Wednesday, January 23, 2008


System of a Down - B.Y.O.B

I really like System of a Down (mainly because of Serj). I like the lyrical nature of their songs, that they mix in with heavy, heart pounding, head banging rock and roll. I think that's what I like most about them; the contrast they have in their music. Serj tends to be more lyrical, as is shown in his solo efforts (while the other guys from SoaD tend to be the heavier influence). I still like Serj's solor stuff, but not much of the other guys' stuff.

The particular reasons I like this song are as follows:

  • The driving rock at the beginning would make any older person roll up their window quickly if I pulled up next to them while blasting the song in my car (I really like doing that for some reason).

  • The "la la la la la la la la la" part is a great little ditty that sticks in my head for a long time. I normally don't like that, but with this song, it works for me.

  • I really like the guitar part in the bridge before the "la la la la la" part. It is a cool little syncopated rhythm.

  • This song is just fun to listen to. I am a software developer by trade and this song is a good one to program to.

  • Make up your own reason why I like this song, do I have to spoon feed you people?!

Here's the Lego version of the music video.

And here is the real version. I really like how Serj looks like an evil Weird Al Yankovic.

Chop Suey!

System of a Down - Chop Suey!

Another one in the System of a Down series.

I just really dig a lot of System of a Down stuff. I dig the harmonies, the different guitar sounds in the same song (hard and soft riffs), and I dig some of the subject matter.

Why I like this song:

  • The guitar riff at the beginning has the sound of a good Spanish-in-your-face dance number, then grows with the drums into a driving force of pure joy.

  • I once played this song for a co-worker who is 20 years older, he asked me when it came to the heaviest sections "What's the point?!" Referring to what he thought was the lack of musicality or lyric nature of those parts. My take on them is that they provide a distinct antithesis to the lyrical parts of the song. When he then goes into the "trust in my self righteous suicide" portion, the distinction is rather clear between that and the driving parts.

  • As with most System of a Down songs, I really enjoy the harmonies on this song. They fit well with the background and kind of pump me up.

I found this really cool Lego version of the music video on YouTube and couldn't resist. Enjoy!

Lonely Day

System of a Down - Lonely Day

Lonely Day was one of those songs that I heard on the radio that I thought to myself, "That song is awesome, I wonder who it is." I had listened to a lot of SOAD by that time, but this one sounded a little different at first. I figured out later that is was mainly because Serj was not the main singer on the track. I do like Serj quite a bit (see this post), but the other main singer Daron has the perfect voice for this song. SOAD is great on their songs because, like the Beatles, they choose the singer based on the song, they don't try and force every single song to one singer.

Why I like this song:

  • It contains soft, medium and hard elements. I love music that can fit into many categories.

  • The harmonies, as with most SOAD songs I like, are great. The mix of Serj and Daron's voices is perfect, especially on this one where Serj doesn't dominate as in many other SOAD songs.

  • The guitar riff at the beginning is simple and leads well into the opening vocals "Such a lonely day...and it's mine"

  • The poor grammar of "the most loneliest day of my life" is a perfect fit for the message of the song.

  • I'm a software engineer and this song is great to code to. Perfect mix as I mentioned above.

See the video after the jump.

I found some awesome new videos to use on YouTube. They aren't the official music video from the band, but I think you'll enjoy them. Starting next post.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Empty Walls

Serj Tankian - Empty Walls

I really like System of a Down. The harmonies they use are awesome and the driving beat is cool too. They have a pretty wide variety of styles that they play, although heavier is definitely their style.

Serj Tankian is the lead singer of System of a Down. The band to a hiatus from making albums and Serj came out with a solo album. The first time I heard this song, I thought it was SOAD, but when I looked it up, it was Serj. You can tell who has a lot of artistic involvement in SOAD's songs.

Why I like this song:

  • There are several different styles: soft melodic, hard driving, crazy sounding lyrics and more!

  • Serj's voice is perfect for the type of music he sings. He has some hard edges, but underneath is a good set of pipes.

  • The harmonies in this song are great. The background singers seem to take the place of the second singer in SOAD pretty well, although nothing can really replace the harmonies he and Serj sing in Lonely Day

  • This song is great to code to, it doesn't take a lot of thought to listen to in enjoyment mode (deep thought mode works with this song too, the message from this song, and the video is quite clear, something SOAD has lacked a little in their most recent popular songs).

To Build a Home

Cinematic Orchestra - To Build a Home

I don't remember where I first heard this song. I think it was linked on some music blog, but I thought it was one of the greatest songs I had ever heard. It reminded me of Coldplay before their second album (which I don't like by the way). The melody is fantastic and the lead singer's voice is perfect for this song. The simple piano under the voice, just emphasizes the simplicity of the first part of the song. I think I played this song so much that Wife doesn't like it much anymore, but I normally do that with any song that I really start liking. This is one of those songs that I can listen to over and over, and have done so on several occasions.

Why I like it:

  • Starts out very simple, and builds to an awesome climax. The simplicity of the piano at the beginning, and then the addition of the strings as it goes along is awesome.

  • I am a sucker for piano and strings in rock/pop music.

  • The lyrics are not overdone. They are simple, to the point, yet deep. There are some good metaphors for life and stuff.

  • My favorite line in the whole song is "I climbed a tree to see the world." I don't know why it is my favorite, but it is.

This is not an official video from the song, but I thought it was pretty good.

Next post will be about something harder.

Friday, January 18, 2008

You're Beautiful

This post is about James Blunt's "You're Beautiful"

My wife turned me on to this song. She hears things on the radio, or on TV and asks me to find them for her. At first, I really didn't like this song, but as with many songs that I don't like at first, as I listened to it more I found things that I really liked about it.

  • The clean guitar that starts it all out is fantastic. I love the riff and how it melds in with the background stuff that is going on.

  • I love how parts of this song almost feel like they don't fit, but then they do. Near the end when he sings "There must be angel with a smile on her face, when she thought up that I should be with you" it almost doesn't fit with the rest of the song. It's saving grace to me is the rhythm he sings the second part in

  • This song fits into my guilty pleasure arena with it's "cheesy" nature, but it seems to do it with a lot of depth. It's the same old story of someone seeing someone and falling in love but knowing they will never be with that person, but in this case I think it's done a bit more classy than the 80's butt rock that used this theme very often.

Apparently, as you can see in this next video. James Blunt likes to be alone in weird places, doing weird things. In "You're Beautiful" he is alone and taking off his clothes in a very cold place. In this one he is alone in a weird room sitting in a chair singing to no one and running through the woods by himself. An odd man.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hocus Pocus

In the coming weeks I will be highlighting some of the songs that I think are really cool, especially live. This week, we'll be looking at a Dutch group from the early seventies called Focus. I haven't heard anything else by them, ever. This is the only song that I have ever heard and I have to say, I even like this version better than the album version. The great things about this video are:

  1. The lead "singer's" (I put it in quotes because he mainly just yodels, I don't if that is officially singing in my book) facial expressions are great in comparison to the lackadaisical looks on the faces of the rest of the band.

  2. This seems to be about 125% of the speed of the normal album cut, and yet, again the lackadaisical looks on the faces of the band members.

  3. Overall, this song is just a great mix of different stuff. It's got some Jethro Tull type stuff in there (obvious one with the flute), but it also has some stuff that reminds me of Deep Purple, and some other bands.

Take a listen (and watch it too, for pure entertainment value) and let me know what you think with a comment.