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This will be short, but honest. Some people haunt us. They come up again and again. No matter where we go… they are there. Don’t lie- you have them, too.

I have one friend I met when I was when I was thirteen and he was twelve. My first love, my first “go with” boyfriend, my first so many things. We went to cross town high schools- constantly ran into each other. Then I went to Davis and he went to Sac State. Crossed paths through 1995. I ran into him at an Iron Maiden show in 1998, then a Dio show at The Filmore in 2000, and then in Times Square in 2010. Plus we met a few times on purpose. Some people, you just can’t escape. But I’m sure as hell going to try.

We say it’s a small world. It’s not. We all have gravitational shifts. I know I’m not the center of the universe, but you keep spinning around me just the same.  Now stop. In these aspects crazy is a choice. Choose wisely. Walk away.

We don’t have to repeat mistakes. I didn’t. I broke the pattern and have a lovely life as a reward. I’m not going back.

The center of the universe can shift- never forget that. And it can be… glorious. A new, better day.

This week’s song is Heavy by Linkin’ Park- please click here to enjoy.

“Heavy”
(feat. Kiiara)

I don’t like my mind right now
Stacking up problems that are so unnecessary
Wish that I could slow things down
I wanna let go but there’s comfort in the panic
And I drive myself crazy
Thinking everything’s about me
Yeah I drive myself crazy
Cause I can’t escape the gravityI’m holding on
Why is everything so heavy
Holding on
So much more than I can carry
I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down
If I just let go, I’d be set free
Holding on
Why is everything so heavy
 
You say that I’m paranoid
But I’m pretty sure the world is out to get me
It’s not like I make the choice
To let my mind stay so fucking messy
I know I’m not the center of the universe
But you keep spinning round me just the same
I know I’m not the center of the universe
But you keep spinning round me just the same

I’m holding on
Why is everything so heavy
Holding on
So much more than I can carry
I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down
If I just let go, I’d be set free
Holding on
Why is everything so heavy

I know I’m not the center of the universe
But you keep spinning round me just the same
I know I’m not the center of the universe
But you keep spinning round me just the same
And I drive myself crazy
Thinking everything’s about me
 
I’m holding on
Why is everything so heavy
Holding on
So much more than I can carry
I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down
If I just let go, I’d be set free
Holding on
Why is everything so heavy

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

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Looking around at life, love means an awful lot of things to an awful lot of people. I watch people and I see what is in my own life. As with so many things, the disparities are striking.

The greatest art, the most beautiful ballads, those incredibly moving moments that touch the heart and cause the soul to fly come from love, the best bits of the purest joy. There lies the magic of a baby’s belly laugh, a little girl’s infectious giggle, and the peals of laughter on a playground. Sadness also has its place: one spouse holding another in their final moments, crooning a last lingering good-bye, the tightness in one’s throat as tears catch us unawares at the notes of love song, and the unexpected pain of running into someone whom we thought we had forgotten ages ago, but in one instant every shared moment comes rushing back.

There are those effervescent moments of sheer bliss, lying in the arms of the one you love– sweaty, disheveled, and for one perfect instant- utterly content. The heart never empties. One does not dole out love like welfare rations. Love is continuous and replenishing. Loving more people does not that mean we love anyone else less. I always say in running, the more you push, the more you can push. Likewise, the more you love, the more you can love.

The bonds of family can sustain, empower, and lift us up in the ways unimaginable. In love we find our most essential selves, those versions of us that become everything we ever wanted to be. In our lover’s eyes, in our Eros found confidence we create an avatar of ourselves as the best of us emerges. One hopes that when we find a perfect match we evolve into a better, kinder, and smarter kind of self.

One hopes.

But love has another side. Like the comedy and tragedy in theater, love comes with pain. For most of us, the pain associated with devotion is simply that of love lost, whether to another, perhaps to distance, or even to death. For the majority of souls, the pain of love is that of separation from the object of our desires. For others, the pain is an expression of love. In a hundred twisted ways love and pain become entwined, often with results of quiet desperation, other times with rants of broken rage.

In this scenario, if I take the trouble to hurt you it’s because I care, otherwise you wouldn’t be worth my time. If you let me hurt you, if you let me cut you asunder, reducing you to ribbons then you’ve proved your love for me. It’s the old negative, even poisoned, attention is better than being ignored. There are hideous degrees. parents withholding approval until the child hits an imaginary, arbitrary set of objectives. There’s the twisted desire for justice, that somehow you deserve this pain. You deserve to be punished.

