My Sunday Song – “You Speak My Language” by Collective Soul

For My Sunday Song #178, We are tackling the song “You Speak My Language” by Collective Soul off the 2000 album ‘Blender’.  The song was never a single, but one that stood out for as there was something special about it.  It was very different.

Why is it different you ask? This song is very different for Collective Soul for two reason…one, it is not written by Ed Roland and two, it is a cover song!  Two very rare events for Collective Soul.  The song was written by Mark Sandman of the band Morphine and Mark had died a year earlier.  I believe it was done as a tribute to Mark and what a fine tribute it was.  For me, the song is about walking around this world and not finding anyone that understands you for YOU!.  That is until you find the one.  The one that speaks the same language as you.  That gets you, that knows you better than anyone.  When you find that, grab hold.

Musically, Collective Soul attack this song with so much energy and ferociousness that you are taken back by how heavy and wild the song is.  Ross Childress’ guitar playing is brutal with a killer riff and beast of a solo.  This might be the heaviest the band ever got.  Ed Roland sounds great and his lyric delivery is both deliberate and effective and with a little special vocal effect on the mic for added impact.  The song is also mixed throughout with sound effects normally not found in their songs which adds to it as well.  But no matter what the song is, you still hear Collective Soul and they turned a cover song into their own song.  Brilliant!

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My Sunday Song – “Them Blues” by Collective Soul

For My Sunday Song #177, we are discussing a new song from Collective Soul called “Them Blues” from the 2019 album ‘Blood’.  The album finds the band still hitting on all cylinders even after over 25 years together.  “Them Blues” is a mature band with serious topics still showing they can pull brilliance out when most bands are passed their prime.

Musically, the song was inspired by Prince’s album “Purple Rain” as Ed Roland loved the chord progression and when he was tinkering around with it on the piano while listening to that song,  “Them Blues” developed from there. Lyrically, the theme is about life and what was going on in his families life as his wife was going through some hard times.  The song was for her and to let her know that this too shall pass and though it is hard now, it will get better.  A rather touching song.

The song turned into a piano-based song that is very blues influenced and takes a more serious tone.  I love the slow opening piano notes and then a really cool and short guitar riff.  Ed’s (or E as he likes to be called…WTF??) vocals are great, the style switch is a nice change of pace and it seems to take the band into a more serious realm as they captured the emotions nicely.  The best part is the super long guitar solo by Jesse Triplett to end the album…it is killer.  It lifts the song when it needing lifting and it made you feel all was going to be right with the world.  It is a time where lyrically and musically, everything that they wanted you to take away from the song comes across loud and clear.

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My Sunday Song – “Contagious” by Collective Soul

For My Sunday Song #175, we are discussing the song “Contagious” off Collective Soul’s 2015 album ‘See What You Started by Continuing’.  The song was the fourth single off the album, but I don’t believe it charted anywhere.

After doing a slow Collective Song last week, I felt we needed a swift kick in the ass and this song does that.  The song grabs me because of one thing.  The guitar!  This is a heavy, hard-driving, guitar screaming guitar song.  The quick tempo, the killer riff that sounds like Collective Soul.  Jesse Triplett and Dean Roland’s guitar work is spectacular.  It has all the energy, the sonics, the vibes that scream Collective Soul. This might be one of the funnest songs they have done in years.

I have to talk about the song’s lyrics as well and this one is quite simple, not like some of their songs.  It is about a long love. I love that has been through a lot and come out the other side still together.  I love the opening line…’Together here we stand / Covered in our rust”.  That shouts a long relationship with that one word…”rust”.  It hasn’t been an easy ride as no relationship ever is.  They have had their struggles, but all is okay.

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My Sunday Song – “Run” by Collective Soul

For My Sunday Song #174, we are discussing the song “Run” by Collective Soul.  The song was the first single released off the 1999 album, ‘Dosage’.  It didn’t do great as it landed only at #76 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it did reach #12 on the US Adult chart and #1 on the Adult Alternative Songs chart (didn’t know there was one). ‘Dosage’ is one of my favorite albums by them and this song was a big part of the reason why.

As with a lot of their songs, “Run” can be interpreted to mean many things.  I believe is a conscientious effort by Ed Roland to structure the lyrics in such a way to leave it up to the listener to decide his intent. My first thought is the song is bash against commercialism.  It is about how generic, stale and boring the world has become.  There is no more original thought and we are swayed by simple advertising to go buy this, you need this, go watch this show, be like everyone else.    The lyrics help hint to that with lines like “From this processed sanity” and “Now in this world of purchase” so I can see this train of thought.

