The Rising – So Alive

So Alive came up a few days ago while I was working and it immediately made me look at what other music this little known #alternativerock band called The Rising had released since then. I didn’t know much about them and So Alive was their only song in my library. Sadly, my research revealed bad news only.

The Rising was formed by Australian singer Michael Johns, and if that name rings a bell to you is probably because he finished in eighth place on the seventh season of American Idol (2008). The Rising’s first and only album, Future Unknown, was released in 2003 and then again in 2008 after Johns’ appearance on the aforementioned TV show. It never really sold much but Michael was then able to release a solo album in 2009 that sold 20,000 copies. The really sad news was that Michael passed away in 2014, aged just 35, of dilated cardiomyopathy. Way too young.

So Alive might be a little known song but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of your attention. There are plenty of little gems out there that never received a fair chance. As a tribute to Michael Johns, I thought of sharing one of his best songs with you in this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry in case you weren’t aware of it. I really hope you can enjoy it!

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The Wallflowers – Three Marlenas

You might have heard this week’s news on The Wallflowers releasing their first album in 9 years next month. They even released its lead single already, which is okay, I guess, but nothing to write home about. While I’m not a die-hard fan of Jakob Dylan‘s band (I wasn’t even aware they had made an album in the last decade), they do have some really great songs that were very popular during the The Wallflower‘s heyday. Their most famous –and probably best– song is One Headlight, which won two Grammys and became the first song to top all three of Billboard‘s rock charts: modern rock, mainstream and adult alternative.

All that being said, I do have a soft spot for a far more modest single from the same Bringing Down The Horse album: Three Marlenas. It peaked at number 51 on the Hot 100 chart and is not the song most people immediately think about when they hear this band’s name, but it is that song for me. Take a walk with me down memory lane with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday song.

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Country Club – Temporary

Country Club is the moniker used by 23-year-old Liverpool resident Leon Holmes. Influenced by the likes of Gorillaz, The Strokes, Massive Attack and Portishead; his music is eclectic without being way too experimental. His goal is to blend nostalgic and contemporary genres in an ingenious way. Temporary is an example of that.

As is the case with all his songs, Leon performed, produced and mixed Temporary on his own using just a couple of instruments and a laptop. He did a great job at making it seem like he got plenty of help from other musicians. The tune is captivating without being too on-your-nose. You can really sense the impact Gorillaz had over Leon on Temporary but he still gave it his own twist. In fact, you might like this song even if you aren’t a big fan of Damon Albarn’s virtual band. I’m proof of that.

Listen to Free Country’s infectious tune in the mixtapes below. You might love it but even if you don’t, you will find it refreshing and that’s always a plus.

Collective Soul – Needs

As I shared yesterday on Facebook, this great album, Dosage, was released 22 years ago on February 9, 1999. If you only know a few songs from Collective Soul (if you know them at all), chances are those songs are all from the band’s first two albums, as those were their biggest hits: Shine, December and The World I Know. All great songs, hands down. However, this band from Georgia is much more than those 3 tracks, as they consistently released good albums all the way through 2009. The pace slowed down after that year (two albums since then) as they focused on some side projects but they will probably release another album soon as they just dropped a small EP a couple of months ago. I will always have a soft spot for Collective because they were the first band I ever saw live and it was a heck of a live show. Seriously, if have never seen them live, you should prioritize that once rock concerts are a thing again. Ed Roland is one of the best performers I have ever seen.

Anyway, I’m digressing. Dosage was a great album and even though it had a couple of big hits in Heavy and Run, and contains several little gems, the record itself is not as famous as its predecessors. One of those gems in Needs, which, in my opinion, is just as good as any of the band’s bigger hits. Ed Roland’s vocals are great as usual but each component of this song (the strings, in particular) is just stunning. Please enjoy this #musicalcrush of mine as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.

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Republica – Ready To Go

While doing some research for yesterday’s post, I got reminded of this classic from the 90s. Ready To Go was an international hit in 1997 (even though it was originally released in 1996) and it is by far the most well-known song from the English band Republica. I can’t say I know much about them, but according to Wikipedia (which of course is always right), they were formed in 1994 and are still active despite releasing their only two albums before the new millennium (they’ve released some compilations afterwards). As an interesting piece of trivia, Saffron, their lead singer, was born in Nigeria.

Anyway, enjoy this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry!

