Spot On or Not On #7

Listen with caution, for though music is free, time is irreplaceable.

Nickelback: “Bottoms Up” Henry Rollins once observed, “If you listen to modern radio, you’ll hear, like, six songs, one after the other, and they all sound like about the first half of a really boring mediocre CD. Then you realize it’s six different bands.” After listening to this song, which is a little faster than Nickelback’s usual output but still achingly generic, I could not agree more. Moreover, Chad Kroeger still sounds like Paul Rodgers after getting the wind knocked out of him, so… yeah. Fail. Not On!

Awolnation: “Not Your Fault” This track is full of emotion and energy, and I love the how the “Bomp, ba-bomp, POW!” of the drums at the intro remind me of those great sixties oldies, and that meshes with the late seventies/early eighties new wave vibe throughout this number. It took me a minute to look past the cheesy keyboards on this track, but that notwithstanding, everything succeeds, especially the difference in tempo between the verses and chorus sums up the conflicted feelings that invariably come with attraction. Spot On!

Imagine Dragons: “It’s Time” The handclap and mandolin arpeggios are nice, but unfortunately, the singer sounds like he is suffering from a bad stomachache and has his nuts in a vise at the same time. What a pity. If not for that, this track wouldn’t come across as limp as it does. Not On!

Chevelle: “Face The Floor” At the beginning, we have four bars of chunky, distorted, palm-muted guitar playing perhaps the busiest hook in rock n’ roll history, then after that, a disorienting string bend, and the rest of the band comes in, the feeling is, to use the words of the late John Peel, orgasmic. The crazy thing is, the vocal melody attaches to the sophisticated guitar hook in a most pleasing way. Don’t you just love it when a song is not only interesting, it begs to have its volume turned all the way up to eleven? Spot On!

David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj: “Turn Me On” You know, it’s songs like this that make me wonder why I bother sometimes, and this one makes me wonder why I bother ever. David Guetta is a force of nature in that he has made a lot of money building a catalog of pulsating electronic music that is so boring and repetitive that listening to it will cause brain damage faster than the most badly adulterated ecstasy on the market. Nicki Minaj, on the other hand, has a fine voice, and hopefully, she will stop wasting her talent while she still has good looks on her side. That being said, I’m turning you two OFF! Not On!

Karmin: “Brokenhearted” The first line of this track is, “This is more than a typical kind of thing.” Funny you should sing that, Amy. After braving sixteen seconds of perhaps the most painfully elementary rhythm track I have heard in all my life, I was already bracing for the truth that this song was written to please the critics who will undoubtedly gush about fresh this sounds, even though this sounds like all the eighties music I DON’T LIKE. Not only does the brief hip-hop-style passage in this song redeem nothing, it also makes the whole thing even more obnoxious and lame. Not On!

Lee Brice: “A Woman Like You” Under the normal run of things, I hate pop country, I consider the very phrase a contradiction in terms, I believe that neither word belongs anywhere near each other, and I think that the developments in the Nashville sound beginning in the late 1980s with the release of the first Garth Brooks album were a f—— disgrace from the very beginning, and they are a f—— disgrace today. However, this song, with its simple, earthy acoustic arrangement and lyrics reminiscent of Shel Silverstein’s best work, is definitely an exception and as funny as it is well written. Spot On!

Soundgarden: “Live To Rise” When Soundgarden announced their breakup in 1997, I, like many other rock fans was very, very sad. Needless to say, their recent reunion has been nothing short of good news, and this track, their first release since getting back together and earmarked for the Avengers soundtrack, proves that. Between the infectious, sludgy Sabbath-esque power chords and Chris Cornell’s powerful yet versatile vocals, this is the sound of a band that belongs back together. Spot On!

Rita Ora: “How We Do (Party)” Rita has a powerful voice, but that isn’t enough to make up for the fact that this track feels like it was assembled with ProTools. As for the lyrics – did somebody fill a bag with key words about party, reach into the bag without peeking and arrange the words to form coherent clichés? If not, you could have fooled me. Also, I hate the rhythm guitar sound on this track, and the chorus is nothing short of grating. Not On!

Seether: “No Resolution” This song is probably one of the most interesting rock songs I have heard in a long time, what with the well placed tempo changes and a perhaps the most precarious but perfect balance of light and shade since Led Zeppelin’s finest work. What really sizzles, though, is the lead guitar work. Spot On!

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