Best Crush 40 Songs

Crush 40 is a severely underrated band, so I put together this list. Too bad; most of their fans are Sonic fans, but then again, that`s really only way to hear most of the music, so whatever…

10. Into the Wind

Very uplifting song, even for one inspired by racing.

9. Sonic Youth

Too bad this band is in the shadow of a video game character. But this song is still amazing.

8. What I’m Made Of

The ultimate fighting song. Great vocals on Johnny`s part, especially since the songs Crush 40 was making became more metal oriented at this point. Shows that Johnny is one of the best metal singers ever.

7. Revvin’ Up

This is one of the other songs that really defines the band, being one if their oldest songs. It’s probably better than Open Your Heart in terms of showing what the band is really about. Amazing. The lyrics also go so well with the typecast songs (the Crush 40 songs that are in Sonic`s shadow).

6. Watch Me Fly

Thrill of the Feel is an underrated album, and watch me fly has some of Johnny’s highest vocals in the bands history, and for once it’s not about Sonic. Despite being a softer song, Jun created yet another memorable riff that sets the mood for the song.

5. His World

This song is a Zebra Head cover, but still, Crush 40 made it their own (who the heck is Zebra head?). One of the bands most iconic songs.

4. Song of Hope

Finally, Jun and Johnny break away from the games with an EP, and this song is just brilliant. Perfect for those hurting, especially after the Japan tsunami. Amazing solo.

3. Open Your Heart

This is one of their most important songs, because it defines the sound of Crush 40, being the first song recorded. Sonic Adventure is one of the greatest games in Sonic’s history and this song is a gateway (literally) to Jun’s ability as a sound engineer. It also has Jun’s best ever solo.

2. I Am (All of Me)

Ultimate heavy metal song. I heard it and I thought I was listening to Axel Rudi Pell. Too amazing, and shows Crush 40’s versatility. Jun is amazing on lead.

1. Live And Learn

It’s basically their ultimate song, featured on “Sonic Adventure 2” and their title album. It’s one of the most uplifting songs ever, and some of Johnny’s best vocal output is on this song (for the band, at the least). It’s the best song to ever be featured in a video game: No doubt. It also has Jun’s best solo after Open Your Heart.

Review on Art of Dying: Let the Fire Burn…

I’ll start of by saying that I’m really not a huge fan of Acoustic albums. It’s just how I am. And Art of Dying has released an acoustic album entitled “Let The Fire Burn”. However, since I enjoyed “Acoustic Gypsy Live”, an acoustic set of L.A. Guns classic, I’ll try to do as well as I did on Vices and Virtues (their previous album).
Some Art of Dying songs reappear from their two previous tracks: “Get Thru This” (The bands anthem song after “Die Trying”), I Will Be There, Completely, and of course, Sorry. Ultimately, every song has been giving an acoustic twist, ultimately trying to prove that they sound just as good unplugged, something most bands have either greatly succeeded or miserably failed at. So how did AOD do?
For guys who like to head bang, they’ll probably throw it in the trash, so luckily I’m not one of those guys. Fortunately, I’m not one of those idiots who reviewed Path of Totality…
A a bit of a word of encouragement to the band; try not to put the same songs on every album. The songs ARE great, even unplugged, and it is good that you guys decided to add some newer hits, but four of your earlier tracks resurfaced again. Some might say “I heard that already,” but at least the core principle still applies: You guys are good at keeping your sounds more natural.
One good thing in this album is the apparent skill of “lyrical irony” represented in your songs. That “Come As You Are” effect repeating itself in songs like “Go Your Own Way”, “Say What You Need To Say”, and “God for a Day”. Meanwhile, other songs mirror the elements that were shown in earlier songs like “I Will Be There” and “Best I Can”, similar to bands like Poison and White Lion, but more second degree than generalized. In “Out Of Body”, they sounded like they stepped out of their usual formula and attempted a more eerie narrative technique, similar to the song “Car Crash” on the debut album.
No offense, but Completely didn’t really fit into this album. That’s like taking AC/DC to MTV to do an unplugged album. Granted this is their most rewritten song, but if your going to revamp a song into an acoustic track, I would’ve picked something less oriented for hard metal elements like “Best I Can” or “Fist of Clarity”. Although it wasn’t an utter failure (far from it). Lyricism was heavily exercised emphasized in this album, as mentioned above, and it shows signs of maturity. Thank you Art of Dying for not resorting to senseless lyrics like most mainstream bands. However, the relationship theme is overused just slightly, even though it is subliminal. Being theme oriented is something proven in this album, just not as much as Vices and Virtues (simply because the latter had more songs).
I was told on my Vices and Virtues review (where I analyzed each song adequately to keep skeptics away) that ‘It’s exciting to catch a band on the way up’, and this album has confirmed the million dollar question: How good ARE these guys? I wasn’t impressed with the fact that one of their songs was featured on WWE (because WWE only takes songs they think are CATCHY, making the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” mistake again), I mean, that’s easy. But by playing acoustic (the natural way) really shows skill. I watched (on YouTube) Jimmy Page play “White Summer”. Cool right? But without the distortion effects and “bow”, what can he do? He’s proved that, and now Art of Dying has. They’re aren’t just random Canadian guys who got lucky with catchy melodies: They don’t use that talent as a crutch. They can ACTUALLY PLAY! AND they can actually sing something with special literary technique, and not crappy (I’m sorry, catchy) semi-lyrics like most mainstream musicians (Get your own examples).

*I’ve yet to hear a Three Days Grace acoustic album*

Since I called the last album the “New Nevermind”, I guess this could be the “Unplugged in New York”…

The Indecent: “Lucky Ones”/ “Her Screwed Up Head”/”25 Steps”/”Soy Bean”

I must admit, that was very interesting. I was only going to do one song, but then I realized that they didn’t have too many videos and so I decided to hear all of them. And it took me a few listens before I caught on to Maddy’s style (I usually have problems with bassists and audio).

veeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry interesting.

So I’ve been doing this thing where I review the bands that followed me on Twitter, and I just heard a song called “Lucky Ones” by the indecent.

That’s the link right there. Anyways, I’ll start off with basic info. Here’s the lineup:

Bo – Guitar
Maddy – Bass
Emily – Vocals
Nicholas Burrows – Drums

“Lucky Ones”

So basically, having just heard the song, I’ll will say that I loved the opening Maddy did on bass. It didn’t remind me of any bands that I’ve heard in the past, so originality was clearly a factor. I also like Nicholas’ drumming. It fit the pattern of the song very well. I didn’t really hear Maddy’s bass, and the main verses seemed a bit hollow, but seriously.

I’m not used to Emily’s singing style. If this was a punk or grunge band, I’d shut up, but still… I didn’t see it coming. At the end of the song, she screams “Lucky Ones”, but I heard a lot of screeching as the notes got slightly higher. At least she could hold the notes during the duration of the song. Truth be told, screeching is something only Patti Smith or Kurt Cobain could get away with, so if she could work on that. On top of that, Emily sounds a bit… monotone in her singing. In other words, it sounding very on the edge of being more of a recital; a slight lack of melody. Maybe that’s on purpose? Not sure… Her voice seems to have a bit of lack of emotion. Robotic? But it’s okay. There’s always room to improve. Besides, better than Trapt…

The bridge of the song had a nice metal solo, so that puts Bo in my good books.

“Her Screwed Up Head”

Emily really sounds robotic in this song. I know Axl Rose likes to change up voices, but this sounds a bit like a stoic Ozzy Osbourne (for a lack of a better reference). Perhaps I’m being biased from my own musical demands, but at least the voice is… unique. Besides, Soy Bean sounds a bit better. Bo has a nice riff prepared for this softer piece, and at least Emily DID project emotion into the ending of the song.

“Soy Bean”

Nicholas’ drumming is perfect in this song. Combination of his own personal style was very entertaining. Emily’s vocals create a bit of an eeriness, so it actually worked in this song.

“25 Steps”

This is the only song where I can hear Maddy. Love the snare opening. Emily finally has a stronger (or at least more obvious) melodic delivery in her voice, so this is their better song. The melody Maddy gives reminds me of “Rape Me” (Nirvana), but that’s just me. Bo’s solo was brilliant. I love it actually. Still, I think this (of all the songs I’ve listed) is the one with the best bass style.

So for me, I think if Emily would add more melody to her voice, the songs could sound much better, and so far Nicholas deserves an A grade. Bo is brilliant, but most of the true style comes during the chorus and in sparing solos. so if he could try doing longer solos I could make a more solid judgement on his playing ability, though in 25 Steps he showed a clear sign of versatility. I had to listen twice to all the songs since I mistook Maddy’s bass playing, so yes, she’s amazing, and I like the fact that she doesn’t just slap or pick one string at a time like a lot of bass players (one good thing about having just one guitarist is that she can’t hide behind a rhythm player which extreme basic playing, not that she would). So yes, very good, a real John Deacon.

