Stryper – “Take It To The Cross” – Single Review

Now, Stryper, and Michael Sweet in particular, have released a lot of music lately.  Let’s look back over the last 5 years…

  • March 2013 – ‘The Second Coming’
  • November 2013 – ‘No More Hell to Pay’
  • January 2014 – Icon (greatest hits)
  • September 2014 – Live at the Whisky
  • October 2015 – Fallen

And Michael Sweet…

  • 2014 – ‘I’m Not Your Suicide’
  • 2015 – ‘Only to Rise’ as Sweet & Lynch
  • 2016 – ‘One Sided War’
  • 2017 – ‘Unified’ as Sweet & Lynch
  • 2017 – Sole: Songs and Stories From a Life in Music live concert video

That is 10 albums in 5 years.  That is quite a busy group.  I will admit that I have grown a little tired of Stryper as it is music overload.  I can’t absorb all that.  Now, it has all been great actually, but I felt like I needed a break.

On April 20th, Stryper brings us another new album called ‘God Damn Evil’ and my first thought was NOOOOO!!!  On the title, I am sure they will catch some grief for using that title (which will be for another discussion if I review the whole album), but it is ballsy and I think it might set the tone for what is to come on this album.

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The Original Vs. The Cover – “Live and Let Die”

Welcome to the first installment of “The Original Vs. The Cover” for 2018.  We are going to start it off this year with the battle between Paul McCartney & Wings and Guns ‘N Roses with the song “Live and Let Die”.  The song was written by Paul & Linda McCartney for the James Bond movie “Live and Let Die”. The two versions aren’t really that different in my opinion.  Some of the orchestration is replaced with guitars, but other than that they are very similar.  But before we choose a version we like more, let’s talk about each version first.

Paul McCartney and Wings

Paul was given the Ian Fleming novel to read and then he sat down at his piano and wrote the song.  I am not sure Paul had ever had to write a song around a title before as he said it was not an easy thing to do.  Well, he wrote the song in an afternoon, so it must not have been that hard.  The song is one of Wing’s most popular songs and it received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song in 1973.  However, it did lose to Barbara Streisand’s song “The Way We Were”.  The song was also nominated for a Grammy in the same year.

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Rick Springfield – “Little Demon” – Single Review

Rick Springfield has a new album coming out on January 26th, 2018 called ‘The Snake King’.  If you are expecting a “Jessie’s Girl” pop album you will be sadly disappointed. Rick is exploring his rock side.  Even more, he is going back to his early influences and it is a more Blues-Rock oriented album.

The first single, “Little Demon”, is a wonderful example of that sound.  It is a hard, rocking song with some heavy blues influence.  Rick sounds great and he can still deliver the goods.  The highlight of the song is the music as you can see below, there are not a ton of lyrics.  The song is very guitar heavy and at over 5 minutes  is a really long song that we are not accustomed to from Rick.  He is definitely stretching himself artistically and if this is an example of what is to come on the album, we are in for a treat.

I am well aware that Rick can bring the rock as he did just that with his album Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance which is my favorite album of his.  I wasn’t sure he could pull of the blues as well, but I have to say I wasn’t disappointed.  His voice is gritty enough now to pull off the vocals and the team surrounding him has done a great job musically.  Is it the best blues song I have heard and the most authentic, no.  However, if you are a fan of Rick Springfield, it is a great rock song and you should be able to get on board with it.  I do like it better than anything on his last release so that is a good sign.

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Stone Temple Pilots – “Meadows” – Single Review

Back on November 14, 2017, Stone Temple Pilots announced their new lead singer, Jeff Gutt, and released their new single “Meadows”.  Through an exhaustive search of over 15,000 submissions they finally found the guy they were looking for in Jeff.  Over the past year, they  have been working together and honing their skills to make sure the band sounded as good as ever and that they gelled.  They didn’t want a Scott Weiland clone, but they needed someone that could pull off the old material as well as the new material (soon to come).  Not only can Jeff sing, but he writes as well.  That combination was what STP was looking for with a new singer.

Scott Weiland was one of the most iconic frontman any band had ever seen.  He is irreplaceable and STP will never be the STP they were with Scott.  A lot of fans won’t be accepting of Jeff for this reason and they are going to be too judgmental of anything new STP puts out.  That is a crying shame because STP isn’t trying to be that STP anymore.  They are trying to move forward with a new sound and honoring the days past.

With the release of “Meadows”, the band has stepped into the future without abandoning anything from the past.  Musically, the song sounds like STP and why wouldn’t it.  These are the same musicians and songwriters of the music from days gone by so of course it is going to sound like STP.  Jeff Gutt sounds amazing. With tinges of Scott’s sound, but not imitating him, you can hear Jeff’s own style shine through.  I think it was a great song choice for the introduction of Jeff as it bridges that gap between new and old so well.

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