This is another comforting post for me. I just want to share some of my favorite singles (songs) of all time. I’ve previously mentioned how much I love music, and how much I hate nostalgia. It seems that many people can’t just listen to other thing but “classics” or believe that whatever was made in a certain decade was better than the new stuff, and dare to claim knowledge.
But this is not a post about me ranting. This is just me, sharing some of the music I love.
I always try to talk about those songs that didn’t make it into a single. You know, these songs that are chosen by the record label or the band to promote a new album. They usually pick the most radio-friendly songs to have better reception. And, as we all should know by now, that doesn’t mean the singles are the best songs from the new album; again, these are just the most radio-friendly.
However, I understand that a good way to introduce new bands to people, is to pick these catchy songs from YouTube, and send the link to your friends. If they like it, they’re going to buy the album, or stream it on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, or other services I forgot.
This list is a reminder for me, and maybe others, that music is a huge wave of nostalgia that is ready to take us out to the sea of good and bad memories. Music has that power, and I also believe that music is even more powerful than literature when we want to travel to a world beyond imagination. Don’t you agree?
I know, this is unbelievable; the first song I heard heard of Rise against was “The Violence” from the album called Wolves (2016). I’ve been late to the party. This is weird for a persona like me, being so close to punk music since I was in middle school. Even I ask myself what in the world happened to me for not paying attention to this band, THEY ARE GREAT! The message they want to deliver is clear when they talk about politics, in a very mature way; and same thing happens with their most romantic songs, and more personal songs. This is a band that lyrically care about what is happening with society. There’s also a humble feeling in each song that makes me truly believe they know where they come from. After “The Violence” I write down the mission to myself to listen to all their albums, and found my favorite: Siren Song of the Counter Culture (2004).
Before I take a step into another genre here, I want to speak about my “new” favorite punk rock band. Social Distortion is a particular case here. I’ve been listening to them for decades, even when I hadn’t had the opportunity to get any of these albums. I grew up in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, and the music stores are very small, no punk at all. No Social Distortion, no Bad Religion, no Pennywise, no Rancid; nothing. Thanks to the power of the internet I found about more bands. I became obsessed with a lot of music that wasn’t even available in the whole continent! It was a paradise to me. Unfortunately, the only option I had is to stream in a very bad quality and a lot of lag. But that’s what we had back then!
I have to say that I hadn’t loved Social Distortion so much until they visited El Paso, TX. The Tricky Falls existed (and now it’s gone, sadly) and many cool events took place. I was living a tough situation; and I wasn’t in the mood to attend any concert. I can’t remember exactly what happened, but I ended up buying the ticket for Social Distortion concert. I don’t know why, Mike Ness’ words went through my heart. I wrote a whole post about it, so I’ll keep the whole story out of this post.
I wanted to put this on top, but if I let my inner fanboy goes out, it’d contradict the message that I always try to tell about listening to different stuff.
Amaral, the duo from Zaragoza, Spain. Other musicians that have a meaningful story in my life. There’s a post about it, but I’ll summarize it for you: I loved music, but I underestimated all music in Spanish, but thanks to Amaral I regretted being ignorant for so long.
Music that comes from the heart. It is often called pop rock, but I wouldn’t be tagging Amaral just like that; their music has a lot of substance, since they have a variety of genres combined, mainly folk music. The poetic lyrics is another big highlight and, as strange as this will sound, one of the reasons I believe they’re not as popular as many other musicians in the mainstream circle. I’ve heard several people telling that their words don’t make any sense, but that isn’t truth, specially once you’d taken time to learn a bit more about Eva Amaral (vocalist) and Juan Aguirre (guitarist).
This duo is special. It surprises me that is not that popular as I thought they would be. Yes, in Spain they are a big deal. That changes in this continent; sure, there’s a good fanbase, but not big enough compared to other pop bands.
The Cure, a band that I believed an introduction wasn’t necessary, but today, I don’t see many people talking about them. I needed to look deeper for any mentions on social media.
This band, I’m not going to lie, is living out of their hits. Any album or song released after the 90’s is like it hadn’t existed in the first place. “The End of the World”? “Alt.end”? From their self-titled album? Yeah, I thought so. It is sad, their audience (me being part of that audience) is still there, waiting with all hearts for a live show.
I remember a post on Twitter from Kristin “Dee Dee” Gundred (ex-Dum Dum Girls) saying that listening to The Cure is like going to church. I couldn’t agree more. Magic is a word that I’ll always use to define The Cure’s work. Even though the majority of songs are simple, Robert Smith and company did something; put an enchantment to every single song that’d been released. Their versatility and deep lyrics (in the most part) took the band to a well-deserved position in our musical history.
It’s still sad, though, that so very few speak of The Cure nowadays.
When everything comes to Metal, the first and last band that comes into my mind is Avantasia. A band that started as a “solo” project by Tobias Sammet (Edguy), and ended up gathering the best of the classic and contemporary metal.
For me, Avantasia’s first album, The Metal Opera, brought something old and yet new to the table. I got the album from one of these weird and hidden music stores in Juarez, and all because it had the word “Opera” in the title. I wasn’t a big fan of Metal back then (I was more into punk), but my curiosity and the money Mom had given me made me feel in the liberty to pick a random music CD.
The first thing that surprised me, was the story; and no, I don’t mean the story behind the album or how it was made. The album itself contains a story. Every song has a scenario, and each song has one or more singers, each representing a role/character in that story. A dialogue between two or more characters, a monologue, a narrator, all singing their part as a metal song. Did I mention that each album has well-known guests? Alice Cooper, Candice Night, Sharon del Adel, among others. Give Avantasia a listen!
I don’t know why, but this quarantine lacks of something. Recommendations are always welcome, and I believe listening to different things or new things is good. Do not hesitate to write down your favorite bands or songs, I’ll listen to them!