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

dare-out-of-the-silence-1988

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~

[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~

In 1990, FIREHOUSE Released a Debut Album of a Lifetime

The Importance of a Debut Album

You never get a second chance to make a first impression and that applies in every sphere of life, including music. A debut album can make or break a musician’s career. That first release is like an immensely important first date with the biggest, most relevant judge in the world – the audience. Therefore, the artists need to strike with their strongest, most exceptional creative weapons right from the very beginning if they want to make a name for themselves in this competitive music market. A successful debut album is essential in the sense that it’s a key to establish a fanbase, not to mention that it sets some sort of standards and expectations for the following projects. Having a powerful debut album doesn’t always walk hand in hand with a powerful, everlasting career; however, it’s indeed a significant aspect to think about when building a reputation. Some great rock acts, like Guns N’ Roses, Boston, Bad Company, even The Beatles, of course, spawned enormously impactful debut albums that stood the test of time. Unfortunately you can’t build a career on just one debut album – you need to develop artistically and be consistent with your releases. Some other rock acts like Elton John, Thin Lizzy and even the great Journey had a rather weak debut but managed to rise from the ashes and come back stronger than ever.

firehouse-debut-2So many rock albums are on my list of “favorite rock debuts of all time”, I don’t even know where to begin with – from Def Leppard’s “On through the Night” to Bad Company’s self-titled debut, from ASIA to Rainbow, the list goes on and on. One of those albums is the album I will be focusing on throughout this publication – the 1990 coming out party of the American glam rocker, FireHouse. Intrigued by the gorgeous power-ballad, “Love of a Lifetime”, I followed its footsteps back to this record where I found out that there was indeed a reason why it was certified double platinum. The album showcases so much talent, effort and what’s so fascinating is that it somehow managed to make a statement during a transitional, rather shaky period in the music world. The time for a debut wasn’t that suitable because grunge basically took over and media, along with fans, just stopped caring about glam rock. Still, what’s good is good and I am sure many people, just like me, appreciate FireHouse and this marvelous album, full of explosive melodic-rockers.

FireHouse

firehouse3Vocalist C. J. Snare, guitarist Bill Leverty, drummer Michael Foster, and bassist Perry Richardson caught the last wave of the glam rock era with a firm grab. What they did with that first release not only got them prestigious awards, including Best Newcomer in the States, but also launched their international success in many countries, including Canada and Japan. FireHouse is yet another band to brag with its supportive fandom and strong presence in the Japanese market and this first album has a lot to do with it.

The band, along with that debut album turned into a much needed breath of fresh air. People were losing interest in melodic AOR records and were waiting for the next big thing. The strong force, known as hair metal, was losing its powers. Suddenly, however, those talented guys came along and spawned a double platinum album in 1990. No one saw that coming but everyone loved it. The quartet, along with producer David Prater, who worked with Dream Theatre, obviously knew how to craft some good old, enduring American hard rock.

Songs and Style

FireHouse was an absolute glam rock revolution, in the sense that they brought so much more than glitter and gold to the table. The critical and audience appreciation was on point – those four guys weren’t joking around – armed with great talent, for FireHouse the sky was the limit. On the surface, to many people it may seem like a regular hair metal album, stuffed with ordinary party rockers with little substance, however once you get to know the songs a little bit better; you will understand why exactly this debut album conquered the world.

“FireHouse” offers a selection of twelve, well-polished pop/metal jewels, which respectfully clogged he radio stations and mesmerized (and still do) the fans with gorgeous riffs and superb vocals. “All She Wrote” – a catchy, humorous rocker which just begs you to find your inner (in my case non-existing) vocal strength and sing your heart out – it’s that captivating! This was the first FireHouse song I heard years ago and it grabbed my attention instantaneously. “All She Wrote” deserved so much more than it got, but then again, chart positions aren’t all that matter, right? “Shake & Tumble” gets its hands on you right from the beginning – those mindblowing riffs are like an energy drink; I can almost taste the power coming out of that tune. The opening track – “Rock on the Radio” is your typical party hard rocker, generating tons of excitement. “Don’t Treat Me Bad” is a sweet mid-tempo radio favorite, showcasing appealing acoustic elements. Another highly compelling tune has to be “Home is Where the Heart is” – I am beyond fascinated with Snare’s vocal delivery on this one, he absolutely kills it.

All She Wrote

Shake & Tumble

Don’t Treat Me Bad

I’m saving the best for last! In case you wonder which band released the greatest power ballad of all time, here’s your answer – it’s FireHouse and you can find it on this album! “Love of a Lifetime” is a simply a ballad of a lifetime. Written by vocalist C.J. Snare, it quickly became a worldwide sensation and their most well known song up to date. Not only that, but it turned into an absolute necessity for every wedding ceremony – the impact and fan love for that song just goes beyond any limits. There’s no surprise, though – just listen to the tune and let it reach every little part of your rock n’ roll heart. Dreamy lyrics, full of hope and encouragement, beautiful solo and heartmelting melody – “Love of a Lifetime” has the whole package.

