Monday, June 5, 2017

The Rock Otaku’s Rockin’ Billboard Chart Watch: June 10, 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 June 10, 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.  But with all of these songs having already been reviewed, and my focus on how many views I’ll need to re-review each reviewed track (which is 100 times the ranking the song is in), that isn’t as likely as of now.  That and the new songs will be reviewed as well, and they’ll definitely be reviewed.  Unless I reviewed it in a previous entry, initially or updated due to it meeting my viewership goals.  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.         Black Hole Sun – Soundgarden

6.         Human – Rag'n'Bone Man

7.         Like A Stone – Audioslave

8.         The Night We Met – Lord Huron

9.         Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man

10.       Woman – Jesse Larson*
While the idea of the highest-charting debut on the chart being a song from The Voice could be considered sacriledge, it depends entirely on the side.  And while Jesse Larson may not be the rock star we need, or the rock star we deserve, it’s undeniable that he has a strong bluesy voice.  One that fits a bluesy southern rock style perfectly.  And this song does have a soulful blues spine to it, with some decent guitars, spirited vocals, a smooth beat, and a bluesy guitar solo.  Plus you have to give credit to the fact that this is an original tune.  While The Voice has the relevancy, to me, of a bacterial eye infection if you have the right eye drops and take precaution with computer and phone screens, I can admit that this is a fine tune, and I wouldn’t have any problems listening to Jesse Larson.

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

12.       Wish I Knew You – The Revivalists

13.       Whatever It Takes – Imagine Dragons

14.       Fell On Black Days – Soundgarden

15.       Hard Times – Paramore

16.       Hunger Strike – Temple Of The Dog

17.       The Chain – Fleetwood Mac

18.       Spoonman – Soundgarden

19.       I Am The Highway – Audioslave

20.       Show Me How To Live – Audioslave

21.       Good News – Ocean Park Standoff

22.       Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra

23.       Dig Down – Muse*

24.       Outshined – Soundgarden*
So in memoriam of Chris Cornell (wow, this is a bigger death story than J. Geils), we finally get a song from Batmotorfinger on the charts.  Finally.  And while it’s the overplayed one, there’s a reason why song gets a lot of play, it’s a dark rocking tune.  The tone is appropriately dark and moody, the riff is intense and aggressive, the bass is thick and sludgy, and, of course, Chris Cornell is a fantastic vocal presence, being aggressive and angry at once.  And of course Kim Thyall’s guitar solo, while minimalist, is good.  And now for the irony of this track.  While it’s about feeling outshined by greater forces, it outshines “Jesus Christ Pose” and “Rusty Cage” when it comes to famous songs from Batmotorfinger, but considering most of the charting Soundgarden tunes (which are still on the chart) are from Superunknown, this song really does feel outshined.

25.       Say Hello 2 Heaven – Temple Of The Dog*
So this may be an alternate mix of the grunge classic, but there’s some history to it.  First off, the song is about Andrew Wood, who died of a heroin overdose before his band, Mother Love Bone, got an album out.  Said album, Apple, is considered great music, but, like most pre-91 grunge that wasn’t from the big bands, it was overshadowed when Nevermind dropped and stole hair metal’s makeup kit, chucking it to Tokyo.  But even then, this song is a tribute to who was at first considered the most likely to break out of the Seattle scene and become a rock star, with the charisma and respect to back it up, and his untimely demise.  Here, you get Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell (who now joins Wood as well as Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, and Scott Weiland in rock n’ roll heaven) crooning and belting, respectively, in tribute to him while Mike McCreedy, Stone Gossard, and Jeff Ament play strong lead, rhythm, and bass guitar performances respectively (And don’t forget the drum performance by Matt Cameron).  And of course, it wouldn’t be a favorite of Chris Cornell fans if it wasn’t for his strong ability to hit the high notes here, which he does.  In short, this song is a classic, and deservedly so.  Man, imagine if Andrew Wood never died and is still rocking, though?

