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Monday, November 27, 2017

Tarja O Come O Come Emmanuel Review

When it comes to metal and classical vocals, few have  made that combination work as well as Tarja Turunen.  Tarja rose to fame during her time with the famous band "Nightwish".  While there were plenty of female vocalists in metal before Tarja, she brought her classical style vocal to the genre, which no one had done before her and it made a huge impact on the metal music scene.  Her vocal work would play a huge part in the creation of symphonic metal.  This would make Nightwish one of the biggest bands in Europe and would earn them a strong following through out the world.  Sadly, Tarja got fired from Nightwish in October 2005.  The reasoning for this is still being debated today among Nightwish fans today.  However, Tarja moved on and has since had a pretty successful solo career.  Most recently she decided to try her hand at Christmas music and put out her version of the classic hymn, " O Come O Come Emmanuel.

From a musical stand point, she certainly has taken a different take on this song. It sounds more mysterious and classical.  Early on in the song, it sounds mysterious with subtle orchestra music playing and Tarja singing with it.  The bridge really gets louder and more energetic.  The sound is deeper, heavier, and more big as the song goes on.  She does this to try to add more depth and it actually works.  The one problem I have with this song is how she tries to make it sound dark at times.  For example, when the orchestra really pics up at first, it sounds more like trying to escape in a horror movies then listening to a Christmas song.  I understand that she is going for that, but for an uplifting hymn like this I don't think it fits.  She doesn't go too far with it though and she brings it back to more classical feel it started with.  Tarja's vocal work is superb in this song.  She continues to display that amazing deep classical voice she has and it really brings a unique spin on this classic hymn.

When it comes to the lyrics, there isn't much to explain.  Whether you are Christian or not, you have heard this hymn more then a few times in your life.  The message is basically about awaiting the birth of Jesus Christ and celebrating his arrival.  The message is simple and very effective.  It gets to the point and is written in a way that both Christian and non Christians alike can really enjoy it.  It never gets old and is something everybody can pick up on.

I must say, I give props to Tarja for will to trying something different that hasn't been done before with a Christmas song.  I think it gets a little darker then a Christmas song should be, but it doesn't get over blown and she seems to keep it in check, more then some of the other songs on the "Am Spirits and Ghosts" album.  However, this isn't a song for everybody though, even among rockers and metal heads.  If you prefer Trans Siberian Orchestra or the classic style Christmas music, then you will not like this song.  On the other hand, if you are a Tarja fan and/or you are looking for a new take on Christmas music, then you might enjoy this song.  I give Tarja's cover of O Come Emmanuel a 3 out of 5.  

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Gary Moore Over The Hills And Far Away Review

Gary Moore is famous Irish guitarist who has is famous for his time with the famed Thin Lizzy, as well as his amazing solo career.  One of his songs that brought out the best in him was "Over The Hills And Far Away".  Most people who know of this song know the Nightwish version.  However, it is actually a cover of the version written by Gary Moore in the 80's and while it wasn't huge in the U.S., it is a classic song in Europe and has established Gary Moore as a rock hero in that continent.  

The music in this song does a great job of catching that Irish feel.  The way that the violin and the bagpipes are used in this song is really unique and and wasn't common in rock music at that time.  The instruments blend really well together and create a really cool intro that hooks you into the song.  Gary Moore's guitar playing is very superb and well executed in this song.  His guitar solo is very well done and continues to display the guitar excellence he has.  Gary Moore isn't a fantastic singer, but he is decent and he does a great job of carrying this song.  Overall, a fantastic song from a musical stand point.

The lyrics in this song tell a story about a man accused of a crime he did not commit. The lyrics tell this story very well and the flow very nicely.  You can tell whats going on and easily pick up the progression of the story.  It starts out with the guy feeling hopeless when imprisoned and ends with him having a glimmer of hope while reading letters from his wife.  I love it when people are able to write good stories in lyric form and this is one of the best I have ever heard.  The lyrics are solid, easy to understand, and flow very well.

It's a shame that this song isn't that well known here in the U.S. and even in Europe a lot of people think that Nightwish wrote it.  Don't get me wrong, I love the Nightwish version and think it is amazing.  What I am saying is that this version has become very underrated and deserves a lot more recognition then it has.  I give Gary Moore's version of Over The Hills And Far Away  a 5 out of 5.     

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Creed One Las Breath Review

Creed has defiantly become one of the most controversial bands in history.  Some people hate them because they think they are a hallow band with no real substance.  On the other hand, people think they were a very talented band that made great music. However you feel about the band, they certainly have made an impact in music.  In late 90's they were one of the most popular bands on the music scene and had a good number of hits.  One of those hits was "One Last Breath".

The music in this song is not great, but it is good.  The guitar work in this song is pretty good, Mark Tremonti does a great job with the intro and then the heavy chords he plays in the chorus really make  the chorus stand out.  The drum work is solid, but it isn't anything to special.  It is a common drum beat we have heard a lot and doesn't really enhance the song to much.  I like the vocal work of Scott Stapp in this song.  He isn't a great singer but his voice really makes Creed unique and it contributes big to this song.  He sounds really good and you can tell he is giving it his all when he is singing.  Overall, the music is solid and sounds good, but isn't too special.

Lyrically, this song continues with the Christian style lyrics this band is known for.  The lyrics are about being feeling like you've lost it all but still wanting to keep going.  The chorus is basically calling out to God to keep you from falling and losing your way.  I think the verses are pretty good, but the chorus and the bridge are the best parts of the song, lyrically.  While the lyrics do have a more Christian tone to them, they aren't blunt about it.  They have been able to convey it in away that appeals to both Christians and non Christians alike.  

