Monday, November 12, 2012

Ten Of The Best Songs You've Never Heard

(This is a repost from my HubPages account.)

I love new music, even if it's just new to me.

Since the Hubs I've written about music and musicians are doing fairly well, I thought I'd throw out some of my favorite songs that you may not have heard. These are songs that I love that, for whatever reason, were never released as singles or were and just didn't find success (for the most part). I've never stuck to any one specific genre, so I like all kinds of stuff. Though I like a lot of mainstream music, I dig some pretty obscure stuff, too. If you've heard of these, you are awesome, just like me.

I may share more of these, so I guess this installment is all about chicks in rock. I hope you like them as much as I do!

10. Nocturne - Whore (The Big Fat Whore on Dope Remix)
I heard this song by accident one day, when Pandora played it for me on some random setting. I liked it, and played it again.

When I looked Nocturne up, I was surprised to find that the lead singer, Lacey Connor, was the crazy redheaded woman that liked to stir up trouble on the first season of Rock of Love with Bret Michaels! I think she did Charm School, too - extending her fifteen minutes.

This song is pretty much about refusing to sell your soul for money, and realizing that it really is all that most people want. 'No such thing as the underground / Just a bunch of little people / trying to make themselves big / No such thing as the underground / and it really doesn't matter how far you dig.'

This is the remix version from the Axis of Evil: Mixes of Mass Destruction record released in 2003. I don't care for the original. For the record, I really don't like Lacey's vocal style, either, I think she's too dang whiny. But it seriously works on this song.

9. Kidneythieves - Zerøspace
I got into Kidneythieves a few years ago when I was on my post-Nine Inch Nails girls in industrial rock bent. I love the sound of this song, and the half-sung, half-spoken lyrics.

Zerøspace is Kidneythieves single off the 2002 LP of the same name. They have released a total of three LPs and four EPs between 1999 and 2011. If you like 'industrial light,' looking them up might be a great idea!

I'll be brutally honest. I've read the lyrics to this song many times, and I still don't get what it's about. 'Space in your face, it's the way to get you closer / While you were sittin' on your ass / I drank the f*cking ocean.' Oooohkay.

Regardless, the song makes for great driving music!

8. Snake River Conspiracy - How Soon is Now?
Snake River Conspiracy never found much success. This song, a cover of The Smith's original, appeared on their only full length album, 2000's Sonic Jihad.

The song itself is about someone who cannot overcome shyness. 'I am the son, and the heir, of a shyness that is criminally vulgar / I am the son and heir, of nothing in particular.' It goes on to say 'I am human and I need to be loved / Just like everybody else does.'

One of my favorite trivia facts about this band is that the lead singer for this song, Tobey Torres, is a former stripper. She was eventually replaced by Martina Axén, one of the members of one of my all-time favorite girl metal bands, Drain STH.

Looking at Wikipedia for information about this band revealed that they may have had more employee turnover than our local McDonald's.

Also, from a trivial standpoint, there have been at least four other covers of The Smiths' original. The Russian Lolita-like duo Tatu has a great cover, but I don't think it's as good as Snake River Conspiracy's.

7. The Beth Hart Band - Immortal
Beth Hart has been around forever. She started out in 1993, but her biggest hit was LA Song (Out of this Town) in 2000. She is still making records and touring, but is mostly finding success in Europe these days. Most Americans have never even heard of her, with the exception of LA Song, which was featured on the soundtrack of the last season of the original Beverly Hills 90120.

When I first heard Immortal, sometime back in the late nineties, I honestly though I was hearing a previously unreleased Janis Joplin single. to me, Hart sounds just like her.

I think I heard Immortal on the radio, and went out and got the album. I was lucky to find it, because it never got very popular. She released the album Immortal as the Beth Hart Band on 1996. The whole CD is pretty much brilliant, in my opinion.

Immortal is about doing your best to become who you were meant to be, you already have what it takes. All you have to do is use it. 'Just let your life shine now's the time / what you've been given will / do just fine / just let your love come through / your song for the people.'

6. Halestorm - Bad Romance
I'm cheating a little bit here, because I can't imagine there are many of you who haven't heard the original. Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last few years, you've probably heard of Lady Gaga. Bad Romance is one of her highest charting singles, and one of the songs that she made one of those super-weird videos for.

Halestorm is a relatively new band, who I happen to think are awesome. This cover of Bad Romance appeared on their ReAniMate: The Covers EP in 2011. It was actually the second of Halestorm's songs that I heard. I'd also heard Lady Gaga's original multiple times, and I love the way Halestorm puts a hard rock edge on the verses and the chorus. Lzzy Hale is an exceptional hard rock/heavy metal singer, and this song really shows what she can do.

5. Lacuna Coil - To Myself I Turned
Lacuna Coil, an Italian goth metal band, has made somewhat of a dent on the charts in the United States. Their highest charting single, Heaven's A Lie, is one of their best songs.

To Myself I Turned is a little different than most of Lacuna Coil's music. Usually, Cristina Scabbia shares lead vocals with Andrea Ferro, they sometimes trade lines of whole verses. This one, however, is all Cristina.

To me, To Myself I Turned is about someone who is learning how to be themselves, and longing for the person they used to be. It's a somber song, but still hauntingly beautiful.

'When did I hear this wind before / Change like this to a deeper roar / I'm starting to bleed another way / I just need some time to complete myself.'

The song, while sometimes seems to make no sense, appears to be a tale, rather than a lyric sheet. It's telling us a story, we just have to decide for ourselves what it really means, or what it means to us.
4. Within Temptation - Dark Wings
Within Temptation is better known in Europe than in the United States. Regarded as a 'symphonic metal' band, they hail from Holland, and have been making records since 1996.

The lead singer, Sharon den Adel, is massively talented and can hit operatic high notes as well as scream like nobody's business. Though they started out as more of a gothic metal band, the newer symphonic sound serves them well. Their breakthrough single was called Ice Queen, and was released in 2001.

Dark Wings, from the 2000 album Mother Earth was not released as a single. It's literal meaning is hard to gauge, but it seems to be about someone dying and their 'light' providing people with what they need to carry on. 'As they took your soul away / The night turned into the day / Blinded by your rays of life / Gave us the strength we needed.'

Like Lacuna Coil's To Myself I Turned, Dark Wings seems surreal, like we are visiting a fantasy land where nothing is as it seems. It is imaginative in a way that a lot of American music is not.
3. Nightwish - Wish I Had An Angel
Nightwish are another example of why I love European metal. Founded in 1996 in Finland, the band may be one of the most popular symphonic metal bands ever. Their sound is huge.

Wish I Had an Angel is from their fifth studio album Once. This was Nighwish's last studio album before singer Tarja Turunen was very publicly fired from the band. (I've listened to music with their new singer, Annette Olzon, and it just doesn't seem like the same band.)

Wish I Had an Angel was a departure for Nightwish. The music was heavier and bassist Marco Hietala also added harsh, screaming vocals. I just love the way the song sounds with the heavy music and Tarja's angelic vocals.

As with many bands who are making music in a language other than their primary one, the lyrics on this one can be confusing. I think the song is much about the loss of innocence and possibly trying to find oneself within the confines of religion and, being unable to do so, rejecting religion. 'I'm going down so frail and cruel / Drunken disguise changes all the rules / Old loves they die hard / Old lies they die harder.'
2. Joydrop - Beautiful
I think, if there's one song on this list that has the most chance of having been heard already, it's this one.

Joydrop was an alt/rock band from Canada that released a couple of records that didn't really chart in the US, 1999's Metasexual and 2001's Viberate. Beautiful is from Metasexual, and was released as a single in 1999. I didn't hear it until about five years later.

Beautiful is about a girl who is jealous of one who is more beautiful, and apparently has everything handed to her because of her beauty. 'If I was beautiful like you / I would never be at fault / I'd walk in the rain between the rain drops / Bringing traffic to a halt.' When the chorus hits, singer Tara Slone lyrically throws up a pair of lyrical middle fingers and the song gets crunchy. 'But I'm not beautiful like you / I'm beautiful like me.'

I never understood why this song didn't become an anthem for ugly girls like me everywhere. Or maybe it did, and I didn't notice.
1. Switchblade Symphony - Witches
Gothic music is one of my guilty pleasures. I won't pretend to understand why people who consider themselves goth do the things they do or like the things they like. If I had to fit into a box with a label on it, it would probably be aging redneck metalhead. Or something similar.

Switchblade Symphony embodied goth rock/metal. From their image to their creepy videos and sometimes confusing lyrics, they had it all and appealed to me because they were something I'd never heard before. They had an awesome metal/goth/classical hybrid that I've really never heard anywhere else.

Witches is from Switchblade Symphony's second album, Bread and Jam for Frances, which was released in 1997. It's a song about scary witches who are going to get you if you aren't careful! 'Your dreams are filled / With blood and gore / Now they're right outside your door / They're gonna get you!'

The song just has an ethereal feel to it, and it's different. Maybe that's why I like it so much.

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