Of Power and Ballads

I was recently told by a colleague that he doesn’t like rock music, but he likes… the “slow songs”. After drawing exactly what he meant by “slow” out of him (and mocking him briefly because he spends all day streaming ABC Classic, which isn’t that bad, but it is a sign of his advanced age), I suggested that I look for ten great power ballads to add to his collection, accompanied by a song by the same artist that is a little less… “slow”.

Foreigner – I Want to Know What Love Is / Hot Blooded

Apparently I can’t get the official video for “I Want to Know What Love Is”, so I’m going to have to leave this one at that.

Scorpions – Wind of Change / No One Like You

There were alternatives to “Wind of Change” but they were even more turgid. “No One Like You” on the other hand

Warrant – Heaven / Cherry Pie

Ah Warrant… If ever I need to lower the tone of a party, I put on “Cherry Pie”.

Europe – Carrie / Final Countdown

Poison – Every Rose Has its Thorn / Nothin’ But a Good Time

I have fond memories of “Nothin’ But a Good Time”, and now that I work for a living, it seems more apt every day ­čśë


Oh the drama!

This playlist is all about the big sounds and strong stories.

I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) – Meat Loaf
Let’s open with one of the strongest voices ever to smash rock n’ roll. This 1993 release is full of crescendos, thematic shading and strong singing.

Rock You Like a Hurricane – Scorpions
Following on with some good hard rocking. I love the guitar work, and that definitive declaration: Here I am! Rock you like a hurricane!

The Final Countdown – Europe
Still in the 80s, Europe tells the great story of a spaceship about to leave Earth

All Along The Watchtower – Bear McReary
The segue here is space travel. This cover of the Bob Dylan classic comes from the soundtrack to Battlestar Galactica├é┬áseason 3. McReary did a great job in finding a completely new sound for this tune, and it’s big and bangy. I love it!

You Know My Name – Chris Cornell
From one soundtrack to another. This was the theme song to the James Bond flick, Casino Royale.

Like a Stone – Audioslave
Slowing down, but still very dramatic, Chris Cornell continues on lead vocals.

Rolling In The Deep – Adele
Keeping with the blues feel. I think Adele’s got an amazing voice, and she deserves all the sales and accolades she’s currently enjoying.

Zip Gun Bop (Reloaded) – Royal Crown Revue
It’s not that much of a stretch from rhythm and blues to swung jazz is it? Some amazing horn work here.

From here, we’re going pretty metal. The genre pretty much lends itself to punch numbers so I’m not going to try to justify them. Each of these songs is big and strong, and is highly narrative.

Full Moon – Sonata Arctica

Hearts on Fire – HammerFall

Wish I Had an Angel – Nightwish

Welcome Home – Coheed and Cambria

This has been a pretty wide theme to play with. I like these songs also because I can belt them out when I feel like singing. What do you like to sing in the car?


Lagerphone, washboard, and wobbleboard

Today, I’ll be digging out some Aussie tunes, because we produce some bloody good stuff in this country. Some of this list may look a little dated, some of it may even look un-Australian, but I’m a fan of it all, so you can stick it!

Days Like These – The Cat Empire
Did you expect me to lead like that? TCE’s Jazz-Funk fusion always get me in the groove, which leads me to…

Bobby Got – His Merry Men
I have ├é┬áto plug my brother’s band. I’m not linking to anyone else but them in this whole series. Check them out. Seriously. They’re great! If you’re in Brisbane, go to one of their many gigs!

The Girl of My Dreams (Is Giving Me Nightmares) – Machine Gun Fellatio
Harken back to my uni days.

Pleasure and Pain – Divinyls
The Divinyls always slip under my radar. I do like them, so here they are.

What’s My Scene – Hoodoo Gurus
Despite being co-opted for a footy advertising campaign, I still like this song.

Pressure Down – John Farnham
Gotta have some Farnsey, and this is less overplayed than “You’re the voice” by a mile.

Are You Gonna Be My Girl? – Jet
Drag us up into a high energy zone with something a little harder so that we can hit us some…

Back in Black – AC/DC
If Angus Young screaming at you doesn’t get the blood pumping, nothing will.

Dancing Queen – Jimmy Barnes
Barnesy covered ABBA for Andrew Denton’s Musical Challenge. It’s a great cover, with Barnes’ trademark gravelly voice ripping up the disco classic.

Down Under – Men At Work
You know what? I don’t have this track. I could swear I did. I’ll have to fix that. Fixed. Not sure why I didn’t have it; I always enjoy listening to this song.

The Boys Light Up – Australian Crawl
It’s cutting, it’s sly, and it’s got a great beat!

Dumb Things – Paul Kelly
I’ve done plenty of them myself.

Flame Trees – Cold Chisel
I really didn’t want to include “Khe Sahn”. Seems like that’s the only Cold Chisel song anyone ever plays. “Flame Trees” is much better.

Run to Paradise – Choirboys
Another Aussie classic. I’ve always loved it.

Better Be Home Soon – Crowded House
Let’s finish up with an exhortation to return before it’s all over…

Obviously this list could go on forever. I’m going to have to return to this theme at some other date and make a sequel. What artists and tracks would you include?


Music to ride to

A new car calls for new tunes. With my recent purchase, I’ve decided to christen her with the introduction of some new playlists. I’ll start off with an obvious one centred around the theme of travelling.

Ticket to Ride – The Beatles
Open with a classic, I say. Obviously, it’s about a train, but “Ticket to Ride” is a good way to get out of the station and on your way.

Wanted Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi

I’m not entirely sold on my choice here. I like Bon Jovi and I want him on this list, but this song is a staple of the easier tracklists in Rock Band, and god knows I’ve done it to death. I’m willing to hear suggestions for an alternative.

Bat Out of Hell – Meat Loaf
While “All Revved Up and No Place to Go” is probably more appropriate, I enjoy singing along to “Bat Out of Hell” much more. It’s got a story, and dynamic shifts in mood, and it’s a classic.

Late Goodbye – Poets of the Fall
This was the theme from Max Payne 2. While the game itself was probably a little lacklustre, the inclusion of this song on its  soundtrack was a stellar choice.

It’s Too Late – Evermore
For me, this song has a similar feel to “Late Goodbye”, and I like having the two in tandem.

Ghost Rider in the Sky – Blues Brothers
The Blues Brothers take on a Johnny Cash favourite. Great stuff.

Crossroads – Cream
Follow on with some more blues. Some real blues.

Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
Rounding out the blues triple-play.

Joyride – Roxette
Bringing some joie de vivre back into the playlist.

Don’t Stop Believin’ -├é┬áThe Clef Hangers
Gotta have some classic rock, so why not Journey? Gotta have some a cappella, so why not the best arrangement and studio work I’ve heard on a Journey cover?

Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynrd
I’m free as a bird now
and this bird you cannot change

So do you have any suggestions for journey-themed music?

Dio has rocked for a long long time

Ronnie James Dio
Source: flickr user NYCArthur

Although there were conflicting reports on the weekend, one of heavy metal’s kings has passed on to that guitar store in the sky.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I’ve been listening to Ronnie James Dio‘s music since I was a kid. My mother, especially was into Rainbow. It wasn’t until much later when I grew an appreciation for metal that I discovered exactly how great Dio’s voice is, and how inspirational he has been to rock music.

I feel fortunate that I was able to see him perform with Heaven & Hell when they toured a few years back.

Ave Dio. I hope you won’t mind if I send you off with Tenacious D’s tribute to you: