Category Archives: Music Love

Music You Aren’t Listening To But Should Be: Halestorm

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This is part of a continuing series. The first was on Billy Joel, and the second on Matchbox 20. I last posted about The Dixie Chicks.

Let me continue by showing love to a loud, edgy rock group with an intimidatingly beautiful, insanely talented, and terrifyingly angry lead singer to match. I’m referring to Halestorm, led by Lzzy Hale.

In this list, I’m going to be sticking to their original songs, but I also highly recommend their covers of Bad Romance and All I Wanna Do (Is Make Love To You) — they are phenomenal.

I got on the Halestorm bus right away, with some of their earliest songs. I remember the first time I heard “Miss the Misery.” I was driving to work and hadn’t caught the band or title, but I was so enamored that as soon as I pulled into the parking lot I used my phone to search the lyrics to find it again. I couldn’t get it out of my head. Her voice was so powerful and unique and, again, angry.

 

A song that always makes me smile — mainly because it’s a phrase I’ve heard my sister-in-law use countless times — is “You Call Me a Bitch Like It’s a Bad Thing.” It’s a catchy song, fun to sing along to, and very empowering.

 

Another popular crowd-pleaser, “Here’s to Us” was featured on the television show Glee. I appreciate the strength this band portrays — showing their listeners that it is not only good but our right to stand up for ourselves. It’s a message that cannot be overstated.

 

Admittedly, the loud yelling is not for everyone. But before you try to pigeonhole this group, I challenge you to listen to some of their more beautiful, touching, and meaningful songs. Take, for instance, “Familiar Taste of Poison.” Likely, the most specifically relatable lyrics are “I tell myself that you’re no good for me. I wish you well, but desire never leaves. I can fight this to the end, but maybe I don’t wanna win.” More impressively, this is a song off their debut album.

 

One that has a bit of an 80’s influence (I’m looking at you, Skid Row’s “18 and Life”) is off their third album. “What Sober Couldn’t Say” is a genuinely touching love song/ballad. Vocally, it’s clearly highly inspired by Pink and Lady Gaga. Lyrically, it’s a tragic story of what can happen when you are trapped in a relationship you can’t admit is long over and, thus, bad for you.

 

“Break In” is about the speaker letting someone in after (metaphorically) building a wall around themselves. She sings, “You are the only one — the only that sees me, that trusts me and believes me. You are the only one the only one that knows me.”

 

A top favorite of mine is “Innocence.” The speaker is telling someone she likes not to get too close to her because she will destroy him — that she has no interest other than the thrill of the chase. It’s haunting. I love it. Love. It.

 

Did I miss one of your favorites by Halestorm? Let me know — I love the group and would like to catch all their best ones.

Peace and love.

 

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Music You Aren’t Listening To But Should Be: The Dixie Chicks

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This is part of a continuing series. Here’s the first, on Billy Joel, and the second, on Matchbox 20.

Admittedly, country music is not my preferred genre. That being said, I do love a surprising number of country bands and solo artists, both old and young. One such group is the Dixie Chicks. These women are incredibly talented, beautiful, and courageous, and I couldn’t recommend that you check them out more highly.

1.”Wide Open Spaces”: Written as a tribute to growing up and going off on your own, this is one of the first songs the band released after Natalie Maines joined as lead singer. It is a song about experiencing new things, meeting new people — essentially going on an adventure and not being afraid to do so.

 

2.”Not Ready to Make Nice”: This song is one of their more recent hits, and was released after the band received media backlash when, during a concert performance in England, they infamously denounced President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. While the controversy over their comments swirled, the band wrote this song to express their own anger and sadness at how people were reacting to them. It won three Grammy awards.

 

3.”You Were Mine”: My favorite song from this band, the lyrics describe the common but heart-breaking situation of one partner falling in love with someone new and the other not wanting to let go. It has a haunting melody and genuine emotion behind the lyrics.

 

4.”Landslide”: While originally written and performed by Fleetwood Mac, this song very naturally shifts into a country vibe and fits the Dixie Chicks’ vocal and instrumental abilities perfectly. Furthermore, while this is completely unimportant and superficial, the three ladies each look absolutely stunning in this video. I’m fairly certain they are actual goddesses.

 

5.”Goodbye Earl”: In this song, the band tackles some tough topics: domestic violence and murder. Sadly, it brings to light some of the flaws of our justice system, in that while someone is in theory protected by a restraining order, it is, in actuality, often an ineffective method of defense. All that aside, this song’s set to an upbeat rhythm and makes for an ideal group karaoke tune on girls’ night.

 

It was incredibly hard for me to only choose a few of the many great options from the Dixie Chicks. I may have to do another post on this band in the future. Until then, I also suggest checking out “Without You” and “Cowboy Take Me Away.”

Peace and love.

Music You Aren’t Listening To But Should Be: Matchbox Twenty

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This is part of a continuing series. Here’s the first, on Billy Joel.

Welcome to the second installment of my newest series about the life-changing impact of discovering new music. I, personally, love receiving recommendations for artists with whom I am unfamiliar. This brings me to this post’s featured band: Matchbox Twenty.

Yourself or Someone Like You, which was released in 1996, was one of the first CDs I ever purchased, and I listened to it on repeat so much that I learned all the words by heart. Bizarrely, I still know most of the lyrics today, whereas I often can’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday.

1.”Push”: This is the first song I remember hearing from the group, and is one of my long-standing favorites. I was in high school when it was released, and back in those days music videos were LIFE. In my case, I got a glimpse of Rob Thomas and instantly knew I would marry him some day. The song describes mistreating the people we love, and who can’t relate to that?

 

2.”Bent”: This song from their second album proved them to be more than just a one-album-wonder, and revived my love for the group. It describes how we often make our relationships much more complicated than they need to be.

 

3.”3 AM”: Another early favorite of mine, this song perfectly fit the soundtrack of my college years: staying up late, obsessive worry, a fear of the future, but grasping desperately to just a little bit of hope.

 

4.”Real World”: How could you not like a song which includes the lyrics “I wish the real world would just stop hassling me.” I love this one. It’s fun.

 

5.”She’s So Mean”: One of the songs from a more recent album, this song channels Billy Joel as well as the bubblegum pop of the 1960’s. I can’t help but want to dance whenever I hear it.

 

I hope you enjoyed these choices. Though Matchbox Twenty just went on another hiatus a few weeks ago, we can keep our fingers crossed that they will get back together again in the future. In the meantime, Rob Thomas can work on writing the song he’ll sing to me on our wedding day.

Peace and love.

 

Music You Aren’t Listening To But Should Be: Billy Joel

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I am a huge music lover. Big time. It is my passion. I play the cello. I, for a few years, played the string bass in my high school band. I was in every available choir from middle school through my final year of college. I love all genres of music, from hardcore gangsta rap to the classical Baroque pieces performed by Yo-Yo Ma.

Music is my life. That is why the realization that I haven’t written anything related to music came as such a shock to me. I was humming one of my favorite songs while playing an online game when I had an epiphany: I must share my love of music in a new series about songs people probably forgot or never knew to begin with.

So here it is — part one of my new series. I am beginning with an artist who spans decades and is beloved by people of all ages. He crosses musical genres and he appeals to all generations. He writes songs about history, culture, politics, pain, and beauty. He is the Piano Man.

1.One of my all-time favorite songs by Billy Joel is “And So It Goes.” A man recognizes that his inability to truly trust and be open with the woman he loves has led to a distance their relationship is unable to span. He begs her to stay, but knows she cannot. It is a piece about lost love and heartbreak, a lyric poem set to a beautiful, haunting melody.

 

2.Another of my favorites is “Goodnight Saigon.” It was written as an ode to those who lost their childhoods, and often their lives, in Vietnam. It is a powerful reminder of the lasting and life-altering destruction of war. Whether the war is necessary or not, its costs are astronomical. Whether the war is popular or not, its effects are detrimental.

 

3.My next recommendation from Billy Joel is “Allentown.” It’s about a dying town full of unemployed blue-collar workers. They once believed in the “American dream” but are discovering that the world sometimes lets you down, no matter how hard you work. It is a poignant statement about the dangers of outsourcing our jobs to other countries. It’s also a cautionary tale to our nation’s young people, with the moral being that life isn’t fair and you, unfortunately, don’t always get what you deserve.

 

4. Next up is “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” This song is an impressive list of the major occurrences in the world from 1949 through 1989. Each detail had a significant impact on society. Plus, the tune is fun.

 

5. And, finally, “The Piano Man.” Listen closely to the lyrics — this song describes with undeniable clarity the sadness and various disappointments people must face in life. Some rely on other folks to help with their struggles. Joel both accepts and mourns the fact that he is the one to whom people turn to get them through their pain.

Let me know your favorite song from one of my favorite artists. Peace and love.