Kings of Leon's Only By The Night

On my first listen to the Kings of Leon, I have to admit, I wasn't too impressed. It wasn't that they were bad. They just didn't strike me in a lasting way. You know how sometimes the moment or context in which you hear a band makes a difference in how you view or think about or feel about that band? You could say the first time I heard the Kings of Leon, at least the first time that mattered, was surrounded by a case of context, or rather, a lack there of.

As is occasionally wont to happen, however, another time came when it was of use to me to hear Kings of Leon. And maybe even listen to them. Of course, it was because of a girl. She recommended I check the band out. So I bought the first album that broke them to a large audience, Aha Shake Heartbreak. I gave it a spin in my car, but again wasn't very struck by any lasting impression. I was told by my lady friend, however, to try their latest, Only by the Night.

This time, something clicked.

It may have been the two songs she recommended, that we listened to on the way home from dinner, "Notion" and "Sex On Fire." It may have been her. Hell, who knows. For whatever reason, I got it, finally.

My first impression was that this band had found some cross section of .38 Special, U2, and white-boy Stones soul. The sound of Only by the Night is recognizable, familiar to a fan of rock and roll. The singer's voice recalls someone, I'm not sure who, and that might be the point - it's familiar enough to sound comfortable, and different enough to sound engaging.

The album kicks off with "Closer," a song that reminds me musically of something R.E.M. would have done on New Adventures In The Hi-Fi, and I mean that in a good way (it reminds me a bit of the siren call keyboard wail present in "Leave" from that album). The guitars echo U2 (pun intended) and singer Caleb Followill does his best soul impressions. "Crawl" harkens back to later-era Led Zep, funky and a bit synthy-sounding. The album's first outstanding track is it's third one, though: "Sex On Fire."

The opening, off-kilter guitar notes turn into a funky, danceable rhythm that drives the song forward to it's first anthemic chorus. Wailed vocals couple with the driving rhythms and reverb-drenched guitars that soar in the way that the best work from The Edge does. The lyrics match, vaguely describing sex in an open, echoing kind of way, capturing more the feeling of being wrapped up in someone physically than the physical sex acts one might perform or experience during the process. This anthemic quality continues on the next track, "Use Somebody." It's apparent that the Kings deliberately continued their shift from garage rock to a more accessible sound, but that sound serves them very well, especially on "Use Somebody." It may be dipping far too shamelessly into the U2 well, but that matters little when the results sound this good. "Use Somebody" builds on the quality of "Sex On Fire" with a thunderous, rousing torchsong. The lyrics are again vague, but to great effect here - the lack of detail makes the song easy to relate to, easy to get cozy with. Everyone can connect with the feeling of wanting someone, and further needing to feel wanted. The song mixes things up appropriately with a small bridge and a nice, if basic, guitar solo - again, the kind of fret work you'd expect from the Edge - before closing out the song.

The rest of the album follows these trends. There's little to match them to their garage roots, and more to point towards modern contemporaries like Coldplay, just with less keyboards/piano. This strikes me as odd, now, given my initial .38 Special comparison, which seems kind of knee-jerk after repeated listens.

What may speak loudly for the universal enjoyment of the record, though, may be this: a colleague of mine (from my day/real job) has recently become intranced with the band's music, particularly Only by the Night. Of course, it's because of a boy (and no, certainly not me). Some sweet something passed her a copy of the record. She listened and fell in love. Now our office, a large room with several cubicles, is filled daily with the sounds of Kings of Leon, sometimes hearing this most recent record two or three times in one day. I quickly passed my co-worker Aha Shake Heartbreak and Because of the Times, in hopes of getting some variety mixed in. To wit, that hasn't happened yet, but that still hasn't dulled my interest and enjoyment in the band.

So if someone with complete opposite tastes than mine can get into it, it's got to be good, right? There are other great songs on the record, particularly "Revelry," "Notion," and "Be Somebody" and "Cold Desert," the tracks that aptly close the album. Only by the Night has a certain coldness to it - the wet, swampy reverb sound of Pink Floyd, just icier at times. Thankfully, it also has a bit of old school warmth to it, as well, in the soulful vocals as well as obvious classical (as in classic rock) elements of the music. If you wanted to listen to the Kings of Leon, this is the album to get. It's an enjoyable and at times moving listen, and far more deserving of the damning review websites like Pitchfork gave it. Yes, Kings of Leon may be a trendy pick of hipsters everywhere, but they ruin everything - just don't let them ruin your appreciation of a fine album by a truly good band.


