Saturday, February 28, 2009

Desolation Row

I cannot say enough good things about this cover.

Anyone who follows this blog is probably well aware that my favorite band is My Chemical Romance. While this band may currently be on break and not recording any new material yet, you can imagine my excitement when I heard that My Chemical Romance was selected to record a cover for an upcoming film.
And not just any film; My Chemical Romance has recorded a cover of Bob Dylan's Desolation Row for the Watchmen movie, scheduled to hit theatres Friday, March 6th.

While My Chemical Romance's version of Desolation Row is clocking in at nearly a quarter the length of the original track (Bob Dylan's recording having been around eleven minutes long, compared to the three minute length of the cover), I was extremely pleased by the way My Chemical Romance presented this song. Vocalist Gerard Way chose between the multiple verses of the original track and picked which he felt best represented the movie - a process he said was extremely difficult. However, in the end, the verses the band ended up incorporating into their cover exemplify not only the graphic-novel-gone-film, but the essence of Bob Dylan's original song almost, too perfectly.
There is plenty to appreciate beyond the lyrics, too. My Chemical Romance took an entirely different approach to this cover - it sounds nothing like the original, and yet, the hardcore punk styling of the track not only showcase the novel and, eventually, the movie, but also a new phase in the life of this band. My Chemical Romance are considering moving away from the theatric, rock-opera style which was apparent on their album The Black Parade (2006) and fall back on the punk rock foundations which supported their first two albums (I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love; 2002; and Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, 2004).
Everything about this cover screams punk-rock, from the raw, unpolished vocals to the rough, dirty guitars and crashing symbols of the drum set. The entire essence of the track is just teeming with pent-up emotion, and the whole thing is hard and heavy enough that, at the end of three minutes, you can't help but keep asking for more. The combination of Bob Dylan's outstanding lyrics and My Chemical Romance's talents in musicianship and presentation is truly a winning mix.

All in all, this cover serves not only to represent Watchmen in the most brilliant of ways, but also My Chemical Romance, and the new direction the band plans to take with their careers.
The video is one hundred percent hardcore and a great watch for anyone - however, it's an especially good treat for those My Chem fans eagerly awaiting the band's return from their break (: And anyone who's actually read Watchmen , as I have, will appreciate every reference made in the video - from the Rorschach banner behind the drum set, to the Pale Horse flyers, to the graffiti on bassist Mikey Way's guitar ("Who Watches The Watchmen") ... it's all there.

Make sure to head out and see Watchmen when it hits theatres this Friday!
Until then, keep on rockin' to My Chemical Romance's cover of Desolation Row!

My Chemical Romance - Desolation Row [Bob Dylan Cover] Official Music Video

Desolation Row
Originally Recorded by Bob Dylan
Covered by My Chemical Romance

They're selling postcards of the hanging, they're painting the passports brown.
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors; the circus is in town.
Here comes the blind commissioner, they've got him in a trance.
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker, the other's in his pants.
And the riot squad, they're restless; they need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight from Desolation Row.

Cinderella, she seems so easy; "It takes one to know one," she smiles.
And puts her hands in her back pockets, Bette Davis style.
And in comes Romeo, he's moaning, "You belong to me, I believe."
And someone says," You're in the wrong place, my friend; you better leave."
And the only sound that's left after the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up on Desolation Row.

At midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew
Go out and round up everyone that knows more than they do.
They bring them to the factory, where the heart-attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders, and then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles by insurance men who go
Check to see that no one is escaping to Desolation Row.

Right now I can't read too good
Don't send me no letters, no.
Not unless you mail them from Desolation Row.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Avenged Sevenfold - "Avenged Sevenfold"

I can't get enough of this album.
Avenged Sevenfold is a band I was familiar with in the vaguest of ways. I had heard Afterlife and seen the music video, just like anyone else who had their televisions set to Fuse. However, that was the only song I'd heard by them, and didn't go out of my way to listen to anything more.
Once again, my mistake.

