My iPod #558: System of a Down – Hypnotize

2005 marked the return of Armenian-American alternative metal band System of a Down; three years after 2002’s Steal This Album! came the double Mezmerize/Hypnotize album, with the first half released in the spring and the second following a few months later.

“Hypnotize” is the title track of the second half, and funnily enough includes both album titles within its lyrics. The majority of songs created in the Mezmerize/Hypnotize sessions featured a bigger presence of songwriter and guitarist Daron Malakian on lead vocals; “Hypnotize” is no exception. He and Serj Tankian alternate every other line before singing in harmony for the song’s innocent chorus. I say innocent because despite the ominous and daunting presence of propaganda by the media, the narrator is only concerned with waiting for his girl to arrive whilst sitting in his car.

The song is actually one of the slowest on the album, though it catches you by surprise when – with just over a minute to go – rumbling tom-toms and a boosted guitar line signify a change in tempo before a Latin-South Eastern European style solo sets up the climactic ending.

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And that is it for the H’s. It has been a grueling two months or so, but it’s finally done. As for when the I’s will start, I can’t say. I’ve got myself a job, and I’m looking forward to starting it next Wednesday. This puts the blog in a very strange position.

This may be the start of a very blank period on here.

If that is the case, keep yourself entertained with the many other posts on here.

This is not the end. Maybe just a hiatus.

We’ll see.

See you guys later.

My iPod #557: Muse – Hyper Music

“Hyper Music” is the fourth track on the band’s second album Origin of Symmetry. A track of ‘pure anger and disregard for affection’ as once said by Matthew Bellamy in Kerrang! magazine, it was released as a double A-side single alongside their cover of “Feeling Good“. The band decided to film two music videos for the two songs too; whilst that of “Feeling Good” had flower petals slowly falling from the sky, “Hyper Music”‘s features very unstable camera handling, extreme close-ups of Matthew Bellamy’s head, and a headbanging crowd for the final chorus.

Still, it is the perfect visual accompaniment to the song’s bouncing energy and aggression. It all begins with a plectrum scratch which becomes more and more distorted before the band enter to launch into the song’s riff. Similar to a lot of early Muse songs “Hyper Music” focuses its attention on a person who Bellamy couldn’t bare to take shit from anymore, this time he totally erases them from his life – regarding them as someone he never loved nor wanted in the first place. Bellamy holds this negativity and exudes it in his wailing vocal performance, with bassist Chris Wolstenholme pulling the strings throughout delivering a powerful ascending bassline that drives the song’s momentum.

A great track. One that, admittedly, I like a lot better when I was younger. But still a headbanging listen all the way.

Tomorrow comes the last of the H’s and I don’t know whether to feel relieved or saddened by this. Will keep you updated.

My iPod #556: Pull Tiger Tail – Hurricanes

Pull Tiger Tail were a band that deserved a lot better. Forming at the tail-end of the indie/post-punk revival of the mid-2000s, the trio went on to release a few singles that received airtime on the TV and got the media talking too.

“Hurricanes” was one of those singles, released in 2007. It was the band’s fourth and supposedly last one before the debut album that should have arrived soon after. Singer and guitarist Marcus Ratcliff wails about getting away from his hometown for a while with his significant other, expecting that nothing about it will change in their absence. To their surprise, a lot, in fact, does, making him think about how he has grown as a person.

By the end of 2007, the awaited album had not arrived. It was not out by the end of 2008 either. Because of various circumstances, PAWS. did not see the light of day until Autumn 2009, a time when Lady Gaga and Akon were popular in the charts. Indie bands, not so much unfortunately. The band split soon after.

My iPod #555: Bloc Party – Hunting for Witches

Kele Okereke was interested in the media reaction to the 9/11 and London 7/7 terrorist attacks. The lead singer of Bloc Party felt that the media had earned their trade through scaremongering and using fear to control people. His observations aided him to create “Hunting for Witches”, the second track on the band’s sophomore effort A Weekend in the City, released in 2007.

The violent ringing at the end of “Song for Clay (Disappear Here)” fades right into “Hunting for Witches”, but it is almost a minute into the latter that you hear Kele’s voice. The introduction starts with chopped-up radio samples that scatter around your ears before being overlapped by a panning alien-spaceship sounding guitar riff, the drums of Matt Tong, and finally the song’s spindly guitar riff delivered by Russell Lissack with dagger-sharp execution. The track reminds me a bit of “Helicopter” due to the interplay of guitars, particularly during the instrumental break before the final chorus, and the busy rhythm section, but with more of a processed sound and a fuller vocal performance from Okereke.

Released as the album’s third single, the song received a music video which features the band performing the track in a dark room. There it is above all of this. It probably would have been the last single too, had it not been for “Flux” which arrived a few months later.

My iPod #554: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Hump de Bump

“Hump de Bump” was the fifth and final single from Red Hot Chili Peppers’ double album, Stadium Arcadium. Released in Spring 2007 the song was accompanied by a video directed by Chris Rock, depicting Anthony, John, Chad and Flea at a block party on the Everybody Hates Chris set. The video was played a lot; the song stayed in my head. Though it is a mystery as to what Anthony Kiedis is singing about. He has this thing where he can make up random phrases or take these abstract ideas and make them fit with the music. ‘Hump de Bump’ is a prime example. I think it is safe to assume that it is about sex somehow. Most songs by RHCP are.

The track is funky, I give it that. The verses are carried by the alternation of abrupt bass chords and picky guitar lines which eventually come together during the choruses. There’s a particular part during those where Flea and John play the same melody in unison that makes for smooth listening. Flea also plays the trumpet during the last few choruses and the track also features a ‘tribal’ instrumental break using percussion with a sound similar to that of the trash can lids and scrap metal in “Breaking the Girl“.

Though it isn’t one of the best Chili Pepper singles, it is still a good track. The video makes it a better listen. Where else will you see Anthony Kiedis wearing ‘grillz’? Won’t happen ever again.

My iPod #553: Michael Jackson – Human Nature

What a blunder. This wasn’t meant to be published yesterday. A complete error on my part. To those of you who saw two posts up and were expecting two good reads, I’m sorry I could only provide you with one. Though in the end, you did get a sneak peek of what was coming.

“Human Nature” was released as the fifth single from his Thriller album. It is one of the four songs that were not written by Jackson himself, having initially been a rough demo by Steve Porcaro of Toto given to producer Quincy Jones in hopes of being included on the album. Jones loved the music, the original lyrics not so much. And so lyricist John Bettis was asked to write some new ones. “Human Nature” was finished in its entirety in a matter of two days, and was the last song to be included to Thriller‘s track-list.

The song is, what can be described as, an ode to New York City – the city that never sleeps – an its enticing scenery and vibrant atmosphere during the nighttime. Jackson sings of abandoning the four walls of his room to take full advantage of what the city has to offer from the ‘electric eyes’ of streetlights to the beautiful ladies he can’t help but stare at. The morning after sees him back in his room, looking out to the city with the urge to do it all over again later.

Upon Jackson’s untimely death in 2009 his music videos were played non-stop on almost every music channel. Of course it was a sad time, but I had seen/heard all of those songs before. I had not with “Human Nature”, and it was when it played on the radio a few weeks after that I could comprehend that he was gone. Was such a sad time and he continues to be missed.