The End is the Beginning is the End - Ten Lives On

The end is the beginning is the end. That's how it goes sometimes. In relationships,

in life, in work and play. And in music.

“I’ll ride the wave where it takes me,” Eddie Vedder sings in “Release,” the closing tune from Pearl Jam’s debut album, Ten. “I’ll hold the pain/ release me.” As the band rises and falls like the waves of an unbound, unchained ocean, so does Vedder’s voice, carrying with it hope, pain, love, loss, life.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard this record. I was, what, 14 years old? I had heard “the buzz” about Pearl Jam as I had first begun to discover rock music. My first records were common Top 40 fare at the time, some of it good and some bad – Clapton’s Unplugged being good, All 4 One the bad, and the Spin Doctors somewhere comfortably in between.

Then I heard kids at school talking about Nirvana and Metallica, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. So I listened. And while Pearl Jam was not my first entry into grunge/alternative/’90’s rock, they would grow to become my favorite band, slowly and surely. And it all started with Ten.

My mother and I had cooked up some cockamamie scheme to join those wonderful by-mail music clubs, BMG and Columbia House. I joined one, she joined the other, and the crux of the deal was that if her club had something I wanted, she would order that, and I would order something she wanted from my club.

What I wanted was Ten and Vs. (She, justifiably so, wanted Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits. You go mom.) So we ordered them. And I waited.

And waited. And, in a move that quietly mirrored the rest of my life to come, I grew impatient. So… I rushed out and bought a whole slew of “singles” at Wal-Mart. For a short while in the ‘90’s, you could buy actual singles from a band at Wal-Mart. Now bands don’t even put them out, it seems. But most of the big alternative/grunge bands did. Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam were all waiting with mini two and three and four song samplers, mixed in there with the Boyz II Men and All 4 One and Madonna and other pop records in the Singles section of the Wal-Mart Music Department.

I couldn’t wait. I bought the singles to “Oceans” and “Jeremy,” both off of Ten, and "Daughter,” off of Vs. I wanted the “Even Flow” single, but they were sold out. It and

“Alive” and “Go” and “Animal” and “Dissident” would all come later.

For now, I listened to these songs, the live versions of “Why Go” and “Alive” and “Deep” (all off of the “Oceans” single), and “Yellow Ledbetter” and “Footsteps,” b-sides from “Jeremy” that have become legendary in the Pearl Jam catalog, “Yellow Ledbetter” especially. I literally soaked my soul in these songs. I devoured them with the hunger that only a 14 year old knows when they first discover love, emotional and physical, and time, and reason, and… music.

So it was with some excitement when those CDs finally arrived. I checked the mailbox everyday, hoping they would come before we left for our summer vacation to go horseback riding and camping in Brown County Stare Park. I was overjoyed when, on a whim, I asked dad to let me check the mail as we were pulling out of the driveway, horses and camper in tow, on our way to Brown County, Indiana.

And there, in the mailbox, was the cardboard box containing my prize, my treasures. I think I put in Vs. first, truth be told, and I listened to it over and over again on my Sony Discman. The drive from our place in Mooresville to Brown County was about two hours or so. When we arrived, the headphones came off and I had to help set up camp.

By the time we were finished, nighttime was falling. As we were always wont to do, my family planned vacations with other families who had horses, usually the folks that we showed horses with during the summers (and 4-H). As it were, my first crush and by this time my first girlfriend was among the families we showed and camped with. And, with our camp set up, and set about doing another haunting habit that rests with me still: waiting for her to show up.

Now, this was about a year before I started playing guitar, so there wasn’t much to do other than kick around rocks, ride a horse, or listen to my headphones. The choice was easy. I popped in Ten, pressed play, and walked up to the guard/registration house at the opening of the campgrounds. I found a picnic table, sat down and waited. It was there that I first heard the opening notes of “Even Flow.”

Since then, I’ve been hooked. Like the opening “song,” “Master/Slave,” a strange drum and bass tune that ebbs and flows with bristling, concealed energy, like some sultry temptation, so has my life and love of Pearl Jam.

