Music

Best Metal Performance Grammy

Posted by Andy on February 17, 2009
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The Grammy awards are pretty much a joke – an outlet for self-serving record labels to grant each other meaningless awards.  I hate to even do justice to this, but I was flabbergasted to find that Metallica had won the “Best Metal Performance” grammy this year for the mediocre “My Apocolypse” on their slightly above average album “Death Magnetic.”  Apparently, they managed to beat out the likes of “Ministry,” “Slipknot,” “Judas Priest,” and “DragonForce” to earn their however-manyith grammy in however many years for mediocre or otherwise terrible music.

According to wikipedia, here are the results from the grammies from the last few years, with a little commentary:

  • Grammy Awards of 2009
    • Metallica for “My Apocalypse” – Are you kidding me?  This isn’t even close to the best song on that album.  Metallica is done-zo, give it up.
      • DragonForce for “Heroes of Our Time– I don’t really care about DragonForce, I’ve never heard this song, but I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t have been considered for “Best Metal Performance”
      • Judas Priest for “Nostradamus – Judas Priest is washed up.  I guess this is sort of an honorable mention to a once-proud metal band.  Maybe this was one of the three metal bands “the academy” had heard of when perusing the list of potential “Best Metal Performances”
      • Ministry for “Under My Thumb – Ministry is not good, they never were.  They’re not really even metal.  Bah
      • Slipknot for “Psychosocial – Awful!  They are not metal, and this song is probably terrible too.

As you can see, the Grammy awards are completely clueless when it comes to metal.

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Metallica Rankings

Posted by Andy on April 30, 2008
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I recently put up some rankings of the Led Zeppelin studio albums, so I thought I’d stick with that theme and do a few more! Here is my ranking of Metallica albums, with the three best, and one “worst” song on each album:

1. “…And Justice For All” – This is my favorite Metallica album. Apparently this one pretty much killed the band’s mojo; they haven’t been able to live up to it since. In my opinion, it’s got some of the best riffage, instrumental breaks and solos of any of their albums. Everything on this album is so meticulously done – it must have been a pretty stressful recording session, especially for certain unnamed band members.

Best Songs:

  • “One” – this actually isn’t my favorite song on the album, but I think it’s a really good, definitive song for Metallica. It is a fine example of their “start slow and melodic and build up to a crushing end” style of song writing. I was tempted to put “Blackend” here…
  • “Blackened” – this is a great song
  • Tie: “And Justice For All”/”Dyers Eve” – “And Justice” is a great song – my only complaint is that it gets a little unnecessarily repetitive near the end. “Dyers Eve” is another good one – I guess they refused to play it live for a long time because it was so taxing on that pipsqueak Lars, which is kind of cool.

Worst Songs:

  • I can’t seem to pick the “worst” song on this album. At first glance I might pick “The Frayed Ends of Sanity” or “The Shortest Straw,” but those two songs are awesome. I’ll just leave this blank for now…

2. “Ride the Lightning” – This is a controversial pick – this means that “Master of Puppets” falls to #3, which is no good. I guess the reason that I put “Ride the Lightning” at #2 is because I’ve just listened to it more. “Ride the Lighting” is a little rough around the edges, but it has some awesome songs on it.

Best Songs:

  • “Ride the Lightning” – I think this song has some of the best overall riffage and section transitions of any of their earlier songs.
  • “Creeping Death” – this one is a classic, it’s probably one of their signature songs
  • Tie: “Fade to Black”/”Call of Ktulu” – “Fade to Black” was considered to be a sell-out for them at the time, I think it was their first attempt at more melodic, acoustic songwriting, but it’s a pretty influential song. “Call of Ktulu” is a complete classic as well, the triple-layer harmony part at the end rocks my face.

