Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Rock Otaku’s Rockin’ Billboard Chart Watch: May 6, 2017

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.  I’ll provide some of my smooth commentary on the new tracks that came out for each chart.  For the older ones, there are two methods I’m planning: the first is to edit this entry depending on views while also creating entries based on charts made earlier in the year based (again) on views.  So for today, I’ll provide my two cents for the songs that came out for Billboard’s May 6, 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.

Like with the last few, 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.  Unless I reviewed it in a previous entry, initially or updated due to it meeting my viewership goals.  Then I will have a new goal: it you want my current thoughts on it now, depending on your relative definition of now, then share this entry with others.  You’ll get my updated thoughts on each song. 

Though I’m sure that I’ll need to get rid of the first few lines in future installments of this.  Anyway, let’s begin.

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

1.         Believer – Imagine Dragons

2.         Heathens – twenty one pilots

3.         Heavy – Linkin Park Featuring Kiiara

4.         Ride – twenty one pilots

5.         The Night We Met – Lord Huron

6.         Human – Rag'n'Bone Man

7.         Lust For Life – Lana Del Rey Featuring The Weeknd
Okay, are we seriously getting more Lana Del Rey here?  And with a title like this, I’d expect something a lot more uptempo and musically uplifting.  Instead we get a sad-sounding, somber-sounding, down key song.  Not to say that songs in a minor key can be catchy or beautiful, it’s that you don’t usually see Iced Earth on the pop charts.  And this song does not sell me the whole idea of carpe diem here, especially with the production being too weird and crushing to be uplifting, Lana Del Rey’s bored delivery, and The Weeknd being the best thing here, having some sense of personality.  In general, I’d stick to the original “Lust For Life” by Iggy Pop, Rey from the new Star Wars trilogy, and anytime The Weeknd tries to be Michael Jackson at his most 80s.

8.         Sucker For Pain – Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa & Imagine Dragons With Logic & Ty Dolla $ign Feat. X Ambassadors

P.S. And yes, I know I goofed by calling the singer of X Ambassadors Sam Smith when the singer of the band is Sam Harris.  On the one hand, they have similar voices, inflections, and tones to anger me.  On the other hand, in the near future, I just might take that review, make the update next week to make this correction, only keeping the blunder as a reminder for myself to DO MY RESEARCH or admit I don’t know jack about an artist sometimes.

9.         Way Down We Go – Kaleo

10.       Hard Times – Paramore
Somewhere, my horny, 16-year-old self is creaming his pants.  Here, I have to admit it’s a little weird for this pop punk outfit doing a more disco-inspired song.  But as far as a pretty goofy disco-rock song from the band (and cute singer) behind “Misery Business,” it’s a fun goofy disco-rock song.  And the band really sells that whole idea with a lot of effort, a catchy hook, a funky beat, good guitar work, and appropriately retro production.  And yes, it’s still a mystery that Hayley Williams is such a charismatic singer no matter what she does, may it be rock, punk, pop, r&b, and now retro.  Somewhere, I can see her nailing power metal.  As for the video, it’s still a reminder that, outside of their current fascination, or their current necessity to remain relevant, with retro trends, that the band, especially Hayley, is a bunch of nerds, especially with anime.

11.       Wish I Knew You – The Revivalists

12.       American Dream – Bob Pressner
WHO THE HELL IS BOB PRESSNER?!  Whoever he is, he sounds like a decent singer and musician.  But this song is somehow the kind that I’m sure is going to be savagely torn apart by subsections of BOTH political spectrums as either a criticism of the American way and how it is or should be, or a unapologetically patriotic song that doesn’t reflect how messed up we are.  However, I do feel that this is a surprisingly middle-of-the-road song that criticizes the establishment and their actions to regulate our daily lives and make crises to advance their grip and rule with an iron fist.  Or that is my thought on this song based on my distaste for the political establishment on BOTH sides.  Disagree with me?  Good, because that is the true American way: having your own thoughts and presenting them to the masses.  That and complain about gun rights.

