Thursday, December 4, 2008

October 28, 2008 - 2008? Or 1988?

**This is from the archives...

Over the weekend, I did my American duty. No, I didn't vote early, I went to Wal-Mart and picked up the new AC/DC album Black Ice. I haven't listened to every track yet, but I really dig what I've heard so far. The guitars, the rythms and the vocals all sound great! "Anything Goes" gives me a "Moneytalks" feel; "War Machine" makes me want to get into a fight. Any time I play the lead single "Rock N Roll" train, I turn the studio speakers up to 10! They may all be over 50 years old, but they can still freaking rock!

Then I started thinking about some of the other "new rock" that is out – “new" as in new Metallica, new Tesla, new Queen, new Guns N' Roses, new Motley Crue, along with the previously mentioned new AC/DC. Is this 2008, or 1988? Seriously, think about it! If I asked you, Metallica, Tesla, Queen, Guns N' Roses, Motley Crue and AC/DC all have new albums out (or coming out, Guns N' Roses is out in November), what year is it, you would probably guess a year in the 80's!

And I'm not complaining, all of the old dude, new rock is great!

Metallica's new album Death Magnetic is killer, especially if you're a fan of 80's Metallica, going back to their true thrash metal days of Kill 'em All, Master of Puppets and And Justice of All. The average length of each song is more than seven minutes long. The songs go back to the days of telling cool stories, complete with epic guitar solos and riffs! The first single, "The Day That Never Comes," is a prime example of what the whole album is all about.

Tesla, one of the most underrated bands of the 80's, has made a statement with their latest effort, Forever More, featuring the song "I Wanna Live." To me, Tesla sounds like a new band! The album is great. You feel some of the sounds from their roots in the 80's, but it sounds just as current as some of the new bands out today. The album has everything you'd want and expect from Tesla – anthems, power ballads, and straight up rock 'n' roll tunes.

"New Queen? Isn't their lead singer Freddy Mercury dead?" Yes, he's dead. "Then, who's singing for them?" Paul Rodgers. "The lead singer of Bad Company?" Yep, that's the guy. To bring you up to speed, a few years ago, a couple of guys from Queen wanted to get back on the road and play the music of Queen. And literally, just a couple, only guitarist Brian May, and drummer Roger Taylor are still with the band, original bass player John Deacon wanted nothing to do with this. They decided to get Paul Rodgers on vocals. May & Taylor said they didn't want anyone to sound remotely like Mercury, and they definitely got that in Rodgers. So they toured, doing old Queen and Paul Rodgers songs. Let me say, I'm a HUGE Queen fan, but I wasn't a fan of the live album they released. It just didn't "sound right." But if you put Queen & Paul Rodgers in the studio together, it sounds awesome! It sounds like the music of Queen and the vocals of Paul Rodgers, and it does "sound right." The new album, The Cosmos Rocks, was made for the hardcore fans of both Queen & Rodgers. It features the weird, but cool effects Queen were known for, the killer guitar licks from May, and some strong vocals from Rodgers. Check it this one out if you're a true classic rock fan, or a fan of Queen or Rodgers.

Guns N' Roses. You know the story, Chinese Democracy, Axl's been working on it for 15 years, it's cost over $20 million to make, half the album has leaked online, and there have been multiple rumored release dates. However, the end of the story says the album will be released in November exclusively through Best Buy, and we all get a free Dr. Pepper. With all of that, let the debate begin – is this really Guns N' Roses. No, not even close, but I'm just hear to talk about the music, you can sort that out amongst yourselves. The first single is the title track, and it rocks. It does, you have to agree. Does it sound like vintage GNR? No. Do the guitars and vocals sound a little funky? Yes. Does it lack a chorus? Yes. Is it the best song on the album? Hell no. Based on the leaks, there are some killer songs on this album. The power ballads "Better" and "Madagascar" are tunes straight from the Use Your Illusion days. "Shackler's Revenge," which is on the video game Rock Band 2, reminds me of "Nightrain" and "It's So Easy" but sounds “new.” "I.R.S." shows how great of a songwriter Axl really is. You'll dig it. The first single, "Chinese Democracy," is just Axl's way of saying, "no really, we are going to release this album."

How are all of the members of Motley Crue still alive and able to like each other long enough to record an awesome album, their best since 1989's Dr. Feelgood? Well, that's what the most decadent band of the 80's did with The Saints of Los Angeles. All of the members may be approaching or over 50, but they still have something to say, and that something is "we are still badass." The singles, "The Saints of Los Angeles" and "Motherfucker of the Year," certainly say that, along with "Welcome to the Machine," "This Ain't a Love Song," and "Face Down in the Dirt." Turn this one up real loud!

So there you go, the spandex and the big hair may have gone away, but the bands and the music are definitely here to stay! Makes me wonder what will happen to the bands of today? Do you think Nickelback, Three Doors Down, Three Days Grace, Papa Roach, Staind, Seether, Breaking Benjamin, and Buckcherry will be making "new" music in 2028? Time will only tell.