When I hit up Noble Records for the big metal collection he was selling, it wasn’t all Def Leppard Singles I purchased. There was a Queensryche in there as well and it was a single from my favorite album ‘Operation: Mindcrime’. The single was for the song “Eyes of A Stranger” which was only moderately successful as it only reached #35 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. It was played on MTV, but for me it was played constantly as that album was on repeat for most of 1988 and has been played every year (multiple times a year) ever since.
For those that don’t know, ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ was a concept album and this song, “Eyes of a Stranger” was the final track on the album and a culmination of the whole album story. This 12″ Single is a Limited Edition Gatefold that contains a Video Story Board of the video shot for the song. The gatefold has pictures from the video and sums up the story as seen below.
If I thought the last album was a little daunting to review with The Beach Boys ‘Pet Sounds’, this one is just as daunting a task. This has also been called one of the greatest albums of all time and one of the most influential albums as well. Punk, grunge and numerous other genres all owe a tip of the hat to this album. With ‘Pet Sounds’, I found the album was really good, but I didn’t think it was one of the best ever although “God Only Knows” is one of the best songs. So how will this one fare? I will come out and just say it, I love this album! I mean this thing far exceeded any expectations especially since it has been labeled as art pop and experimental rock. I wasn’t sure what to expect and this wasn’t it. I have to say this thing kind of blew me away.
First up, what an awesome band. The Velvet Underground is the great Lou Reed and John Cale as well as Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker. And then you throw the German singer, Nico, in the mix and not a bad bunch of people to have sitting around playing music. And the strange part of the album is that Andy Warhol produced it. Andy does art, I didn’t realize he produced as well. The album came out on March 12, 1967 and sounds like a product of its time as you can tell it is an album of the 60’s, but there is so much more.
For My Sunday Song #235, we are going to look at the song “Amen” by Halestorm off their 2015 album ‘Into the Wild Life’. The song was released as the second single and went all the way to #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock tracks, but didn’t chart on the Top 40 because this is not a Top 40 song. It was written by Lzzy Hale, Joe Hottinger and Scott Stevens (who we’ve seen a lot so far on these songs as I seem to gravitate to his songs unknowingly).
The song is real simple lyrically. It is about doing whatever the fuck you want, but owning it at the same time which you have to if you going to have that attitude. According to Lzzy in a Kerrang interview, the idea for the song came from a Tweet she did that stated…‘This is my life, my love, my sex, my drug, my lust.’… Her friend showed that tweet back to her and told that she needed to turn that in to a song and well, she did just that.
The song was actually recorded in a church, but written prior to knowing they were going to do that. Ironically enough, the song is done in a preaching, church style vocal delivery and it is backed up with that vibe musically as well. It isn’t the heaviest song they have done, but it is a rocker and has short guitar solo that is fitting for the song. The whole song has a Big F.U. feel to it which shows the band is doing things their way and they don’t care what you think. I think we all feel that way at one time or another.
The last couple of weeks for me haven’t been big on releases. This week changes all that. There are so many I want to check out that it might take a whole week to get through them all. My choices are highlighted in Blue. Now before we go on, lets take a look at something in the list below. Frontiers Records has not 1 or 2 or even 5, they have at least 6 albums coming out this week (could be more, I only put in 6). That is one label releasing that many albums on one day. Kind of shocking. If I was an artist on that label, I would ask how the label can market that many releases at one time. Seems unfair to the releases. And a lot of the label’s albums are similar type of music. There is no way, the public can buy them all, especially in today’s environment. I am not sure I understand their strategy. Enough about that. What albums are you most eager to hear? Let me know what you want and what I may have missed. Thanks and have a great weekend.
The Pretty Reckless – Death by Rock And Roll – (Fearless Records): This hard rock band, fronted by Taylor Momsen, is back with another kick ass release. At least I hope it will be kick ass. Taylor has a great rock voice and I have been a fan of her vocals and band since they came out years ago. Can’t wait to dive in to this one.
Durbin – The Beast Awakens – (Frontiers Records): James Durbin has returned after a short stint with Quiet Riot. Glad to see him on his own again. He has brought some heavy hitting friends along and this one is supposed to be balls to the wall heavy and should be right up his alley. Who’da think this boy from American Idol would still be hanging around this long. Good on him.
We are now in 1994 and it has been almost 2 years since the band’s last studio album. At this point in the timeline, there is no work being done on a new album either. Kiss was in limbo to some degree. But the motors were turning and the band thought to celebrate their 20 years in music, they would do a Tribute album which would be performed by artist that were big at the time of 1994. Tribute albums were big in the early 90’s as there a ton, so this was not an original idea by the band. I believe they had run out of original ideas years earlier.
The band had over 100 bands that wanted to do songs including such acts as Sir Mix A Lot and Smashing Pumpkins. Hell, even Kurt Cobain and The Melvins did a song together, but sadly it came in too late to be included on the album. They had settled on 12 acts to perform 12 Kiss Klassics…sorry Classics. These song wouldn’t be straight up renditions as each band was allowed to do something different to the songs and make it special in their own way.
Before we get to the music, let us talk about the packaging a little. Now, if you notice the cover art, the make-up for Ace isn’t shown and that is because Kiss didn’t own Ace’s make-up design. At this time, Ace still owned it. The band didn’t get permission from the right people in time for the album’s release so that is why it is absent. Instead, you get Paul’s original design with the bandit style make-up on the little boy.
