So I am double linking this idea for maximum exposureness, and also because inspiration came from all angles!
First, would be for From My Write Side, who in turn linked from Ambling & Rambling. Songs with an H theme. Since H is the 8th letter of the alphabet, my twist is 8 songs/albums/bands that start with the letter H.
Sorry but I will not link these up to Youtube or something, because coding gives me headaches sometimes. If you are curious go for it!
1. H. by Tool – From the CD Aenima, it was one of my favorite albums of the mid 90’s. I played this straight through pretty much every day, and then the favorites over again. My friends and I put our own interpretations on the lyrics, a typical fawning gesture. Yet we were the same people who rolled their eyes when people would go on in the same manner about Radiohead. Looking back, yes we were those obnoxious fans. Such is life. Anyway H. is about inner conflicts, ‘the snake’ is mentioned throughout the song, likely a symbol of temptation and self-serving choices, which even if good or bad for us, are to our benefit first and foremost. With the drowned snake at the end, we have regret. The song fades into the sound of a record reaching the end, and the needle cycling through white noise.
2. Hope Tonight – a new CD (and a title track) by my friend Melanie Penn. What’s it like? Well I’ll tell ya…
Maybe things haven’t been going so well lately. After a gloomy end to 2013 (from Fall through November), and a snow filled start to 2014, as early as February, things may have looked to be just more of the same. Even the few nice days have been bookmarked by rainy weather. We deserve more. A song perhaps. One that doesn’t force rhymes, and that doesn’t take too long to learn.
But now it’s Spring (I think it is), the days are lasting longer, and now something else has come up among the flowers. Right now, you can purchase “Hope Tonight”, Melanie Penn’s sophomore release! It will remind of you of the hope, happiness, bittersweetness you have, and how much wiser you are from family and your own experiences. I was lucky enough to get a copy some time ago, and it is absolutely brilliant.
So download, listen, listen again, and you’ll hear it, see it, feel it.
It’ll turn around.
Things always turn around.
3. Hurt – Nine Inch Nails. Later Johnny Cash offered his own rendition, probably the best cover of any song, IMHO. The Downward Spiral was brilliant in its raw sound, which I don’t feel they duplicated afterwards. Like with garage bands, when the tech production goes up, and songwriting becomes a process, that cheap, dirty anger gets buffered. Still, this haunting track completed an incredible dark concept album.
4. Heaven Can Wait – Meat Loaf. Bat Out of Hell was a brilliant record. Yes record. I still have it, salvaged from the ol’ heave ho that your record collection rightfully deserves. Anyway, Heaven Can Wait, is the first of two love ballads on the record that are ironically sandwiched in between songs about horny teenage boys and bad bikers looking to score and split on innocent girls. Still, the emotion and sincerity stand out for Mr. Loaf, and I’m sure this song made it’s way onto many wedding dance floors back in the day.
5. High and Dry – Radiohead. The other band that has the annoying fans. The Bends was a foreshadowing of the complex style and vague lyrics that would grow (at least to me) incomprehensible, or at least an in-joke that I wasn’t going to pretend I got. Released in the midst of grunge, it did not fold to that pressure or sound and that’s why its still listenable.
6. Hung – Napalm Death. My first deep foray into grindcore/death metal and it happened by ‘accident’. At the time, I was into Metallica, pretty much the first step in any teen’s basic metal comprehension. Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Sepultura were also staples. Slayer was harder, faster and darker. So when we came across a cassette given to one of us, we put it on and were dumbfounded by the guttural vocals, chaotic guitars and lyrics that were sputtered out, and would stop mid sentence. We smirked, shook our heads, and were going to eject it, when I convinced everyone to just give it a few more minutes. After all what the hell else did we have planned that day? No foreign diplomats were waiting on us to arbitrate any peace treaties. So we sat there, and suddenly, as the song chugged along to the 2:50 mark of the song, the riff comes in. Jaws dropped. Heads banged.
7. Hats off to the Bull – Chevelle. An obvious reference to bullfighting and rooting for the underdog, this album and title track are built around the state of society and culture these days tied in with a traditional ‘sport’ that is criticized for its cruelty and machismo. Probably my favorite CD by Chevelle since Point #1, as they seemed to return to those roots indirectly, but keeping the sound fresh and perfectly done (see my note on NIN about stale, repetitiveness).
8. Head Down and Half – Both off Soundgarden’s Superunknown. This came out 20 years ago and damn I remember buying it with some of the last crumbs of my lean college student budget. The rest I spent on dinner out at Pizzeria Uno’s with my friends, while we listened to it on my portable CD player. I nod and smile just thinking about how dated that sounds. Anyway, those songs in particular were written by bassist Ben Shepherd, and were seemingly out of place among Chris Cornell’s memorable riffs and structure. It took me a while, but I would later get into them, as I would refrain from hitting the ‘skip’ button. That button made things much easier – no need to wear out the ‘ffwd’ button.
(Hidden Track- various) Ahhh you see what I did there?! Hidden tracks are fun things. Nothing was a better sight than when the track listing was different than the listed version. Even better was when there was no extra track, just the last song having seemingly endless minutes of silence before these odd outtakes or messages. There’s an angry parent calling Marilyn Manson’s hotline, a poetic, if not disturbing phone message 15 minutes after track 69 (as if ‘Disgustipated’ wasn’t disjointed enough, and yes we waited those extra 15 minutes- see #6 again for our work schedules), “Iron Gland” stuck between songs on Alice in Chains’ Dirt, a hidden track before the firts track on Korn’s See you on the other Side and Nine Inch Nails, who on Broken, dragged you out to tracks 98 & 99 for the last songs.