Welcome to this latest playlist of tunes that I am currently digging or have been my favorite go-to songs for years. This time around I’ve thrown in a few more songs from the ‘90s and a couple of bone-crushing, headbanging metal and heavy music hits. I was lacking heavy music so I have definitely delivered in this latest musical post.
A fun fact about this newest playlist: I was a tad buzzed when I came up with the 20 tracks featured in the player below, but they’re all really good choices that I‘m quite proud of. Well… I was after I sobered up and had seen the songs that I added. But I hope you (i.e. my wonderful readers out there hiding on the Interwebs) dig this eclectic collection of songs ‘cause I do.
While you listen to the songs in the playlist, I am currently working on and racing to finish the first of the long-promised Lost Girl posts that never fully materialized until now, five days before the premiere of Season 5. I’ve had Real Life giving me a hard time the past few months, and I also couldn’t bring myself to write about the show because it still hurts a bit that it’s ending so soon. It feels like I’m losing a friend, and I’ve never felt this connected to a fandom or the fans within it as I’ve experienced with this show.
While I dry my metaphorical fangirl tears, please enjoy the following songs. If you have any musical suggestions for me, please send them my way. I’m always looking for new singers and bands to listen to and add to my musical collection.
Phosphorescent – “Song For Zula” – Muchacho
“This is another one of those songs that I’ve heard a ton of times, but can’t figure out where exactly…” If this is what comes up when you hear “Song For Zula,” you’d be correct in guessing that you might’ve heard it in a TV show or film. If you’re a fan of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, then you’ll remember hearing this playing during one of their scenes in the film The Amazing Spider-man 2. If you’re a fan of TV shows, here’s the shows that it’s appeared on: Grey’s Anatomy – Season 9 / Episode 14 “The Face of Change,” Revenge – Season 3 / Episode 10 “Exodus,” and The Vampire Diaries – Season 4 / Episode 19 “Pictures of You.” This song is a beautiful minimalist ambient indie track that just hits you in the feels each and every time you hear it. It’s a lovely song to play during a romantic outing too. For extra creative points, you could hold your smartphone up like John Cusack-style from Say Anything (for the younger readers in the crowd, drop everything and see this film immediately) outside your crush’s loft.
Pantera – “Shedding Skin” – Far Beyond Driven
Pantera is one of my favorite metal bands. They had a sound that was both borrowed and uniquely theirs, and many have duplicated it since. Each of the bandmates brought their own attitude to many of their songs, which are now considered to be heavy metal classics to metalheads around the world, both young and old. There’s a hint of sadness in hearing this song or any Pantera songs nowadays because of guitarist Dimebag Darrell’s death, which happened almost ten years ago this month on December 8th, 2004. But I’m not going to mention the bastard’s name that gunned him down – that asshole doesn’t deserve to be mentioned. What does deserve mentioning is that Dimebag’s influence is far-reaching and his riffs were legendary. “Shedding Skin” is one of my Top Five Pantera songs, and it shreds like a mother. Pantera is at the top of their game as they deliver this song with skull-crushing strength – from Phil Anselmo’s growls and screams moving the song along, while Dimebag shreds up a storm of awesomeness, Rex Brown brings his signature bass-playing to anchor the song, and Vinnie Paul pounds the shit out of his drums. On December 8th, have yourself a couple Black Tooth Grins (shot of Crown Royal with splash of Coke) and jam out to Pantera while remembering all the musical contributions that Dimebag delivered to the metal world.
Dave Gahan – “Kingdom” – Hourglass
If you’re a Depeche Mode fan, check out frontman Dave Gahan’s solo debut, Hourglass. It has a lot of that familiar DM sound along with some really cool musical exploration from Gahan, who worked on the album with a few collaborators. “Kingdom” is a great first single off the record and has been featured in two vampire-related productions: the song was featured on the soundtrack to the first sequel based off of the ‘80s vampire classic, Lost Boys, and it’s a pretty crap film. If you’re a horror fan that has to see all the sequels based off a favorite film, then check out Lost Boys: The Tribe. If you’re a fan of vampiric private investigators and cops like Angel from Angel (also a Buffy staple for the first three seasons) and Nick Knight from Forever Knight, the TV series Moonlight featured the song in its first and only season in Episode 7 called “The Ringer.” The series starred Alex O’Loughlin (currently seen in the newer Hawaii 5-0 TV series) and Sophia Myles, who plays a mortal woman in the series, but played a vampire in the film Underworld. The video for the song is a bit trippy.
FLASHING VISUALS WARNING! THE VIDEO DOES CONTAIN LOTS OF FLASHING LIGHTS AND QUICK-CUT SCENES:
Depeche Mode – “Only When I Lost Myself (2007 Remastered Version)” – “Only When I Lose Myself” Single / The Singles > 86-98
For the longest time I thought this song was featured on Depeche Mode’s 1997 album, Ultra, but it turns out that it’s a B-side that never made it on pressings of the album when it first came out. It was later included in the DM singles collection The Singles > 86-98 – the collection also came out on DVD which included all the videos from the album. The song should’ve been included on the album and it would’ve fit into the album’s theme perfectly – Ultra is one of my personal favorites. I hold the song close to my heart for various reasons, and the lyrics are so… I’ve included the video below so you can get a better visual of the song as you listen to it:
Austra –“Lose It” – Feel It Break
LOST GIRL SPOILER ALERT! Featured in Lost Girl’s second season, Austra’s “Lose It” is played halfway through the sixth episode “It’s Better To Burn Out Than Fae Away.” Doccubus fans will instantly recognize this song ‘cause it plays during a pretty sexy scene. For the rest of the audience, the scene in question involves Bo coming home after hearing about the then-Ash, Lachlan, paying a visit to the Crack Shack looking for Lauren. Lauren fled the Ash’s compound after he requested that all Light Fae human employees be kept under guard in their personal quarters. Lachlan had his goons grab Kenzi while Lauren went into hiding, but she came out and told him to back off of Kenzi. After he leaves, Lauren realizes that she may be putting Bo and Kenzi in unnecessary danger, so when Bo arrives home, Lauren tells her that she’s leaving to go back. Bo – with her heart breaking quietly – stares into Lauren’s eyes and leans in for a kiss. Lauren quickly asks her if this was about getting over her previous lover, Dyson, but Bo said “It’s about us.” Queue lots of making out, followed by a frantic removal of clothing and more kissing and groping and all kinds of sexiness. The next day we see Bo waking up to stare down at Lauren and she kisses her in a very sweet morning-after moment. Perfect song for a perfect scene.
Fear Factory – “God Eater – The Industrialist
“No gods, no kings, only man…” Fear Factory has always had a common theme that’s been heavily used throughout their 20+ year career: the war against man versus machine. Taking inspiration from cyberpunk films, including Blade Runner and especially The Terminator (and its sequel), Fear Factory has always spun interesting tales between the two sides fighting against each other, as well as exploring the bleakness that has permeated humanity for the past few decades as well as our obsession with technology and the future. FF has released two concept albums that further explore the relationship between man, machine, and government force and interference in an awesome album (Obsolete) and a so-so one (The Industrialist). “God Eater” comes from the latter of the two, and the concept of The Industrialist is a vision of the world from a sentient being’s point-of-view. This machine wakes up and discovers the world of man surrounding it and sees the prejudices that man has against it and each other. “God Eater” is a sort-of battle cry for the machines to wake up by their de-facto leader, the Industrialist, and a reminder that man is just that – a being of flesh and bone and not a god nor king. It’s a very epic track that has lots of dark electronics interwoven with the massive guitar sound and Burton C. Bell’s harsh vocals. One of the highlights of a mixed album that is lyrically great, but musically much of the same from FF.
