Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Rock Otaku’s Rockin’ Billboard Chart Watch: May 20, 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 20, 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. 

Oh, and Gorillaz managed to have a new album out, so expect some changes made to fit the arrival of it.  Okay?  Good.

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.         Heavy – Linkin Park Featuring Kiiara

3.         Heathens – twenty one pilots

4.         Thunder – Imagine Dragons

5.         Human – Rag'n'Bone Man

6.         The Night We Met – Lord Huron

7.         Young And Menace – Fall Out Boy

8.         Hard Times – Paramore

9.         Wish I Knew You – The Revivalists

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

11.       Saturn Barz – Gorillaz Featuring Popcaan

12.       Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man

13.       Lust For Life – Lana Del Rey Featuring The Weeknd

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

15.       Ascension – Gorillaz Featuring Vince Staples

16.       Good News – Ocean Park Standoff

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

18.       The Apprentice – Gorillaz Featuring Rag’n’Bone Man, Zebra Katz & RAY BLK

19.       In The Blood – John Mayer

20.       Momentz – Gorillaz Featuring De La Soul
Gorillaz plus De La Soul?  Why does this somehow give me good vibes.  Regardless, this is one thumping song, with a vibe that feels like what would happen if Black Eyed Peas didn’t suck.  In this case, with a thumping bassline, beat, and some fun vocals from Damian and De La Soul, with some from the girl that I’m sure is voicing Noodle here, this song is a blast of fun and energy.  And the vibe of living for great moments is great for these trying times.

21.       Submission – Gorillaz Featuring Danny Brown & Kelela
For this track, though I’m sure that this is a great showcase of the band’s ability to make weird minimalist pop music and make it both interesting and memorable.  Here, the band works with Danny Brown and Kelala to create a bouncy, fun track with a steady beat, a strong bassline, and great soulful vocals from Kelala.  It also even has a good rap section from Danny Brown.  In short, this is a fun song.

22.       Strobelite – Gorillaz Featuring Peven Everett
Where the last song was soulful and driving, this is more like a down-&-dirty take on rhythmic 80s pop, from the synths to the beat.  And with Peven Everett’s vocals, this feels like something that could fit in a playlist with Human League, Information Society, Depeche Mode, and other synthpop classics.  Heck, this is arguably one of my favorite tracks from Humanz thanks to the beat and sound.  If the other songs were great, this is the one to really grab onto in my opinion, especially if you’re a fan of 80s synth-based pop.

23.       Human – Jesse Larson
So this is a cover of the Rag’n’Bone Man song of the same name.  While I’ve said that the original is one that’s a grower, this is definitely a pale remake of it.  What I mean is that the edge and ethos that the original had is missing in favor of traditional pop production and a focus on a nice voice.  While Jesse Larson has a nice voice, it’s still a little obviously by someone who’s being trained to be “good” rather than naturally good, or even naturally fit to even sing it.  The big issue here, though, is the fact that musically, this sounds like a clean, karaoke version of the original.  Even with the talkbox used here.  And the more rock-based sound, which could in some circumstances might be an improvement over the original.  But if I want a rockier tune called “Human,” I wouldn’t cover the original.  I’d write my own song or go all the way with the cover.

24.       Help – Papa Roach

25.       Testify – NEEDTOBREATHE

26.       J-Boy – Phoenix
You’d think that this French indie rock band’s career was over after their first few flings with success, but it isn’t, as this synth-loaded rocker is a sign that they may have risen from the ashes of irrelevancy.  But with this song’s debut, this would definitely be a grower, as the 80s-inspired sound is nice and all, but it isn’t distinctive from all the other pop and rock artists running around today that are aping the 80s for musical influence (see Bruno Mars’ “24k Magic” for a more obvious example, even if it rocks as well as Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance”).  The beat is fine, the use of synths and guitars work well together, the bassline is fun and catchy, and the vocals are full of energy and passion.  Well, with the lyrics being about being in a serious deal of love with someone.  If I do have a gripe with this, the band needs to stay away from AutoTune. 