While I don't think this is a great song, it is good and it was actually unique for it's time.  Thanks to grunge, most rock in the 90's was about being depressed and angry all the time.  However, Creed decided take a positive turn.  They still had songs about being hurt and feeling depressed, but instead of being totally focused on the negative, they expressed hope and a way out of the pain.  I give them props for doing something different at the time.  However, the problem Creed had was that a lot of their music sounded the same, they never really experimented outside their comfort zone, which is strange when you look at bands they are in today like Alter Bridge which experiment a lot.  This was a problem with a lot of post grunge bands including Nickelback, Seether, and Candlebox.  They found a formula that worked and they didn't look outside of the formula until it was too late.  People either didn't care to listen to them anymore or hated them because they thought they were hallow and lacked substance.  However, Creed is one of the bands that I feel gets a little more flack then they deserve.  One Last Breath is a good, solid song that I enjoyed listening to.  It isn't great but I enjoy listening to it from time to time.  I give One Last Breath  a 3.5 out of 5.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Kelun Chu Bura Review

When most people think of the band Kelun, they think of the song "Chu Bura".  I actually discovered Kelun because of this song myself.  Used as the 8th opening theme in the famed anime "Bleach", this song made the band famous in Japan and the song gained cult success through out the world.  Sadly, the band disbanded years ago, but Chu Bura is still a well known song in Japan and a classic among anime fans.

I actually really like the music in this song.  The guitar intro isn't technical, but the way the chords flow when they are being played makes it sound really good.  The guitar works pretty much has this tone to it in the entire song.  It isn't technical, but it is still catchy and you really enjoy listening to it.  The drum work in this song is very solid.  The drummer is clearly giving his all and he puts out some impressive and fast paced drumming in this song.  The bass playing in this song is worth noting as well.  the bass solo is performed very well and while it is a little short, it still sounds great.  The best part of the song though is in the vocals.  The vocals work very well with the music and uplifting voice the singer has really brings the lyrics to life and makes the message stand out better.  

The lyrics in this song use a story style formula to send a message of hope and not giving up.  It starts out with the verse conveying the pain, the pre chorus talks about hope, and then the chorus gives you the drive to not give up and move forward.  I like lyric writing like this because it is a good way to let out grief and pain while at the same time giving you hope.  It isn't one sided, it isn't just happy, it isn't just sad, it brings both together.  This band executed that very well and it sounds amazing.  

This is a very solid song, the energy is great, the lyrics are great, and the music sounds awesome.  I can understand how this is Kelun's biggest hit.  There is a lot of cool things going for this song that makes it great and unique.  If you are a JRock fan, this is a song you should check out.  If you a rock fan in general, you should listen to this song as well.  I give Chu Bura a 5 out of 5.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sabaton The Last Stand Song Review

When it comes to making history rock, few do it as well as Sabaton.  Since they started in 1999, Sabaton has become famous for taking acts of heroism, historical battles, and other historical events and turning them into great metal songs.  Some of their most famous songs include Ghost Division, Primo Victoria, Winged Hussars, and Last Dying Breath, all about war history and told very effectively.  One of their biggest hits currently is "The Last Stand".

Musically, Sabaton continues their signature big, heavy sound in this song.  The combination of guitar and keyboards sounds awesome.  You can tell that they are trying to capture the time period they are singing about and they do it very well.  The guitar solo in this song is simple but very effective.  The melodic and medieval combination really sounds great and gives a good heroic feel that the song is themed on.  One of my favorite parts of the song is the chorus. It sounds big and the way it is written makes you want to sing along with it.  Joakim Broaden has a voice that is meant for historical music.  His voice really works well in this song and it is able to communicate the intense situation the song is based on very well.  When it comes to the music, this song is very solid.    

Lyrically, I think this is where this band really shines.  This song is specifically about the 189 Swiss Guard that defended the pope's escape during the Sack of Rome in 1527.  The whole song is telling the story of this event and they tell it very well.  The phrases are written very well, and like I said before, you really want to sing along with the band on this song.  The message in this song is clear and you can really understand the story that the band is trying to depict.  

Sabaton is certainly a unique power metal band.  The way they choose to communicate history through music is very well done and brings a fresh take to the power metal genre.  The Last Stand is yet another great song from this band.  With good music and awesome lyrics, this song is a must for history lovers and metal heads.  I give The Last Stand a 4.5 out of 5.    

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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Skillet Rebirthing Review

It goes without saying that Skillet is one of the biggest Christian Rock/Metal bands in modern times.  Having a style that appeals to both Rockers and Christians they certainly have made their mark on the world.  Most people who know of Skillet today, know them because of the huge success of their album, "Awake".  This album featured some of their biggest hits such as "Monster" and "Hero".  While that album and those songs are certainly great and deserve their recognition, I first got into Skillet when I heard their song "Rebirthing" off the "Comatose" album.

One of the things I really like about this song is the combination of rock and orchestra they have in this song.  The combination makes the song sound more intense and more powerful.  The guitar work is not super technical, but it sounds good and it does its job very effectively in the song.  The vocal work is also very good in this song.  While I don't think that John Cooper is the greatest singer in the world, he is good and you can hear the passion in his voice and it makes the song sound more authentic.  Korey Cooper does a great job when she sings as well.  The way she sings "I come alive somehow" is done very effectively and I think it was a smart move to have her sing it instead of John.  Her type of voice communicates that section better then John's voice could and as a result it sounds really good.  My one problem with this song is the guitar solo.  It sounds pretty good, the melodic guitar playing was awesome, but I thought it was too short.  If they stretched it out for just a few more measures,  I feel like the solo would have been much better.  This is a minor problem though and doesn't kill the song for me.

Lyrically, they did a fantastic job with this song.  Like I said in the beginning, Skillet is a band that is able to appeal to both Christians and Non Christians alike and these lyrics are a good example of how they do that.  To a Non Christian, it sounds like the song is about being in hard times and deciding to come out a better person.  For Christians, it is about needing God and being reborn with his spirit. For Skillet, it is about needing God and being reborn with his spirit.  However, they aren't blunt about it and it doesn't come off as them trying to tell people to go to church like other Christian bands do.  It sends a good message that everybody can relate to in one form or another.    

