Z is for Zombie by The Cranberries

First, the formalities: Lyrics and Blogging from A to Z info.

This is an interesting song simply because of what it is about. Written by the band’s lead singer, Dolores O’Riordan,¬†Zombie is a protest song that was released in 1994. It was written during the Cranberries’ English Tour in 1993 by O’Riordan in memory of two boys, Jonathan Ball and Tim Parry, who died in an IRA bombing in Warrington. The Warrington bombings were two attacks that took place in early 1993 in Warrington, England. The first was on the 26th of February at a gas storage facility, which caused a lot of structural damage, but no injuries. While fleeing the scene, however, the bombers shot and injured an officer. Two of them were caught following a high-speed car chase. The second attack was on the 20th of March. Two small bombs were placed in trash cans outside of shops and businesses on Bridge Street. Although a warning was sent, the area was not evacuated in time, resulting in two children being killed and dozens of people injured.

These attacks were carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army, or as most people know them, the IRA. The IRA had been carrying out attacks on infrastructure and commercial areas in Northern Ireland and England. Their goal was to harm the economy and cause disruption, which would hopefully put pressure on the British Government to withdraw from Northern Ireland. The bombing on March 20 resulted in massive coverage in the media and cause widespread anger and protests against the IRA in Dublin.

I happen to love Dolores O’Riordan’s voice though, whatever the song is about. The video is a bit strange, mostly because I’m not sure why she’s all gold in parts of it and the other parts are black and white “footage” style pieces. I feel like they should’ve chosen one direction to go or the other.

What did you think of the song and the video? How did you enjoy my posts for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge? As always, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts. ūüôā

51D00878439A94C010663E8F83AD0FE6

Y is for Your Guardian Angel by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

I love acoustic pieces. This song is just beautiful. In the music video you see Ronnie Winter, the writer of the song, and the band moving around and getting ready for a show. Ronnie sings in a closet with one light bulb, then plays and sings while the band is preparing for the concert. The rock portion of the song hits when the band steps on a stage alight with flashing light effects and chandeliers. The video was directed by Shane Drake.

By now you may or may not have figured out that I’m a fan of rock ballads. ūüôā I heard this song after a friend of mine mentioned that he liked it and it just stuck with me. There’s not a whole lot to say about it. It’s clearly about a man in love, and he’s imploring his lover to believe that he’s the one and to not walk away from that.

You can find the lyrics here and more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge here. One day left guys! Any predictions for the letter Z?

51D00878439A94C010663E8F83AD0FE6

X is for Xanadu by Rush

Who doesn’t love Rush? Anyone who raised their hand should probably leave now. This is sort of the ultimate Rush song. At 11 minutes long, it’s time consuming, but the five minute instrumental opener is perfection. The song then transitions to a narrative written by Neil Peart, inspired by the poem “Kubla Khan,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In the lyrics (found here), the narrator describes the search for something called “Xanadu.” While it’s never actually explained what “Xanadu” is, the poem “Kubla Khan” implies that it is a mythical place based on the summer capital of the Mongolian Empire that will grant him immortality. When the narrator finds Xanadu and attains mortality, a thousand years pass and he is left “waiting for the world to end,” and actually bitter about the success of his quest.

If you’re into instruments, this is a great song to feed that. Each member was required to use an array of instruments to effect the performance. The was a double-necked Gibson electric guitar (one twelve-strong, the other six-string) as well as synthesizer pedals used by Alex Lifeson, a double-necked Rickenbacker 4080/12 guitar (bass and twelve-string guitar) as well as extensive synthesizer arrangements while singing by Geddy Lee, and Peart took on various percussion instruments including temple blocks, tubular bells, bell tree, glockenspiel, and wind chimes, in addition to his drum kit work. More recent cuts of the song have been altered to simplify the arrangement, to which I can only say this, not everyone can be Rush in 1977….not even Rush.

What did you all think of this song? Was 11 minutes too long for you or did the instrumental portion tie it all together for you?

Don’t forget to check out more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge here.

51D00878439A94C010663E8F83AD0FE6

W is for Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show

Okay okay, I know that Darius Rucker did a version of this song and it was a big hit blah blah blah. I don’t care about Darius Rucker. For me, this is the original version of this song, and it’s the best, hands down. I’m biased because this is mine and Batdad’s song. One of them at least. I have a deep fondness for bluegrass, and I love the twang of this song. Plus,¬† you can hook me on almost any song with the use of cello or fiddle (violin or viola). Batdad told me once upon a yesteryear, long ago when we dated once before, that this song made him think of me, and it just stuck.

The song is sung from a man’s point of view as he hitchhikes south along the eastern coast of the US, from New England down through Roanoke (Virginia), hoping to get to Raleigh (North Carolina) where his lover is. As he’s walking South of Roanoke, he catches a ride with a trucker traveling from Philly westward to the Cumberland Gap and Johnson City, Tennessee. Though that’s not the right direction, and the writer of the song, Ketch Secor, admits that his geography was a bit off when he wrote the lyrics, I think that it adds to the story of trying to get to his “baby” and having a hard time of it.