26.       Help – Papa Roach

27.       Love Is Mystical – Cold War Kids

28.       High – Sir Sly

29.       Good Goodbye – Linkin Park Featuring Pusha T & Stormzy*

30.       Want You Back – HAIM

31.       Young And Menace – Fall Out Boy

32.       Saturnz Barz – Gorillaz Featuring Popcaan

33.       Don't Take The Money – Bleachers

34.       Let’s Go Crazy – Jesse Larson & Adam Levine*
So for this, we have Adam Levine, the man who I’m sure is responsible for Maroon 5 selling out, helping Jesse Larson sing a Prince song.  And yes, this is a Prince song being covered.  And while Jesse Larson is the clearly singing his hardest, considering the original song, his tone does not fit the naturally sleazy, funky vibe that Prince sang with, but his guitar performance is where he matches the legendary artist.  But at the same time, we have Adam Levine being so, well, generic and clean, despite showing that he can play guitar a bit or attempt to play some of Prince’s guitar lines (while Jesse blows him out of the water), he’s still the same guy from Maroon 5 that became a pop sellout, right down to his vocal performance.  Not a bad cover, and there’s a sincerity to it, but I’d stick with the classic original.  That felt electric.

35.       Cold Cold Cold – Cage The Elephant

36.       Blame – Bastille

37.       Invisible – Linkin Park

38.       Told You So – Paramore

39.       Angela – The Lumineers

40.       Nobody Can Save Me – Linkin Park*
So of course, I’ve may have hinted throughout my work may it be on this platform or through Channel Awesome that I’m reviewing Hybrid Theory next for Let Them Eat Metal (send hate mail to 4 Privet Drive after reading my review here).  First off, this song isn’t as bad as the other songs from the album, especially the disaster that was “Heavy.”  Here, there’s a sense that Linkin Park, despite still focused on using pop production and sounds for their album, is still needing to remind people that they are still a rock band.  This is due to the driving beat rather than the sludgy beats from their other charting singles, the added energy to Chester Bennington’s vocals, some guitars, and a more pronounced drum performance.  I’m not sure if there’s an authentic-sounding bassline, but you can’t win everything.  Is it the hard/alternative rock they are known for?  Not really, as it’s closer to pop rock at its rawest, and it is clearly not strong enough for me to forgive their other boring releases lately.  If anything’s certain, if this was released as a single first, I could have supported this album.

41.       Sorry For Now – Linkin Park*
However, they aren’t still not off my crap list for this year, though.  It will take a lot more power for me to turn around for this record.  But if there’s a good thing about this tune, it’s that this song is a song meant for Mike Shinoda’s kids, explaining why he’s unable to be with them more as a father.  I mean, you have to make sacrifices in your family life to become a successful rock star if other family members aren’t in your band.  And he’s arguably strong here, and Chester’s the one doing his shtick here, with him rapping while Mike sings.  But like the rest of the album, this is taking way too many production cues from pop music, from the drops to the drum sound and even the synth lines sounding like a DJ Snake tune, and even the guitars can’t save that aspect for me.  While I can understand the band’s focus on more mature subjects, I don’t understand their focus on pop sounds, stuff that sounds dated as I listen to it, and mixing that with more adult lyrics.  It’s as if they forgot that maturing their sound does not have to involve selling out.  But after listening to the rest of their discography, I have hopes they go for a different sound than they’ve done before that they can be comfortable with on their 8th album.

42.       One More Light – Linkin Park*
Let’s discuss the good before I mention some of my rage at the band’s behavior lately.  First, I do have to admit that the focus is on some very important subject matter, and I understand that this song was trying to be an anti-suicide anthem.  Especially with Chester’s somewhat emotional delivery (it’s not screaming, but it’s an attempt at sounding emotional), and the synths aren’t too annoying and jarring.  However, the song is dull enough to drive me to sleep (no drinking beforehand though).  And the small guitar line here isn’t enough to convince me that this is rock in the slightest.  This is depressive pop that somehow feels even more emo and dated than what’s even on the pop charts.  And the lack of energy really does undersell what should be a strong theme.  As a result, I feel that their ranting about fans hating on their new sound (and how they are effectively saying f*** Hybrid Theory, which is their commercial debut and the album they are judged by due to it’s impact on the rock scene) is unjustified, and it’s giving the fans more venom to hate on them.  Sorry, guys.