Love of a Lifetime


What followed?

firehouse-hold-your-fireWhat followed was indeed pure fire! “Hold Your Fire” was released in 1992 and though it couldn’t compete with the debut one in terms of sales, it still left a mark of its own. “When I Look Into Your Eyes”, “Hold Your Fire”, “Reach for the Sky” – all immensely successful hit singles and fan favorites. This right here is a perfect example of a worthy sophomore effort – an album that delivered what the fans expected after the first one. Unfortunately, those were the last good albums we got before grunge hit the music scene and kicked hard rock out of the picture. Nevertheless, I am still here, along with many other fans, who love and haven’t forgotten about bands such as FireHouse! Cheers!


References:
“FireHouse” Album Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FireHouse_(album)
FireHouse Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FireHouse_(band)
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~

Want to Get Drunk on Progressive Rock? Listen to These 5 Albums:

One of my greatest musical passions is progressive rock. There is just something so magical and immensely captivating in mixing rock with elements of classical music, all wrapped up under layers of complex instrumentation, life-changing lyrics, intense experimentation and supreme technicality. Not to mention the groundbreaking album artworks those beautiful compositions come with. The origins of progressive rock are quite debatable – many people, including myself, believe that it all started in the late 60s as a logical advancement of psychedelic rock. It’s important to mention the significance of albums like “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles which is credited by many critics as the album where the idea of progressive rock began. It wasn’t until the ‘70s when prog rock found its way to the hearts of the general audience. Albums like “The Dark Side of the Moon” (1973) by Pink Floyd completely transformed the notion that this type of music is very difficult to enjoy. For the rest of the decade, prog rock was a predominant force on the worldwide music scene, especially among British audiences. Rock acts like YES, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Genesis, Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues, Frank Zappa and many more are notable names in the genre.

My gigantic adoration for progressive rock grew out of a couple of albums which till today remain my ultimate soul-feeding musical pieces. The following albums are definitely part of the list. Not only that, but each of them has its own unique place in the history of progressive rock and music in general. If you are not so familiar with the genre and are looking for the start, look no further – these five records are surely going to provide you with the ultimate progressive rock experience. Noticeably, I haven’t included the earth-shattering prog rock titles like “The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd because I wanted to demonstrate a little bit of variety and give the green light to other equally essential records. Also, Pink Floyd are a completely different monster.
Please enjoy my selection and I hope those albums can bring you at least a little bit of the comfort they bring me.


King Crimson – In The Court of the Crimson King (1969)

king-crimson-in-the-court-of-the-crimson-king-1969This might be a bit heavy for some listeners who are not accustomed to the sound of progressive rock but bottom line is – every conversation about progressive rock should begin and end with this album! Historically relevant, highly experimental, critically acclaimed and seen by many as the birthplace of progressive rock – meet King Crimson’s 1969 debut album “In The Court of Crimson King”. Personally, I see is as one of the most impactful forces in the history of rock in general. Where do we even begin with this album? Jazz, blues, classical influences, psychedelic rock elements, mind-blowing lyrics, questioning your entire existence. “In The Court of Crimson King” is THE progressive rock album! The monumental artwork is another reason behind the album’s significance – just look at it! That is how you will react when you listen to King Crimson for the first time!


Yes – Fragile (1971)

Yes - Fragile - Roger DeanIf you want to experience progressive rock at its fines, YES’ “Fragile” (1971) is another album you should devote your time to. “Roundabout” is YES’ ultimate classic and one of the reasons behind the commercialization of progressive rock. People were, and still are, simply in love with the elegant guitars of Steve Howe, accompanied by mindblowing organs, stunning keyboards, mind-altering drums and of course Jon Anderson’s a-list vocals. This whole record is a fantasy coming alive. It became a rock staple and influenced generations of musicians.


Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Brain Salad Surgery (1973)

emerson-lake-palmer-brain-salad-surgery-1973And ladies and gentleman the album that changed my life – Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s “Brain Salad Surgery” (1973). This record is like a door to a new colorful world, a world in which there are no limitations to what your body and soul can experience. I can’t even begin describing why this album is such a huge masterpiece. “Still. . . You Turn Me On”,“Toccata”,“Karn Evil 9” – all sending you on a mind-altering journey after which you feel like a different person. The trio is simply phenomenal – Keith is running through the keyboard with unimaginable precision; Carl is the king of the drums and Greg’s impactful but gentle vocal delivery is releasing you from every little trace of stress and negativity. That’s just how it affects me…


Jethro Tull – Thick as a Brick (1972)

jethro-tull-thick-as-a-brick-1972Jethro Tull’s “Thick as a Brick” is just one 44-minute song which really does it for me. Concept, parodies and tricks aside, I do really enjoy diving into the atmosphere of this musical treasure from time to time. You click on “play” and for the next 40 minutes you have the perfect background to your work. I feel like this type of music synchronizes quite well with your work tempo and gives you that extra push! (Or maybe It’s just me). It’s a beautiful piece of progressive rock and musically speaking it is the whole package, not to mention the dozens of instruments we get to enjoy throughout this tune – trumpet, saxophone, timpani, violin and so much more.