As you read yesterday, for Christmas I received Queen’s ‘Queen 40’ Box Sets. I also received this box set from Judas Priest called ‘The Complete Albums Collection’. Now this is not a very accurate title because it really isn’t the “Complete” albums collection as it is missing quite a bit. But before we get to tell you what it is missing, let me tell you why it is called the “Complete” album collection. That is because it contains all 17 Judas Priest albums featuring the classic line up of Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K. K. Downing and Ian Hill (2). That was the focus of the collection.
As a result, it is missing the 2 Ripper Owen albums including ‘Jugulator’ (1997) and ‘Demolition’ (2001) as well as 2 Live albums, ’98 Live Meltdown’ and ‘Live in London’ (2003). And since this was released in 2011, it is missing the two newer albums ‘Redeemer of Souls’ (2014) and ‘Firepower’ (2018) both Richie Faulkner on guitar and not K.K. Downing. Oh yeah, and the live album ‘Battle Cry’ from 2016. So technically this isn’t really the “Complete Albums Collection”…but I am okay with that as this is a great beginners set as you get a 17 albums for one low price to get things going.
Let us go through the timeline of what is included. But before we do that, all the CDs come in a cardboard sleeve that is similar to a vinyl album jacket with the original artwork recreated on the album jacket. There are no plastic cases and no CD booklet for each disc. Instead you get a 40 page booklet with photos, liner notes and album credits. And that is it. There is nothing extra special thrown in although a lot of the discs have a couple of the bonus tracks included. This really is just the CDs and no frills.
For Christmas of 2020, I received the ‘Queen 40’ Box Set, all three volumes. You would think, John, you have most of these on vinyl, why do you want the CDs? Well, easy…these are all remastered CDs from 2011 and each album includes an extra CD E.P. with anywhere from 5 to 7 Bonus tracks that I don’t have on the vinyl. So, that is why I wanted this set.
Let me tell you this set is great. They broke it up in to 3 separate volumes with each Volume getting 5 Studio albums so for the cost conscious person, you can buy one volume at a time or if money doesn’t matter, get all 3. Now that I have all 3 Volumes, with all 15 Studio albums, I am going to clue you in on something. Each Studio album will get its own, detailed review. My goal is to review all these albums by the end of 2021 and then do an Album Ranking of what I thought was the worst all the way to the one that is first on the list. It is going to be an exciting time at 2 Loud 2 Old Music for 2021!!
Let’s go through each Volume starting, of course, with Volume 1…
Another grab from Noble Records from the sell of the big metal collection he picked up from a former record store owner was another Def Leppard release. This time around I found a 12″ Promotional Single for the songs “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak (Remix)” and “Me & My Wine (Remix)”. After the success of ‘Pyromania’, it was decided to do a re-release of the prior album ‘High ‘N Dry’. For that to be successful, they added two new songs…okay one new one and one remix of another song on the album. Both were mixed by Robert John “Mutt” Lange himself. The album was rereleased on May 31, 1984.
The band sent out this Promotion Single with only those two new songs and they actually did videos with for the songs as well. Now, Phil Collens was in the band now and not Pete Willis who played on both these songs so the videos have Phil not Pete which is strange.
This promo is a U.S. release just prior to the album re-release and sent out in hopes of pushing that album. I remember the videos popping up on MTV and I loved it. It was already my favorite Def Leppard album and I was fine and dandy with picking up another copy of the album with the two new tracks. Since these are remixes, let’s talk a little about the songs.
For My Sunday Song #234, we are going to dive in to “I’m Not An Angel” by Halestorm which was off their debut album ‘Halestorm’. The song was written by Lzzy Hale, Howard Benson, Kara DioGuardi and Marti Frederiksen which are some heavy hitters in the song writing department. Kara has written a ton of hits and was a judge on American Idol and Marti, who hasn’t he written for might be easier. Pretty strong group for a band’s debut album. The label must have thought very highly of this band and rightfully so.
The song is a sad power ballad. It chronicles a very tragic relationship with Lzzy. Lzzy has been very open about her mental troubles and good on her for that as more discussion is always needed around that topic. The song talks about how the person she was with couldn’t handle all her emotional roller coasters. He saw the issues but tried to stick it out anyway. She tried to push him away, but at the same time couldn’t resist him. It was a very turbulent sounding relationship and she goes on to admit that she wasn’t an angel in this relationship. It is really a beautiful, yet very tragic story.
Musically, the band shows a much softer side to their sound. They are able to tone things down, but keep the talent shining. Lzzy shows that her powerful vocals can be also be so tender, thoughtful and bring the emotion needed to convey the story. Everyone’s playing served the song with no showboating and it was great to see this side of the band.
Welcome to the First February Friday of the month. There are a handful of releases this week and I am sure you will find something. There are two this week that are of interest although no purchases will be made unless they are great. Apple Music will be my choice of streaming platforms for those two albums and they are highlighted in Blue. What are you interested in this week? What have I missed? Let me know in the comments your thoughts on the releases. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!!
Foo Fighters – Medicine at Midnight – (Roswell Records / RCA): I will admit, I am kinda burnt on Foo Fighters and have been for years. I don’t feel they have been as strong as of late and I got a little Dave Grohl overload over the years. But I will give this a listen as I do all their albums as Dave has earned that respect.
Todd La Torre – Rejoice in the Suffering – (Rat Pak Records): The current lead singer of Queensryche is finally tackling his first solo album and I think that is great. I hope it doesn’t sound anything like Queensryche because then what would’ve been the point of doing a solo album. I am not a huge fan of his version of the band, but he is a great singer and does an amazing job with them so I will give this a try.