Attention Musical Artists-Enough With the “Hidden” Songs Already!

Anyone who owns at least a few cds knows what I am talking about here. Those annoying and entirely pointless “hidden” songs that are usually stuck at the end of a regular song, but there’s like 7 minutes of nothing separating them. And some songs even have the nerve to have a regular song, nothing, a small something, nothing again, and then some more small little pieces of audio. And some just pointlessly have nothing at the end of these long spells of blankness, just to trick us.

I am writing this to beg these oh so clever artists to CUT IT OUT!!

It is entirely pointless. If you really want to add an extra song, then put it on it’s own separate track! But most of the time it is a short 1 minute song, or some other stupid audio of some kind. If that’s the case, then leave it off the album all together! If it is not important enough to you to place it on it’s own separate track, then it doesn’t need to be there at all! You are not giving us a special treat by hiding something at the end of a song. No one is going to just let it sit out for an obscenely long time with no music, waiting to hear that short little ditty you wanted to surprise us with.

And then there’s bands like Coheed and Cambria, who thought it would be funny to actually make tracks 12-22 on their second album a few seconds of nothing, and even naming them A Whole Lot of Nothing 1-10, or something like that, before giving us a song on track number 23. But this is almost tolerable, because you can just skip the tracks, and even if you don’t, they probably just equate to a minute which is still shorter than most gaps of nothing. But what makes it worth it, is we are treated to one of the best songs they’ve ever come out with at the end of the empty rainbow, and it’s like 9 minutes long to boot!

But still, wouldn’t it have just been better to just have it right there at track 12, instead of pointlessly putting it on 23?

And bands like the Bled do crap like having a short little song, then repeating the last 2 measures of the song for over 20 minutes before something new happens. I don’t know if this is worse or better. I remember the first time I listened to that song, I was driving home from work, and was just waiting for something to happen. At the time, I only had a 15 minute commute and it was still repeating that part by the time I got home. I fast forwarded it afterwards to discover that a song that could have been over in under 3 minutes was like over 32 minutes. Why? And is it better to hear the same thing over and over again, or nothing at all? When you are hearing something, it tricks you into thinking that something is coming, where as a whole lot of nothing means you know nothing is going to happen until the last minute. But come on, why? Is that really how you thank your fans who support you and buy your music?

I mean, all this is such a common thing that has persisted for decades. Enough is enough already. It’s not cool, it’s not surprising, it’s nothing but aggravating and extremely stupid.

According to my iTunes, I have 5321 songs, which I listen to on my iPod with shuffle. And I swear, like every 15-20 songs, I encounter one of these awesome songs. So now I either have to fast forward to the hidden audio, or skip the song. Both of which are extremely hard to do since they stopped making the wonderful iPod Classic, forcing me to buy the bullcrap, unnecessary, feature filled iPod touch, which is so unresponsive and precise, that it is impossible to really do anything you want it to on the first few tries.

And mind you, I am driving when I have to change the song. So you dumb bands are putting people at risk of getting into collisions and possibly killing ourselves or others while we struggle to fast forward through the unnecessary nothingness on our crappy idevices, all because you bands try to be so cool.

Next time you want to try it, think about how much blood will be on your hands if you do!

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Thanks bands…thanks Apple.
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Artists Whose Talents Greatly Increased Between Albums Part 3

And I’m back, bringing you a few more incredible albums!

illuminaudio“Illuminaudio” (2010) by Chiodos

Genre: Alternative, Post Hardcore, Indie, Rock

Chiodos is certainly a unique band and are really quite talented. Of the four albums they have made, “Illuminaudio,” their third album, is without a doubt the most ambitious and enjoyable album to date.

I was very worried when this was being made. The bands singer, whose unique vocals ranging from low to very high pitches, mixed with the occasional aggressive screams, really brought the keyboards, unique guitar riffs, and overall excitable music together, had left the band, as well as their drummer. I just kept thinking to myself, “how can they make a Chiodos album without Craig Owens?” But all my worries and doubts were immediately put to rest after the first song, which was just a short intro thing that couldn’t even really be considered a real song. I knew I was in for a really great album after the first actual song, “Caves” came on. Right away it starts with a neat little drumbeat that immediately warmed me up to the new drummer. Followed right after that was a glorious high pitched chant by the new vocalist.

