Saturday, February 15, 2014

#11 My Chemical Romance The Black Parade (Ian Albrecht's Favourite Albums, Thus Far...)

Ian Albrecht’s Top Albums Thus Far…  By: Ian Albrecht  #11

My Favourite Albums To Date:  #11
Artist- My Chemical Romance
Album- Welcome To The Black Parade
Genre- Emo/ alternative

Lyrics 84/100, Vocals 82/100, Instrumental 87/100

Released on October 24, 2006 Welcome to the Black Parade is a lot more unique then the others on this list due to the album being a Rock Opera telling the story of a character (“The Patient”) dying of cancer. The songs tell the story of his apparent death, experiences that he faces in the afterlife, and a reflection of his life. This whole album's concept came from Gerard Way's feeling about death, and how, while dying, you relive your fondest memory - for this album - a young child seeing a parade. Since this is the concept for this album, it’s hard to talk about single songs because they all feed off each other, but I will do my best.

I suggest if you already like the concept of this album, listen to the album in its entirety as it is truly a beautiful story. The first track on this album that I love is, "The Sharpest Lives". It is a fast, upbeat song that has a great intro - a very simple instrumental, with an almost whispered verse from Gerard Way. The song "Cancer" might be this band’s ultimately depressing song. I have never heard a song quite as sad as this one. After listening to this song, I pray that no one I know and care for will ever get cancer. The lyrics describe it too well for my liking. Another cool song is "Mama" which follows after. "Mama" is a kinda creepy song with odd moments of haunting laughter layered over Gerard singing. It almost seems like he is taunting the idea of war, which I find frightening, considering this band formed due to the events during 9/11. The song that emphasizes their feelings towards 9/11 is in the following song called "Sleep" which makes me want to cry as it reminds me of the jumpers during that awful event in history. Especially at the beginning, when you hear the recording of someone talking about how they felt while they watched the buildings go down. But this song is also about The Patient finally giving in to death and accepting the idea. So yeah, that song has a double meaning - take it as you wish. I see it more as a song about that horrible event, but that's just me.

The lyrics in the album are great because this album is pretty much one big song, but sadly the lyrics aren't overly special in my books. Gerard’s vocals are well done, but sadly his vocal range isn't amazing, but for the band and within this album, it works surprisingly well. The instrumental throughout the album is amazing. You could take out the singing and just listen to the instrumental; that alone would tell you the story. All in all, it’s a great album, and if you are at all interested, I suggest you go and purchase it. My Chemical Romance disbanded on March 22, 2013.

Songs To Check Out: Famous Last Words, Sleep, Mama, The Sharpest Lives, House Of Wolves

#8 Three Days Grace - Ian Albrecht’s favourite albums thus far…

Album Number 8
Artist- Three Days Grace
Album- One-X
Genre- Hard Rock

Lyrics 89/100, Vocals 89/100, Instrumental 89/100

The Canadian rock band's (Three Days Grace) second album is a knockout. A dark and emotional theme is littered throughout the album’s lyrics and instrumentals.

The majority of the album was written by lead singer, Adam Gontier. His lyrics are extremely personal, clearly revealing his life experiences, especially his struggle with an oxycontin addiction.

        Ian Albrecht                                                              Adam Gontier
It is nearly impossible for me to narrow down, isolate and dissect the album’s tracks to a handful of memorable songs as I consider all the tracks to be amazing in their own right. Probably the most popular song on the album would be "Pain". I am a huge fan of this song because of Adam's raspy, gravelly voice wishing for true pain to break the numbness that is inevitably the rest of his life. This song relates to what teenagers appear to be experiencing today; that aimless lost and/or misguided direction.

Another kick-ass song on this album is "Let It Die". I love this song so much because it feels like a response to every breakup song written by a female. Let it Die is responding to those songs by declaring that the ‘girl’ gave up without even trying to make the relationship work. With ly . rics like "I swear I never meant to let it die. I just don't care about you anymore. It's not fair when you say that I didn't try. I just don't care about you anymore" It’s evident this is a man’s break-up song about his attempt at getting on without her

The final song worth discussion is my second favourite song, “Gone Forever”. The track revolves around Adam’s realization that a relationship he is in is truly dead and gone forever, However, Adam can’t fully let go of his feelings, which prevents him from allowing another to love him. Even though the lyrics state, “I feel so much better, now that you're gone forever. I tell myself that I don't miss you at all. I'm not lying, denying that I feel so much better now. That you're gone forever,” it’s implied that he’s lying to himself and he doesn’t want the relationship to be over. He goes on to sing, “So I’ll stay out all night, get drunk and fuckin’ fight. Until the morning comes and I’ll forget about our life.” If that isn’t a man suppressing his emotions and in denial, then I do not know who is.

The lyrics within the album are forthright and realistic (which I appreciate when it comes to songwriting). Adam Gontier’s vocals are just as strong as on his first album, if not better, and he is consistent throughout the album. You can hear his pain, vulnerability, and strength throughout his songs, and he sounds like a man struggling to share his experiences.

The instrumentals perfectly complement the vocals and the lyrics. This album is a gem of a package; tied with a beautiful bow Three Days Grace couldn’t have done any better.

Songs To Check Out: Never Too Late, Gone Forever, Over And Over, Let It Die, Get Out Alive

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

#9 Slipknot My Favourite Albums to Date By: Ian Albrecht

Artist: Slipknot
Album:  Iowa
Genre: Death Metal

Lyrics: 80/100, Vocals 93/100, instrumental 96/100

This happens to be the heaviest album on my list/ It’s not the heaviest album I have ever heard. However, my CDs don’t get a whole lot heavier than this one. At least not the albums I like.

Everything about this album is heavy. The lyrics are dark and disturbing. The instrumentals are distorted and violent-sounding. To top it off, Corey Taylor’s vocals full-out reside in my nightmares. This album was clearly made when they were all at angry/hateful points in their lives. This album embraces everything they’re feeling, including their hometown, Iowa.

The starting track, like their debut, is called “515” and it is creepy, eerie…  a soundtrack that immediately puts you on edge. All you can hear is Corey screaming something awful, (turns out to be “death” which is fitting, considering he sounds as though he’s being slowly murdered.)

The following track is “People = Shit” – a song that adequately fits the title. The band sings about why they hate the human condition. The song which comes after this tune is “Disasterpiece” which is the heaviest song and on the album (and also my favourite Slipknot song) bar none. The opening of this song is the coolest – Corey yelling at the top of his lungs. “Hold on to something!!!.” Then song then slides into a huge instrumental breakdown with some of the best riffing I have ever heard. This is pure Death Metal bliss, at its finest. This is what one needs to turn on when one is angry with the world. The opening lyrics sum up the entire emotional mood of this album, so if you are looking for pretty melodies and you don’t like the lyrics you’ve read thus far… well, I suggest you never listen to this album. For example, if you were to read on you'd come across, “I wanna slit your throat and fuck the wound. I wanna push my face in and feel the swoon. I wanna dig inside, find a little bit of me, cause the lines get crossed when you don’t come clean.”

Another song on the album worth discussing is, “I am Hated”. Believe it or not, this song is fun to listen to. Corey’s vocals are once again very raspy and he spits out his lines so fast, it almost comes across as rapping. I love every second.

My biggest album complaint would be that the song “Iowa” is 15:04 minutes long! Other than that, it’s a classic and would probably be in my top 5 or 6. That long, boring, and tedious “Iowa” song affected an otherwise superb and well-put-together Death Metal album.

Other than that, I consider this an above-average Death Metal album. The lyrics throughout the album are good, but nothing special. What makes the lyrics appear outstanding is the application of Corey's raw, emotional, hate-filled pipes. And the vocals aren’t even the attention-grabber. By far, the instrumentals are what put the album into my top ten. I would classify the album’s music as ‘organized chaos’. Joey’s drumming is exceptional, especially on the songs “Disasterpiece”, “People=Shit”, and “Left Behind”.