However, a friend of mine convinced me to go see Avenged Sevenfold with her when they came to our neck of the woods earlier this month. The show was epic. But, it wouldn't have been half as good if my friend hadn't let me borrow all of Avenged Sevenfold's albums beforehand, to let me "catch up" and maybe not feel like such a poser when they finally came on stage x]
From Sounding the Seventh Trumpet (2001) to City of Evil (2005), I got acquainted with all of the band's work. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Avenged Sevenfold's previous works were much more metal, much more hardcore, than their more recent releases; after hearing the melodic, soulful Afterlife, the full-on screaming in the band's previous albums was a surprise. But, what I noticed is that - no matter which style the band sought for -, with each album, I found something different to appreciate about this band.

In the end, though, it was the band's latest, self-titled album, released in 2007, which caught my attention. There were just so many chances taken on this album - the band really took a different spin on their sound with this one. While some old fans may not appreciate Avenged Sevenfold's drift away from their previous metal sound, I find it impossible to imagine how you couldn't appreciate the lengths this band went to in order to create a truly unique album.

This is an album review for Avenged Sevenfold.

Avenged Sevenfold- Avenged Sevenfold (2007)

1. Critical Acclaim - The band makes an impressive enterance with the first track of this album, declaring their new style and their new sound in almost a defiant manner, pairing organ chords with dramatic guitar melodies that send shivers down the spine. The song picks up shortly, with the drum line stealing the show. As a whole, every aspect of this song is overwhelming, and all you can do is sit back ... and enjoy. The band makes many powerful statements with the lyrics in this song; however, you're almost too drawn up in the sheer brilliance of the track to notice the message the band is making.
2. Almost Easy - The group doesn't even pause for a breath before running headlong into track two. With less elements incorporated than the opening song, it's easier to absorb the message behind this track; the lyrical impact. The hook is definitly one which strikes a nerve, as vocalist M. Shadows declares time and again that, "I'm not insane!". The bridge of this song is a standout, incorporating melodic, flowing backing vocals to really wrap up this track.
3. Scream - From the very beginning of this track all the way through, you just feel ... well, a little naughty listening to track three. The band backs down in intensity slightly, but makes up for it in plain and simple sexual tension. Not exactly a standout track, but not one to be ignored, either.
4. Afterlife - The stand-alone single from the album. As many times as I've heard this song, the strings which start the song off never lose effect; their shrieking high notes, followed immediantly by the guitars, still gives me shivers. Simple, melodic vocals are paired with the heavier guitars, bass and drums to give this track a unique style. Plenty of elements were incorporated into this track to make it the success it ultimately was.
5. Gunslinger - Any hardcore A7X fans were probably mortified to hear the acoustic, almost country-western guitar strumming which began this track. However, when the intensity picks back up after the first chorus, fans were allowed a sigh of relief. The styling of this track is a perfect example of the chances the band took on this album; and, to me, it paid off, in a huge way. The emotion in this track is intoxicating; I can't stop listening. The female backing vocals make their first significant appearance during the guitar solo of this song, and the effect is haunting.
6. Unbound (The Wild Ride) - One of two on the album which really just don't do much for me. I do adore the intricate piano melodies and backing vocals during the verses; however, as a whole, this track just doesn't stand out to me. The lyrics are okay, and, while the guitar parts are impressive ... but all in all? Just "alright". I really do love the bridge of this song ... but, honestly, my attention usually doesn't hold long enough to make it to that point in the track.
7. Brompton Cocktail - The second not-so-interesting track. There are parts of this song that I really enjoy; specifically, the string melodies during the verses. However, the vocal performance is only mediocre, and while the instrumentals are impressive at times, as a whole, the song just doesn't keep my attention.
8. Lost - The band takes another huge chance in track eight ... and, thankfully, it pays off. The guitars completely attack this song, starting off with a beautiful solo before taking off when the vocals begin. However, it's not until the chorus that this song really makes you stop and pay attention. The way they have altered the vocals in the studio, giving them an almost techno style, is a far cry from the band's old sound - and yet, it totally works. All the elements of this track, combined, just make it a unique song that I can't stop listening to!
9. A Little Piece of Heaven - My favorite track on the album, by far. A twisted tale of romance gone wrong, the story the lyrics tell are really only half the reason this song is so great. This song wouldn't be near the same without every element the band incorporated; strings, piano, brass; backing vocals, almost sounding like a choir ... it's almost a rock opera, but not quite. Besides these little "extras", the performance by the band is top-notch. Just a perfectly demented, beautifully skitzophrenic track.
10. Dear God - I was surprised when the band chose to end such a dramatic, complex album with an acoustic track. However, in a way, this was the perfect song to wrap things up. With simple, heartfelt lyrics and passionate performance by the whole band, this song is just beautiful. The acoustic, again, is almost country-western in influence, but not enough so to drastically change the sound - and a two-minute guitar solo at the end of the track reminds us that A7X is just as hardcore as ever.

