Monday, April 17, 2017

The Rock Otaku’s Rockin’ Billboard Chart Watch: April 22, 2017 (This counts as a fresh start)

Hello degenerates, heathens, weirdos, and deviants.  I am the Rock Otaku, and I’m here to show you worlds such as hard rock, metal, punk, alternative rock, movies, TV, anime, video games, and anything that makes us scream, shout, and let it all out.

Welcome to my Rockin’ Billboard Chart Watch.  Here, I take a break from reviewing classic heavy metal albums, movies, TV, anime, games, and so on to review what is popular in the rock scene according to Billboard.  Back in the late 19th century, the magazine started as a news source for the entertainment industry back in the day (thus, circuses, fairs, and burlesque shows were covered), then, when music became a big business, it started covering music.  Then they started having an album chart, then a singles chart, in the mid-20th century, both of which are still going on to this very day, with changes to accommodate the changes in the landscape of music distribution.  But for the rock stuff, the first chart, which would be known today as the Mainstream Rock chart, debuted on March 21, 1981, with the Alternative Songs chart following suit in 1988, the Adult Alternative chart premiering some time in 2008, then the all-encompassing Hot Rock Songs chart came to fruition in 2009.  Here, I review them all, in order of either mainstream importance, date of creation, or which songs have the most material I can cover each week.

While I may not completely discuss all 4 of those, I will provide my thoughts on this week’s charts.  However, due to how I originally did things, and how this is a different ball game, I am going to be seriously late with this one.  But don’t you fret, I’ll provide some of my smooth commentary on the new tracks that came out for each chart.  For the older ones, I plan on doing catch-up specials, where I discuss earlier weeks in 2017 for these charts and determine what my thoughts were for each chart.  So for today, I’ll provide my two cents for the songs that came out for Billboard’s April 22, 2017 versions of the Hot Rock Songs, Alternative Songs, and Mainstream Rock songs in that order.  As for Adult Alternative, that would be more of a special moment if there’s a song everybody reading these things wants me to praise or tear into.  As a result, don’t get angry if this feels late.  I am learning from this process alongside you all.

For this entry, and for future ones, I’ll review the top 10 songs in order from highest charting to lowest with a short review that’ll provide my thoughts on it as of this week.  That and I’ll discuss songs that Billboard considers having merit, like best increases in position, sales, streaming, and airplay.  That and the new songs will be reviewed as well.

Now for the Hot Rock Songs, in order of highest position to lowest, with reviews for new tracks:

1.         Believer – Imagine Dragons
Thank god this song is beating “Heathens” on the charts.  I’d rather take anything else rather than that joyless, emo dredge anyday, and this is coming from a guy that likes dark, emo music.  If there’s an advantage here, it’s that it has a driving beat that doesn’t trudge on like the last track.  While the song isn’t the best song ever (it has a lot of pop, r&b, and hip hop influences here, a way to raise my skepticism), it’s a fun, catchy song with some serious drive and a massive chorus.  It has a few problems, but this is a song, with its themes of striving to be better than everyone else, that I want a heavy metal cover of pronto.  I may have to do it, though.

2.         Heathens – twenty one pilots
Seriously, this song is still around?  While I may have second thoughts on putting this on my worst list, a big factor that got to me was the fact that it is probably one of the most overplayed songs I’ve heard in a while.  You know the concept, having a song that’s played enough times that you hate it, right?  For me, this is one of those cases, and the dark, brooding atmosphere is a contributor in making this feel dull to me.  It does have its moments, but I feel that it needs to be retired ASAP, DCEU connections or not.

3.         Heavy – Linkin Park Featuring Kiiara
So Linkin Park is back.  If there’s a great thing about this, it’s that this band always does something that’s at least interesting, even if it sucks.  However, this song feels like a massive change from their direction on The Hunting Party.  Not to say that going for a dark pop vibe here is a bad idea, they are legends at this, but this song does not feel like a Linkin Park song.  It feels like ANOTHER bad pop tune that’s less offensive than it is dreary, even with small metal elements thrown in.  And the addition of Kiiara here really adds to that.  Such a shame.  Hopefully Chester starts a straight-up rock band with the STP guys or replaces Scott Stapp in Art of Anarchy to make up for this mistake.

