Tag Archives: songwriting

“a staccato hit, three more accents, then the infamous descending chromatic riff”

My brother, Dante, runs one of my favorite blogs focusing on Metal, and recently featured an interview he held with former Iron Maiden and Wolfsbane singer, Blaze Bayley. It intimate and revealing look into his struggles.

Rock Nightmare: “interview with blaze bayley”

Another of my favorite Metal blogs has been running a series of ruminations on individual songs from Metallica’s first four albums. A few entries that are must reads – not because they express exactly why *I* had thought those songs so interesting, but because they might pique your interest if you’ve never really listened to them, or if you are fan, provide you with a new perspective (he’s also a guitarist so there is that ingredient as well). Among my favorites:

“Seek and Destroy” – A Metal anthem.

“Escape” – On asserting individuality.

“Fade to Black” – A song that hasn’t aged as well, that lifts up musically, while lyrically is about giving up.

“For Whom The Bell Tolls” – An analysis of the music, rhythm, speed, and lyrics and how they work so well together.

“Creeping Death” – Again you have a synthesis of music and lyric that few bands could muster.

“Disposable Heroes” – A powerful anti-war song. From a thrash metal band. Not what people who don’t listen to Metal would expect.

“Master of Puppets” – Where the title of this post comes from. Brilliant analysis of a brilliantly structured, visceral song about drug addiction and being manipulated – a theme of the album.

“Sanitarium” – Probably my favorite Metallica song and as his analysis puts it, “thus ends the greatest side to the greatest metal album ever.”

“One” – Metallica’s “Stairway to Heaven”. What is required to play a song like that night after night. Do you think you’d be up for it convincingly? How good are your acting chops?

Invisible Oranges sometimes features guest writers, and recently Beth Winegarner who wrote about the issues with Metal’s culture and women – and most important – steps to improve it.

YouTube: “Metallica – Creeping Death (Moscow, 1991) HD”

“Perfect”

“Perfect”, by Pink is a kind of cousin to Radiohead’s “Creep”. I’m sure I lost a few folks there who suddenly clicked away. Good, this post isn’t for them. “Creep” is one of those songs that, if you ever felt like an outsider, like you were not where you belonged, and the people around you seemed so much greater than you, and that feeling led to your own self loathing, it spoke to you. Catch this great cover of it:

YouTube: Homeless Mustard Sings “Creep” GREATEST Cover EVER:

Pink’s “Perfect” confronts the very same scenario, except instead of the passive-aggressive shrug that “Creep” leaves you with, kicks you in your ass to “chase out your demons” and stick around. Where “Creep” is sung from you, “Perfect” is sung to you from someone who has walked in similar shoes.

I love “Creep”, the song will be around forever. But I think “Perfect” will stand the same test of time right along with it. Songs for the bullied. For those who never quite feel like the fit in. For those that need to know they aren’t alone.

Here are some fantastic covers of “Perfect”:

YouTube: PERFECT – Pink (Cover) by Keiko and Mimi acoustic:

YouTube: Pink – Perfect (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover) on iTunes:

YouTube: Pink – Perfect (AHMIR cover) – Anti-Bullying video:

YouTube: Pink – Perfect (cover) Brothers Dalton,12 and Dylan,11:

YouTube: Perfect (Pink) – Jason Chen & Cathy Nguyen Cover:

YouTube: Perfect by Pink Cover by Megan Dettrey :

“Master of Puppets” turns 25

“Master of Puppets” was the among the first three Metallica cassettes I owned. I bought “…And Justice for All” and “Garage Days” at a music shop in Kensington during 1988 and worked my way back through their releases shortly thereafter. My brother and his friends were Metallica fans and “Master of Puppets”, along with “Ride the Lightning”, with a mix of other terrific bands of that era, were the soundtrack to some heady years.

Metallica, from “..And Justice for All” and back, were extraordinary. Push aside the musical changes they went through after the “Black Album” and what you will notice is the lyrics. Prior to the “Black Album” they tackled heavy subject matter head on. It was thinking-person’s metal. Geek metal. There were other bands; Megadeth, Anthrax and especially Iron Maiden and Queensryche, who could match early Metallica for thought provoking music, but few looked *just like you*. Metallica had no videos. They were not on the radio. Had no singles. They wore t-shirts, jeans, and looked like you and your friends. They had a sneaker-net of fans who traded in stories and bootlegs. And with that they sold millions of albums and sold out stadiums. If you’re in a band today, you would probably want to emulate Metallica’s early rise to fame, swapping the sneaker-net for the Web and social media.

I could go on about the reasons why I’m not much of fan anymore. It isn’t about growing out of anything. The band changed how it looked, how it sounded, and in its overreaction to Napster and its lyrical content (“Don’t Tread on Me” versus “Disposable Heroes” or “One” for example), what it stood for. They seem to, just recently, be coming around to what they lost. We’ll see. They were always authentic. And that has carried them through. Anyways, enough of that, 25 is a milestone. Thank you Metallica.

Invisible Oranges: Cosmo Lee: “Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’ turns 25″

Wikipedia: “Master of Puppets”

Adrien Begrand: “Great moments in Rock N’ Roll”

NYTimes: 1988: “HEAVY METAL, WEIGHTY WORDS”

I hate a song that…

“I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling.

I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built.

I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work.”

That’s Woody Guthrie on songwriting. You can hear Will Greer reading those words, plus a great set of original recordings from Guthrie and Lead Belly, on the Smithsonian Folkways collection, “Folkways: The Original Vision”.