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PUDDLE OF MUDD – Come Clean

Puddle of Mudd – Come Clean (2001, Geffen Records/Flawless Records)

1. “Control” … 3:50
2. “Drift & Die” … 4:25
3. “Out of My Head” … 3:43
4. “Nobody Told Me” … 5:22
5. “Blurry” … 5:04
6. “She Hates Me” … 3:37
7. “Bring Me Down” … 4:03
8. “Never Change” … 3:59
9. “Basement” … 4:22
10. “Said” … 4:08
11. “Piss It All Away” … 5:39

Band:
Wes Scantlin – Vocals, Guitar
Paul Phillips – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Douglas Ardito – Bass, Backing Vocals
Greg Upchurch – Drums, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Josh Freese – Drums, Backing Vocals

Produced by: John Kurzweg, Fred Durst, Jordan Schur

Surprisingly, this is one of my favorite albums of the decade. It really came out at the right time for me in my life when I was lonely, angry and heartbroken, so it all worked out for me and fit my mood at the time (just like Cold’s 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage simultaneously). I usually rally against most grunge-influenced hard rock, and I can see that I shouldn’t like this album, but I do.

In fact, I love it and I’m not even sure why I picked the album up all those years ago because I remember the lead single “Control” getting lots of radio play and it was the generic post-grunge song to me. “Blurry” was the album’s biggest hit, and my favorite on the album, but I’m pretty sure I picked this up before that was a single, so I guess I was desperate for a “new” band to listen to.

Puddle of Mudd is really the brainchild of lead singer Wes Scantli, but the band was heavily championed by Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst (who signed them to his imprint over at Geffen). Don’t worry though, they have absolutely nothing to do with nu metal/rap-metal and are more derivative of Nirvana mainly (especially on “She Hates Me” and “Nobody Told Me”) with a bit of Alice In Chains thrown in.

Odd thing is, as much as I enjoyed this album, I never tried anything after that. I guess I’ve always been afraid this album was a fluke for me. Maybe someday I’ll get around to it though.

Highlights: “Drift & Die”, “Out of My Head”, “Nobody Told Me”, “Blurry”, “Bring Me Down”, “Never Change”, “Said”

www.puddleofmudd.com
www.myspace.com/puddleofmudd

STONE TEMPLE PILOTS – Core

Stone Temple Pilots – Core (1992, Atlantic Records)

1. “Dead & Bloated” … 5:10
2. “Sex Type Thing” … 3:36
3. “Wicked Garden” … 4:05
4. “No Memory” … 1:20
5. “Sin” … 6:05
6. “Naked Sunday” … 3:50
7. “Creep” … 5:33
8. “Piece of Pie” … 5:24
9. “Plush” … 5:13
10. “Wet My Bed” … 1:36
11. “Crackerman” … 3:13
12. “Where the River Goes” … 8:26

Band:
Scott Weiland – Vocals
Dean DeLeo – Guitar
Robert DeLeo – Bass
Eric Kretz – Drums

Produced by: Brendan O’Brien

If you know me, or have read this blog for a period of time, you know I’m not a big fan of alternative & grunge music. That whole scene made it a crime to actually have FUN with your rock, but even so, a very select few bands slipped through and rose above it all to create some great music. Stone Temple Pilots was one of those bands and they are easily one of my favorite bands of all-time and certainly my favorite alternative act.

This debut album is a classic hard r0ck release, regardless of genre. Tons of songs were and still are radio staples, but it’s actually quite different, being heavier than the later STP albums that blended hard rock with pop and psychadelia. Although I consider STP to be “alternative” and not “grunge”, the grunge sound is quite strong on this album with Pearl Jam and especially Alice In Chains influencing the sound.

Great release, and the band would only get better as time went on.

In addition to producing the next three STP albums, Brendan O’Brien has gone on to become very in-demand having produced albums for Pearl Jam, Papa Roach, AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, Korn, Velvet Revolver, My Chemical Romance, The Offspring, Incubus, Aerosmith and Audioslave.