Oh, I’ve heard the arguments, that the pain inflicted in sex acts brings a greater intimacy, a shared trust. Whatever, it’s not my thing. All I know is that love doesn’t hurt. It shouldn’t hurt and I don’t deserve to be hurt. It’s not in my particular mental makeup. Not that I am shallow or smug enough to speak for anyone working out their emotions. I would say that for me martyrdom, sadism, masochism, and passive aggressive crap– these are not love. They may very well stem from deep-seated emotions, but love got lost somewhere upon the emotional landscape. You deserve better, friends, you bloody well deserve better.

This week’s song is a favorite from a workout point of view. It has a great beat and gets me moving faster, but it’s truly troubling from the view point of a lover. Love and pain linked, and not in a good way. I cannot save you. No one can. A friend can offer a temporary refuge, succor, but genuine change comes from within. It’s a crappy cliché, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. You want love to stop hurting? Walk in the sunlight, the moonlight, or the starlight, whatever, but walk in the light. Find your joy. Leave the darkness, the monsters behind. It starts with you, no one else can save the drowning one, not really.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMaycNcPsHI

And honestly, when all else breaks down? Thank God for Iron Maiden, and running, but mostly Iron Maiden. those guys can fix anything.

 

“Every You Every Me”

Sucker love is heaven sent.
You pucker up, our passion’s spent.
My hearts a tart, your body’s rent.
My body’s broken, yours is bent.Carve your name into my arm.
Instead of stressed, I lie here charmed.
Cuz there’s nothing else to do,
Every me and every you.Sucker love, a box I choose.
No other box I choose to use.
Another love I would abuse,
No circumstances could excuse.In the shape of things to come.
Too much poison come undone.
Cuz there’s nothing else to do,
Every me and every you.
Every me and every you,
Every Me…heSucker love is known to swing.
Prone to cling and waste these things.
Pucker up for heavens sake.
There’s never been so much at stake.I serve my head up on a plate.
It’s only comfort, calling late.
Cuz there’s nothing else to do,
Every me and every you.
Every me and every you,
Every Me…heEvery me and every you,
Every Me…he

Like the naked leads the blind.
I know I’m selfish, I’m unkind.
Sucker love I always find,
Someone to bruise and leave behind.

All alone in space and time.
There’s nothing here but what here’s mine.
Something borrowed, something blue.
Every me and every you.
Every me and every you,
Every Me…he

Every me and every you,
Every Me…he [x4]

Erika Gardner

Erika Gardner

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

I shudder just typing the phrase “fo’ shizzle,” but then I used to shudder whenever anyone used it. However, those old enough to remember can likely guess our next decade of songs to review and rank.

The 2000’s definitely held some bright points in music. Grunge took its place in musical history. At last, soaring guitars with clean solos could be heard throughout the land. And exhale, thank heavens. Also, it was a much better decade for women. Evanescence, Nightwish, White Strips, SilverSun Pick-ups all boast women in their ranks. So refreshing.

Once again, we’ll be listing the top ten most awesome heavy metal/hard rock songs in chronological order. This is NOT order of preference, just a way of organizing the piece. And, as it’s been a few weeks since I posted, please remember, my list-my-blog-my picks. You can create your own list. Trust me, there’s enough Internet to spare.

As per usual pop, hip-hop, rap… y’all just move along to the next site down. Nothing for you here.

The return of guitar.

The return of guitar.

1.) Brave New World by Iron Maiden- the title track from their May 2000 album. The intro is lyrically gorgeous, the chorus is driving, soaring, and great to run to. One of my favorite Maiden albums.

2.) In The End– The possibilities glimpsed in 1990 with Epic by Faith No More of a marriage between rap and metal were realized to their full fruition in October 2001 with the release of Linkin Park’s fourth single, In The End, off their album, Hybrid Theory.

3.) Bring Me to Life– the epic from Evanescence off their debut album, Fallen, released April 2003. My daughter, Anna, was born the same month and I used to catch the video on late night while nursing.

4.) Seven Nation Army- April 2003 was a very good month in music. The distinctive guitar line was the brain child of the White Stripes off their fourth album, Elephant.

5.) Nemo by Nightwish- This track off the June 2004 Once would make my Top Ten of all time. It is haunting. Tarja’s vocals are simply off the charts. My sympathies to Annette and Floor having to follow up that woman.

6.) The Haunting by Kamelot- God bless Kamelot. They’ve been around a long time, always just shy of the overwhelming mainstream success their passionate brand of music deserves. There were a ton of great songs to choose from, but in the end I chose this September 2005 gem off their The Black Halo album.