Rush – Moving Pictures (1981)

rush-moving-pictures-1981Another album you have to listen to if you are into “progressive rock mood” would be Rush’s “Moving Pictures” (1981). Both critically and commercially acclaimed this is one of the albums that truly deserve a spot on your shelf and in your heart. I included it as a part of my selection because despite coming out relatively late, compared to other progressive rock jewels, it did manage to leave a lasting trail of classic prog rockers and radio staplers. It’s a perfect combination between hard rock, adopting a lot of experimental techniques and state of the art technologies to craft the perfect sound. It’s accessible progressive rock at its finest; a natural evolution of a genre!


 

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] DANGER DANGER – DANGER DANGER (1989)

danger-danger-album

DANGER DANGER

Released: June 27 1989
Genre: Glam Rock / Hard Rock
Duration: 49:40
Label: Epic
Producer(s): Lance Quinn

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OVERVIEW

Numerous talented glam rock bands emerged in the late 80s but got wiped away way too quickly after grunge took over the music scene in the beginning of the 90s. Bands like Winger, Thunder, Giant, Kix, Slaughter, Danger Danger and many similar others chose a bad time for their coming out party. Most of them enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame and moderate success and disappeared into the mist. Fortunately, there are still people out there, like me, through which the spirit of those unlucky but deserving rock acts continues to live.

Danger Danger debuted in the summer of 1989 with a self-titled album, strictly following the well-established hair metal formula for success. Fuelled with catchy, rhythmic and easy to absorb tunes, the record could easily be described as an “enjoyable Friday night experience”. Unfortunately, as I previously mentioned, the time period wasn’t reasonable – the audience were already getting bored of the same old glam rock tunes and Danger Danger’s catchy, mainstream, poppy radio tunes didn’t really impress them that much. To be fair, the record does sound a bit too generic and can’t really stand out with an exceptional musicianship, outstanding vocal delivery or profound lyrics. Nevertheless, this melodic hard rock jewel can almost guarantee you a perfect mood.

“Naughty Naughty” and “Bang Bang” were released as singles and turned into Danger Danger’s best-known classics. (Those guys really enjoyed double titles.) Both tracks are fun and highly entertaining, despite their obvious commercial-driven goals. “Saturday Nite” has too much Def Leppard in it for me to truly appreciate it. “Don’t Walk Away” is once again giving me that Def Leppard vibe, which is probably why this is one of my favorite moments of the record (it really reminds me of “Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)” from Adrenalize (1992). This mid-tempo rocker deserved so much more than it got. “Rock America” is another good moment – anthem-like, synthesizer-driven tune with a lot of spirit and captivating energy. “One Step from Paradise”, “Feels Like Love” – another highly satisfying set of pop rockers which deserve a listen or two.

Danger Danger got all the pieces of the puzzle; however they were 5-10 years later for the party. This album would’ve got so much attention on AOR radio! It definitely isn’t the most valuable glam rock record but it’s full of charm and pleasing tunes!  “Naughty Naughty” has been an inseparable part of my playlist for so many years! Have a listen in case you need a reminder!

Tracklist:

  1. “Naughty Naughty” – 4:50
  2. “Under the Gun” – 4:39
  3. “Saturday Nite” – 4:17
  4. “Don’t Walk Away” – 4:56
  5. “Bang Bang” – 3:56
  6. “Rock America” – 4:54
  7. “Boys Will Be Boys” – 4:58
  8. “One Step From Paradise” – 4:47
  9. “Feels Like Love” – 4:52
  10. “Turn It On” – 3:40
  11. “Live It Up” – 3:54

Naughty Naughty

Bang Bang

Don’t Walk Away

One Step from Paradise

Feels Like Love


References:
“Danger Danger” Official Wikipedia webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danger_Danger_(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~

10 Classic Rock Records That Should Be Owned By Everyone

albums-you-must-own-collage

Innovation, brilliant musicianship and timeless impact are the three criteria based on which I chose the following list of 10 albums I believe should be owned by absolutely every person who values and understands music. There are indeed SO MANY groundbreaking albums that re-defined history but then again, we have those 10 which I think went far beyond re-defining – they simply turned things upside down. The echoes of their strong collision with the music world were so loud we could still hear them every day. Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Eagles and Fleetwood Mac are among the artist the works of which I would like to draw your attention to. I am positively certain that my readers know and are already in possession of those record but in case you don’t own a copy, grab your things and rush to the nearest record store!