13.       In The Blood – John Mayer
I feel like at the end of this, I’m going to lose my sanity a little.  Why, because of how many John Mayer songs are new and returning on this chart.  No seriously, he’s back on the chart.  And the worst part is that the one that’s doing the best is the one that almost reminds me of his start doing acoustic frat music.  Or WGWAGs, as Todd calls them.  For this track, it’s a decent, if not remarkable song that is way too plain and uninteresting for me to really dig deep into the lyrics.  Yes, I am one of those guys that demands amazing music if there are lyrics to try to dive deep in them, which is why some of my favorite songs have some of the dumbest lyrics you’ll ever hear.  But if this song has a saving grace, it’s that John Mayer’s guitar solo is decent, though still plain in the case of unoffensive blues-rock.  The production is fine, but it’s also very plain.  If this being plain is my issue, I hope to God he has a song here that’s remotely interesting.

14.       Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man

15.       Good Goodbye – Linkin Park Featuring Pusha T & Stormzy
Is it me, or did their last album did bad enough that it led the band to pretty much become just Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda singing over electropop?  If that’s the case then I am considering sending raspberry jam to Sam Smith AND Lana Del Rey for causing Linkin Park to completely sell out.  Why?  Because it’s becoming apparent that with the last song and this, THEY HAVE TRULY SOLD OUT.  That claim is arguable, but I feel that by going for depressive, low-fi pop music now, instead of continuing their rock focus, their sound has taken a massive hit in their distinctness.  They are no longer the same, their sound is generic to the core.  Don’t say this is better because this is generic, this is hurting my ability, as a rock fan and as a metalhead, to take them seriously.  I’m disappointed here.  And do I have to mention, again, that they sold out?

P.S. I do not mean any harm to any musical artists of fans of artists I’ve thrashed here.  It’s that I’m disappointed with Linkin Park’s direction, and I needed a way to vent about it that’s both honest and probably hilarious. 

16.       Good News – Ocean Park Standoff

17.       Saturn Barz – Gorillaz Featuring Popcaan

18.       Rosie – John Mayer
At least this has a light-blues sound to it.  While this isn’t the best song ever, I do have to admit that this has a lot more effort and drive than the last John Mayer tune I’ve reviewed here, at least.  But does it make up for possibly crappy lyrics?  Maybe not, but at least this isn’t the worst thing I’ve heard on this chart yet (sorry, Linkin Park, you really disappointed me, and Lana Del Rey sucks!).  The production is fine, the song has nice melodies, the harmonies are a great way to differentiate from a singer who STILL sounds like a fratboy.  The guitar solo is also a great indicator of some of John Mayer’s true talents being closer to guitar playing than they are to songwriting.  This is alright.

19.       Love – Lana Del Rey

20.       Still Feel Like Your Man – John Mayer

21.       Testify – NEEDTOBREATHE 
When I hear that title, I suddenly think of the Rage Against the Machine song of the same name.  Is this as angry or though-provoking?  Nope, but it’s a lot more chill.  It’s definitely chill, and either that’ll be a good or bad thing, depending on your musical choices.  I’m in the middle on this due to some decent melodies and a calming vibe that I sometimes need before jumping back into the mosh pit of life.  I can admit that, if you give this the chance, this is an uplifting song, one that will get you back on your feet if you aren’t into power metal (which, for some reason, most of my country isn’t).  The production is fine, with some drive and clarity, the vocals are good, and it just sounds calming despite its anthemic approach, probably due to its instrumentation.  Overall, it’s a soothing song.

22.       Middle Fingers – MISSIO

23.       Love Is Mystical – Cold War Kids

24.       Help – Papa Roach

25.       Never On The Day You Leave – John Mayer
So instead of an acoustic guitar for this ballad, John Mayer goes for pianos and orchestras.  As far as musical elements go, this is rather interesting to do.  Or it would be if piano ballads are one of the easiest types of ballads to do, the easiest type to get an emotional rise out of people, and one of the easiest type to screw up (easiest being acoustic ballads).  And while the drums do give this song a beat, this is still a love song about the singer telling his girl that he’ll never leave or forget her.  Or something like that.  And yes, there’s some guitar, but not a lot.  Overall, this is fine, again.