4.         Ride – twenty one pilots
To be fair, I feel that “Stressed Out” is one of those songs where the darkness and angst makes sense, as it’s about dealing with the struggles of adulthood as a young person.  For this track, I do find that this song being about trying to run away from those thoughts for a time to be not the solution to dealing with such stress, but it’s a decent song (at least it isn’t “Heathens”).  The elements of reggae and hip hop surprisingly work here, giving off a sort of relaxed feel before the song starts to build up in intensity, as if the stresses from “Stressed Out” are starting to get to him.  It’s not as if this song follows the mentioned song on the album as if it’s part of some sort of narrative.  Fun song.

5.         Human – Rag'n'Bone Man
So we have a song about dealing with issues with oneself and how society judges you, and the singer’s response is “I’m only human after all, so don’t put your blame on me.”  It’s a very dark, bluesy song with the issues that one person has to deal with.  And when I have to understand it, I not just get it, I feel that I can relate.  I can’t solve every single problem you have or represent your crappy standards of perfection, I’m a human being like the rest of us.  And it’s interesting to have a fat white guy singing this song with a bluesy edge to it, as I feel that it does add to the imperfections of the song.  It’s a good song, but not one I plan on revisiting often, but I can listen to it and get something out of it.

6.         Sucker For Pain – Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa & Imagine Dragons With Logic & Ty Dolla $ign Feat. X Ambassadors
This is a song that I feel really needs to stop getting airplay on the rock charts.  Not because it’s a bad song, as some of you think is what I say.  It’s because this song is not a good representation of rock music on the charts.  If it’s superhero films giving us our rock jams, and they’re reminders that mush-mouth rappers are more popular and more respected than ACTUAL MUSICIANS, then I am blacklisting Wonder Woman and Justice League if they don’t have Salems Lott in the soundtrack of either movie.

However, it’s not the worst song ever.  Where it works is a surprisingly good hook from the guy from Imagine Dragons, a couple of good verses from the rappers, with the first two being arguably the best, Lil Wayne’s being too pathetic and Wiz Khalifa being surprisingly good.  Overall, one aspect that ruins the song for me is NOT the rap parts, it’s SAM F***ING SMITH from X AMBASSADORS BEING A LAMEASS AS USUAL!  Okay, correction, I am willing to have a rock song with Lil Wayne on it as long as Sam Smith is replaced by Syu from Galneryus shredding melodically and melancholically.  That can help this song in my eyes.

I’m going to get a lot of crap for this, aren’t I?

7.         Way Down We Go – Kaleo
So this song is still around, huh?  Unlike the other songs I’ve complained about, this song has grown on me more significantly than the others.  As far as bluesy folk rock, it’s obvious that Kaleo are arguably one of the more soulful of the bands to have come out in the last few years.  This is considering that they’re from Iceland.  And if this how they’re getting exposure, then I give them props.  Good song.

8.         Heavydirtysoul – twenty one pilots
Uh, I think I might have a song from twenty one pilots that I’m not a fan of from the get-go, and the band has been very hit-or-miss for me here.  However, I feel that this is one of the more interesting songs they’ve done, from the driving tempo to the melancholic lyrics dealing with the frustrations of the lead singer, dealing with their sadness and loss of direction.  It’s a harrowing song, and it’s arguably one of the darkest songs in the top 10 here despite its bouncy beat.  Reviewing this, I might have a stronger appreciation for this track than before.

9.         Wish I Knew You – The Revivalists
So we have an indie folk rock act performing a song that has more in common with funk than folk.  It’s a strange mix, but it’s a surprisingly fun, funky, and entertaining song that both uplifting and surprisingly melancholic.  Being more in the category of ironically fun, but depressing when you think about it.  Probably because the song is about the passage of time between the narrator and someone he likes.  But who cares, this song is fun.  Enough said.

10.       Saturnz Barz – Gorillaz Featuring Popcaan

Did someone mention Gorillas?
No, I’m not talking about gorillas, I’m talking about Gorillaz.  The musical band.

As far as the band’s genre, I can only describe it as music.  Not to say that’s a bad thing.  It’s a great thing.  It proves just how interesting, genre-bending, and captivating Damon Albarn’s animated music project is, and the music video is equally interesting, featuring the band moving into a haunted house and being weirded out by the musical and supernatural aspects of the song.  As far of the music goes, either you’re a fan of the weird music that Gorillaz is known for, or you just stick with “Clint Eastwood” and “Feel Good, Inc.”  Either way, this is one hell of a trip, plus I can easily say that this band is one of the few modern hip hop artists I can take seriously.  Plus who doesn’t like animated British experimental bands?  Probably Clayton, though he may ruin that.