Here are the lyrics to the song and here is more information about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Only a few days left! What have you guys thought about the music overall? Is there anything you wish I would have included?

51D00878439A94C010663E8F83AD0FE6

V is for Vermilion Pt.1 & 2 by Slipknot

 

My first “real” concert that I attended was Slipknot. This song (I’ll count them as one) has always hit me in the chest. It’s one of those songs that makes you feel…things. Pretty vague huh? Overwhelming emotion of some sort. The deep baritone of Corey Taylor’s voice is amazing, and¬†the acoustic ballad sound of Part Two….ugh. The lyrics speak to the dark times I’ve fumbled through in my life, and I’m guilty of having listened to this song on repeat more than once.

Enough about my personal attachment to the song.

Corey Taylor says of the songs, “The differences (between the two tracks) are subtle ‚ÄĒ ‘Vermilion Pt. 1’ is about the enrapturing, the buildup, the anticipation and the neurosis. ‘Part 2’ is the aftermath, the pieces that have to be picked up later, and maybe the guilt of having lived through it” There are two music videos, one for each part of the song, and they are integral to the story of the song. Pt. 1, directed by Tony Petrossian and percussionist Shawn Crahan, shows a girl living a tortured life in the city. She moves slowly around the streets in contortions and twists as people move by in a blur, ignoring her pain. She finally gets noticed when she puts on a Maggot Mask (a specially designed mask for fans of the band) which makes the members of the band appear and dance with her. Upon appearing to the girl, the band members put on white masks which enable their true faces to be seen for a moment. A portion of the video is spent with the girl watching a caterpillar turn into a butterfly then escape her. She chases after it and it seems that her inability to catch it triggers a bit of a meltdown. She tries to connect with people who are all moving faster that she is and towards the end of the video you see her in clear anguish pulling chunks of her hair out in different locations of the city¬†before the butterfly comes back to her and the sun comes up.

Pt. 2 was directed by Marc Klasfeld and shows the same girl, but this time she is sleeping peacefully in a field. The wind begins to pick up and lifts her up, tossing her around and swaying her back and forth. Eventually, you realize that the girl is dead and not actually sleeping at all, but overall the video is much more peaceful than the first. Maybe that’s a nod to finding peace after life?

Here’s where you can find lyrics for Part 1 and Part 2, and more information about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

What did you guys think of the songs and the music videos? Were you moved or disturbed?

51D00878439A94C010663E8F83AD0FE6

U is for Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers

This song is special to me and easily recognizable. The intro is well-known and most people can sing at the least the first few lines. While I’ve always been a fan of the song, and of RHCP, this song is special to me because of a friend. When I was 19 I lived in Las Vegas for a year. The ‘burbs outside Vegas, but close enough. In the time that I lived there, I made one friend that I always felt had my back. My “homie” Van. Homie was his word, not mine.¬†In the chaos that was my life that year, Van picked me up and held me together numerous times, whether he knew it or not. This song was one that he would always crank up when we were riding around, claiming it was his “jam.” He always substituted the word “angels” in the lyrics, for “City of Vegas.” I’ve since lost touch with Van, but this song never fails to make me think of him.

Anthony Kiedis, vocalist for RHCP, wrote the lyrics for this song as a poem at first,¬†expressing his feelings of loneliness as well as reflecting on¬†his use of narcotics and their impact on his life. He didn’t feel as though the song would fit with the current repertoire of the band and did not show it to them until producer Rick Rubin found it in a notebook of his poems and implored him to do so. The band was receptive to the song and pretty much immediately picked up instruments and started writing music to it.

You can read the full lyrics right here and you can read more about the A to Z Blogging Challenge right over here.

What do you guys think about the song? Any personal connections to it?

51D00878439A94C010663E8F83AD0FE6

T is for Take Me to Church by Hozier

Once I chose this song for the letter T, I was very eager to write¬†the relating¬†post. This song is a bit heavy, though beautiful. A mid-tempo song with soul, the details of the lyrics outline Hozier’s frustration with the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality. Lyrically, the song is a metaphor, with the protagonist comparing his lover to religion and Hozier said in an interview with Rolling Stone, “Growing up, I always saw the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church. The history speaks for itself and I grew up incredibly frustrated and angry. I just put that into my words.” In another interview with New York Magazine he stated, “Sexuality, and sexual orientation ‚Äď regardless of orientation ‚Äď is just natural. An act of sex is one of the most human things. But an organization like the church, say, through its doctrine, would undermine humanity by successfully teaching shame about sexual orientation ‚Äď that it is sinful, or that it offends God. The song is about asserting yourself and reclaiming your humanity through an act of love.”

The song’s music video has contributed to its popularity, following¬†the relationship between two men in a same-sex relationship and the subsequent violent homophobic backlash. Hozier stated, “The song was always about humanity at its most natural, and how that is undermined ceaselessly by religious organizations and those who would have us believe they act in its interests. What has been seen growing in Russia is no less than nightmarish, I proposed bringing these themes into the story and Brendan (the videos director)¬†liked the idea.”

