Man, I love me some music. Since The Justice Files is currently on hiatus, I’m feeling a bit of a void on this site. After all, if we geek about it, we speak about it! I try to pick up some new music every week – I absolutely love all kinds of music, and can’t get enough of it. I’ve been a music fiend since the mid-90’s (the Grunge era, of course), so that should kind of inform what my favorite kind of music is.
So welcome to Super Nova Goes Pop, my new regular column where I’m going to chat about whatever music topic pops up in my head that week. I’ll talk about my favorite bands and albums, get your feedback and opinions on your favorite bands, and review some of the latest music!
This week, the 16-year old Paul inside of me was very happy. It was like 1995 all over again, with the release of new music from 90’s superbands Filter and SoundGarden. Do these bands still have the magic that made them popular in the first place? Or have they lost that lovin’ feeling?
Following up on 2008’s politically-minded Anthems for the Damned, this week saw the release of Filter’s newest album, The Trouble With Angels. Though supposedly two editions are available, I’ve really only see the Deluxe Edition available (via iTunes and at Best Buy). I’ve been a big fan of Filter since their first album and, even though the band will always be primarily remembered for their first two albums Short Bus and Title of Record, I feel like their last two albums, The Amalgamut and the aforementioned Anthems for the Damned were actually more consistent. I mean, sure they may not have had another “Hey Man, Nice Shot,” or a “Welcome to the Fold,” but I feel like the first two albums were wildly uneven – they had great songs and they had SUCK songs. With the last two albums, I feel like the quality has been more consistent, and I even think that the feel of the album has stayed uniform throughout, creating an album-length experience rather than a bunch of separate songs.
Richard Patrick, much like Chris Cornell (who we’ll get to in a minute) has probably one of the most distinctive voices in rock music. When you hear a Filter song, you know it’s a Filter song (or an Army of Anyone or Damning Well song…but the less said about those bands the better). So with the release of the new single, “The Inevitable Relapse,” I was excited – the song starts with a pretty groovy beat, as we’ve come to expect from Filter (more since The Amalgamut, really), then breaks down into the hard rock they’ve become known for. Smartly, that song starts The Trouble with Angels, followed by “Drug Boy,” another hard-rocking song deserving of becoming a single.
The Trouble with Angels starts off with a song reminiscent of early Filter in it’s early tracks – hard, hard rock, with the type of screaming we beg Richard Patrick to do every time a Filter song starts, just with a little bit more layering than those older songs – there’s a good mix of melody and rock that many older fans will call “sell out,” and I refer to as “polished.”
The last half of the album is a bit more experimental (actually, the song “No Re-Entry” reminds me a LOT of a Deftones-style song) and, actually, a bit less rock and a bit more melodic. There’s plenty of Patrick’s trademark screaming, but it’s more painful than angry and, if you pick up the Deluxe (maybe only) Version, you’re treated to a couple of remixes and softer bonus tracks.
The Trouble With Angels is actually a pretty damn good album. Without the political charging that turned me off with Anthems for the Damned, and with the types of beats I grew to like since The Amalgamut, I’d venture to say that The Trouble With Angels is going to please pretty much almost every Filter fan.
Also out today is the new single from the band Soundgarden, “Black Rain.” (which got lumped in with my Dark Lotus album, Black Rain on my iPod…heh) As mentioned before, Chris Cornell’s voice is recognizable, no matter if he’s with SG, Audioslave (who I never dug), or working with Timbaland. After a 12-year break, Soundgarden is back together, and the first fruits of their labor is available for download now via iTunes. While “Black Rain” is certainly reminiscent of classic Soundgarden…it’s more reminiscent of weaker Soundgarden and not the songs that made them the rock legends they became, like “Black Hole Sun,” or “Spoonman.”
It’s by no means a bad song, but doesn’t have the drive and pulsing beats that drove so many of their biggest hits. However, the sound is unmistakeably Soundgarden, and maybe that’s enough to make fans happy.
Have any suggestions for Super Nova Goes Pop? Suggest music, provide feedback, or just shoot the shit with me in the talkback below!