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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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I owe my dear friend, Debbie Oakland, an apology. She asked, and I promised, for a Musical Monday derived or inspired in some way from this year’s Grammys. Debbie, I’m getting there, I swear. However, I had to go where the passion took me and I just had to use this song.

Like so many Americans, I am floored, shocked and profoundly disturbed by our current state of presidential politics. The idea that enough of the country can be so backwards, deluded, and hate-filled to support, even turn out in droves for a man like Donald Trump is beyond depressing. I didn’t think I still possessed this kind of naivete. Apparently, I would be wrong. Color me a heart-broken Pollyanna.

Let me get this straight, feel free to stop me at any time, Trump hates foreigners, but married two. Breast feeding women are disgusting but in Melania we’ll have a First Lady with her very own nudes. (We’ll pause while some of my readers run off to Google her.) Mind you, I don’t mind immigrant wives or nude pictures, but don’t tell me breast feeding is disgusting and then expect me not to do a double take at what you married. Also, don’t say you love women and then claim that one who asks you a difficult question must be on her period. Oh yes, and we aren’t allowed to use the bathroom. I can NOT wait to introduce him to Angela Merkel because that will be super fun. Not.

So, that’s half of humanity he hates. Who’s left? Mexicans are drug dealers and rapists. Oh, and Mexico, Trump says we need a wall and you need to pay for it. Come on? After all those years of trying to get the Berlin Wall down? Really? Muslims need to leave the country and so do “brown people.” Although, interestingly enough, perhaps not blacks. as Trump says, “The Blacks” love him. I guess he’s right. After all, Louis Farrakhan sure seems to be a fan. Of course, Trump can barely bring himself to disavow the KKK, so maybe not.

He has no plan- for anything. No strategy for health care, immigration reform, foreign policy, tax reform, the future of the Supreme Court, women’s issues, race relations, poverty, child hunger, and the list goes on. Without a thought in his bulbous orange head, he bumbles his way across America, spouting invective as he goes. Don’t even get me started on the last debate when he bragged about his genitalia. Again, I’m fine with all these body parts, but really, you’re gonna brag at a presidential debate? Can you imagine if a female candidate started bragging about the merits of her special places? (Yes, I am being facetious.) And did I fail to mention? He’s a bully.

And somehow in the midst of all this, his support continues, even grows. What have we as a nation become?

This. Is. Nuts.

This week’s song is The Mob Rules by Black Sabbath. The album featured: Tony Iommi, Ronnie James Dio, Vinny Appice, and Geezer Butler. This song was later performed by the same Sabbath line-up but renamed Heaven & Hell. The clip I am including here is from 2007, their Heaven & Hell days, prior to the untimely death of Ronnie James Dio. I cannot help but wonder what Dio, himself once a Democratic presidential candidate, would make of today’s antics. Click here to enjoy!

While the lyrics might initially appear as inciting as Trump himself, it is, in fact, a cautionary tale against the forces of chaos. I devoutly do not wish to live in a country where the mob rules. Come on, America, come to your collective senses. Pretty please.

Okay, vent over. I’m just going over here to bang my head against this wall. And not in a cool metal way.

“The Mob Rules”

Close the city and tell the people that something’s coming to call
Death and darkness are rushing forward to take a bite from the wall, oh

You’ve nothing to say
They’re breaking away
If you listen to fools…
The Mob Rules
The Mob Rules

Kill the spirit and you’ll be blinded, the end is always the same
Play with fire, you burn your fingers and lose your hold of the flame, oh

It’s over, it’s done
The end is begun
If you listen to fools…
The Mob Rules

You’ve nothing to say
Oh, They’re breaking away
If you listen to fools…

Break the circle and stop the movement, the wheel is thrown to the ground
Just remember it might start rolling and take you right back around

You’re all fools!
The Mob Rules!

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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.

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.

I was speaking with a friend a couple of weeks back. We were discussing under rated songs. You know, the ones you loved, but they didn’t have the backing for the radio stations, MTV, Youtube- pick your poison- to pound them into the collective consciousness until they were the MEGA hits. She suggested that I put together a series of top ten lists for the decades.

At first I wasn’t sure. I mean, the Internet is literally crawling with these lists. What could I possibly add? So I started surfing. To my surprise for the genre that I loved the most, hard rock/heavy metal, the lists were disturbingly homogenous. I mean, it’s hardly news to tell an eighties rock fan that the song Mob Rules in fact rules, right?

Maybe there was room for another list. At the very least, I could add to your work out songs playlist.

I started examining my favorites. To be fair, my preferences line up pretty well with a lot of “greatest” lists. That’s when I thought, we started this because we were talking about under rated songs. Okay, I can do that. How about a top ten list that will look nothing like anyone else’s top ten? Equally valid in quality, just… different… other… fresh.

Now, how about a series of lists- by decade? Done.

I give you the Unconventional Top Ten. Just remember that for ME, quality means heavy metal or at least progressive rock. While not all songs will be metal they will at least skirt the prog rock/hard rock label. There will be no pop. Paula Abdul is the next blog down. Move along, top 40 people.