(P.S. I made this list based on my personal expertise and opinion. I realize that some of you may not agree, but I still think those 10 albums deserve to be on everyone’s record shelf)


The Beatles – Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

beatles s

I just had to kick things off with this groundbreaking masterpiece, because let’s face it – no other record can actually beatSgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” when it comes to influence, cutting-edge music and artistry. Beatles retired as a live band and focused entirely on writing new music and experimenting with latest techniques in the studio. In June 1967, the results were in. Beatles didn’t have to worry about playing this album live, so they could go in any direction they want – they had the absolute freedom to arrange and produce things the way they wanted them to be. On Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, each of the Beatles adopted a new imaginary persona, which made things so much more interesting. The album also marked the beginning of album-oriented rock. “Sgt. Pepper” is a concept album you just have to listen from start to finish in order to truly understand its beauty; the record is simply one 40-minute song, an entity, an exceptional musical monster. Not only that, but it was the psychedelic, highly experimental, ambiguous, quite surreal nature of the record that gave rise to art and progressive rock, as well. Let us not forget that “Sgt. Pepper” has one of the most original artworks which re-evaluated the importance of album covers for future releases. “A Day in the Life”, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “When I’m Sixty Four”, “Penny Lane” – songs that live forever.


Led Zeppelin – IV (1971)

led Zeppelin 4

With masterpieces like “Stairway to Heaven”, “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll”, Led Zeppelin’s fourth album was destined for success. Surprisingly this album never actually topped the US charts, despite being in top 5 best-selling albums in the States of all time and being owned by pretty much every person who lived during the 70s. The organic and folky but quite atmospheric song “Stairway to Heaven” became the most requested song on a FM radio ever, breaking that 3 minute song barrier. It didn’t matter what the critics said about Zeppelin or this album – what mattered is that they made history.


David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)

ziggy

The absolute peak of David Bowie’s career has to be the adventurous concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”. For this album, the white duke adopted the persona of a Martian who comes to Earth liberate human kind. The album, along with David Bowie himself became synonymous with art rock, praising individualism, mysticism, theatrical performances and fashion. David was so ahead of his time – he simply offered a glimpse to another world, where you can be whoever you want to be.


Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

dark-side-of-the-moon-album-cover-pink-floyd

“The Dark Side of the Moon” shook the grounds of progressive rock the moment it was released to the public. It was this album that forever shattered the notion that progressive rock couldn’t be enjoyed by everyone – Pink Floyd simply brought this style to the mainstream audience. “The Dark Side of the Moon” is not just your ordinary influential rock album of the 70s – it’s an absolute cultural landmark and a celebration of cutting edge techniques, keyboards, synthesizers, sounds effects and coherent musicianship. With its highly intellectual, avant-garde lyrics, the album explores themes such as time, money and the dark-sides of human nature. “The Dark Side of the Moon” spent 471 consecutive weeks on the Billboard album chart – an achievement no other album could ever surpass. Kudos to the brainchild of David Gilmour and Roger Waters!


Eagles – Hotel California (1976)

hotel-california-eagles

Eagles are probably one of the most beloved American bands of all time – Americans wouldn’t trade them even for the Beatles. In 1976, they just blew off the roof with the concept album “Hotel California” which eventually became one of the best-selling albums of all time and one of the most critically acclaimed records of all time. “New Kid in Town”, “Life in the Fast Lane”, “Hotel California” – all brilliant rockers with an everlasting impact! The title tracks contains one of the most memorable guitar solos; lyrics-wise, it deals with topics still relevant nowadays – self-destruction, corruption, drugs and the greed in the music industry.


The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)

LP_OUT-P1_output.pdf

Whether you like Beach Boys or not, you gotta respect them for their legacy and especially for “Pet Sounds” – one of the most influential albums of all time, loved by critics and fans from all over the world. Brian Wilson’s goal was to create “the greatest rock album ever made” – a powerful rock tornado with absolutely no weak points or filler songs. I am not sure we can refer to “Pet Sounds” as the greatest rock album but it’s definitely in the top 10. Brian Wilson adopted so many interesting, cutting-edge techniques and approaches for this album – from unusual instruments to sounds of dogs barking and bicycle bells; from complex symphonic arrangements to sophisticated vocal harmonies. No wonder “Pet Sounds” changed history – it offered the ultimate musical experience. Not to mention that, just like “Sgt. Pepper”, “Pet Sounds” was equally responsible for the development of art and progressive rock.


Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)

fleetwood-mac-rumours

Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” is essential for so many reasons. If, for a moment, we put aside the fact that it’s one of the BEST SELLING albums of all time and won a Grammy award for album of the year, “Rumours” was the album that forever blurred the lines between pop and rock. On top of that, “Rumours” was recorded when all members of the band were divorcing or breaking up with each other. There was no way a good album would come out of it. However, against all odds, their brutal frankness somehow stroke a chord with the audience and the album achieved something they never even hoped for – immortality. Candid, open-minded, emotional – I guess it’s true that the greatest masterpieces come out of pain, sorrow and heartbreak. Every song on this album, though it’s about sadness and break-up, is worth listening to.


Derek & The Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

LAYLA

I don’t even know where to begin with when it comes to this album. Often considered as Eric Clapton’s greatest career achievement, the double album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs”, can’t stop captivating the audience with its emotional intensity and groundbreaking guitar work. Eric Clapton was simply giving it his all on this record. The inspiration 7-minute epic ballad title-song, “Layla”, has to be one of the highlights of the 70s and the ultimate staple of what a love song should sound like. The album is so much more than that though – “Bell Bottom Blues”, “I Am Yours”, “Anyday” – any song of the record offers comforting blues, solid rock&roll, raw guitars and a great mood.


Black Sabbath – Paranoid (1970)

black-sabbath-paranoid

After careful consideration, I decided to wrap things up with Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”. When it comes to the origins of heavy metal, things might be a little bit blurred. The foundations of the genre were laid in time, with the contribution of so many bands, styles, approaches, etc. However, to me personally one of the first records that presented a clear-cut vision of what heavy metal should sound like was “Paranoid”. There’s no surprise that many critics refer to this album as “the birthplace of heavy metal”. The simplistic approach to music, heavy guitar hooks, gloomy lyrics, exploring dark subjects and of course – the loud and quite sharp vocal delivery of Ozzy, defined the sound and image of heavy metal.

How many of these records you guys own?


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~

’90S ROCK BLAST: THUNDER – BACKSTREET SYMPHONY

thunder-backstreet-symphony

BACKSTREET SYMPHONY

Released: April 4, 1990
Genre: Hard Rock
Duration: 56:26
Label: EMI, Geffen Records
Producer(s): Andy Taylor
Certified: Gold (BPI)

backstreet-symphony-casette

backstreet-symphony-vinyl

buy-from-amazon


OVERVIEW

I would like to draw your attention to this wonderfully done rock album by Thunder – an often forgotten British band which unfortunately couldn’t become as big as they should have, for one reason or another. It’s an absolute pity because there was and still is a huge chunk of talent over there – Danny Bowes is a brilliant vocalist and he absolutely kills it on this record.

“Backstreet Symphony” was their coming-out party; a debut album, full of enjoyable, spirited and full of enthusiasm rockers. The record doesn’t really offer any groundbreaking surprises in terms of lyrical approach or musicianship, but that doesn’t make it a bad one. From start to finish, “Backstreet Symphony” displays a great deal of skill and class, all wrapped up in a satisfying selection of hard-rockers, power-ballads and even blues-inspired tunes. “Love Walked In” is a terrific power-ballad and the finest moment of the record (and I’m not just saying it because I’m a power-ballad person). “Dirty Love”, “She’s so Fine”, “Backstreet Symphony”, “Distant Thunder” – all sensational tracks you can rock all day and all night with. “Until My Dying Day” is an interesting tune, transforming from acoustic to a quite intense, guitar-driven composition. The straight-up hard rock cover of the Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin’” adds another star to the record.

The unpretentious, spirited sound of “Backstreet Symphony” is what makes it so good. Any track has the potential of giving you some sweet time. Don’t pick just one, grab and listen to the entire album!

Tracklist:

(1990 Original release)

“She’s So Fine”
“Dirty Love”
“Don’t Wait for Me”
“Higher Ground”
“Until My Dying Day”
“Backstreet Symphony”
“Love Walked In”
“An Englishman on Holiday”
“Girl’s Going Out of Her Head”
“Gimme Some Lovin'”
“Distant Thunder” (CD only)

Love Walked In

Backstreet Symphony

Dirty Love

Gimme Some Lovin’

Until My Dying Day (LIVE)

An Englishman on Holiday


References:
“Backstreet Symphony” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backstreet_Symphony
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 Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] CINDERELLA – Night Songs

cinderella-night-songs-2

NIGHT SONGS

Released: August 2, 1986
Genre: Hard Rock/Glam Metal
Duration: 36:05
Label: Mercury
Producer(s): Andy Johns
Certified: 3xPlatinum (RIAA)
Singles: “Shake Me”, “Nobody’s Fool”, “Somebody Save Me”

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OVERVIEW

I’m putting this record under the category of “The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s”, because as subjective as it may sound, this album has no weak, boring or spiritless song. I don’t think Cinderella could’ve made a better debut album!  “Night Songs” was often criticized for being too generic and quite indistinguishable among the endless sea of hair metal bands, releasing pretty similar music, all cooked by following the well-established recipe for success in the late 80s. I can never agree with this statement because Cinderella were everything BUT your ordinary glam rock band. Unfortunately, their image was what often confused people, though I always say that their talent goes above and beyond the big hair, tight leather pants and leopard shirts. We also have to consider their secret weapon – Tom Keifer. Unfortunately, when we talk about male rock vocalists he is often forgotten, despite possessing one of the most unique high-pitched voices. On top of that, he was/is a brilliant songwriter – each and every song on “Night Songs” is written by him! Such a talent!