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Eve 6 – Inside Out

Do you like the ‘heart in a blender’ song? If this question does not ring a bell to you, then you are not following Eve 6 on Twitter and, therefore, missing out on what has become one of the most entertaining accounts on that social media platform. Max Collins, the band’s frontman, became hyperactive with the account towards the end of 2020, tweeting whatever comes to his mind, from stories about other ‘nineties bands’ (as he usually refers to them) to his opinions about any subject. Sometimes he is joking and sometimes he’s telling the truth but often it is not obvious to figure out which tweet is which, with Max even referring to the whole stuff as a form of art. One of the funny things he’s been doing is asking different personalities and celebrities, from Kamala Harris to Taylor Swift, if they liked the ‘heart in a blender’ song. The Rolling Stone magazine even wrote an article about it.

Inside Out is the heart in a blender song and let me tell you, I’ve always liked it. It was part of Eve 6‘s debut album from 1998 and reached the number one spot on the Modern Rock charts. The band from Southern California broke up in 2004 but luckily got back together in 2012 and released a very nice album that year, Speak In Code. While they haven’t published any new music since then (other than a live album), they’re still together, although with a new drummer. Hopefully, there is some new music coming song. In the meantime, enjoy this week’s #ThrowbackThursday tune.

I would swallow my pride, I would choke on the rinds

But the lack thereof would leave me empty inside

Swallow my doubt turn it inside out

Find nothin’ but faith in nothin’

Want to put my tender, heart in a blender

Watch it spin around to a beautiful oblivion

Rendezvous then I’m through with you

Eve 6, Inside Out

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Plain White T’s – Let Me Take You There

If you know only one song from Plain White T’s, it’s likely to be Hey There Delilah. By far, the band’s most successful single and a beautiful song indeed. That track was part of their fourth studio album, 2007’s Every Second Counts, which also featured a tune that I really loved back then called Let Me Take You There. I hadn’t listened to it in years until I stumbled upon it again earlier this week. It’s a gorgeous song that got overlooked due to the incredible success of that other song mentioned above. I hope you can enjoy this gem as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.

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Our Lady Peace – Life

The first Our Lady Peace song I heard was Superman’s Dead, and, at least at first, I didn’t like it that much. It wasn’t until they released Spiritual Machines, their fourth studio album, that I started to take them seriously. I’m glad that happened because otherwise I would have missed out on some great music from these gods of Canada’s alternative rock scene. The band has just released a remastered edition of this double-platinum certified album to celebrate its 20th anniversary, reason for which I decided to feature one of its best songs as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.

All things being equal, I would probably have chosen Right Behind You (Mafia) for this entry, but Life is just as good and has a beautiful message that is more valid than ever today; message that OLP managed to transmit quite well on the music video (see below). Sure, life can be messed up sometimes but everybody is dealing with some issue, one way or another. We just have to keep moving on. Call me crazy, but I think this song comes in handy this year.

By the way, Our Lady Peace announced that they’re working on a follow-up to Spiritual Machines and plan to release it next year. Color me intrigued.

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Counting Crows – Mr. Jones

Musical taste is totally subjective and the process of coming up with favorite songs even more so. It’s not just about the quality of the tune because not all great songs will become special to you. There’s a bit of randomness or luck involved. Listening to a song for the first time at the right time and place in your life will play a huge factor because then it will be forever linked to a certain moment or phase in your life. Mr. Jones by Counting Crows is definitely in my top 5 and a big reason behind that is that the first time I heard it (a few years after its release), I had just finished high school. It is an incredible track, for sure, but I know that I love it that much because it can transport me back to that point my life. Which song has the same effect on you?

Anyway, here’s this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry. Enjoy this #musicalcrush of mine.

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Bruce Springsteen – Streets of Philadelphia

I think the universe wants me to write about Bruce Springsteen. Not only was he mentioned in a recent entry, but I also watched a decent movie last week called Blinded By The Light that is basically a homage to The Boss. To top it all, he just released a brand new album accompanied by a documentary on Apple TV+: Letters To You. I don’t think there is much I can say about this legendary artist from New Jersey that is not widely known by now, so I’ll just go straight to the point here. Springsteen got many great songs and the film I mentioned made me appreciate the lyrics from Dancing In The Dark even more (seriously, amazing lyrics), yet my favorite song from The Boss remains Streets Of Philadelphia.

This Oscar winning gem was written and performed for the film Philadelphia (great film, by the way) in 1993. Some people consider it the best movie song of all time. It’s certainly in the running. It got one of the greatest intros as well. Who can forget that drum beat? Enjoy this great tune as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.

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