Chris’s Weekly Single Reviews Vol. 3

This week’s new singles include new music from The Cult, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Call Me No One, Smile Empty Soul, Mike Shinoda feat. Chino Moreno, as well as the latest from Korn and Aranda. Which new song did I pick as my “Single Of The Week“? Hit the jump to find out!

The Cult – “For The Animals
Ah The Cult. They’ve been around since the 80s, yet have never gotten enough credit for their unique sound and talents. They’re also one of the most consistently great bands out there, and that doesn’t seem like it’s going to change come May 22nd, when they will release their 9th studio album entitled “Choice Of Weapon”. A few months ago, they released their first single from the album, “Lucifer”, that while not fantastic, was an interesting and different sounding song for the band. Now, they have released their second single, “For The Animals”, and it is EXACTLY what everyone wanted to hear. Classic sounding Cult that while sounding like a lot of their greatest hits, doesn’t ever feel like a retread. The song wastes no time, as it opens with its chorus pulling the listener in immediately. My only complaint about the song is that as it goes on, it gets slightly less interesting. The verses go on for a bit too long, and the fantastic chorus that had you drooling at the beginning is used a little too sparingly, (especially considering that the song is almost five minutes long). But, the song is fantastic for the most part, and features the amazing vocals and guitar work that we’ve come to expect from The Cult. If the whole album sounds this great, I’ll be more than happy!
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – “Never Go Back”    (Single Of The Week)
It took three albums for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals to receive any kind of recognition, and now with their upcoming fourth album, all of their hard work has paid off, as they have Dan Auerbach ( lead singer and guitarist of The Black Keys) on their team as a partial producer and co-writer. For their first single, Mr. Auerbach serves as co-writer, however you’d never know it, as this song sounds like 100% Grace Potter. Not a drop of Blues Rock to be found. Instead it’s a very modern sounding pop rock jam with beautiful production, a danceable groove, foot tapping beats, and a catchy chorus that’s bound to get stuck in your head almost instantly. Not to mention Grace Potter’s fantastic vocals with a range that knows no bounds. Seriously, this song has it all and is EASILY my “Single of the week”. Congratulations on your success guys! You’ve earned it!
Call Me No One – “Biggest Fan
I hesitate to call this band a supergroup, as it’s actually kind of the opposite. It’s two members of Sevendust (guitarist Clint Lowery, and drummer Morgan Rose), who have branched out to start a new band on the side. So how does it fare? Let me put it this way, when you start a side project, the idea, and point of it really, is to try something new and to get away from the sound that you’ve been constantly stuck with. Unfortunately, that is exactly what these guys have opted NOT to do, and instead have created a band that sounds like a shittier version of Sevendust. Instrumentally, the band is every bit as good as Sevendust, but vocally and lyrically, Clint Lowery has nothing on Lajon Witherspoon. So, essentially what we’re left with is a poor man’s Sevendust, and considering the fact that Sevendust isn’t that great of a band to begin with, it just serves to make this project that much worse.
Smile Empty Soul – “Afterlife
Smile Empty Soul has never gotten enough credit. They are considered one hit wonders, (with their song “Bottom Of A Bottle”), and that’s it. Personally I think that they’ve put out numerous great songs, and that they’re a pretty good band. However, I also think that with their fourth album, “Conciousness”, they started to sound a little bit uninspired and bland. Now, with the release of their first single from their upcoming fifth studio album, the band seems to have agreed. This song sounds completely different sonically, than anything they’ve ever done. Instead of the fast paced, post-grunge music that they’re known for, the band has opted to make this song very open and airy sounding, giving it a much more modern and atmospheric feel. This is obviously achieved from background synths that I never would have imagined the band using. So, does it work? Is it any good? As much as I want to say yes, the harsh truth is that the answer is no, and it’s NOT due to the atmospheric synths. What it is due to, is the band’s lack of catchy hooks and memorable songwriting. This is all very unfortunate, because you can tell that the band is trying to change up their sound and become as good as they once were, but it’s honestly just not enough. I have hope that the album as a whole will be better than this, but if it’s not, then I’m afraid that this band may never end up regaining their balance.
Mike Shinoda Feat. Chino Moreno – “Razors Out
This is the promotional single from the new Indonesian blood bath action flick, “The Raid: Redemption”. Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park fame has created an entire original score for the film, and on this promotional single, he has collaborated with the always incredible Chino Moreno (Deftones, Team Sleep, Crosses). It’s an admittedly epic collaboration, and one that I was extremely anxious to hear. Like I said before, Moreno is ALWAYS fantastic, it’s just Shinoda that I was a bit worried about. He’s obviously very multi-talented, (the guy is a vocalist, songwriter, keyboardist and rhythm guitarist, all in the same band!). Unfortunately that band is Linkin Park, the most annoying Nu-Metal band next to Limp Bizkit, and I was hoping that Shinoda would bring a different sound to this project. Well, all of that hoping was for not, as the song is essentially Linkin Park without Chester Bennington’s annoying squeal. So the song basically sounds like a softer Linkin Park song with Moreno singing instead of Bennington. And it’s because of Moreno that this song isn’t an epic failure. His soothing voice melds into the electronic ambience of the song, and it creates a relaxing listen (although that’s not something that I was looking for in a song promoting an action flick). It’s only when Moreno takes breaks in singing that the song ends up sounding like Linkin Park, which immediately destroys all of the magic that Moreno had just worked so hard at creating, and unfortunately Moreno doesn’t contribute his voice nearly enough to save this Linkin Park B-Side.
Only two weeks after releasing their third single off of last year’s album, “The Path Of Totality”, Korn has opted to release an Australian promo single as well. The track is “Chaos Live In Everything”, and it is the album’s opener. It’s a great track that lets you know what you can expect to hear from Korn’s new sound almost instantly. And if you’re a purist, there’s no need to fret, as all of Korn’s signature sounds remain intact. It’s a great song off of a great album, and I highly recommend checking it out if you’re new to Korn or a veteran. Either way, there’s something for everyone.
Aranda – “Satisfied
Zzzzzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzzzzz. Mmmm… *Yawn*. What… OH! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to doze off on you guys! I was just listening to the second single off of Aranda’s debut album, and then… I must have just drifted off at some point. Alright, all joking aside, this song blows. It’s boring, it’s blasé, and it makes me want to bash a baby. The only redeeming feature to this song is that it’s well written, but that’s the least that it could be considering its subject matter (a girl breaking a man’s heart). Oh man, if that didn’t get you interested, then I don’t know what will! Seriously though, I’m getting mighty sick of these cookie-cutter bands that have absolutely NOTHING new or interesting to say. Here’s a message for all of you aspiring musicians out there. If you don’t have anything original or creative to bring to the table, then save it for your garage or the local pub.