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.
‘Vicious’ really sums up this album. Halestorm come at you with full force and don’t let up the entire album. From the first single “Uncomfortable” I knew this would be great.
In a music scene that is lacking bonafide Rock Stars, Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale fits that bill perfectly. That voice and the fuck you attitude place her in realm most singers only wish they could achieve. She isn’t one-dimensional either. Her style and vocal delivery change up throughout and the album is never boring.
The band’s songs are loud, heavy, rowdy, dark and at times very sexual (“Do Not Disturb” and “Conflicted” in particular). It takes the line of Sex, Drugs & Rock & Roll and takes it up a notch. Musically, the band hits it on all cylinders with great guitar solos, nasty bass lines and explosive drumming especially on songs like “Painkiller”, “Black Vultures”, “White Dress” and “Skulls”. On “The Silence”, Lzzy’s voice is channeling Ann Wilson (one of the greatest voices in rock).
For My Sunday Song #96, I am discussing the beautiful song by Halestorm called “Beautiful with You”. The song is off the gold selling album ‘The Strange Case of…’ which went to # 1 on the Hard Rock Charts. However, despite the album having 5 singles, this was not one. I chose this one since we are currently discussing power ballads and I thought I would bring the power ballad into the 21st Century and highlight a newer song that I felt fit the mold.
The song definitely has the power with Lzzy Hale’s vocals and it is a slower tempo and softer song you would expect with a ballad that ebbs and flows between harder and soft. The song has a great tone to it and is a very emotional song. The song is about loving your self and realizing it is okay to reach out to others for help. It doesn’t make you weak, but strong. Here is what Lzzy told journalist Valerie Bastien (from Songfacts.com) about her low self-esteem…
“Believe me, I don’t always feel like a rock star, and there are times when I look in the mirror and scream. Especially emotionally,” admitted Lzzy. “I used to hide a lot of my feelings of insecurity and powerlessness, and just wouldn’t reach out to someone because I thought it meant that I was weak if I did. I wanted people to see that it’s ok to need a shoulder sometimes, and to have those “ugly days” and to let down your guard. We’re human and we’re not perfect… don’t let those thoughts in your head rule your life and prevent you from opening yourself up.”
I really love the verse that states the following: