Monday, April 20, 2009

Music Makes My World Go 'Round...IV

Time now, to take another brief tour of my CD bookcase. Let me just randomly pick out six CD's here and dust them off (blows some dust bunnies away). Cough, cough, cough. Okay, now that we got those bad boys cleaned off, it's time to give everyone a peek as to 1) why I bought these in the first place and 2) what makes this soon-to-be 44 year old tick. I apologize in advance for the apparently creepy theme of this post, as I didn't realize that three of the six CD's I'd picked out had such creepy backgrounds.

1} Seasons by Sevendust. I picked this particular CD up for the same reason I acquire 99% of my music: one particular song that I got hooked listening to on the radio. Or in this case, watching VH1Hits music channel. I caught the video for the song "Enemy" and I was really intrigued by it, which was due to the plot line of a wrestling match between one of the band members and female wrestler Joanie Laurer (aka Chyna during the WWE's Attitude era of wrestling in the late 1990's). I wound up listening to the rest of the CD, which is something I normally do when I pick one up for a song, and found a couple of other songs to my liking: "Disease", the title track "Seasons" and a nasty one called "Face to Face". This particular CD has the normal Parental Advisory warning on it and it comes with a rather lame bonus CD. It contains a couple of studio recordings, a couple of live performances and a rather long and lame prank on the tour bus driver. A pretty decent metal band in its day, so I would recommend this CD if you want a taste of what your children might be listening to if you're not around.

2} The Long Road by Nickelback. I got this in the summer of 2007, when their CD All The Right Reasons was being overkilled on the radio. I bought it, again for one particular song (Figured You Out, which I based a recent piece of flash fiction on). Interesting tidbit about that song. If you catch the video on MTV, the song is heavily edited, which I feel is a bit hypocritical, seeing how borderline NC-17 some rap videos are. A decent CD, it has an untitled bonus track of them covering Elton John's "Saturday Night".

3} Short Bus by Filter. I bought this CD to replace the cassette version. Again, I bought it for one song, "Hey Man, Nice Shot". The opening bass line and solitary drum shots are quite spooky, and the chorus line underlies the real theme of the song: I wish I would of met you, but now it's a little late. What you could of taught me, I could of saved some face. The chorus also hints at the theme of the song: A man has gun, hey man nice shot. Contrary to the prevailing opinion at the time that the song was about Kurt Cobain (who supposedly committed suicide), it was actually about someone else. According to Richard Patrick, lead singer, the song was about Pennsylvanian politician, R. Budd Dwyer, *who after being convicted of mail fraud, conspiracy and racketeering, in connection with accepting a $300K bribe as the state treasurer, held a news conference about it. With cameras rolling, playing the role of the unjustly accused, Dwyer distributed a twenty page press statement, fielded a few questions, then placed the barrel of .357 revolver in his mouth and shot himself*. The rest of the CD is much in the same vein.

4} American Standard by Seven Mary Three. From the CD jacket (picture of a farmer about to behead a chicken) to the overall content, this debut 1995 release is creepy/disturbing from the get go. Again, I bought the CD on the basis of one song "Cumbersome" (of which a bad acoustic version was released). I listened to the entire thing a couple of times last year, but never really thought about the content until very recently. If you listen closely to that song, you'll see it's about suicide/death (in my opinion that is). But the one that really creeps me out, is the opening track (which got some airplay) called "Water's Edge". The narrator is talking about a murder in which he may or may not actively participated in. The reason why it creeps me out, is that the content of the song eerily mirrors a well know murder case here in CT that was unsolved for about 10 years. It was a case that involved a thirteen year old girl, who was kidnapped by some acquaintances, brought to the river in a van, sexually assaulted, bound and gagged, before being thrown into the river. The song contains much of what I just stated (except for the sexual assault). If you want to do a comparison, I suggest picking up this CD and either googling "Maryann Measles" or check out the Hartford Courant archives using the same search term.

5} Freak Show by Silverchair. I purchased this one last year, along with the self-titled debut release at a place called "Newbury Comics". Great place for new and used music. Anyways, the CD isn't anything special other than the band was finally in their twenties when they recorded it (their debut was done when they were 15 or 16). What really stands out in my mind, is the cover shot of the "Lobster Boy". Short version: Grady Stiles was a mentally unbalanced individual who was a popular side show attraction due to a genetic defect that made his hands and feets look like claws. After brutally terrorizing his family, his wife hired a hitman to take him out.