While I love Monster and Hero along with many other song from Skillet, this is one of my favorites.  The music is good and the lyrics are very well written, making this a must song if your a Skillet fan.  If your a Rocker, Metal fan, or Christian music fan, I recommend giving this song a shot. I give Rebirthing a 4.5 out of 5.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Top 5 Horror Movie Theme Songs

In celebration of Halloween today, I will count down the top 5 horror movie themes.  Check them out, let me know what you think of them.

5.  Jaws by John Williams

I love John Williams, he has composed some of the most classics scores and movie soundtracks for over 30 years.  One of his most famous songs is the theme for the movie "Jaws".  The way it builds up and creates a sense of unease is very effective.  When ever you hear this song, you can't help but to be on alert and wonder what is coming.  It makes you be on your guard and it makes the movie feel that much more intense. 

4.  Psycho (1960) by Bernard Herrmann

I love Psycho, it is without a doubt a classic movie.  While Alfred Hitchcock certainly deserves credit for how he directed this movie, the soundtrack for this movie is also very brilliant and this theme song, written by Bernard Herrmann demonstrates that.  This is without a doubt some of the most spooky music I have ever heard out of a movie, even by today's standards.  The way it starts alone makes you feel like you should be running for your life and constantly watching your back. One of the greatest themes ever, even today.

3.  Rosemary's Baby by Krzysztof Komeda

This one doesn't have a huge orchestra like the previous ones do but my goodness that La La La.  Every time I hear that, it scares the heck out of me.  This song is a good example that you don't have to be so big and loud to be scary. Just the way the voice is executed in this song makes it ones of the creepiest things to listen to.  

2.  Halloween by John Carpenter

The piano in this song is creepy enough, but the way that all the other instruments come in and then fade out gives off a great tone of unease and uncertainty.  This formula makes you feel scared while at the same time letting you know to expect the unexpected which is how this movie plays out. This theme resembles the movie it is attached to perfectly.

1.  Candyman by Philip Glass 

What makes this song so interesting is that it doesn't sound simply scary like the rest.  When listening to this song you get a combination of soothing, sadness, and scary.   It is confusing, yet still sounds good and well executed.  I like this because it really makes you uncertain of what your in for and that is one of the scariest feelings in the world.  When you watch the movie, then this theme makes more sense because you realize that your dealing with a movie that is more complex then your standard horror film movie.  Because this song makes you think more and because it is able to combine so many moods and still sound good that I make this song number 1. 

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Splash Mountain A Fun Soundtrack

When it comes to the Disneyland rides, a lot of them have one thing in common.  The rides have very good and very memorable soundtracks.  From Pirates of the Caribbean, to the Haunted Mansion, these are very well done soundtracks that people never forget. Another soundtrack that no one ever forgets, is the soundtrack for Splash Mountain.

I must say that this is one of the most catchy soundtracks I have ever heard.  It uses the same songs as the movie it is based on, "Song of The South", accept the songs are a little more energetic and are sung by the animated characters without Uncle Remus.  Most of the songs have a great beat and a great hook that makes want to sing along with them.  The intro starts out fairly simple, it is an instrumental version of the song "How Do You Do".  They use this to help ease the person into the ride and give them a moment to just simply enjoy the atmosphere of the ride.  This is a good start to the soundtrack because it is able to get you excited for the rest of the ride while at same time being really laid back and easy to enjoy.  After the intro is done,  the vocals then come in and you experience the full version of the song.  From this point on, you get to experience a very good remake of the Song of The South Soundtrack.  

While I certainly love the voice of James Baskett, who plays Uncle Remus in Song of the South, I have to admit that even without him these songs sound good.  I think the reason for that is that they also change the music as well.  In this soundtrack the songs are more energetic and more fast pace then they are in the movie.  This was a smart move on Disney's part, because if they kept the songs in their original form without James Baskett singing, it would feel weird and out of place.  People would feel thrown off and it would damage their experience of Splash Mountain.  

As the soundtrack continues, you then get into the remake of "Everybody's Got a Laughing Place".  I actually like this version better then in the movie. To me, the music is better and the vocals are much stronger then in the movie.  I actually found myself wanting to sing along with this version, while I really didn't get into the old version all that much.  

After Everybody's Got a Laughing Place, you then get a brief monologue about how Brer Rabbit finally got in too much trouble and then you get into the biggest song of the whole soundtrack, Zip A Dee Doo Dah".  This is a good way to wrap up the soundtrack.  The song is really fun and just as catchy as the movie.  I found myself singing along with this as soon as I heard it on the ride and every time I listen to the song, I can't help but to get into it. It is a lot of fun and truly makes you leave the ride on a high note. 

This soundtrack is full of catchy songs that are fun to listen to in and outside of the ride.  If you are a Disney fan, I highly recommend this soundtrack.  If you are just looking for something fun to listen to, I highly recommend this as well. If you want to preview this soundtrack, it is on Spotify.  If you want it, you can buy this soundtrack on Itunes by checking out the Classic Disney Songs Collection, or you can order a physical copy of the collection on Ebay, Amazon, and many other cites.  Splash Mountain, a classic ride with a classic soundtrack.  

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas The Sun Also Rises Review

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is one of the most interesting bands I have ever come across.  They have an interesting sound that I haven't really heard out of too many bands.  Their combination of metal core and electronic music has made them very unique.  While there are elements of this band I don't like, there are elements of this band I like a lot.  Like I said in my review of their song "Let Me Hear" they are overall good musicians with a good sound.  Let's see if their newest song, "The Sun Also Rises" holds up.

