[I started this Wednesday morning.]
I'm not sure why I'm bothering with all these reviews. I think it's more about my honing my writing than it is about looking for good music or sharing my thoughts on artists. The problem is that the format I've chosen for my reviews--to review each track on a new album with my first impressions--isn't exactly designed for streamlining a writing technique. I'm digging into the reviews with purposeful ignorance which clears me of as much personal and media bias as possible, but the trade-off is that it leaves me vulnerable for mistakes and missed opportunities. And what does anyone learn from a review like that? Is anyone even supposed to learn anything? Am I promoting these albums or myself? What is the point of writing, blogging, anything, etc.? Is about money? God damned money? It sure as hell ain't about basketball.
This AOL New Music thing is good because it streams newly and soon-to-be released albums free of charge. They can't just be random free albums though, right? They're probably all in the AOL family of conglomerations. What do they own these days? Are they still friendly with Time-Warner? I don't know, and I'm probably better off not knowing. This is going to be a long day, and I'm getting too crazy, too early.
I chose the album The Great Unknown by Logan because I was going to weave it into the first paragraph as some sort of existential segue to my impending unemployment, but changed my mind. I have never heard of Logan. I don't yet know if it's a person, a band, or a music-making robot because I haven't clicked on the album cover. The bland concrete slab suggests to me that it's going to be a boring corporate hard rock band.
[At this point, I clicked 600 times and couldn't get the god damned album to play. Two days later I discovered that Firefox was the source of my computer's crippling network issues, so I can resume the review, or what David Archuleta fans would refer to as a "review." Since then I found out they're a Scottish hard rock band that wears black t-shirts. Let's hear if I'm right about their sound. The suspense has been killing me...]
"The Great Unknown" -The intro sounds familiar. The spacey, arpeggiated guitars and drum beat reminds me of the Incubus song "Stellar." The guy starts singing and I absolutely hate his voice. It takes the annoying Aaron Lewis/Scott Stapp style and marries it with the annoying Nickelback pseudo twang. Lyrics and guitar progressions are incredibly dull and formulaic. I could easily see this being played on WDHA, and no, that's not a compliment.
"Rock 'n' Roll Way" - Still immensely annoying and boring, but at least there's a fun little shuffle in the guitar riff--a way less interesting Smashing Pumpkins "Here is No Why." Dude's voice is SO NASAL that's it's making me actually look forward to the 15-second guitar solo that I guarantee will show up at the same point in every song on this album, except for on the acoustic/piano ballad that I guarantee will show up at some point later on the album. This will probably be played at the next WWE pay-per-view event. Still not a compliment.
"When I Get Down" - Arpeggiated intro? Check. Does this shit really make money? Fuck every record company for encouraging people to buy this crap. 15 second solo? Check. Music stops before last chorus? Check. Think less "When I Get Down (Listening to James Brown) and more "When I Get Down (From the Ledge After Listening To This Song)."
"Save Me" - Arpeggiated intro? Check. The rhymes on all these songs are extremely elementary, and glancing at the titles, I know these words are all going to be recycled soon. I don't think he's said "pain" yet at least. 15 second solo? Check. Oh fuck, is that a violin? They're expanding their sound!
"Jump In Again" - Arpeggiated intro? Check. The he sings "jump in" through this nose makes it sounds like he's saying "the pain" so I'll count that as a strike. 15 second guitar solo? Check. Music stops before last chorus? Check.
"Hallowed Ground" - No spacey intro this time, but the intro riff sounds pretty much like the repetitive verse riff of "When I Get Down." These guys want to rock big, but they don't want to rock fast or fun. Every riff is dark, but derivative. 15 second guitar solo? Check. This one uses "ground" and "down" in the chorus (much like in "When I Get Down"), but for variety adds "bound." I can't wait to hear what they've got cooking for "Lost & Found."
"Brother" - Arpeggiated intro? Check. Every fucking cliche on Earth? Check. 15 second guitar solo? Check. Music stops before last chorus? Why do people feel the need to keep writing generic songs about freedom? If you call a song "Brother" you should write it about the unique experiences or character of your fucking brother, not some hackneyed bullshit about standing and dying side by side with your brother at the river of blood for freedom, etc.
"Lost & Found" - Arpeggiated intro? Check. The music is noticeably more upbeat on the verse in this track, despite singing about "turmoil" and "burning." It doesn't keep up though because they're determined to muck things up with gloom. The chorus are the usual arena rock bullshit but surprisingly doesn't rhyme "found" with anything. Instead it's the "lost your way" cliche coupled with more hand holding (I don't even remember what other song that was in anymore). 15 second guitar solo? Check.
"Spin the Wheel" - Here we go, this one's gonna rock. Ok, don't get me wrong, this is still generic, corporate hard rock, but the lead guitarist is having fun now at least. Some trills, string scratches, wah-wah, turning the pickups on and off, 15 second solo, etc. The lyrics are still terrible and vaguely defiant ("Better stay out of my way"), but the music is less dreary than most of the tunes so far. Maybe that's a compliment?
"Born to Run (Born to Love)" - Arpeggiated intro? Check. Born to run? Check. Born to love? Check. Born to rock? Nah, they still won't commit to that. They are prepared to spew more vagueness in the lyrics though. The chorus proclaims "Everything's gonna get better," but then for some reason they hedge their bets a bit and admit "Everything's gonna get a little bit better." For the record, it doesn't get any better at all after the 15 second solo.
Big doomy guitar riff starts off "Hurricane." I'm convinced that there are two different people writing these songs--one is a pussy, and the other is less of a pussy. The one that is less of a pussy should quit and join a band with people that aren't constantly staying "you know what would be awesome to start this song? A spacey arpeggio!" We've got "down" rhyming with "ground" again, by the way. No solo, but Wylde leads going all throughout the song.
The last song starts with a spacey arpeggio just in case you didn't see it coming. "Hold My Hand" of course features more hand-holding support for someone hiding and fighting through vague problems. When the singer is done collecting money from vague music listeners, he should maybe go get a job as a social worker.
If you have vague problems and a 15 second guitar solo can solve them, by all means, buy this album.