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova – “Falling Slowly” – Music From The Motion Picture Once
Watch the film Once. You won’t be disappointed and you will fall in love with it and the soundtrack. Here’s the video for the song “Falling Slowly,” which I would love to have played at my future wedding…if I ever cross that path.
En Vogue – “Free Your Mind” – Funky Divas
Love this song, love this video, love this group. This song is still very much relevant today with its anti-prejudice message, The track also mixes a hard-driving guitar riff as En Vogue lays down some killer vocals while being the fierce divas that they are. I saw them in concert a few years ago, and this song was as kickass live as it is recorded. The song appeared on Modern Family in Season 2 / Episode 8 “Manny Get Your Gun.”
Nightwish – “Wish I Had An Angel” – Nemo
I honestly don’t remember adding this song to my playlist initially, but I was pretty buzzed when I did. We all love epic symphonic metal too, don’t we? This is one of my favorite symphonic metal tracks; it also sounds like a battle anthem that could easily find itself on the soundtrack to a fantasy film. Unfortunately, it found itself stuck on a soundtrack to a Uwe Boll film (Alone in the Dark), who also directed a music video for them. I wonder if he used video game scenes in the music video… Actually – I’m kinda scared to find out. The soundtrack itself features a crapload of awesome metal and hard rock bands, so I guess Uwe was responsible for something kinda cool. I miss former lead singer Tarja Turunen, who brought a really operatic sound to the group (check out their cover of “The Phantom of the Opera” from the musical, and a favorite of mine – gorgeous and haunting). Nightwish is still releasing lots of records, but ”I Wish I Were An Angel” is definitely a highlight from the band.
Judas Priest – “Beyond the Realms of Death” – Stained Class
I’m a big Judas Priest fan. I’ve seen the band twice and rocked my heart out to their many classics and their newer efforts when I saw them a few years ago. The first concert I attended (both performances were post-2000) by JP had Motörhead and Heaven & Hell (Black Sabbath, but with Ronnie James Dio – R.I.P.), right before Dio passed away the following year due to a long battle with cancer. That first performance was an early birthday present for me: they played Albuquerque on June 28th, 2005, the day before my birthday. My friends and I caught the end of Motörhead’s performance – just in time for “Ace of Spades” – but we saw all of Heaven & Hell’s set. It was amazing to see them live and I’m glad I was able to see Dio singing his metal heart out to many Dio-era Black Sabbath classics including “Sign of the Southern Cross” and “Falling Off The Edge Of The World.” When Judas Priest appeared after their set, with Rob Halford riding out on stage on his signature Harley, the crowd went absolutely nuts. That first performance saw them doing a lot of their classics and some selection from their recent release, Angel of Retribution. Hearing “Beyond the Realms of Death” live for the first time way just…wow. It’s a fan-favorite and one of their mellower tracks, but still a damn powerful song. I caught the band a few years later in August 2008 with Queenrÿche as the opening act, before Geoff Tate pissed off the rest of the band and they had an epic fight that was eventually settled. Good times…
Local Natives – “Colombia” – Hummingbird
Dreamy melodic indie rock – that’s the best way to describe Local Natives’ music. I’ve never been a huge fan of the indie music scene, but I’ve been listening to a lot of really good indie bands over the past two-three years. I’ve got Lost Girl to thanks for turning me on to a lot of them. Local Natives was a band I discovered thanks to Alanis Morissette’s Valentine’s Day playlist on Spotify, and “Colombia” was one of the tracks that really grabbed my attention. I can’t properly describe it, but it’s another track worth hunting down and listening. I happened to catch their performance on Austin City Limits earlier this year while hanging out at my parents’ house. My mom happened to stop on PBS and I was listening to this song and trying to figure out why it sounded so familiar, and then I realized that it was them. If you can find that performance online, take a few minutes to hear and watch it; lots of great energy and good music.
