Merging the hypnotic guitar power of their early albums with the down-and-dirty roots-rock of their more recent efforts, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo” is a slinky, slithering song with blood on its hands. The world depicted in this bluesy stomper is a pitiless one that’s as bleak and hopeless as the post-apocalyptic scenario sketched out in Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road. It’s one hell of a ride.
The first single off Audio Secrecy packs a punch, as Corey Taylor sings about a relationship that’s built to last. But this Stone Sour hit is no sappy love song: Instead, the hard-rock quintet turn the sentiment into a gripping, urgent battle cry for beating the odds and finding some sort of happy ending in a world with few guarantees.
The umpteenth single off The Sound of Madness contains one of Shinedown’s more striking opening lines: “I painted your room at midnight/so I’d know yesterday was over.” From the song’s acoustic opening, “The Crow & the Butterfly” morphs into a string-laden power ballad about the end of a relationship that’s rich with evocative images and melancholy sentiments. All in all, the track is an elegant bummer.
Band of Horses are known for their surging, feel-good rock anthems, and Infinite Arms offers a superb example in “Laredo.” Combining booming, Grand Canyon-sized guitar riffs with frontman Ben Bridwell's wonderfully wistful voice, the song finds the singer heading out of town to reconnect with nature and, more importantly, to figure out what to do with his life. Although “Laredo” is a song about being at the crossroads, Band of Horses make sure there’s nothing uncertain about this powerfully hopeful tune, even if the narrator is pretty convinced his girl won’t be taking him back when he returns.
The Gaslight Anthem produce perhaps their most rousing song ever on the title track from American Slang. But the tune’s upbeat tone is actually deceiving: Lead singer Brian Fallon is talking about heartbreak and dead dads on “American Slang,” trying like hell to stay optimistic against a sea of troubles. But that struggle just makes the song all the more riveting and inspiring.
The first track off their comeback album, Stone Temple Pilots, “Between the Lines” is a yummy piece of catchy mainstream rock. Recalling the bubblegum-glam of earlier Stone Temple Pilots singles like “Big Bang Baby,” “Between the Lines” is all about its freewheeling guitars, bouncy rhythm section and Scott Weiland’s snake-charmer vocals. STP haven’t put out a single in years, but with “Between the Lines” it sounds like they haven’t missed a beat.