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Linkin Park – Burn it Down

Originally leaked online under the working title ‘Buried at Sea’, Burn it Down marks American alternative rock band Linkin Park’s triumphant return to radio (though the single is doing pretty well on digital download as well). Co-written and produced by the co-lead singer Mike Shinoda, Burn it Down is the longest song on the studio album Living Things, clocking in at almost 4 minutes.

Burn it Down is not a departure from Linkin Park’s trademark sound, featuring a solid electronic melody, a decent hook, and an explosive rhythm section backed by lead singer Chester Bennington’s distinctive voice, which seems to be paradoxically guttural and melodic at the same time. As expected, the song also features a rap interlude by Shinoda, before climaxing into their usual outros, with Bennington singing the chorus as a background to Shinoda’s rapping (or maybe it was the other way around, with Shinoda’s rap serving as the background to Bennington’s singing).

Burn it Down, which was chosen by the band as their first single because it represents what they want to sound like, is said to be open to numerous interpretations. Shinoda, for his part, claims that it can be about pop culture, which builds artists up as the next big thing, only to destroy said artists at the end of the day. Shinoda adds that the band has lived through it, making Burn it Down’s message a very personal one.

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Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

Decades after it was released, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody still manages to rank among the most downloaded rock songs in iTunes. Even after countless artists provided their own renditions, versions, and live covers of the song, the original still remains as one of the most popular songs in the industry.

It’s almost impossible to tie Bohemian Rhapsody down to a single genre, as it is elaborately structured – with the song consisting of four different parts such as a ballad segment, a guitar solo, an operatic passage, and Queen’s trademark hard rock. Lots of bands and artists have tried to mimic the same kind of creativity and brilliance oozing from Bohemian Rhapsody, but so far none have succeeded in replicating the grand, epic feel of Queen’s six-minute composition, with the length of the song probably an additional reason why few artists managed to emulate it. Modern mainstream radio simply wouldn’t accept such a long song.

The most amazing thing about Bohemian Rhapsody is that despite its popularity and its grandiose, big theatre operatic feel, it was just a normal piece that Freddie Mercury himself admits to almost throwing out. He stayed with it, it kind of grew until it reached a point where the rest of the band wanted to chop it around a bit, but Freddie would not let them even though he knew it would be risky and would not garner much respect. The rest, as they say, is history.

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Pink – Just Give Me a Reason

If you’re wondering why Pink (P!nk, as it is spelled on her logo) managed to outlast several of her peers despite going for a less feminine, boyish image, all you need to do is listen to her latest single, Just Give Me a Reason, and you’ll realize that while the Spears and the Simpsons of her time may look more commercially appealing (to men, at least), P!nk can deliver where it matters: talent and skill.

One of the notable things about Pink that Just Give Me a Reason manages to show is the fact that even though she has a throathy, rough-hewn voice, she has complete mastery over her range and knows exactly how to apply her voice in order to give justice to any melody. Whether it’s a dance song, a rock song, or a slow groove like Just Give Me a Reason, Pink never sounds weak.

Just Give Me a Reason, which features fun. frontman Nate Ruess, showcases Pink’s voice in all its husky, gritty glory. It serves as P!NK’s reminder to listeners that she’s still around and kicking, and she doesn’t rely on cheap publicity stunts – if she wants your attention, she gets it by releasing a beautiful song.

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Evanescence – Bring Me to Life

The song Bring Me To Life didn’t just catapult the American rock band Evanescence to success – it single-handedly brought the entire subgenre of gothic metal to the forefront of mainstream radio, paving the way for other female-fronted bands from the sister genre symphonic metal, such as Nightwish, Epica, and Within Temptation. Even Lacuna Coil, which actually predated Evanescence, benefited from a mainstream audience that is now more receptive to their brand of music.

First heard on the soundtrack of the live action Daredevil movie (and probably the only good thing that came out of it,) Bring Me to Life mixes elements of alternative metal, chamber pop, gothic metal, and hard rock tied up together by a common time and a moderate 95 beats per minute tempo. It also features rap portions provided by 12 Stones lead singer Paul McCoy.

