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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Breakup Recovery Song: Kenny Chesney, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sara Evans


THE Southern Rock Band lead by the incomparable Ronnie Van Zant.   In his short life, he inspired a generation and wrote epic songs like Freebird and Simple Man that will live forever in rock & roll history.   This is an interesting message song about gun control, especially since Ronnie was a gun owner.    But the lyrics demonstrate that impulse violence is always possible when a gun in around.   "Ain't good for nothing, put a man 6 feet in a hole".

"A LITTLE BIT STRONGER"                     SARA EVANS

First off, Sara Evans is one of the sexiest women in country music history.    This song was written by Lindsey of Lady Antebellum but rather than record it, she offered it to Sara.   For anyone who's had a traumatic breakup, it's a struggle, you have your good days and then something (a song, a comment from a friend, a picture found in a box in your closet) triggers all of those emotions again.   This brilliant video captures Sara dealing with the pain and getting stronger and stronger over time.    Great video to build your confidence and pick yourself back up when life feels rough.    Sara's emotional performance of "A Little Bit Stronger" at the CMT Awards received a standing ovation!

"I GO BACK"                              KENNY CHESNEY 

On New Year's Eve, the perfect song is "I Go Back" by Kenny Chesney.     Kenny wrote this song about a high school friend who died at age 16 but there is nothing morose in the lyrics.

"Jack and Diane" painted a picture of my life and my dreams
Suddenly this crazy world made more sense to me
Well I heard it today and I couldn't help but sing along
Cause everytime I hear that song

We all have a song that some how stamped our lives
Takes us to another place and time
So I go back to a pew, preacher, and a choir
Singin' about god, brimstone and fire
And the smell of Sunday chicken after church
And I go back to the loss of a real good friend
And the sixteen summers I shared with him
Now "Only The Good Die Young" stops me in my tracks
And everytime I hear that song
I go back, I go back

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Friday, December 30, 2011

#1 Song Of 2008 : Airborne Toxic Event, Gotthard, Jon Secada


A very U2-like feel to this emotional song which ITunes named their #1 Alternative Song of the Year in 2008.   Adam Clayton of U2, said it was his favorite record of the year and the band played it before coming on stage on their U2-360 Tour in 2008.  The song chronicles the lead singer running into his ex at a bar one night and recognizing that he was still in love with her.    Love the theme, the moody intro with the powerful chorus, amazing video too!

"I'M ON MY WAY"                          GOTTHARD

Amazing that the biggest selling rock act of Switzerland is basically unknown in this country.   11 albums and every one of them went to #1 in their country.   Discovering Gotthard last year was like finding a buried treasure.    A classic 80's hair metal sound (Bon Jovi is the closest match) but you can also feel Gotthard's supreme musical talents.     Lead singer, Steve Lee, died in a motorcycle accident last year and they just released a song called "Remember Me".    Highly recommended band to check out!


Jon Secada began his career as a songwriter and as a backup singer for Gloria Estefan.    Like Gloria, he's Cuban and a University of Miami graduate!    He had success with "Just Another Day" and "Angel" in the mid 90's then disappeared with some unremarkable musical choices.   This upbeat romantic song is from 2005 and has beautiful Latin rhythms.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Greatest Song Ever Written?: Coldplay with Michael Stipe, P.O.D., The Jesus and Mary Chain

"IN THE SUN"  (Ft. Michael Stipe)              COLDPLAY

Chris Martin says at the end of the video, "This is the greatest song ever written".   I'm not sure if this song lives up to that hype but this such an uplifting masterpiece.   Captured on TV, Austin City Limits, Coldplay invites R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe onstage to sing this Peter Gabriel classic.   "May God's Love be with you always"......

"YOUTH OF THE NATION"                   P.O.D.

P.O.D. got stuck with the Christian rock band tag and never truly got the respect they deserve.     Sonny Sandoval is one of my favorite vocalists, intense, passionate, 100% believes in his lyrics.    They are the pride of San Diego and Mexico and are currently working on a new 2012 CD.    The band's songs have a spiritual message but you can hear their influences, Rage Against The Machine, Bad Brains, The Police, Bob Marley, among others.   They are INCREDIBLE live!!! 

