For My Sunday Song #237, we are going to discuss the song “What Were You Expecting” by Halestorm off their 2009 debut album. The song was not a single, but for me helped me get in to the band especially when I found out the song was co-written by Lzzy Hale, James Michael from Sixx A.M. and some due name John Lowery or you might know him as John 5. That was enough for me as John 5 is king!!
The song is about a guy that got a little taste of Mz. Hale and couldn’t get enough. He was desperate to be with her again, but she didn’t really give a crap. She wasn’t in to him and to her it was more of a one night stand than anything serious. He was down on his knees begging for more and she just yelled at him to get up off his knees and be a man and go away. What I love about it is the reversal of the roles. Usually you get this viewpoint from the guys point of view so it is refreshing for the woman to be that way. Lzzy continues to push the boundaries and show there is nothing a man can do that she can’t do better!!
Musically the song totally rocks out. There is an opening eerie guitar riff that sounds like John 5, but it doesn’t show he played on the song so if not, good job by Joe Hottinger on that sound. That guitar sound comes back during the bridge and then the chorus explodes and Lzzy goes all out and sounds so tough and flippant to the guy it is awesome. Arejay Hale pounds away and the drums and with Josh Smith they lay the foundation and rhythm of the song. Sometimes it is great just to put the pedal to the floor and go all out and that is what they do with this one.
Halestorm is one of the best bands to come on to the scene in the last 12 years. Fronted by the powerhouse, Lzzy Hale, the band brings it heavy and has no apologies for anything they do. The songs can be hard, almost thrash and the next minute they can be soft and beautiful and then everything in between. The songs are melodic at times and Lzzy can deliver the goods vocally. Joe Hottinger on guitar is sensational and it is nice to see that the guitar still matters in rock music as his sound is what I really love about the band. Then rounding out the rhythm section is Josh Smith on bass and Arejay Hale on drums and both are the driving force behind the band.
The heavier the band gets, the better for me and my ranking might reflect that so sorry but that is what I love about them. I know they only have 4 studio albums so far, but they need to be heard and ranked. To compensate for that shortfall on studio albums, I will rank their 3 Covers EP that they have done in their ‘Reanimate Series’ of albums. That way you hopefully feel like you are getting your money’s worth stopping by here…wait…you aren’t paying to come so I guess no matter I do, you get your money’s worth. Good to know.
So without further ramblings on and on about nothing, let’s get to the rankings.
For My Sunday Song #236, we are going to dig deep in to the song “Private Parts” by Halestorm. The song features Sixx A.M. lead singer James Michael and is off the band’s 2012 album ‘The Strange Case of…’. The album wasn’t a single, hell, it wasn’t even on the main album. The song was only on the Deluxe Edition of the album. Since I am a fan of James, this song really stood out for me and quickly became a fan.
The song is not a sexual song at all as you might expect with a song called “Private Parts”. No, the song is about something so much deeper. It is about a couple that has been together, but she is having trouble getting him to open up. She wants him to let her. Communicate. Be there in the moment. She wants him to show her his private parts…she wants what is inside his heart. She feels like she has done something wrong and is starting to feel like their love isn’t real. He loves her, but for some reason he can’t talk about it. It is actually quite beautifully written and played out in the song as you get the She said/He said approach to the lyrics.
The song opens and has a power ballad feel to it. It only has a piano playing at a slow tempo accompanying the vocals. Then the chorus explodes with a more rocking track. I love how Lzzy sings a line and James answers back as you get to see the conversation played out in the song. His voice compliments hers quite nicely. The song has a great melody and is so catchy it sweeps you up and takes you along for the ride. I find it to be such a beautiful song and nice to see the softer side of the band.
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.
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.
For My Sunday Song #233, we are discussing the song “Painkiller” by the band Halestorm. The song is off their 2018 album ‘Vicious’ which went to #8 on the Billboard 200 Album chart. The album produced 5 singles, however, this was not one of them. This is a deep cut that is one of my favorite songs on the album. The song was written by Lzzy Hale, Joe Hottinger and Scott Stevens who helped write the song “Mz. Hyde”.
The song doesn’t really have any deep meaning. It focuses on how you get so in to a person that you become addicted to them. They take all the pain away and make you feel so good. You end up craving them, wanting them ever second. You can never get enough of them. The become the drug to feed your addiction. Simple enough.
Musically, the song is so freaking heavy. Josh Smith’s bass is a beast as it lays down this nasty bass line. Arejay Hale’s drum sound is immense and sounds like an explosive cloud of thunder and is only missing the lightning. But I guess the guitar work by Joe would be the lightning as it flashes in with some nasty riffs. Lzzy’s vocals are strong, powerful and one of the best vocalist in the rock scene today. She sings on this with that addict intensity and is what the song needs to take it over the top. It is brilliant.
