Monday, December 3, 2012

Songs That Impacted Me in 2012

I love music. But admittedly, I am stuck in the 80's. I love hair metal, arena rock, lipstick fix, big guitars and bigger hair. Think Poison. Think Bon Jovi. Think Motley Crue. Think Aerosmith. That is pretty much what I have been listening to since I got into it. In order for me to listen to something new, someone has to introduce it to me. I don't listen to radio (much), so I rely on others to hook me up with something new.

My wife loves to play "Name that Tune" with me when we travel out to visit her grandmother in Iowa. She will set the MP3 player to shuffle, and just hit the skip button to see how fast I can name the song and/or the band and/or the album. Bonus points if I can name the track number, or what song it came before or after, or what side of the cassette it was on.

I didn't "get" Nirvana until about three years ago. Up until then, I held a grudge against them for killing hair metal.

All that being said, here is my top 10 songs for 2012. Some are great. Some are pathetic....but fun. For what it's worth, here they are from least impactful on my life to the most.

10: "Gangnam Style" by Psy. Yes, I fell victim to this fad. My 9-year-old is really into it, I find the music catchy, and yes, I'll admit it, I think the main female "character" (the red-head, by the name of Hyuna) is absolutely beautiful). Read the Korean-to-English lyrics here.

9: "Sex Ain't Love" by Warrant. This is the first track off of Warrant's latest album, "Rockaholic,"which was released in spring, 2011. This song took me back to the albums "Cherry Pie" and "Dog Eat Dog"with the racy lyrics and infectious grooves. Just 10 seconds into the song, and you know Warrant has reached back to their roots, and that this is an album worth listening to. View the partial lyrics here.

8: "Black Jack Davey" by The White Stripes. This song has been on my list for four or five years, and I can't get rid of it. This is a cover of a Bob Dylan tune, but done much, much better than Dylan. Check it out, and then check out the rest of the White Stripes catalog. You can't go wrong. It's simple, it's basic, it's mind-blowing. And this song, in particular is really, really fun to play on the guitar. Check out the lyrics here. Interestingly, every verse except for the second one, involves at least one color.

7: "Monster Monster" by The Almost. This songs speaks to me about my deep, dark secrets...the stuff I'm not proud of...about facing that stuff and walking away from it a changed man. It's about letting go of the past instead of holding onto it and letting it control your life. View the lyrics here.

6. "This is War" by 30 Seconds to Mars. This is a powerful song, but I can't decide how I feel about it. I first heard it at church when it was performed during a service, so I thought it was a Christian song. But then I listened to the CD, and it had a lot of anti-religion songs on it, so I'm not sure how to take this song. View the lyrics here.

5. "Out on the Town" by Fun. This band has some great songs with amazing drum work. The lyrics are built in to this video.

4. "We Are Young" by Fun. Regret. Apologies. Second chances. Forgiveness. It's all here. Read the lyrics here.

3. "Teenagers" by My Chemical Romance - This song has a really, really scary message, but that's not why I like it. I like this song because of the simple guitar riff and the raw emotion of it....negative or not. I find the final still screen of the this video to be a pathetic attempt to mitigate the damage this song could cause, and a laughable attempt to protect themselves from a lawsuit if anyone should ever cause harm as a result of listening to this song or watching the video. Get the lyrics here. My bottom line: Don't be this stupid. Find the entertainment, tongue-in-cheeky-ness in this song, and don't take it for a suggestion about how to act in the real world. If you have kids, be aware that they listen to this, and actively supervise your children accordingly, as you find appropriate for your home and house rules.

2. "Some Nights" by Fun. This dude's mouth is HUGE!!!! The drum beat is catchy, the harmony is solid and sonic, the words make you think, and the video follows a Civil War theme. What more do you need? What do YOU stand for? Read the lyrics here.

1. "Mess of Me" by Switchfoot. This song starts huge, gets bigger, and just won't stop. It's an all-out audio onslaught that forces you to think and reflect on your life, the mistakes you have made, and how you can make yourself better. This whole album is amazing. Check out the lyrics to "Mess of Me" here.

As you can see, with only a few exceptions, my musical theme for 2012 has been introspection, self-worth, and self-improvement. Songs like "Mess of Me" and "Some Nights" and Monster Monster" have allowed me to evaluate my life so far, and poder what to do next: Where I have failed, and where  I would like to go. I revisit these songs as often as necessary. What is so great about them is that they are amazing even without the deeper messages. As an added bonus, when I listen to them for fun, they cause me to think, and that is never a bad thing.

The rest of them are just fun and catchy escapes for when I don't want to deal with all of that heavy stuff.

My apologies for "Gangnam Style." I don't know what came over me. The 9-year-old made me do it. Yeah...that's it. I'll blame it on the 9-year-old.

I hope you find a nugget here. What was your top 10 for 2012? Maybe you will introduce me to my next favorite band!