Musically, this is not one of my favorite songs from this band.  Usually, this band has a good balance of electronic music and metal, but in this song the metal takes a back seat to the electronic and it isn't as balanced as I like.  While the metal music is there, it is more subtle then most of their other songs.  It only sticks out briefly in a few sections of the song.   The rest of the song is more driven by auto tune vocals and synth. While I am not a fan of auto tune, the basic vocal melody is pretty good and sounds decent.  The band also continues their unique song structure that they use in most of their songs and I really like that about this band.  The way they structure their songs is very uncommon but it still sounds good and it flows very well.  Nothing really sounds out of place and it sounds smooth.  I just wish that they were more balanced like they normally are.  Because certain elements are taking a back seat in this song, it sound more like a generic electronic song then a interesting mixture of genres, which what people like about this band.  Overall, the music isn't bad, but it isn't their best.

Lyrically, this an uplifting song about overcoming obstacles you come across in life.  It is saying that you will have to make decisions to either give in to your obstacles or take them head on and defeat them. While I do think the lyrics could have been written better, they are not all that bad and they are effective at getting the message across.  Overall, the lyrics have a good message and they make it clear what the message is.  The way they are written could be improved but it is a minor problem.  

While I am not a big fan of the music in this song, I don't think the song is flat out bad, it is misguided.  Clearly, the band is experimenting in this song and trying something new.  I give them credit for trying new things, it just isn't my taste.  If you are a big fan of this band then you might like this song.  For me, it is an okay song.  I give The Sun Also Rises a 3 out of 5.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Mejibray Divergence Review

Mejibray is a band that is a hit or miss for me.  Some songs I love, while others I don't care for.  It isn't because I think they are a bad band, it's just that some of their songs are not my taste. This could be argued as a good thing though because it shows how diverse of a catalog this band has. Some times they are a melodic metal band, sometimes they are an angry thrash band, and other times they are a dark death metal band.  Let's see how I feel about one of their earliest songs, Divergence.

First off, the music in this song is some of their best.  The bass riff played by Koichi at the beginning of the song is very catchy.  It catches your interest and then when the main intro starts, the song really picks up.  That intro riff that Mia plays sounds awesome.  It is a great melodic solo that really sets up the rest of the song very well.  His guitar solo in this song is very impressive as well.  In the guitar solo, Mia plays a solo that combines both melodic and fast playing.  The guy is a great guitar player and he demonstrates that well in this song.  Meto does some good drum work in this song as well.  He is not a great drummer, but he is still pretty good and his drum work in this song is very solid. I don't think that Tsuzuka is that great a singer, but he does have an interesting voice that helps to make this band unique.  I think of him like Geddy Lee of Rush or Vince Neil of Motley Crue.  They are not the best singers in the world but their voices give their bands something that no one else has. As a result no one else can take their places in the bands they are in.  That is what Tsuzuka is to Mejibray, not that great a singer but works very well for the band he is in.

Lyrically, this is a deep song about not settling and wanting more.  Basically, the entire song is about not being happy but not giving up.  It is about wanting to push yourself to become better, no matter what obstacles come your way.  I like songs like this that try to inspire people to want to improve themselves and to keep going to reach their goals.  I do think that the phrases and lines could have been written a little bit better but it is a very minor problem that doesn't turn me off to the song.

Overall, this is a pretty solid song.  The musicianship is great and the song writing is pretty good.  I may not be this bands biggest fan but I cannot deny that they are talented and this song proves that.  They play well together and they clearly have a lot of skill.  Mia is without a doubt a very underrated guitar player that deserves more recognition world wide.  The songs message is very good and makes you want to push yourself in life.  I give Divergence a 4 out of 5.    



Saturday, October 21, 2017

Mr. Big Green Tinted Sixties Mind Review

Most people who know of Mr. Big "in America" know them for their popular ballad " To Be With You".  However, through out the rest of the world they are a pretty popular band with many hits.  Fortunately, with the metal resurgence of the mid 2000's and the fact that this band has great musicians, they have been able to reclaim some of their former glory in the U.S. and get more popular through out the rest of the world.  One song that is starting to get more recognition their debut song "Green Tinted Sixties Mind".

Musically, this song is very good.  That intro guitar riff that Paul Gilbert plays is very catchy and gives a great glimpse into the mans abilities as a guitar player.  The main intro to the song  sets up a great musical tone that is both hard rock and relaxing.  This tone is maintained through out the song and it is executed very well.  The guitar tone is balanced well and the vocal work in this song is amazing.  Eric Martin is a very good singer and this song brings out some of his best.  The back up vocal work of Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan should not be ignored either.  They sound great and they do a good job when they are singing along with Eric.  Some people have a problem with the music because it isn't technical enough.  I understand that criticism, however, you have to remember that these guys didn't just want to showcase their musical abilities, they also wanted to prove that they could right good songs.  While this song doesn't have a lot from a technical stand point.  It still sounds good, and the band proved that they know how to write good music with it.  

Lyrically, this song is not bad as well.  While the message is a generic 80's rock message that is about a girl, the phrases and rhymes really make the lyrics pretty decent.  For example, they have a couple of lines that go "you be lookin groovy, in a sixties movie" the way they tie those lines together with that rhyme scheme is very good.  This plays a big part in making the song sound catchy and helps to keep the audience interested.  While the message is nothing new or impressive, the band shows that they know how to write good lyrics. 

This is without a doubt one of most underrated songs in rock.  Part of the reason for this was that their timing wasn't good.  By the time Mr. Big got big Nirvana was just around the corner.  However, they are making a comeback and more of their music is getting the recognition it deserves.  If you are a fan of 80's metal, or just looking for a good rock song, then I highly recommend Green Tinted Sixties Mind.  I give this song a 4.5 out of 5.     