The other thought I have is that it is a child that finally reaches adulthood and when they get there, the world is not what he expected.  The world of adulthood is nothing special, it is boring and he is lost and running to find the answer to what is missing in his life.  Maybe that thing missing is a “messenger” or God.  God has been taken out of everything and the world as a result is not the better for it.

And lastly, it is commentary on the music scene.  The scene is so boring, generic and everything sounds the same.  No more originality in the music.  The record companies are putting out garbage and the lines such as…”From this processed sanity / I weaken with each voice that sings” lead me to believe that might be the case.  See, there are many ways to interpret the lyrics and I will let you decide what you feel is the right one, however, I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer.

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My Sunday Song – “Gel” by Collective Soul

For My Sunday Song #173, we are going to discuss the song “Gel” off the bands 1994 self titled album by Collective Soul. It was the first single off the band’s second album and after Shine, I was now hooked on the band and haven’t looked back since.  The song didn’t make the Top 40, but it did make it to #2 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and back in the 90’s, I didn’t care about Top 40 anyway.

The song is a quirky, rock track that can have many meanings, it is all left up to your interpretation of the lyrics.  It could be about a man and woman who have a lot of differences and it doesn’t matter, he wants to “Gel” per se.  Me, I like to view it as that people from different backgrounds, different cultures, different beliefs can still come together and meet and have open discussions and just gel.  In a world that is so separated and polarizing today, this song is almost a dream of some sort of utopia as I don’t think people have the capacity to gel nowadays.  That is why I think this song is needed.

Now, there is another theory I have read that it is about the band’s search for a record label as after their debut, record companies were clamoring to grab them up and they all wanted to make changes to the band.  However, the band wanted to do their own thing so could the label and the band come together and gel.  It turns out the label left them alone pretty much and let them do their thing as they were doing it so well on their own.  Like I said, you listen to the song and you interpret it however you would like.

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My Sunday Song – “How Do You Love?” by Collective Soul

For My Sunday Song #172, we are going to discuss the song “How Do You Love?” off Collective Soul’s 2004 album ‘Youth’.  The song was the third single off the album and hit #16 on the Adult Top 40.  The album itself was actually the first album the band did on their own label EL Music Group and was an overall well-rounded pop/rock album with a good balance of both.  This song would fall in the pop realm and was written entirely by Ed Roland as most Collective Soul songs were.

We are slowing it down this week with a ballad.  Yes, they all can’t be rockers.  This one connected to me as I was a very shy guy growing up and I wasn’t great with the ladies (I know…shocker right!).  The song is from the point of view of the person that was in love with someone who didn’t notice, care or love them back at all.  He/She is asking them that if they never knew that people were out there loving them, How did they actually love?  What could they do to make you notice them.  It is a common theme and I think connects with most people as I believe we have all been there at one time or another.  Thankfully, I found that woman that noticed me and now we have 2 beautiful daughters to help us show how to love!!

Musically, as I said, it is a ballad so the tempo is a little slowed down.  You get a mixture of keyboards, guitar, bass, drums and even a string section for added impact.  The chorus picks up the beat a little giving it a little of the power element.  You get a nice little guitar solo from Joel Kosche which all good ballads need.  Ed sings with a lot of emotion with a deliberate pacing to add to the emotion.  I found the song to be quite beautiful and one of my favorites on the album and from the band.

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My Sunday Song – “Heavy” by Collective Soul

For My Sunday Song #171, we are going to discuss the song “Heavy” off the band’s 1999 album ‘Dosage’. The song was the second single and the band’s last #1 song on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks as well as the last to make the Billboard Hot 100 where it only reached #73.

The song was the last song written for the record and actually was written after the record was complete.  The band liked it so much they made sure to get it on the album before it went out to production.  Ed Roland wrote the song and was inspired by all the crap that went on with their former manager.  The weight of everything was riding heavy on Ed’s shoulders and as a result we got this great song.  An interesting to note, the song title of “Heavy” it is no where in the song.  The weight of the lyrics and the heavy guitar sound are where the title comes from as the word summed up the vibe.