6} American IV: The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash. To end this post on an upbeat note, I purchased this CD about a year after I purchased the double LP. This CD rocks from beginning to end. In my opinion, this last recording that he made was his best. I do believe he won a Grammy for his cover of "Hurt". Other excellent tracks include "The Man Comes Around", "Desperado" and "I'm So Lonesome, I Could Cry." It also contains, what I feel, are the best two tracks that will ever listen to. I don't care who you are, these tracks will move you in ways that I only can describe as spiritual. He does a beautifully haunting cover of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" with Fiona Apple, and a spiritual version of "We'll Meet Again".

Again, I apologize for the apparently creepy turn that this post took (sometimes a memory is a very bad thing), and I promise that I will try to make the next installment more upbeat.
*That small excerpt was taken from the book, "Final Exits", which was written by Michael Largo.


  1. Well, I only know Nickelback and Johnny Cash. I guess I'm out of touch with some of the music world. Don't worry about the creepy turn of the post. It keeps it lively reading!

  2. I have the Johnny Cash and Filter, and I have "a" Nickleback CD, just not that one. I do like Sevendust pretty well but am not much for seven mary three. Actually I couldn't even name one of their songs.

  3. G - Do you ever download music? I started doing that a little when thre is only one song on a CD I like. But I do the same thing all the time, buy a CD thinking the entire thing will be good. And sometimes it is.

    Johnny Cash was so great. One of my artist friends has always listened to him exclusively. She lives in one of the cool loft spaces and it seemed odd to hear Johnny Cash playing in the background. She said when she heard him the first time when she was a teenager, she decided that was it. I noticed she joined a Johhny Cash fan group on Facebook, so I did, too.

    All interesting choices. Great post.

  4. Septembermom: Sometimes its good be out of touch with the music scene. Most of what dominates nowadays in my opinion sucks.

    Having said that, it's funny about the all the things I remembered about these particular CD's.

    I started really thinking about doing a stand alone post about the Seven Mary Three CD while I was listening to it in the car, when I remembered the other nifty CD's that I had bought over the past two years, and thought what good way to delve deep into the recesses of my memory.

    Charles: Another interesting facet about you. Someone, I pictured you being more into Outlaw country, Americana or Cajun/Zydeco, than into metal/hard rock.

    Seven Mary Three was more of the hard rock flavor of the month in the mid-nineties. I think that they were one and done.

    Lynn: Thanks. No I don't download. I've always followed this pattern of picking up a piece of music, whether it was a CD or back in the day, vinyl, for one song, then exploring the rest of the album. I've found some interesting cuts from artists who were basically known for one or two hits.

  5. Hm, the only names I know here are Johnny Cash and Nickelback. And even then, I'm not familiar with their music. The last cd I bought, let's see, I guess was a Tom Petty cd before seeing him last summer. And I agree, most of what dominates now, well, I wouldn't even call it music.

  6. Interesting.

    My CD buying habits are similiar. The last one that I bought was that Robert Plant/Alison Krause duet CD back in July of last year.

    Money issus have made it difficult for me to purchase any new music.

  7. Would you recommend the Robert Plant/Alison Krause CD? I've heard a couple of performances from it, but wonder if the entire thing is good?

  8. I'm always interested in people's music taste - as I am in their books. It does seem to be a male thing to be into heavy metal though - other types of music seem to appeal more to both sexes but I've never really met any die hard lady fans.(Although I'm sure there must be some.) Why do you think that is?

  9. Lynn: I'm not sure. I only listened to the CD once in my car. I know that there was a ton of hype to it, that's why I bought it in the first place. I bought it at the same time I picked up a live concert CD of Ricky Skaggs w/Kentucky Thunder (I like bluegrass). I would recomment the Ricky Skaggs though. The Plant/Krause CD just didn't get to me on the first play through. I might bring it to work this week and listen to it again.

    I like Robert Plant and I like Alison Krause (I haven an excellent 2 disc concert CD that she did with Union Station, which I think was recorded in Atlanta). I'm just not sure if I like them together.

    Jane: I'm not sure. I do know that there are a few metal bands with female leads scattered about.

    Other than that, I really can't explain why certain types of metal (like grindcore, industrial or death metal) attract only males, and why others like pop and hair metal attract both.

  10. I hear that train a-coming. It's rolling round the bend...

  11. Johnny's cover of Hurt still gives me goosebumps.

  12. It does at that. The video was impressive.

    Sad part is, almost none of his later stuff is ever played on radio, except maybe on the college stations.


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