Worst Song:

  • “Escape” – I like “Escape,” but it might be the least memorable song on the album. “Trapped Under Ice” barely made the cut for worst song – the lyrics are pretty cheesy, but it has some good instrumental work

3. “Master of Puppets” – A lot of people put this one at #1, and it would definitely deserve the #1 spot. I would probably deserve to be berated about this pick, and even about some of my song picks below…

Best Songs:

  • Tie: “Master of Puppets”/”Battery” – “Master of Puppets” is the signature track on this album, and I think “Battery” has been pretty influential on the thrashy metal bands out today.
  • “Orion” – This is one of my favorite Metallica songs on any album. It has some interesting riffs and solos and a melodic waltz section in the middle, which is awesome.
  • Tie: “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”/”Disposable Heroes” – “Sanitarium” is comparable to “Fade to Black,” I would say. I think the galloping guitars on “Disposable Heroes” has influenced a lot of the metal bands today.

Worst Song:

  • “The Thing That Should Not Be” – A good song, but it feels like it might be the weakest track. A tad bit of repetitiveness might be my only complaint.

4. “Metallica” aka “The Black Album” – this was a tough pick, I almost wanted to put “Kill Em All” here, just because the “Black Album” was the beginning of the end for Metallica. I felt obligated to put this here though – it has some of Metallica’s most memorable songs. On the downside, some of the lyrics on this album really make me cringe (“Holier than Thou…”)

Best Songs:

  • “Enter Sandman” – this one is a little over-exposed, and doesn’t have the speed riffage that everyone wants, but it’s a very good song.
  • Tie: “Sad But True”/”Wherever I May Roam”/”Don’t Tread On Me” – “Sad But True” might be one of their heaviest slow songs. The other two are good songs as well.
  • “The Unforgiven” – This is another one like “Fade To Black” or “Sanitarium,” and it’s pretty good too
  • (Honorable Mention) “Nothing Else Matters” – A lot of the noobs would list this #1, but not me. It is a good song, but it’s kind of disappointing at the same time – they just strayed too far from the crushing metal that everyone wants.

Worst Song:

  • “The Struggle Within” – This song has such an awesome intro with the snare drum army, but once the lyrics come in, I can’t stand it.

5. “Kill Em All” – this one definitely doesn’t deserve to fall all the way to #5, but I guess that’s just how it goes sometimes.   Overall, it’s a classic album, but I don’t think I would put it above picks 1-3, and I gave the Black Album the edge for its overall popularity and seeming inflluence.

Best Songs:

  • “The Four Horsemen” – this one is pretty epic, and I think give some foreshadowing of the epics to come on later albums
  • Tie: “Hit the Lights”/”Jump in the Fire” – two good songs
  • Tie: “Whiplash”/”No Remorse” – two more good songs

Worst Song:

  • “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth” – this is a pretty notable song – it’s basically a bass solo with some crazy playing and some interesting sounds, but it’s just a little rough. He does say “Bass solo, take one” at the beginning of the track, so that explains the roughness. An impressive song, but I usually skip over it, to be honest…

6. “Load” – The disappointing album to follow the Black Album. It actually has some decent riffs, but they’re more in the vein of adult alternative rock rather than heavy metal.

Best Songs:

  • “Bleeding Me” – this song actually rocks pretty well, it’s almost a throwback to the earlier days, but not quite.
  • “2×4” – a noobish pick, but I think it’s one of the better songs on this album
  • “Until It Sleeps” – a decent song – there might be a better one, but I don’t really care. A lot of the other songs have some good potential, but each one fails to rise above mediocrity

Worst Song:

  • “Mama Said” – blech – get rid of it. I know they wanted to branch out, but this is no good.

7. “ReLoad” – they should have just released “Load” and “ReLoad” in a package deal so people wouldn’t have to be disappointed twice. I must admit I haven’t give ReLoad a ton of listening time, so this might be off…

Best Songs:

  • “Devil’s Dance” – I had to pick something… not a bad song
  • “Unforgiven II” – not a terribly original song, but I think it’s pretty well-done, it’s not one I would usually skip
  • (I haven’t listened to ReLoad enough to pick a #3)

Worst Song:

  • “Fuel” – please, don’t do anything like this again. Just kidding, this song isn’t that bad, it’s actually probably one of the best tracks on the album, but I just don’t like the main lyric: “Gimme Fuel, Gimme Fire, Gimme that which I desire.” Not so sure about that…