“Night Songs” offers an excellent selection of blues-oriented explosive metal riffs of guitarist Jeff LaBar, flavored by the scratchy fierce voice of Tom Keifer, all cloaked under dark, mysterious and quite intriguing character of the record. Their first single “Shake Me”, despite not making it on the charts, rocks pretty hard; sexy, suggestive, catchy and uplifting, the song is one of their ultimate classics. The power-ballad “Nobody’s Fool” is the song that actually got me into their music years ago. One of the most intense and beautifully written power-ballads of the era though I’m not sure I can put it under the same category as the numerous other silly little love ballads of the 80s – it’s too special and so much better! “Nobody’s Fool” is just a different kind of monster, though I definitely hear some AC/DC and Def Leppard influence. “Nothin for Nothin”, “Hell on Wheels” and “In From the Outside” – all infectious rockers, with not so much lyrical depth but still leaving quite the aftertaste! The title track “Night Songs” is a bit darker and gloomier, though quite rhythmic and obsessive. The third single “Somebody Save Me” has quite the memorable MV with their benefactors Bon Jovi appearing at the end. The song itself is one of the finest moments of the record with the most memorable lyrics, telling us about the failed American dream.

To sum up, don’t get turned off by how Cinderella look because believe me, there’s so much more to them than their image!! Cinderella are no Poison or Warrant – their music comes from deeper places. “Night Songs” has a special aura, fuelled with actual music competence in addition to the obvious blues base – all that makes things so much more interesting. After just one listen you will understand what’s the difference between Cinderella and all the other spandex-wearing boys of the era. It’s such a shame that this album and the band never actually got the recognition they deserved. But I’m here to remind you and get to you – listen to this gorgeous explosion of riffs full of live and vocals out of this world!

Tracklist:

“Night Songs” – 4:12
“Shake Me” – 3:44
“Nobody’s Fool” – 4:49
“Nothin’ for Nothin'” – 3:33
“Once Around the Ride” – 3:22
“Hell on Wheels” – 2:49
“Somebody Save Me” – 3:16
“In from the Outside” – 4:07
“Push, Push” – 2:52
“Back Home Again” – 3:30

Shake Me

Nobody’s Fool (#13, 1986)

Somebody Save Me (#66, 1986)

Nothin For Nothin


References:
“Night Songs” Official Wikipedia Webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_Songs_(Cinderella_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~

[’80s Rock Album Focus] Judas Priest – Turbo

Judas Priest - Turbo


 

TURBO

Released: April 14, 1986
Length: 40:58
Label: Columbia
Singles: “Turbo Lover”, “Locked In”, “Parental Guidance”
Certified: Platinum (RIAA)

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Tracklist:

“Turbo Lover”
“Locked In”
“Private Property”
“Parental Guidance”
“Rock You All Around the World”
“Out in the Cold”
“Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days”
“Hot for Love”
“Reckless”

 

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OVERVIEW:

“Turbo” has always been one of the most unjustly criticized metal albums of all time. Judas Priest lost a significant number of fans after the release of this record due to the band’s shift to more commercial and synthesizer-driven sound. It was the mid-80s, after all, and the whole rock music industry was undergoing a change – the catchy tunes by all the numerous glam/pop metal and rock bands were ruling the charts and the airwaves, so to some extend it was pretty understandable for any rock band to try and cash in. However, as melodic, radio-friendly and much different as Turbo sounds, compared to Judas Priest’s previous albums, I do believe that there is so much more to this record – “Turbo” never was just about the money and it did rock pretty hard. Yes, it might have been a bit unusual to listen to Judas Priest singing cheesy lyrics about romance or hearing how much they rely so on the sleek synth-production and the electronic drums; however, they did manage to find a balance and in my opinion, released quite the classic.

The synthesizer-driven opening track – “Turbo Lover” can easily be pointed out as one of the most essential Judas Priest tracks and ultimately, the finest moment of the album. By finest, I don’t necessarily mean that it impresses with brilliant music craftsmanship, beautiful lyrics or any other significant value. I simply claim that it’s a song with a different purpose which we cannot just overlook. It has that special aura and uplifting spirit that immediately activates your imagination and empowers you. “Locked In” might be too commercial and the synthesizers are definitely a bit difficult to digest but we cannot deny how catchy and mood-charging it sounds. “Private Property” is a very rhythmic, familiar and yet another money-making track. As we go from one song to another, you could easily feel the loss of confidence and the good impression starts to fade away. The rest of the album is filled with mid-tempo and well-polished merchandized rockers. “Out in the Cold” might be Judas Priest’s most excellent attempt at power- ballads and it’s a definite must-listen.

Overall, as hated as it is, “Turbo” is a very important chapter of Judas Priest’s career, though quite misunderstood. I believe the reason why so many people were disappointed in this album was because the band lost a huge chunk of their identity by diving into the commercialized mid-80s glam metal music scene. Yes, they might have done that and indeed some of the tracks on “Turbo” do sound a bit awkward and with no clear focus. However, it’s Judas Priest we’re talking about – whatever they do they sure know how to rock hard. It took them a few years to get back on the metal radar, but to the average rock fan, “Turbo” can be quite enjoyable.


 

Turbo Lover

Locked In

Parental Guidance

Out in the Cold


 

References:
Turbo” official Wikipedia webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbo_(Judas_Priest_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.
Cheers~

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] Def Leppard – HYSTERIA

Def-Leppard-Hysteria

There are a number of essential classic rock albums from the ‘80s and then there’s Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” – the monstrous record that goes way beyond that! In addition to the brilliant technical and song-writing skills demonstrated on this album, “Hysteria” is significant due to the human stories that surround its production and release. Furthermore, till today it remains their best-selling and most successful album of all time! I don’t think something so extraordinary and out-of-this-world can actually be made nowadays. “Hysteria” is the perfect ‘80s rock album – catchy, fun, sexy and full of passion and timeless hard rock hits.

The creation of “Hysteria” took over three years due to a number of hardships the band had to go through. Rick Allen – their drummer, lost his arm in a car accident. Before this tragic event, Def Leppard were still riding on the train of success thanks to their phenomenal album “Pyromania”, released in 1983 – a record that proved that the band is here to stay and change the world! For a moment, though, their future didn’t seem as bright as they thought…What happened? Well, Def Leppard were the unquestionable kings of hard rock and such events couldn’t stop them from continuing their quest. Rick started using a custom-made electronic drum kit and not only became one of the greatest inspirations for so many people, but he became an even better drummer. Now, we call him the thunder God and he indeed is! Imagine the strength of his will and the degree of his passion. He is such a remarkable human being…

“Hysteria” is the last album to feature the outstanding guitarist Steve Clark, before his death. Some of his songs do appear on the following album – “Adrenalize” (1992), however Hysteria’s promotional tours and concerts were the last times we saw him on the stage with his bandmates, unfortunately. Losing their guitarist once again shook the band’s grounds but they rose from the ashes and kept on making great rock music!

“Hysteria” is produced by none-other than Mr Mutt Lange – the producer I adore and respect with all my heart and soul. His goal was to create an album that’s going to be the “rock version” of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” – an album in which every track is a potential hit single! Well, he did it – “Hysteria” spawned 7 phenomenal hit singles I don’t even know how to describe. From the breathtaking power ballad “Love Bites” to the sexy and timeless guitar riffs of “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Hysteria” can just instantly settle down in your heart and never leave it.

Oh by the way, if you haven’t figured it out yet, YES – “HYSTERIA” it’s my favorite album of all time…

Let’s talk more about it and listen to some tunes!

1987 def leppard


 

HYSTERIA

Def-Leppard-HysteriaReleased: August 3, 1987
Recorded: February 1984 – January 1987; Wisseloord Studios, Hilversum;
Windmill Lane Studio 2, Dublin;
Studio Des Dames, Paris; Mixing: February – May 1987
Genre: Hard Rock, Rock, Glam Rock
Length: 62:32
Label: Mercury (US), Phonogram (Original Release), Mercury (2000 re-release)
Producer(s): Robert John “Mutt” Lange
Singles: “Animal”, “Women”, “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Hysteria”, “Armageddon It”, “Love Bites”, “Rocket”
Personnel: Joe Elliott – lead vocals; Phil Collen – guitars; Steve Clark – guitars; Rick Savage – bass guitar;  Rick Allen – drums
Certified: 12xPlatinum (RIAA)

TRACKLIST:

“Women”
“Rocket”
“Animal”
“Love Bites”
“Pour Some Sugar on Me”
“Armageddon It”
“Gods of War”
“Don’t Shoot Shotgun”
“Run Riot”
“Hysteria”
“Excitable”
“Love and Affection”

 ~

2006 Deluxe Edition: Disc one
“Tear It Down”

“Ride into the Sun”
“I Wanna Be Your Hero”
“Ring of Fire”

2006 Deluxe Edition: Disc two
Elected” (Live in Tilburg, Holland)

“Love and Affection” (Live in Tilburg, Hollad)
“Billy’s Got a Gun” (Live in Tilburg, Holland)
“Rock of Ages” Medley: Not Fade Away/My Generation/Radar Love/Come Together/Whole Lotta Love” (Live in Tilburg, Holland)
“Women” (Live in Denver, CO)
“Animal” (Extended version)
“Pour Some Sugar on Me” (Extended version)
“Armageddon It”” (The Nuclear Mix)
“Excitable”” (Orgasmic Mix)
“Rocket”” (The Lunar Mix)
“Release Me” (credited as Stumpus Maximus & The Good Ol’ Boys)

hysteria-4f7fb6aa33545.png

vinyl.jpg

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“We’ve always wanted to be a band for the people,” Phil Collen says. “When we started working on Hysteria we had just sold eight million records with Pyromania so we knew we had a fanbase. We weren’t necessarily trying to top that because you can’t go into something saying, ‘Okay, yeah, this one’s going to sell more than 8million copies.’ That’s a lot of records. We just wanted to make a record with good songs that we really liked and that were maybe a little more polished and more modern sounding. Even when we finished Hysteria we had no idea how it was going to do, but it felt like a triumph for us.”

OVERVIEW

“Pyromania” established a very high standard for what should be called a very well-produced and fine as hell hard rock album. In 1987, however, “Hysteria” raised the stakes even higher. Once again, Robert “Mutt” Lange was on board and his obsessive desire to create the perfect and most commercially successful hard rock album of all time, resulted in a painful squeezing of every tiny bit of talent and effort from the music engineers and technicians to the band members themselves. Undoubtedly, “Hysteria” was not an easy album to make – it took years, a lot of money and tons of planning.

Throughout the years, many critics have claimed that “Hysteria” is just a very well made pop sell-out product that doesn’t really possess any sort of artistic value or originality. If releasing seven hit singles from one album is not valuable and doesn’t speak for a band’s efforts and hard work then I don’t really know what else we should call “valuable and impressive”.

The brilliant consistency and marriage between pop and hard rock can easily be felt as we go from one song to another. To make the sound of “Hysteria” so unique and essential, Mutt Lange went above and beyond by using a variety of technology, vocal and sound layering and adopting numerous other effects to give the tracks a “stadium rock vibe” and “extra solid sound” that pierce your heart and gives you chills the moment you play them.  

Def Leppard’s sense of craft was successfully portrayed in “Hysteria”. This pop-rock guilty pleasure record is filled with killer riffs, exquisite sonics, brilliant hooks and easy to sing along with lyrics. From the ultimate power ballad “Love Bites”, fueled with Joe Elliott’s gentle but rather extreme vocal delivery techniques to the timeless hard rock anthem “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, the album rocks song after song. Bottom line is, “Hysteria” will forever remain as one of the greatest pop-metal records ever. Not to mention that “Hysteria” completely revolutionized the industry at that time. No other rock record managed to impress with such polished production, album length and number of singles. The album and the band simply did the impossible with this album. They also paved the way and set a new and very high standard for all the rockers out there releasing albums.

My favorite thing about “Hysteria” is that there is just no weak song. Even the tracks that were not released as singles are equally impressive and important. The album is very consistent, easy to listen to, easy to sing along with and so exciting. We can just listen to it forever…

Now let’s listen to some music…


 

The most instantly recognizable rock tune of all times! Do I even need to introduce this song? Sexy, fun, spectacular and essential for every rock party! It hit number 2 on Billboard Hot 100 chart and is an epitome of ‘80s hard rock. The song sent sales of “Hysteria” so high that we can surely say that this song is one of the main factors behind the success of the album. The MV is also iconic and one of MTV’s most favorite and played one of all time!

Pour Some Sugar On Me

Love is like a bomb, baby, c’mon get it on
Livin’ like a lover with a radar phone
Lookin’ like a tramp, like a video vamp
Demolition woman, can I be your man?
Razzle ‘n’ a dazzle ‘n’ a flash a little light
Television lover, baby, go all night
Sometime, anytime, sugar me sweet
Little miss ah innocent sugar me…


 

Power ballads were the thing back in the ‘80s. It was essential for every rock musician to have such a song in their album. However, none other is as beautiful and captivating as “Love Bites”. Joe Elliott’s vocal delivery is what makes it so strong and effective. So far, “Love Bites” is Def Leppard’s only number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Following the huge success of “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, the explosion called “Love Bites” shot Def Leppard right to the stars!

Love Bites

When you make love, do you look in the mirror?
Who do you think of, does he look like me?
Do you tell lies and say that it’s forever?
Do you think twice, or just touch ‘n’ see?
Ooh babe ooh yeah

When you’re alone, do you let go?
Are you wild ‘n’ willin’ or is it just for show?
Ooh c’mon

I don’t wanna touch you too much baby
‘Cos making love to you might drive me crazy…


 

This is my favorite songs from “Hysteria” and as a matter of fact I often point it out as my favorite Def Leppard song of all time. The reception of “Women” was not as good as Def Leppard might have expected and many believe it’s the least interesting song from “Hysteria” but I can never agree with such statements. The intro, heavy bass and lyrics hit so hard that I can’t even explain it. Just listen and tell me how come this awesome track flopped?

Women

In the beginning
God made the land
Then He made the water and creatures, then He made man

He was born with a passion, love and hate
A restless spirit with a need for a mate
But there was somethin’ that was missin’, somethin’ lost
So he came with the answer, here’s what it cost

One part love, one part wild
One part lady, one part child
I give you…


Some other memorable tunes from the album…

Rocket

Animal

Love And Affection

 

~

“Hysteria” is THE album of the ‘80s! It has everything I ever wanted from an album and there’s a reason why it’s my favorite one of all time! Every song is a piece of art, fueled with so many emotions. You can actually feel their immense passion, devotion and determination as u go from one track to another. This album meant a lot to them and they poured out their souls in it. Most importantly, “Hysteria” is the perfect combination of music technology, outstanding craftsmanship and the strength of human will and ambition. The greatest records are not the ones who sound good but the ones that allow you to hear the people inside of them. I can never have a more favorite album than this one…

Cheers!


 

Credits:
Def Leppard lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/defleppard
Def Leppard Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Def_Leppard
“Hysteria” Album Review, retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com
28 Years Ago: Def Leppard Unleash ‘Hysteria’, retrieved from http://loudwire.com/def-leppard-hysteria-album-anniversary/
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~