Chris’s Weekly Single Reviews Vol. 2

This week’s reviews include brand new releases from Garbage, Candlebox, Taproot, and The Melvins, as well as new music from Shinedown and Jack White. Also reviewed are the latest from Chevelle and Ghosts Of August. Which one did I pick as my “Single Of The Week“? Hit the jump to find out!

Garbage – “Blood For Poppies
Its been seven long years since Garbage has released a studio album, but thankfully that’s going to change come May, when they will release their fifth studio album. This week however, the band has released the first single off of the upcoming album, entitled “Blood For Poppies”. The song is very upbeat, and almost has a bit of a Reggae feel to it. It’s not what I was expecting at all, but that’s not a bad thing. See, it doesn’t sound like a typical Garbage song, but then again Garbage has always been a versatile band that has tackled many different subgenres throughout their years together. So, in a way, even though it’s not what I was expecting, I probably should have been expecting the unexpected. Initial shock aside, the song is very good. It’s not a standout in Garbage’ discography, but it’s still a fun and easy listen that will leave you wanting more. Welcome back guys, we’ve missed you!
Candlebox – “Believe In It
In my opinion, Candlebox has always gotten a bad rap. They have been called “Grunge-ripoffs”, when in fact that is not the case at all. They were actually one of the first Post-Grunge bands, which for those not in the loop, is essentially a Grunge band with a more cleaned up sound. So how that makes them “Grunge-ripoffs”, I will never know. Anyways, despite my respect for Candlebox, there is no denying that after their first two albums, they started to have some trouble writing memorable material. Which, for any band that wants to continue on to be successful, is a major problem. So, after two bland albums, and a four year break to focus on other projects, Candlebox are back with a renewed focus and a fantastic new single to prove it. The song is signature Candlebox through and through, and reminds me of some of the rockers off of their second album. Most importantly however, it is memorable and a real standout in their cannon. Let’s hope that the rest of the album follows suit.
Taproot – “No Surrender
Nu-Metal is an extremely tough subgenre to get right. One of the toughest things that ANY musician has to deal with, is sounding unique, and that’s EXACTLY what Nu-Metal requires, uniqueness. So to watch a band like Taproot try to fit in to the Nu-Metal subgenre over the years, is just laughable, as you couldn’t ask for a more bland sounding band. Their latest single is no exception. You literally cannot tell hardly any kind of a difference between the chorus and the verse, and no matter how many times you listen to the song, it just won’t stick. So if you’re a Taproot fan, I can’t imagine that you wouldn’t like this, but for everyone else, listen to some Korn, or Disturbed. You know, musicians who actually know how to write a unique and memorable song.
The Melvins – “The War On Wisdom
I’m going to be completely frank here, and admit that I’ve never been a fan of The Melvins. I have to respect them considering the fact that they were debatably the original Grunge band, as well as the fact that they are, even at their age, one of the hardest working bands around. Now, with that being said, I’ve always thought that The Melvins sounded like a bunch of drunken college students jamming in their garage. And while some might say that that’s part of The Melvins’ charm, I say that even though minimal production can sometimes be a good thing, to have what sounds like absolutely no production at all, is completely sloppy and unprofessional. Anyways, the newest single from The Melvins sounds like (surprise), The Melvins, so obviously I’m not a fan of it. However, if you ARE a fan of The Melvins, then I can’t imagine that you wouldn’t like this song. It’s as simple as that.
Shinedown – “Unity”     (Single Of The Week)
Shinedown loves to center their music around extremely melodramatic subjects. Most of the time they are able to tread that fine line between heartfelt and cheesy effortlessly, but other times, (like in the case of their last single “Bully”), they go a bit too far into cheesy territory. Now the second single off of their upcoming album “Amaryllis” is here, and fortunately, for this release they have regained their balance. The song is a beautiful rock ballad about “Uniting the world as one”.  It opens with a piano that, while most songs would do away with after the opening, this song chooses to center itself around entirely. From the get go the song is very powerful, featuring a verse that has more strength than most songs can ever hope to have in their chorus. And when the song’s chorus does kick in, if your heartstrings haven’t already been pulled, well then I suggest you brace yourself.
Jack White – “Sixteen Saltines
It’s hard to believe that Jack White has been a well-known force in the music industry for only 13 years. I mean, look at the man’s resume. He’s been in three bands, started a successful record company, is a big name producer, has played for President Obama and Sir Paul McCartney, has performed the opening titles song for a Bond film, has collaborated with other major artists, and has acted in major motion pictures. Even harder to believe, however, is the fact that he hasn’t released a solo album up until this point. Well, that will change with next month’s release of his debut solo album “Blunderbuss”. So far, he has released his first single, “Love Interruption”, ( a soft, bluesy ballad, which was decent but nothing special), and now he has released the second single, “Sixteen Saltines”. So how does it fare? Well, first off it’s a completely different animal than “Love Interruption”, as “Sixteen Saltines” is an unhinged rocker. Also unlike “Love Interruption”, it’s VERY unfocused and a bit sloppy. Now, I realize that those aforementioned qualities were a major part of what made The White Stripes so famous, but this just doesn’t have the same kind of offbeat charm that The Stripes had when they were together. Basically, to put it plainly, “Sixteen Saltines” sounds like a poor man’s  White Stripes. Bad? No. Disappointing? VERY!
Chevelle – “Hats Off To The Bull
The second single off of Chevelle’s sixth studio album of the same name, is, (like the first single), fantastic.  It starts off with a very restrained verse that contains a rumbling undercurrent, hinting at what’s to come. And boy does it deliver on its promise. When that chorus hits, you’ll have one hell of a time trying not to headbang right on the spot. This song is nothing short of awesome, and will have you hitting the replay button many, many times.
Ghosts Of August – “Scars
The second single from Ghosts Of August’ debut album is, when compared to the first single “Disease”, a big disappointment. But, when you listen to it as a standalone track, it’s actually pretty good. The song is much more of a straight rocker than “Disease”, thereby lacking the atmospherics that made the aforementioned song so memorable. However, the song is still a fun (albeit forgettable), tune that at the very least you’ll feel lukewarm about.