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Zip A Dee Doo Dah Review

When anyone talks about the Disney movie "Song of the South" it can get ugly sometimes.  Just to simply mention of the name can set off a range of emotions and opinions.  Some say that it is a racist movie that doesn't make black people look good and uses negative stereotypes, while others say that the movie actually depicts an anti prejudice message.  Either way, it led to an uproar that Disney wasn't ready for.  Contrary to popular belief, the movie wasn't full on "banned" like people say.  The NAACP had voiced their disapproval of the movie but they never made a huge effort to ban it.  In reality, Disney just decided to withhold from re releasing it do the backlash.  However, even with all the problems surrounding the movie, people seem to agree on one thing they like about this movie.  That is that people love this movies soundtrack.  This movie actually wen't on to win an Oscar for best original soundtrack.  There is also of course the famed ride at DisneyLand "Splash Mountain" which uses the characters and music from the movie.  The song that sticks out the most in this soundtrack is none other then "Zip A Dee Doo Dah".

One of the main reasons that people like this song so much is because while it is simple, it is also very catchy.  The music itself is overall slow and simple, but it does sound decent and good still.  The main reason why it is so simple is because the focus is meant to be on the vocals.  This a true sing along song that the audience is supposed to sing along with and if you make the music stand out too much, then you lose that.  Typically, I am all for being technical and bringing out the best in a musicians musical ability.  However, in this case, I think it is best they keep it simple on the instruments.  The best element of this song in the vocals.  Got to give James Baskett credit, he brings a real charm to this song that none one else can.  The way he sings the song makes it sound real soothing and relaxing.  At the same time, the way he brings out the lyrics makes you want to sing along and get more into the song.  He is having fun singing this song and you can tell he is.  He projects it very well and you can't help but to enjoy his performance.

Now, they sing the song again at the end of the movie and this time it has more of a build up that starts with the kids singing it instead of James Baskett.  He isn't silent the entire time but his lines are minimal and he doesn't do much in this portion.  Obviously the kids don't sound as good as James Baskett, but I expected that so it didn't bother me.  What did bother me though is how long it went on.  They slowly build up the music by making the instruments louder and incorporating more animals as it goes on.  I feel like they could have trimmed this portion a little bit and made it shorter. The way they add the recorded version at the end with the additional voices and the big instrument ending was pretty cool.  However, when it got to that point I found myself asking why did it take so long for them to get there.  I also feel that it would have been better if James Baskett sang with the kids at some point instead of just giving him that one small talking section. I think it would have added more to the song and because he sound so good singing it the first time it would of made the ending more memorable.           

Lyrically, it is a very cheerful song.  Obviously the title alone is very catchy and makes you curious.  Like the music, the lyrics are simple but the way they are constructed and the way the phrases play out make them very unique.  The happy tone makes it enjoyable for kids but in a way that adults can enjoy it as well.  It is the classic style of the old Disney era.  It is cheerful, it sounds fun, and you can't help but to sing along with the lyrics. 

While it is not one of my favorite Disney songs, it is still pretty decent.  Regardless of what you think of the movie this song is from, you have to admit that this song is pretty good.  The way the lyrics are sung hook you and you cant help but to want to sing along with it.  While the movie is unavailable, this song is.  You can get it on Itunes and on most Disney music collections you come across.  If you are a Disney fan, I recommend getting it.  I give Zip A Dee Doo Dah a 3.5 out of 5. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Winking Owl Open Up My Heart Review

One band that is slowly rising in popularity in Japan right now is The Winking Owl.  Recently, more bands have come out of Japan that are using a style similar to that of Paramore.  They have melodic female lead vocalists with rock music that is a combination of hard rock, metal, punk, and pop.  The Winking Owl is one band that is in that category.  While they are not one of the more famous bands in Japan at the moment, they are gaining momentum and their single "Open Up My Heart" paved the way.

While there are things that make this band similar to Paramore, one thing that separates them from Paramore it that they are more melodic and heavy, musically.  This song starts off with a good melodic solo that really sets up the tone of the song effectively and hooks you immediately.  The verse  gets a little bit softer but continues the melodic theme.  Then the pre chorus sets up a chorus that has very high energy.  This set up is executed very well and flows very smoothly to create a great listening experience. The vocal work is impressive as well.  The female singer in this band has a great voice that fits the music and carries the song very well.  I also got to give this singer credit for singing English very well. I have heard a lot of Japanese singers sing in English and many of them have an accent that really stands out at times.  However, this singer sings English very well to the point that if there was no Japanese words in the song I could have mistaken them for an American band.  The one minor issue I have with this song is the chorus.  It is a little repetitive for my liking and I feel it could have been written a little better.  However, it is a very minor issue that doesn't kill the song for me, or the chorus for that matter.

Lyrically, this is a pretty standard song.  It is a song about being in a complex relationship and wanting it to be better.  This is obviously nothing new, we have heard this message many times before.  However, they lyrics are written very well.  The phrases are good, they are catchy and they keep your attention.  I also have to say, I can tell this band has been working on their English because the fact that they wrote the English lyrics this well is very impressive.  While this is becoming more common in the Japanese music scene today, a lot of the musicians who write in English are having a hard time.  You can tell because of how simple the English is in the songs and how some bands have a hard time singing it.  This is a problem that The Winking Owl doesn't have.  While there are Japanese lyrics in this song, it is clearly dominated by English and the English is written very well.

I see a bright future for this band.  They have clearly shown they have potential and this song shows that.  If I am being honest I actually prefer this band over Paramore.  As much as I like Paramore, this band has the better singer and better musicians. If The Winking Owl writes more English songs like this, I can see them having a future in America.  With a great vocalist, great guitar player, and well written lyrics, I give Open Up My Heart a 4.5 out of 5.        


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Is This The End of Girls Generation?

