Round 2 – Group 4:
Read All About Emelie
Our Version Of Events is Sandé’s debut album released in Olympics year 2012.
It finished second in group 181 behind Chris Rea’s anthology but remains a classy, accomplished and quite prolific debut. Sandé gives a quite brilliant vocal performance with genuine power and soul. The lyrics reflect a more inward, introspective personality but the music itself produces a larger than life piece of everyday storytelling. That combination of vocals & storytelling mixed in with some top notch Power Pop ballads like My Kind Of Love, Daddy and Next To Me make this album a clear winner here.
Feed My Frankenstein
Released in 1991, Hey Stoopid was the 19th studio album by Alice Cooper and follow-up to the massive commercial success of Trash two years earlier.
It easily topped an all-Alice group back in Group 106.
Production-wise and stylistically it’s very simliar to Trash, essentially a maelstrom of 80’s stadium metal, cultured on the sound pioneered by Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Motley Crew and others in the mid 80’s. Cooper’s USP as ever though is his clever metaphorical lyrics on top of the inapporpriate suggestiveness expected by the genre. There’s also some tasty guitar work on this record with the likes of Slash, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani all appearing on the record ! It’s mainly Satriani who pops up the most on Feed My Frankenstein, Little By Little and Wind Up Toy. The solo on Little By Little being is supremely good too.
The Immensely fun title track opener Hey Stoopid kicks off preceedings. In fact with Slash, Satriana and Ozzy Osbourne all featuring on that opening track it’s a bit of a heavy rock ‘who’s who’ with lyrics that could be about Ozzy himself: “Hey Bro, take it slow. You ain’t living in a video”.
Ender Wind Up Toy is a slightly disturbing tale of an abused boy, or maybe a supernatural toy? The album sporadically excels with some absorbing heavy rock (Love’s a Loaded Gun, Dangerous Tonight, Hurrican Years) and features a quality, if obligatory, soft-rock ballad in the shape of Might As Well Be On Mars. Occassionally though it descends into a parody of itself (partly deliberate and partly accidental I think).
A highly competent if thoroughly unoriginal, caricatured cock-rock offering of 80’s metal album, which was actually released in the 90’s.
See Who They Are
Within Temptation are a Dutch operatic, symphonic, dramatic, theatrical gothic rock outfit. This album pioneers mystical lyrics strewn with mythological gods over impossible aeons. The Silent Force is their third studio album released in 2005 which shot to number 1 in their home country Holland. The album topped group 184 too helping to knock out Ed Sheeran and KT Tunstall!.
The elephant in the room? They sound like an Evanescence clone, which is harsh as I think Within Temptation actually pre-date Evanesence by around 3 years.
It’s also harsh because I am a fan of The Silent Force. A panoramic metal album that sweeps you along enveloping you in its open metalscape of high Operatic vocals,
chugging metal riffs and flashes of celtic instruments. The violin sound is especially well blended into the hard rock rythmn section although maybe they reign in the guitar too much ?
Is is an uncanny similarity with Eveanescence though. As soon as the album starts in earnest with the forceful ‘See Who I Am‘ you say to yourself, “wow, this really sounds like Evanescence“. Then the next track comes on and your like “no , *this* one sounds the most like Evanescence“, then you repeat until the end of the album.
The slower, more instrumental Pale and Somewhere help to calm the album and give it a little diversity but it’s the excessively sweeping symphonic metal of Jillian which still ranks as my fav. track here but Aquarius, Stand My Ground and especially It’s The Fear are all top-notch too.
I Should Be Sleeping Like A Dog
Beating off Abbey Road in an all-Beatles showdown in round 1, The Beatles’ third studio album A Hard Day’s Night, released 10 July 1964 was the first Beatles album to be recorded entirely on four-track tape. It has a front-cover featuring mini portraits of the band all with the same haircut, making it extremely difficult to tell them apart. Musically this is where the fab four started to ditch their rockabily and R&B influences and start to produce some pure pop. It’s breezy and maybe a little quaint to today’s ears but it still contains some memorable melodies and proficient arangements. Its two big hitters, the title track and Can’t Buy Me Love both still sound zestful and pleasing while elsewhere Lennon’s forceful vocals on Any Time At All make this a third highlight. The rest of the album is, it has to be said, polished, yet largely overly ‘endearment’ driven pap-love anthems (and I mean that in the nicest way). It’s beautifully crafted despite its simplicity and clinically implemented. Unnervingly catchy too.
In conclusion? Hey Stoopid has moments that rise above Hard Days Night but The Beatles third album is more rounded and sneaks a 3rd place. The Silent Force though is a ‘silent force’ to be reckoned with and easily ‘out-metals’ Hey Stoopid and out-powers The Beatles.