43.       In The Blood – John Mayer

44.       Hard Love – NEEDTOBREATHE*

45.       Battle Symphony – Linkin Park*
I’m not sure if I’ve reviewed this already, but here’s something to note.  This song is BORING!  For a song called “Battle Symphony,” it’s a bad sign when this sounds like the same depressive pop that is causing Todd in the Shadows to act so weird when it comes to reviewing songs that actually chart.  The song’s musical focus is meh, it’s focused on basic pop elements and production, with a focus on generic synths, a moody spirit that doesn’t work when there’s no aggression or sex appeal.  Without either of those, this comes off as limp and uninteresting.  Plus, you have Chester sounding so bored and uninteresting that he comes off as cashing in a check.  Plus there’s no guitar rampage to save this, it’s either nonexistent or in the background.  As a result, I feel that this is a mess of a song, and a reminder of my claims that Linkin Park sold out, though I do hope their next album is something like a hair metal album, a new wave album, or even a combination of both.

46.       Middle Fingers – MISSIO

47.       Reverend – Kings of Leon

48.       Takin’ It To The Streets – Jesse Larson*
So we have Jesse Larson covering The Doobie Brothers here.  While I can continue my humorous over-analysis, I feel that I can just say that his vocals are good, his guitar playing is fine with strong lead playing, and the backup band he has is decent.  Despite this, I do feel that this is not a great way of showing just how great the original band can be, thanks to the corporate sheen surrounding who is effectively a strong singer.  Check out “China Grove” to get a better understanding of their rock credentials.  Decent song, though.

49.       Feels Like Summer – Weezer

50.       Let You Down – Seether

And for this week thanks to deaths and new albums, here are the dropouts from then:

With Or Without You – Hunter Plake

I Was Wrong – Jesse Larson

Rose-Colored Boy – Paramore

Fake Happy – Paramore

Forgiveness – Paramore

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

The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness – The National

Right Now – HAIM

Love – Lana Del Rey

26 – Paramore

Sweet Disaster – DREAMERS

Pool – Paramore

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

1.         Believer – Imagine Dragons

2.         Love Is Mystical – Cold War Kids

3.         Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man

4.         Wish I Knew You – The Revivalists

5.         Blame – Bastille

6.         Cold Cold Cold – Cage The Elephant

7.         High – Sir Sly

8.         Human – Rag'n'Bone Man

9.         Don't Take The Money – Bleachers

10.       Reverend – Kings of Leon

11.       Sweet Disaster – DREAMERS

12.       Dig Down – Muse*

13.       Feels Like Summer – Weezer

14.       In Cold Blood – alt-J

15.       Hard Times – Paramore

16.       One Of Us – New Politics

17.       Doing It For The Money – Foster The People

18.       Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay

19.       Hot Thoughts – Spoon

20.       Suit And Jacket – Judah & The Lion

21.       High Enough – k.flay

22.       The Violence – Rise Against

23.       Lights Out – Royal Blood

24.       J-Boy – Phoenix

25.       Too Much To Think – 311

26.       Middle Fingers – MISSIO

27.       Green Light – Lorde

28.       Kill For Candy – Dreamcar (Need 10 views to review)
29.       Good Morning – Grouplove (Need 20 views to review)
30.       Goodbye Angels – Red Hot Chili Peppers

31.       The Night We Met – Lord Huron

32.       Set On Fire – Magic Giant

33.       Howl – Biffy Clyro

34.       Down – Marian Hill

35.       She Said – Sundara Karma

36.       Little One – Highly Suspect

37.       A Change Of Heart – The 1975

38.       Help – Papa Roach

39.       Home is Such A Lonely Place – Blink-182

40.       Fire – Beth Ditto*
Hey, has anyone noticed that the alternative charts tend to rarely change?  For a chart about alternative rock, I’d expect a lot of switch-outs more often and lots of unpredictability.  But we have one new addition, so here we go.