The song opens with a heavy guitar riff and is at such a break neck speed it is over before you know it at under 3 minutes in length.  The guitar solo by Ross Childress actually includes six types of wah effects according to songfacts.com.  It includes two standard pedals, three Auto Wah pedals, and a digital Wah via Pro Tools.  It brings a really cool sound to the solo like none they had ever done before.  The whole album saw the band exploring different sounds and this was one of their most creative for me.

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My Sunday Song – “Shine” by Collective Soul

For My Sunday Song #171, we are now going to spend the next 10 weeks talking about songs from another favorite band of mine, Collective Soul.  And why not kick it off with the song that jump started the band to stardom…”Shine”.  The song was the debut single of the band and their debut album ‘Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid’.  The song came out in 1993 and was such a big hit for them as it went #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as winning a Billboard Award for Top Rock Track in 1994.

The song also caused problems for the band that were unexpected.  First was the fact the song mentioned the word Heaven in the song and the chorus does come across as very church-like and almost sounding like a prayer.  This caused people to think the band was a so called “Christian” band and let me tell you they are not.  They are a genuine article rock band who happened to sing a song with heaven in the title. As Ed Roland likes to point out, Led Zeppelin had “heaven” in one of their songs and no one called them a Christian band.  It did pigeoned-holed the band a little to be lumped in to Christian music.

The second problem was due to the song sounding like a Grunge song with its distorted guitar sounds and dark feel of the song.  This was slab dab in the middle of that era and I can see why people thought they were a Grunge band as I even labeled them as that when I heard it.  But when you really listen to the band, it is not all dark, sad, depressing music like Grunge (you know its true – Grunge is pretty damn depressing, not fun at all music).  It is a solid rock album.

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My Sunday Song – “Brother” (feat. Gavin DeGraw) by Needtobreathe

For My Sunday Song #170, we are choosing the song “Brother” by Needtobreathe as the final song in the 10 song Needtobreathe series.  This song is the one with Gavin DeGraw as guest vocalist and not the version on the album “Rivers in the Wasteland”.  Although I liked that version, I think having the duet added a lot to the song since it felt more like it matched the meaning of the song.  The song only reached #98 on the Billboard charts, but the Christian charts had it reaching #1.

The song came about due to the issues between two brothers.  Those brothers were Bear and Bo Rinehart.  Their friendly competition turned in to more of a blame game as times got difficult for the band as they struggled during the work on the album ‘Rivers in the Wasteland’.  They finally worked things out once they actually talked to each other confessed their own personal faults.  Once that was done, they realized how important it was to have a brother working with you and beside you rather than compete with you.  They turned that in to a beautiful song.

The song has a church feel and some choir-like backing vocals to help add to that effect.  Having Bear and Gavin do it as a duet it gave the song that back & forth that it needed to give it the effect of two brothers going at it and making amends to each other.  It gave the song more dimension and heart.  Their voices worked so well together and their tones blended nicely and gave the song the emotion it needed.

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My Sunday Song – “Don’t Wait for Daylight” by Needtobreathe

For My Sunday Song #169, we are going to talk about the very first Needtobreathe song I ever heard.  The opening track to the album ‘Daylight’ called “Don’t Wait for Daylight”.  The song that started it all for me.  The one that said…these guys are special…they have a sound I like…their songs are interesting…I can get it in to this…and I did.  13 years later they are now one of my all-time favorite bands.

This song is really interesting as a band that was supposed to be a “Christian” band (which they are not) tackled a very delicate subject.  Well, actually two delicate subjects…Suicide and Affairs.  The song is about a woman who was having an affair with man and while she was going to his house to end it, she wound up stealing his coat so she could have a piece of him to remember and never said a word.  Inside the coat pocket was a note. Not just any note.  A suicide note that he wrote for his wife.  Now here is where it gets interesting.  Does she tell someone and save him?  If she does, it will then be known she has cheated on her husband. Quite a predicament.  The song is telling her not to wait.  She has to let people know.  She has to come clean and save this man’s life even if it mean destroying her world.  Wow!

Musically, it is a great rocker, upbeat tempo and a standout opening track to an album. The guitar work is fantastic with a nice opening riff and pulsating beat accompanying Bo’s guitar.  The song has punch and has an intensity that matches the lyrics.  There is a sense of urgency in the music the same as the urgency in the need for the woman to let someone know about the note as she struggles with her decision. Bear’s vocals show range and has a maturity that most singers don’t have on their first album.  It has a little raspiness to it that gives it the grit that makes for a great rock singer.

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