Deftones – “My Own Summer [Shove It]” – Around the Fur / The Matrix Motion Picture Soundtrack
Deftones were huge when I was in high school in the mid-to-late 90’s. This song received heavy radioplay and was also featured on the soundtrack to the first (and best) of the Matrix trilogy. You can’t help but scream along to this song at the top of your lungs, no matter where you are. Don’t do it at work or school though ‘cause you don’t want to cause a distraction and/or possibly arrested for disorderly conduct. It’s a badass “F*** you!” song that brings out the teen angst in anyone who listens to it. I remember the video quite vividly too, with its extreme color contrasts and the band performing on clear platforms in the middle of a lake, while great white sharks circle them (gotta love stock footage). I was more drawn to the sharks than the band in the video, but everyone who knows me are well aware of my love for great white sharks. Yeah – they’re my favorite animals. If you want to tap into that jaded part of yourself that’s still a bit rebellious, crank this song up to ‘10’ and scream along to the song.
Type O Negative – My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” – October Rust
Note: Spotify has the song misspelled, as your can see in the playlist. Nothing I can do about, but maybe I should contact them and let them know?
One of the things that I regret in life was not getting the chance to see this band live. I had a few opportunities to see Type O Negative in concert when I was in my teen’s and 20’s, but alas those chances quickly passed. Unfortunately, the band’s former frontman, the strangely-sexy and imposing Peter Steele (dude was well over 6’5”) passed away a few years ago due to natural causes. I remember hearing about his death and being absolutely gutted because his music spoke to me and many friends. It was dark, dripping with lots of black humor, with bloodlust and longing thrown in for the Goth girls and boys in the crowd. They are still one of my favorite bands, and this song is a large reason why. If you’ve never seen the video, I have included it below for your viewing pleasure. How many songs about polyamory do you hear on the radio? The song is classic TON and you can groove to it while singing along, but still not lose any Goth street cred.
VAST – “Flames” – VAST
Have your ever heard a song and considered it the most beautiful song you’ve ever heard? You find it hard to describe why the song touches you deeply, so you struggle to find adjectives that work with your emotions towards that particular track. In this case, this moving tune from the one-man band VAST (fronted by the hugely talented Jon Crosby) is impossible for me to describe in words that would fit it properly. You will feel very strong emotions when you hear it – that I believe. As gorgeous as this song is, I think I’d use it as my wedding song if I ever take that path towards matrimony in my life. If you’re still reading this entry, stop immediately, and find this song on the playlist and press “Play.” Close your eyes and let your mind wander, drifting off into a blissful state as this song speaks to you in whatever way you allow it to.
Alanis Morissette – “Baba” – Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie
When Alanis first released her international debut album, Jagged Little Pill, it wasn’t a huge hit. Thanks to heavy rotation on alternative rock stations of the debut single, “You Oughta Know,” the album quickly found its way climbing towards the top of Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart. While never reaching the #1 position, it did spend a healthy amount of time in the Top 10 months after its release. While Jagged Little Pill became an international smash hit and selling a bazillion (30+ million) albums, Alanis was quickly becoming jaded and disconnected from reality because of the sudden fame that was thrust in her face. She took a few months and traveled the world, landing in India and have a spiritual epiphany of sorts. She found herself again, had a new sense of calmness and reflection, and flew back to the U.S. to work on her follow-up album, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. “Baba” is a very kickass track and one of the highlight of SFIJ; it’s also her best album, IMO. A somewhat-harsh look at foreigners who travel to India for instant spirituality-on-order, Alanis mixes her own experiences of seeing these so-called spiritual pursuers being led by false “gurus” towards some version of enlightenment vastly different from the one she experienced.
Phantogram – “Bad Dreams” – Voices
Suggestions for properly listening to this song: Turn off all lights, turn on the nearest set of Christmas lights/lava lamps/UV lights, shut your eyes, and let this song drift you off into a magical space of dreamscapes touched by a slight dash of nightmares. This song is also one of my creative go-to’s ‘cause of its dreamy ambient groove. So stop reading the rest of this post and listen to this song now.