8. St. Anger” – Listening to this the first time was probably one of the most disappointing experiences in my life. I really can’t rank the songs, I don’t think I’ve heard most of them more than twice, but they all sound the same, as far as I can tell – muddy, clonky guitars and terrible lyrics. How could they go from such awesome guitar playing and arranging in “Master of Puppets” and “And Justice for All” to this muddy mess? The drumming sounds like Lars is just banging on 55 gallon drums. Maybe it was Bob Rock’s doing – I’m glad they got rid of him. I really hope they make a U-turn for the next album – rumor has it that they’re going to try to return to their roots, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

Best Songs:

  • “Invisible Kid” – this song actually has some decent riffage, but the lyrics suck really bad
  • I don’t know, I can’t finish this

Worst Song:

  • St. Anger” – Awful! So many different completely disjoint sections, and some of the worst lyrics I’ve ever heard. The verses are terrible… The main riff is alright, but the rest of the song blows.

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Led Zeppelin Rankings

Posted by Andy on April 30, 2008
Music / 1 Comment

In this controversial blog, I will rank the Led Zeppelin albums in order of best to worst, and for each album, I will state the 3 best songs, along with the worst song on the album. “Worst” doesn’t always mean it’s a bad song, it’s just the weakest song on the album. Here is the list:

1. “Led Zeppelin” aka “I” – This was a hard choice for the #1 spot, but I think this album best shows Led Zeppelin’s blues influences, and for being a “debut” album, it’s pretty notable

Best Songs:

  • “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”
  • “Your Time is Gonna Come”
  • Tie: “Black Mountainside”/”Dazed and Confused” (“Dazed” isn’t my favorite, but it’s a pretty interesting, possibly “ground-breaking” (or at least noteworthy) song)

Worst Song:

  • “Communication Breakdown” – this was a tough choice, but I think this is just my least favorite song on the album.  The main guitar part is a little bland, and I actually like the bluesy songs on the album more than this particular one.

2. “II” – An even tougher choice. I felt that “II” probably has the most recognizable Led Zeppelin songs of any of their albums, so I felt obligated to put it at #2. The songs on “II” might not be as “mature” as some of their later work, but it’s hard to deny the deserved success of this album.

Best Songs:

  • “Ramble On” – maybe a controversial pick for #1, but I like this song
  • “What is and What Should Never Be”
  • “Heartbreaker” – This song features one of Jimmy Page’s most recognizable guitar riffs and solos

Worst Song:

  • “Whole Lotta Love” – Apparently this song was insanely popular, but I’m not a big fan. The guitar solo is pretty good, but the rest is nothing special.

3. “Physical Graffiti” – I think this album might represent the peak of Led Zeppelin‘s creativity.

Best Songs:

  • “Ten Years Gone” – I think this is one of their best songs
  • Kashmir” – Not really my favorite song – it’s a little repetitive, but it’s pretty unique, and could be considered one of their “signature” songs
  • “Down By The Seaside” – I think this song is great, it just makes you feel like you’re down by the seaside
  • (Honorable Mention) “The Rover” – This song is also a favorite of mine, it’s probably not one of their most marketable songs, but it’s got a couple pretty different sections and a decent little jam at the end

Worst Song:

  • “Black Country Woman” – Not a bad song for what it’s worth, but probably the weakest song on the album

4. “IV” – A great album, but maybe a little too short, and a little over-exposed

Best Songs

  • “Stairway to Heaven” – Probably their biggest song ever
  • “When the Levee Breaks” – An awesome drum sound, combined with a very fitting, droning guitar/harmonica combo
  • Tie: “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll” – I actually like “Rock and Roll” a lot more than “Black Dog,” but I felt obligated to put them both here, because they were both pretty big hits. I think “Black Dog” suffers a little from over-exposure, but its still a good rock song.

Worst Song:

  • “Misty Mountain Hop” – I actually like this song, but it’s a little simplistic. I couldn’t justify putting “Going to California” or “Battle of Evermore” here, I’d actually rather listen to either of these over “Misty Mountain Hop.”

5. “Houses of the Holy” – A great album that might deserve to go above “IV,” but “Stairway” gives “IV” the edge.