A fun fact I recently learned about the album is that it peaked at #1 in Canada. (No surprise, really, as Canadians have always had good taste.) If you are a music lover who is into ‘heavier’ music, I highly suggest you purchase the CD, “Iowa” by Slipknot. It truly kicks ass.

Songs to check out: Disasterpeice, I Am Hated, My Plague, The Heretic Album

Saturday, February 01, 2014

#10 Madeline by Tickle Me Pink. My Favourite Albums To Date Thus Far ...: by Ian Albrecht

My Favourite Albums To Date: By Ian Albrecht

#10 Madeline
Artist- Tickle Me Pink
Album- Madeline
Genre- Alternative Rock

Lyrics 90/100, Vocals 90/100, Instrumental 85/100

Tickle Me Pink is a relatively unknown band who released their third album, Madeline, on July 1st, 2008. The publicity of the album’s release was overshadowed by the overdose death of bassist/ guitarist Johnny Schou, aged 22, on the same day. The band temporarily broke up and lead singer Sean Kennedy formed the band, Talisker Skye. Tickle Me Pink still performed gigs until their final one, March 5, 2011. The following day, Sean released a message reading, “Farewell all. We love you and will never forget you.

Madeline tackles a lot of touchy, subject matter. It covers basic topics such as: drug use, suicide, loss, and brutal breakups, as well as not so basic topics such as major issues of today's world, and morality. The opening track of this album, "Typical" is a simple kick-ass tune. It’s fun, fast, very rock style and has the lead singer telling off a girl. It sets a good mood for the whole album. The song, "Madeline" is easily the most emotional of the album. It’s about a girl the band was friends with and of her struggles with depression as well as suicidal tendencies. The song has a very guilty tone to it. With such lines such as, "Oh, I never said goodbye. I wish I would of tried. I couldn't hear her cries as she filled her veins with lies, until she saw the light." The raw emotion in Sean Kennedy's voice almost brings tears to my eyes, especially when he sings (my favourite line of all) "If I could turn back time, I'd find a way to remind you that somehow you could try to give in and fight the good fight. Oh, you didn't have to die, you filled your veins with lies, my precious Madeline."  

The singer, Sean, stated “It is somewhat ironic that many of our songs deal with death and a higher purpose. We want to let the world know how short life is…

The rest of the album continues to be solid, with songs of many feelings. The next worthy stop on this album has to be the song, "The Answer". Now even though "Madeline" has my favourite line, “The Answer” is my favourite song. It contains a great beginning, all soft, but then quickly cut off by Sean's questioning of a girl's reason for loving him. Another great lyric from this song, "The answer deep inside me, is ripping me apart, the truth of who you are. The answer deep inside me, is eating at my heart, I don't know who you are!" Oh yeah, chills from that line. Sean's voice perfectly reflects the subject matter and the only thing I can do, when listening, is question Sean as to who it was who hurt him? 

The last song worth talking about (despite most of the album being worthy) would be, "Beside The Others". This song has Sean questioning how he could ever be loved, because of his many weaknesses and flaws. This song is his way of releasing this girl, helping her move on by saying leave me, because I'm only gonna drag you down. However, simultaneously, he's being selfish because he won’t let her go. It is a true battle within his head and his morality. The best line in this song is, "If I could tell you one thing, I think that you should know. I'm not afraid to love you, just of letting go." The lyrics throughout the album are top notch. It affects the listener but is not over the top with metaphors and symbolism. The vocals, as aforesaid, are perfectly matched with the lyrics. Sadly, although the instrumental is good enough to crack my Top 10, they are not different, or outstanding in any way.

Songs To Check Out: Madeline, The Answer, Beside The Others, Tomorrow's Ending, I Can't Breathe