Our favorite and most memorable songs. To tell the tale of Owen's parents to him through music. One day he can look back and listen, sing along to, or even laugh at his parents' sometimes poor taste in music.
Reveille - Permanent (Take A Look Around)
On the other end of the spectrum from my nu-metal listening years is a band like Reveille. Unlike Ill Nino who I wrote about for you just before this, these guys had a short run, putting out just two albums before disappearing into music lore forever. They had some success and put out a few things that I still listen to, but in comparison to groups from the same era, the music does not necessarily pass the test of time.
Still, Permanent (Take A Look Around) is a favorite of mine. It’s full on rap rock, stuff that used to get me up and moving as a high schooler/early college student. It is a song that brings back memories of a time when I had few responsibilities and could go to every show that passed through the area. I saw them a time or two playing this very song and may have even done the Graham version of the nu-metal bob and sway. Something you’ll likely never see…
Ill Nino - Zombie Eaters
Of the bands I listened to when nu-metal was very popular, Ill Nino was one of the ones that for me at least holds up well. Sure some of the music from those years sounds dated, but I don’t think much of their stuff does and that is a good thing. They’re also one of the bands from those years still making music. Others have long disbanded, but they’ve managed to continue on and keep a decent size fanbase. I absolutely applaud them for that.
One of my favorite songs by the group is actually a cover of a Faith No More song. Zombie Eaters also happens to feature guest vocals from Chino Moreno and you’ll know well enough just how much I love that man and anything he does! There is a bit of their sound in the song, which to me is what a good cover should do: resemble the original song but have a bit of your own “flavor”. I actually prefer songs with that bit of flavor that still remain true to the original. Those that stray from the original melody or structure tend to bother me. Whatever you do though son, don’t be the “hate all covers” guy. No one likes that guy.
A Love Like Pi - I Am A Soldier
When I sat down to write about A Love Like Pi, I tried to remember exactly when it was I found them and I couldn’t pinpoint when it was. I know it was after their first EP came out, so it was likely another band I could attribute to The PRP. Your mom and I did get to see them on one of the few tours I think they did outside of their area in the northeast. They played a place here that I don’t think even exists anymore. It was a dive bar type place that had the most random shows. I remember the show being a very good one, as the guys were definitely a high energy group.
I do know that the first song I heard from the group that captured my attention instantly was I Am A Soldier. The song has a pretty dramatic intro and vocalist Lief Liebmann caught my ear. He has an interesting voice and there is an emotional, honest quality in his voice that I to this day enjoy. The lyrics to the song itself were also part of what made and still makes this one of my favorite songs period. I’ve seen various thoughts on the meaning and I tend to agree with one particular idea as to the background of the song myself. This is one I want you to hear and make up your own mind on though as that is half the fun sometimes with music, coming up with a meaning to the song for yourself!
Less Than Jake - Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts
My freshman year of high school saw the release of my favorite album still to this day from Less Than Jake. Losing Streak was an album of fun, anthemic tracks perfect for impressionable high school kids to have fun to. I was just beginning to learn what ska was at the time and their brand of ska punk music was perfect to bring a new listener to the genre. It’s crazy to think that this was a group of college age guys, just a few years older than me that would go on to be successful for now 20 years and counting.
Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts is still my favorite song from the group. Who doesn’t love a Johnny Quest reference? (This will serve as a reminder to show you some Johnny Quest stuff.) It’s a fun, high energy song where you’ll be able to hear exactly what ska punk is. More horns than you can shake a stick at!
Elton John - Tiny Dancer
Your grandmother is the resident Elton John fan of everyone in the family. At least moreso than the rest of us I do believe. She had a few of his records which have been passed to me that we can pull out if you like what you hear. A showy singer/piano player, John has been active for 45+ years as a musician. He has made a career for himself rivaled by few others and I don’t think it would be possible to find anyone out there that hasn’t heard at least one song of his.
My personal favorite song of his is Tiny Dancer. I enjoy the full 6 minute version more than the radio edit and so the original is the one I have put on your playlist. There is a neat transition in the feel of the song in one of the choruses as the instrumentation changes. If you grow to enjoy music like your parents do you’ll hopefully learn to look for things like this in the music you choose to listen to!
Straylight Run - Existentialism On Prom Night
Of the original members of Taking Back Sunday, John Nolan is the guy I definitely found to be most talented. When he left the group a decade or so ago (and has since returned) and started Straylight Run, I was admittedly excited to hear where he would go with a band of his own. For several years now he has managed to put out great music worth listening to through the band. They’re also a band I would count highly among the bands I have seen live over the years which is why I wanted to make sure something of theirs was on your list.
The song pretty much everyone know that has heard of the group was the obvious go-to for your playlist. Existentialism On Prom Night is very much a favorite song of mine. I would without question be willing to use the adjective “beautiful” to describe the song. There is a “slow-dance” quality to the song fitting of the title. Great lyrics and Nolan’s vocals are what put the song over the top for me. The ending to the song where Nolan trails off is one of those lasting moments in a song for me so I do hope you enjoy it like I do.
Not the winning ticket
O is already very serious when it comes to his bets on the ponies.
Audioslave - Show Me How To Live
There have been many “supergroups” throughout the years in music and Audioslave were one of my favorites for sure. Take 3/4 of the awesomeness that was Rage Against The Machine and throw in a fantastic vocalist like Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and there is nothing that could go wrong here. They were pretty much a standard, heavier rock band that fit on the radio and I was completely ok with that.
From their first album, Show Me How To Live was the song I wanted you to hear. It was a radio hit and is a great representation of what the band was capable of with the musicians involved. The vocals are very typical Cornell and that is a very good thing. If I don’t have you listen to his music, your grandmother would probably not be pleased!
Singing Adams - Married Woman
This band Singing Adams were a relatively recent discovery for me. I found this album Everybody Friends Now in one of my typical browse through random bands I’ve never heard of moods and they became an instant favorite. Steven Adams, the singer, has an interesting tone to his voice and they put together some nice melodies. I definitely am glad to have found them almost by accident.
One of my favorite tracks off the album I mentioned is Married Woman. It’s a slow-paced track with male and female vocals. The instrumentation in the song is interesting with the song feeling pretty bare bones. The vocals seem to be the focus and Adams and his female counterpart form a nice duo on the song. Their other songs are a bit more upbeat as opposed to the subdued nature of this one, but I think that difference is why I enjoy the song so much.
Monty Are I - Dublin Waltz
I’ve seen Monty Are I a few times live and they were a great live show each time. Very high energy which is all you can ask for out of a band playing the style of music they do. They’ve been inactive for a few years now so I am not sure if they still exist as a band or not. It seems as though lots of others wonder the same thing based on what I read online. I always why bands don’t say one way or the other what they are (or aren’t) up to. Communication seems to be what keeps some bands from really developing a fanbase.
Their first album Wall of People is one I’ll be handing to you as it is full of solid tunes. Dublin Waltz is one of those songs and is probably my favorite from the group. There is a theatrical sound to most of the song that ends musically as a waltz (hence the song name). As with most of the music I pass down, I really like the vocals here as well. And any song that makes mention of or refers to something Irish gets a thumbs up always in my book.