But I like this band. And I WILL recommenced it if I get the chance.

Underrated #9: Tracii Guns/Acoustic Gypsy Live

I know I said I wasn’t gonna do this again, but I can’t really help it. I have a new attitude after watching the Olympics.

So basically this is on Tracy Ulrich, or Tracii Guns (never knew where that name came from). I follow up on him using twitter, and apparently he [currently] has this group called “League of Gentlemen” (a real oxymoron). It’s here:

http://www.reverbnation.com/traciigunsband

(Assuming this is the same Tracii Guns band, but anyway…)

Tracii’s one of the best guitarists on the planet if you ask me. He was with L.A Guns (Hence the name), Guns N’ Roses, Brides of Destruction, Contraband, and currently “League of Gentlemen”. So yeah, he’s also appeared on other albums, so I’m sure his resume is enormous. I’ve heard every single L.A. Guns album with him on guitar, and he’s so amazing because he’s so versatile. On every album, he showed exceptional skills with hard rock, metal, blues, and acoustic sounds. Most guitarists of the 80’s were this versatile, but in my opinion, Tracii Guns could’ve easily ruled the sunset strip with his skills (and WITHOUT the help of that maniac Axl).

He’s better than most guitarists that I’ve heard, not only for his versatility, but also his hardcore delivery. Even his acoustic songs are amazing (Another reason to love Acoustic Gypsy Live), so here are some videos:





And Official Stuff:



And apparently he has his own guitar:

So why is he underrated? Because he is.

Some people on YouTube waste their lives complaining about today’s music, but they ignore the ones who are making the good ones. And besides, without him, there would be no L.A. Guns nor Guns N’ Roses (I mean, you’d think the name was a giveaway). Thus, Tracii is a genius to have formulated that amazing hard rock and metal for the Sunset Strip, not following the original pattern of quintessential Glam Metal bands (Sure Phil did at some points, but the song was anything but typical). But look at where he plays his gigs these days. Now, if you’re a rapper, you’re probably congratulated for “keeping it street” (that is, playing where Tracii plays most of the time with League of Gentlemen), but let’s face it: L.A. Guns 30 years ago versus now. HUGE DIFFERENT. Sure, Tracii still tours the world, but there are artists far more underrated than him with that kind of privilege, and his talent is almost totally overlooked by mainstream commercialism, even though he’d slaughter the bands taking the big stages today. Most guitar players these days are either trying to become the next Kurt Cobain (FAIL) or they’re simply relying on simple, easy-to-manipulate riffs, with not not much versatility in terms of musical genre. If we were talking about Brian May I’d shut my mouth, because he’s already left his mark on the world, but Tracii hasn’t gone soft, even with the blues music he does now. Watch this:

I’m sure it was for humor purposes, but it’s true: Now the bands make money, and tour the world, but stuff doesn’t really get sold much. And frankly, the music isn’t hard to get your hands on (especially considering that the whole L.A. Guns discography is available on Itunes, for instance). Tracii’s too good to be “The Other guy”. Besides, he’s my favorite guitarist (Or one of them), and definitely a versatile man on the strings.

NOW ON THE NEXT THING:

“Acoustic Gypsy Live”

GO BUY:

http://www.amazon.com/Acoustic-Gypsy-Live-La-Guns/dp/B005F1QHQA

Anyways, I have to talk about Acoustic Gypsy Live. I miss Tracii in L.A. Guns, but that’s really in the past, and (more than likely) the chances of him going back are the same chances of Steve Perry returning to Journey or Guns N’ Roses reuniting. But still, just about all the songs are L.A. Guns songs, with Jizzy Pearl (Love Hate) on lead. Not as dynamic a singer as Phil, but he did fool me on Shrinking Violet, and at least he could slightly reach the same vocal range as Phil can (just a bit lower). Still, Tracii proves his acoustic ability and thus diminishing the perception of him as a metal guitarist. At least the song formats (tempo, melody, etc) weren’t compromised, so that also proves that L.A. Guns sounds amazing even when unplugged. I love the album, and it really expounds on everything I’ve touched on regarding Tracii. But even so, L.A. Guns is a severely underrated (and more so, a very non tenacious) band, but at least talent hasn’t been compromised for more modern, appealing sounds.

