We are here with yet another Jeff Scott Soto release and this one is quite unique. It is called ‘B-Sides’ and consists of unreleased tracks, bonus tracks, duets as well as songs used for Tribute albums. It shows as it is an official release from Frontiers Records, but it is very cheap looking. The CDs themselves do say these are “Not For Sale, For Promo Use Only”, but they seem like bootlegs. However, discogs has them on their site and they do not list it as ‘Unofficial’ so everything actually leads me to believe this is a real Frontiers Records release. And yet, the mix of it is not that great as the volume between songs has not been equalized as some songs are louder than others. I don’t know what to think, but I have a copy and I am pretty stoked about it. I am curious as to why the reason behind this product though, so if anyone knows, please let me know in the comments below.
The main reason I’m stoked is that it saves me a ton of money from going and buying all the albums that these songs are on. Most are on an album from another artist that Jeff appears on or Tribute albums where this is probably the only song I would want any way. To have them all in one compilation I would say is big win. One thing that sort of stinks about this is the liner notes on the CD booklet. As you can see from a picture further down the post, there is a fantastic Track List of CD 2 and where the songs originated from, but the left side of the picture does not have the track list for CD 1 and where the songs originated. That is actually a misprint because I have seen pictures of the inner sleeve that have the CD 1 track list breakdown. If the list is there or not, this is still a pretty cool piece in the Soto collection.
The first song was a cassette only bonus track from Jeff’s first band, Panther. “Set Me Free” one of my favorite songs on that album. Soto attacks it with a deeper tone and yet still soars with some high notes. The drumming on it is immense with some great fills. The guitar solo is typical for the time to see how fast he can go, but its great. It definitely takes me back to the 80’s with this one. The next three tracks,”Act of Sympathy”, “Highway to Nowhere” and “Mental Ward” were demos from Jeff’s work with is buddy Gary Schutt on his album ‘Sentimetal’ that Jeff sang lead on. “Act” is pure metal, heavy, dark and Jeff sounds great but a lot of echo…again, this is a demo so not fully polished. Same with “Highway” except it is a little more speed metal, some kickass double bass drum, a real killer track. “Mental Ward” comes off feeling like a leftover track from Jeff’s worker with Biker Mice From Mars soundtrack. It has that same campy, cartoony feel to it.
For My Sunday Song #329, we will talk about the song “I Dare You” by Shinedown. The song is off their 2005 album ‘Us and Them’. It was the 2nd single from the album and released in February 2006. The song was a minor hit reaching #2 on the US Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart and was my introduction to the band. But not from the single release. I actually had heard of the band, but didn’t really know anything about them until I was watching American Idol and Chris Daughtry sang this song. That was October 3, 2008 over two years after its release. He did such a good job, it made me check out the band and I have been a fan ever since.
The song was written by Brent Smith, Brad Stewart and Tony Battaglia. I’ve seen a lot of interpretations about the song on what it means, but my view point is that is about the good & evil inside us all. That voice in your head that tells you do one thing while another tells you to another. The opening verse below is pretty clear in my book…
“Hello, let me introduce you to The characters in the show One says yes, one says no Decide, which voice in your head you can keep alive“
The protagonist is daring the evil side to tell him to walk through fire, but he won’t do it. He struggles every day with that voice telling him to something he knows is wrong and it is tempting to give in. It feels like addict trying to deal with the demons of being an addict and struggling every day wanting that next hit, but fighting off those voices to choose the right way. Of course, you can say it is about whatever you think it is, but this is what I pull out of it.
The song is a slower track, but not a ballad. It has moments of softness and heaviness as the singer battles against those thoughts in heads. The guitar riffing by Jasin Todd is fantastic. A great guitar tone. The drumming though is an even brighter side of the song. Barry Kerch just pummels away on those skins. His fills are perfect. Brent’s vocals capture all the emotion from the lyrics as he is soft at times and aggressive and angry at others. You are taken on a wonderful ride through this song.
For My Sunday Song #324, we are discussing the song “Save Me” by Shinedown. The song is off their 2005 album ‘Us and Them’. The song went to #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart and #72 on the Billboard Hot 100…didn’t quite make to Top 40. The song was written by Brent Smith and Tony Battaglia.
The song is something Brent had worked on back in the 90’s, but finally finished it for the ‘Us and Them’ album. It is about those people that want to help out and solve everyone else’s problems and issues. They take on so much that they run in to problems of their own and then need to be saved. The exact same thing happened to Brent we someone tried to help and later he had to help them.
Brad Stewart opens the song with a cool bass line which is accompanied by some eerie guitar riffs from Jasin Todd that give the song this whole doom and gloom vibe. Barry Kerch’s drumming is superb and his fills give the song a little something extra and help with the intensity that is in Brent’s vocals. The chorus amps up the energy and there is an urgency in the song that gives you chills. A standout track on the album for sure.
Shinedown was formed in Jacksonville, Florida back in 2001 and it only took two years to get a record deal and release their debut album ‘Leave a Whisper’. Their post-grunge, hard rock sound garnered them fast attention and they have since become one of the biggest acts in the business. Their music could be really heavy and it can be soft with a touching ballad, but whichever way you get it, it is going to be melodic and catchy as hell which has brought them great success.
Now, how did I get in to Shinedown. Believe it or not, it was Chris Daughtry from American Idol. I was watching the show and Chris came out and did a fantastic cover of “I Dare You” by Shinedown. At the time, I was not familiar with the band and as a result of him singing it, I went out and listened to the album and the rest is history. I have been a fan of Shinedown ever since.
They have 6 studio albums, one live album and numerous E.P.’s. We are only going to focus on the studio albums to keep it simple. So, why don’t we get started.
THE WORST – ‘THREAT TO SURVIVAL’ (2015):
Shinedown doesn’t really have a worst album, but one album has to be my least favorite and this one is it for me. I felt this one had too much filler and a little too soft overall when compared to the rest. Yes, you had some heavy songs, I only think they weren’t as strong as other albums. A little too soft. The back half of the album was weaker and it started to lose me until you get to the last song “Misfits” which was pretty awesome.