27.       Busted And Blue – Gorillaz
That opening is so great.  It’s lush, atmospheric, trippy, and an example of how I prefer synthesizers to be used unless you’re aping Michael Jackson.  Then you get the vocals by Damian Albarn, going for some dark, interesting, and introspective themes that match the interesting music.  And with this, we also get a lot weird moments due to the chill vibe and interesting lyrics.  If there’s a reason to check this out, it’s the chill vibe, but if there’s a drawback, it’s the chill vibe.  What I mean is that the song’s vibe is a “take it or leave it” kind due to the focus on electric effects to create the melodies (which are great by the way), as well as the slow-tempo and lack of drive.  But this works when you’re stressed, so stressed that death metal or black metal might be too much, or dubstep will send you into epileptic shock.  It’s cathartic and therapeutic, even if the song may be about abuse.  Have fun thinking about that.

28.       Charger – Gorillaz Featuring Grace Jones
So the opening guitar parts manages to be a massive contrast with the previous charting track, with its focus on aggression and drive while having a very electronic vibe.  The beat is driving but steady, the bassline is thick but accessible, the use of guitars and synths is furious but nice, and the vocals from Damian and guest Grace Jones are stellar, with some claims of awesomeness and bite.  Overall, this is a very fun, engaging, and interesting track from the band.  The fact that Gorillaz are the new John Mayer this week with them having an album out this week might not be a bad thing.

29.       Love Is Mystical – Cold War Kids

30.       Middle Fingers – MISSIO

31.       We Got The Power – Gorillaz Featuring Jehnny Beth

32.       High – Sir Sly

33.       Love – Lana Del Rey

34.       Cold Cold Cold – Cage The Elephant

35.       Don't Take The Money – Bleachers

36.       She’s My Collar – Gorillaz Featuring Kali Uchis
Talk about coincidence.  The link on Youtube went from the last tune I reviewed, “Charger,” to this one thanks to Autoplay.  As for this tune itself, it’s slightly more of a fun little tune with some drive and a steady beat to it.  It’s an example of how Gorillaz manages to make electronica sound more interesting and engaging than most electro artists in the pop scene.  It’s as if the band’s creator, Damian Albarn, has a sense of things called interest, melody, and drive in his music versus others.  As for Kali Uchis, she provides a good vocal line here with some flash and style, but having the substance to make things interesting.  However, I think that this song may be a little weird with the lyrics, which I’m not sure of, involving some sort of weird relationship.  And that makes it more uncomfortable, even with Ms. Uchis’ contributions.  Banging tune, though.

37.       Doing It For The Money – Foster The People
Well, at least they’re honest about their claims to music.  Yeah, I’m probably one of the few music fans to be completely interested and underwhelmed with Foster The People.  To me, they’re a basic pop act that are more focused on writing nice sounding tunes with pretentious lyrics and a desire to have a nice vibe.  However, it comes off as completely artificial, like Hot Chelle Rae-level authentic.  And it doesn’t help that the lead singer Mark Foster used to write commercial jingles before getting big with one of the most overrated songs of all time: “Pumped Up Kicks.”  That song is a commercial jingle with crappy lyrics, and we need to realize that before we end up with either a racist as President or an ass-kisser giving our country to backwards-minded people in the view of race, sex, and gender relations due to their origin and the undeniably stupid actions of Bush.

Wait, you want me to talk about the song rather than contradictory politics?  Okay then, this song is…okay.  The melody is surprisingly decent despite its calculated blandness.  The beat is fine despite its clear influence from modern pop.  The instrumentation is clear despite its artificiality.  The vocals are okay despite the effects put on them.  In spite of this, the lyrics are, again, pretty pretentious, though they are pretty honest versus their “artsy” works.  It’s as if they admit that they are sell-outs and are in for…Wait a sec, they are saying “We’re NOT doing it for the money”?  Bullcrap!  This is calculated false-integrity and critic pandering crap like the rest of their crap!  Screw you, Mark Foster, you pretentious piece of crap!  I take it all back, this is crap.

38.       Monster – Starset

39.       Angela – The Lumineers

40.       Want You Back – HAIM
When you name your song after a Cher Lloyd song, then I don’t have strong expectations.  But whereas that song was annoying, this is decently nice-sounding, honest, and sincere.  So this all-female act managed to make a sweet-sounding song without any obnoxious moments with this title, and I have to give them credit for that.  With its decent piano parts, guitar parts, bassline, drum beat, integration of synthesizers and electronics, and the surprisingly good vocals, this song is a strong funky pop tune that deserves its attention somewhat.  And the sentiment actually works here, being more in the sense that this tune is happier and joyous and I’d think with this title.  In short, this is a fine tune.

Jeez, there have been a lot of pop-sounding tunes on the ROCK charts, haven’t there.  I’m not sure if it’s because rock, like R&B and hip hop, is a crucial part to the pop formula, or if it’s because this chart is where all the decent-sounding pop goes due to the scene’s obsession with political correctness.  Or something else, there has to be a reason why pop lately has gotten so crappy.

41.       Blame – Bastille

42.       Carnival – Gorillaz Featuring Anthony Hamilton
Based on the opening, this track is on the weirder, darker side of the band’s style than it is the sweeter, peppier style.  Though I’m sure that we got into this act due to their darker aspects anyway.  For this tune, exactly, this song is a dark, trippy, and dizzying track reflecting being in a carnival (hence the title?), and the band alongside Anthony Hamilton manage to a good job reflecting that atmosphere.  If there’s a flaw with this track, I’m not sure if this going to appeal to a lot of people, and with its length, it isn’t something to enjoy than it is to think about.  Weird though, as if feels like it flies past me.

43.       Sweet Disaster – DREAMERS

44.       Reverend – Kings of Leon

45.       Let You Down – Seether

46.       Song #3 – Stone Sour*

47.       Sex Murder Party – Gorillaz Featuring Jamie Principle & Zebra Katz
That title is nuts, but it fits considering the weird musical performance on display here.  With its approach and vibe, the song manages to be both very trippy and very dark.  And with the band’s performance, Jamie Principle’s performance, and Zebra Katz’ performance, this song ends up being the kind of song to represent a weird party going out of control.  Its off-kilter vibe and beat is enough to make one’s skin crawl and be on edge throughout the runtime.  Plus, the use of synths manages to capture the proper atmosphere for a party going off the deep end into pure madness.  And while sex and murder might be features, it’s more of a result of what happens in the song rather than the focus of the song, as it’s a weird song in general.  Plus I have to give the band credit for the gothic melody throughout the song, making things darker and slightly scarier to its advantage.  Despite this, don’t expect me to go to this kind of party in the near-future.

48.       Song On Fire – Nickelback
So we go from weird and interesting to predictable and safe.  No seriously, Nickelback made ANOTHER pop radio-friendly (or is it adult contemporary that plays them now) that relys on soft verses and a basic hard rock chorus that was done better in the 80s with hair metal ballads and the 90s with ANY Nirvana song released for radio.  The guitars are bland, the bass is bland, the drums (even with the stadium-friendly production) are bland, the vocals are bland, the production is bland, the video is bland, the lyrics are bland, the lack of a guitar bridge (and a guitar solo especially) adds to the blandness, the sentiment is bland, their hair is bland, their fan base is bland, and their style is bland, compared to even CREED!  It’s as if the fact that they write based on what sells (which is something I bag Foster The People for doing as well) has not just been proven, but is still going on, even when their appeal has shrunk (no seriously, there are other better bands out there, people).  And I know this will be the reaction from hardcore Nickelback fans when I claim that they are blandness incarnate:
Not to make any judgements.  But I'm with Luke on this.
But I still have to point this out.  The fact that they are so blind to critical judgement and a walking argument for every mouth-breather for the reason rock should be dead, and that THEY ARE STILL AROUND MAKING MUSIC is a bad thing.  Yes, Five Finger Death Punch is around.  Yes, there’s also Foster The People.  Yes, bro-country is sort of a thing.  But the thing is that Nickelback are still around, making things blander.  Even then, the song is called “Song on Fire” and it’s about as fiery as vanilla ice cream.  Talk about a disappointment from an ex-casual Nickelback fan; the band needs to have their asses set on fire.  It’s for the greater good.
And yes, I am excited for the fact that Edgar Wright is directing a movie coming this summer.

49.       In Cold Blood – alt-J

50.       SHC – Foster The People*
Speaking of a new representative of blandness, Foster The People have a second track on this chart, and it’s arguably better musically.  Yes, I somehow think the opening guitar line, the bassline, and the song key make this better than “Doing it for the Money,” but I still have issues.  First, Mark Foster is way too Radio Disney idol-sounding to be taken seriously as a rock singer.  Second, the song is very predictable, with is basic verses, explosive-ish chorus, which is loaded with ironic cutesiness.  Third, the bridge is a reminder of how the band uses modern pop/EDM elements to still be a part of the in-crowd, when the point of rock is to be an ALTERNATIVE to that scene.  Fourth, the only decent thing about this is the surprisingly decent guitar line in the intro and the chorus.  Everything else is meh.  And I do feel that this band and Nickelback are in the same camp of being bland for the sake of….

