Archive for Track-By-Track

Track-By-Track Review: Brian Wilson – That Lucky Old Sun [2008]

Posted in Brian Wilson, Track-By-Track with tags , , on September 2, 2008 by gearsofrock

“That Lucky Old Sun” is the opener and title track of That Lucky Old Sun. This tune contains a short and pretty Beach Boys’ style vocal harmony which serves as an introduction to the following song. 6/10

“Morning Beat” continues the vocal harmony of the opening track, then kicks in with a funky drum beat. Brian Wilson is still very talented, even though his music style has not changed much. The song has an acoustic and vocal interlude before kicking in with the funky surf beat again to close out the tune. 8/10

“Narrative: Room With A View” is the first spoken word track on the record over piano and cymbals. I am not a big fan of spoken word tracks even if they are meant to tell a story; save them for the Broadway show. 5/10

“Good Kind Of Love” begins with some soft piano and vocals then turns into a cheery love song. It has the classic harmonies and a female backing vocal track. This tune sounds more like a Broadway show tune than a So-Cal pop rocker. 6.5/10

“Forever She’ll Be My Surfer Girl” has an intro similar to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin.” I was expecting this song to have a fun surf rock beat, but it stays the show tune course of the album. 6.5/10

“Narrative: Venice Beach” is the second spoken word over the piano track of “Forever She’ll Be My Surfer Girl.” 4/10

“Live Let Live/That Lucky Old Sun (Reprise) Medley” is a short 50s style pop tune with a start-stop tempo. 6/10

“Mexican Girl” begins with a nice Caribbean beat with some good old mariachi guitar and horns. This is the only song since the second track to stand out. 7.5/10

“Narrative: Cinco De Mayo” is the spoken word for “Mexican Girl.” These are still boring and annoying.

“California Role/That Lucky Old Sun (Reprise) Medley” begins with a bluesy Hawaiian guitar or uke, with the vocals. This song has a fun beat and melody which makes it stand out on the record. This track even has some Beach Boys’ “whoo hoo’s.” 7/10

“Narrative: Between Pictures” Blah. 2/10

“Oxygen To The Brain” is a pretty cheesy tune; check out the lyrics. Next song. 5/10

“Can’t Wait Too Long” is a short “oooooooooh, aaaaaaaaaaaah” interlude. 4/10

“Midnight’s Another Day” opens with a classic Brian Wilson piano part. His voice during the verses sounds weaker compared to the other tracks of the record. 6/10

“That Lucky Old Sun (Reprise)” is a waste of 43 seconds. 1/10

“Going Home” is a fun So-Cal surf pop track from the first second, and it is about time. Basically, it is about going home after a while, and of course missing being home. This track has a nice harmonica (I think) part in the background and a great drum beat that makes me want to get up and dance. 7.5/10

“Southern California” is the piano closer to the semi-conceptual That Lucky Old Sun. It has the “oooooohs” in the vocal harmonies just like every other track. The older fans of Brian Wilson will not be disappointed with this record. The younger fans of Brian Wilson should turn to fresher acts like Ben Folds for talented piano playing and vocal melodies. 6/10

Average Track Rating 5.35/10

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Track-By-Track: Staind – The Illusion Of Progress (2008)

Posted in Staind, Track-By-Track with tags , , on August 19, 2008 by gearsofrock

“This Is It” opens The Illusion Of Progress and it does not rock nearly as hard as the classic opener “Suffocate” from Dysfunction (1999). This tune is great at keeping the eighth notes steady throughout the intro and refrain. So far Staind sounds more like 3 Doors Down than the band I once knew. 5/10

“The Way I Am” has a cool little bass-diddy intro and even has a bit of A Perfect Circle feel to it. Then I get bored as the tune becomes rather predictable. The middle breakdown part is mixed well. This song seems to be about being who you are, and there is no changing that, because you are who you are. 5/10

“Believe” has a pretty guitar intro that I am going to figure out on my ax a little later for fun. This song turns into another tune about believing in yourself. I can say that I think it is better than the first two tracks and I almost enjoyed it. 6/10

“Save Me” is another slower tune which means we are 4 for 4 with hearing nothing but ballads since the beginning of the album. I am not sure that this record is the most musical of their releases. I think it is just different so it was more challenging for them to make it. 5/10

“All I Want” Well, all I want is a rocking tune and instead I am getting something that reminds me of a Dashboard Confessional track. This song has the acoustic guitar throughout and a pretty catchy chorus. It also has the typical stop in the middle of the song to make way for the acoustic/vocal part. 6/10

“Pardon Me” has a slow clean guitar intro that sounds fun to play and perhaps has a Pink Floyd feel to it. I prefer the Incubus song with the same name. 5/10