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

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

28.       Don't Take The Money – Bleachers

29.       Moving On And Getting Over – John Mayer
If I remember this song, I remember giving this song some good word for being a little funky.  That and having a good key used, decent instrumentation and vocals, and a lot of swagger in the guitar part, being a mix of blues, funk, and soul.  And the licks are still great.  But like any of John Mayer’s parts, it’s as if his earlier work, and my reactions to it then, created this sort of mental bias to suddenly deem everything by him to be plain and generic.  But this song does have a few well-played guitar moments, enough for me to just drift away and let the music take me away.  But after a few other generic John Mayer songs, I’m starting to wish that I would get something distinctive or with some spice or chocolate in it next rather than more vanilla (or anpan).

30.       Cold Cold Cold – Cage The Elephant

31.       In Cold Blood – alt-J

32.       Blame – Bastille

33.       You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me – John Mayer
Great, more vanilla.  I’m sure there’s a reason for middle-aged soccer moms to still give this man a career, but then again I’m not a middle-aged soccer mom.  And thus, the amount of vanilla, despite this being a soft-spoken piano ballad with some emotion to it, is causing me to go a little nuts.  The lyrics do have some dumb moments, and the sentiment does try to be sweet, but at the same time, I also hope that this isn’t from the point of view of the most boring stalker out there.  That would be both disturbing and uninteresting.  And yes, I’m sure I’ve reviewed this, and I’m also sure that a lack of John Mayer in the immediate future (done by yours truly) will allow me to warm up to it, but I’m getting burned out by the musical nothingness here.

34.       Monster – Starset

35.       High – Sir Sly

See Below

36.       Angela – The Lumineers
For this track, while I am not a huge fan of The Lumineers and their style, they are a decent band that deserve a good chunk of their good word.  For this song, this song is a small, soothing acoustic number that definitely shows the band’s skill and talent.  As for the song itself, it’s definitely a small little ballad about this girl the singer likes, but the video somehow involves a pregnant woman.  I’m not sure if that’s the real meaning, but it’s a song that’s about him trying to soothe her during times of stress.  It’s a nice song in general, and the sentiment can be nice for most of you.  Plus there’s the fact that the song has a bouncy feel that gets more danceable as it goes on.  Plus the ending piano outro is outright beautiful.  However, despite all of this, I find it to be merely good and a nice song to listen to from time to time, but it isn’t the Jarvis Cocker song of the same name.  Now that is a good pop rock tune.

37.       Theme From “The Search For Everything” – John Mayer
So whatever John Mayer-related things in the rock scene going on led to an instrumental joining the chart.  And it’s a decent little tune that does show the singer-songwriters guitar talents being used for vanilla fluff.  The touches of orchestra do help here, but it’s not enough for me to not find it interesting.  Hopefully something unpredictable happens with John Mayer next time.

38.       Ascension – Gorillaz Featuring Vince Staples (Need 30 views to review)
39.       Emoji of a Wave – John Mayer
“Emoji of a Wave.”  “Emoji of a wave.”  Jeez, that title is great, isn’t it?
Joking aside, this is an average acoustic blues song.  But that title, what a dumb title.  Not to say that it’s a bad song title, but it’s a really, really dumb song title.  And it’s about as forces as The Emoji Movie.  And it’s as boring as that movie’s teaser trailer.  There’s not much to say about the music that I’ve mentioned before outside a few decent melody lines, and even then I have mentioned decent melody lines.  And decent bridges and guitar solos.  But this song is still generic.  And… wait a sec, this is being released by Columbia Records?  This is being released by Sony?  WHAT IS WITH SONY’S OBSESSION WITH EMOJIS?!!!!!  And there is a reason why I want BlazBlue: Central Fiction on the Nintendo Switch.  And Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator 2.

40.       Helpless – John Mayer
Wait, this song has an above-average sense of vibe to it?  Too bad the production and the John Mayer-factor affects this song’s drive and groove, making this song sound generic again.  But the beat is a lot better this time, having a sense of energy and funk that makes this song sound less vanilla in comparison to the rest of the John Mayer songs that came up.  It’s still white, but it’s funky, bluesy, and jiving enough to be white chocolate.  And I’d rather take white chocolate over vanilla any day.  And the guitar solo is also reflective of the different approach that John Mayer takes on this track.  With something I can latch onto now, I be I can do this.