11.       The Night We Met – Lord Huron
Uh, what?  Based on the intro, this has a sort of chill vibe that probably works best after a serious hangover.  And the verses continue that vibe.  That and it’s a sort of sad vibe.  While the song does gain some energy, this is a pretty low-key depressing song that, I’m sure, involves some sort of broken relationship.  I don’t know if it’s creepy or sweet, but I’m sure that it’s not something I’d listen to when I want to lift my spirits.

12.       Love – Lana Del Rey
Alright, who gave Lana Del Rey a rock hit?  As far as musically, this is not very close to rock.  Attitude wise, maybe?  It does have this sort of low-key vibe that I feel has too much of a stranglehold on pop and rock these days, even if the latter works better when it tries.  This feels way too down for me though.  I’m not sure why.  Is it the production?  Is it the tone?  Is it the instrumentation?  Is it Del Rey herself?  Either way, I hope this doesn’t end up in my eardrums like a few other songs by her.  Hopefully?

13.       Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man 
There’s definitely a focus on bass here.  It makes things more interesting due to the integration of horns and synths here, causing this song to feel like a pure pop song.  And not the bad kind of pop song, but more of a 70s or 80s pop song (or maybe even something from the 90s) with a bit of an alternative twist.  This is definitely a weird song when it comes to rock, as I feel it is closer to pop, as I’ve mentioned.  But regardless, it isn’t a bad song, as it’s catchy, fun, and definitely a good time with great production.  But if there’s another weird issue I have with it, it’s the fact that the singer sings in a falsetto here, as if he’d rather sing like a girl to match the soulful vibe than try to show any sort of manliness, but it works here a bit.  Definitely a fun song.

14.       Good News – Ocean Park Standoff

15.       Andromeda – Gorillaz Featuring D.R.A.M.

16.       Don't Take The Money – Bleachers
An 80s-style New Wave hit?  I’m more of a glam metal fan, but anything that sounds like new wave is great in my book.  While I will automatically compare it with the best of new wave and synthpop in that era of colorful clothes, crazy instruments, bad hair, and weird music videos, this song is great to have due to how FUN it is.  Regardless of the lyrical content, the production, instrumentation, and performance really gels together to create a very fun pop rock tune.  If we get more of this, I’d be perfectly fine music-wise during Trump’s first term.

17.       Testify – NEEDTOBREATHE 

18.       Middle Fingers – MISSIO

See below

19.       In Cold Blood – alt-J*
Hey, remember that song during Spider-Man’s character introduction in Captain America: Civil War?  That really rocking song?  It was these guys.  So how do they follow up that one?  With a poppy song that isn’t as rock-driven like the song from that movie.  It’s a decent song, but not one that can allow for a sustainable career.  This does feel like a song to give the record company another hit single, but I’m not sure if alt-J need to sell out this recently, or if they’ve already sold out.  Regardless, this is a song which I can safely say feels like work to listen to, even if it ends up better than I think.

20.       Help – Papa Roach

See below

21.       Ascension – Gorillaz Featuring Vince Staples  

I heard Gorillas again.
No Clayton, I said “Gorillaz.”

However, let’s get to this track.  Is it sad that this track, THIS TRACK, is some of the most intelligible and interesting hip hop I’ve heard in a while?  Damian Albarn seriously has an ear for what makes new and experimental music interesting, and he is somehow able to communicate that with us with expert craft.  The rap sections by Vince Staples are interesting, have some good lines, and manage to be both fun and aggressive, with a sense of rage that matches with the driving tone of this track.  This is a great song to nod you head to, and it’s also musical interesting, even with atypical elements.  Overall, this is a fun, fast track from this interesting back, and the production and use of samples is great too.

22.       Love Is Mystical – Cold War Kids

See below

23.       Misery – Blink-182
So Blink-182 are back with more of their tongue-in-cheek pop punk for another single.  But for this song, this is definitely on the ballad side of things, despite being a lot faster and more aggressive than most ballads, even in the pop punk genre.  As for that, it’s a nice sounding song, regardless of the rage when it comes up, and it does have enough rock star moments to prove to us that Blink-182 are back and hungry for more.  Despite the melancholic subject matter, I can see this as a song to have fun moshing to. 