Out of five, I give it a four. I wanted to hear One More Reason…

★★★★☆

Update…

Recently, I decided to take up screenwriting again… And after giving it a little bit of thought, I decided to stop with the underrated nonsense. Still, after seeing what Christopher Nolan did with the Dark Knight Trilogy (for a lack of a better name), and I’m going to spend more of my time focusing on that. In the meantime, I tried taking up languages to keep me busy, but God… Native Americans have the hardest languages after Arabic. Who learns languages like that????? They’re so hard. Anyways, I’m not really sure how long this screenplay thing is gonna take, but I’m gonna try hard and get it over with. If I don’t like the end result, then I think I’ll just quit (which is something I should probably do with language).
Anyways, I learned the German alphabet (not like it’s any big deal), but I’ve had my eyes on Norweign (too much TNT I think).

Seriously, I need a language that’s easier. I’ve tried the following throughout my life, but I’m not fluent in any of them (most of them I only know “hello” and “goodbye”):

– Italian
– Spanish
– French
– German
– Japanese
– Mandarin
– Tagalog
– Russian

Clearly, I have too much time on my hands. Italian was my favorite, and I’ve thought of Norweign, but trying to learn a Native American language is just insane. I wish I had an easy language to learn with abundant information on how to learn it. But of course, I have no idea which one. God knows I’m not touching Arabic; the written language is hard as hell! Too many dialects! And Mandarin is kind of worse since It has no alphabet. Who does that?

That’s such a shame. I really wanted to learn a language, but if Norweign doesn’t work, then I’m just going to quit the whole thing. There’s not enough free information to read up on, and I’ll still need money for lessons… *beautiful*…

In the meantime, I’m planning to do some more research on the screenplay, trying to make it a masterpiece. Oh, and I gave up the guitar… Too irritating to try and figure out.

Favourite Singers

#20 Jeff Brown

I love Trixter. Too bad the band is severely underrated, but made a comeback in 2008. Jeff has such a great voice, and thank God it isn’t shot.



#19 Phil Lewis

I love L.A. Guns too much. Incredible yet unassuming voice. Too underrated; the vocalist king of the sunset strip. He’s still going strong with L.A. Guns after Tracii’s departure. Surprisingly high vocal range and no screeching. Awesome!



#18 Johnny Hetherington

Singer of Art of Dying. Commanding Voice, and equally amazing song writer. I really look forward to the bands follow up album.



#17 Shaun Morgan

From Seether. He surprisingly has a higher vocal range, and it’s rounded off with his superior grunge guitar playing skill. Also the most human on the list.



#16 Mark Slaughter

Incredible singer, but the band hasn’t released anything since 1999. What a shame…



#15 Ted Poley

Great singer, the third rock singer that I’ve ever heard. Great Vocals!




#14 Bon Scott

#13 Joey Tempest

I really like Europe, but I have yet to hear their newest material. Still, Joey’s actualy one of the best singers of the eighties.



#12 Tom Keifer

Lead singer of Cinderella. He loses his voice a lot (his body can’t handle his awesomeness), but he’s among the best of the 80’s, hands down. Also a brilliant song writer.



#11 Jeff Keith

Lead singer of Tesla. Amazing singing abilities. So glad he cleaned up from drugs.



#10 Cj Szuter

Lead singer of Outta the Blue, but throughout The Szuters and Magna-Fi he took a back seat on Lead Guitar. Now does his own solo work. Legendary songs.



#9 Mike Szuter

Lead singer of The Szuters and Magna-Fi. Also guitarist of Outta the Blue and bassist of Paul Gilbert Band. Amazing singer with incredible pop inspired lyrics. Very down to earth.



#8 David Glen Eisley

Amazing singer, but the most underrated on this list. Lead Singer of Giuffria, Dirty White Boy, and Murderer’s Row. After 3 solo albums, he retired in 2001.



#7 Mike Tramp

Lead singer of White Lion. Genius lyrics; one of the best on this list. Amazing vocals too.



#6 Ronnie James Dio

DUH! The ultimate Heavy Metal singer. Singer of Black Sabbath, Elf, Dio, Rainbow, and Heaven and Hell. Passed away 2010.



#5 Danny Vaughn

Lead singer of Tyketto. Amazing vocals, and incredible songs. Most inspirational song writer in a LONG time.



#4 Freddie Mercury

Really a legend in himself, lead singer of Queen. Amazing vocals, the best on this list. But putting him at number one would be unfair.



#3 Milijenko Matijevic

Highest vocals on this list. He’s the lead singer of Steelheart. Amazing singer!