41.       Sweet Disaster – DREAMERS

42.       How Did You Love – Shinedown

43.       Let You Down – Seether

44.       All The Pretty Girls – Kaleo (Need 40 views to review)
45.       Lights Out – Royal Blood
A song that isn’t by John Mayer down here?  And has some sort of drive to it?
I’m not sure how Zelda relates to heavy garage rock with drum and bass influences here?  No seriously, this is literally just a drum kit and a bass guitar playing this song.  This duo are the reason that these days, we have a phrase “lead bassist,” and they’re a reason that I’m suddenly more interested in buying an electric bass guitar.  Even better, he plays bass solos like it’s none of his business.  And the music is well-produced in that raw feel, the instrumentation is clear, the effects to give the bass the sound of a guitar is well done, and the singer is a ball of manly charisma.  Plus the song’s tone fits the title, reflecting a sort of sexy feel to it.  In short, this is a song that will get you lucky with the ladies.  And it rocks.

46.       Reverend – Kings of Leon

47.       Roll It On Home – John Mayer
While I can bash this song again, the only real difference here is, I’m not sure, the country influence here.  While, again, I can use generic and vanilla here as criticisms, which it is, I should point out that it’s still better than most songs on the modern country charts, and that’s based on experience with modern country.  But again, this song is song is still a little generic.  While I shouldn’t bash it some more because John Mayer has fans, I’m sure that I’m bashing it because it’s so generic.  And it may be due to my biases.  I feel that the instrumentation is well done, the production is nice, and the slide guitars and guitar solo are pretty good.  But at the same time, it’s as if there’s this mental filter I have that deems ANYTHING by John Mayer generic.  And it’s driving me nuts.

48.       We Got The Power – Gorillaz Featuring Jehnny Beth

49.       Changing – John Mayer
What else I can say about John Mayer’s charting music that I haven’t said. There is a minor gospel influence here, but it doesn’t improve my issues here.  I don’t know what to add, and it’s driving me to this state:
Moving on before I start throwing vanilla ice cream at random mooks.

50.       Hot Thoughts – Spoon (Need 50 views to review)

And for this week thanks to the onslaught of John Mayer, here are the dropouts from last week:

Heavydirtysoul – twenty one pilots

Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin

Centerfold – The J. Geils Band


Nimble Bastard – Incubus

Feels Like Summer – Weezer (Need 60 views to review)
Shine – Mondo Cozmo

See Below

Never Again – Breaking Benjamin

The Cure – Unspoken (Need 70 views to review)
Show Yourself – Mastodon

Take Me – Korn

Black Rose – Volbeat

Lifetimes – Oh Wonder

Ran – Future Islands

Cocoon – Milky Chance (Need 80 views to review)

Despite previous showcases of my taste in punk and metal, here’s the Alternative Songs:

1.         Believer – Imagine Dragons

2.         Wish I Knew You – The Revivalists

3.         Love Is Mystical – Cold War Kids

4.         Blame – Bastille

5.         Human – Rag'n'Bone Man

6.         Heavydirtysoul – twenty one pilots

7.         Cold Cold Cold – Cage The Elephant

8.         Sweet Disaster – DREAMERS

9.         Green Light – Lorde

10.       Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man

11.       Middle Fingers – MISSIO

12.       Fire Escape – Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness

13.       Don't Take The Money – Bleachers

14.       Take It All Back – Judah & The Lion

15.       High – Sir Sly 
This tune is definitely influenced by the electronic side of their sound, even with the rock focus and some of the guitars.  As for the song itself, it’s as if this song is heavily inspired by heavy drug use and that the musicians were tripping when they wrote and performed this, even when it’s about how messed up you are when you are tripping.  And the video matches that as well.  Seriously, it’s as if this song is definitely meant to be listened when you are using substances that mess you up.  I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing, but it’s very notable that this meant for the modern drug culture than casual listening.  Not bad, but weird as hell.