24.       Angela – The Lumineers 

25.       Fire Escape – Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness

See below

26.       Cold Cold Cold – Cage The Elephant

See below

27.       Hot Thoughts – Spoon (need 30 views to re-review)
28.       We Got The Power – Gorillaz Featuring Jehnny Beth

See below

29.       All The Pretty Girls – Kaleo (need 40 views to review)
30.       How Did You Love – Shinedown

See below

31.       Monster – Starset

See below

32.       Blame – Bastille

See below

33.       Still Feel Like Your Man – John Mayer
So how does one of today’s most desired guitar heroes continue his hot streak of songs, despite me not having any interest?  With a surprisingly funky blues-rock track.  It’s a lot lighter and softer than I’d like, but the little guitar bits and the funky beat are enough to get my attention.  And the weird disco video set in a Japan-inspired setting does create a likelihood that John Mayer may be geekier than his earlier material would apply.  However, the lyrics aren’t as strong, being more on the sappy side of things.  Not bad, but not great.

34.       Let Me Out – Gorillaz Featuring Mavis Staples & Pusha T

More Gorillas?
No Clayton, I’m talking about Gorillaz!  Gorillaz with a z at the end!

Whoever this Mavis Staples is, the way he starts this song is enough for me to give him high marks.  In short, I’m surprised that I’m digging this, but this is Gorillaz, so there’s a sense that I’m definitely interested.  The song itself is grooving, the production is fantastic, and the implementation of the guest stars and the vocals from Damon are all extremely well done.  Great job guys (and girl, if you're concerned).

35.       Sweet Disaster – DREAMERS

36.       Ultralife – Oh Wonder
Is it me, or is this closer to whispery indie pop than pulse-pounding rock.  Though I’m sure it’s due to how downplayed the male performer here is, including in the video where the chick (who’s cute, by the say) is full of energy and smiles.  That and the production is all sweet and sugary.  Sometimes a little fluff is okay, and this is very fluffy.  I do feel like this is a little too sappy for my tastes.  Is there anything with meat in it?

37.       Show Yourself – Mastodon
Now we’re talking.  If there’s an issue I have with this song, it’s that it’s too low on the list.  But if there’s a praise I have for this, it’s a great song with a strong middle-eastern melody, fitting with the concept of the album dealing with the harsh Arabian deserts and the messed up stuff going on there.  And the guitars, bass, and drums are fantastic, having a strong melodic drive while being heavy in a retro, progressive manner that Mastodon is great at doing.  And the song is very catchy.  I also have to give props to the music video, having a reaper with a bad luck streak being assigned to kill Mastodon, but killing guys that just look like them by mistake (played by the band members themselves) before killing the real band in a slapstick accident (banana peels plus tour buses equals being rehired as a personification of death, apparently).  It’s goofy and funny, showing that the band, for better or worse, is turning into a more mainstream Red Flag (nothing wrong with that in my book).

38.       Let You Down – Seether

See below 

39.       Feels Like Summer – Weezer (need 50 views to review)
40.       Cocoon – Milky Chance (need 60 views to review)
41.       High – Sir Sly 

42.       Take Me – Korn

See below

43.       Shine – Mondo Cozmo 

44.       Never Again – Breaking Benjamin

See below

45.       Hated – Beartooth (need 70 views to review)
46.       Nimble Bastard – Incubus

See below

47.       Reverend – Kings Of Leon
While “Waste A Moment” was a pretty nice sounding song, I still have strong expectations for anything Kings of Leon do.  And this song is a lot closer to their southern rock/garage rock roots, being very soulful, fuzzy, and dealing with more relatable topics.  Though comparing his feelings for someone to a reverend on the radio is kind of clumsy, despite it making sense if you live in the south and at least 100 miles away from a city like Atlanta, or have experienced it.  And this is where I’m not sure if Kings of Leon ever came out of a big city like Nashville, simply because the song is more rural in its attitude (that, and when I think rock from Nashville, I’d rather think hair metal 2.0 at its worst over Hot Chelle Rae).  It’s a good grower of a song, but not the best thing they’ve done. 

48.       The Cure – Unspoken (need 80 views to review)
49.       Battle Symphony – Linking Park (need 90 views to review)
50.       Lost On You – LP (need 100 views to review)

Despite that angry showcase of my taste in punk and metal, here’s the Alternative Songs:

1.         Believer – Imagine Dragons

See above.

2.         Wish I Knew You – The Revivalists

See above.

