said Fleming based James Bond arch villain Blofield on Crowley), made yoga a thing before it was a thing, was considered a notorious spy, then wasn’t, and did TONS of drugs, like enough to make Keith Richards blush. No one cared about any of that shit then, and didn’t until he died. But somehow, Aleister Crowley became part of rock lore. Let’s look at his role in rock decades after his death:
– Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page lived basically the same life Crowley did – traveling, fucking, doing drugs, fucking some more, being a weirdo – and eventually bought Crowley’s Scottish castle (OF COURSE this asshole lived in a castle).
– The Beatles put his image on the album cover of “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, and members of Wings remarked that Paul McCartney and then-wife Linda had more than a passing interest in Aleister Crowley’s iteration of the occult. While we’re here, you guys should really be listening to more Wings, because “Band on the Run” really is an incredible album.
– The Rolling Stones indicated Crowley and his faux-religion were a source of inspiration for songs “Goat’s Head Soup” and “Sympathy for the Devil” as well as the album “Her Majesty’s Satanic Request” where they mimicked hand gestures he had made famous in the liner notes. What a time when liner notes were essential to appreciating music.
– H.I.M. (or His Infernal Majesty), made famous after Bam Magera got their logo tattooed on his treasure trail, have tons of references to ‘666’ and the occult in their music but claim this is all coincidence since they are merely a Finnish gothic rock group, which totally doesn’t make them Satanists. Later, front man Ville Valo claimed to have read dozens of biographies on Crowley and his beliefs.
– Ozzy Osbourne had a song called “Mr Crowley”. He was less subtle in his appreciation.
– Iron Maiden released a whole album called “The Number of the Beast”. I never listened to the full album, but the title single bangs.
– David Bowie’s song “Quicksand” from the album “Hunky Dory” makes multiple references to Crowley and his pretend order of evil, the Golden Dawn (what a rad name for your cult. I’m so bummed I’m going to have to select something different once my cult-building takes off).
– Metal bands Ministry, Behemoth, Exhorder, Samael, Mercyful Fate, and Vital Remains all have songs that explicitly reference Crowley’s ideas. I’m sure there are dozens more since metal bands are not especially original and, really, how many famous Satanists can you write songs about?
– Obviously, Marilyn Manson, because he had to pay homage to the original edgy goober; his song “Misery Machine” opens with the lines “we’re gonna ride to the abbey of Thelema” and uses “do what I will” for the verse. He presumably wrote this song in between sessions of sucking his own dick.
– Taylor Momsen, originally Cindy Lou Who in the Jim Carey “How the Grinch Stolen Christmas” and Little J from “Gossip Girl”, but now famous for flashing her tits on stage as part of her metal gig, regularly wears shirts with Crowley’s face and dabbles in Satanic imagery. When I think edgy, I think supporting cast of Gossip Girl.
– Band 311 has a song called “Offbeat Bare Ass” where they repeat “do what thou will shall be the whole of the Law”, and the bassist has the same motto tattooed under the Egyptian god Horus, another of Crowley’s favorite bits of iconography.
We started with the Beatles and Led Zeppelin and made it all the way down to 311 – we truly traversed the expanses of modern music. In our time, this dork would have been the snarkiest dungeon master of the Scottish Dungeons and Dragons circuit, but instead he became something of a folk icon. Hide your children, because the Devil is everywhere, and he wants to take your kids hiking.

Arch Stanton Guest Post: Albums I Listened to Too Much in High School Presented for Your Judgment

Coheed and Cambria – “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3”: If you are unfamiliar with Coheed and Cambria… well, I’m sorry you have lived such an unfulfilled life. But the good news is that now is the time to change that! Coheed and Cambria is hard to classify by genre — they were a square peg into the round hole of “late emo”, but standing them next to shit like Say Anything or Fall Out Boy, you’ll quickly notice they have nothing in common beyond “they use guitars”. These OTHER BANDS whine about being sad and heartbroken and hating their mom, whereas Coheed and Cambria created a huge interlinked story across seven albums (and six comics, and a novel) about an intergalactic federation at war and mutants being called to arms, and then their children carrying this battle onward, and then a different timeline where an astronaut discovers this galaxy generations prior and astral projects into future characters who have dissipated into stars in the past (it makes TOTAL sense (no it doesn’t)), but then there’s a ‘writer’ who is dictating the evolution of the plot who may be God, or schizophrenic, and may have recently buried a girl alive he previously stalked? dated? — Coheed and Cambria gets weird quick if you choose to actually delve into the plot. (I have many IMPORTANT OPINIONS on what it all means if you’re interested, but that’s a silly question because no one wants to read 20,000 words on multi-dimensional, multi-time line sci-fi love story opera with lots of gratuitous violence) Fortunately for you – the music is excellent and you can just show up and enjoy some rock that takes some some ambitious chances!

Coheed lends itself to comparisons to Rush based on the goofy prog premise, but the parallels go well past that. Consider: ridiculous song names inspired by the prog sense of storytelling (“Bytor and the Snow Dog” versus “Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness”), leading vocals that many interpret as female the first time through (my mom actually listened to a Coheed and Cambria song and thought it was Rush, and that was how I ended up listening to Rush in seventh grade), and strange off-tempo key and rhythm changes that no one else does. Even better parallel – Rush’s best album is “2112” and Coheed and Cambria has a song on this album called “21:13”.

Lest I go further off topic about how giddy talking about Coheed and Cambria makes me, this actual album is about as “radio friendly” as this band gets with later albums really upping the ante on the strange plot. The single that roped me in during a snow day in seventh grade was “A Favor House Atlantic” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRWjLLpwnOM) – super upbeat and fun and on first listen is a twee song about a pissy high school kid trying to act cool in front a crush but is really more about mutating into a monster and destroying an incoming army (don’t try to convince me this is anything but awesome). The rest of the songs are built with easy-to-sing along to lyrics and exciting guitar work, which is why you may recognize the name, but both of which lend themselves to repeated listenings and further inspection, which is why they have a devoted following still. In short, if you were the type of person who would like Coheed and Cambria, you would already be a fan. They remain one of my favorite bands to this day, and in a month, I will be seeing them for the fifteenth time where I will emphatically sing along to songs about spaceship battles and being buried alive. I refer you again to the title of this article.