7.) Pretender by the Foo Fighters’ – One of the Foos’ most passionate offerings arrived via Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace in  August 2007.

8.) Panic Switch by the Silversun Pickups from their April 2009 release, Swoon. Another band with a female member, their bass player has changed through the years, but over the course of the band’s history is a woman.

9.) Bible Black– Many know Heaven and Hell as one of Black Sabbath’s greatest albums and the debut of Ronnie James Dio into the band. However, from 2006 until Dio’s tragic death in May of 2010 this line-up of Sabbath toured as Heaven and Hell. In March 2009 they premiered this song, Bible Song, from their album, The Devil You Know. Yep, Dio makes the list again. What can I say? I’m a fan.

10.) Uprising by Muse- This is an interesting song. It, like a couple others on the list, is really more of an alternative track, but it still rocks. Hence, its inclusion here. It’s from their September 2009 offering The Resistance.

Well, there you have it. My favorites for the 2000’s. Other lists need not apply.

Have a great week!

 

Erika Gardner

Erika Gardner

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.  Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

It was a time of flannel, cardigans from Good Will, and combat boots. The skies were gray-like, always- even in California. The music held angst. Musicians seemed to take pride in only knowing three chords. People emphasized the emotion, dude, not the musicianship. Except, the emotions expressed proved to be dark, disturbing, and slightly damp. Ugh.

Can a decade be moldy?

Okay, I exaggerate. While I found great joy in the nineties: I hooked up with the right guy (he was under my nose the whole time), graduated college, got married, bought my first house, and gave birth to my first child, the music scene felt dire.

When I say dire, I mean sucking away my joy and will to live. Bleak. Pretentious. Worst of all? No clean, soaring guitar riffs, well, not many. In a word? Rough.

However, I tend to veer to the positive, so while I bewail the nineties from a musical perspective, they remain great years. Naturally, one cannot exist through ten years without stumbling upon a gem here and there. In my humble opinion, I have gathered some of those gems below.

imagesnineties

As stated in my earlier blog, The Eighties Called, please do not go searching for your boy bands, your pop princesses here. Google is a wonderful tool- your Top Forty Shangri-La exists out there, somewhere. My tastes run the scope of musical genres, but my heart belongs to rock and metal with a dash of progressive. You will not find The Spice Girls here. No bueno.

No matter how dark the night, light (or in this case decent rock music) will find a way into your heart. Amongst the coffee fueled wasteland emerged beacons of hope. Here are a few.

Based on a follower’s suggestion I have ordered my Top Ten in chronological order:

1.) July, 1991 Enter Sandman by Metallica from their Black Album. Just killer.

2.) October, 1991, The Show Must Go On by Queen off their album Innuedo– the single came out just six weeks before Freddie Mercury’s untimely death of AIDS. Brian May actually wrote the song after watching his bandmate struggling with the disease. When the band was recording the album in 1990 May wasn’t even sure that Freddie would physically be able to complete the necessary vocal. When he said as much to Mercury, the singer said, “I’ll fucking do it, darling,” slammed a shot of vodka and went into the booth and (in May’s words), “killed that vocal.”

3.) December 1991, Operation Spirit by Live from their debut album Mental Jewelry- probably the song that best sums up my religious views, see verse two. And with respect, that is that.

4.) May, 1992, Fear of the Dark by Iron Maiden, the title track of that year’s album– and an awesome album it is.

5.) June, 1992, I by Black Sabbath from the album Dehumanizer which reunited at long last riff master Iommi with vocal god Ronnie James Dio.

6.) May, 1993, Mother by Danzig from their EP Thrall: Demonsweatlive– I am sort of cheating here. Actually, Mother was first released in 1988 as a response to The Parents Resource Center and Tipper Gore’s ridiculous album parental advisory system. When Danzig released the remixed version in 1993, it became a metal hit in a time that belonged to rap and grunge, reaching number 17 on the Billboard charts in the US.

7.) August, 1995, The Hall of The Mountain King by Rainbow from the last album to feature Ritchie Blackmore in full rock regalia, as God intended, A Stranger In Us All. The album didn’t do as well commercially as well, anyone, wanted and Blackmore disappeared into the world of renaissance acoustics to sulk. Like most of his fans, I keep hoping for a recovery from this clear case of losing one’s flipping mind. Until then a true rock god travels Europe wasting his talent.

8.) October, 1995, Flood by Jars of Clay from their self-titled debut- Christian rock’s finest moment, no seriously, amazing song. No offense, Stryper.

9.) August, 1998, Dragula by Rob Zombie from his first solo album, Hellbilly Deluxe– I was torn here. I mean, I love More Human Than Human by his group, White Zombie, too. This is the stronger song though.

10.) November, 1998, The Kids Aren’t Alright by The Offspring off Americana– These guys were such a bright light in the Nineties. Their passion carried their music in a way that the dirges of grunge could never ignite my soul. But, hey, that’s a punk inspiration for you.

Honorable Mentions:

1.) February, 1992, Right Now by Van Halen (or Van Hagar depending on your musical political bent) from their album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge– Sorry, just a guilty pleasure. Can’t help myself. Gets me every time.

2.) September, 1992, Would? by Alice ‘N Chains from their mega-hit making album (it scored five singles), Dirt– sometimes even the enemy comes up with something brilliant.

So, there you have it, The Top Ten Rock Songs of the Nineties according to me. I realize that this list will look nothing like other lists on the web, but that’s because it’s my list. What songs would you put on your list?

The Nineties weren’t all bad pop culture-wise. They brought us Buffy. Next blog we look at the dawn of another decade and new rock- thank heavens!

 

Erika Gardner

Erika Gardner

 

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.  Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

A couple of weeks ago (‘kay, maybe a month and a half, but who’s counting?) my dear friend Monica said to me (I’m paraphrasing), “You’ve warped (shaped) my daughters… Erin is a Doctor Who convert and Emily keeps stopping me on hard rock songs.”

A.) I didn’t do nuttin’.

B.) All three of Monica’s children are individuals of amazing taste and refinement.

C.) Emily– metal and hard rock needs more WOMEN!!!  Here’s hoping you are one of the select few.– Get your neck muscles ready.  Head banging LOOKS easy- but it’s not for the faint of heart– or those who lack of muscles.

Grasshopper…I’m happy to give you a lesson.

Metal is a strong genre that requires strong women, as math and science are CRYING out for the feminine.  This is a universe of ying AND yang.  How far do you REALLY think we can go without the female take on ANY of the sciences… OR metal???

The sum of the parts is greater than the whole.

Okay, so, we’re dividing this into TWO groups- those you may stop your mom as she is flipping through classic rock stations and those that you might find on YouTube or “That Metal Show.”  The newer stuff is a little more obscure, what with this inexplicable love of hip-hop. (Gag.)

This isn’t going to be your typical Heavy Metal/Hard Rock top ten.  Any idiot can Google that.  No, this is mine.  Music is subjective… a million people can listen to the greats and you’ll get a million top ten lists.

As God intended.

But, I can put forth the classics as I see them…

In no particular order (NOT ranked), here are five can’t lose rock faves:

1.)  Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love by Van Halen 1978, The Van Halen Album  While many of my favorite bands are British, you can NOT look at the American scene and not acknowledge what the Flying Van Halen Brothers and their extraordinary front man, Diamond Dave, brought to the Rock Table.  The album cover says it all.  Hot rock… to be reckoned with.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuyvT8nFMLY

vanhalen-vanhalen

 

2.)  Promises In The Dark by Pat Benatar… yes, Emily, women DO rock. Step up, bang your head and represent.  Listen to this chick SING.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qUFZwJb9GA

 

Benatar Rocks

Benatar Rocks

3.) Greatest concept album EVER… yep, The Wall, Tommy, whatever, looking at you.  In 1988 Queenryche released Operation Mindcrime and blew our collective minds.  Here’s Eyes of a Stranger… see Nicky bleed. You’ll  bleed with him and for poor lost Sister Mary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4duZjxusGM

Operation Mindcrime

Operation Mindcrime

 

4.)  Because I’m huge on girl power this one moves from the Honorable Mention Slot to the big leagues.  Go Joan Jett with her 1982 hit, Do You Wanna Touch from the album Bad Reputation.  If you don’t love the guitar riff here… not sure I can help you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XELpxApT8Kc

Joan Jett- Women rock!

Joan Jett- Women rock!

5.)  Now, I have a ton of songs I WANT to include… do I go for the lesson?… Or go with the heart. Duh- this is ROCK- heart ALWAYS wins.

The song that broke me into metal, the song that changed everything.  Yep, you know it… Scorpions No One Like You.  Just sit back, listen to the guitar soar and know that metal lives, breathes, has a soul, and always and will always… ROCK… as should you!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLEqRIsgl6A

Scorpions- always rocked, always wil

Scorpions- always rocked, always will

Heck, I liked it so much I married someone who looks an awful lot like Matthias Jabs- less hair of course 🙂 Sing it, Klaus… play it, Rudolph.  Everyone… head bang, one, two, three and repeat.  I should teach a class.