3.         Heavydirtysoul – twenty one pilots

See above.

4.         Human – Rag'n'Bone Man

See above.

5.         Fire Escape – Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness
I remember seeing this on the Billboard year-end charts in rock for 2016, and I don’t think I ever gave it a shot.  Here, I can see why.  It’s because it’s a decent, but not amazing indie pop rock tune with a bouncy beat, happy keys, a big hook, and a lot of cutesy hipster stuff, including the music video having wacky wavy inflatable flailing arm tube romance.  Despite having a lot more drive, enough to help me get into this more, I do feel like a rock song that reminds me of One Piece will appeal to my weird head more than a rock song that reminds me of a joke from Family Guy.  Good song, though.

6.         Love Is Mystical – Cold War Kids
So from Cold War Kids, who had a major hit last year with “First,” we have a disco-inspired garage rock song that’s probably a lot better and more interesting than the aforementioned hit.  It’s bouncy, catchy, and a lot of fun.  And the singer does have a lot of soul here.  And the title is more interesting, due to the fact that love is a lot harder to understand or get then what most people would like to consider.  It’s a fun song, regardless.

7.         Blame – Bastille
If we consider Bastille one hit wonders due to “Pompeii,” then I’m sure that a lot of people are missing out on these guys.  Specifically that this song is a lot harder, meaner, and closer to rock than what the band is known for.  With its beat, use of guitars, drive, musical hook, attitude, and lyrical content, Bastille prove that they can rock out at least once.  With its angry-sounding words, we get a song that I’m sure deals with not taking crap from others.  But I do have to question the video and its weird cult-like imagery.  Is the video about a cult that likes to French kiss oil?  What the hell?  And why does the video end like the way it does?

8.         Cold Cold Cold – Cage The Elephant
If you haven’t heard of the song “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” from this band, turn in your rock fan cards now.  For this track, however, there’s definitely a bizarre, mysterious, retro vibe here, starting with the opening musical elements being I’m not sure if it’s a guitar or a organ, but then the song gets to the main riff and musical idea, dealing with some dark, messed-up themes, and probably involving their retro, lo-fi influences used to create a strange song.  As in you’ll probably need to be on some weird drugs to enjoy this song perfectly.  It’s a groovy song, regardless, taking strong elements of psychedelic and acid rock from the 60s and bringing them to the modern day, with great musicianship and production implemented.  Plus that video is such a weird concept that creates this sense that this one kid is either being inducted into a weird cult in a bizarre way, or that this is all hallucinations by him.  Whatever the case, this might be one of my favorite songs by this band right now.

9.         Middle Fingers – MISSIO
Wait a second, I’ve already ready reviewed this track!  And if I do remember, I gave it a lukewarm response.  Thankfully, this song had enough time and radio play to grow on me.  Only by a little.  If there’s still an issue with this song, it’s the attitude mixed with the musical approach.  Not to say that minimalist electronic rock can’t work with angry lyrics, but I feel that this song is just unpleasant and angry on purpose, as if the song is trying to piss people off.  It’s not awful, but I do feel that this song may have gotten a little better or a little worse after some time.  If this makes my worst list for this this year, I’m blaming my sunny disposition when not dealing with morons.  Or maybe this reminds me of myself in the worst ways possible.

10.       Green Light – Lorde
So I know that this is for the Alternative Chart, and, as a result, I know that more experimental rock and pop is more likely to appear here than hard rock.  But’s it’s also both weird and comforting to take a look into Lorde.  While changing the last vowel to an “I” would lead to awesomeness, I do think that Lorde is up there in respect for me.  With “Royals,” she managed to be practically everyone who wasn’t brainwashed by the current pop music scene into complacency with wasteful themes in a single song.  And while her sound and tone has gotten more poppy and uptempo, she manages to have that same level of darkness, isolation from the masses, and cynicism that made her a modern star.  And if you are wondering, she’s better at this than her clones.  Good production, great sounds, great vocals, definitely a keeper.

11.       Sweet Disaster – DREAMERS 
With that opening guitar line, I do get a sense that hopefully this song will be awesome.  And despite the electronic elements, this could easily, with a more organic, metallic instrumentation, be an awesome track, but the references to nostalgic elements of 70s and 80s music do make it as if this song is trying to appeal to Gen Xers as it does to Millennials, which isn’t always a bad thing.  It does rock with some serious vibe, but the electronic instrumentation and hip hop inspired drum beats are affecting my ability to enjoy this track.  I mean, if you’re gonna go for electronic drums, I’d prefer stuff that sounds like a stadium drum kit over the drum sound being the same on a Jason DeRulo song (that’s my two sense).  But it isn’t a bad song in general, it’s just disappointing.  It may not be a disaster, but with decent production and a fun vibe, it’s still a little sweet. 