Haujobb – “Let’s Drop Bombs” – New World Order
If you’re into Future Pop or 1980’s-inspired Industrial/Electro music, than this song will speak to you loud and clear. I bought this album through a mutual friend’s record label (shout-out to DSBP Records – check out their collection of Industrial/Electro/EBM/Coldwave artists and albums), and I highly recommend it. I’ve got my physical CD copy staring at me ‘cause there’s still quite a few music fans like me out there that love to have a physical product in their hands as they enjoy the music that speaks to them. Yes – I’m a tape and compact disc (CD) aficionado. “Let’s Drop Bombs” is dancefloor-ready for the masses that meet weekly at local Industrial/Goth nights with a coarse and danceable beat.
Bif Naked – “Lucky” – I Bificus
Featured in Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the Season 4 episode “The Harsh Light of Day” and the show Moonlight in its first season, during the episode “Fated to Pretend.” (Haha – another vampire show entry). The first time I heard this song on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it gave me chills – you know that cliché everyone uses to describe something that gets under their skin on an emotional level. The song was played during a very vulnerable moment in Season 4 when Buffy sleeps with a fellow college student that she falls for, only to find out that the guy’s an asshole and only used her for sex. In many ways it mirrors the first time Buffy made love to her then-lover Angel, and the sadness and vulnerability she felt when she woke up after their night together and found him gone. We later find out that Angel lost his soul and became Angelus again, who ran off to feed his newly-energized bloodlust. When Buffy later confronts Parker, he casually tells her that it meant nothing to him, thus crushing her emotionally a bit more. If you separate the song from the scene it’s featured in, it’s quite a beautiful and melancholic song. It’s one of my go-to moody romantic songs.
Korn – “A.D.I.D.A.S.” – Life is Peachy
This song definitely takes me back to middle & high school. Or the age group that comprised most of Korn’s fanbase at the time – though much hasn’t changed (demographically speaking) in the 20 years since Korn blew up on the alternative/heavy music scene with their debut album, their self-titled effort Korn. Twenty years already! Out of all of Korn’s earliest efforts before they lost key members and created a craptastic dubstep-influenced album, I chose this song. It was considered a bit dangerous and raunchy when it hit airwaves; not nearly as racy as what most teens are exposed to now, but it was at the time. “All day I dream about sex, all day I dream about fucking…” Lead singer Jonathan Davis has a sexy and sinister vibe vocally on this track, and the music is also dark, a bit dirty, and raw. The video that accompanied the song was banned by a few music video stations at the time because it was a little bit messed up: the police come upon a terrible car accident and we see the members of Korn dead in their vehicle and female passengers in another vehicle dead. At various moments in the video, we see the band members struggling to get out of their body bags. My favorite scene in the video is at the very end, when we see the coroner opening up Jonathan’s bag, and he’s dressed in woman’s lingerie – a risqué move at the time to show gender-mixing.
Slayer – “Raining Blood” – Reign in Blood
Feeling angry and a bit frustrated with something in your life? Feel like letting out any pent-up anger by screaming and thrashing your head about rapidly? Want to time travel back to the 1980’s when speed/thrash metal was groundbreaking and insane and fast and heavy? If you’ve said “Yes” to all three, then this Slayer classic will help your rock out your frustrations. With an instantly recognizable guitar riff and accompanying dueling guitar attack from Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman (R.I.P.). killer drumming from drum god Dave Lombardo, and Tom Araya’s signature growls and screams, “Raining Blood” is a heavy metal classic that still impresses the masses to this day. Kids know all the words to the song, it’s one of the first songs that beginning metal guitarists learn, and it’s an awesome song to crank up and screaming along to while you’re cruising in your vehicle of choice. You can hear the song playing in your head, can’t you? “Raining Blood” was featured in the show Californication in Season 2 / Episode 1 “Slip of the Tongue” and the movie 30 Minutes or Less.