"APRIL SKIES"                         THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN

A sexy 80's alternative record from a Scottish band that began their career playing 20 minute concerts with their backs turned to the audience.   Rioting, bottles being thrown onstage, and fights in the audience didn't help ticket sales but they did get some publicity.   MTV played "Just Like Honey" (featured in the movie Lost In Translation) and "April Skies" became their first big hit.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tricks Are Made For Kids : LL Cool J, Oran "Juice" Jones, Daryl Hall

"PARADISE"  (Ft. AMERIE)              LL COOL  J

LL Cool J with the beautiful scantily clad Gabrielle Union on a tropical beach, what's not to like?    Amerie adds an infectious R&B hook to the chorus.    The song samples Tamia's "So Into You" but reinvents it.     This song was also featured in the comedy, Deliver Us From Eva (starring LL Cool J and Gabrielle)!

"THE RAIN"                            ORAN "JUICE" JONES

One of my all-time favorites!   This song is 100% classic with cheesy lines, a creative video on how to handle infidelity, and a great sample of the Dramatics "In The Rain".  This was the first #1 song for Def Jam's R&B division after so many amazing rap hits.

I gave you silk suits, blue diamonds and gucci handbags.
I gave you things you couldn't even pronounce!
But now I can't give you nothing but advice.
Cause you're still young, yeah, you're young.
And you're gonna find somebody like me one of these days . . .
Until then, you know what you gotta do?
You gotta get on outta here with that alley-cat-coat-wearing,
punch-bucket-shoe-wearing crumbcake I saw you with. Cause you
That's right, Silly rabbit, tricks are made for kids, don't you know
that. You without me is like corn flakes without the milk! This is my
world. You're just a squirrel trying to get a nut! Now get on outta
here. Scat!
Don't touch that coat... 

"SOMEONE LIKE YOU"                   DARYL HALL

Daryl Hall is one of the most successful singers in music history but I still feel he's underrated as a vocalist.    Hall & Oates had 34 songs hit the Top 100!   Songs like Private Eyes, Rich Girl, and Out Of Touch leave people thinking they're a great pop band.   Yet on songs like Sara Smile and especially on this selection, Daryl is the epitome of "blue eyed soul", an amazing, sensitive voice that really emotes every feeling in his classic Philly soul style.   This classic performance in from the Letterman show in the early 90's.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Eminem with Bruno Mars, Collide (sexy Pink Floyd cover), Burn Halo


Following the pattern of the #1 hit with Rihanna, Eminem teams with a pop artist for an intense and inspirational song.   It's from an EP with rapper Royce da 5'9 and it's the only commercial track on the CD.   The song has gotten mixed reviews but I really like the blending of the different styles.   It's got a positive message and video uses Eminem waving flares to illuminate the Lighters theme.


Technically it's not a new song but it's new to me :)     Collide's music is really hard to describe.   It's electronica, dark yet inspiring, atmospheric, with some Middle Eastern influences.    Collide is a duo from L.A.  and this song comes from a 2010 CD of covers.   All of their music is hypnotic, original, and sexually charged.    "Comfortably Numb" is obviously a cover of Pink Floyd's smash from The Wall but this version brings up totally different emotions experiencing this unique cover.

"THREW IT AWAY"                            BURN HALO

From their 2nd CD, Burn Halo, releases this radio friendly rocker that has a classic, vintage, "hair metal" sound especially in the chorus.   The band toured with Adema and Puddle of Mudd last year.    Didn't love this CD but this song is killer.


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Monday, December 26, 2011

Heavy Metal Mount Rushmore: Judas Priest, Papa Roach, Damn Yankees (Ted Nugent)

"SCARS"                                    PAPA ROACH

Jacoby Shaddix, lead singer of Papa Roach, says this song saved his life.   The message behind "Scars" is trying to help someone who doesn't want to be helped.    The video tells the story well but it's the power of the lyrics that really moves me.

I tear my heart open, I sew myself shut
My weakness is that I care too much
And our scars remind us that the past is real
I tear my heart open just to feel

I tried to help you once
Against my own advice
I saw you going down
But you never realized
That you're drowning in the water
So I offered you my hand
Compassions in my nature
Tonight is our last stand

"DON'T GO"                                     JUDAS PRIEST

Rob Halford is the Metal God and if you made a Mount Rushmore out of Heavy Metal vocalists, he'd be there with Ozzy, Robert Plant, and ????     His vocal range and his powerful stage presence is in full glory on his video from the 80's.   "Don't Go" is from 1981's Point of Entry and it has one of the best rhythm sections of any song in the Judas Priest catalog.  

"COME AGAIN"                            DAMN YANKEES

Take the lead singer from Styx, the lead singer from Night Ranger, and add in the Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent, and you get one Super Group that released two great CD's in the 80's.    "Come Again" is sexual, flirty, and a power ballad supreme.   Lead vocals go to Tommy Shaw on this one, it features a great guitar solo, and filming the video in black and white gives it a classic feel.   I've always loved the song but I don't remember ever seeing the video before.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011







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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not: Toby Keith, Thompson Square, Waylon Jennings


Toby Keith is known for his over the top videos, his patriotic views, and his mega-hits that dominate the country music charts.   But this song has special meaning to him and anyone who's lost someone special.   Wayman Tisdale was one of the best college basketball players ever from Oklahoma (Toby's home state).   In fact, the College Basketball award for the Freshman of the Year is named after Wayman.  Besides his basketball prowess, he was an outstanding jazz bass player who released 8 CDs.   At the age of 44, Wayman lost his leg to cancer and died a year later.   Toby Keith dedicated and wrote this brilliant tribute song to his friend and hero to many.  Who isn't moved by these lyrics?

I got up and dialed your number
And your voice came on the line
That old familiar message
I heard a thousand times it just said
Sorry that I missed you
Leave a message and god bless
I know you think I’m crazy
But I had to hear your voice I guess


#1 hit from 2011 by a husband and wife duo which got them nominated for this year's Grammy Awards and earned them CMT Awards for Breakthrough Video of the Year.    Love the lyrics, that point of the date where you're not sure if she's into you, should you take the chance.........

We were sittin' up there on your momma's roof
Talkin' 'bout everything under the moon
With the smell of honeysuckle and your perfume
All I could think about was my next move

Oh, but you were so shy, so was I
Maybe that's why it was so hard to believe
When you smiled and said to me
"Are you gonna kiss me or not?

Are we gonna do this or what?
I think you know I like you a lot
But you're 'bout to miss your shot
Are you gonna kiss me or not?"


My dad's love of country music influenced me.   I remember hearing him play 8-tracks of Waylon, Willie, Johnny Cash, and Merle Haggard growing up.    To me, the outlaw country image of these guys made them seem "cooler" and I liked their rebel style.   Incidentally, Waylon Jennings was scheduled to fly on the plane that killed Buddy Holly, but he bumped from the flight at the last minute.    This tribute song to Hank Williams SR has a lot of attitude and some great guitar picking.

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Friday, December 23, 2011

The XFactor Underdog: Chris Rene, Beth Hart, Joe Bonamassa, Goldfinger


Interesting pairing of two artists who consistently have put out high quality, consistent CD's but haven't hit it big time.    Beth Hart has a Janis Joplin-style of blues, rock, jazz, and probably got her most exposure for "Learning To Live" a motivational workout song used by Jillian of NBC's Biggest Loser.   Guitarist Joe Bonamassa has been putting out decent blues CDs for years.    This new CD also features a great version of "I'd Rather Go Blind"

"LITTLE HOMIE"                       CHRIS RENE

From Wednesday night's finale of Fox's X-Factor, Chris reprised his self-written song to his son about his promise to stay sober.   You had to get goosebumps watching Chris talk about how much his son means to him and wanting to make his son proud.   The song brought Nicole and Paula to tears.

That's how it's supposed to be,
Living life with loved ones close to me,
Shh, ahh, this is the remedy,
And I got the recipe, I don't need no Hennessy,
Yeah, it's been three years now,
Haven't had a drink and I'm starting to see clear now,
I'm putting all my fears down,
I can hear the cheers now,
Seeing peace signs when I look around,
Hey, young homie what you tripping on
Looking at life, like how did I get it wrong,
Life's too short, gotta live it long, 


An awesome punk cover of the 80's smash by Nene.     Just like the original, they throw in some of the lyrics in German!   Goldfinger are a L.A. punk/ska band who also do a great cover of Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out With Him".     Did a little research on the band and they're big advocates for animal rights, which makes me like them even more!    99 Luftballoons was recorded in English and German in the 80's but surprisingly the German version is the one that did the best on the charts.   Goldfinger's cover also appeared on the video game, Gran Turismo 3.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Drunk Driving Consequences: Pat Benatar, Simple Plan, Stone Sour

"FIRE AND ICE"                          PAT BENATAR

Classic 80's rock classic from NYC's Pat Benatar.    It's hard to picture her in this video and not think about Fast Times At Ridgemont High and all of the girls copying her look.   Pat Benatar was originally trained in opera and had to learn to sing rock music, so talented, such a great vocal range.    Early MTV, it was Pat Benatar and Joan Jett leading the way for female rockers.    I caught her and her husband, guitarist Neil Girardo, recently at St Pete's Ribfest and they have the best chemistry on stage, how inspiring to have such a successful marriage and be able to perform together.

"UNTITLED"                            SIMPLE PLAN

An amazing video that shows the real "impact" of drunk driving.   The video shows a drunk driver crashing into a teenage girl and it graphically shows that there are "more victims than people think, and many lives are changed forever", to quote Simple Plan's description.   Simple Plan is a pop-punk band with a lot of influence on young adults, I hope many get to see this video and appreciate the powerful message.

"HOME AGAIN"                       STONE SOUR

Stone Sour is the side band for Corey Taylor, lead singer of Slipknot.    Both bands are hard rock but Stone Sour doesn't use the gimmick of masks and has more accessible powerful rock riffs.   This is the last song on their 2010 CD Audio Secrecy.     Great lyrics here:

You might have changed but all I can see is how you're the same
Behind that face are beautiful things and terrible ways
Remember - I remember - we were everything and nothing together
But I can't stay... and I can't get away

Can anybody hear me? Can anybody live like this?

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Irreplaceable, Freak Like Me, He Got Game: Beyonce, Public Enemy, Adina Howard

"IRREPLACEABLE"                     BEYONCE

To the left, to the left
To the left, to the left

Everything you own in the box to the left
In the closet that's my stuff, yes
If I bought it please don't touch

Beyonce at her best, looking incredible, fun summer jam full of attitude.    This one is from 2006 B'Day CD.     The song was written by Ne-Yo and he sang it live on the radio but it fit Beyonce perfectly and went straight to #1 on the Top 40 charts.  At 2:50, the video is perfection as Beyonce is jamming with the house band of sexy ladies.  


Adina had a huge hit with this one in the 90's but was basically a One-Hit Wonder.   Her sexy style and provocative lyrics was too much for radio as her other "hits" included "T-shirts and Panties" with Jamie Foxx and "Nasty Grind" :)    BET only played her videos after hours with the exception of this 90's classic.

"HE GOT GAME"                  PUBLIC ENEMY

The title track from the Denzel Washington basketball movie. "He Got Game" features Steven Stills from Crosby, Stills, & Nash fame playing lead guitar on the sampled Buffalo Springfield classic "For What It's Worth". Public Enemy took rap to a new level with hardcore 80's beats, political messages, and Black Pride mixing in Chuck D's militant lyrics with the wild antics of Flavor Flav. Ray Allen played Jesus Shuttlesworth in the movie and it's an underrated Spike Ray film.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Flash Mob With Kelly Clarkson: Skrillex, Korn, Tongue Tied


Kelly's back with a future #1 hit with this song.   "(What Doesn't Kill You Makes You) Stronger" features dancefloor beats, a repetitive but determined chorus, and a classic disco groove.    It isn't typical Kelly Clarkson but it's ready for DJ remixes and one listen to this song and you know it will dominate the radio in 2012.


Like Linkin Park who changed their sound for their latest CD and lost a lot of fans but picked up a new audience, Korn is venturing into electronica on their new CD.   Skrillex (nominated for Best New Artist at this year's Grammy Awards) adds hypnotic beats to  Jonathan Davis' vocals.    But the song still has that classic Korn nu-metal sound.