So this song has more of a soulful, 70s rock-inspired feel to it.  From the riff to the style of singing by Beth Ditto, this song feels like buildup to something huge initially.  And while she delivers some energy when she sings the title, it isn’t until the song goes silent until the guitars, bass, and drums bring more energy and carry the song forward with Beth showing some power in the vocals.  While she does some poppy vocals, she does cause the song to lose power after she starts the chorus, as if she’s a power-stealing succubus.  Even then, there is a downright sleazy guitar break, with a solo to boot, to give this song continued ties to the glam and blues rock of the 70s.  It’s as if the next big movement in modern rock to replace indie folk, hopefully, is retro-glam with elements of punk and blues to keep things raw and unpredictable.  And when I mean hopefully, I mean hopefully this overtakes both indie folk and bro-country after fusing with all the agro-metal revival stuff (and overcomes the baggage of that stuff in favor of some fun vibes alongside heavy, sleazy riffs) to become the form of rock to serve as a no-holds, bird-flipping alternative to the monotonous pop going on now.  Less beat drops, more guitar solos in my opinion.

And here are the dropouts from last week:

Let You Down – Seether

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

1.         Let You Down – Seether

2.         Monster – Starset

3.         Black Rose – Volbeat

4.         Show Yourself – Mastodon

5.         Song #3 – Stone Sour*

6.         Help – Papa Roach

7.         Now That We’re Dead – Metallica

8.         Lights Out – Royal Blood

9.         Back From The Dead – Skillet

10.       Nimble Bastard – Incubus

11.       God Damn – Avenged Sevenfold

12.       Madness – All That Remains

13.       The Violence – Rise Against

14.       Aftermath – As Lions

15.       Little One – Highly Suspect

16.       Howl – Biffy Clyro

17.       Alone – I Prevail

18.       Bullfight – A Day To Remember

19.       Anti-Everything – DED

20.       LOUD (F**k It) – Motionless In White (Need 10 views to review)
21.       Revolution Radio – Green Day

22.       Believer – Imagine Dragons

23.       Oh Lord – In This Moment

24.       Dark Black Makeup – Radkey (Need 20 views to review)
25.       I Want It All – Hell Or Highwater (Need 30 views to review)
26.       Middle Fingers – MISSIO

27.       American Dreams – Papa Roach*
So we have more Papa Roach charting, which is arguably great or lame, depending on your thoughts.  For here, it’s great that this is trying to be optimistic, but dark and cynical.  And while it’s a dark song, and one that does feel a little generic, I do admit that this song is arguably one of the band’s lesser tunes.  Not to say that Jacoby Shaddix can’t rap, because he’s good at it, but he can’t top “Last Resort,” and this song is arguably lesser since it’s also generic in the instrumentation and melodies, being more like the kind of radio rock that makes you wonder if change will ever happen.  Beyond that, I can see this having fans, as the ending solo gets the melodic idea that the band is going for well, despite some generic bass and drum parts.  And the hook is pretty generic too.  Overall, I don’t expect this to stay for longer, even if this is a Papa Roach tune.

28.       Sick Of Me – Beartooth

29.       Cheaper To Drink Alone – Black Stone Cherry

30.       Catch Me When I Fall – Stitched Up Heart

31.       Hurricane – Thrice

32.       Rivers – Chevelle

33.       Run Rabbit Run – Black Map

34.       New Land – Avatar

35.       Feed The Machine – Nickelback

36.       Can You Hear Me – Shallow Side

37.       Out Of My Hands – Chrysalis

38.       Dig Down – Muse*

39.       Back To The River – Pretty Reckless Featuring Warren Haynes*
So The Pretty Reckless have another song on the chart, and it’s arguably the lightest song here.  While I can bash that, it’s a testament that this song is still a rocking tune despite the acoustic opening.  It fits with the tone of the song, which is, from what I can gather, is about going back to where one came from, which would refer to rock going back to its roots in blues here.  What I mean is that there’s a strong 70s rock vibe to this track from the production to the guitar solo sounding like something played with a slide.  And with the kind of gear used in the 70s.  It has that classic rock vibe, and it really sells it with the bluesier elements as well as the use of piano and organs alongside the acoustic and electric guitars, the bass, the drums, and Taylor Momsen’s soulful vocals.  Of the new arrivals to the active rock charts, this is clearly the best that the chart came up with this week.  Great job, Pretty Reckless.  And plus Warren Haynes does a great job on guitar here, providing a southern vibe to the solos here.

40.       Promise Everything – Basement

And here are the dropouts from last week:

Breathe – Through Fire

Come Together – Godsmack (Need 40 views to review)
Heavydirtysoul – twenty one pilots

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.

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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.

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