#2 Tony Harnell

The very second rock singer I’ve ever heard. Former lead singer of TNT, now going solo.



#1 Johnny Gioeli

The very first rock star I ever heard. Lead singer of Hardline, Axel Rudi Pell, and Crush 40



Underrated #8: Bentley Jones

It was either 2009 or 2010 when I first heard Bentley Jones, and I honestly don’t remember how exactly I stumbled across his music. But since then I’ve never really been able to gain a truly solid opinion of what I think about him. I’ve heard a decent handful of his songs, and I’m comfortable with his playing style despite my preference for Rock music. But I’m decided to TRY and put him on my underrated list regardless, because he definitely is, and while I was discovering rock, I was pretty hooked on his songs. Unfortunately, realizing my taste for rock and metal after experimenting, I haven’t listened to Bentley as much anymore. Still, he’s good in his own way for a few reasons:

Anyway, here’s some of his uploaded songs (some of his older stuff):



Still, like I said, I’m not really sure what to think of Bentley, starting with what genre. But that’s actually one thing that makes him great. AT LEAST he’s versatile, not sticking to one style alone and incorporating different sounds without sounding like he’s trying. But of course, fans usually hate when musicians change their sound (just ask Metallica, KoRn, and Linkin Park), although since most people consider Bentley to be a pop musicians, I think he easily gets away with it. Most of his music however is more dance oriented (hence his favorable receptions on the J-Pop and Club Charts), sounding like a mixture of symphonic, dance, and electronic. Clearly, not my favorites, BUT like I said, the way he’s able to blend musical styles into his arsenal.

Bentley’s also known for his remixes by the Remix Factory (originally), and I personally liked his “Open Your Heart” Remix best, being a Crush 40 fan. But he “claims” to have produced (let alone remixed) for “Lady Gaga, Cheryl Cole, Whitney Houston, Bruno Mars, N-Dubz and Britney Spears”, although I’ve yet to hear these…

Here’s some more songs:


So in the end, Bentley makes great music. It crosses over into many different genres altogether, and vocally he’s a great singer. He’s not a bad rapper either, though that’s rare. Plus, he’s able to do remakes of mainstream songs with his own personal touch, and frankly, I like HIS versions better. He tends to do heaps of remixes on his own songs too, using the term “Phunkstar” (commonly written as PHUNKST★R) in the process. I honestly thought it was a branch of electric music at first, but seeing it’s mainly associated with him, I guess that makes him the “Phunkstar King”???

Now usually, I like to accompany a critique of a new album with my *rant* on the selected artist, but in Bentley’s case, that’s NOT gonna happen. And until I’ve heard his latest work, I doubt it ever will. At least I’d be very selective about it.

But Bentley’s versatility not only crosses melodic barriers (and apparently commercial barriers too, according to the site’s bio), but, unfortunately for me, he crosses over lingual barriers as well…



Seriously man. I’m not sure WHY exactly this happened. But apparently Bentley decided to “be the Last Samurai” for a few years, singing in Japanese and releases albums with 95% Japanese songs. Now, if I was Japanese, I wouldn’t be complaining, but being such a great English speaker, it’s hard to enjoy an album with non English lyrics. Of course, I was dumb enough to take up Japanese to understand Bentley’s songs, but of course I just learn it for fun now… He’s alleged to speak French, so hopefully I’ll get a bit of a heads up from the site before randomly spending on Itunes.

So at the end of the day, Bentley Jones is VERY underrated. Despite the thousands (in some cases, millions) of views he might get on YouTube, his name is not household. To me, he’s another Paul Gilbert… or better yet, another typical 80’s AOR band with extreme talent. They’re generally unknown on THIS part of the world, but are a sensation on the other side where good music is WELL appreciated. But of course, Queen learned that lesson years ago (at least until Live Aid): If you don’t have America, you’re nobody. Isn’t that a shame? It’s an even bigger shame that I can’t do a solid album review on his current discography without a miracle translation sheet. But still, I know many musicians who play for a Japanese (or basically non English) audience. However, out of all of them, only Bentley Jones was smart enough (and has enough class) to sing in their native language. Fortunately for me, Bentley is on fire when it comes to music releases. It’s virtually impossible to go three months without a musical update of some kind, and he even left me a reassurance on Twitter:

So in the end, Bentley Jones is still nothing short of legendary (all bias on my musical preference aside), and I really hope he continues to elevate upwards… (Mostly in English)…

http://www.bentleyjones.com/