For My Sunday Song #232, we are going to discuss the ballad “Dear Daughter” by Halestorm off their 2015 album ‘Into the Wild Life’. The song wasn’t a single, but actually became very popular with fans, so much in fact a video was made for the song. The album went to #5 on the Billboard Charts and did really well for the band with songs like this one.
“Dear Daughter” is a tribute to Lzzy Hale’s and Arejay’s parents as they are brother and sister. Lzzy’s parents were so supportive for what her and her brother wanted to do with their life although they were terrified for their kids on the tough path ahead of them. After a conversation she had with her mom, Lzzy went to social media actually asked her fans…what do you wish your parents had said to you? Those responses inspired her to write this song using the answers she received from her fans. It is a really cool idea. With the song, Lzzy has said she is “passing the torch” to each little girl in the audience so they can see you can do whatever you want to do in your life.
The song is a ballad and for a heavy guitar band, it is great to see their softer side with a piano based song for which Lzzy wrote the music on. Lzzy wrote it with fellow bandmate Joe Hottinger and composer Dave Bassett. It is a beautiful song and so different that anything else the band had done it was really refreshing to see the softer side of the band. Apparently the version we here is only the 2nd take of the song. I guess she really was inspired.
For My Sunday Song #231, we kick off this 10 Set of Halestorm songs with “Mz. Hyde” off the band’s second album ‘The Strange Case of…” The song was the 5th single of this incredible album and went to #15 on the Rock Mainstream Chart. It helped push the album to #15 on the Billboard 200 album chart and brought the album to Gold status of over 500,000 copies sold. If you haven’t heard the album, prepare to have your head explode at its awesomeness!
The song was written by Lzzy Hale and songwriter Scott Stevens who you might know as the lead singer of The Exies. Lzzy wanted to capture in a song the fact she has two totally different personalities. One is her personal life and the other is her stage life. They took the theme from the fantastic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. Lzzy was very shy when she was younger and yet she wanted to be a rock star. She created this “Mz. Hyde” personae to turn in to the rock star she wanted to be. I know a lot of people that their work personae and personal life personae are totally different so I believe a lot of people have this dichotomy in their lives.
Musically, hold on to everything as this song explodes out of the gate with an awesome drum opening from Arejay Hale that then rips into an electronica “Mz. Hyde” before Lzzy comes in like a monster with the verses and the chorus. It is an extremely uptempo rocker that has all the elements you want in a rock song. Powerful drums fro Arejay, rip roaring guitars from Joel Hottinger, thumping bass from Josh Smith and a powerhouse vocal performance from Lzzy. If this song doesn’t get you moving, I don’t know what will.
Welcome to the Top 20 Rock Songs of 2018. These songs are my favorite songs of the year and were not necessarily played on the radio or even shot up the charts. They just moved me in some way good or bad!
#20 – “Loading Zones” – Kurt Vile off the album ‘Bottle it In’: Kurt’s can be about the mundane and anything that troubles him in life. This is about the horrors of trying to park in the city. It has such a great little beat to it and some great guitar and such a simple subject that yet turns into something amazing. The video is great as well.
#19 – “Roll Me Under” – Stone Temple Pilots off the album ‘Stone Temple Pilots (2018)’: I know I did give the album the best review, but I liked this song. It had the old STP sound, but it was also Jeff Gutt at his best on the album. Such a heavy bass and guitar sound, it was just great.
2018 was another year with some great releases and way too many to get through them all so I am sure I missed a number of great albums and if you look around the web, there will be tons of Top Album lists you can get a pretty good idea of what you should check out in case you missed any of these.
This list will be my favorite “Rock” albums of the year. All other types of music will be for a later post. I am going to leave this one to my favorite genre. It is a broad genre, but these are the albums that I consider to be ROCK!!
Also note, these are MY FAVORITES!! These are not the most popular or trendy albums. These are the albums that I connected with during the year and I kept coming back to again and again. And without further adieu, here are the Top Rock Albums of 2018:
My #1 Album of the Year:
Reach – The Great Divine: A modern, yet melodic rock album that just grabs hold and won’t let go from beginning to end. A band I had never heard of prior to this album and I am now wondering where they have been my whole life. Just a fantastic album with no songs to skip or delete. Almost pure perfection. The first album I bought that was new in 2018 and still listen to it today. With songs like “The Great Divine”, “Nightmare” and “Into Tomorrow” you can see they have the goods. The production value was great, the music, the vocals, it was all solid and my favorite album of the year!! Give it a try (and check out my original review by clicking the album title).