Although the sound on this album may be quite different than anything the band has ever produced before, I think the changes Avenged Sevenfold took on this album are ultimately what made me respect them as a band. As a new fan, I can't justify an argument about how the band has changed thier sound, how they arn't what they once were ...
But, isn't that what being a band is about? Changing, growing, making something new?
I think Avenged Sevenfold has done just that. Please, check out these links and learn more about this unique band.

The band's website can provide you with all you need to know about Avenged Sevenfold, including tour dates; if you're lucky, maybe you can see this band perform live, as I have.

Lyrics to all the songs on this album and A7X's other releases can be found on this website.

I'm going to share with you the music video for A Little Piece of Heaven. I realize the video is as sick as the song ... but at the same time, it's as unique, as creative, as the album in which I've just reviewed. While maybe some of you cannot see what I see in this video, I hope some of you can appreciate the creative measures the band took in both the video and the song.
So, enjoy A Little Piece of Heaven, by Avenged Sevenfold; but, please, don't ignore the disclaimer ;)

Avenged Sevenfold - A Little Piece of Heaven Official Music Video

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dog Problems

Ah, The Format. One of my closest friends introduced me to these guys over the summer, and I'm very happy she did.

I hear The Format as a blend of Indie Rock and Broadway Musical, and I consider Dog Problems (off their album of the same name) their most epic sounding song.

The lyrics are fun and witty, and matched with fast paced vocal melodies. You can't help but want to memorize the words and sing along every time you hear the song.

This is definitely a must for everyone's i-pod. The perfect song to add to a "Summertime" or "Happy Songs" playlist. It has most certainly become a part of the soundtrack to my life.


Dog Problems-The Format (Official Video)



Speak for someone you don't know
They'll feel it in the back of their throat
We know I can't construct a poem
'Cause words like girls get bored and run
C'est la vie
I say "I've got so many better things"
I've got nothing
You should see me
I smoke myself to sleep

And blame postmodern things I can't relate
Like summer camp and coastal states
Like alcohol and coffee beans
Dance floors and magazines
I think its safe to say I've only got myself to blame
But boys in swooping haircuts
Are bringing me down
Taking pictures of themselves
Oh, no

“Boys in swooping haircuts you know who you are”

And so I walk the web in search of love
But always seem to end up stuck
I'm finding flaws in everyone.
I've reached the point where all I want
Is to sleep around in hopes that I will catch back up
We are parallel lines
We’re running in circles
We're never meant to cross

I'm at a loss
You were my tangerine
My pussycat, my trampoline
Now all's I get are wincing cheeks
And dog problems
I signed a lease
Thinking my heart belonged at 93rd and park
Instead I broke a girls heart
And flew back to Phoenix
To finish the year as it started

Can you hear me?
Are you listening?
This is the sound of my heart breaking
And I hope it's entertaining
Cause for me
It's a bitch

Was it worth it?
When you slept with him?
Did you get it all out of your system?

I am a man
Holding it all
I couldn’t breath
Coming across
I didn’t know
I couldn’t get up

B is for believing you'd always be here for me
E is for everything, even when we'd see it though
C, C is for seeing through you,
You are a fake, which brings me to...
A because, because, you always run away

I never finish phrases I misspell
An open arm's a prison cell
When I said, "I hate what I've become"
I lied, I hated who I was
So when you start to wonder
About the pain in my throat,
Well don't you ever, no never ever
Speak for someone

(lyrics found on, and video found on youtube)