Chiodos – “All’s Well That Ends Well”: An album full of overwrought lyrics about being a horny and angry hormonal teenager; I really connected with this album in high school. This album is a closer representation of my choice of music in high school – squealing lyrics that turned into a hoarse bear yelling into a canyon over guitars that sound like Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses B-sides. Definitely not a heavy album, but definitely not garden variety emo either. I had recalled the lyrics as basically “Charles Bukowski for virgins”, but upon a recent listen, they are EXTREMELY problematic (please know how much I hate calling things ‘problematic’ but it’s the only suitable term). Consider: “Her corpse lies lifeless where X marks the spot / at the bottom of the ocean floor”, “We live in fear and danger of them / their delicate cheeks will turn to rotting flesh / one day women will all become monsters”, “I’ll love you until my last breath takes you from me”, “She love me, she loves me not / he repeated to himself over and over / these petals decide what’s next for you and I”, and “I’ll stop stabbing when you stop screaming” YOOOOOOOOOOOO I must have been the dumbest kid ever because I did not pick up all this before, uhhh, yesterday. This is the first FOUR SONGS on the album! It reads like a post on an Incel message board without a moderator. I should probably consider therapy and make sure none of this bullshit rooted itself in my subconscious.

Upon further investigation, the album is “supposed” to be about an obsessive and unhealthy relationship, and is to serve as a guidepost as to what shouldn’t happen. Seems like applying meaning to something with a pretty clear cut meaning after the fact. This is supported by the next album having far tamer lyrics like “In a world where every girl wants to be a model / what’s wrong babe? / did daddy not give you enough attention” yep still weirdly aggressive.

If you haven’t completely tuned out this band yet, check out “There’s No Penguins in Alaska” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPU0V_YQzG0) – another one where it was the first song I heard of theirs and was immediately hooked. The riff is pretty heavy, which eventually funneled me into less violent bands like Slayer or Lamb of God.

Underoath – “They’re Only Chasing Safety”: An album full of overwrought lyrics about being a horny and angry hormonal teenager; I really connected with this album in high school. In a pleasant change of pace, there’s no brutal violence towards women in this one! As a Christian band, they were straight edge, which resonated with me because I, too, was TOO COOL for drugs or alcohol. (NOTE – I’m about to polish off a bottle of wine writing this). Whereas Coheed and Cambria is somewhere between “nonsensical” and “intricate layered storytelling” and Chiodos is “murdering your crush”, Underoath is mainline emo and all about being misunderstood, telling girls how no one GETS them and how this love with last forever — listening to it now and writing about it makes me skin crawl at how corny it all is, but I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVED it in high school. People just didn’t GET ME, ya know?

The vocals are screeching and overwhelming and the music is best described as “coordinated noise”. I first saw them in seventh grade (they were opening for Coheed and Cambria!), and I could not fathom how anyone could enjoy this music. It was so loud and indecipherable, but the crowd went nuts, and based on the crowd, I gave it a second chance later. Next thing you know, this is an album I have listened to more than a handful of others, and I will forever love this terribly cheesy album. Listen to “A Boy Brushed Red Living In Black and White” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-Xgxeal328) – about unceremoniously losing your virginity and being all regretful about it. I did not share this viewpoint in high school.

My Chemical Romance – “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge”: An album full of overwrought lyrics about being a horny and angry hormonal teenager; I really connected with this album in high school. This is probably the most mainstream I got – I was TOO COOL for the stuff everyone else liked, but try to tell me you didn’t love this album. Everyone did, because it was great. If I had to describe this band to someone who had never heard of them, I would say it’s like Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter decided to start a Queen tribute band that Freddie Mercury would thumb his nose at. Basically, a LOT of makeup and lyrics that pretty much always circle back to killing yourself. High school me had a lot to work through. I have a hunch Stephanie Meyers listened to this and looked at the band, and figured kids were really into sexy vampires and zombies, and decided that she would stake her literary career on this with “Twilight”. That’s just good market research.

People always assumed emo music was about being upset about not getting the girl you liked or whatever pedantic shit made you sad in high school (I really can’t even remember anymore – anything I was sad about in high school seems adorably twee now. “I have to work until NINE PM and I’m going to miss going to the movie with all my friends!”), but looking back this emo music was more focused on macabre obsessions with death or dying. If your parents ever frown about the music you listen to after hearing about this, remind them they listened the Doors and the Eagles.

Everyone liked “Helena” but my jam was always “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” because I loved the Brian May-inspired riff/solo-if-you-can-call-it-that before the last bridge, but if I was going to recommend one, “Cemetery Drive” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02W8DAnKvlA) mostly because it’s the most morbid song title on an album of morbid song titles, but c’mon, like this song wasn’t the most fun to sing along to in your car. Again, I refer you to the title of this article.

Jimmy Eat World – “Bleed American”: An album full of overwrought lyrics about being a horny and angry hormonal teenager; I really connected with this album in high school. If you hadn’t noticed, I was a very angst-y and conflicted and frustrated teen, surely a phase that I, and only I, am familiar with. No one else ever went through what I went through, and that’s why all these bands were famous and sang these songs to packed venues around the country and had multiple songs that charted off each of these albums. Those other fans didn’t GET the music like I did.

This album was great because it made me nostalgic for a time or era I had never lived through, kind of like how kids of the eighties remember the sixties through the lens of “the Wonder Years”. I remember the eighties and growing up through the lens of Jimmy Eat World’s 2001 album despite being thirteen when it came out and having experienced exactly nothing they sang about. With lyrics like “Are you gonna live your life wonderin’ standing in the back lookin’ around?” and “Are you gonna waste your time thinkin’ how you’ve grown up or how you missed out?”, Pitchfork panned this album (SHOCKING!) for being corny and contrived and strained. Well FUCKIN’ SORRY music-critic-in-his-forties that this did not resonate for you like it did for me. I was in the market for something more serious than TRL, and this was what happened to be around, and I loved it, damnit.