“Once upon a time, I could control myself,” Vedder sings as guitarist Stone Gossard pumps out one of his trademark slinky, funk-based riffs, like water sliding over glass, then cascading into the band charging through the chorus of “Once”. This eventually gives way to Mike McCready, the band’s lead guitarist who’s work instantly defines nearly every song he plays on. His fiery guitar solo on “Once” announced that Pearl Jam was squarely in the classic rock tradition, that their heroes were the icons of the seventies like Zeppelin, Kiss, Sabbath, The Who, and Hendrix.

“Even Flow” set such a standard for the band, the funk-based riffery, liquid guitar leads and driving bass all as much a hallmark of the PJ sound as Vedder’s soaring and sometime incomprehensible lyrical delivery. And this from a band that hadn’t yet fulfilled its potential, and had barely had time to solidify its lineup. Drummers would come and go over the next few years, but this mattered little, so strong were Gossard, bassist Jeff Ament, and Vedder’s stranglehold on the band’s signature sound.

All of that came to a head on the album’s most celebrated song, the anthem “Alive.” Though this song is ultimately about incest and confusion, it was widely misinterpreted as a claxon-like call for survival for Gen-Xers in the rough and tumble, rapidly changing 1990’s. It’s call of “I’m still alive” can still be heard echoing wherever the band plays live. Over the years, the song took on a life of it’s own, with even Vedder acquiescing to his fans over the anthem-like quality, bring more positive energy to the song than ever before. What was a semi-autobiographical story for him became the rallying cry for legions of confused twenty-somethings.

“Why Go” was anchored by Ament’s thunderous bass, and used the trademark liquid riffs coupled with big open guitar chords to fine effect as Vedder vamped about a troubled teen locked away. It also continued McCready’s string of stinging, blues-influenced lead guitar solos.

But it was “Black” that I found myself coming back to, again and again, in my later teenage years and into college, when heartbreak had come a-knockin’ on my door. This ballad in E (wink wink for those of you in the know…) showcased not only the melodic, softer side of the band, but also Vedder’s terrific writing skills. While most of the protagonists in Pearl Jam’s songs have battles to fight or wounds to tend, they usually tended to have hope. In “Black” Vedder deviates from the hope-saves-us-all formula to turn in one of the few songs that ever truly captures the emptiness that comes from lost love. It certainly doesn’t hurt that his voice echoes each painful stroke of the lyrics with its own dripping passion and anguish.

“Jeremy” would be another hit for a band that was looking more and more like a hit-making machine. When the dynamic, visually grabbing video was put into regular rotation on MTV, it would help skyrocket the band to success. The tale of the schoolboy seeking solace in his only escape is both harrowing, and yet, still told with a strange grain of hope – Jeremy does get the last word, after all.

“Oceans” would find the band again quieting down, this time for a ballad that expertly captures that wateriness of the song’s titled. A favorite of mine since I began listening, “Oceans” almost sounds like waves, or sometimes air, and its story of lovers longing to touch is one any adolescent teen – or lonely college boy, or adult man looking for answers – can relate to.

Another concert favorite would be delivered in “Porch,” a song that when performed live (on SNL and MTV’s Unplugged) Vedder would use to deliver whatever message was on his mind at the moment. Though it has changed over the years, it’s still a favorite, and features more push-and-pull tactics from the band, combining their ‘70’s rock influences with the elasticity of funk and rhythm and blues. All this, and still sounding like modern alternative rock.

On “Garden,” the band would use clean, hushed verses to build ambiance, then thunder in with big choruses. The floating guitar interplay between Stone and Mike would foretell many great guitar moments to come – Pearl Jam are nothing if not masters of wonderful musical bridges – and provided more pyrotechnics after the already dynamic and charging “Porch.”

Vedder would tackle drug use and it’s various consequences on “Deep,” a scorch, warbling rocker with a trademark off-kilter Stone riff driving the song along. It provided yet one more moment for McCready to show off his command of the guitar, straining and pulling and squawking emotion from the instrument as Vedder did the same with his vocals.

“Release” drew the album to a close with it’s hushed tones and wave-like structure, cresting and drawing listeners in, and sending them on. A reprise of “Master/Slave” bookends the record nicely, drawing the whole experience to a close.