Ugh.  I really have to do this.  Their reason for making music is practically this:
If you’re so obsessed with cash, why don’t you get a day job, guys?

And for this week thanks to the onslaught of Gorillaz this week, here are the dropouts from then:

American Dream – Bob Pressner

The Violence – Rise Against

Still Feel Like Your Man – John Mayer

Nimble Bastard – Incubus

How Did You Love – Shinedown

Hot Thoughts – Spoon


All The Pretty Girls – Kaleo 
For the first time in forever, I review a dropout.  Is it to understand why it fell off the chart?  It’s more to determine if it was a good thing that it fell off.  So with that in mind, how is the song in general?

So before we get to the track, any song with “Pretty Girls” in the title, thanks to Britney Spears and ESPECIALLY Iggy Azalea (can we stick with Iggy Pop, please?), is bound to get a reaction of “Are you kidding me?” from yours truly.  Maybe it’s because of that awful track that I feel this way.  But based on that standard, this is a masterpiece.  What I mean is that it’s a decent acoustic ballad from a band capable from rocking really hard and being the band that hopefully proves that Iceland is more than Bjork.  But if there’s a flaw with this track, it’s that it’s slightly more of a WGWAG (or white guy with acoustic guitar) song than their more plugged-in stuff.  But it’s still a blues track through and through, with the soulful feel that makes the genre so interesting and appealing.  And the lyrics are significantly alright here, showing the band’s obsession with women, especially the pretty kinds.  It’s a nice little song with some good guitar lines when it isn’t just acoustic strumming, and the vocals are great, with excellent production incorporating the other aspects of the band, from folk instruments to clarity, that work.  Overall, it’s not great, but it’s significantly better than that crappy song I’ve mentioned.  Too bad it’s no longer charting.

Feels Like Summer – Weezer

Black Rose – Volbeat

Lights Out – Royal Blood

Unbreakable – Of Mice & Men

The Cure – Unspoken

A 1000 Times – Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam

Hate That You Know Me – Bleachers

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

1.         Wish I Knew You – The Revivalists

2.         Believer – Imagine Dragons

3.         Love Is Mystical – Cold War Kids

4.         Blame – Bastille

5.         Cold Cold Cold – Cage The Elephant

6.         Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man

7.         Sweet Disaster – DREAMERS

8.         Human – Rag'n'Bone Man

9.         High – Sir Sly

10.       Green Light – Lorde

11.       Don't Take The Money – Bleachers

12.       Middle Fingers – MISSIO

13.       Take It All Back – Judah & The Lion

14.       Reverend – Kings of Leon

15.       Feels Like Summer – Weezer

16.       In Cold Blood – alt-J

17.       One Of Us – New Politics

18.       Hard Times – Paramore

19.       Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay 
So I’m reviewing a song by The Chainsmokers finally.
When you get down to it, despite having a migrane-inducing crap tune about selfies to start their career, the electronic duo managed to turn that into a sustainable career for some reason, and this is why I associate with Gen-X rather than my own generation musically.  Not to say their big hits recently are garbage, because they can be considered garbage, with boring drops, clumsy lyrics, and pretentious ideology.  And this song could be a part of that trend with a bad example of “Word-Salad Lyrics” and pretentious ideology, all of which is done clumsily, and the integration of Coldplay (or specifically Chris Martin because the rest of the band sounds like they’ve been given the Jason Newsted treatment while the duo are the ones who do all the musical heavy-lifting.  And this is where I’m more mixed on them, because they do have a strong sense of melody.  They just go the safe, boring route because they want to pander to millennials because this is their ideology if “#Selfie” and “Closer” didn’t confirm it:
If you’re so obsessed with cash, why don’t you aim for a BS degree, or did you go with a BA degree because you didn’t like the sound of the technical term for most technology and engineering degrees (or even stuff for politics)?  Yeah, Student Loans might be a problem, but the risk-versus-reward possibility is strong in possibly getting a great career out of it if you put your all into your studies in college.  Complaining about society and partying isn’t how to do things, and being in a safe space may end up causing you to only be qualified for service and retail positions.  Especially if you aren’t successful.  Sorry about the tangent, but I feel that these guys suck.