Highlights: “Dead & Bloated”, “Sex Type Thing”, “Wicked Garden”, “Naked Sunday”, “Creep”, “Plush”, “Crackerman”, “Where the River Goes”

www.stonetemplepilots.com
www.myspace.com/stonetemplepilots

FOO FIGHTERS – There Is Nothing Left to Lose

Foo Fighters – There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1999, RCA Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Stacked Actors” … 4:17
2. “Breakout” … 3:21
3. “Learn to Fly” … 3:58
4. “Gimme Stitches” … 3:42
5. “Generator” … 3:48
6. “Aurora” … 5:50
7. “Live-In Skin” … 3:53
8. “Next Year” … 4:37
9. “Headwires” … 4:38
10. “Ain’t It the Life” … 4:17
11. “M.I.A.” … 4:03

Band:
Dave Grohl – Vocals, Guitar, Drums
Nate Mendel – Bass
Taylor Hawkins – Drums

Produced by: Adam Kasper & Foo Fighters

Though the alternative scene has never been my preferred genre, Foo Fighters are one of the bands that stands far above the rest. This was my first Foo Fighter album (though I was familiar with their singles from their two previous albums) and probably my favorite.

The first half of the album rocks the hardest, the second half for the most part slows down and gets a little too melancholy for me.

Highlights: “Stacked Actors”, “Breakout”, “Learn to Fly”, “Gimme Stitches”, “Generator”, “Headwires”

www.foofighters.com
www.myspace.com/foofighters

THE CROW – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The Crow – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1994, Atlantic Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Burn” – The Cure … 6:39
2. “Golgotha Tenement Blues” – Machines Of Loving Grace … 4:01
3. “Big Empty” – Stone Temple Pilots … 4:56
4. “Dead Souls” – Nine Inch Nails … 4:54
5. “Darkness” – Rage Against The Machine … 3:42
6. “Color Me Once” – Violent Femmes … 4:09
7. “Ghostrider” – Rollins Band … 5:46
8. “Milquetoast” – Helmet … 3:59
9. “The Badge” – Pantera … 3:55
10. “Slip Slide Melting” – For Love Not Lisa … 5:48
11. “After The Flesh” – My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult … 3:00
12. “Snakedriver” – The Jesus And Mary Chain … 3:42
13. “Time Baby III” – Medicine … 3:52
14. “It Can’t Rain All The Time” – Jane Siberry … 5:35

I don’t know why I own this. I guess it was just me trying new things, even though I wasn’t a fan of grunge/alternative. I took this from my sister’s collection years ago… She never knew it was missing! BWA-HA-HA!

This is a real moody bit of a soundtrack, but that’s appropriate considering the movie it was spawned from. To me, this is pretty much the good, bad, and the ugly of the early 90s alternative scene. STP, The Cure and NIN deliver in spades, but the rest..? Pass. Never could really get into the whole depression rock stuff.

Highlights: “Burn”, “Big Empty”, “Dead Souls”, “It Can’t Rain All The Time”

END OF DAYS – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

End of Days – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Clean Version] (1999, Interscope Records)

Track listing:
1. “Camel Song” performed by Korn … 4:22
2. “So Long” performed by Everlast … 5:00
3. “Slow” performed by Professional Murder Music … 3:58
4. “Crushed” performed by Limp Bizkit … 3:24
5. “Oh My God” performed by Guns N’ Roses … 3:40
6. “Poison” performed by The Prodigy … 6:15
7. “Superbeast (Girl On A Motorcycle mix)” performed by Rob Zombie … 3:52
8. “Bad Influence” performed by Eminem … 3:40
9. “Nobody’s Real” performed by Powerman 5000 … 2:54
10. “I Wish I Had” performed by Stroke … 6:34
11. “Sugar Kane” performed by Sonic Youth … 5:58
12. “Wrong Way” performed by Creed … 4:20

Soundtracks can be a great (and not so great) snapshot of a certain time in music history when said soundtrack is full of contemporary songs & artists. The soundtrack to 1994’s The Crow perfectly captures the grunge & alternative rock scene and End of Days does a fairly good job of showing what rock music was at the turn of the century: rap metal, nu metal, industrial metal and post-grunge rock.