12.       Still Breathing – Green Day

13.       Take It All Back – Judah & The Lion

14.       Cleopatra – The Lumineers 
Not a big fan of The Lumineers, I am.  But this song is arguably one of their more distinctive and less generic sounding.  It’s a driven, melodic, and reflective song.  Dealing with the idea of loss, reflection of life, and sadness, this track somehow is able to get to my emotional side.  And the song does feel like a reflection on the life of some bohemian actress who’s fallen from grace, now a taxi driver, and is dealing with the fact that she’s no longer a major star, but was once one.  And somehow the singer (who’s male by the way) manages to pull it off well, and the production, instrumentation, and overall sound add to that.  In short, it’s a somber little song that’s definitely fine, but not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination.

15.       Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man

See above.

16.       Down – Marian Hill (need 30 views to review)
17.       Shine – Mondo Cozmo 

18.       Feels Like Summer – Weezer (need 40 views to review)
19.       Reverend – Kings Of Leon

See above

20.       Don't Take The Money – Bleachers

See above.

21.       High – Sir Sly 

22.       All The Pretty Girls – Kaleo (need 50 views to review)
23.       Nimble Bastard – Incubus

See below

24.       Rhythm & Blues – The Head And The Heart (need 60 views to review)
25.       Hot Thoughts – Spoon (need 70 view to review)
26.       Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay (need 80 views to review)
27.       In Cold Blood – alt-J

See above

28.       Too Much To Think – 311 (need 90 views to review)
29.       Heavy – Linkin Park Featuring Kiiara

See above

30.       One Of Us – New Politics (need 100 views to review)
31.       Good Morning – Grouplove (need 110 views to review)
32.       Suit And Jacket – Judah & The Lion (need 120 views to review)
33.       High Enough – k.flay (need 130 views to review)
34.       Name For You – The Shins (need 140 views to review)
35.       Lost On You – LP (need 150 views to review)
36.       Kill For Candy – Dreamcar (need 160 views to review)
37.       Pork Soda – Glass Animals (need 170 views to review)
38.       We Got The Power – Gorillaz Featuring Jehnny Beth
This is a short one, so stay with me for this.  Hopefully Clayton won't show...
Even more Gorillas?

Anyway, let’s get to this track.  This is definitely a powerful, uplifting song with a lot of buildup to a big climax.  While the act’s roots are more in being chill, they manage to a great job of channeling that vibe to a more energetic, driving song.  Both Damon Albarn and Jehnny Beth manage to do a great job here of making things song high on life and energetic. 
And thankfully, there’s no more Gorillaz for me to talk about here.  I wonder how Clayton will react?
39.       Silvertongue – Young The Giant (need 180 views to review)
40.       She Said – Sundara Karma
Speaking from Experimental, this is definitely a lot rawer, more straightforward, and closer to actual rock than electropop.  Which is great to me.  If Sundara Karma becomes an artists that I love to follow, then that’s definitely a plus, with their combination of garage rock, blues rock, punk rock, and glam rock leading to a punchy track that’s a lot of fun.  Plus with the production, the vocals, and the instrumentation, including a fun but short and simple guitar solo, it’s on the way of becoming one of my favorite songs this year.  Definitely recommended.

And finally, my favorite one to look at due to a combination of my musical interests, nostalgia, and biases: the Mainstream Rock Chart:

1.         Help – Papa Roach*
While I enjoy happy songs, I sometimes need a dour, angry song to deal with the issues I have with the world sometimes.  Not to say this bad, though.  It’s thankfully a lot more straightforward, aggressive, and to-the-point than the band’s more recent electronic-infused tracks.  And I can probably take Jacoby Shaddix more seriously when he’s singing than rapping; I feel he has a good singing voice that allows for more emotion.  And the sentiment of needing companionship in one’s darkest moments and needing help is a great one for those dealing with depression.  And the production is great here.  But if there’s a takeaway from this, it’s better depression treatment than “Last Resort,” that’s for sure.