“Lost Along The Way” begins with the drums pumping then guitar harmonics chime in, and now we have the 7th ballad on the record. I am not sure what else would set this song apart from the previous tracks. Well, I do enjoy the sound of Lewis’s voice during the chorus and the effort of the soft guitar solo. 6/10

“Break Away” Based on the title, I really thought that this was going to be a rocker, and it probably is the most rocking song so far. You can hear a refreshing touch of anger in Aaron Lewis’s voice when he sings the lyrics, “if I could break away.” 6/10

“Tangled Up In You” is driven by a slow and simple acoustic riff. This just might not only be the best song on the album but one of the better acoustic ballads of 2008. This tune will have many teens and 20 somethings reflecting on old or new relationships that may, or may not, have existed. 8/10

“Raining Again” begins with a spacey intro and then kicks in to sound like the rest of the album (minus “Tangled”). I think I would get very depressed if I went to a Staind show on this tour. The songs sound like such downers even though the guitar solo sounds glorious on this track. 6/10

“Rainy Day Parade” has a slightly different beat from the rest of the songs which is refreshing. I enjoy the simple guitar riffs on this song. 6/10

“The Corner” has a basic slow clean guitar intro with some slides or volume swells over it. This song is the only other stand out track other than “Tangled.” It has a hint of blues to it courtesy of the lead guitar, keyboards, and gospel choir. It seems like they were going for a Dark Side Of The Moon feel on this one. 7/10

“Nothing Left To Say” begins with some mildly funky drums and clean guitar. It isn’t gold but it is better than the beginning of the album. It is also one of the better songs on the record. Mike Mushok shows off his skills on the lead parts. 6.5/10

Staind is Aaron Lewis [Vocals], Mike Mushok [Guitars], Johnny April [Bass], and Jon Wysocki

Track-By-Track: Extreme – Saudades de Rock (2008)

Posted in Extreme, Track-By-Track with tags , , on August 12, 2008 by gearsofrock

“Star” The opening track of Saudades de Rock features pretty vocal harmonies by the band in the refrain and several great guitar riffs. I also had my head banging for most of the tune. However, I can see many people not digging this song because it could be considered kind of wimpy too. 7/10

“Comfortably Dumb” The second track’s title is an obvious play on Pink Floyd’s, “Comfortably Numb.” Extreme features their typical funk metal riffage on this song. The stomp beat and crash cymbals that take the song to the next tune are one of the highlights of the album. 8/10

“Learn To Love” This is just another rock song about learning to open your heart and love again. At this point of the record, the songs are beginning to sound similar to each other. However, the song does pick up towards the end with the interlude into the outro. Now I dig. 8/10

“Take Us Alive” has a great hillbilly guitar intro. Overall, the song is very reminiscent of Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz.” 8/10

“Run” features another fun guitar and drum stomp. This song just makes me smile and bang my head. It’s a fun tune. This song forced me to pick up my guitar to work out the riff and jam along. 9/10

“Last Hour” The main thought in my head at this point is “Extreme has only gotten better with age.” This ballad has a pretty guitar into that gives a shout-out to 1950’s era rock. You can also hear the 50s influence in the background vocals. 8/10

“Flower Man” is a fast rock tune that actually reminds me of the work of pop-punk bands like New Found Glory, but then Nuno Bettencourt rips into a sick guitar solo, killing that thought. 8/10

“King of the Ladies” has a drum intro in the style of “When the Levee Breaks” then begins to have a feel similar to Weezer’s “Greatest Man That Ever Lived” on the Red Album. If you were wondering, I like both of those songs, which means this one is a winner. The very catchy chorus will be stuck in my head for some time. 8/10

“Ghost” is the piano ballad track on this album with nice falsetto vocals. Just might be the best tune on the album. If it was 1992 or before, I think this song would have a shot at the mainstream charts. 9/10

“Slide” is way better than the Goo Goo Dolls song of the same name. This song contains the classic Nuno funk riffs. 8/10

“Interface” is an acoustic track on the record about losing people and being tired of the pain. Nothing new or fresh, but there is no need to reinvent the wheel, is there? 8/10

“Sunrise” is the second to last track that contains a “Black Dog” feel throughout the main riff. 8/10

“Peace (Saudade)” is another piano ballad and the closer of Saudades de Rock. What’s the message of this song? Well, “Pray for peace.” I like peace too, but I am just bored while listening to this track. 6/10

Extreme is Gary Cherone [Vocals], Nuno Bettencourt [Guitar], Pat Badger [Bass], and Kevin Figueiredo [Drums].