My teenage self is perpetually wrapped up in the album, all awkward emotion and hormonal rush. Each of the songs off of it have been a favorite over time, with “Alive” and “Deep” being my favorites of all early on, and in later years, “Release” and “Oceans” being two of my most treasured of Pearl Jam’s songs.

Nothing sounded like Ten on the radio when it was released, and really, nothing else has sounded like it since then, either. It’s combination of arean-ready rock and roll anthems, generation X issues and problems, and nods to classic rock, punk, and blues hasn’t been duplicated by any band since. What Pearl Jam achieved wasn’t grunge and really wasn’t alternative rock, either. It was a seamless melding of 1970’s rock and roll, it’s glitz and glam and fire and fury. Coupled with a deep understanding of societal issues and deep-seated familial and emotional issues, the album was a torchlight for any who were troubled and needed release. It was a siren call, a warning sign, and a war march all in one.

Pearl Jam would go on to answer the call they made with this first record, with the fiery Vs. and the hellbent Vitalogy, and that triptych of albums stand as a testament to the power and grace of one of the 1990’s, and truly all of rock and roll’s, most important bands. They would challenge listeners even as the comforted. It was rock music with purpose, the kind of music that saves the soul.

That period of the band’s existence would end of course, as all things do. They would mature, grow as musicians, find new subjects to tackle. They would fight stardom and themselves, their own personal demons, feuds with other bands, and more. Hope, pain, love, loss, and life would never be far from them, but their maturity would grant them different looks on these familiar topics, as it would to us all.

But for one shining moment, here was a band that understood. They were our awkward champions, and they fought with every once of energy they had. And we were all better for it.

Life is a circle. Loss follows love. Hope follows pain. Life happens while you’re living it.

I’m just happy I have a kick-ass soundtrack to help it move along.


The Hold Steady (Almost) Saved Me

Life can kind of be bitch sometimes. And, other times, it’s a big party. There always seems to be a new song that can get us through either situation. For those of us lucky enough to live in the Midwest, there’s another “state of being” that maybe is more consistently present than the previous two – the state of being bored.

Truly clever is the rock band who can sing about that. And still do the other two.

There is not a gluttony of great Midwestern rock bands. Sure, there are some. Chicago bands do not count, though, because Chi-town is far too cosmopolitan and big a city to be/feel truly Midwest.

A lot of the Midwest’s other bands don’t quite rock. John Mellencamp is great, but not reckless. Over The Rhine? Amazing songwriters, amazing music, but not quite rock. Not quite rock at all.

I’m looking California… but feeling Minnesota. Specifically, Minneapolis.

(Yes, Dayton has Guided By Voices, Kentucky has My Morning Jacket, Indianapolis has Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s, Belleville, Illinois has Uncle Tupelo. There are several examples. Just humor me, damnit)

Here there be Midwestern rock heroes and gods. Husker Du, Sugar, Bob Mould. The Replacements. Soul Asylum, maybe? But, for my purposes here… The Hold Steady.

Has there been a better Midwestern rock and roll band than The Hold Steady? (And piss on you if you think they are disqualified because they moved to Brooklyn. Their music is FIRMLY ROOTED in the Midwest.) Maybe it’s Craig Finn’s spoken vocal delivery, or the low register of his voice. Maybe it’s the energy in the band – one that suggests there’s nothing better to do than just rock the fuck out.

When I listen to The Hold Steady, one of two things happen: I want to be a character in their songs, or I have been a character in one of their songs. And while my official youth/young adulthood/party years lasted roughly from April 2003 until Summer of 2005 (not a good run, by any stretch – 22 and a half to 24 and a half? Really?), I still kind of crave, feel, and relate to the stories in The Hold Steady’s songs.

Their songs are sing-along psalms, and they mean that.

In a way, The Hold Steady remind me of my own wasted youth, and more so, my continued occasional affairs with that youth.

You see, I have spent from age 19 on thinking I would be married by 21, making babies by 25 or so, doing the whole house-wife-kids-white picket fence thing. Um, yeah. Update: I missed that boat, some 10-8-5 years ago. Despite my utter failure to secure my Midwestern dreams, though, I still kind of live and function like that. Not sure why. My friends seem driven more to discuss music, movies, and art. We drink and carry on, but more with ourselves than with others.

Meeting women is a strange concept to me; I suck at it. Dating? I suck at that too. I would probably suck at sex – and probably do – if it weren’t for dating a bat-shit crazy girl who spelled her name with Y’s and K’s. Lord knows I am out of practice.

So maybe I live vicariously through the characters in The Hold Steady’s songs, in the universe so created by their incredible, intelligent music. “Boys and girls in America, they have such a sad time together…” Finn sings in “Stuck Between Stations.” “Crushing one another with colossal expectations.” If that’s not my life, or at least the most accurate take on my relationships with the opposite sex, I don’t know what is.

I feel some kind of kinship with this band; it’s like we were meant for each other. One thing is for damn sure: they make me want to put down my acoustic guitar and pick up the electric, and stop writing songs about heartbreak and start writing songs about not caring/causing heartbreak/drinking beer/wasting a Saturday night with people drinking beer-causing heartbreak-not caring.

I’ve got to stay positive, they remind me. And I try. Maybe… maybe The Hold Steady almost saved me. Maybe it’s not too late – is 28 too late to be a delinquent? To be young? To get drunk, high, wasted, lazy, irresponsible?

“Most people in the world don’t believe that rock and roll can save your soul,” says a random fan smoking a cigarette in the new Hold Steady DVD, A Positive Rage. “I don’t think any one of those people have seen The Hold Steady.”

Fuck yeah.

So, as I count down the days until I see them in Bloomington, after missing the last opportunities, I will be ready for a few positive jams. I’m ready for a unified scene.

Mostly I am ready to grow up already, and act like the adolescent idiot my hormones and Midwest boredom tell me to be.


I Scream, you Scream, we all Scream for the death of Chris Cornell...

I had a friend in high school who always said "opinions are like assholes; everybody's got one." It was kind of his way of saying, "we have to agree to disagree." We would argue frequently, and this was his way of ending arguments. So, when I say that the '90's were the hidden second "golden age" of guitar rock, and you disagree... well then, opinions are like assholes. And you are one. An asshole.

The 1990's, and the rock music that came with it - not just "alternative" or "grunge," but a lot of rock music at the time - owed a great deal to the music that came not a decade before it, but two to three decades before it. Black Sabbath's metal, Led Zeppelin's proto-metal blues-rock, The Who's arena rock, and The Beatles psychadelia all played a huge role in the guitar-drive rock of the '90's. So too did punk pioneers like the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, and more obscure acts like Television, X, and the Damned. Add in a dash of brontosaurus rock like Neil Young, and some NWBHM (new wave of British Heavy Metal) like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, the Scorpions and UFO (not necessarily British), even bands like Motorhead and T-Rex and David Bowie... and you mix it all up. Welcome to '90's rock.

Like many of the great bands from the '70's, many of the '90's bands were modeled after the "dynamic frontman" and "lead guitar player with mystique." Plant had his Page. Ozzy had his Iommi. Tyler had Perry, Bowie had Ronson, Jagger had Richards, Daltrey had Townshend. And, in the the great detritus of '90's grunge rock, Cornell had his Thayil.

More metal and less punk than their peers, and more experimental to boot, Soundgarden mined the same ore that Sabbath and Led Zep made famous, though a bit less bluesy. As their career progressed, the Kiss and Sabbath metalisms of guitarist Kim Thayil gave more and more way to the John Lennon/Beatlesisms of lead singer Chris Cornell. While Cornell was, without argument, the strongest set of pipes in '90's music, owing vocally more to Robert Plant and Ozzy than Lennon or Mac or Harrison, musically Cornell drew heavily from the Beatles.

Never was this more evident than on Soundgarden's last two albums, Superunknown and Down On The Upside. Literally all of the Cornell-penned tracks can draw a comparison to the Beatles, particularly Lennon's work. Add this to the band's already experimental side and their heavier-than-thou sound, and Cornell's own wail-of-a-wounded-banshee vocals, and Soundgarden was without a doubt one of the strongest and best musical acts from the 1990's and the grunge era.

There is no finer album from that era than Superuknown. It is quite possibly the best album from the '90's. The follow-up, and that band's swan song, contained songs that really highlighted Cornell's Lennon-esque obsessions ("Blow Up The Outside World," anyone?). Strangeness and despair, musical experimentation, it was all there. And Cornell helmed the great and mighty ship.

I was sad when the band called it quits. And excited when Cornell released his first solo record, the criminally under-appreciated Euphoria Morning. "Preaching the End of the World" might be one of his best songs, and showed a tender side not really seen before. "Pillow of Your Bones" and "Mission" harkened back to his days in Soundgarden. "When I'm Down" and "Wave Goodbye" broke new sonic ground - hell, the whole album did - for Cornell as an artist. It was a statement. Critics hated it because it was different; fans hated it because it wasn't like Soundgarden. And I, typically, loved it.

I didn't buy his second solo album, for really no reasons other than I had moved on and was emmersed in Americana by that point. What I heard off of it, I enjoyed. I even enjoyed his Casino Royale theme song. I liked it a bit. Of course, between those, we had Audioslave, Cornell's collaborative efforts with ex-Rage Against The Machine members Tom Morello, Brad Wilk, and TimY2K-whatever the fuck his name is. And... when the first demos leaked online, I heard them, and was excited. When the project was mired in record-label problems, I was disappointed. When the first album came out, I liked it, even loved most of it. The following albums had incredible moments. All in all, Audioslave was not great overall, but was pretty good, and that was enough, especially when compared to the rest of the shit music that ruled rock radio by that point. I'll take Audioslave over Three Days Grace and Nickleback any day of the week, and twice on Sundays, thank you very much. At least we got to hear that banshee-wail again!

The point being, Cornell is a damn rock-vocalist god. He fucking rules, owns, and then some. The man has the pipes of a gorram demon and angel, all wrapped up in one.

And his new song makes me want to scream.

"Ground Zero," the first single off of Chris Cornell's new album, Scream, is the sound of a demon getting kicked square in the nuts, then booted out of Hell for being a pussy. "Oh, how the mighty have fallen" doesn't even begin to do this piece of crap song justice, nor the height of the man who is singing, nor how far he has fallen. Produced by Timbaland? Really? What the fuck for?

My rage is nearly uncontrollable, my mind and heart inconsolable. Why, Chris... why? From the spoken dialog at the track's beginning, coupled with pseudo-James Brown funky "ahs!", to the melancholy acoustic outro/segue to surely some other trashy number, this song sucks. Beginning to end. It sounds exactly what you would fear something would sound like when you pair the voice of an entire rock era with the producer from an entire era of hip-hop.

Let's take a moment to breath. This worked with Aerosmith and Run-DMC, right? I've already written hear about Cornell's vocal and song-writing prowess; Timbaland, though involved in music I generally don't like, is no slouch either. The man can write, create beats, and produce. He's produced a number of prominent hip-hop, pop, and rap artists, including Jay-Z, Missy Elliot, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, The Fray, and Justin Timberlake. None of them may be your (or my) particular cup of tea, but that partial list is pretty damn good; it's a damned who's who in pop, hip-hop and rap music. So it's not like Timbaland is a bad producer.

I watched a myspace music interview with these two several months ago, and to be honest, I was scared shitless when I heard they were working together. Then I watched that little video, and thought to myself, "maybe this will work!" It sounded promising - they spent the entire time complimenting each other, blowing sunshine up each other's asses, but generally making it seem like they were enthused to be A) working together and B) working on this material, and proud of it. They shouldn't be; they should feel disgraced. It doesn't neither artist nor producer any favors. It's laughable. It's the downfall of not only a GREAT artist, but one of the most famous pop producers of our time.

So, if you've read so far, you know I have made a judgement on one entire album based on one song, "Ground Zero." The thing is, the internets is in revolt over this damned Scream album. The A.V. Club is having a puke-fest. Allmusic.com might have gave it 1.5 stars (out of 5), or none at all - I can't tell. I don't even want to check what Pitchfork says - they normally crush my soul with their heartless, plastic reviews anyway. I can't stand to see what they'd say about the man with the golden ticket set of pipes, falling from such a great height. So, it is safe to say... this album is going to suck. "Ground Zero" sucks.

I know that no artist wants to be pigeon-holed into one style or genre, but for the love of Christ... Chris Cornell, please announce that after this tour you're doing a Soundgarden reunion tour. Or Audioslave. Or a Great Expectations soundtrack reunion tour. Something, anything, to make up for this. Bring us back the banshee wail, backed by the hammer of Zeus. Ditch the hip-pop tripe, and get back to what you do best.