The second half of this album is fantastic, almost as good as the first half. I remember loving the singles everyone knew, like “Sweetness” and “The Middle” but also being very heartbroken about eventually being heartbroken as told by “Hear You Me”, but “A Praise Chorus” was an underappreciated track. My favorite then was, and remains, “Bleed American” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ft1lxiWFbDk) because it’s HARD and TELLS IT HOW IT IS with prescient lines like “I’m not alone because the TV’s on” and “I’m not crazy because I take the right pills”. Modern day poets, this Jimmy.

Queens of the Stone Age – “Songs for the Deaf”: UPSET PICK! This album is NOT about being an angry, horny prepubescent! Talk about a shocker! This album is a quasi-concept album where the progression of the album mimics the drive from Los Angeles into Palm Desert, where the band is from, all played out over surfing through the radio dial. Like Coheed and Cambria, I could talk forever about how fucking cool Queens of the Stone Age is. It’s like the devil in a leather jacket. Or a skeleton in sunglasses driving a muscle car, or a zombie stripper. The music is slick and cool and exudes charisma and charm, liking doing something you know you shouldn’t be doing but can’t help because of your self-destructive nature. The riffs and grooves are thick and winding, and fill whatever room they happen to come out on. Lead singer Josh Homme is a modern iteration of Elvis, and croons through most of the songs, a remarkable and welcomed change of pace from the rest of this list and, really, from any other band currently making music. Sometimes he passes lead vocal duty over to bassist Nick Oliveri who provides a gruff snarl to shift the gears on the heavier songs. All of this is over Dave Grohl on drums. It’s an album full of great musicians at their best.

You know earlier when I said I listened to “They’re Only Chasing Safety” more than almost any other album? This is an album I listened to more. You ever sit in your car and skip around trying to find something you want to listen to for a long drive, or something new? Whenever I get to this point, I always settle back to this album. I had at least three physical copies that I perpetually burned out from listening so much. It is perfect. It’s heavy, but not too much so; it’s off-putting, but in a fun way; it’s got an edge that I’ve never heard on another album regardless of the period. To quote Pitchfork’s review of this album: “…sliding into an easy groove, sleazing its way across a dimly-lit bar, half-drunk and reeking of cheap cologne, to put the moves on your girlfriend (or, you know, you, depending). This is four-to-the-floor slime of the highest quality, folks”. How can you NOT want to get into that?

Picking a favorite song is impossible. Could it be “No One Knows”, the first song I heard of theirs that showed me there was a way out of never ending realms of chode rock and nu metal? Or “You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire”, the berserk opening that make want to flip a table, even having heard it two thousand times? Or “Six Shooter”, which ups the ante even further? Maybe the sludgy smooth “First It Giveth”, “Sky is Fallin'” or “Go With the Flow”? But listen to “Song for the Dead” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrA2KLtAn1A) – partially for thematic consistency inspired by the name, but mostly because it’s always the song I jump to when I can’t listen to the whole album (but really, listen to the whole album).

Feel free to judge away from my awkward evolution as a music geek, but let me now what equally embarrassing drivel you listened to so I can mock you too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to contact a psychologist and see what these lyrics did to my fragile teenage adolescence and how they evolved into that self-destructive nature.