Over the years, Evanescence has suffered through several line-up changes and shakeups, including the departure of founding member Ben Moody, but as Bring Me to Life demonstrates, the real selling point of the band is vocalist Amy Lee’s powerful, soaring voice. The band has since adopted (or developed) a more formulaic, yet still listenable brand of hard rock, so if you want to hear Amy Lee and Evanescence at their best, you have to check out the song that started it all: Bring Me to Life.

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Don’t Stop Believin’ in Journey

Most people these days became familiar with Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ because of Glee, but the truth is that the song is already a popular rock anthem decades before the show, being credited as one of the high points of Journey’s career, and was frequently used on various TV shows and films because of the iconic opening keyboard riff.

Don’t Stop Believin’ is also part of the first Journey album with Steve Perry as the lead vocalist, with Perry’s powerful and smooth tenor giving the song a distinct quality that was never matched or replicated by succeeding Journey vocalists until 2007, when the newest vocalist Arnel Pineda was able to provide a rendition that is as good as – if not better than – Perry’s without the aping the original.

Described as “the perfect rock song” due to its trademark guitar and piano riffs, as well as the archetypal story about a small-town boy who chooses to move to the big city in pursuit of his dreams, the song managed to climb its way to the eighth spot of Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Chart, and the 9th spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The original, non-Glee version of Don’t Stop Believin’ is still one of the most popular rock songs in the iTunes Music Store, ranking 72nd in the list of most downloaded songs of 2008.

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Everybody Talks Like Neon Trees

The music industry is brutal. Any new artist trying to get in better be prepared for the beating of his life. So when an artist manages to hang around for some time, it gives you the confidence that you do have something to offer for the world to pay attention to you.

That’s what changed with Neon Trees. They have in their some amount of success in their back pockets and lots of battle wounds to prove how tough they are.

Everybody Talks, from the album Picture Show, begins like an old song.  Neon Trees gives a familiar beat, a familiar voice as the song is highly influenced by early 60’s pop. It could strike as unoriginal however with Neon Trees unmistakable identity, it ends up a fun song that you can listen to over and over again. The bands performance greatly improved for their second album, as the lead singer Tyler Glenn himself admit, this is due to the band relaxing and being more confident. Another unique thing about Everybody Talks, is that despite its similarity to the pop tunes of the 60’s, the music is in fact all encompassing, that no one could say if it’s rock, pop or dance. It’s just a fun song that could very well end up as someone’s delightful last song syndrome.

 

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Good Time by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen

owl-city-the-midsummer-stationGood Time is a collaboration of Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen of the “Call Me Maybe” phenomenon.The song is part of the Owl City’s newest album, The Midsummer Station.

It begins with what seem like a bad poetry reading but the familiar tune makes it bearable.

The beat is nothing new really, as rave beat is what Owl City is best known for. However, the lyrics come off as amateurish and simply refuse to be drowned by the techno beat of the song.  At least Jepsen’s voice was not too distracting; she could even carry a tune.

So why is it in iTunes top 20? Because it’s a familiar sound. It is one of those songs that can play in the background as you go about your day.

It is bad in that good kind of way.

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‘One More Night’ Is One More Catchy Pop Song from Maroon 5

maroon-5-overexposed

Nope, this one’s not gonna make you groove like Jagger. It will also most likely not make you groove like any of their past songs.

I’m not saying it’s bad. It is, after all, a Maroon 5 song.

One More Night  from Maroon 5 is another affirmation of the band embracing their Pop image. The dark lyrics are delightfully balanced by the groove-worthy song. The beat of the song is a bit ska – ish with a hint of Rihanna type of swag. It a far cry from alternative rock with a play to nursery rhymes. The mix a diverse but somehow like any Maroon 5 song, it just works. As usual the haunting lyrics and the memorable tune stays with you days after you listen to it.

Adam Levine boasted that this album contains songs that are more diverse and more mature than the songs in ‘Hands All Over’. I don’t think so. One More Night is catchy and downright pop but it sounds no better than their previous releases. It has their standard simple rifts, simple drum beats, and simple bass sound. It is very Maroon 5, simple, familiar, and, well, pop.