Best Songs:

  • “Over the Hills and Far Away” – One of my favorite Led Zeppelin “acoustic” songs
  • Tie: “The Song Remains the Same”/”The Ocean”/”The Rain Song” – I think “The Song Remains the Same” and “The Rain Song” two of their most creative, some might say “mature” songs. “The Ocean” is one of their best straight-up rock songs.
  • Tie: “D’yer Mak’er”/”Dancing Days” – “D’yer” is not necessarily one of my favorites, but it’s a pretty unique one for Led Zeppelin. I gave the nod to “Dancing Days” too, because I felt like it should make it on the top list – I wouldn’t feel right if “D’yer” had sole possession of the #3 slot.

Worst Song:

  • “The Crunge” – this song actually has a pretty good groove to it; it’s pretty funky, but the synthesizer part, while pretty cool, reminds me too much of some of the less desirable songs that Led Zeppelin would release on later albums.  (“Carouselambra…”)

6. “III” – I’m actually a big fan of “III” aka “the acoustic album,” but it kept getting bumped down the list by some really strong albums.

Best Songs:

  • Tie: “Gallows Pole”/”Tangerine” – “Gallows Pole” has a good buildup and some good transitions, and “Tangerine” is one of their best acoustic tracks, with some memorable lap slide guitar.
  • Tie: “Friends”/”That’s the Way” – These songs somewhat comparable, but they each have a pretty different feel.  I might say I like “Friends” a little better…
  • “Bron Yr Aur Stomp” – this is an awesome acoustic jam, it makes you want to snap your fingers or tap your feet

Worst Song:

  • “Hats Off to Roy Harper” – this is one of my least favorite Led Zeppelin songs. This was probably done on purpose, but the acoustic guitar is pretty rough on the ears, and it sounds like Robert Plant is singing through a bull horn

7. “Presence” – #7 and #8 were a toss-up between “Presence” and “In Through the Out Door,” but I gave the edge to “Presence.” I think “Presence” has some pretty good complimentary guitar and bass playing throughout; it’s interesting to listen to, at least.

Best Songs:

  • “Achilles Last Stand” – this is a great rock song, it’s got a driving verse, and some good instrumental breaks throughout
  • “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” – this was a hard pick, there are some pretty good “campy” songs on this album, but I think this one is probably more marketable or memorable
  • “For Your Life” – I like this song, it’s not their greatest work, but it’s pretty good

Worst Song:

  • “Candy Store Rock” – not the most inspired lyrics I’ve ever heard – I probably wouldn’t take the time to slog through this one too often

8. “In Through the Out Door” – the last official Led Zeppelin studio album actually has some pretty good songs, but the creative juices have seemingly started to dry up by this point.

Best Songs:

  • “All My Love” – A tad bit bland, but I understand that it was inspired by the death of Robert Plant’s son, so I’ll give it the #1 spot. It sort of feels like Plant’s heart just isn’t fully in it anymore, or at least at this point, which is completely understandable.
  • “Hot Dog” – I actually love this song, it’s one of the campiest songs they ever did, but it’s quality
  • Tie: “In the Evening”/”Fool In the Rain” – “In The Evening” is a decent song, and one of the more popular ones on this album, I suppose. “Fool In the Rain” is pretty cheesy, but it is a pretty well-done pop rock song, I bet most people would recognize it.

Worst Song:

  • “Carouselambra” – Not a completely terrible song, but the synthesizers are pretty over-done and kind of annoying

9. “Coda” – This album was released after the band broke up. It’s basically a collection of songs that didn’t make the cut on other albums, maybe for good reason. However, in the Led Zeppelin complete studio recordings boxed set, this disc has 3 truly awesome songs tacked on as bonus tracks. I’ll cop out and ignore the original release and just go with the bonus tracks…

Best Songs:

  • “Travelling Riverside Blues” – this is actually one of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs
  • “Hey Hey What Can I Do” – it’s a shame this song didn’t make it on one of the other albums, it’s a great song
  • “White Summer/Black Mountainside Medley” – I think the White Summer section has some of Jimmy Page’s most interesting “non-traditional” guitar playing, and it seamlessly transitions into “Black Mountainside” at the end, which is pretty cool

Worst Song:

  • “Ozone Baby” – not terrible, but it’s definitely not that great either. It’s also one of the worst song names they came up with…

Well, I guess that wraps it up, feel free to berate me with criticism (assuming anyone actually reads this…)

 

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