Arch Stanton Guest Post: Best Kanye Featured Verses

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If you hadn’t noticed, everyone’s favorite Kanye, Kanye West, has been Kanye-ing in the Kanye this Kanye. This post is not about that, because who really cares what Kanye thinks (NOTE – apparently everyone on the planet, including my mother). If you want that, I’m sure the Washington Post (good purchase Bezos!) has a long op-ed on Kanye’s heel turn. This was intended to be a chance to some lighthearted banter about Kanye’s most Kanye featured verses, but then I learned he has NINETY-TWO between 2004 and 2017, and a ton of which I am now realizing I am not especially familiar with.
So with that in mind, I went and found a handful that were interesting, well-written or otherwise notable for some reason that I happened to like. The full list is at the bottom is you are really that interested to see a list of 92 songs, but the following is  a chronological order of verses I really liked or really think you need to be aware of — you will know exactly which ones I’m talking about when you see them.
Common – “The Food” (https://vimeo.com/194588109)
Specifically the Chappelle’s Show version. March 3, 2004: my first introduction with Kanye. I, like any teenage boy in 2004, LOOOOVED Chappelle’s Show, and like any teenage boy, I usually glossed over the musical guests because they didn’t have THE GOOD rap. 2004 me was a dumbass, but was smart enough to realize Kanye was cool as shit. Common was cool (I really liked the album “Be” at the time), but Kanye was clearly the second biggest star on the stage that night, just behind the guy fucking around with the microwave in the background throughout the entire video. Looking back, I think I really liked the line “So I had to did, what I had to did” because that is so wildly stupid. Not as dumb as toppling the incredible momentum of “Father Stretch My Hands” with an opening line about bleached assholes, or putting the pussy in the sarcophagus, but a contender.
This also led to Dave Chappelle later recounting how he knew Kanye was going to be a star. Dave talks about being backstage during the shooting of the show with Kanye, Common and Talib Kweli, and he sees Kanye’s phone ring. Kanye picks up, listens for a moment, responds with “I’m hanging out with Dave Chappelle.” After a short pause, Kanye says, “because my life is dope, and I do dope shit” before hanging up the phone. You can totally look this up.
Dilated Peoples – “This Way” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rbo9QlcLcX8)
I have no idea how I ever heard this song, because I have never heard the term “Dilated Peoples” in my life outside of this song. This is peak polo-Kanye, when he had some semblance of self-awareness and an image of being a grounded-in-reality rapper. The first lines of Kanye’s verse are, “my favorite girl want to leave me just because I got a girlfriend,” which is really just an A+ line. The inflection in, “I’m a Chicagoaaaan til Chicago ennnnnnds til we blow like Chicago wiiiiiiinds” is pretty great, plus the layered on irony that Kanye is now the least Chicago person on the face of the earth. There are alt-right secessionists in Alaska who are more Chicagoan than Kanye West in 2018.
T.I. – “Swagga Like Us” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjL-3Rlwh8U)
Kanye has the first verse on this track and opens with, “Mr West is in the buildin’ / Swagger on a hundred Thousand TRILLION”, and you can really skip the rest of the song after that.
Estelle – “American Boy” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ic5vxw3eijY)
Like Dilated Peoples, I have never heard another song by Estelle song, but I know this one because Kanye dominates the shit out of it. Based on this song, I am assuming Estelle is British, because Ye comes out with at least thirteen references to British pop culture. I’m not sure Kanye realized this song was not one of his own, because he drops a few bars for the intro and has a reeeeeal long verse for a feature. The song is about, YOU GUESSED IT, American boys, and Kanye proceeds to rap about… not American things. Who was going to tell him he couldn’t?
Young Jeezy – “Put On For My City” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aEImx74gLA)
Regarding the Yeezy of this Jeezy – coming out in 2008, ie the 808s and Heartbreaks era of Kanye autotuning the shit out of everything and getting all “feelings”-y on his tracks after he and his fiance broke up about the same time his mother passed away. This verse is far less pompous than the preceding ones, and tips his hand with some of the darkness that was coming on “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, with the best line being, “I got the Jesus on a chain, man that don’t mean shit / ‘Cause when the Jesus pieces can’t bring me peace.” On a lighter note, this was the song every white high school team played before whatever sporting event in order to fire themselves up. I’m sure Kanye and Jeezy are honored to be a part of my high school lacrosse team’s pregame soundtrack.
Jay-Z – “Run This Town” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV5dB_3ANpA)
Rihanna is on this track, and I think we have really taken her for granted – can you think of one song she was on or released that didn’t totally bang? Okay besides “Work”, which was still good despite being annoying. You could make the argument this is where people started considering Kanye as hip hop’s top dog over Jay-Z , even though they were still going to release “Watch the Throne”. This was 100% confirmed after Jay farted out the lamest verse on “Monster” from “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”. That verse is SO trash. ANYWAY – Kanye throws out possibly my favorite Kanye line, “what you think I rap for / to push a fuckin’ RAV4?” We are still awaiting Toyota’s response to this punishing diss track.
Fall Out Boy – “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s An Arms Race (Remix)” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19dt0YMYdw0)
So yeah this happened. In 2007, Fall Out Boy tried to get Kanye West to do a remix for a bonus track for “Infinity on High”. I have no idea how this happened, and apparently neither did Kanye, because he starts with, “Now, I don’t know what the hell this song is talking ’bout – do you?”. No, Kanye, I do not – Fall Out Boy songs have really long titles and are too clever by half. Just get to the part where you beg for your ex to come back with the catchy chords.
This song proooooobably did not get wide release because Kanye spends his verse really shitting on the artist he’s supposed to be helping out – “One thing I gotta call out boy / take a look at Fall Out Boy / since they ain’t black / when they get the money they don’t ball out boy / they just buy tight jeans ’til they nuts hang all out boy”. Kendrick Lamar notoriously roasted Big Sean when he was featured on “Control”, but Ye was first to this. The only problem is NO ONE CARES IF YOU DISS FALL OUT BOY. Their entire existence is to be dissed by everyone.