By the end of the song, I was floored. Not only was the new vocalist a much better singer, having cleaner transitions between high and low singing, much better screams and just an overall more pleasant sounding voice, the band as a whole were much more together if you will. The songs were smoother, more advanced and better written. This was at times absent from their older albums, where they often times just randomly jumped into odd music transitions, and the vocals were just cracked and screechy at times.

On top of all the better quality, every song was just incredible. When you listen to it, the still unique and satisfying vocals just seem to carry you along the notes of the equally unique music until you find yourself at the end of the album, sad that it is over, but overjoyed that upon owning this album, you have the privilege of listening to it as many times as you want.

This is another perfect album and I recommend it to pretty much everyone. I am sure you will find something in this amazing album for you to love.

 

my shame is true“My Shame Is True” (2013) by Alkaline Trio

Genre: Punk, Alternative, Rock

Alkaline Trio is one of my favorite bands, if not my favorite. They have been around for 20 years and have come out with quite a few albums in that time. Many of them take the band in slightly different directions, but their core elements of hard punk and heartbreak always stay in tact. Perhaps this is why this is one of the few bands out there that have remained consistently good throughout their entire career.

That being said, there is no denying however that some of their albums are definitely worse than others. This brings me to their last album before “My Shame Is True,” “This Addiction.” While this is still a good album, to me, it is without a doubt their worst. This left me slightly disappointed, and when “My Shame Is True” came out, I wasn’t all that quick to pick it up. But when I finally did, I found myself yet again stunned by my favorite trio. They introduced yet another style in this album, but as ever, keeping faithful to their core sound and energy. Though this was their best sound in my opinion, taking elements from all their previous albums and combining them into this one amazing one. I always felt it combined the writing style of “This Addiction,” the creativeness of “Crimson” and the pure foot tapping catchyness of “Agony & Irony.”

One song after the other was never alike, always trying something a little bit different, yet familiar. Some of these songs quickly became my favorites out of all the many, many songs they have created. And even though they combined a lot of their previous styles, each song is laced with something new, making the album stand out and exciting to listen to. I now eagerly await their next one, but now with the worry that it will not live up to this one, but it is Alkaline Trio, and everything they do is wonderful.

I highly recommend this to everyone. They have found such a balance in many forms of music that everyone can find something to enjoy.

 

 

Artists Whose Talents Greatly Increased Between Albums

One of the best parts about music is following musicians throughout their careers and getting the chance to hear them mature, change and develop with each new album they record, each new song written. If you pay attention, you can really get a feel for their lives through lyrics, and less obviously so, the music presented underneath the words. Some artists never change, some change drastically, and some just simply get better or worse, with change being completely absent from that formula.

These changes can be evident between two albums, or a slow evolution over their entire career. Now, depending on a listener’s own personal likes, interests and opinions, these changes can be great, or make you turn away from ever listening to another album by that particular artist and causing you to lament when you hear the good old stuff. I am here to talk about some albums that were far greater than their previous album(s); with everything from talent, song writing and creativity being increased exponentially. Albums where every song just blew me away.

Most of the times you see this huge growth in a musician right after their debut album, after the bands do nothing but tour, rehearse and rehearse some more, literally doing little more than performing or practicing. Obviously, this never ending practice yields tremendous results for the artists, and we as listeners are treated to the fruits of their efforts. Other times, they just seem to randomly put in a fantastic effort.

Just a heads up before I begin, I am only writing about artists I listen to, picking from the roughly 4800 songs I own, not just artists in general. I will not be sticking to a single genre, though most could be considered “rock” if I wanted to be super generic. That being said, I do listen to a somewhat diverse set of music, so hopefully there is something in hear you may have heard of and I inspire you to check them out.

Also, many of these opinions may be based off of when a listener started following a band. For example, if someone started listening to an artist after they had their huge boost in talent, the listener may have missed out and thus, completely disagree with me on some things here. Anyways, let’s get to it!

Note that these are listed in no particular order.

blog post 2“Bury Your Dead” (2008) by Bury Your Dead

Genre: Metal, Hardcore, Screamo

Starting off, I must say this album did not impress me as much as the others on this list, but I wanted to put it in simply to commend a band that has won me over. Bury Your Dead’s first two releases, “Cover Your Tracks,” and “Beauty and the Breakdown” did nothing for me. They consisted of breakdown after breakdown, similar sounding songs, and nothing but screaming, all things I tend not to enjoy about bands.

So what is so different about this album to have won me over?

Absolutely nothing.

