WHAT IS UR FAVORITE HARD ROCK BAND???
There’s nothing I love more than the cock-smashing brutality of a good death metal song, but variety is the spice of life. Sometimes you are not looking for slamming pitt riffment, you just want to get in your Ford F-150, roll down the windows, and blast some tunes that you can sing along to on the way to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch UFC with your bros — you just want some HARD ROCK! I’m not talking about the bluesy “dad’s barbecue soundtrack” of Aerosmith, Deep Purple, or Blue Cheer, but the kind of stuff you’d hear playing on the battered boombox towards the back of a basement print shop, coming from the radio of the truck that delivers some gravel for your new driveway, or pumping in the background of a National Guard recruitment ad.
Snobs turn up their collective nose at this highly-maligned genre, but it’s their loss. In my opinion, these bands have some of the best songwriting you’ll find, and the shows are always a blast. Sure, most of the fans are ignorant white trash, but they come to party and I can’t hate on that. The truth is that radio-friendly hard rock is ‘effing sweet,’ and I can’t get enough of it. In this post, I will share some of my favorite songs of the last decade or so– please post yours in the comments!
[Note: Although I will make fun of many of the bands/videos below, this post is not sarcastic. I honestly love this shit. As I type this, I am actually listening to Atreyu and getting ready to watch UFC 121 with my bros from Weedsteeler at Buffalo Wild Wings. I do not drive a truck, though.]
Stone Sour “Get Inside“
I was a always kind of lukewarm on Slipknot; they weren’t heavy enough to be heavy, and not melodic enough to be melodic, just kinda “neither here nor there.” Don’t get me wrong, they had some jams, but I felt like Stone Sour’s debut album was a better version of what Slipknot started. Ditching the ghey masks, trio of clowns banging on trash cans, and other superfluous elements, they stripped their sound down to straight-forward hard rock with a smattering of brutality here and there (for example, the intro riff in this song). That said, if they didn’t have the Slipknot association, this band would probably be condemned to playing regional clubs opening for the likes of Kix or Annihilator, and we would have been deprived of this sweet title track.
Scott Stapp is without a doubt one of the most annoying human beings ever to get onstage, but Creed had some sweet jams, and many of you probably know that Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti’s biggest influences are Slayer, Venom and Celtic Frost (he is also a Frank Mir lookalike). Watch the shots closely where the camera moves while the band/crowd is frozen — as revealed on some VH1 show, you can see that these aren’t done with CG, the band is just trying to hold still, although you can see them move a little bit. Finally, the guitar and drum sounds in this song are fucking amazing– so bright and defined, but still really thick.
Burn Halo “Dirty Little Girl“
I was heartbroken at the news of 18 Visions’ demise, but I came alive again when I heard that 18V frontman Jame Shart started a new band. I was even more excited when I heard that it was A7X-style hard rock! From what I can tell, Burn Halo was his attempt to sell out/cash in and attain the mainstream success that eluded 18V, but I don’t think Burn Halo is working out that well either :( Too bad, but at least their legacy will live on: this song is guaranteed to be played at strip clubs for the next ten years.
This is the new band featuring Sully Erna, drummer for speed metal/thrash legends Meliah Rage. They are a lot different from what Meliah Rage is doing, though: Godsmack is more of a Hatebreed/Throwdown style band that combines metalcore with hard rock. Also, Sully stepped away from the drum throne and is actually the singer for this band! I was surprised at first, but he is actually a pretty sweet frontman! I guess these guys are getting pretty big — I actually first heard this song in a commercial for the Navy, so I think they are going to be popular.
Three Days Grace “Pain“
Covering the more emo end of the hard rock spectrum, Three Days Grace have a particularly angsty take on the genre. In this song, he’s all “I’m so numb, the only time I feel alive is when I am feeling the pain of being apart. Wish we could be together but if we can’t then I’d rather be miserable than forget about you.” Also of note is the diverse mix of personal brands on display in the video: the singer looks a little emo/indie, like he could be in Thursday or whatever. The guitarist is a little edgier, sporting a Chuck Liddell-style “football mohawk,” and the “normal guy who sits in the cubicle next to you” bassist rounds things out with a simple henley he picked up at the Glendale Galleria Eddie Bauer on the way to the shoot. No matter who you are, you can see a little of yourself in Three Days Grace!
Cold “Happens All The Time“
Don’t let their vintage Kikwear pants fool you: while Cold might look like a late-period nu-metal band, they’re pure hard rock ala Staind, Trapt, and other angsty bands who don’t like vowels. Overall, I think Cold’s catalog is fairly forgettable, but this song is a classic. Its bittersweet, melancholy vibe is timeless, like this generation’s “Fade To Black.” I can definitely imagine this coming from the iPod dock of a fat rocker girl with low self-esteem as she mopes around, writes cryptic, emo Facebook status updates, and tries to decide how to spend the Torrid gift certificate she got for her 23rd birthday.
This song echoes a common theme in hard rock: “I realized the error of my ways and now I am ready to make a change bc I don’t want 2 lose u only I scared that it’s too late please give me another chance.” I think it would be a great song to use if you ever want to make a Youtube video for your girlfriend to tell her how much she means to you, maybe you could put it in the background and use a montage of Facebook photos that capture the most meaningful moments you have shared as a couple. Also, is Hoobastank a “he” or a “they”? I used to think Aerosmith was a “he,” as in “I love the new Aerosmith album, he’s so talented!” Now I know better, but I’m still not sure about Hoobastank or Jamiroquai…
Hinder “Lips Of An Angel“
This song is about a dude who is cheating on his girl. He feels bad about it, but he cannot resist the mistress because she has the lips of an angel. Lyrically it’s clearly underwhelming, but that’s not the point: the song is a masterpiece in terms of arrangement, with the verse transitioning perfectly into the bridge/pre-chorus which in turn builds and builds into the epic chorus. Blast this shit in your F-150 and you can practically envision the chubby, 36 year-old drunk ladies at the bar singing along, a plastic cup of Miller Lite in their hand and a Marlboro Light hanging from their lips. Another song you will definitely hear at the strip club.
Lifehouse “Hanging By A Moment“
Have u ever loved somebody so much u felt like you couldn’t live another day w/o them? Like ur whole world revolved around them, and every thought in your head was about them?? Then u know what this song is all about– about the feeling u get when you are head over heels in love with somebody but ur not sure if you will ever get the chance to be with them. It hurts so bad but at the same time it makes you feel like you are alive for the first time. That is the feeling captured in this heartfelt power ballad.
Saliva “Click Click Boom“
You might not hear this song on the radio anymore, but I’m sure it will be used in commercials for power tools, action movies, video games, and energy drinks for many years to come. Aside from having Nikki Sixx write a few of their songs, this band is most notable in my book for their singer’s odd facial piercing. Much like the singer for Disturbed’s curious tusk that hangs from his lower lip, it is not immediately clear to me exactly what Josey Scott’s piercing is, why he would want it, or how it’s attached to his face. In any case, I thought I would close with this song because it passes the ultimate test for a song to qualify as a hard rock anthem: can you use it for a WWE/TNA walkout song? Fuck yes you can!
What does HARD ROCK mean to you?? What underground, kvlt hard rock bands should I know about? Why don’t snobs appreciate hard rock?? If we all chip in, could we pay someone to put a hit on Scott Stapp???