BUT… While the soundtrack covers it’s musical bases just fine, that doesn’t necessarily mean those genres were any good in the first place and that this album is. Okay, okay… I’ll be honest, there’s actually some solid stuff going on here and not your usual soundtrack throwaway filler.

I could mention that, surprisingly, I like the Korn, Limp Bizkit, Creed and Eminem songs, but that’s not what is important about this album. What IS important is that it holds the only officially released single from the mythical Chinese Democracy from Guns N’ Roses. Of course, I’m talking about “Oh My God” which is a loud, aggressive NIN-inspired song that is just awesome and features Axl at his angriest and most sneering. It’s a far way from “November Rain” or “Nightrain”, but so what? Good is good and I love this song and it’s the only reason I bought the soundtrack. At this time though, if Democracy does ever come out, I think it’s probably best to leave this one off the record due to the time that’s elapsed since it’s original release.

In the end (of days), despite the genres involved, this album actually offers up some really great tunes and to this day, it’s an album I’ll occasionally pull out and listen to. Which is a lot more than I can say about the supposed “comeback” the movie was meant to be for Arnie.

And yes, I have the “Clean” version, picking it up at Wal-Mart and not realizing until later that there was an explicit version.

Highlights: “Crushed”, “Oh My God”, “Superbeast [Girl on a Motorcycle Mix]”, “Bad Influence”, “Nobody’s Real”, “I Wish I Had”

CREED – Weathered

Creed – Weathered (2001, Wind-up Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Bullets” … 3:49
2. “Freedom Fighter” … 2:36
3. “Who’s Got My Back?” … 8:25
4. “Signs” … 4:29
5. “One Last Breath” … 3:58
6. “My Sacrifice” … 4:54
7. “Stand Here With Me” … 4:17
8. “Weathered” … 5:30
9. “Hide” … 4:27
10. “Don’t Stop Dancing” … 4:33
11. “Lullaby” … 3:04

Band:
Scott Stapp – Vocals
Mark Tremonti – Guitar, Bass
Scott Phillips – Drums, Keyboards

Additional Musicians:
Aimee Stapp – Background Vocals (“Don’t Stop Dancing”)

Produced by: Kirk Kelsey & Creed

My hatred for Creed (and Scott Stapp) knows no bounds. So I surprised myself when I went out and bought Weathered. Previously, I had friends and a girlfriend who were obsessed with this band and their first two albums, which to me, embodied everything that was wrong with rock music at the time. Creed were the poster boys for the extremely bland genre of post-grunge rock (Nickelback have since taken that honor).

There was and is an arrogance about Scott Stapp, a supposed Christian who always did the “Jesus on the Cross” pose while in concert (seriously, I saw them once in 2000 and he just stood there with his arms out the whole time) and in videos. He probably does it when he’s in the shower too to make sure his armpits get a good cleaning. So really, Scott Stapp was my big issue with Creed on a personal level because his “holier than thou” attitude really got to me (even their bassist quit before this album started recording because he couldn’t handle Stapp’s ego any longer).

So why, oh why, would I pick this album up not liking their previous music and having a strong dislike to their singer? Well, I’m a big wrestling fan, I watch it every week and WWE was using Creed’s lead single “My Sacrifice” for a series of videos at the time and I actually liked the song!

This album is another bit of a time capsule for me as I heavily listened to it upon it’s release and on my way back up to Winchester, Virginia, from Florida to live and go to college (I lasted a full semester before getting homesick and taking my butt back home to my family). That was a dark time in my life as far as being on my own and having relationship problems with girls and friends (over girls). A song like “One Last Breath” really spoke to me at the time and is pretty powerful stuff that summed up how I feeling at the time.

Anyway, so a band that I usually hated actually turned out something decent. “My Sacrifice” I guess is your typical inspirational Creed song, but I actually thought it was catchy this time around and “Bullets” kicks off the album to a great raging start.

To be honest, I haven’t listened to this album in years, I just picked it randomly to listen to today, but the stuff I remember as being good still holds up, and the lame stuff is still lame. Decent effort all around. I don’t know, I just thought this album was catchier and rocked better then their previous efforts, and I was HUGE Creed hater.

One of the worst album covers of all time though, it looks like something *I* could do in Photoshop.

Highlights: “Bullets”, “Who’s Got My Back?”, “One Last Breath”, “My Sacrifice”, “Hide”

Lowlights (It’s Creed, one of my mortal enemies, I had to bring it back just for them): “Weathered”, “Don’t Stop Dancing”

www.creed.com
www.myspace.com/officialcreed

GODSMACK – Godsmack

Godsmack – Godsmack (1998, Universal Records/Republic Records)

Track Listing:
1.  “Moon Baby” … 4:23
2.  “Whatever” … 3:26
3.  “Keep Away” … 4:50
4.  “Time Bomb” … 3:59
5.  “Bad Religion” … 3:13
6.  “Immune” … 4:50
7.  “Someone in London” … 2:03
8.  “Get Up, Get Out!” … 3:29
9.  “Now or Never” … 5:06
10.  “Stress” … 5:03
11.  “Situation” … 5:47
12.  “Voodoo” … 9:03

Band:
Sully Erna – Vocals, Guitar, Drums, Keyboard
Tony Rombola – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Robbie Merrill – Bass

Produced by: Sully Erna & Mudrock

What a great CD (though I think overall they’re kind of a mediocre band). I’m not a big fan of nu/alternative metal, but Godsmack had all the right influences (Priest, Alice in Chains, Metallica) and put it together in a nice lil’ catchy package on their debut (which was originally released as an indie album before Universal signed’em and re-released it with a few song list changes).

My first exposure to this while on Christmas vacation visiting a friend and he pulled out this CD during one of our marathon video game sessions. I loved it and bought it myself when I got back home to Florida.

A good album to just scream and let some aggression and frustration out. And the album really broke barriers (at least in my house) because even my dad liked “Voodoo”. “Bad Religion” is probably my favorite song though– “GET BAACK!!!” That’s just awesome.

A hidden instrumental track is at end of “Voodoo” called “Witch Hunt”.

Highlights: “Moon Baby”, “Keep Away”,  “Time Bomb”, “Bad Religion”, “Voodoo”

www.godsmack.com
www.myspace.com/godsmack

WARRANT – Ultraphobic

Warrant – Ultraphobic (1995, CMC International)

Track Listing:
1. “Undertow” – 3:12
2. “Followed” – 3:41
3. “Family Picnic” – 4:43
4. “Sum of One” – 3:37
5. “Chameleon” – 5:23
6. “Crawlspace” – 2:38
7. “Live Inside of You” – 3:17
8. “High” – 4:02
9. ‘Ride #2″ – 5:07
10. “Ultraphobic” – 4:25
11. “Stronger Now” – 3:57

Band:
Jani Lane – Vocals
Rick Steier – Guitar
Erik Turner – Guitar
Dave White – Keyboards
Jerry Dixon – Bass
James Kottak – Drums

Produced by: Beau Hill

I bought this one used about 5 or 6 years ago during my “get everything ‘hair metal'” phase. I never really gave it a close listen because this album was only half hair, the rest was grunge/alternative. But listening to it today, it’s really not that bad.

There’s plenty of trademark Warrant songs here, but the harder, more alternative songs aren’t that bad either. “Stronger Now” is a classic ballad and very Warrant-like and I found myself getting into the more modern songs (well, “modern” in 1995 anyway) like “Followed”, “Crawlspace” and “Family Picnic” (which I absolutely love the guitar work on).

The ’90s were filled with hair bands trying to go darker & heavier and failing miserably, but Jani Lane is a great songwriter and Beau Hill is a great producer so the album is balanced well with pop-metal and alternative. Thumbs up on this one, despite a completely awful album cover.

By the way, this is drummer James Kottak’s cup of coffee with Warrant. In 1996, he would go on to join Scorpions and has been there ever since.

Highlights: “Undertow”, “Followed”, “Family Picnic”, “Chameleon”, “Crawlspace”, “Ultraphobic”, “Stronger Now”

http://www.warrantweb.net
http://www.myspace.com/warrantband

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