This album to this day has me perplexed. They have a new vocalist for this one, and he certainly adds a new, catchier flair to the songs, though he still does nothing but scream. The music sort of gives you a break from the breakdowns every now and then, but barely. But I suppose it is these minor changes, with the addition of just more creative and catchy songwriting…yes they have catchy breakdowns… that has finally gotten me to like this band. Their future albums also feature some extremely large changes, but this one still holds as my favorite, largely because I feel like they found a sound that works with all the members and could present it in a satisfying way. They do far more experimentation in the future albums, as I said, but this one seems to suit them the best.

I recommend this one to anyone into heavier metal music. May it win you over the way it has me.

 

 


blog post 1“A City By The Light Divided” (2006) by Thursday

Genre: Post-Hardcore, Alternative, Indie, Punk

Prior to this album, Thursday had already released some solid records, boasting a unique sound paved over with clean vocals and occasional screams that melded well with the music, resulting in something truly pleasant to listen to for anybody willing to listen.

Then Thursday came out with this album, and it blew me away. From quality, to talent and lyrics, this album took everything I loved about Thursday and improved upon it greatly, completely refining everything. The album is chock full of energy and diversity, having fast paced, on the edge of your seat titles like “At This Velocity” to slower, more slower and beautiful songs with great lyrics like “Autumn Leaves Revisited” and plenty of in of songs styled in between.

From start to finish, each song impressed me more and more. This is literally one of the few albums that I have heard that I absolutely love every song on, and such joys should be spread to the world, so that everyone can listen to this incredible album. I promise it is worth your time. I would even go as far to consider “A City By The Light Divided” to be perfect, and I absolutely recommend it to any and everyone.

 

blog post 3“Waking the Fallen” (2003) by Avenged Sevenfold

Genre: Metalcore, Post-Hardcore

Avenged Sevenfold has always been an acquired taste for me, a bit unusual since they have some truly amazing talent. Each album they released, I always disliked, sometimes even bordered on hated after the first few listens. But eventually, they grow on me, and I end up loving them. Sevenfold is now one of my favorite bands, oddly enough. This hate to love feeling all started way back when I had my first listen of them back in 2004, when I bought “Waking the Fallen” for a reason I cannot remember. After my first listen I thought it was far too long, had bad screaming and an overall underwhelming production.

After two or three more full listens of the album, my opinion changed completely. I still didn’t love the screaming, but the songs were only so long because of all the technical writing and various parts packed into each song, making each one an exciting and mysterious venture, never knowing where you will end up by the end. Not to mention that each song was crafted with incredible musicianship and hard, slightly raspy, yet beautifully melodic clean vocals mixed with intense screaming that made each and every song on the album a masterpiece. What started out as a cd I regretted buying, instantly became one of my favorites, if not my favorite back then.

So how did this album make the list? Because I went back and bought their first album, and what a difference. Let’s talk about writing style. Though still metal at heart, the songs just didn’t have any real kick or drive to them on their debut album for the most part, resulting in some very boring riffs getting repeated 4-8 times. Though it was a lesser quality album and shouldn’t be judged for that, the whole thing just seemed like a mess. The mixes were ok, but it just sounded bad overall, like the band was trying to find a good, fitting sound for their talents and were falling short. Sometimes when the band would go to a clean part, it seemed from out of nowhere, or the screaming seemed forced on some parts, or the vocals didn’t quite fit. This experimentation is quite common with debut albums and I do not hold it against the band whatsoever, in fact, overall it is still a pretty good album, especially for a bunch of kids in high school.

So how was this problem fixed? Besides just getting better and touring and getting more comfortable with being a band, was the inclusion of guitarist, Synyster Gates, now one of the most well known musicians in music. He was the missing piece of the puzzle that the band was missing, and with him joining the ranks, the band was allowed to shine as they were destined to.

Enter “Waking The Fallen.” The quality is infinitely better, the songwriting, creativity and talents jumping through the roof as well. The jumping genres present in their debut were done here as well, but the transitions all seemed much cleaner and smoother, and there were more of them to boot, leading to a more diverse/unique sound, differing from the more metal heavy debut. In short, the sound they struggled to obtain all fell into place quite nicely for this album, making it a true sequel to the first, keeping the familiarity established in the first and improving upon it , plus adding a whole new side of things to really treat the fans and show them what they were really capable of at the time.

I know my friends and I who had this album fell in love with it, and with the vast improvements and efforts made by the band, it is well deserved. This is the album that took them to fame, and a few listens (if you are like me) will show you why.