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Archive for the ‘2003’ Category

I have a certain respect for punk orientated bands that are able to mix emotion with the standard punk music. Rise Against are a perfect example of this; throughout their entire back catlogue you start to see a pattern. Their songs feature many different themes, however the one thing that is obvous in every one of their songs is that they are well written and intend to serve a purpose.

Like The Angel‘ focuses on a man, presumably lead singer Tim McIlrath, who seems to be torn between the career he has chosen as a musician and the woman he loves. It’s clear exactly how he feels about this woman, and the fact that he is away from her clearly kills him. The song is beautifully written to articulate that fact and the music works incredibly well to symbolise the brutality of the music he plays, mixed with the sorrow of his frayed relationship.

Close Competitors:

Hero Of War

There are amazingly beautiful songs in this world, and Hero Of War is one of them. Again, dealing with a subject matter that the band truly believes in (the futility of war), they are able to evoke such emotion in such a small amount of time. The song takes the form of the inner monologue of a young soldier and how good war sounds. But in a beautifully clever fashion, the song reaches the climaxes of being a huge middle finger to the principles of war and how futile it all is.

Swing Life Away

Rise Against are one of the bands that cannot make a bad song, and they also can’t make a song that doesn’t evoke some sort of emotion. ‘Swing Life Away‘ is a bittersweet song that deals with the underprivileged, and how, despite their situations, are still able to make the best of their situations. With lyrics mentioning; “I’ve got some friends, some that I hardly know, but we’ve had some times I wouldn’t change for the world.”, it had the ability to give an insight into the forgotten people of the world whilst still showing how admirable they are.

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For Australian hip-hop, this was the song that made things start to happen. Very little hip-hop from Australia had been popular before this (other than bands like 1200 Techniques and their 2002 hit ‘Karma‘). But this song not only cemented the mainstream popularity of Australian hip-hop, but also the mainstream popularity of bands such as The Hilltop Hoods.

This song, like the majority of Hilltop Hoods songs, is built around a sample. In this case, the song sampled is ‘The People In The Front Row’ by Melanie Safka. It was quite possibly the title of the sample that led to the name, lyrics and meaning of the song. The song focuses on the ideals of having a great time, whilst dedicating the song to “my people in the front, in the nosebleed section.

To me, it seems that the general appeal of this song lies in the groundbreaking factor that this song yielded whilst being able to deliver a fresh sound whilst mixing in older hooks. Mixed with the lyrics that the general punter in the nosebleed section could relate to, this song has every earmark of a successful song. And of course, all Aussies love homegrown music, so there was no chance this song was going to fail to be a success.

Close Competitors

The Hard Road

3 years after the Hilltop Hoods released ‘
The Nosebleed Section, they released their most successful song to date. This song, ‘The Hard Road‘ focused on the idea of how the band had “gone down the hard road to get where they are today. With sharp, insightful lyrics (although the lyrics at times border on distastefully funny; “I’ll finish with a bang like Kurt Cobain’s biography“), the song manages to make a strong point regarding the lives of the members  and their pasts, presents and futures.

Once again, this song is built around a sample (‘Out In the Woods‘ by Leon Russell), and again it is the ability to mix older styles with newer, fresher beats that heralds the song’s ability to be successful. But of course, Australian hip-hop is still fresh, so while the band is able to make catchy tunes that the average punter can relate to, their songs are bound to be successful.

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64. St. Anger – Metallica

You want to know something? I disagree with the bandwagoning of this album. It wasn’t a terrible album. It wasn’t their best, but it was still a killer album. If you want proof, there are two songs you can listen to; “Frantic” and “St. Anger”. St. Anger is a monster of a song that contains every single little thing a rock song, let alone a Metallica song, should contain.

The song starts with the album’s trademarked low tuned riffs, before the ‘infamous’ drums comes in. These ‘infamous’ drums came from Lars Ulrich’s drum set having a far more ‘metallic’ and crass sound when compared to other albums. However, in my opinion, this adds greatly to the character of the album, but I digress. The song then moves into classic Metallica territory with Hetfield’s voice and slow guitar chords. But then the pre-chorus comes in which raises the tension in the song. But the defining point of this song is the chorus; “Fuck it all and no regrets, I hit the lights on these dark sets. I need a voice to help let myself, to let myself go free.” Now, every time I listen to this song, the strangest thing happens; I get chills the second time that Hetfield sings “Madly in anger with you.” Every time without fail, but only on the second time that he sings it.

The song itself is an aural assault that does not let up from the moment the song starts, until the moment it finishes. It’s a perfect timeless piece of thrash metal that still cements itself as the most important Metallica song of the new millennium, and in my opinion, it will always stay that way.

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If ever a song could be classified as the epitome of indie, this would be it. It has been called the anthem for the indie generation by some (namely me), and it rightly deserves such a label.

This collaboration of Ben Gibbard from Death Cab For Cutie and Jimmy Tamborello from Dntel became popular after their first and so far only album Gave Up, in 2003. The most popular song from this album was Such Great Heights, a gentle indie pop song that managed to become an underground hit despite not even getting into the top 40 in many countries. The song managed to become one of the most popular songs of the year and even managed to appear on many critic’s ‘Top 10’ lists.

The song begins with an electronic rhythm that shifts into deeper electronics. A beat comes into the song before Ben Gibbard’s soulful voice comes in to balance the track. The lyrics are themselves soulful and beautiful and have a delightfully fragile charm to them. It’s such a beautiful song that has been inspirational to, and loved by thousands of people through it’s great charm.

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There are 2 things that must be noted here. Firstly, the fact that I have The Mars Volta today and At The Drive-In yesterday are totally and utterly unintentional. For those who are uneducated, The Mars Volta essentially evolved from the dissolution of of At The Drive-In, which is why they have the same singer and guitarist. Secondly, I’m slightly bending the rules here. I am focusing on the song “Inertiatic ESP”, but I’m treating the preceding song on the album, “Son et Lumiere”, as the intro. Frankly, the song starts with a massive punch in the face if the ‘intro’ is disregarded, which is a good thing. But there is much more beauty to the song if the ‘intro’ is included. But anyway, I’ll shut up now.

The song showcases Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s exceptional vocals and Omar Alfredo Rodríguez-López’s outstanding guitar playing perfectly. An experimental song, this is the opening cut from their 2003 concept album De-Loused In The Comatorium. The song again showcases the varying styles and odd time signatures that the band widely employs. There is a great energy to this song, and there is the perfect amount of ‘downtime’ present to complement the more ‘in your face’ aspect. This song is utter brilliance, and everyone should be aware of this song.

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http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/1/27/2288303/064%20-%20Belle%20 There are lots of songs which tend to use sexual innuendo but cleverly disguise it with catchy and clever lyrics (example; Turning Japanese, Blister In The Sun), but there are few which are able to do all of this and still maintain a very quaint charm throughout the song.
Somehow, this song manages to incorporate every sort of sexual office innuendo that you would normally see in such movies as Secretary, and maintain it’s sweet charm. Sonically, this song song is fun with a bouncy beat and jazz styled chords. The vocals are soft and dreamy, yet they still manage to cut into the listener’s ears in the chorus.

For one of the best Scottish bands of all time, this is a very typical song of what made them famous. It’s a fun song with fun lyrics that disguise an even more fun sub-plot if you will. But it’s a fantastically fun song with no real point, it’s sole intention is serve as a fun story of office work and the relationships found therein.

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If you are anything like me, then you may find it strange that out of all the songs released by The White Stripes in this decade (which, mind you, is where the majority of their music was released), that I picked one of the very few songs in which Jack White does not sing. Yes, I picked one of the few songs in which Meg White is the singer, and frankly, it is something she should do more often.
I have always admired Meg White for a few reasons. Namely the fact that she has been able to make a name for herself as a competent drummer in the music business which, let’s face it, is essentially a man’s world. Then of course, her voice. For one of the shyest and (in my opinion) one of the most attractive musicians out there, she manages to utilise her voice in this song to a level not seen before. Her voice perfectly suits the song and the bridge of the song features her voice reaching an unthought of level of brilliance.

The song itself is utterly simple. Just a couple of chords which repeat before a bridge which is still essentially the same thing, just with Meg White’s drumming. But I chose this song only because of the atmosphere it has. I believe it’s much better and much more ‘rock’ than any of the other White Stripes songs, and frankly I think this song should be more well known.

Close Competitors

Seven Nation Army

I’ll bet that the second you saw that it said ‘The White Stripes’, you instantly assumed I had chosen this song. Well, no. While I do admit it’s an amazing song, it’s become far too cliched now. I know that’s a terrible reason not to include the song, but I do prefer In The Cold, Cold Night anyway. Most people would have discovered The White Stripes thanks to this song, and what a song to come in on! It has THAT riff and Jack White’s signature vocals. This song has it all!

Fell In Love With A Girl

In the second that you press play for the first time, you have no idea what you are about to unleash upon yourself. Jack White’s barking vocals, an atomic blast of a song that is gone within the blink of an eye and the beyond simple 4 chord guitar riff. It’s short, it’s abrupt, but oh my word is it a great song!

We’re Going To Be Friends

Childhood innocence. It’s essentially the inner monologue of a young child going to school and the simplicity of the child’s mind. It’s a short sweet song that shows how emotional Jack White’s guitar playing and lyric writing can be without becoming too saccharine. It’s a pretty song, which unfortunately not well known. But thanks to Conan O’Brien’s friendship with the band and their appearance on his last ‘Late Night with…‘ show, this song has gained new fans.

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80. 77% – The Herd

I have mentioned previously about how I feel regarding the topic of hip hop and how I differentiate my thoughts on Australian hip hop. Well dig out those old sentiments because this is another fine example of Australian hip hop. The Herd is a hip hop group featuring members such as Ozi Batla (a fine lyricist and singer) and Urthboy. In 2003 they released their breakthrough album An Elefant Never Forgets, which featured the song 77%. The song dealt with the touchy subject of the then controversial ‘Tampa affair’ in 2001, which regarded a vessel from international waters coming into Australian waters. In a survey conducted following the event, 77% of people surveyed agreed with John Howard’s actions regarding the barring of the boat people from Australian shores. This led to the song mentioning that “77% of Aussie are racist”, and the fact that all Australians are themselves immigrants. The touchy subject was delivered with a powerful wake up call to Australians (in fact the lyrics of the song are “Wake up, this country needs a fuckin’ shake up, wake up, this cunts need a shake up”). The band are themselves noted for their fierce nationalism and their political views, so of course if any band was to record a song that featured such topics, it would be The Herd.

At the best of times, Australian hip hop is quite eloquent and very sharp. 77% is no exception. The band manages to make a song that effects every single emotion that a nationalistic Australian would feel, and in doing so, manages to drive a very important topic home. If all hip hop was made in this sense, and every political song featured the same format as this one, there would be very little chance of there ever being a bland, preachy political song ever again.

Close Competitors

We Can’t Hear You

Again, hip hop songs are very well written when they are done right. Even songs such as this which manage to incorporate a very strong party vibe whilst still incorporating the typical political undertones that The Herd enjoy implementing into their songs. The fun, bouncy beat of the song makes reference to the current political situation in Australia and how the ‘little guy’ is quite often unheard. The almost motivational song is once again delivered with great dedication and total relevance to the subject being delivered. The Herd are not to be messed with, they are one of the most serious and most fun hip hop groups of recent years.

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Who ever said that disco was dead? Oh that’s right, me. But who ever said that hip hop, disco and funk were dead? Definitely not me, no sir, not me. And I can prove it. Get Up Outta The Dirt was Butterfinger’s biggest hit in 2006, however it does not capture as much lyrical wizardry that is present in songs such as Like Em When They’re Trouble, Yo Mama or Figjam. Butterfingers manage to fuse together lyrical wordplay, funk guitar and disco strings together to create a song that is essentially about realising full potential and not falling into the pattern of many people who just complain. However, ‘Evil’ Eddie Jacobson manages to deliver it in such a fantastic way in which he definitely cements himself as one of Australia’s best lyricists.

 

If the song had no lyrics, it would still be very good. Very good in the sense that is pleasing to the ears and features very different instrumentation. But the second the vocals starts, a new view is gained on the song. Jacobson’s raw primal vocals that focus on common and inevitable occurrences in life add a new layer of reality to the song. He speaks with such truth in the lyrics that it’s incredibly clear where he stands on the topic that the song focuses on. However, he is also able to make the song flow so smoothly with the rhymes he uses and the speed with which he rhymes that the song’s vocals turn into another instrument that only actually have meaning when you focus on them. Now that, is talent.

Close Competitors

I Love Work

Oh wow. That describes this song. This song perfectly summarises the life of a slacker who has woken up late for work and then encounters many problems on his way to work. But Jacobson’s perfect lyrics and the rolling bassline seem to make this song seem much more simple and poetic than the song actually is. That, and the imagery created makes the song not only hilarious but also very true with the Australian way of life. I must laugh each time I hear this song due to the fantastic lyrics, but I must also rock out due to the fantastic instrumentation on the track as well. All in all, this song only loses out due to the greater music on Get Up Outta The Dirt, otherwise, the lyrics in this song are far better.

 

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For a parody of the current music scene, this is a pretty good song. Chicks On Speed are themselves, in a way, a parody of the current musical scene. Released in 2003, We Don’t Play Guitars is the best known song of the multicultural band. Featuring main vocals from the Australian member of the band, Alex Murray-Leslie, and a guitar solo by controversial electro musician Peaches, this song parodies the mainstream music scene by stating how the band does not play guitars.

Chicks On Speed have been said to have perfectly defined the German electro-clash movement of the early 2000’s, and in a way, this song is evidence why. With snappy vocals, hypnotic beats and rhythmic basslines, the song manages to culminate in a concoction of serious parody and sheer stupidity. The lyrics themselves are not purposely genius. In fact, they are so bland that they become genius. Such lyrics as “We can go shopping in the supermarket but we don’t play guitars, we shop more than other people, we don’t play guitars. Can you play guitar?” perfectly show things that the band prefer to do in lieu of playing guitar. In fact, the band are almost stating that playing guitar has become so overrated that electronic music is the way of the future.  While this is probably incorrect, there is a rather smart rebuttal by Peaches directly before the guitar solo; “You may not play guitars but I do! You know, maybe COS don’t play guitars but P.E.A.C.H.E.S plays guitar, I play guitar, that’s right, I play guitar. Well you may not play guitar, but I play guitar, and I love it! This almost proves that both arguments in the song are actually invalid and that both guitars and the lack thereof can still make an awesome song.

Close Competitors:

Culture Vulture

Culture Vulture seems to continue the musical parody that Chicks On Speed like to employ. In what is essentially a great criticism of culture itself, the band deconstructs the vanity and the joys of a cultural icon. By exaggerating these things greatly the band is able to almost make culture itself laughable. However, the song itself is rather disturbing. The deep, spoken vocals tend to make me feel very uneasy before the repeated refrain is shouted. Hearing the words Culture Vulture shouted repeatedly makes me feel very strange when I listen to the song. Despite this however, the message that the song tends to put across defines this song as not only a deliciously disturbing song, but also an amazingly poignant message.

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