16.       Reverend – Kings of Leon

17.       Shine – Mondo CozmoShine – Mondo Cozmo
Whatever this is, this somehow reminds me of most hair metal ballads despite this being more of a Christian rock-esque alternative ballad.  Or a WGWAG with a Christian focus.  Either case, this is an example of a song I’ve been talking about where it’s nice to listen to after a long day or dealing with something troubling, but isn’t going to heal any emotional wounds any time soon.  The sad part is that this song is embracing that mentality, and it somehow makes the same stumbles of trying too hard to be happy and sweet without some substance to it.  The production is pretty decent, with clarity to the instruments and vocals.  The lyrics do have some sweetness to them.  There’s also some drive during the chorus like most great classic rock songs.  Unfortunately, the singer is trying way too hard to be Bob Dylan, but doesn’t realize that Bob Dylan’s songwriting is why he’s talented; his singing sucks.  In general, this is a decent tune, but way too happy for me at this current moment (at this point, I just put up my latest LTEM, and that is doing fine for the initial numbers), and I feel that something epic will lift my spirits at this point.

18.       Feels Like Summer – Weezer (Need 30 views to review)
19.       In Cold Blood – alt-J

20.       Down – Marian Hill (Need 40 views to review)
21.       Rhythm & Blues – The Head And The Heart (Need 50 views to review)
22.       Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay (Need 60 views to review)
23.       Hot Thoughts – Spoon (Need 70 views to review)
24.       One Of Us – New Politics (Need 80 views to review)
25.       Suit And Jacket – Judah & The Lion (Need 90 views to review)
26.       Nimble Bastard – Incubus

27.       Too Much To Think – 311 (Need 100 views to review)
28.       Good Morning – Grouplove (Need 110 views to review)
29.       High Enough – k.flay (Need 120 views to review)
30.       Kill For Candy – Dreamcar (Need 130 views to review)
31.       Hard Times – Paramore

See Above

32.       All The Pretty Girls – Kaleo (Need 140 views to review)
33.       She Said – Sundara Karma

34.       Lost On You – LP (Need 150 views to review)
35.       Heavy – Linkin Park Featuring Kiiara

36.       Goodbye Angels – Red Hot Chili Peppers
So when you hear Red Hot Chili Peppers on the radio, do you get their funky hard rock jams or their softer alternative hits?  This definitely fits under the latter than the former, though you can also make a statement that a good chunk of their work for a while hasn’t been classifiable as funk metal, and that alternative rock is their main genre.  Well, this does have a funky vibe to it that gets more pronounced during and after the first chorus, and the approach to this song is a lot more softer and more introspective, similar to “Under the Bridge” or “Californiacation.”  But the production by Danger Mouse is decent, the basslines are fantastic (nothing less from Flea), the guitars by Josh Klinghoffer are good with a great guitar ending, Chad Smith is a good drummer, and Anthony Kiedis’s distinctive vocals are on display here.  If you’re a Chili Peppers fan, then you may dig this.  I definitely have some good words about it after nearly going mad after all the John Mayer beforehand.

37.       Howl – Biffy Clyro
As far as hard rock goes, this is definitely on my good side, with some decently done production that emphasizes the instruments and their fury.  The guitars, while they aren’t heavy, are loud, fuzzy, and full of bite and grit.  The basslines are distinctive and fun.  The drums have the right amount of balance of swing and power.  The vocals are a mix of power, bite, and intensity. And you also have a song about being at the point where the singer is dealing with his frustrations with the world and needs an outlet to let it out fast.  And it’s also a fun little rock tune that has enough swing, swagger, and bite to encourage fun times ahead, even with the weird, Stanley Kubrick-esque music video.

38.       Set On Fire – Magic Giant
Based on the musical key, there’s a sense that the song may or may not be epic.  And that’s despite the use of banjos and, I think, mandolins in the instrumentation.  At least the song, unlike anything I’ve heard from Judah and the Lion, uses the folk instruments to create killer rock tunes and a sense of groove, melody, and guts.  It’s as if this band understands that indie folk works when it’s fun, doesn’t draw attention to any smugness, and actually has some great musical moments.  This song is just fun, and the production, allowing for the instrumentation to shine, the singer is having the time of his life, and the sentiment is a lot more interesting, fun, and does a better job at just being fun and in-the-moment for once.  Definitely a keeper.  And I hope it gets more play.