This week we’ll wander through the eighties, land of my youth, lots of big hair, and way too much Aquanet and eye-liner. Whatever you do, don’t light a match.

My list is mine. You people who lived through the eighties can make your own if you don’t like this one. If you didn’t live through it– just pipe down. I’ll never be able to explain the freedom and excess, the innocence of that decadent, happy time. We lived a pipe dream, of course. We just didn’t know it yet. That crashing realization came later. They called it the nineties. It was grim and that’s NEXT week.

I’m not ordering these. They are numbered for convention, but not ranked. It’s all a tie for first with the honorable mentions taking second. This will not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s an original brew.

"Misplaced Childhood" by Marillion- possibly the greatest concept album ever.

“Misplaced Childhood” by Marillion- possibly the greatest under rated concept album ever.

1.) Kayleigh by Marillion from the 1985 album Misplaced Childhood. One of my all time favorite songs. We played it at my wedding- though I certainly hope I have a happier end to my love story than Kayleigh and Fish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Command

The Last Command

2.) Wild Child by W.A.S.P. from the 1985 album The Last Command– what can I say? It just rocks. Blackie Lawless did a lot to shock audiences, but at the end of the day he’s a pretty smart guy who always sought to entertain.

 

 

 

 

 

Joan Jett- proving rock doesn't discriminate on gender. Got that, boys???

Joan Jett- proving rock doesn’t discriminate on gender. Got that, boys???

3.) Do You Wanna Touch Me There? A 1984 cover by Joan Jett of the 1973 Gary Glitter classic. Thank God she covered it. Given his criminal record, if she hadn’t, a really good song would have been bundled up in the shame of its writer’s bad-shit craziness.

 

 

 

 

Sabbath: Butler, Iommi, Appice and Dio as God intended.

Sabbath: Butler, Dio, Iommi, and Appice as God intended.

4.) The Sign of The Southern Cross by Black Sabbath from the 1981 album Mob Rules. Ronnie James Dio’s soaring passionate vocal, Iommi’s godlike rifts, Butler’s unmistakable rhythms and signature backup vocals combined with Vinne Appice’s passionate blanket of thunder to make this a stand out song and album for any rock fan.

 

 

 

Long Way to Heaven by Helix

Long Way to Heaven by Helix

5.) Deep Cuts the Knife by Helix was a single off their 1985 album Long Way to Heaven. Most of Helix’s songs were good time party tunes, but this one packed a bit more emotional punch. Great song to run to, really great song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doro on stage in Germany

Doro on stage in Germany

6.) All We Are by Warlock from their 1987 album, Triumph and Agony.- I have to include a Warlock song on this list if only to celebrate their lead singer, Doro Pesch. Hugely popular in Europe, the band didn’t make the same kind of impact in the US. Doro was the first woman to front a band at the Monsters of Rock Festival in Donington, England. She performs to this day, one of the true women of metal. Love her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

90125album

90125album

7.) Changes by Yes off the seminal 1983 release 90125 (named for the album’s Atlantic records catalog number). Many of us owned this album and Owner of a Lonely Heart certainly dominated the airwaves at the time. Probably because I had such a crush on Trevor Rabin, this remains my favorite Yes song.

 

 

 

 

 

Y & T in their hey day

Y & T in their hey day

8.) Midnight in Tokyo–  While later albums would yield bigger hits for Y & T (think Summertime Girls) the albums of the early 80’s, ie Black Tiger and Mean Streak to me were the band’s best work. My favorite song comes from the 1983 album, Mean Streak.  The guitar, the driving rhythm section and passionate vocal from Dave Meniketti make Midnight in Tokyo the quintessential Y & T track.

 

 

 

Iron Maiden- so many great songs

Iron Maiden- so many great songs

9.) The Clairvoyant by Iron Maiden from 1988’s Seventh Son of A Seventh Son– Honestly, when it comes to Maiden, this could have been one of twenty, even thirty songs. Their catalog is just that deep, making choosing a real conundrum. This song has all the classic hallmarks one demands of Iron Maiden: the time changes, the intelligent concepts, the force and the speed of a metal great.

 

Operation Mindcrime

Operation Mindcrime

10.) Another 1988 album produced the song rounding out my Top Ten with Queensryche’s epic Eyes of a Stranger from the amazing Operation Mindcrime. It stands as the band’s greatest work to date. Layered in the complex progressive rock lies intelligent, insightful and biting commentary on Western Civilization in general and the United States in particular.

Honorable Mentions– Those songs that just missed my ten-way tie for first place include Too Late For Love by Def Leppard off their hugely successful Pyromania album and You Give Me All You Need by the Scorpions from another 80’s masterpiece, Blackout.

Okay, and there you have it. As they say on That Metal Show, other lists need not apply.  This is my Unconventional Top Ten of Eighties hard rock and heavy metal songs, with a little progressive thrown in for good measure. And yes… I know. I left off Priest, solo Dio, Aerosmith, Van Halen, so many good bands. The top ten lists demands tough choices, my friends.

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.

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