20.       Too Much To Think – 311 
So the ska punk idols from the 90s managed to make a charting single recently.  And it’s a nice little melodic song to think about.  It has a decent production that gives clarity to each guitar part, bassline, drum beat, and vocal line.  The song’s theme of being put down by thoughts rather than substances is an interesting lyrical concept, with a strong sense of relability to the audience.  And the band manages to sell it with a steady rhythm, some excellent guitar work, strong verses, a memorable chorus, a strong bridge, catchy bass, and several great aspects including a melodic guitar solo at the end.  If you like 311, then you’ll love track.  If you feel that your thoughts get in the way of living your life, then I really recommend this track.  If you don’t like ska, then I’ll really have to question your sense of fun and humor.  Regardless, I like this one.

21.       Down – Marian Hill 

22.       Hot Thoughts – Spoon

23.       Suit And Jacket – Judah & The Lion  
A Judah & The Lion song that isn’t as bad as “Take It All Back”?  It’s as if this band isn’t a one-dimensional ironic hipster-folk act.  I mean this still has the gloss the other tune had and the prominence of folk instruments, which isn’t what angers me about this band, but it isn’t as bad.  I mean, the production is still a little poppy and mainstream-baiting, but the song’s thematic content is a lot more real and relatable than the other.  What I mean is that this song is more about trying not to be confined to a certain standard of living and maintain a sense of freedom from the duldrums of modern career work.  While I can complain about that concept, and how it reinforces the issues even I have with hipsters, I do feel that this song is a decent tune for those who prefer the artsy side of life.  Me, I’ll stick with denim and leather.

24.       Good Morning – Grouplove (Need 40 views to review)
25.       Doing It For The Money – Foster The People

See Above

26.       High Enough – k.flay (Need 50 views to review)
27.       The Violence – Rise Against

28.       J-Boy – Phoenix

See Above

29.       Kill For Candy – Dreamcar (Need 60 views to review)
30.       Lights Out – Royal Blood

31.       She Said – Sundara Karma

32.       Rhythm & Blues – The Head And The Heart (Need 70 views to review)
33.       Goodbye Angels – Red Hot Chili Peppers

34.       Howl – Biffy Clyro

35.       Set On Fire – Magic Giant

36.       Nimble Bastard – Incubus

37.       A Change Of Heart – The 1975
So I’ve decided to have a change of heart when getting to this track.  I am not going to let my pre-conceptions color this track.  Instead, I will focus on the positives.  Here, the beat is fun, with a strong sense of its use of synthesizers.  Also, the bassline and drum beat are sweet and add to the vibe of the song.  The vocals are great, with a sweet, innocent vibe to this that sound very earnest.  Plus the video, where two carnival clowns are interacting at a carnival and having a grand-old time, speaking of old, the fashions, with the woman being a flapper and the classy-looking man, add to the retro-vibe of the song, with 80s synthpop-inspired melodies mixed with the 20s style filmmaking in the video.  Plus the carnival aesthetic in the video is also very well done.  In short, this is a very fun song with a fun video.  Definitely recommended.

38.       Help – Papa Roach

39.       Lost On You – LP (Need 80 views to review)
40.       All The Pretty Girls – Kaleo

See Above

And here are the dropouts from last week:

Heavydirtysoul – twenty one pilots

Fire Escape – Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness

Shine – Mondo Cozmo

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.         Nimble Bastard – Incubus

5.         Show Yourself – Mastodon

6.         Black Rose – Volbeat

7.         Back From The Dead – Skillet

8.         Now That We’re Dead – Metallica

9.         God Damn – Avenged Sevenfold

10.       Take Me – Korn

11.       Lights Out – Royal Blood

12.       Madness – All That Remains

13.       Breathe – Through Fire

14.       Song #3 – Stone Sour

15.       Aftermath – As Lion 
So when getting the YouTube link, I noticed that in the search engine, one of the options was “aftermath as lions amv.”  If that wasn’t an indication that this was a nu metal revival track, then it’s a sign that this came from a band that Hot Topic likes to promote.  Not to say that rock amvs have to be radio rock or mallcore, but it’s telling that when that’s one of the search things on YouTube.  However, that isn’t the song’s biggest problem.  It’s just that it’s part of this school of Korn, Papa Roach, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Puddle Of Mudd, Staind worship, and having that mentality is going to continue rock’s continued irrelevancy versus much worse genres and movements in hip hop and country.  Seriously, when the masses don’t give us credit because of this yet they’re willing to give Sam Hunt a career, it’s either how badly Fred Durst messed up our credibility as a movement or how politically correct and regressive the mainstream has gotten.  Anger is not a desired emotion, but it’s important to make a statement, and sadness is important to bring attention to the broken, and capturing these emotions are where alternative metal and current hard rock succeeds at when making it accessible, even post-grunge and nu metal do this well sometimes.  

