So, this passions post will be mostly listing my favourite bands, and possibly sharing a couple of YouTube clips with you *grin*. Would be interested to see if other folk out there share my taste in music!
I have to say - I'm very much a live and let live sort of person when it comes to music. We all have different tastes and different passions where this is concerned, and no one person is right or wrong. I don't understand those people who get angry with me because I also happen to watch and listen to X Factor, and denounce it as killing music. Despite my music passion being very much of the rock variety, I still love a massive amount of pop music - including a lot of the songs being sung on X Factor. I appreciate seeing them being done a different way, and I absolutely adore the over-blown nature of the shows.
Anyway, after that little aside, here is a rundown of some of my favourite bands - in no particular order!
It amuses me that when I first heard this band - way back in 2002 - I didn't think much of what I heard. One of my mates told me I *had* to listen to them, but I dismissed it almost immediately. What a fool I was. Puzzle changed everything. I played that album over and over again, and became a complete fangirl. I had an almighty crush on Simon (the lead singer) - still do, if I'm honest. Since then I've been to as many of their live shows as I can manage and loved the fact that they're getting the recognition they deserve. Since Puzzle, I have revisited their earlier music and now appreciate it just as much as the later stuff. As mentioned above, this band are simply brilliant live. Just outstanding. Seen them three times and each performance has been superlative. My favourite song is Machines, off the puzzle album. Getting really personal here, when I first heard it I was suffering from clinical depression and very, very low. These lyrics spoke to me:
Crazy as it sounds you wont feel as low as you feel right now
At least that’s what I've been told by everyone.
These, too, from The Conversation Is...
Are pills the only way to make myself complete again
They become the only way to a wonderful life with a happy ending
It was the first moment I'd realised that maybe I wasn't alone in the depths of my depression.
My parents tell me I've had a love affair with this band pretty much since birth. My dad was playing their debut album in the car when I was brought home from hospital *grin*. At four years of age I would beg my dad to put on Run to the Hills and dance around to it. I was HEARTBROKEN when Bruce Dickinson left the band and they brought in a new singer. When he returned, I decided there and then I would see them every opportunity I had. I was lucky enough to be at Brixton Academy when the band played free to raise money for the Clive Burr MS Trust Fund - this was an amazingly intimate gig for a band accustomed to playing stadia, and I had the most fun.
I love their music because it is bombastic, technically excellent and quintessentially British. There was talk that Iron Maiden should play at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games - I can get behind that initiative!
My favourite album is Number of the Beast - I've been listening to that one for all but two of my thirty years of life. Trying not to sound too weird, but those songs are a part of me. Hallowed Be Thy Name is a moment of pure brilliance.
Prog rock! This is another band that has been a part of my life since birth. My dad is a massive fan of this band, and I soon picked up on the songs. On one memorable trip to the South of France - driving from Germany - my dad made up a cassette where one side was Power Windows by Rush and the other was Perfect Strangers by Deep Purple. To this day, I am word perfect on all the songs from these two albums. On another holiday Rush had just released Hold Your Fire and we played it to death!
This band are amazing. They have been releasing music since 1974, and are bringing out their 20th studio album next year. The music is intricate, the lyrics are beautiful. And their drummer, Neil Peart, is an absolute virtuoso. One of the highlights of their live shows is his drum solo. Yep, drum solo. Not something you'd expect to be that interesting... At the two live shows I've been to he received a standing ovation for it. I also greatly admire Neil Peart - in the space of ten months, he lost both his daughter and his wife (the former to a car accident, the latter to cancer), and essentially retired from the band. When he came back to play after an extensive mourning period, there was extra poignancy to the lyrics he wrote. He is commonly said to be one of the greatest rock drummers of all time.
Moving away from the rock music briefly... *grin* This singer-songwriter has the voice of an angel. When I went to university I picked up the album Pieces of You on an impulse - boy, am I glad I did! She is quirky, original and breathtaking. Her lyrics are mysterious, beautiful and meaningful. I absolutely adore her work, and my only regret is that so far I haven't managed to catch her live show.
My favourite album is This Way, but my favourite song is Foolish Games from Pieces of You. Seriously, her voice is glorious! More recently she has been producing more country and western inspired music, which isn't so much to my taste, but I'll always have a fondness for her middle career albums.
Here is a clip of Jewel in performance:
Oh, Jimmy Eat World! They are an American band from Arizona, and play... alternative rock, I guess. It's certainly not hard rock. At one point they got lumped in with other "emo" bands, but they're far from that. Their music is assured, accomplished and, as they've grown up, reflects the attitudes of 30-something men. I love that I've grown up with them and one of their lyrics from Big Casino particularly resonates with me:
And I'll tell you something else that you ain't dying enough to know
There's still some living left when your prime comes and goes
Their songs have seen me through relationship break-ups, good times and, as with Biffy, depression. I love them to pieces and, whenever I feel down, I play this particular song to remind me that haters will hate, but all I have to do is stay true to myself:
There are many more bands that I love (including AFI, Slipknot, Reel Big Fish and Counting Crows) so I might well do a follow up post at some stage.
Tell me the music that you love! Tell me songs that have got you through good times and bad!