Inspirational Hard Rock Tunes For When Life is Tough

powerful-tunesI’ve never been that good of an inspirational talker to be honest. Life is one crazy mess, full of challenges and obstacles. Nothing is ever steady and things can turn around at any given second. What else is there to say? I don’t want to sound too pessimistic but it is what it is – people are dealing with struggles of every kind on a daily basis. Some of us are going through an emotional meltdown, others are heartbroken; some can’t fulfill their dreams and feel lost, others are dealing with depression – all that and way more!

I’ve always thought that when you feel like the whole world has unleashed its might on your fragile self, music is the only thing to help you stand up on your feet and give you that much needed strength to move on. I’ve always sought empowerment from my music and as I matter of fact, I’ve always found it in it! Every time, I’ve felt like I just can’t take it anymore, music has always been there, right next to me. Every time I wanted to just screw it all and give up on everyone and everything, music was there to remind me that I shouldn’t.

There is something quite powerful about the thought that someone somewhere, years ago, was able to create this beautiful piece of art I am listening to right now and that gives me comfort – it tells me that songs like these are the reason why this world is not such a bad place after all. Then, there’s also that “little” role lyrics and melody play when it comes to inspiration. Nothing…absolutely nothing in life can give me the same amount of confidence and extra push as I get from pounding guitar riffs and thunderous drums, decorated with well-written passionate words. I’m sure many other music enthusiasts out there are feeling the exact same way! There are many things people do when life is tough and giving up on it seems like the only option. My way is experiencing the pain through music. Enjoy these gorgeously-written encouraging tunes and I hope your day feels a little bit brighter!


Survivor – Eye of the Tiger (1982)

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Rising up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive…


Triumph – Never Surrender (1983)

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Never Surrender – keep your dreams alive
Never Surrender – hold your head up high…


Triumph – Magic Power (1981)

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I’m young, I’m wild and I’m free
Got the magic power of the music in me…


Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981)

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Workin’ hard to get my fill
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin’ anything to roll the dice
Just one more time
Some will win
Some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues…

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to that feelin’…


Van Halen – Dreams (1986)

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World turns black and white
Pictures in an empty room
Your love starts fallin down
Better change your tune
Reach for the golden ring
Reach for the sky
Baby just spread your wings…


Foreigner – I’m Gonna Win (1981)

Foreigner - 4 Woman in Black

I was not born, to be a fighter
But now’s the time I have to learn
To keep my head, above the water
Gotta play with fire, but not get burned…


Fair Warning – Don’t Give Up (1995)

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Don’t give up
Whatever may come
There still shines a light
Keep your dreams
When the walls come tumbling down
Just stand up and fight…


Tesla – Hang Tough (1989)

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Sometimes love can make you blue.
A heartache made just for you.
But you can’t let it bring ya down.
If you should stumble, if you should fall,
Pick yourself up off the floor.
Fight for what’s right and stand your ground…


Ramones – Strength to Endure (1992)

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Walking through the cross fire heart
Feeling heavy and hopeless.
Wonderin’ how I ever willsee
Through this darkness.
Every drop of blood can be
So beautiful
And I sure was bleedin’ the drops by
The bucketful…


Rainbow – Power (1982)

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Everybody’s sayin’ that the times are gettin’ rough
You gotta stay loose baby and you gotta be tough… oh
I get knocked down… get right back up again
Cause I never give up and I never give in…


+ Bonus Tracks

Bon Jovi – It’s My Life'(2000)

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It’s my life
It’s now or never
I ain’t gonna live forever
I just want to live while I’m alive…


QUEEN – The Show Must Go On (1991)

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Whatever happens, I’ll leave it all to chance
Another heartache, another failed romance
On and on, does anybody know what we are living for?
I guess I’m learning, I must be warmer now
I’ll soon be turning, round the corner now
Outside the dawn is breaking
But inside in the dark I’m aching to be free…


P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[PLAYLIST] Norwegian/American Rockers TNT Ruled the ’80s With These 10 (Favorite) Songs

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Excluding the dozens of hard rock acts that came out of the United Kingdom, Europe surely had a lot more to offer during the rocking days of the ‘80s. Norway was just one of the other countries on the continent that squeezed out a pretty decent hard rock band that is actually still alive and kicking. Yes, I’m talking about TNT! The non-stopping lineup changes didn’t really prevent the band from releasing twelve studio albums and a couple of really impressive live ones as well. Ever since their promising debut back in 1982, TNT kept things intriguing, especially with their early releases. The first four albums (1982-1989) represent the best stage of their career as they brought nothing but fame and recognition to their name. Moreover, those four releases are all packed up with some incredible hard rock staples which deserved way more love than they actually got back in the day. TNT are in my opinion one of the strongest acts that came out of Europe during the heydays of rock. Can you really imagine a world without AOR treasures like “10,000 Lovers (In One)” or “Tonight I’m Falling”? Because I surely can’t! Let’s listen to some awesome classics by TNT! Hope you guys will enjoy my little playlist, dedicated to TNT’s ‘80s hard rock albums!

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Harley Davison

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I’m kicking things off with the opening track of TNT’s self-titled, 1982 album. The catchy, highly enjoyable rhythmic tune was written by lead vocalist Dag Ingebrigsten and composer Gustav Alfheim. Their first album remained the only one to feature songs with Norwegian lyrics and “Harley Davison” wasn’t an exception. At first, the song was available in Norwegian only and was sung by original member and lead vocalist Dag Ingebrigsten. However, later on, the guys re-recorded the track in English (Thank Thor) many times, with different vocalists and on different albums. Tony Harnell and Tony Mills both did a version of “Harley Davison” in English. Drummer and co-founder of TNT, Morten “DieselDahl also featured this tune on his 1997 release, titled “Recycled”. This time, it was Frode Henriksen on lead vocals. There is also a version with vocalist Jorn Lande! All in all, this turned out to be one of THE songs of their career. Nothing surprising there – the catchy, uplifting tune is able to captivate the hearts of everyone! Not to mention that it’s the perfect song to crank up while you are driving alone on those long and lonely roads and feel like the king of the world.

Norwegian Version

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From “Recycled”(Diesel Dahl & Friends)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Eddie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Similarly to “Harley Davison”, the story of TNT’s “Eddie” also begins from their self-titled debut album. A Norwegian tune, written by lead vocalist Dag Ingebrigsten and composer Gustav Alfheim was simply too limiting to the international audiences, if I may say. Thankfully, the beautiful song was re-recorded for their second album – Knights of the New Thunder” (1984) with new vocalist Tony Harnell as a bonus track. Little by little the Norwegian tunes started to re-appear in English, which of course was the right thing to do. “Eddie” is a breathtaking ballad which I still believe got overlooked. In my opinion it is one of the best songs that came out in 1984 (talking about the English version, of course). The most fascinating aspect of the rocker is the powerful guitar solos, which can easily send you to another dimension.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


U.S.A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another important song for TNT’s (early) career was the anthem “U.S.A” which once again has two versions – one in Norwegian (with Dag Ingebrigsten on vocals) from their 1982 debut album and one in English (with Tony Harnell on vocals), released from their sophomore album in 1984. There is a difference in the lyrics; however, as Tony re-wrote the song before it was officially included in Knights of the New Thunder”. “U.S.A” impresses with its memorable chants and energizing guitar riffs. It’s a great experience, believe me.

Norwegian Version

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

English Version

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Seven Seas

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The opening track of Knights of the New Thunder” is this beautiful Viking metal/glam rock extravaganza which I still consider one of the highlights of their career. That sophomore album spawned incredible rockers and this one tops them all, if we gotta be honest with ourselves. Tony is a superb vocalist and I gotta say he was certainly the perfect fit for TNT. “Seven Seas” was credited to the entire band and that’s why it’s so special. Moreover, it’s a worthy opening track that captivates you right from the beginning. I am personally enjoying every second of this melodic treasure and I can’t recommend it enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


10,000 Lovers (In One)

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Time to travel back to 1987 when TNT released their junior album, titled “Tell No Tales”. I have to admit, it’s a recent discovery of mine but it took me exactly one listen from start to finish to fall in love with it! So many magical things are happening on this release and “10,000 Lovers (In One)” has to be one of them – 100% pure Norwegian heavy metal with a little bit of that European flavor that always makes things so interesting. The song is just a solid opening to an excellent ‘80s heavy metal/glam rock album. Fantastic guitars (courtesy of Ronni Le Tekrø), solid melodic hooks and outstanding vocal performance by Tony Harnell – just listen and you will see for yourself! There truly was a reason why this song conquered the American audiences and even won a Norwegian Grammy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Everyone’s A Star

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Everyone’s A Star” is yet another brilliant moment on “Tell No Tales”. I’ve always been amazed by the vocal range of singer Tony Harnell and this song is just another mindblowing example of how great he is! The iconic MV received a heavy rotation on MTV back in the day too! “Everyone’s A Star” is a great song for when you feel down and you need that extra push. I just love songs that make you feel special and brighten up your mood!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


As Far as the Eye Can See

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My third pick from “Tell No Tales” is “As Far As The Eye Can See”. Written by lead vocalist Tony Harnell and lead guitarist Ronni Le Tekrø, it’s yet again a worthy example of how great TNT were back in the day. There’s just so much heart and passion in their music! Not to mention Ronni’s demolishing guitar sounds this should’ve given him a seat among the best guitarists of all time.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intuition

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We arrived at our final destination – “Intuition” (1989) which has to be my favorite TNT album! Yes, we could easily point it out as their most commercial-sounding album but then again, what’s wrong with that? As long as you do things with love and devotion and you obviously have tons of talent, things will turn out great!
The title track of “Intuition” would be a reason enough to understand what am I talking about. Gorgeous hard rock melodies, spirited guitars, Tony killing it yet again (that man’s an alien I just know it) and tons of good mood! The song is everything you’ll ever need in case you are feeling down! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 


Caught Between the Tigers

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Let’s move on to “Caught Between the Tigers” which impresses with its funky, energetic hard rock sound. You listen to songs like this one and you can’t but wonder why the hell weren’t those guys way bigger back in the day? Why in the name of Thor weren’t Tony Harnell or Ronni Le Tekrø right alongside the biggest names of rock music? Frustrations aside, both this tune and the album are perfect!

 

 


Tonight I’m Falling

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I saved the best for last. “Tonight I’m Falling” is the absolute crown jewel of TNT’s “Intuition” (arguably of their career too) and maybe it’s just me but the song has one of those indescribable auras that bring nothing but happiness and joy to your life. Where do I even begin? The first time I heard it, it was like a door to a new world opened in front of me. The lyrics, the melody, the vocal delivery, the guitars…they all compose this endless river of emotions you just gotta experience. My heart starts beating faster every time I hear the haunting intro. Thank you, TNT for this song and thank you Tony Harnell and Ronni Le Tekrø for writing it.

 


 

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[’80s Rock Album Focus] DARE – Out Of The Silence (1988)

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Out Of The Silence (1988)

Genre: AOR / Pop Rock / Hard Rock
Duration: 49:44
Label: A&M Records Ltd.
Producer(s): Larry Klein

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OVERVIEW

Rising from the ashes of Thin Lizzy, hard rock band Dare debuted in 1988 with a phenomenal collection of melodic rock gems, titled “Out of the Silence”. Led by keyboard player and vocalist Darren Wharton, Dare quickly established a solid fanbase with their powerful AOR statement. Don’t look for any traces of Thin Lizzy because you won’t find them. Dare’s “Out of the Silence” is an elegant melodic rock treasure, combining all elements, necessary to make it unforgettable. From the enhanced but highly pleasant keyboards to the intriguing lyrics; from the monumental hooks to the brilliant haunting voice of Darren Wharton “Out of the Silence” was destined to conquer and please our ears.

Well-polished rockers like “Abandon” and “Into the Fire” are a couple of the stand-outs and reasons why this is an absolute classic AOR album that should be owned by everyone. “Into the Fire” impresses with its mysterious intro that progresses into a magical, captivating sonic experience I wish everyone could experience on a daily basis. “Abandon” has to be one of the greatest opening tracks in the history of AOR records – indescribably satisfying hooks and persuasive chorus that could win the heart of anyone.  Let’s talk ballads – “King of Spades” is a supreme mellow rocker, granting you a first-row seat to the beautiful but touching confession of Darren Wharton. “Nothing Is Stronger Than Love” is a personal favorite and one of my most beloved guilty pleasures. Regardless of the high level of sugar, it’s still a sensual, quite cushy love song that is suitable for all the softies out there. “Runaway”, “Under the Sun”, “Return the Heart” – all unbelievably well-done songs that go straight to your heart and never leave.

All in all, “Out of the Silence” is a masterful testimony of how great the ‘80s were. Albums like this one possess those enchanting rock vibes that just make you play it over and over again. I am a sucker for melodic rock and this is one of my favorite AOR albums. I do hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do!
Cheers to Dare!

Tracklist:

  1. “Abandon” – 4:35
  2. “Into The Fire” – 4:53
  3. “Nothing Is Stronger Than Love” – 4:42
  4. “Runaway” – 4:29
  5. “Under The Sun” – 6:12
  6. “The Raindance” – 5:23
  7. “King Of Spades” – 4:44
  8. “Heartbreaker” – 3:38
  9. “Return The Heart” – 5:09
  10. “Don’t Let Go” – 5:37

Into The Fire

Abandon

Under The Sun

Nothing Is Stronger Than Love


References:
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

My TOP 10 John Wetton ASIA Songs

john-wetton-collage

Unfortunately the last day of January brought us the loss of one of the pioneers of progressive rock – John Wetton. The co-founder of ASIA and bassist/singer for King Crimson, Uriah Heep and Roxy Music, died at the age of 67 after a battle with cancer. Seems like 2017 picks up where 2016 left off – yet another veteran and a beloved rockstar is gone now and we can’t but be devastated. The smile has left our eyes…

I have been a huge fan of ASIA for as long as I can remember. It all started with the first couple of albums – “Asia” and “Alpha”. These two albums introduced me to this unique supergroup, composed of ex- YES, ELP, King Crimson and The Buggles members. I can’t really imagine my life without those records and frankly, I don’t even want to. Songs, like “Heat of the Moment”, “Don’t Cry”, “Sole Survivor”, “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” and many other classics will always run through my blood. One of the reasons why ASIA became such a huge inspiration for me was of course John Wetton. I found so much comfort and peace in his singing so the only thing I feel like saying right now is one huge “thank you” to him for bringing harmony to my life when I needed it with his blissful voice. I will truly miss him…

To honor his memory and remind my readers about ASIA – one of the supergroups which not only defined the sound of the ‘80s but also became an international sensation, I have prepared a playlist of my most beloved John Wetton songs from his time in ASIA. He was with the band for the release of “Asia” (1982), “Alpha” (1983), “Astra” (1985), “Then & Now” (1990), “Phoenix” (2008), “Omega” (2010), “XXX” (2012) and “Gravitas” (2014). I am the person who would always s prefer the classics, however there are some glorious gems in all of these albums. Let’s listen to some ASIA!


Don’t Cry

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The absolute crown jewel of ASIA‘s career (in my opinion, of course) has to be their #1 hit single, “Don’t Cry”. I immediately fell for this beautiful progressive rock masterpiece, combining catchy hooks and superb guitar work. The song was written by vocalist John Wetton and keyboardist Geoff Downes.The lyrics are I believe the absolute strongest point of the song. Probably because I am a girl, but words like “Don’t Cry now that I’ve found you. Don’t Cry take a look around you. Don’t Cry it took so long to find you. Do what you want, but little darling please Don’t Cry…” are affecting me on a deep level.


The Smile Has Left Your Eyes

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“The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” comes from Asia’s sophomore platinum album “Alpha” (1983). The stunning intro and divine melodies turned it into one of the most beautiful ballads of the ‘80s (even though it could’ve been produced a little bit better). The lyrics and John’s vocals are sending me to another world every time I play it! “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” is the only track from “Alpha” that was written by John Wetton alone (the rest of the songs are credited to the songwriting collaboration of Wetton and Downes). The emotional lyrics can’t but provoke a strong response in the listener: “…Now it’s too late you realized, Now there’s no one can sympathize, Now that the Smile Has Left Your Eyes…”


Sole Survivor

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Written by Geoffrey Downes and John Wetton, “Sole Survivor” came out as the fourth single from their groundbreaking 1982 self-titled album. Top 10 chart positions, worldwide recognition and covers from so many artists are just some of the triumphant outcomes, the release of the song triggered. “Sole Survivor” impresses with its solid guitars and empowering melody. I am also captivated by the lyrics, which can’t but give you that extra push: “…And from the wreckage I will arise, Cast the ashes back in their eyes, See the fire, I will defend, Just keep on burning right to the end…”


My Own Time (I’ll Do What I Want)

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Another song from “Alpha” (no surprises there, that’s my favorite Asia album). “My Own Time (I’ll Do What I Want)” is yet another blissful progressive/AOR tune that proves that John Wetton is a brilliant songwriter with outstanding voice, capable of bringing nothing but sweet delight to your life. The intriguing lyrics are also sending a strong message – sometimes you have nothing to lose so you gotta let go of the rules and have faith in yourself! “…You think you always had me under ties, Someone better tell you that the table’s turned, Getting your fingers burned, how does it feel? Now it’s for real this is the deal…”


Time Again

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How can you not fall inlove with that mesmerizing intro of “Time Again”? It’s absolutely brilliant, if not one of the best intros of all time! First time I heard “Time Again” I thought the song has that perfect balance between old-school progressive rock vibes and new-age radio-friendly sounds. Moreover, it’s the only song from “Asia” (1982) to feature a songwriting contribution by Carl Palmer which by the way is absolutely evident! The lyrics talk about betrayal and the loss of trust: “…But others wouldn’t see things you could only see, And someone showed you, then why was it always me, You knew the limit you were always out of bounds, How could I trust you when I caught you messing ’round…”


Never Again

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“Phoenix” was an absolute breakthrough – finally, in 2008, all four original member of Asia got back together and put it all behind them. The marvelous opening tune, “Never Again” is a strong statement of power and commitment. The energy that comes out of this song is indescribable! Once again, Wetton and Downes wrote something magical! “…NEVER AGAIN will I bear arms against my brother, NEVER AGAIN will I dishonour anyone, NEVER AGAIN will I wish evil on another, NEVER AGAIN will I spill blood of any mother’s son…”


I Will Remember You

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A very touching song about missing someone and having that sad fire still burning inside you because they are no longer with you… The 2008 comeback album, “Phoenix” gave birth to incredible songs and “I Will Remember You” is definitely one of the most deserving ones on the album. I have a soft spot for ballads so it comes as no surprise that I included it in my favorite Asia/Wetton songs. It’s a very sad songs, so in case you are longing for someone you lost, I suggest you don’t listen to it; the outcomes might be heartbreaking, especially because of lyrics like these: “…Locked in my memory, Your silhouette, The only face I see, I can’t forget…”


Light the Way

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“Light The Way” is the seventh track of Asia’s 2010 album “Omega”. Written by Steve Howe and John Wetton, the tune may not be the typical choice for a favorite Asia song, however there was something very intriguing that drove me to it, like a magnet. Was it John’s vocal performance, the mysterious melodies, that guitar solo…the excellent keyboard intro or the lyrics, I cannot say for sure. Bottom line is I think this is a splendid tune and for something so precious to come out in 2010, it was quite the surprise! The lyrics are very uplifting and hopeful: “…No matter what it is, be sure it can be fixed, Letting go of yesterday, Might – just might – light the way…”


Go

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“Astra” was the last album to feature John Wetton (before he came back in 2008 for “Phoenix”). The 1985 release didn’t really make a huge splash on the charts, compared to the previous two albums, however that doesn’t mean the album lacks substantiality and great tracks. The opening tune “Go”, for instance, is your ultimate first-rate journey on finding your inner strength. Sometimes in life we gotta make a faithful choice, pick up the right direction and simply go. We can be lost and lose our balance but as long as we “go” things might fall into place! “…There’s some way out, there’s some way through, But I’m lost, I’m lost, I’m down again, My direction is changing, which way, Which way can I go…”


Face On the Bridge

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The final album to feature the original line-up, led by John Wetton was out in 2012. XXX (or thirty) celebrated the 30th anniversary of Asia’s debut in quite the elegant way, if I may say. The album showcased a perfect sound blend between modern-day and old-school Asia. I gotta say, the first single, “Face on the Bridge” absolutely did it for me. Nothing much to say when something is done in such an outstanding way; first-class Asia and John, being his best-self!  


+ Honorable mentions…

Without You

Only Time Will Tell

Never in A Million Years

Finger On The Trigger

Prayin’ 4 A Miracle

Heat of the Moment


The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
Cheers~

[POLL] VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE ’80S (Power) BALLAD(S)

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It’s time to crown the GREATEST (power) ballad of the ’80s!

The glory days of rock ballads may be long gone, but all those breathtaking mellow tunes are still relevant and still loved by people from all over the world. As a (power) ballad enthusiast and a huge fan of the ’80s rock music scene, I decided to prepare this little poll for my readers to see which one of these tearjerkers will turn out to be the most beloved one!?

Please feel free to participate in my poll or add a favorite (power) ballad in case it’s not on the list! The results will be announced one month from now in a separate publication!

Happy Voting!

 

 

[PLAYLIST] ’80s GLAM ROCK Through the Music of 10 Great Bands

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Welcome to the ‘80s – the hair was too big, the fashion was outrageous but the music was GREAT!

Inspired by ‘70s British glam rock artists, such as David Bowie, T.Rex and Roxy Music, glam/pop metal became the biggest monster genre trend on the music scene in the States throughout the ‘80s. Kicking things off with bands such as Cheap Trick, Kiss, Van Halen and of course Alice Cooper and evolving into rock acts, like Cinderella, Ratt, Warrant, Dokken and so many others, the glam/pop metal domination was simply out of control. Not that this was a bad thing – on the contrary. The ‘80s gave birth to some of the most talented and exceptional musicians of all time. The looks played a huge role, I can’t argue with that. However, once you go beyond the heavy make-up and tight spandex pants, all you are left with is awesome music, crashing guitar riffs and catchy melodic hooks that bring you nothing but fun, excitement and tons of feelings and emotions of all kinds. Looks and music aside, places once again were significant for the popularization of a specific musical culture. The LA music scene and in particular that sinful Sunset Strip where all the rock bars and nightclubs were located, turned into the mecca of the entertainment industry. Basically, that “little” 2.4km stretch of Sunset Boulevard became the hottest place to be!

Back to the music talks, the glam rock frenzy was probably the best thing that could’ve happened in the ‘80s, at least to me. I can’t really imagine my life without representatives of the genre, such as Cinderella, Danger Danger and Dokken, for instance. These bands and their electrifying rockers, stunning power-ballads, tough attitude and weird, but still appealing music videos will always play such an important part of my life. Unfortunately, it all came to an end when grunge acts started appearing one after another. Don’t know what you got, till it’s gone, right?

Since I was in the mood for some serious hair metal power, I prepared this little playlist of 10 songs by famous (or not so famous) bands, which I have always considered as the best among all glam rockers of the ‘80s. Some of them are even among my most beloved bands of all time (like Cinderella, for instance). I have gathered tunes that I believe are the perfect example of the glam rock wave that flooded the music scene in the USA, especially in the second half of the ’80s. If you are a dedicated fan, you most certainly know them. If you are making your first steps towards the genre, this is a good place to start. [My Rock Mixtapes] gives you ’80s GLAM ROCK through the Music of 10 Great Bands.


Cinderella – Shake Me (1986)

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In 1986, one of the most distinguishable and talented hard rock bands debuted with an album that put to shame even the rock veterans. Vocalist and lead songwriter Tom Keifer is one of the reasons why this world is such a great place! “Shake Me” was their debut single and I thought that it’s a very good place to start our glam rock discussion and playlist. The MV is iconic and the song that accompanies it is just brilliant! Tom is a killer, one-of-a-kind vocalist and “Shake Me” is a great uplifting and energizing tune that begs you to crank it up!


White Lion – When The Children Cry (1987)

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New York’s White Lion, led by Danish singer Mike Trampand and guitarist Vito Bratta debuted in 1983 but it was their sophomore album, titled “Pride” (1987) that drove them to stardom. I’ve always considered White Lion, along with Cinderella, as two of the most talented and worthy examples of glam rock bands. That sophomore album by White Lion is filled with outstanding rockers, including classics like “Wait” and “Tell Me”. This time, though, the focus would entirely be on the beautiful mellow rocker, “When the Children Cry”. This song proved (and still keeps on proving) my point – glam rock bands created some really meaningful and timeless compositions and it most definitely wasn’t all about the looks and the ladies!


Giuffria – Call To The Heart (1984)

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Giuffria (led by keyboardist Gregg Giuffria) debuted with a splendid self-titled album in 1984. Armed with breathtaking songs, like “Do Me Right”, “Don’t Tear Me Down” and of course “Call to The Heart”, no wonder the impact of that album was so colossal. “Call to the Heart” is I believe the greatest song of their career (not to mention a personal favorite). Vocalist David Glen Eisley should’ve been bigger. His voice strikes quite the resemblance with Steve Perry, actually. Anyhow, I stand by what I said – this album and this tune are amazing and should NOT be forgotten!


Great White – Once Bitten Twice Shy (1989)

great-white-twice-shy

Although it’s a cover version of a popular song by Ian Hunter, I decided to include “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” by Great White because I think it’s much better (and more influential) than the original. On top of it all, it’s the song that defined Great White’s career like no other, reaching top 10 positions in both UK and the States. “…Twice Shy” (1989) was the crown jewel of Great White’s career, I believe. This song, along with classics like “The Angel Song” and “House of Broken Love”, also featuring on their fourth studio album, are absolute staples of the pop rock / glam metal musical phenomenon in the late ‘80s.


Warrant – Heaven (1989)

warrant-dirty-rotten

Power ballads were a must for any hard rock band. No power ballad = no chance of getting signed to a label or releasing an album. Those were the rules of the game and Warrant just knew how to win it. “Heaven” was the second single from their 1989 debut album, “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich”. It didn’t take that long for the track to became a sensation and turn into the band’s most commercially successful song of their career. The fans, the radio stations, the critics – everyone loved it and there’s a reason why, believe me. Jani Lane brought so much passion and beauty into a world full of songs about partying hard and drinking all day and all night. It’s definitely Warrant’s best song one of the best power ballads of the ‘80s.


Ratt – You’re In Love (1985)

ratt-invasion-of-your-privacy

I can’t talk about glam rock and not mention Ratt! Their sophomore album, titled “Invasion of Your Privacy” (1985) is a premium example of an album, following the musical trend and one of the best of its kind, as a matter of fact. Classics like “What You Give Is What You Get” and “Lay It Down” could be heard on that second release of theirs. For this playlist, however, I chose their second single “You’re in Love” because I love the strong vibe that comes out of this tune. One listen and you’re absolutely hooked. Moreover, I wanted to illustrate the various themes and topics, as well as types of songs glam rock bands were producing back in the day. Vocalist Stephen Pearcy is bringing so much to the table on this one. The MV is groundbreaking!


Skid Row – 18 and Life (1989)

skid-row-skid-row-debut

Moving on to Skid Row, I think this song right here is where all discussions about the band should begin. Don’t get me wrong, they have so many songs that deserve recognition (and got way more of it compared to this one), but I think if we have to choose just one, it has to be “18 & Life”. Released as a single from their debut self-titled album, the rocker quickly turned into Skid Row’s biggest hit and ultimately a turning point in their career. I am a huge fan of Sebastian Bach and I even though this tune wasn’t written by him, it’s his vocal performance that made me fall inlove with this band in the first place.


Poison – Nothin’ But A Good Time(1988)

poison-open-up-and-say-ahh

If for a moment there we don’t look at that bizarre and ridiculous album artwork, we can actually find some excellent glam rock gems inside the album. The first single from “Open Up and Say… Ahh!” (1988) carries the laid-back title Nothin’ but a Good Time”. I chose this song, because it sums it up quite well: the ‘80s, the glam metal, the music, the bands – it was all about having nothing but a really good time. It’s a fun tune, capturing the essence of the genre – both lyrically and musically. Vocalist Bret Michaels is doing some pretty decent job too!


Dokken – Into the Fire(1984)

dokken-tooth-and-nail

“Tooth and Nail” (1984) is an absolute masterpiece and one of my most beloved albums of all time. The strength and musical brilliance of the album were born out of the hardships Dokken had to go through before releasing it. It was a tough time to be a glam rock artist in the late 80s – a period dominated by the early grunge movement. Despite all, the album materialized and thank God it did otherwise we wouldn’t have songs like “Into the Fire”. I am highly biased but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. The album and the song are perfect!


Danger Danger – Naughty Naughty (1989)

danger-danger-album

We had a good time, we listened to some gorgeous power ballads and lyrically-rich tunes but now it’s time to wrap things up on a less-meaningful note. Danger Danger are the glam metal band to listen if you just want to have fun and forget about it all! Their self-titled debut album spawned some great songs, designed to bring you nothing but a sweet enjoyment! The debut single of their eponymous album bears the catchy title “Naughty Naughty” and as you suspected, it just can’t be taken seriously. That doesn’t mean it’s bad or unworthy. Not at all – it’s a super fun, sexy and exciting track. The guys are pretty good too! Ted Poley is a great vocalist too!


The playlist contains 10 Glam Metal tracks, selected based on my personal preferences and in accordance with the idea I am trying to deliver through this publication. There are plenty of other bands and artists who are representatives of the Glam Rock scene of the 1980s, but according to my opinion, the above 10 are some of the most notable ones. Please keep an open mind! Cheers

References:
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

 

The Story of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN’s 1986 Masterpiece “TRILOGY”

trilogy-yngwieIt doesn’t take that long to fall in love with the right music – the kind of music that completes you, empowers you and fills up your heart with nothing but pure delight. I had a similar experience when I heard Yngwie Malmsteen’s You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget” for the first time. Songs like this one made me experience that “love at first listen” feeling, which I think is one of the most beautiful things in the world. A whole new world opened for me after that song; I just simply had to find and listen to more! I got the album and that’s how my Yngwie journey started. “Trilogy” was the album that completely redefined my attitude and expectations towards guitarists. One listen from start to finish was more than enough for me to learn how to further appreciate aspects of guitar playing, such as speed and technicality and not just take it for granted. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of superb guitar players who possess admirable qualities and are able to turn every song into a magical experience. However, there are a few who go beyond those well-known and highly enjoyable electrifying riffs. Yngwie Malmsteen is one of them and if you listen to “Trilogy” you will understand what I’m talking about.

Background:

  • Despite Yngwie’s steady reputation as a guitar virtuoso and a debut album that completely blew everyone’s minds away, his junior album – “Trilogy” couldn’t really make a huge statement on the charts, outside his homeland of Sweden. Nevertheless, as I keep on repeating over and over again – chart positions and commercial performance are not the greatest merit of the brilliance and quality of an album. In fact, “Trilogy” remains probably the second most critically appraised and beloved album of Yngwie Malmsteen (after “Rising Force”, 1984). 
  • Released in November 1986, “Trilogy” is Yngwie Malmsteen’s thoughtful dedication to Swedish Prime Minister, Olof Palme, who was assassinated earlier that year. 
  • The album carries the name of the closing instrumental, titled “Trilogy Suite Op:5”. The name is of course related with the fact that it is after all Yngwie’s third release. Many fans consider this album and its title as a perfect way to wrap up an exceptional trilogy of albums, featuring “Rising Force” (1984), “Marching Out” (1985) and “Trilogy” (1986).

Themes and Songs:

  • One quick glance at the tracklist will instantly give you an idea of what kind of themes and atmosphere to expect from the album. “Dark Ages”, “Fury”, “Fire”, “Magic Mirror”, “Queen In Love”, etc. – the titles are telling a medieval story, filled with fantasy, magic and skilfully portrayed in intriguing, imagination-stimulating lyrics. It’s not all about dungeons and dragons, though. The opening track, “You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget” is Yngwie’s attempt at crafting a radio-friendly, more universally-acceptable tune and I believe he did a splendid job with that. Vocalist Mark Boals is giving his all. His vocal style and Yngwie’s music is simply a match made in heaven. The mad guitar-genius sends chills down our spines right from the very start – that thrilling intro grabs you by the throat and doesn’t even give you a second to prepare yourself for what’s coming. I have always emphasized on the importance of a song intro and this right here is one great example of how things should be done! What comes next is as exciting as you can predict. “Liar” is yet another forceful, mind-blowing guitar tornado that destroys everything that stands on its way. Mark is hitting those high notes with blissful ease. “Queen In Love” is another high point on “Trilogy” and a personal favorite of mine. The soul-shredding guitar solos and alluring chorus are surely going to leave an everlasting impact on the listener. Yngwie’s guitar is gently moaning on the acoustic euphoria, titled “Crying”. The emotionally-charged instrumental is the much needed breath of fresh air, after the explosive first tracks. “Fury”, “Fire”, “Magic Mirror” and “Dark Ages” are the last couple of drops to make up this violent sea of heavy metal flames. Yngwie’s secret master plan was to make our minds go up in smoke once we listen to those tunes. The closing instrumental, “Trilogy Suite Op:5” is in my opinion one of Yngwie’s highest points of his career. No words can describe the power that comes out of those riffs. It’s an absolute supernatural force that took a musical form.

“You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget”

“Liar”

“Queen in Love”

“Crying”

“Fire”

Album Artwork:

  • The album artwork of “Trilogy” definitely has a spot on my list of favorite album covers. I mean, just look at it – can it be any cooler? I don’t think so. A three-headed dragon vs. a guitarist – a battle of a lifetime! A magical journey to distant lands, filled with intriguing adventures, monsters and queens. Believe me, you will never forget the musical  once you open that record and set foot on Yngwie’s mystical creation, named “Trilogy”.

trilogy2

What Followed Next?

  • yngwie-odysseyIn 1987, a fatal car crash accident almost took Yngwie Malmsteen’s life. Regardless, one year later, his next project, titled “Odyssey” was released. Together with one of the most talented rock vocalists of all time – Joe Lynn Turner (Fandango, Rainbow, Deep Purple), Yngwie once again crafted a dreamy, stylish and very up-to-date album, quite suitable for a constant radio play. There wasn’t any place for his mystical, dungeons-and-dragons, medieval neo-classical themes. It was time for something more romantic, approachable. Most importantly, it was the time to make hits. He couldn’t have picked a better singer to collaborate with. Songs like “Dreaming (Tell Me)”, “Déjà vu”, “Heaven Tonight” and “Crystal Ball” are the perfect blend between raw guitars, captivating vocals and perfect melodies.

References:
“Trilogy” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trilogy_(Yngwie_Malmsteen_album)

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Classic Rock Song of The Day: GREAT WHITE – The Angel Song (1989)

My classic rock song of the week is the stunning ballad (no surprises there) “The Angel Song” by Great White. Coming out of their highly successful 1989 album, titled “…Twice Shy”, the mellow rocker has often been regarded as one of the band’s most beloved tunes and most certainly their finest attempt at producing a rock ballad.

‘80s rock music scene was overflowing with power ballads. Some were quite mediocre, obviously done out of the constant pressure to keep up with the trends and not because the band was truly invested into it. Others, however, stood out with their sincerity and breathtaking musicianship, resulting from the band’s devotion and desire to craft something meaningful, instead of just jumping on the bandwagon for the sake of it. Great White’s “The Angel Song” is definitely one of those ballads, at least in my book. Jack Russell wasn’t afraid of stepping out of his comfort zone and fully embracing his gentler side as a vocalist. Moreover, the lyrics are what truly turned this touching song into a favorite of mine. Written by guitarist Mark Kendall and producer Alan Niven, the song tells us a story of innocence, broken dreams, unmet expectations and death even.  The chorus is the most thrilling part. Jack sings “…Fly, lonely angel High above these streets of fire…fly, lonely angel…Far away from mad desire…” – a sad goodbye to someone who is no longer with us or a tender appeal to protect your innocence and not dive into the mad and scary world that is out there. Interpretations aside, the important thing is to listen and feel it, because it’s truly amazing, believe me!

MUSIC VIDEO:

Check out this LIVE performance of “The Angel Song”


 

“The Angel Song” Lyrics

Fallen angel, ripped and bruised
Think on better days
Life is rude, treats you bad
Tears your wings away

Raise your eyes, to star and sky
Believe in fly aways
Take your dreams, your broken schemes
And sweep the past away

Fly, lonely angel
High above these streets of fire
fly, lonely angel
Far away from mad desire

Hollywood ain’t paved with gold
It’s just a trick of light
Sunset falls on stars of old
And blinds you with its light

A spider’s web of tangled lives
Lays stretched across the hills
From distances it’s glistening
Like El Dorado’s halls

Fly, lonely angel
High above these streets of fire
Fly, lonely angel
Leave behind the mad desire

The dream was light, and fragrant nights
But how were you to know?
The streets are hard, they’re mean and scarred
Where only fools find gold

Fly, lonely angel
High above these streets of fire
Fly, lonely angel
Leave behind the mad desire

Fly, lonely angel
Spread your wings another way
Fly, lonely angel
Find a better way a better day


References:
Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/greatwhite/theangelsong.html

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[’80s Rock Album Focus] STRANGEWAYS – Native Sons (1987)

strangeways-native-sons

NATIVE SONS

Released: 1987
Genre: AOR / Pop Rock / Hard Rock
Duration: 44:52
Label: Hangdog Records / Majestic Rock Records (2006)
Producer(s): John Punter

native-sons-back-and-front

buy-from-amazon


OVERVIEW

In 1987, the British-American AOR/Melodic rock band Strangeways released arguably their finest work, titled “Native Sons”. The follow-up to their respectable 1984 eponymous debut also proved that the right singer can make all the difference in the world. Original vocalist Tony Liddell was replaced with Terry Brock – a renowned back-up singer for some of the biggest names of the era, including Foreigner and Journey. What followed after he stepped in as the new frontman, could easily be described as pure musical magic. “Native Sons” is a brilliant melodic rock record that guarantees you nothing but delight and feelings of great pleasure.  The album carries all the best genre elements of the era, including colourful keyboards, splendid guitar playing and glittering hooks. Add Terry’s powerful vocals, the edgy hard-rock vibe and the A-level songwriting and you end up with a melodic treasure that could effortlessly stand on its own two feet against the big AOR titles of the late ‘80s.

If AOR/melodic rock runs through your blood, this might be the right album for you. Kicking things off with the playful but classy tune “Dance With Somebody”, “Native Sons” properly sets the mood for the remarkable things that are about to come. The mellow rocker “Only a Fool” is another track that stands out with its gorgeous melody and touching lyrics. Terry Brock’s spirited vocal delivery could easily turn this song into your next favorite ballad. “Empty Streets” is unquestionably the hidden pearl of “Native Sons” and one of the finest AOR gems I have ever heard in my life. The high-powered guitars, heated up by Terry’s fiery vocals give me thrills every time I play it. “Where Do We Go From Here”, “Stand Up and Shout” and “Never Gonna Lose it” are just a couple of the other warm and powerful 100% AOR-authentic masterpieces you can find on “Native Sons”.

“Native Sons” remains one of the forgotten and highly underrated representatives of the large AOR scene of the late ‘80s, despite the admirable qualities and superb songwriting it showcases. Thankfully, there are still people like me (and you) who know that picking up an apple from the top of the basket doesn’t mean that it’s the best apple of the bunch. “Native Sons” is a melodic bliss from start to finish – play any song from the tracklist and you get a melodic rock classic and a couple of minutes in rock paradise. I can’t recommend this album enough. Strangeways’ junior album “Walk In The Fire” (1989) is what you should get next, after “Native Sons”!
Cheers to great music!

 

Tracklist:

“Dance With Somebody” – 4:26
“Only a Fool” – 4:42
“So Far Away” – 4:57
“Where Do We Go From Here” – 3:58
“Goodnight L.A.” – 5:02
“Empty Streets” – 4:20
“Stand Up and Shout” – 3:28
“Shake the Seven” – 4:33
“Never Going to Lose It” – 4:47
“Face to Face” – 4:39


Dance With Somebody

Only a Fool

Where Do We Go From Here

Empty Streets

Stand Up and Shout

…or listen to the entire album here:


 

The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] BLUE ÖYSTER CULT- Fire of Unknown Origin

fire-of-unknown-origin-blue-oyster

Fire of Unknown Origin

Released: July, 1981
Genre: Hard Rock
Duration: 39:06
Label: Columbia
Producer(s): Martin Birch
Certified: Gold (RIAA)

cd-blue-oyser

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OVERVIEW:

After a couple of rather commercially weak releases, Blue Öyster Cult rose from the ashes with new born confidence and an album that re-defined their career and introduced them to the audience of the ‘80s. The band’s mid-70s authenticity remained intact; however this time they did manage to put in a little something extra, crafting an immensely enjoyable and much friendlier sound. Many fans, including myself, consider “Fire of Unknown Origin” as Blue Öyster Cult’s finest effort for that exact reason – it’s a perfect hybrid between their dark, old-school rock&roll outlook and newly adopted musical direction. Patti Smith, rock critic Richard Meltzer and fantasy writer Michael Moorcock are some of the cameos, appearing on BÖC’s intriguingly catchy 1981 release. Their enigmatic lyrical approach is bringing so much life into the album!

“Burnin’ for You” is one of those rockers that actually deserved the attention it got. The infectious riffs, accompanied by Buck Dharma’s great vocal performance (which I personally prefer over Bloom‘s) and Allen Lanier’s worthy keyboard work, drew quite the picturesque melodic wonderland; no wonder the track conquered the charts and turned into one of their most famous songs.  The title song, “Fire of Unknown Origin” is as bizarre as ever but once those fiery guitars hit you, there’s no coming back. The synthesizer-driven “Veteran of the Psychic Wars” is one of BÖC’s best works. The ominous melody, along with Bloom’s threatening vocals is definitely something to look forward to on the album. Moreover, it was also featured on the soundtrack of the animated sci-fi film, “Heavy Metal”. “Heavy Metal: The Black and Silver” is a personal favorite – how can you not be captivated by that mighty guitar intro? “Vengeance: The Pact” is as close as we can get to BÖC’s old days. “Fire of Unknown Origin” doesn’t lose its appeal as we jump from one song to the next. The closing song, “Don’t Turn Your Back” keeps things interesting till the very end.

“Fire of Unknown Origin” is a solid piece, compiled of rather eccentric, yet highly appealing tunes. It’s safe to say that it’s one of BÖC’s most valuable releases and still deserves to be played and enjoyed!
Cheers to the timeless classics!


Fire of Unknown Origin

Veteran of the Psychic Wars

Burnin’ For You

Sole Survivor

Don’t Turn Your Back


 

References:
“Fire of Unknown Origin” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_of_Unknown_Origin
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~