Recently, it was revealed that Tiffany, Sooyoung, and Seohyun of the famed KPop girl group "Girls Generation" will not be renewing their contracts with SM Entertainment.  This has sen't shock waves through the Girls Generation fandom, the Kpop community, and most of the music world.  This has left many people in a panic and wondering what the future is for Girls Generation as well as Tiffany, Sooyoung, and Seohyun.

The first thing I would like to talk about is the future's of Tiffany, Sooyoung, and Seohyun.  Now, it is official that they are all basically pursuing acting, Tiffany will be leaving Korea and returning to the U.S. to learn acting, while Sooyoung and Seohyun will sign with other agencies to continue acting.  However, I doubt that this is all they will be doing.  First point is that Tiffany has made it clear for years that music is her biggest passion and she has said repeatedly that she wants to make it, musically, in the U.S.  I doubt she is going to throw music out the window and focus strictly on acting from here on out.  The same thing goes for Seohyun.  She is very passionate about music and has made that the center point of her persona for a long time.  Both Tiffany and Seohyun have done a lot in recent years to build themselves up musically.  They have done solo projects, duets, and who forget them being in TTS.  Sooyoung on the other hand, I can see giving music a rest.  She has been very busy with acting when not working with Girls Generation.  While many of the other members have been working on solo careers, she has just been focusing on acting mainly.  She has done some musical things on the side though.  Her and Tiffany have performed together a few times and she helped Tiffany write music on her solo album.  However, I doubt she will do anything serious with music, at least in the near future.  

The second thing that some people are concerned about is the relationship between the members.  This is one that I am not worried about too much.  Usually there are plenty of small indications that let you know if members are not getting along or are not talking to each other.  The main one is that you don't see them mention other members on social media.  That has not happened with Girls Generation.  If you look on their social media accounts, the members hangout and support each other all the time.  They will constantly post pictures of them hanging out and will help promote their side projects as well as like each others posts.  I am pretty sure that people can be at ease with this one.  I think they all get along fine and will still be great friends going forward. 

Biggest question is what is the future of Girl Generation? I can see this going one of two ways.  The first way is that they disband.  As much as I like Taeyeon, Yuri, and the remaining members, I doubt they can continue as a five piece group.  With Jessica already gone and now losing three more members, that would be hard to keep going.  One reason is that this means half the group is gone and that is going to be hard to fill.  Tiffany and Seohyun have a distinct sound in their voices that is very hard to replace.  In fact, if I'm being honest, I don't think they were able to replace Jessica's voice that well either.  Even now when I listen to "Gee" it still feels weird to me hearing Tiffany say Jessica's lines.  

The second way I see it going is that SM negotiates with other agencies to keep Seohyun, Tiffany, and Sooyoung in Girls Generation.  I see this as a possibility because SM themselves have said they are willing to negotiate with other agencies.  In the past, SM has said that they are willing to negotiate and talk to other agencies if it mean't Girls Generation would stay together.  One thing that people need to realize is that SM needs Girls Generation.  They need them because without them SM will no longer be on top.  Girls Generation is considered the biggest Kpop girl group in the world and if they were to disband that would be a huge blow to SM.  They would lose a good chunk of their fandom they would no longer be the biggest agency as a result.  It is in SM best interest to keep Girls Generation together and they know it.

However it turns out, we should still support all the members in their future ventures.  Where ever they decide to go, what ever they decide to do, support them and love them.  Wish them the best and no ill.  If Tiffany wants to make it in America, buy her records and/or watch the things she gets to act in.  The same goes for the other members. Help them grow and be successful where ever they go. Maybe they disband, maybe they stay together, it doesn't change the musical legacy they have made together.  



Thursday, October 5, 2017

Top 5 Christian Metal Songs

5.  E For Extinction by Thousand Foot Krutch

What I really like about this song is how it builds up.  It starts out with soft slow tone that slowly builds up and gets more energetic.  Then when the pre chorus comes you get hit with an awesome heavy combination of guitar and in your face vocals and lyrics.  This really gets you pumped up and really into the song when the chorus comes. If you are looking for song to get your energy up, listen to this song.

4. One Thousand Apologies by Demon Hunter

This is more of a sorrowful song, that speaks to people who are in mourning and are sorry for something they have done. The song has a heavy melodic sound that works very well for the lyrical message of the song.  Got to give the vocals credit in this song.  The vocals sound very authentic and carry out the songs message very effectively in a way that will make the listener remember.  

3.  Yahweh by  Stryper

You can't have a Christian Metal list and leave out Styper.  Stryper has proven that they are not just a great Christian Rock Band, but a great metal band.  This is made clear in one of their newer songs called "Yahweh".  This song has a great modern feel to it while also paying tribute to the 80's.  The guitar work gives off an awesome power metal feel while Michael Sweet's vocals continue to sound amazing even after all these years.  Whether you're Christian or not, this is one band you don't want to pass up.

2.  Sing and Shout by Angelica

Angelica is a very underrated band and no song proves that more then Sing and Shout.  It starts out with that awesome guitar riff in the intro and then leads into the energetic, uplifting verse.  Then it leads into the very catchy chorus that makes that truly makes you want to sing and shout for the Lord.  The guitar solo in this song is awesome.  It has a great melodic tone that brings out the best of 80's metal.  It's a shame that this band got started when grunge was already on the rise.  They would have been legends.

