Howdy internet fans, it's your old pal Martin "The Baron" Hubley with another top ten list to shake the foundations of your musical knowledge to their very cores! Those of you who know me best will agree that I have one passion and one passion only: Rock & Roll. My naughtiest fantasy is to climb into a hotrod, crank up my fave rock radio station to full, and cruise down the coast, honking at thick & juicy honeys while bobbing my head to the sound of wailing guitars and nonstop drums.
Some say rock ain't what it used to be, but I tend to disagree. There are plenty of high quality rock albums out there, you just have to know where to look (namely: right here in this very article).
Fair Warning: There are going to be some pretty controversial choices in here, as I don't often follow the crowd. But keep reading if you've got the guts, and you'll be rewarded with hours of rock and roll hijinks. That's a promise!
Even fans of the supremely underrated 1998 film Godzilla probably do not remember its soundtrack, which was not heavily promoted at the time of the film's release. This is no doubt due to the film composer David Arlond's refusal to "play by the rules". In accordance with his artistic vision, he included many amazing independent and underground artists like Jamiroquai, Silverchair, and Fuzzbubble on the album but only a few mainstream lamebrains like Puff Daddy (AKA Puffypoppa) and Green Day. As a result, the album was "Top Shelfed" upon its release. This means retailers were told to place it only on the top rack in their music department, where it would be well out of reach of small children and the handicapped (the two biggest purchasers of soundtrack albums).
As a result, the CD sold poorly and is not well known today. It's a shame too, because it is undoubtedly the best soundtrack album of all time. Certainly more than enough to grant it the #10 spot on my list of Rock & Roll legends.
So if you hear only one Zilla this year, make it a God-Zilla. And that's a fact!
9. NOW 33
The NOW music series has been going strong for over thirty years, and there seems to be no end in sight for this 10-Ton-party animal of the rock world. This can only be a good thing, because where else could you hear such an eclectic collection of the freshest tunes from artists such as Train, Kirstey Alley, and The Jeezy? Nowhere, that's who!
And although this disc is filled to the brim with high-octane goodness, there is one track that stands above and beyond the pack. Yep, you guessed it: Owl City's "Fireflies" would be reason enough alone to buy this album. The song is an artsy sort of piece, and is told from the perspective of a young asexual mental patient with autism who is locked in a devastating battle with syphilis (a sexual STD which rots the brain out). The little boy is really a stand in for lead singer Adam Young, and the lyrics are often comprised of his deepest sexual fears ("I wanted to stroke him deeply...but he pushed me away"), dreams he one had (I cuddled with teddy, and fired lovebolts at the stars, with my crossbow of faith, I plant kisses on your rainbowfaith shoulders, my deary dear") or vague, otherworldly threats he received from toddlers who had done acid ("I will shower your love with hugs...from a million and one fireflies").
The secret to Owl City's success? It is said that most of his pain stems from the fact that he was rendered impotent by the syphilis (his genitals receded into his pubis area) and as such he is unable to live out his dream of fathering three blonde daughters. This sorrow is his muse. So while ordinarily these lyrics would seem childish and laughable coming from the mouth of an adult man, when viewed in the context of all he/it has been through, they are shockingly beautiful.
Now that's what I call music!
Also making guest appearances are rappers Ice Cube & Eminem, and VH1 legends like Pauly Shore, Martin Short, and Carol King. I think I speak for all music fans when I say "Let's break some stuff tonight! Let's break your face tonight! Let's break some stuff tonight! Come and get the biscuit you punks!"
Needless to say, this is one pastry you won't be eating with your morning tea!
Take the album's first single (I'm Blue), for example. It begins with a Kermit The Frog style narrator (his name, funnily enough, is "Blue" and he also happens to also be your tourguide through the remainder of the album) attempting to convey the sadness he feels living in a world where everything is blue. All the cars are blue, the sky is blue, all his friends are blue, and most importantly, he himself it blue. It reminds me of that old joke: "Everything in my house is blue, so what color are the stairs?" The answer, of course is that there ARE no stairs. It's a one-story house; trick question!
But seriously folks, this album is deeper than the average bear. There's little doubt in my mind that the blue theme is meant to signify the depression Eiffel 65 feels from in an overly corporate world filled with vodka advertisements, poisonous vaccinations, and mixed-race couples.
So if you "can't drive 65", why not try to drive EIFFEL 65...in your CD player that is!
That's where Hybrid Theories comes in. This ain't your grandpappy's rock and roll. It's hard hitting metallica style deathmetal combined with the fuckalicious style of beats, like those used by rapper J.Z.
I remember the first time I heard the opening power chords of "Crawling in My Skin" on the radio for the very first time. I felt a chill up my spine unlike anything I had ever experienced, and the world around me grew dark. But when I heard Chesterman's gravelly moan for the first time, I just had to pull the car over. It was like my first kiss. This was rock and roll, pure and simple. It was better than touching a woman. It was better than making love on a new sofa. It was better than life itself.
Needless to say, this is one Hybrid theory that I'm not doubting the veracity of!
"Metal Mood" features Boone's twisted and dark covers of over ten of rocks most hard-hitting bim-bam hits such as Black Sabbath's "Crazy Train", "Take Me Down To Detroit Rock City" By Motley Crue, and yes, even that old time classic "Stairway To Heaven" by Lead Zeppelin themselves.
But Boone doesn't just cover these songs, he rips them apart with a sexual fury and reassembles them into a rock hard monster of outright insanity. He is literally the Frankenstein Monster of Classic Rock. Who else would consider adding blaring horns and a smooth jazz rythym to "You've Got another thing coming"? A bloody genius, that's who.
When you talk about heavy metal, this album is like lead, one of the heaviest metals of all! That's saying something.
It goes without saying: I'll throw moltov cocktails through shop windows during this love revolution any time!
But hey, it's a free country. I can't tell you what to do. But you know that most of yall who are dismissin this album are racists. What? Just because an album is full of brothers and sisters it can't be rock and roll? Please, what a trip. So go ahead and laugh. While you hataz out there are saying your nay nays, I'll be crumping it off to the ram jams of Fatman Scoop and Shawty Redd.
Luckily for us, they found a way to remedy this situation: By Rocking! And Renegade (their last album before the death of the lead guitarist) finds the band in true form, playing some of their hardest and most inventive songs yet. "How I Could Just Kill A Man" finds the lead singer fantasizing about a robbery, and "Maggie's Farm" is an anti-slavery tune like none I've never heard. Only a black man could've written such an insightful song.
I don't think I have to remind y'alls that today, the situation in our world is worse than ever. People are starving in third world countries, corporations still exist, and there is a war going on in the middle east. Needless to say, we could darn well use a few more independent artists like Rage who aren't selling themselves to the highest bidder and putting money into the coffers of MTV and the big name record companies (AKA "The Machine).
Let's just say that I'd be in-RAGE if someone took this album from me, no pun intended!
So it should come as no surprise to you that "Seventeen Days" is an outright masterpiece. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a rock and roll Opus that puts the likes of Van Halen & ZZ Top to shame. This is an album for adults who love music. There are no self-indigent guitar solos here. No catchy melodies, or dopey singalong choruses. This is pure, adulterated, 100 proof rock and roll sludge at it's finest.
The sadness of sitting alone in a smokey Wisconsin bar, nursing a lime budweiser while contemplating the roofie-ing of that 23-year-old softball chick with the faint mustache and the dirty blonde hair, distilled down to 44 minutes and 9 seconds of cosmically orgasmic sensual bliss.
This, my friends...is rock and roll.
Rock on everybody. And stay safe out there.