I’m all for LGBT rights and though this video was hard to stomach at times, I know that these things are actually happening in parts of the world. This is an important issue to address because everyone should have the freedom to love without persecution.

This second video is a version directed by David LaChapelle featuring Ukrainian ballet star Sergei Polunin, the “Bad Boy of Ballet.” It is beautiful and the kind of visual that you can feel in your soul. He is extremely talented. Considering he mainly works in Russia at this time, it’s a bold statement for him to make, whether intentional or not.

What do you guys think about the videos and the meaning behind them?

You can find out more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge here, and you can find full lyrics to the song here.

51D00878439A94C010663E8F83AD0FE6

S is for Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin

A to Z Challenge Info

Stairway to Heaven Lyrics

Stairway is possibly one of the most well-known rock songs in existence. I could wax-poetic about this song, but there’s truly not much that I could say about this song that you can’t feel for yourself when you listen to it. As far as the lyrics go though, Robert Plant said that the first attempt to write lyrics were spent next to a log fire at Headley Grange and they were partially spontaneously improvised. Jimmy Page was strumming the chords and Plant had a pencil and paper. Plant later said that,

My hand was writing out the words, ‘There’s a lady is sure, all that glitters is gold, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven’. I just sat there and looked at them and almost leapt out of my seat.

Plant’s own explanation of the lyrics was that it “was some cynical aside about a woman getting everything she wanted all the time without giving back any thought or consideration. The first line begins with that cynical sweep of the hand… and it softened up after that.

I thought that was an interesting tidbit. The music in this song is just amazing. The progressions through the three different sections is flawless, and I love the different instruments and sounds. Worth the listen again and again. Are you a Stairway fan?

51D00878439A94C010663E8F83AD0FE6

R is for Radioactive by Imagine Dragons

Blogging from A to Z Challenge information

Full lyrics to the song

“Radioactive” was written by Imagine Dragons themselves and is one of the more “electronically influenced” tracks on the Night Visions album. It is a fusion of pop, rock, and dubstep, and the lyrics speak of both apocalyptic¬†and revolutionist themes. Front man Dan Reynolds has said of the song,

Radioactive, to me, it’s very masculine, powerful-sounding song, and the lyrics behind it, there’s a lot of personal story behind it, but generally speaking, it’s a song about having an awakening; kind of waking up one day and deciding to do something new, and see life in a fresh way.

The music video was directed by Syndrome and features actors Lou Diamond Phillips and Alexandra Daddario and puppeteers by the studio Puppet Heap.¬†In the video, a mysterious female drifter is on a quest to save her friends (the band) from the perils of a sinister, underground puppet-fighting ring. A large purple beast, the “Champion” of the ring, beats and kills innocent stuffed animals and puppets that are forced to fight. The drifter’s pink teddy bear enters the ring and fights the “Champion.” It first seems as though the little bear is going to lose as he is initially beat up, but after getting up from the ground, the teddy bear knocks out the purple beast and disintegrates two guards with laser vision. The woman then takes the key and unlocks the band, leaving the owner to be surrounded and attacked by the rest of the puppets that had been defeated earlier.

I was drawn to this song the first time that I heard it. The lyrics, the lead-singer’s voice, and the heavy-hitting beats resonated with me in a way that had me listening to it on a loop for a while. I just dig it. What do you guys think?

51D00878439A94C010663E8F83AD0FE6

Q is for Question! by System of a Down

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, click the link for more information.

“Question!” is a song by the Armenian-American Rock back System of a Down. The opening scene of the music video shows a boy all grey hued shooting a red bird with a slingshot then switches to a scene of the band members playing music in a theater for a play. The theme of the play is life, death, and reincarnation and revolves around two lovers who are shown both as children and as adults. As the music reaches its climax, the woman collapses after eating a red berry and the man screams in grief. The video closes with an intense scene of a woman giving birth followed by a shot of a newborn baby wrapped in red cloth. The color red is central to the video, tying together the bird, the girl, the woman, and the baby in a cycle of rebirth.

Shavo Odadjian, the band’s bass player,¬†produced the video (and co-directed it alongside Howard Greenhalgh) after allegedly having an image of the video in a nightmare. He claimed that he had no intention of producing the video¬†before he had the dream and, in fact, did not want any¬†special treatment over¬†the other possible producers so he submitted his idea for the video anonymously. The video was shot in the Los Angeles Theater, which opened in 1931 and is now closed. “It’s an amazing old theater that is due for renovation,” Serj Tankian, lead¬†vocals and acoustic guitar player for the band,¬†said of the place. “I’m glad they haven’t renovated it yet, because it has the right character for what we were looking for. It has a fairy tale vibe.”

This song is fairly intense, and not just because of the type of music. What a strong question that is to ask, “what happens when we die?” That must be the reason behind the exclamation point. Question! What do you guys think? You can check out the full lyrics to the song here.

51D00878439A94C010663E8F83AD0FE6