"TONGUE TIED"                           GROUPLOVE

This U.K. Indie band is probably best known for their song "Colors" on the Madden 2012 video game or this song featured prominently in the Apple Ipod-Touch commercials.    The video is trippy (literally!) as some special brownies take the band on a wild ride.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

I Love Tawny Kitaen: Whitesnake, Rancid, Pop Evil

"HERE I GO AGAIN"                         WHITESNAKE

One of the hottest videos of the 80's!   Tawny Kitaen dancing in lingerie on the hood of the car.    Tawny seductively kissing David Coverdale when he's driving.   Her sexy long red hair out of the window the car.    SEXY!   "Here I Go Again" was actually released in 1982 but it wasn't until 1987 and a radio-friendly remix (plus this video!) that the song went to #1.    It was voted on the Top 10 videos of the 80's by VH1.    Funny bit, the one line originally went:   "Like a hobo I was born to walk alone", Coverdale changed it since people would think he was saying like a "homo"    80's homophobia at its best!

"TROPICAL LONDON"                 RANCID

Tim Armstrong (Operation Ivy) heads up one of the best punk bands of the last 20 years.   Rancid is from Berkeley, California, so they were always competing with Green Day in the punk-revival scene.    Billie Joe and Tim have collaborated many times and Tim Armstrong also lead The Transplants which featured Travis Barker from Blink 182.   "Tropical London" is from their latest CD and it has the great line:  "If you lose me, you've lost a good thing!   And that's one thing I know for sure"   Love it!

"MONSTER YOU MADE"                    POP EVIL

Pop Evil's new CD this fall featured this amazing song.   "Monster You Made" is the lead single from their 2nd CD.   Pop Evil is from Michigan, big Wolverine football fans, and they wrote a song called "The Big House" all about their team.  The song is played before games to hype the 100,000+ crowds in Ann Arbor.   How cool is that!!! 

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

London Calling : The Clash, Aretha Franklin, Rob Thomas

"LONDON CALLING"                    THE CLASH

My all-time favorite album cover is London Calling.    This was the third album by the Hall Of Fame English punk band.   What made the Clash so amazing was their ability to incorporate punk, reggae, ska, rock, folk, even funk into their songs.  They were so ahead of their time.    "London Calling" speaks to rising unemployment, Three Mile Island's near disaster in Pennsylvania, and racial disharmony in England.   A few years ago, a Clash Joe Strummer tribute band of Dave Grohl, Bruce Springsteen, and Elvis Costello played this live on the Grammys with Mick Jones!

"SMOOTH" (Unplugged)    ROB THOMAS      

"Smooth" mixed the brilliant guitar work of Carlos Santana with Rob Thomas.     Grammy winning song, #1 hit, voted Top 10 on the list of sexiest songs ever,.......then Rob does an unplugged version with a female singer on the hook and it's amazing with a totally different vibe.   The song is more mesmerizing, sexy as can be, but a chill-out vibe.   Brilliant song either version.


The queen of soul, Aretha, has that soulful voice that can reach into your soul.    Ben E. King of the Drifters was the first to record this song but Aretha took it to #1 in 1970.    It's a great song and the video shows Aretha on the piano singing this R&B classic with gospel passion.   You can see her facial expression and emotions play out, she's mad he'd lied and she's calling him out.    Great singer, great song!

Don't play that song for me
'Cause it brings back memories
Of days that I once knew
The days that I spent with you
Oh no, don't let him play it
It fills my heart with pain
Please stop it right away
I remember just-a what he said

He said darling, "Darling, I love you"
And I know that he lied

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Angels Among Us: Kid Rock, Alabama, Leann Rimes


Love or him or hate him, attend a Kid Rock concert and you will be blown away by this man's musical talent.   Kid Rock is an entertainer supreme.    During one song, he'll play lead guitar, jump on the drums for an extended solo, DJ scratching (and pouring himself a shot of Jack Daniels with the other hand) besides singing the song!    This hilarious, but edited :(,   video shows him using Radiohead toilet paper, cameos by his ex-wife Pamela Anderson and a Skynyrd guitar solo by Hank Williams Jr!


The most commercial song in Leann's catalog, this one was made famous when Piper Perabo sang it in Coyote Ugly.     "Can't Fight The Moonlight" was the single but this one is the hidden gem on the soundtrack.     Check out the lyrics!

I know all about,
Yea about your reputation
And now it's bound to be a heartbreak situation
But I can't help it if I'm helpless
Every time that I'm where you are
You walk in and my strength walks out the door
Say my name and I can't fight it any more
Oh I know, I should go
But I need your touch just too damn much
Loving you, That isn't really something I should do
I shouldn't wanna spend my time with you ya
Well I should try to be strong
But baby you're the right kind of wrong

"ANGELS AMONG US"                    ALABAMA

One of my favorite Christmas songs and it's not even a Christmas song!    Alabama's epic ballad about how true heroes (angels) are always helping people in their dire time of need.    Whether it be NYC 9/11, nurses calming our fears before surgery, people who risk everything to save someone in danger, your dog who can't wait to see you come home and showers you with unconditional love, to something as simple as a friend with the right words when you need it the most:  Angels are among us and this song always get to me.   The children's choir and the gospel build-up make this amazing song a unique but vital part of Alabama's legacy.  

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Rare McCartney: Ireland Protest Song: Paul McCartney, La Quinta Estacion, Nick Gilder


Part of the Beatles' chemistry combined Paul's silly love songs with John's insightful, deeper, semi-political lyrics.    But in the early 70's, Paul released a song so infamous that the song was banned on the BBC for his overly critical views of England and their role in the famous "Sunday Bloody Sunday" massacre in Northern Ireland.   EMI would not release the song.   It's one of my all-time favorites from Paul.

"QUE TE QUERIA"                    LA QUINTA ESTACION 

Translated, this band from Madrid, Spain, means the Fifth Season.    La Quinta Estacion is made of a female lead singer and a male guitarist.   Their sound is a mix of a pop/rock and Mexican/Tejano.    This video from 2009 is energetic, sexy, and went to #1 on the Latin Video charts.     I love the silohouettes of the lead singer with the fire in the background, very powerful imagery!   


A blast from my past in the 70's, "Hot Child In The City" is glam rock pop from a Canadian artist who got his 15 minutes of fame with this #1 hit.    Love the simple video, showing the 45 being played on a phonograph - retro feel all the way!    I remember hearing this one in bowling alleys in Wisconsin.    How many silly pop songs do you have stuck in your head?    Songs like this are dangerous, hear them once and you're humming it all day.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Spiritual Journey: Lifehouse, The Replacements, Silverstein

"EVERYTHING"                     LIFEHOUSE

A song that each listener will take away their own meaning.   Jason Wade, lead singer, is a Christian so you can definitely see the emotional connection to God in lyrics like "how can i stand here with you, and not be moved by you?"   As a love song to someone who has changed your life, these lyrics with the slowed down pace are awe-inspiring...

Find me here,
And speak to me.
I want to feel you,
I need to hear you.
You are the light,
That's leading me,
To the place,
Where I find peace again.

You are the strength,
That keeps me walking.
You are the hope,
That keeps me trusting.
You are the light,
To my soul.
You are my purpose,
You're everything.

"ACHING TO BE"                      THE REPLACEMENTS

Growing up in my late teens in Minneapolis, I got exposed to Punk Music, the great bands out of Minneapolis like Husker Du, The Replacements, The Jayhawks, and Soul Asylum.   I remember seeing Winona Ryder watching her boyfriend, Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum, at a bar on First Avenue.   This was before she or the band had really made it big.   Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson of the Replacements made commercial hits but they are credited by most newer bands as a HUGE influence.

"APOLOGIZE"                             SILVERSTEIN

A cover of a song made famous by Timberland and One Republic.    Silverstein reinvent the song by cranking up the intensity with harder beats, more dramatic singing, plus a little scream-o in the middle of the song.   "Apologize" appears on the CD Series, Punk Goes Pop.    You have to blast your radio during the line "it's TOO LATE to apologize!"

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