39.       Lights Out – Royal Blood

See Above

40.       Pork Soda – Glass Animals (Need 160 views to review)

And here are the dropouts from last week:

Still Breathing – Green Day

Cleopatra – The Lumineers (Need 170 views to review)
Name For You – The Shins (Need 180 views to review)
Jungle – Tash Sultana

We Got The Power – Gorillaz Featuring Jehnny Beth

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

2.         Let You Down – Seether

3.         Monster – Starset

4.         Take Me – Korn

5.         Nimble Bastard – Incubus

6.         Show Yourself – Mastodon

7.         If Only For Now – Pop Evil

8.         Black Rose – Volbeat

9.         Back From The Dead – Skillet

10.       How Did You Love – Shinedown

11.       Never Again – Breaking Benjamin

12.       Feed The Machine – Nickelback

13.       Madness – All That Remains
Here’s a note about the (most likely now) right-leaning All That Remains.  They are obsessed with trying to support America’s war-like tendencies, while regurgitating rock, metal, hardcore, and metalcore clichés, a far cry from their earlier work where they were a straight-up melodic metalcore band with interesting ideas to bring to the table (Overcome really screwed them up).  And this song continues their foray into appealing to hardcore conservative Americans while also, maybe, reflecting the struggles of veterans who come back and deal with the traumas of war.  And this song would be interesting if it wasn’t like most other metalcore-style, right-wing, hardcore, radio rock-based hard rock songs out there right now.  Seriously, this band sold out to the Trump base, and, despite its heavy production, mediocre guitar riffs and beats, okay vocals which are trying way too hard to be traditionally manly, when a high tenor (or baritone hitting his vocal ceiling in high wails) is as manly if not manlier (Kenshiro, Goku, and Luffy should have a word with Phil Labonte), and a decent guitar solo, which is somehow weaker than stuff like “Six,” “This Calling,” “Two Weeks,” and even “From The Outside.”  Seriously, this song, despite its aggression, is pretty boring to me, and I’m not sure if it’s because I listen to black metal, death metal, and/or power metal a lot.  Regardless, I’ll let the Red states have their hot-blooded metal, and I’ll pray for a song like this with girlish J-pop vocals that isn’t BabyMetal.

14.       God Damn – Avenged Sevenfold
So yes, A7X have decided to be a progressive metal band on their latest album rather than a Black Album-era Metallica rehash.  As far as mainstream-focused progressive metal, I feel that Galactic Empire have Avenged Sevenfold beat, but the more popular band does prove, with their penchant for melody, drive, strong production, and catchy hooks, that there is a reason for their continuing popularity.  And I do get the sense that, unlike Nickelback, who incorporates trends into their music when it guarantees success and sales, these guys just play what they want to play and always try to do something different, like thrash for City of Evil, emo-tinged melodic metal for the self-titled album, something heavier and more technical for Nightmare, hard rock for Hail to the King, and, now, progressive metal for The Stage.  It also fits considering just how bizarre of a guitarist Synyster Gates is at his craft, and their increasing desires to top themselves as musicians would lead them down this path.  The beat is pounding and catchy, the riffs are interesting and intense, the licks are rightfully melodically tasty, the vocals are well done, the bass and drums add to the fire, and the guitar solo is a reminder of Gates’ status as a modern guitar hero, even the acoustic bridge is a neat addition.  So as far as mid-00s hot topic metal goes, Avenged Sevenfold are among, and can still be classified as, the best of the bunch, and this song sort of adds to that claim.