1.  Dive by Disciple

Dive is a song that inspirational and is a great metal song.  The lyrics are about rising up to the challenge and overcoming it.  This song is inspirational to anyone in a though spot.  Musically, this is a very catchy song.  The intro to this song hooks you right away and plays a big part in keeping you engaged with the song.  The vocal work is very impressive.  It's energetic, it's real, and you can tell the singer is pouring his heart and soul into the song.  Every time that I need a song to either get me pumped or to listen to when I am down, this is the song. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Arlequin Eclipse Review

Arlequin is interesting band in to me. They have some songs like "Paranoia" that I like, but others I am not a fan of like "Makka Na Uso".  When they keep a song to a specific tone they are great, but sometimes they try to merge tones musically and they don't do it well.  Where songs like "Libra" by Nocturnal Bloodlust  are able to transition between ballad music and heavy metal smoothly, Arlequin has trouble with that in some of their songs. They try to merge metalcore and power ballads together and sometimes they don't merge the two styles well and it leaves you confused.  However, one song I have come to appreciate from this band is their song "Eclipse".

The guitar work in this song is very well done.  With the guitars being tuned down, they have a deep sound that creates a great intro and hooks you into the song.  The verse keeps the energy of the intro going and the melodic vocal work really works with the music and stays true to the tone of the song.  The guitar solo is very good, very melodic.  It isn't anything super technical but it still sounds good and sets up the final portion of the song well.  My only problem with the song musically, is the form of electronic dubstep they have in the intro and at the end of the guitar solo.  While it doesn't ruin the song for me, it seems unnecessary and it doesn't really enhance the music.  If they left it out, the guitar work, the drums, and bass easily have enough to make this song great.  

When it comes to the lyrics this song is a good form of building charisma.  The lyrics are basically  start out about people doubting you and saying you can't do anything.  Then the pre chorus is when you decide not to listen to them. Then the Chorus is you saying your going to rise above.  The lyrics are very well constructed and carry the message very well.  It is uplifting while at the same time addressing hardships you go through in life.  Overall, a great song lyrically.    

As far as I'm concerned, this is one of Arlequin's best songs.  The music is good, the vocals are good, and the lyrics are written well.  The energy is great and it really keeps you engaged in the song from beginning til end.  While the dubstep hinders the song a little bit, it doesn't ruin the song and I still enjoy listening to it.  I give Eclipse a 4 out of 5.  

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Poison Something to Believe In Review

When it comes to Poison in general, I am not a fan of this band.  Most of their songs are not great musically and their lyrics were generic lyrics based on girls and partying. Unlike how most bands of the 80's made up for their easy lyrics with amazing instrumental technique, this band never excelled that far and their music suffered for it.  Their look was also one of the worst looks in hair metal.  While a lot of the bands of the 80's wore make up looked feminine, Poison was the band that took it over the top.  On their album cover for "Look What the Cat Dragged in" they look like full on girls.  However, they did have one song I came to appreciate and give them props on. That song is "Something to Believe In".

The first thing I will say is that Bret Michaels actually sounds good vocally on this song.  He clearly is singing what he feels and it sounds very authentic.  While his vocal style may not work in every song this band does, it works well in this song.  His voice really adds to the sorrowful tone the song is expressing.  The piano is very effective in setting up the song's tone and really is key in carrying the song.  I feel that if the piano wasn't in the song, the song wouldn't be as effective, so that was a good move on the band's part.  However, the one major problem in this song is C.C. Deville's guitar solo. My biggest problem with it is how repetitive it is.  He does a lot of  playing the same note 3 or 4 times in a row and it really sticks out.  It isn't a problem if he did once or twice but he does it many times through out his solo.  He tries to disguise it by bending the note a different way each time he picks it, or he just plays it fast.  However,  he doesn't hide it well and since he does is so much you catch on to it.  He should of either made it shorter and simpler like in White Lion's song "When the Children Cry" or keep it in a more narrow set of notes such as Skid Row's  "I Remember You".  He made the mistake of trying to sound technical when he really wasn't being that technical.  

Where this song really shines is in the lyrics.  It starts off with Bret Michaels singing about a pastor  stealing money, not practicing what he preaches and then transitions into a story about a Vietnam Veteran not being welcomed backed to U.S. after he came home from the war.  He sings about how people treated the Vet badly.  The second verse is really what inspired this whole song.  It is about Poison's manager who had past away and how the band felt about that.  Bret Michaels said that his managers death is what caused him to write this song.  Overall, the lyrics in this song are very deep and the message is about trying to stay positive and finding something to believe in when you are going through rough times. 

This is without a doubt one of Poison's best songs.  While it doesn't change my view on this band overall, I still have to give them credit for this song.  It is deep, it is authentic, it's music really reflects the tone and message well.  C.C. Deville's guitar solo is nothing special and actually hurts the song in my opinion, but even with it I still enjoy listening to this song.  I give "Something to Believe In" a 4 out of 5.  

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Breaking Benjamin Diary of Jane Review

Breaking Benjamin is a fairly controversial band among rockers and metal heads.  To some people, they are a decent rock band, while others see them as posers that were just part of a trend.  Whatever you think of the band, they are one of the most successful bands of the 2000's and still have a good career going today.  Where as a lot of other bands of the 2000's have faded, such as Trapt, Three Days Grace, and Seether, Breaking Benjamin has still been able to maintain a decent following.  In my opinion, this band was at their best when they came out with "Diary of Jane". 

Musically, this is one of the heaviest songs of their discography.  It starts out with a soft, slow build up that then breaks out into a heavy, hard hitting intro.  While the instrumental work in this song isn't the most impressive I've ever heard, it is still pretty good.  It has a good energy and the guitar work really hooks you.  Benjamin Burnley's vocals work very well in this song.  His deep voice really works well with the lower tuned guitar and he is able to really carry the song.  One of the things that I consider a flaw in this song is the guitar solo before the bridge.  In my opinion the guitar solo was too short and not a lot was done with it.  It wasn't awful but it was short and not executed to the best it could be.  This isn't a huge fault though and it doesn't kill the song for me musically.  

The songs lyrics are about wanting to be in a relationship.  The message of the song is about someone who is in love with a girl but she is not in love with him.  The entire song is basically telling a story of how this man is trying to win her love even though she is not interested in him.  I must say, that the lyrics of this song are constructed very well.  The phrases are well executed and they have a good flow. Overall, the band did a great job with this song lyrically. 