2.         Take Me – Korn
How is Korn still around with their dark, deranged, disturbing anti-drug anthem.  I’m sure it’s due to how heavy it is as well as their legacy.  However, they’re still decent, and the song is still a burst of rage.

3.         Let You Down – Seether
Is Seether a great band?  It depends on the day and the song.  Their sound is still rooted in alternative metal and grunge, and I do feel that there’s a small Tool influence working with the elements of Nirvana and Soundgarden in this track.  It’s probably due to the chord structure, guitar work, the aggression in the verses, and the fact that the chorus is a blitzkrieg of sound.  That and the bizarre lyrics.  Plus there’s the bridge, which is decent, but needs a guitar solo in my book.  If there’s a good sign for this track, it’s that Seether is still doing something that’s at least interesting with their sound.

4.         Monster – Starset
If I remember this track, it’s that it’s a great tune regardless of what you may think of the band’s mixture of muscular rock, gothic tone, electronic effects, and scientific observation.  As far as how it compares to their other songs, it’s not as fresh, but it’s still Starset, and it’s an interesting track to listen to in its sound and approach to music.  Definitely something to look into.

5.         Never Again – Breaking Benjamin
I also remember this track, and while it isn’t as strong and fresh as before, it’s standard Breaking Benjamin, so you’re a fan or you aren’t.  If you’re the former, then this is a fun little nostalgia trip to tracks like “Diary of Jane” and still a personal journey of anger, isolation, and loss of trust.  If you’re the latter, I’m not sure if this heavy, dark, down tuned, and angry track is a good introduction track to the band, or a gateway into becoming a fan.  This is for the fans anyway.

6.         If Only For Now – Pop Evil
Despite being a softer track than what they’re known for, this Pop Evil ballad is still a powerful, rocking tune worth your time if you’re a fan.  I remember liking this a bit, so I’m not sure if my mind changed for this track, but it’s still a decent track in my book.

7.         Nimble Bastard – Incubus*
Damnit, Incubus, watch your language you stupid sons of bitches!

But I do feel the music video is a weird one with the whole idea of secret agent dogs trying to kill the band when they’re filming a music video.  As for the song itself, it’s a fun, catchy little song with a driving beat and a great chorus.  The mix of pulse-pounding rock and electronic effects, with great production, good mixing, and a great solo, leads to a very catchy song with some great moments.  Though I’m not sure the song will play well with people offended by foul language.  But for the video, it’s funny that they end it with the band getting cat heads to fight a bunch of dogs.  As if the band wanted to appeal to the I Can Haz Cheezburger crowd for this video.

8.         Show Yourself – Mastodon

See Above.

9.         How Did You Love – Shinedown
This is a good song with a great chorus.  I have talked about this song before, and I feel it’s a great song to listen to.  Not much else to say here.

10.       Black Rose – Volbeat
More Volbeat?  Yes.  With their mix of rockabilly and classic rock melodies and heavy metal instrumentation, these fun-loving Danes come back with some more fun songs.  The sound is fantastic, the guitars are punchy, the drums are fun, the production gives everyone a chance to shine, and the vocals are fantastic.  But if there’s a secret weapon to the song, it’s the beat, asking for you headbang along, go even faster, and get more pumped up.  And that guitar solo is great.  In short, this song is a good one, and you should listen to it.

11.       Back From The Dead – Skillet 
Wait, this song is called “Back From the Dead”?  Excuse me for a second?
If it wasn’t for this song being a little catchy, fun, and bouncy (with emphasis on “little”), this would have been definable proof that this band NEEDS to take a breather and go on vacation.  You know, like that wizard at the end of Korgoth of Barbaria.  But this song has some decent moments and a surprisingly catchy beat and direction, taking from (what it think) pop and indie to punch up their Christian butt rock sound into a well-oiled machine.  What I mean is that the riff and hook are stronger here than they were on that track “Feel Invincible,” which is the embodiment of the kind of butt rock that starts off sounding fun, bouncy, and catchy but then gets more intolerable as time goes on and you think about it.  This is more fun, bouncier, and catchier, despite having the same production issues filtering the rock and symphonic elements with heavy electronica, and I do wonder if THIS will be the song that ends up being a rock staple for the band. 