15.       Breathe – Through Fire (Need 30 views to review)
16.       Now That We’re Dead – Metallica
Wasn’t this song’s music video released last November when the album dropped?  If so, then it’s here because they decided to make this a single.  And it does fit the requirements for hit rock radio single.  The main riff is catchy, the beat is strong and encourages mid-tempo headbanging, the bass is strong with this one, and the lyrical hooks are strong.  Though it’s weird that this song is around since it has both the strengths and issues of “Enter Sandman,” which I’ve mentioned in a review of the album I did before using this platform.  I said this song is a catchy love song in the vein of that hard rock classic while being as equally dark and demented.  It’s still a catchy, interesting song, and the guitar solo does show Kirk Hammett’s skills on the guitar while also proving that he does deserve the status of guitar hero (and so does James Hetfield for his riff construction).  That and there are some thrash elements here; it isn’t entirely mid-tempo radio metal.  And for the video, is it weird that it looks like Kirk Hammett is wearing black nail polish (though to be fair, a lot of metal musicians wear non-natural nail polish depending on how dark and scary they want their image to be).  Overall, it’s not an amazing song, but it’s a fun Metallica that’s definitely a concert staple in the making.

17.       Middle Fingers – MISSIO

18.       My Champion – Alter Bridge (Need 40 views to review)
19.       Aftermath – As Lion (Need 50 views to review)
20.       New Land – Avatar (Need 60 views to review)
21.       Come Together – Godsmack (Need 70 views to review)
22.       LOUD (F**k It) – Motionless In White (Need 80 views to review)
23.       Heavydirtysoul – twenty one pilots

24.       Anti-Everything – DED (Need 90 views to review)
25.       Oh My God – The Pretty Reckless (Need 100 views to review)
26.       Howl – Biffy Clyro

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27.       Worth The Pain – Letters From The Fire (need 110 views to review)
28.       Bullfight – A Day To Remember (Need 120 views to review)
29.       Dark Black Makeup – Radkey (Need 130 views to review)
30.       Lights Out – Royal Blood

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31.       Cheaper To Drink Alone – Black Stone Cherry

32.       I Want It All – Hell Or Highwater (Need 140 views to review)
33.       Pure Evil – Like A Storm

34.       Run Rabbit Run – Black Map

35.       Believer – Imagine Dragons

36.       Lure And Persuade – Citizen Zero (Need 150 views to review)
37.       Human – Rag'n'Bone Man

38.       Catch Me When I Fall – Stitched Up Heart
So I’m not entirely familiar with Stitched Up Heart, but I know they’re a female-fronted mainstream metalcore band.  And the song does confirm their focus on playing electronica-infused anthemic metalcore.  And it’s decently produced, with a focus on aggression as well as accessibility.  The guitars, bass, and drums do sound massive here.  Plus, you have the main chick singing here providing a very soulful performance that’s more focused on accessibility than having more charisma than her fellow band members, but she is arguably the glue that ties this together, even when she goes for harsh vocals in the breakdown.  And while this song is catchy, I feel that this is really trying to aim for a mainstream feel than showcase what the band is passionate about, since this sentiment isn’t exactly new in the rock industry.  Decent song, but it isn’t the song to prove to me the band is worth something unless I’m morbidly curious.  Good for pop metal, I guess.

39.       They Put A Body In The Bayou – The Orwells

40.       Hurricane – Thrice*
So while I’m not the biggest thrice fan out there, they did have a surprisingly good song from last year with “Black Honey.”  And now they’re back with this song which has a surprisingly-appropriate title considering their musical focus on sonic and emotional intensity.  For this post-hardcore band, this is a song that deals with the storm of emotions that come out when dealing with love and loss, plus the sense of isolation leading to a storm within the person.  But that’s just my interpretation.  There’s also the great use of dynamics to make this more of an emotional song rather than a furious song, with softer verses that explode into a loud, passionate chorus, and the instrumentation fits this all with a lot more volume in the guitars during the chorus and bridge (where there’s some kind of big guitar moment there) versus the verses, and the drums and bass go from simply keeping rhythm to outright going into overdrive in the same manner.  Plus there’s the emotional vocals from the singer, which give this song some bite to it.  And finally, it’s just a surprisingly beautiful song about some very dark themes, so there’s that.  In short, if you’re a thrice fan, then I definitely recommend this one.
And here are the dropouts from last week:

My Name Is Human – Highly Suspect

Highway – Bleeker (Need 160 views to review)
Animal – Badflower (Need 170 views to review)
20 Below – September Mourning

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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