With good music and lyrics that flow like a story, this is one of the best songs that this band has ever made.  The heavy guitar hooks you and the lyrics are really catchy and tell an interesting story.  While people believe that these guys are not worth paying attention to, they have to at least give them credit for this song.  With "Diary of Jane" they proved that they were a talented band with huge potential, and it explains why they still have appeal today, even though so many other bands of their time have faded.  I give"Diary of Jane" a 4 out of 5. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

3 Things That Can Improve Worship Music

When it comes to Worship Music, there is a lot of good things in it.  The music is energetic, it is uplifting, and it is well written.  I myself play on the worship band at my church once in a while.  However, just like anything else in this world, there is always room for improvement.  I am not writing this to bash or attack Worship Music, I am only giving my thoughts on how it can improve and make a bigger impact.  I would also love to know your thoughts and how you think that Worship Music can improve.  With that, here are 3 things that can improve Worship Music.

1.  Add More Songs To The Mix
Now there is nothing wrong with Hillsong, Jesus Culture, or Elevation Worship as they are talented bands filled with great musicians that make great music.  However, there are also a ton of great Christian artists out there that are just as good as these three bands are.  Bands like Jars of Clay and Switchfoot are very good, and have also made an impact on Christian Music that could really benefit the Church.  Churches should also not be afraid to incorporate different genres as well.  There are plenty of good Christian Rap, Country, and Rock and Metal bands that can really boost a Church musically.  For the record, I am not advocating for the Church to perform Devil Wears Prada or Extol, even though I would give a church props for being bold enough to do that.  I am talking about bands like Stryper, POD, Skillet, and some songs from Disciple and Demon Hunter. Yes, it would be a lot of work but it would be good, because these different genres bring a feel and energy that Hillsong and Elevation Worship don't have.  The last way that Churches can add more songs to their mix is by writing their own songs.  Many Churches all over the world have very talented musicians that can write great songs.  Again, I know it would be a lot of work, but if done right the pay off would be worth it. Each individual church would be unique and that uniqueness would make a bigger impact.  I get that Churches want their identity to be in God and not themselves, which is good and noble, but just by human nature everybody is going to be different, there is no way around that.  As long as their motivation is in the right place and it is not for money, their is nothing wrong with making their own music in my mind.

One Good Example is Jesus Take The Wheel By Carrie Underwood

2.  Increase Stage Enthusiasm
This one varies depending what church you go to or watch.  Some Churches encourage you to get into your performance and have fun with it.  Others stand on stage like statues and don't really give much energy into their performance.  This can be a problem because if you don't appear to be enjoying yourself, then why should your audience?  This also creates a bad impression for people who are attending your church for the first time.  It doesn't give a new person a reason to comeback and even if the pastor is good, the person is never going to forget how dull and lifeless the Worship band was and that will result in someone not choosing the Church.  I also think that big stages and big productions are helpful as well.  Now, some people don't like this because they feel it can be a distraction from God. I do believe that you can go to far, but it takes a lot to get to that point.  If you're setting off fire canisters, that is over the top but big lights and visual projector effects can be effective.  Also, I feel like it depends on the motivation.  If it is about money, people will know and the church will pay for that motivation.  However,  it can really be used to communicate a songs message more effectively and as a result make a bigger impact. 

3.  Don't Be Afraid of Sorrowful and Lamenting Songs
One of the biggest criticisms about Worship Music is that it is all happy music.  Growing up in a Church and watching other churches online, I can understand this criticism.  While I like a lot of the positive, uplifting, God celebrating Worship Songs, I have to admit, that tone takes up about 95% of the songs.  This is a problem for several reasons.  The first problem is that when you sing that message so much, it becomes hollow and loses its meaning.  People don't take it as seriously because they've heard it so much that people become numb to it.  Another problem is that to someone who is not a Christian and doesn't listen to Christian music, it feels fake.  That doesn't mean that the motivations of the musicians are fake or that they are not passionate about the songs. The problem is that when you constantly sing about how happy you are and you are constantly celebrating you come off as unauthentic because no one is that happy all the time.  You will run into problems in life and everyone knows that.
 One of the biggest problems though is that happy music doesn't do anything for people who are in a bad place.  If someone is sad, going through hardships, or questioning their spirituality, happy music won't do much for them because they can't relate to it.  By playing a song about sorrow and mourning, you give that person something to relate to and they feel like someone else understands them.  This gives them comfort in knowing that they are not alone and that other people understand them.  Now, you can argue that it's the pastor's job to acknowledge hardships but I feel that the message sticks better in song.  What I mean is that when you play a song that goes with what the pastor is talking about, the message becomes more clear and sticks with you better.  It reinforces the pastor's message and makes the message more memorable.  Now of course the question comes, what kind of sorrowful songs do you have in mind?
 Some of the best examples that come to mind are songs like, Flood by Jars of Clay, Dive by Disciple, and Going in Blind by POD.  The specific reason I chose these songs is because of how the lyrics are written.  Flood is about feeling like you are drowning and you are calling out to God for help.  Dive is about going through hard times but still having the determination to get through the hard times no matter what.  Going in Blind is about not knowing what to do in hard times and God guiding you back and showing you where to go.  What these all have in common is that they acknowledge people's pain while also giving them hope.  We are admitting that we suffer and go through hard times while at the same time giving hope to those suffering.  It is authentic but not hopeless and that is very powerful. Songs like these can make a certain impact that happy songs cannot and in some ways they resonate better then happy songs.  Now does that mean there is no place for happy music in Worship Music?, of course not.  Celebration is very important as well and should never be ignored.  However, it is just one piece of the puzzle and if the Church leaves out sorrow and mourning, then Worship Music won't make the full impact that it can.