12.       Feed The Machine – Nickelback

13.       Highway – Bleeker 
That opening riff is pure catchiness incarnate.  And this song’s thematic tone is that of going on an adventure of a lifetime.  Possibly with a lot of sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and wild parties going on during the trip.  And that it’s sort of a reflection on the hectic life the band lives.  To match it, it’s a catchy song with basic production, aiming for a raw, visceral punch that’s also catchy and fun, delicately done instrumentation that matches their wild, raw, straightforward rock style, and excellently bluesy vocals that match indie sensitivity with classic rock swagger.  In short, this is a great song, and one that deserves to be part of your playlists.

14.       Hated – Beartooth (need 30 views to review)
15.       My Name Is Human – Highly Suspect

16.       Oh My God – The Pretty Reckless (need 40 views to review)
17.       Breathe – Through Fire (need 50 views to review)
18.       Madness – All That Remains 

19.       God Damn – Avenged Sevenfold 

20.       My Champion – Alter Bridge (need 60 views to review)
21.       New Land – Avatar (need 70 views to review)
22.       Middle Fingers – MISSIO

See above

23.       Heavydirtysoul – twenty one pilots

See above

24.       Anti-Everything – DED (need 80 views to review)
25.       Come Together – Godsmack (need 90 views to review)
26.       Worth The Pain – Letters From The Fire (need 100 views to review)
27.       Dark Black Makeup – Radkey (need 110 views to review)
28.       LOUD (F**k It) – Motionless In White (need 120 views to review)
29.       Bullfight – A Day To Remember (need 130 views to review)
30.       Aftermath – As Lions (need 140 views to review)
31.       Lure And Persuade – Citizen Zero (need 150 views to review)
32.       Animal – Badflower (need 160 views to review)
33.       I Want It All – Hell Or Highwater (need 170 views to review)
34.       Human – Rag'n'Bone Man

See above

35.       Believer – Imagine Dragons

See above

36.       Howl – Biffy Clyro

37.       Pure Evil – Like A Storm
This song is almost seven minutes?  Well, that soft opening before the aggressive guitar parts does help with that distinction.  However, I do feel that, while I do like progressive metal with a modern edge, this kind of intensity is a little exhausting on rock radio, and that I would rather have a return to the L.A.-style glam metal sound for a brief period of time for this to sound exciting again.  However, I do feel that the mix of melodicism and aggression is great for metal, and it allows for a dark, interesting, and furious song that can easily be in a playlist containing Parkway Drive and Triosphere, or could mesh those two worlds together.  Not to say that progressive metal and metalcore should mesh, those two meshing makes the latter sound amazing, even with minor sleaze and glam influences.  Heck, incorporate power metal and you have a juggernaut.  I should try to apply my musical standards to my own stuff and start a melodic, neo-classical, symphonic, progressive, power, glam, thrash, alternative metalcore band that alternates lyrically between societal awareness and the plot of Kämpfer.  I should get on that.

38.       Still Of The Night – Halestorm (need 180 views to review)

39.       Blood In The Cut – k.flay (need 190 views to review)
40.       Stones – Manafest
At the bottom of the “fun” chart is this bizarre-looking and sounding track that, despite its aggressive elements, has more in common with nu metal than, I don’t know, good music.  As a result, it’s more of a dud than Manafest would like, despite the bouncy, punchy chorus.  Despite my previous words of frustration, even I admit it’s as if the crap involving my generation is causing a lot of rock bands to go back to the nu metal formula, but somehow actually trying to make it sound good rather than edgy, even when it’s still trying to sound edgy.  It’s as if we grew up with crap like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park and cracked the code in how we make it sound good.  But too bad we sound too white, regardless.  And that is why if I do music, the rap elements will be less Fred Durst and more MC Frontalot.  That and replace modern hip hop elements with j-pop elements while playing bone-crushing riffs and shredding solos to loud vocals, bass, and drums.  Yes, I would be on guitar.

So those were my thoughts on the charts and the new arrivals.  If you feel that I skipped out on certain songs, then feel free in the comments what songs you want me to elaborate on.  I have plans depending on how this is received for what I will review next week as well as what is new next week for the chart(s) I ultimately look at.  If you have different opinions on the songs I reviewed, feel free to tell me in the comments as well.

And yes, I hope to make the next one come up CLOSER to the Tuesday it comes after.

Plus, expect updates to the reviews (specifically songs I’ve missed) when this entry gets a certain amount of views each time.

Until Next Time, This is The Rock Otaku.  Live Loud and Play Hard.

All used references are done under the rules of fair use and are owned by their original creators. 

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