And this song is decent, taking what didn’t work about both nu metal and metalcore while taking what worked about both of them to make a decent, and enjoyable alt. metal track about dealing with the aftermath of a nasty event; everything else that works comes definitely from stadium rock definitely.  The production is decent and powerful, with the drums having a more metallic feel than they do an electronic feel with the focus on the bass pedal.  The guitars and bass are heavy, melodic, and driving the main musical concepts of waiting for the aftermath of the hell the band is going through.  The vocals are pretty good here, aiming for melodic rather than pointless screaming, all from every member.  Even the electronic is used well here to create atmosphere, one that is larger and more desperate like the desire to make it.  And the guitar bridge where there’s a melodic line is also done well here.  In short, this is a heavy rock song with a dark but uplifting message and a call to fight while also being a good sense of twisted fun.  At least it’s better than anything Nickelback does.

16.       Middle Fingers – MISSIO

17.       The Violence – Rise Against

18.       Howl – Biffy Clyro

19.       Anti-Everything – DED 
The video was directed by Fred Durst, so I’m not sharing that.  Instead, you’ll get the lyric video.

So this tune is another tune in the whole nu metal revival track.  Except, unlike As Lions, this band is really focused on being a mix of rap and hardcore.  The problem?  This song, while a fun tune to listen to when you’re just feeling like society is a hypocritical, contradictory, and frustrating cesspool, is an immature, obnoxious song suffering from testosterone poisoning.  From the over-produced sound aiming for ferocity, to the down-tuned and simple guitar lines going into basic chord structures for the chorus, the thick-as-molasses bassline, drums that alternate between sampled, electronic, and poundingly metal, and edge lord vocals that alternate between rapping, melodic singing, and screaming, this song is a wannabe edge lord anthem.  And it’s, depending on your mood, hilarious to listen to due to how freaking stupid this is.  It’s about as anti-establishment as a corporate symbol for anti-establishment; a sign that rebelling against the system is ultimately a part of the system.  A reminder that the whole crappy Architect scene in The Matrix Reloaded is relevant in concept, and crappy in excecution, thanks to stupid songs like this.  No seriously, this is dumb.  So dumb that it might be the funniest song on this chart.  I’m serious, this song is so amusing to me that I think I know the target demographic for this song:
Meta Knight: “Don’t call me cute and adorable!  I AM A WAR!”
20.       New Land – Avatar 
Insert obvious joke here:
And if I’m familiar, I’ve already discussed this song at least once.  And it’s a fun little hard rocker from these terrifying Swedish death metal clowns.  As for the song, the song itself is more about making the ultimate trip to a new section of the world and possibly escape the problems associated with the old world.  And like anything Avatar does, this song is weird, intense, aggressive, catchy, interesting, and, well, bizarre.  The production is loud and intense, the guitars are well mixed and played, showing the skills of the guitarist in both heavy riffs and soft arpeggios, the bass is thick and, well, there, the drums are intense, and the vocals are a great mix of clean melodic singing and aggressive high-pitched death growls.  Plus you have a catchy, fun, and aggressive beat as well.  In short, this is a fun song to listen to when you’re making your trip to a new home, and I do feel that this can be part of an overarching story about an owl looking for purpose.

And no, I do not plan on referencing the James Cameron movie of the same name.  Not even with what’s going on in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

21.       LOUD (F**k It) – Motionless In White (Need 40 views to review)
22.       Bullfight – A Day To Remember (Need 50 views to review)
23.       Come Together – Godsmack (Need 60 views to review)
24.       Feed The Machine – Nickelback

25.       Dark Black Makeup – Radkey (Need 70 views to review)
26.       Little One – Highly Suspect
Let’s get down to it.  This band is very interesting as it is, and their new track is one that I’m sure is going to be big.  Especially with the more chill vibe on display here, as the song is more about the singer’s personal troubles and issues, so he’s having some problems on some day.  Adding to that, the low-key instrumentation during the verses, especially with the guitars taking a breather while the bass and drums maintain a steady vibe, makes way for an explosive chorus.  Plus you also have a strong guitar solo that’s based around the twisted and tragic melodies of the song as well as a thing called feel (you don’t have to play really fast to make an effective guitar solo in my eyes, even if I am capable of playing really, really fast as well.  Plus the music video of a man losing his sanity and his emotions, with the climax is surprisingly effective and hits me a little in the feels.