Not that NASA, but this is my it, my favorite Kanye verse, on this song I am pretty sure no one else has ever heard . Kanye fully commits to full braggadocio here, and to dissect it is to really minimize the cockiness of each line, so lets do exactly that. He opens with, “I’m known for running my mouth / I will not be accountable for what comes out” — again, this was almost a full decade before one million thinkpieces were launched with “problematic” in the title based on whatever bullshit people are mad about. There’s a great Spinal Tap reference that I would bet a substantial amount of money was not intentionally made — “while y’all on ten, I’m on eleven” – and it leads into more remarkable foresightedness (it’s not a word, but roll with it) with, “I’mma make the news, be on at 7 / matter fact, I’m on this very second”. He bows out with “y’all motherfuckers know who this is / I’m gifted / Merry Christmas”. Right about here was when I moved from “I like Kanye” to “Kanye is the best and to say otherwise is to admit your ignorance”. Definitely listen to this song.
Stromae – “Alors on Danse” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLSYaAAjUOg)
Here’s Kanye, in front of the curve again, being featured on a European big-room styled EDM track before this was a popular thing. The song is super upbeat and dance-y, and lends itself to a few solid verses and a sample of Ye yelling, “throw ya hands in the sky right nooow”. A good line here is, “Live this life like there’s no tomorrow / Wake up in Paris with a Ruuuuussian model”. He and the Donald were always destined to be friends.
The pee tape is total real is what I’m trying to say.
30 Seconds to Mars – “Hurricane 2.0”
Remember when I promised there would be some real WTF songs here? Ta dah. I didn’t mistakenly not add the Youtube link. It’s pretty bad, and you should trust me here.
Oh do you not believe me? The most punchable face in music, Jared Leto, sincerely asks, “tell me, would kill to save your life?” Even Coldplay thinks this song is fucking lame.
This was the first time I ever heard Drake, and even then I thought he was kinda lame despite loving this song, but having Lil Wayne, Eminem and Kanye on your first single will do that. Starting with, “Last name – Ever / first name – Greatest” really appealed to seventeen year old me, but has really become cheesy with the development of self-awareness in age. If it’s been awhile since you watched this video – go watch it again. It was 2009, Drake looks (more) like a baby, and LeBron is featured heavily, including a scene where he’s playing online poker in a limo. Uhhh… sure, whatever. (Not to get derailed, but this was a song about being the greatest ever, heavily in reference to LeBron, and it was NINE YEARS AGO. In the most recent game as of the writing of this, LeBron scored 44 points with 10 rebounds and 8 assists in the playoffs against the Pacers. LeBron very well may be the best ever.)
ANYWAY, Kanye is great, flashing more of his distaste for fame and Hollywood, talking about how much he hates Hollywood and all the fame and attention, ending his verse with, “They pull the cameras out and goddamn, he snap / I used to want this thing forever, y’all can have it back”. He rhymes “McLovin” with “Michelle’s husband”, “fuckin’ loser” with “Bueller”, and “granny back” with “fanny pack – the point I’m trying to make is Kanye is the best when he’s on one.
Lil Wayne’s verse is great; he ambles around the verse until he stumbles into something clever or insightful (sounds like my writing style!), but definitely one of the last really great verses he had. Eminem though… remember when Eminem was a force to be reckoned with, and not a grumpy old man? He sinks his teeth in here and really lays waste to the track. I remember being blown away with, “he’s wondering if he should spit this slow / FUCK NO, go for broke, his cup just runneth over oh no”. That was the last time anyone gave a shit about Eminem until he awkwardly yelled at the President, and we only cared because it was pretty bad.
Kid Cudi – “Erase Me” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICaTsTkBPV8)
This was from Cudi’s weird quasi-rock stage where he used way too prominent guitars and drums in his music, and it all kinda sucked. The video features McLovin’ (back-to-back McLovin’ references! Who knew he and Kanye had such a rich history together?) playing drums behind Kid Cudi impersonating Jimi  Hendrix with lead vocalist Kanye acting like… Kanye. Cudi was featured on a dozen of Kanye’s tracks, and Kanye half assed on one of his.
Chris Brown – “Deuces” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1AaWyyPrCQ)
My anti-Chris Brown stance is so fierce, I never knew he released a song with Kanye, Drake, T.I. AND Andre 3000. That said, this song is pretty boring (again, Drake is involved) outside Kanye’s line, “you gonna be hot a little while / I’ma be rich forever” and literally everything in Andre’s verse. I don’t understand how Andre can rap like he has never done this before, but it is still transfixing to hear. Everyone go listen to your favorite Outkast song after this is over and let’s all take a moment to appreciate what a magnificent weirdo he is.
I prefer the tracks where Kanye just starts right out of the gate with his verse so I don’t have to commit to a whole song, but in this case, I will listen to the whole thing because peak Katy Perry bangs, BUT THEN Kanye shows up again at the end, because that’s how he chose to operate. I had never seen the video, which has Kanye channeling his inner Backstreet Boys-in-the-“Everybody”-Music-Video, and then Katy Perry doing some mix of Chronicles of Narnia meets 2001: A Space Odyssey; in other words, it was real expensive and real dumb, which is pretty much the entire Katy Perry brand.
The most notable line here is, “you are not invited to the other side of sanity,” furthering the 2001: A Space Odyssey motif as well as the “Kanye is aware he a unaware” theme that runs through, oh, about his entire catalog.
2 Chainz – “Birthday Song” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y34jC4I1m70)
Finally, one of the most introspective rappers collabs with the least introspective rapper. This one did not get a ton of publicity when it came out, probably because 2 Chainz really only appeals to people who already like 2 Chainz. It’s an acquired taste. This song is interesting because it’s a notable difference from preppy/standard Kanye to “street cred” Kanye. If you know anything about Kanye, it’s probably something like, “he has no street cred”.
So in this video, Kanye is flanked by two women on both side of him in some drop-crotch leather pants with a black wife beater on a bike, noticeable NOT actually peddling, which leads me to the point – do you think Kanye can actually ride a bike? Without training wheels? I give it 75% he can’t.
UPDATE – I was wrong.
A pretty normal Future song – he mumbles a bunch over some solid beats and his voice gets modulated at a few points, and it still results in a pretty catchy song. Kanye’s verse is a remarkable sincere love letter to Kim Kardashian, and its surprisingly endearing. I really don’t have anything else clever to add, but if you are an armchair Kanye psychologist, it’s a worthy addendum to “Bound 2”.
Schoolboy Q – “THat Part” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ_DHRI-Xp0)
It bums me out that Schoolboy Q does not get more love. “Oxymoron” was one of the best hip hop albums of the last few years with ten legit classics, and he had the best lines on the all-star cast on the Black Panther album, including a dozen verses from Kendrick Lamar (“her tits are C cup / her ass an A-plus”). Listen to Schoolboy Q.
This song includes the lines, “I just left the strip club, got some glitter on me / wifey gonna kill me, she the female OJ” – how kind of Kanye to throw out a reference to Khloe’s father in a song!
Chance the Rapper – “All We Got” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Hi3nbs3bD4)
I loved doing this because it was fun to catalog Kanye matching up with different styles based on the artists he’s working with – street with 2 Chainz, backpack/conscious with Common, braggadocious with Jay-Z, showing he’s as good as anyone when lined up next to Eminem, Lil Wayne and Drake, topical with pop singers, and fucking stupid with 30 Seconds to Mars – here he embraces his chuch choir side, with the kid’s choir singing the chorus with him instead of a rap about his dick or Kim’s ass.
I’ve tried to describe Kanye to non-fans in reference to how a lot of rappers talk about gang life or glorifying violence (like Tupac or Notorious BIG) versus guys who rap about the Black Experience in America (Common or A Tribe Called Quest) versus guys who rap about partying and girls (Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross), compared to Kanye. who really just raps about being Kanye. It’s what makes him so great. No one else could get away without having a message or some brightly defined genre – Kanye’s just out here bitching about shit that NO ONE who listens to his music identifies with, and it totally works. To really blur lines here, I’m going to sum up Kanye’s entire persona in one quote from Lemmy, the lead singer of British metal band Motorhead – “If you’re going to be a fucking rock star, go be one. People don’t want to see the guy next door on stage; they want to see a being from another planet.
Year Song Artist Appears on
2017 Dat Side CyHi the Prynce No Dope on Sundays
2017 Glow Drake More Life
2016 All We Got Chance the Rapper Coloring Book
2016 Ballin’ Juicy J Single release
2016 Castro Yo Gotti ft. Quavo, 2 Chainz & Big Sean White Friday
2016 Feel Me Tyga Rawwest Nigga Alive
2016 Figure it Out French Montana ft. Nas Wave Gods
2016 Pop Style Drake ft. Jay Z Views
2016 Pussy Print Gucci Mane Everybody Looking
2016 THat Part ScHoolboy Q Blank Face LP
2015 All Your Fault Big Sean Dark Sky Paradise
2015 Blessings Big Sean ft. Drake Dark Sky Paradise
2015 Jukebox Joints A$AP Rocky At. Long. Last. A$AP
2015 M.P.A. Pusha T ft. A$AP Rocky & The-Dream King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude
2015 One Man Can Change the WorldBig Sean ft. John Legend Dark Sky Paradise
2015 Piss on Your Grave Travi$ Scott Rodeo
2015 SMUCKERS Tyler, the Creator ft. Lil Wayne Cherry Bomb
2015 U Mad Vic Mensa Single release
2014 Can’t Stop Theophilus London Vibes
2014 I Won Future Honest
2013 Thank You Busta Rhymes ft. Lil Wayne & Q-Tip E.L.E. 2
2012 Another You The World Famous Tony Williams King or the Fool
2012 Birthday Song 2 Chainz Based on a T.R.U. Story
2012 I Wish You Would DJ Khaled ft. Rick Ross Kiss The Ring
2011 Amen Pusha T ft. Jeezy Fear Of God II: Let Us Pray
2011 E.T. Katy Perry Teenage Dream
2011 Eyez Closed Snoop Dogg ft. John Legend Doggumentary
2011 Marvin & Chardonnay Big Sean ft. Roscoe Dash Finally Famous
2010 Blazin Nicki Minaj Pink Friday
2010 Deuces (Remix) Chris Brown ft. André 3000 & Drake F.A.M.E.
2010 Erase Me KiD CuDi Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
2010 Hurricane 2.0 Thirty Seconds to Mars This is War (deluxe version)
2010 Live Fast, Die YoungRick Ross Teflon Don
2010 Start it Up Lloyd Banks ft. Ryan Leslie, Swizz Beatz & Fabolous H.F.M. 2
2010 Welcome To The World T.I. ft. KiD CuDI No Mercy
2009 Alors On Danse (Remix) Stromae ft. Gilbere Forte Cheese
2009 Ego (Remix) Beyoncé I Am… Sasha Fierce
2009 Forever Drake ft. Lil Wayne & Eminem More Than a Game
2009 Gifted N.A.S.A. ft. Santigold & Lykke Li The Spirit of Apollo
2009 Glenwood Big Sean Single release
2009 I Still Love H.E.R. Teriyaki Boyz Serious Japanese
2009 Kinda Like A Big Deal Clipse Till The Casket Drops
2009 Knock You Down Keri Hilson ft. Ne-Yo In a Perfect World..
2009 Make Her Say KiD CuDi ft. Common Man on the Moon: The End of Day
2009 Maybach Music II Rick Ross ft. Lil Wayne & T-Pain Deeper than Rap
2009 Run This Town Jay Z ft. Rihanna The Blueprint 3
2009 Supernova Mr Hudson Straight No Chaser
2009 Whatever U Want (Remix) Consequence Movies on Demand
2008 American Boy Estelle Shine
2008 Go Hard DJ Khaled ft. T-Pain We Global
2008 Put On Jeezy The Recession
2008 Swagga Like Us T.I. ft. Jay Z & Lil Wayne Paper Trail
2007 Down Chris Brown Exclusive
2006 Brand New Rhymefest Blue Collar
2006 Number One Pharrell Williams In My Mind
2006 Still Dreaming Nas ft. Chrisette Michele Hip Hop is Dead
2006 Wouldn’t Get Far Game Doctor’s Advocate
2005 Extravaganza Jamie Foxx Unpredictable
2004 Number One John Legend Get Lifted
2004 Talk About Our Love Brandy Afrodisiac
2004 This Way Dilated Peoples Neighborhood WatchAll Falls Down by John Legend
Anything  Patti LaBelle
Back Like That [Remix]  Ghostface Killah ft. Ne-Yo
Beat Goes On  Madonna
Because of You [Remix]  Ne-Yo
Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)  T-Pain
Digital Girl  Jamie Foxx ft. Drake & The-Dream
Down and Out  Cam’ron
Everybody  Fonzworth Bentley ft. André 3000
Finer Things  DJ Felli Fel ft. Jermaine Dupri, Ne-Yo & Fabolous
Go!  Common ft. John Mayer
Grammy Family  DJ Khaled ft. John Legend & Consequence
Higher  Do or Die
Hold On [Remix]  Dwele
I Changed My Mind  Keyshia Cole
Like This  DJ Clue
My Baby  Janet Jackson
Plastic  Really Doe
Pro Nails  Kid Sister
Real Love  Rell ft. Consequence
Selfish  Slum Village ft. John Legend
Slow Jamz  Twista
Stay Up! (Viagra)  88-Keys
The Bounce  Jay Z
The Corner  Common ft. The Last Poets
The Food  Common ft. DJ Dummy
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly  Consequence
Therapy  T-Pain
This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race  Fall Out Boy
Walkin’ on the Moon  The-Dream
What It Is  Sofia Fresh

Arch Stanton Guest Post: Introduction to Metal

One of my life’s biggest laments is that I am forced to trawl music blogs for good metal music. You see, none of my friends are cool enough to listen to the metal genre and save me from being forced to read idiots complain about music on their blogs. Today, this idiot is going to EDUCATE about music on his blog, in the hopes that maybe he could entice some people into giving metal a chance.

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I understand the reluctance to listening to metal: the obscene amounts of leather outfits, Cookie Monster-vocals, vulgar cover art, band names and song titles/lyrics (cough cough Cannibal Corpse), and a musicality many people would politely refer to as “four douche bags in black t-shirts who can’t play their instruments”. All of these are very fair assumptions and concerns; as I mentioned, I have been subjected to the taint of the metal scene in searching for bands who actually put some effort into learning their instruments or finding a vocalist who doesn’t hate his dad.  This primer hopes to show you some metal bands who still embody metal with singers you can understand with the throbbing guitar riffs that make metal so goddamn awesome.

I took some of my favorite bands and broke them into three different categories – beginner, intermediate, and advanced – so you can dabble to your comfort level, and so I can talk about my favorite songs. No one said this wouldn’t be self-indulgent. The best metal balances a fine line between “fucking awesome” and “this is so corny” – your breakdowns and solos better make up for extended lyrics about love-making orcs. I will point out the corniest shit so you can see metal is not nearly as intense as these dorks tend to imagine themselves as.
(Note to anyone who happens to stumble across this looking to claim ‘THESE AREN’T REAL METAL BANDS, THEY’RE SLUDGE/STONER/GRIND’ – just fuck right off. This is why no one likes metal fans. They argue endlessly about the classification of a band versus, ya know, appreciating them. This is a second reason I don’t have any other fans who like metal – metalheads tend to be the most obnoxious people.)
BEGINNER: These bands each feature relatively crisp vocals and heavy-but-not-alienating riffs and rhythms. Most of these bands have a pretty straight delineation from Black Sabbath, so heavy chords, but not especially fast or oppressive. When I run very, very slowly, these bands are my go-to because the tempo is steady and predictable. In other words, these are metal bands you can get stoned and listen to.
The Sword: From Austin, TX, these guys sing a lot about Norse mythology, which was pretty cheesy until Thor became the guidepost for best Marvel movies, and now Norse mythology is cool! Their bass lines are not the most oppressive on this list, nor are their drums the most overwhelming, or the guitars fiercely intimidating, but all together they have a heavy groove-based style that real geeks me out. They are a direct descendant of Black Sabbath — the music video for “How Heavy This Axe” is a… parody? homage? to Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” video from the 70’s to a T. But check out “Lament for the Aurochs’ from Age of Winters (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1h4cbPEfWs) — look at that cheesy-ass French art-noveau style album work! I love it so much.
Torche: I first checked out Torche because I saw a review of their album Harmonicraft called them “bubble gum metal,” and if that description doesn’t fascinate you, well, you probably don’t like metal that much. Or bubble gum. I don’t know your business. It’s hard to describe why that tag fits – soaring guitar riffs that butt up against bass lines designed to pull you into the earth. If you check out Torche, make sure you put your speakers/headphones to maximum-bass, because these guys really embrace the “it goes to eleven” of bass. You will feel it in bones, and that is rad as hell. The vocals for Torche tickle me, because I always imagine lead singer Steve Brooks standing like six feet from the mic as he sings like he’s trying to project to the International Space Station. I saw them live, and that’s pretty much exactly what he does. Listen to “Loose Men” off the Restarter album (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baCPf7W8fgc), but really the Harmonicraft album is top-to-bottom nearly perfect and worth listening to.
Baroness: I would describe Baroness’ sound as naturistic. I know that’s not a word, but it all feels very natural and the type of shit I would listen to on a beautiful spring afternoon walking through a field of blossoming flowers, but like, with a metal band singing about Sherman’s March. We’ll call it ‘vernalcular’, as in ‘vernal equinox’. Roll with it. Baroness’ lead man Jonathan Dyer Baizley’s voice is so great – he’s one of the few who actually kind of sing in different octaves, and he manages to convey real emotion in these songs in way most others on this list can’t. Besides “mad” obviously, they all do that one pretty well. My favorite song of theirs is “Take My Bones Away” due to the coordinated, cresting guitars in the solo, but I would recommend “If I Have to Wake Up (Would You Stop the Rain?)” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHPTd8RrDgk) — it manages to be heartrendingly sad but mixed with an optimism. Gives me chills every time I hear it.
Red Fang: Where Baroness is sincere and elegant, Red Fang is the polar opposite. My favorite song of theirs, “Prehistoric Dog” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VufilzHKTqk) opens with the lines “dogs that howl from outer space” in a music video where they shotgun tallboys and yell at guys LARP-ing in a park. I recommend you watch this video if only merely for the armor made out of empty beer cans. Do not confuse the full awareness of their corniest distract you from the riffs — these dudes bang. Sharp, plodding rifts are the big takeaway here, not that they made a music video devotion to the movie Predator.
INTERMEDIATE: We’re getting to heavier riffs and more growling vocals, but still relatively accessible compared to the depths of the metal genre. I think someone new to the genre can find a lot to appreciate here — I really never fully got into the genre until listening to Mastodon. On that note…
Mastodon: Possibly my favorite band ever, if not Queens of the Stone Age. The band name perfectly encapsulates their sound – heavy, plodding, hairy and mean. They wildly evolved over the course of their albums, starting with leaning on Brent Hinds to snarl through vocals like he was trying to blow down the houses of the three little pigs, but eventually giving forking more of that responsibility to Troy Sanders and Brann Dailor and delving into wacky time signatures resembling those of our Canadian overlords Rush. I am at a loss for what to recommend to a newcomer to Mastodon – do we go with something from Remission, their heaviest and least polished album, or maybe Leviathan, a concept album based on Moby Dick (remember when I said the best metal runs the fine line on corny and awesome?), or maybe Crack the Skye, a seven song masterpiece that essentially involves a paraplegic astral projecting to a parallel universe where he does battle with a cult from the future who worship Rasputin? If I wanted to really get to you like Mastodon I would recommend something off their Once More ‘Round the Sun or Emperor of Sand, far more accessible to a newbie, but no – MARCH OF THE FIRE ANTS (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uShqlufsq5w). I bet everyone who listens to that hates it, but man I want to fight an entire army listening to it. This song should be the soundtrack to Jurassic Park deleted scenes where the T Rex just stomps every person into dust; but as he’s snuffing the life out of Chris Pratt or Dallas Howard, there’s a moment it looks like they’ll escalate, but JUST KIDDING, you are being curb stomped through the crust of the planet. FUCK this song gets me worked up.
Metallica: Whatever, you know Metallica. If you can appreciate Metallica, you are halfway to appreciating metal. They are the platonic ideal of metal. Their first five albums (Kill Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, …And Justice for All and the Black Album) will go down as the greatest streak a band has ever had. Suck it, Beatles. Their other albums, uhhh, will be forgotten entirely. You know a dozen Metallica songs, but check out this live version of “Master of Puppets” from 1989 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gtf5-PjqRg) — tell me you don’t get the appeal now. How could a hormonal teen before internet porn get that pent-up energy out before a band who got absolutely loaded every night, fucked every groupie possible and sang about various ways to kill each other told them how? If time travel is every invented, I’m going to a Metallica concert circa 1989, where I will be promptly punched in the face.
Mutoid Man: I was on the fence about putting them in the beginner or here, but then remembered no one reading this gives a shit, and I needed to round out the numbers a bit, so here we are. The vocals here are pretty clean, with some real magnificent odes to Ronnie James Dio throughout their catalog and they lean heavily on a thrashing bass line, but the rhythms are much quicker than most of what was detailed in the beginner part. As my responsibility to detail the corny parts of metal bands who are still kicking ass – “Date with the Devil” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1griB-cC10). Not my favorite song by them by any means, but the riff still knocks you back into your seat. This is the song because I really need to talk about the lyrics — “climbed all over Satan’s daughter / nothing’s ever made me harder” and “came inside of Satan’s daughter / nine months later, who’s the father?” and “i did the walk of shame from hell” — somehow, these lines are still not enough to push this song from “metal” to “corny”.
Black Tusk: You can tell it’s a metal band because they are “black” something for a band name. I would list all of the metal bands that have black in their name, but because time is finite and we are all one step closer to death everyday, I will not waste your time or mine. Black Tusk is similar to Red Fang in the sense they do not take themselves too seriously, with song titles like “Set the Dial To Your Doom”, “Desolation in Endless Times” and “God is on Vacation”, an album titled Taste the Sin and a song that opens with Andrew Fidler yelling, “SIX! SIX! SIX!”. That’s the devil’s number you guys, if you didn’t know, and them singing that means they are HARDCORE. The guitar work here is super riff driven – is it the most technical? No, but you will be headbanging to every song. Listen to “Resistor” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1AV9-K0Lj4&list=PLT3u6m6ilncwOjjbJu78_H9y2yXDxgE9j&index=8) but only because I couldn’t find a good version of “The Ride” on Youtube.
ADVANCED: There’s going to be some screaming, fast rhythms, and bruising chords. PREPARE YOURSELF.
Deafheaven: I have recently come to the conclusion “Sunbather” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylTY9WbMGDc) is one of my favorite songs of all time. Remember when I made up the word “vernalcular”? It describes Deafheaven so well. “Sunbather” is about the time lead singer George Clarke drove through San Francisco suburbs and first understood income inequality; you will not discern this deeper meaning from the lyrics without looking them up. They sift from downtrodden isolated guitars to a wall of sound impenetrable to someone unfamiliar, but this song paints a gut-wrenching sad soundscape reminiscent of the ‘denial’ stage of Kubler’s model of grief, but gently turns a corner into ‘anger’ about five minutes in where we shift from a major key into a minor, suddenly giving a much more hostile edge to the tone of the song. In spite of this, the song resolves itself and ends on an emotional breakthrough with a glint of optimism. This is almost always the first song I play in my car, and yes, I scream until my throat is raw. I. Love. This. Song.
Lamb of God: Originally named “Burn the Priest”, they changed to something with more mainstream accessibility. I don’t know what the point of this move was, because it’s not like mom was suddenly going to check out “Ashes of the Wake” because of the name change. Same thing goes to you, 2 Chainz, previously known as Titi Boi. Lamb of God is probably the most technically proficient and complex group on this list – you many not be able to get past Randy Blithe incredibly blistering vocals, but I like to imagine people can recognize the guitar work Mark Morton puts in (NOTE – I know you don’t). I saw them once in concert, and they dedicated the “Eleventh Hour” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HpBs_ri808) to anyone who served in the armed forces, and are notoriously famed for being aggressively cool to veterans. Anyway, the breakdown here brings the roof in every single show, and how could it not?!? I’m writing this and looking out my apartment window for someone walking down the street for someone to start fighting.
Meshuggah: This is your final. “Bleed” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qc98u-eGzlc). The video is gross and disorienting and violent and features bugs and flash photography with the most brutal of riffs and drums and vocals. The first time I heard Meshuggah, I thought it was a Tool b-side until I heard the song opened up like sinkhole to the center of the earth, and I thought, “even Maynard James Keenan isn’t this angry”. Meshuggah is oppressively heavy, fast, technical and organized chaos, and here to fucking disembowel you with their interludes. Solos? Nah, they’d rather blow your head open with fucking lightning bolts through your skull  with their riffs. There is no mercy in Meshuggah. You listen to Meshuggah for one reason, and that is to start a fucking riot.
Anyway, I could go on for hours more with other bands and songs I like, but I have cars I need to flip because I mistakenly listened to Meshuggah without an outlet to use this adrenaline. To reward you for indulging me this far, here’s Baroness and Mutoid Man covering “Purple Rain”, the most perfect song every devised (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5PXu34mYGA).

Song of the Day (4/26/2018)

Today’s song of the day is Ball and Chain by Social Distortion. I’d love to give a shoutout to the 1990s but this little doozy was released in 1990 – crazy to have come out so early in the decade given it’s squarely a 1990s feel.

Staying on the topic of balls and social distortions: Donald Trump’s PEN15. Maybe you’ve seen it, maybe you haven’t. We agree it’s there and it’s probably been inside at least one B-list pornstar’s fun box. A couple of amusing articles on the topic:

Changing subjects, a currently relevant photo that I loved:

And the world’s best email sign-off:

And a couple of baller license plates. You’ll have to be patient, I meant to do a real post here but ran out of time.