Honorable Mentions- Songs that rock… but, hey, I couldn’t pick them all:

Knocking At Your Back Door, Deep Purple’s Blackmore plays Jaws, only way better.

The Immigrant Song, Led Zeppelin

Forever, Y & T

– Last in Line, Dio

Okay, our second half… class, please stand, stretch, neck roll… everyone ready???  Here’s more music of hard rock and metal, but of TODAY.  Did I mention neck roll??? Because, it’s very important.  In the heat of the moment one may not feel the strain on the neck and shoulder muscles, but believe me, you will the following day.

Emily, I hope and pray that you will be a metal chick.  Not a date the guitar player chick.  No, metal needs, as does the whole world, a strong confident woman who knows herself and what she wants.  We need women with goals.  Never underestimate the impact of one woman– a woman with passion.  Empires have toppled and will topple again.

Follow your bliss… and rock one… always rock on.

Stretching done? And onward we surge…

Again, in no particular ranking, here are some of my favorites from recent years.  Feel free to head bang along.  Share them with the kids…

1.)  Classical bombast, epic themes, lush keyboards?  Oh, honey, Nemo has it all and tragic scope to cap it all off.  Gorgeous, beautiful, ridiculously lovely music, this is beyond metal.  It is simply fantastic!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIBdpFJyFkc

"Nemo" by Nightwish

“Nemo” by Nightwish

 

2.)  Sort of cheating as far as “new”… lead singer Glenn Hughes is referred to as “The Voice of Metal” as he has appeared on Whitesnake and Deep Purple albums, among others.  He certainly has the pipes to back up that kind of fanfare.  Still, these rock legends, including members of Dream Theater, Led Zeppelin, Foreigner, Bonham and Black Sabbath, are making NEW music, not playing the golden oldies and THAT needs to be applauded.  Besides, Jason Bonham is just three years older than me and has done an admirable job cleaning up his act while continuing to rock– and I dig that, too.

 

black-country-communion

black-country-communion

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VygbY5jv2n4

3.) Ah, Emily, baby girl… I struggled with this one.  I knew it had to to be Iron Maiden.  Yet, which song to choose?  The Trooper would have fit in the classics category.  I considered The Rencarnation of Benjamin Breeg from the A Matter of Life and Death Album of 2006.  I considered a dozen others.  The thing is, Maiden is a still a vibrant, creative force.  They are NOT done.  New music exudes their creative space.  Their latest album The Final Frontier was anything but Final, proving Maiden’s relevance even today.  I cannot wait to see what they do next.

Until then… let’s go with Brave New World….

 

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden

 

4.)  It’s a video game age, and thus, I give you a video game band.  But, do not sell them short, Dragonforce is as powerful as their name.  Their music flies far beyond Guitar Hero and deserves to be heard, deserves to be loved.  They used Guitar Hero as a vehicle, but do not think that it was all they have to offer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jgrCKhxE1s

Totman and Li

Totman and Li

I flipping LOVE guitar!!! So… write your own blog…. I love Totman and Li and I’m okay with that.  Again, (and I cannot stress this enough) follow your bliss, friends.

5.)  Ladies, your femininity is NOT at stake if your male companion can’t handle your strength,  your intelligence, or your amazing air guitar skills.  His insecurities all belong to him– never dumb yourselves down for a guy.  The real men like you smart.  Trust me.  I have been with the most amazing man EVER for more than twenty years.  He knows all my foibles and we have a fabulous time- you know why, it doesn’t faze him.  I bring my circus to the table, he brings his.  At the end of the day- it’s an amazing table.

Never dull your shine for anyone.

The ones worth having will love you and celebrate it.  The others you’ll see in the rear view mirror and not regret.  I PROMISE.

I digressed… again.  Could somebody please watch that????

Where was I? Oh, right, Evanescence, not quite new, but so worth it…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YxaaGgTQYM

Evenescence

Evenescence

 

Emily, did I not hit your sweet spots?  Let your mom know what you liked and didn’t like and I can fine tune this list.  We can go harder or lighter.  Rock and metal have a huge range.

Honorable Mention– Looking for newer with a harder edge?  Check out Benedictum– their female singer is AMAZING, but the rock?  You have to want it.  There’s no sugar-coating this.  It’s bang your head or bust, baby.

Rock on, girlie.  Guitar is the soundtrack to my life.  May it be so for you….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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