27.       Believer – Imagine Dragons

28.       I Want It All – Hell Or Highwater (Need 80 views to review)
29.       Catch Me When I Fall – Stitched Up Heart

30.       Cheaper To Drink Alone – Black Stone Cherry

31.       Heavydirtysoul – twenty one pilots

32.       Alone – I Prevail
Holy crap, the “Stuck in Your Head” guys are back.  Not to say that this is a great thing, but that it’s fun to get another emo metal song from these guys after that wild track.  But at this point, I’m sure that I Prevail are part of the whole “nu metal revival” movement that’s been going on, both to their benefit and to my dismay.  While I have some experience with the original band in nu metal, that is a genre that is only listenable to me depending on the mood.  I’m one of those that’s embarrassed that it happened, as it caused rock to be associated with muscle-headed, thuggish Neanderthals as well as the kind of people who usually shop at Hot Topic, hence the mallcore derision.  And this song is a part of that, with its incorporation of electronica and down-tuned guitars mixed with vocals trying to be both emotional and manly, with both sides getting in the way.  And while I Prevail are capable of stronger material, this is not one of those strong tracks, with its bland guitars, over-produced drums, meh basslines, and emo vocals and lyrics.  In short, don’t expect this song to be a winner.

33.       Sick Of Me – Beartooth
So while I may have an issue with nu metal and metalcore these days, despite having liked them, even I can admit when a band manages to nail what made them appealing to me and others.  In this case, Beartooth manage to pull it off with a furious, powerful, angry song about self-regret (something we deal with a lot as a species) that’s matching in aggression.  And it somehow works because, ultimately, our worst enemy is ourselves.  To match this concept (which may have been done, but “My Own Worst Enemy” was nowhere this angry), the guitars are heavy but melodic, the bass is thick and thumping, the drums hit like a rock and you end up liking it.  Plus the melodic vocals full of bite and grit somehow gives the singer a showcase of his talents as a singer in agro-metal.  Plus that groove is awesome.  Despite the lack of a facemelting solo, the breakdown is also great.  Overall, this is a pretty awesome, inspiring track about the battle with ourselves that we fight every day.

34.       Run Rabbit Run – Black Map

35.       Hurricane – Thrice

36.       Pure Evil – Like A Storm

37.       Worth The Pain – Letters From The Fire (need 90 views to review)
38.       My Champion – Alter Bridge (Need 100 views to review)
39.       Stones – Manafest

40.       Can You Hear Me – Shallow Side
Wait, didn’t these guys do a song called Rebel, and it was a slightly-more generic, predictable affair based on radio rock clichés?  If so, I’m surprised that they’re back and ready for more.  For this song, the opening moments are slightly better, with a lot more bite, grit, and edge in the intro based on the guitars, bass, and drums.  And for the vocals, the song is full of vigor and bite, even if it’s a little generic in southern-fried hard rock of the post-grunge/active rock radio variety.  However, thankfully the lyrical content is a call to everyone that screams “I’m still here and living it up, regardless of what you think.”  It may be generic, but the more awareness to rock made, the more likely there’ll be a chance that the music industry may improve a bit.  In spite of that, the song is definitely a B grade tune from a B- grade band capable of C grade tracks.  What I mean is that most music journalists won’t pay attention to them unless they’re amazing, and they’re fine as a rock band, even with their age and origin (being from the South may be a hindrance in their mainstream attention).  While they try to be more, Shallow Side are good but on the shallow side of music.

And yes, that pun was intended.

And here are the dropouts from last week:

If Only For Now – Pop Evil

How Did You Love – Shinedown

Never Again – Breaking Benjamin

Oh My God – The Pretty Reckless 

Lure And Persuade – Citizen Zero (Need 110 views to review)

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.

Also, make sure to like my Facebook page here:  Be sure to follow me on Twitter here:, my Instagram page is here:, and my Tumblr is at this link:  That and be sure to follow my blog.  The way to do so is to the right of this page.

Finally, 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment