Saturday, January 28, 2012

This Is War

Seeing as I am fond of music videos that play out more like short films, what better band to watch videos from than one whose lead singer also doubles as an actor?

Song: This Is War
Artist: 30 Seconds to Mars

It's honestly been a while since I have been seriously moved by a music video, and I literally cannot make it through this one without getting chills. I've seen many music videos where the backdrop of war is utilized, so when I say that this is probably the most moving use of such a theme, I kind of have a base I'm coming from.

The filming techniques they used in this video are astounding, and they really add to the overall ambiance of it. There's nothing in particular I want to call out, but you'll hopefully see what I'm talking about if/when you take this suggestion seriously. Also, the addition of real-life footage, such as mini-clips involving JFK and George W. Bush, provide a cultural reference for the meaning of the video, as well as that of the song itself.

Speaking of the actual song, I haven't heard enough of 30 Seconds to Mars' music to formulate an educated opinion on their sound, but I can say that for at least this song Jared Leto's voice is absolutely perfect. Going along with that, the instrumentation behind him also aids in the climax of the pre-chorus into the chorus, which comes off as powerful to say the least.

Although the second half of the video or so strays away from reality, the message it contains still pertains to real life, past and present. Personally, I can't listen to the song itself now without drawing from it the meaning that was derived from this video as it is so compelling.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I've never really known Metallica for their music videos, but this one is too extraordinary to pass up.

Song: One
Artist: Metallica

For this music video to make sense, you have to know the back-story of the song itself.

It's based off the 1939 anti-war novel "Johnny Got His Gun" by Dalton Trumbo, which tells the story of Joe Bonham, an American soldier who is wounded World War 1. He lost his arms, legs as well as his ability to hear, speak or smell, but he remains conscious and able to think, so he relives his life through memroies, unable to distinguish whether he is awake or dreaming. Trapped inside his own mind, he finds a unique way to communicate with his doctors that if they're not going to just let him die, he wants to travel around the country as a sort of "freak show" to display the true horrors of war.

What makes the video so powerful is that it combines shots of the band performing with clips from the movie based off of that novel. The balance it creates is pretty chilling, and it makes it that much easier to see the haunting connection between the two.

As for the song itself, it's often hailed as one of Metallica's greatest, which given their impressive discography means a lot. Between the poignant verses, driving choruses and one heck of a transition about 60% of the way through the song, "One" is an amazing blend of Metallica's many styles, and stands as testament to their stunning musicality.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Luna Espera EP

When someone suggests an album (or EP) with the premise that they can't stop listening to it, I always think they must be exaggerating. That's how I was introduced to this gem, and if you're like me, you won't believe me when I say this, but I honestly can't stop listening to it. I tried, trust me.

Album: Luna Espera EP
Artist: MWK

This EP only contains five songs, but as MWK (Midwest Kings) are really a regional touring band, that's to be expected somewhat.

I haven't listened to a whole lot from this group, but based on what I have listened to and what I've read from people who have listened to a whole lot from this group, this EP is a departure from their prior style. Luna Espera has a much more flowing, rock/alternative sound. Overall it's very low-key, almost ambient at times. However, there are still some parts in songs like "The Captain, His Ship" that stay truer to a more traditional rock influence.

Throughout it all, it's singer Andy Skib's beautifully mellow voice that defines this EP, in addition to the intriguing, often unconventional, lyrics. The precise instrumentation provides the ideal background to make Luna Espera as amazing as it is.

I'd highly recommend giving MWK a try, even if their style doesn't exactly seem like what you're used to listening to. It's worth it, really.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Life Is Beautiful

I like to think of this suggestion as a testament to why everyone should listen to Pandora radio.

Song: Life Is Beautiful
Artist: Sixx:A.M.

A couple weeks ago, I listened to this band for the first time. Last night, on Pandora, this song came up and I knew right away it was going to be my next post on here.

Aside from it being an essentially traditional hard rock track, there's something indescribable about it that makes it unique, and I can't quite put my finger on it. At times, it feels like it's in a major key, but sometimes, most notably during the chorus, it seems to slip into a minor tonality. I'm no music major, so I have no clue if that's actually what's going on, but at least to me that's what it kind of sounds like.

Throughout the song the guitars are absolutely exceptional, from acoustic to electric, nicely complimenting Nikki Sixx's haunting vocals. The drums are also perfect: not too overstated but still a very much present backdrop that drives/powers the entire track.

If you take the time to look this song up, once you discover what it's about/what inspired Sixx to write it, it takes on a whole new, more troubling, meaning that stands to describe the mixed emotions the instrumentation and vocalization provokes.

And, if it turns out you feel like I do about this song and can't stop listening to it, you'll be happy to know that there's even a very beautiful acoustic version of it.