Release Date: October 4th 2019
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Maybe it’s just a surmising conclusion and what I see doesn’t mean anything at all, or maybe there’s a pattern here. But what I have seen and realised over the last decade or so is that talent competitions, and more specifically American Idol, have produced some of the most emotive, heartfelt, talented and compelling artists this modern generation has ever seen. I know such a claim is by all means bold, and many, many people could disagree with me, and that’s ok. But I’m only going by what I’ve seen. Artists like Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Kris Allen, Scotty McCreery, Jordin Sparks, Katharine McPhee, Danny Gokey, Phillip Phillips and Clay Aitken have all had varying amounts of succuss post-Idol, all of whom have given to us songs of hope, encouragement and challenging words to think and process over. Enter in another artist, one that I firmly believe has made a mark on music in general over the last decade or so. While still not very as known or even as popular as other mainstays like OneRepublic, Coldplay, Switchfoot and Evanescence (all of whom are very similar to this artist I’m about to unpack today), American Idol season 5 finalist (4th place) and rock band Daughtry exploded onto the music scene with their eponymous band (Daughtry is lead singer Chris Daughtry’s last name, and their first album is indeed called Daughtry!) way back in 2006. Fast forward to 2019 and they sit as high as no. 3 on the list of most successful artists post Idol (#1 and #2 are occupied by none other than Carrie and Kelly respectively!), all the while delivering songs of importance as the band themselves have changed what it means to create great rock music with a solid message and an inspirational edge. Daughtry have, I reckon, shown us a great example of what it means to thrive in the rock industry that isn’t all about inspiration or even anything to do with a wholehearted message at this point. Which is a shame. Nevertheless, Chris Daughtry and co. have decided to make good music as well as impart values upon society, that we all need to strive and live by. Chris has given to us a band that is truly underrated, and one that makes me smile anytime I listen to them. While I am still on the fence as to whether they have influenced music as a whole, I know this for sure- they have influenced a lot of their fans, myself included, and with lists like this being as subjective as they are, Daughtry’s presence upon such a list like this can be determined as controversial, and maybe that’s ok.
Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I feel that artists can be too good for the period of the time in which they were impactful and prevalent in. Hear me out though. Take this new artist Bryan Adams for example, of which I am going to be discussing. Amongst the sea of countless other music artists, one could assume and think that this person Bryan hardly stands tall amongst the rest at all- besides, I’m sure everyone has heard of artists like Rascal Flatts, Owl City, Carrie Underwood, Shania Twain, Phil Collins and Ed Sheeran, to name a few. But Bryan Adams? Ok, maybe the people who indeed grew up with music from the 1980s have heard his presence on the radio, but for the average commonfolk who has just been listening to the radio all these years and nothing else, can an artist like Bryan cut through all the supposition and assumptions, and make his own music known in a world where image and how you project yourself can in many ways be more important on a fan-based level than the actual songs and meanings of them in the first place? Let me say from the outset- Bryan Adams is a legend in his own right. He is a influencer, a musician, a singer-songwriter, and a passionate guy who wants to connect feeling and emotion through the way he knows how- through music. But had it not been for this blog series, and me taking a gamble on hearing a few popular songs from the 1980s as influence for this series in general, I would not have heard Bryan and his music at all- except for his crossover hits ‘Summer of ‘69’ and ‘Everything I Do (I Do It For You)’, which is a tremendous shame. I would’ve carried on my life listening to what I’ve been listening to- nothing wrong with that; but looking at my own life and the musical tastes I have now compared to even at the beginning of 2019, I’ve taken more risks, which is a good thing. Bryan Adams is one such risk, and a well-received one. For Bryan’s knack for creating 1980s songs that still have that aura and connection about them now as I’m sure the songs had back then is nothing short of genius and maybe, God-given. Bryan’s songs have influenced a generation far and wide, and though he may even be reaching a demographic group on a generation level higher than myself, the songs nevertheless have profound meaning, asserting my view that he is one of my top 5 most surprising (in a good way) artists I’ve come across in my blog series of 32 artists (out of 100, and then a further 20 world-class artists) thus far.
‘…when we were making Evanescence I was a normal kid, going to school. But I guess not normal in the sense that I spent almost all of my free time working on making music. I’d be up until three in the morning, with headphones on, on my keyboard. My mom would complain in the morning that all she could hear all night was ‘thump, thump, thump’. But I just loved it. Being a composer, honestly, was my original dream. That’s why it’s so beautiful that I get to work with David Campbell and all these brilliant musicians on Synthesis [the latest album] – people who went to [music] school and didn’t cheat their way…I didn’t fit into a clique. For the most part I hung out by myself a lot. I really enjoy being able to be quiet and think…[now] it’s interesting. I almost feel like that wasn’t a choice [using sexual images to sell records] – I had to be who I was. What rock’n’roll is to me is being yourself, unapologetically, and not changing to fit within the machine. Being a female in the music industry a lot of the time means being overly sexualised. It was just kind of an easy, cheap way to get people to pay attention to you. I was like, that’s not who I am, and I’m not gonna pretend to be anything that I’m not…’
Release Date: August 16th 2019
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Release Date: July 19th 2019
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
‘…I think Christian music was still early on in it’s inception, people didn’t really know what it meant. I will say that Christian music has also changed and is very much changing very rapidly right now. There are some people that will kinda pre-judge the band; They go “Oh… it’s a Christian band, it probably sucks!”. There’s some of that. But, I think that Skillet has been around long enough that people get us. They know that Skillet is not, what I would call, ‘Preachy’. I think that we just sing a lot about spirituality. I’m very open about my faith. I talk about my faith in interviews and on stage. I’m not in any way quiet about it, but it’s more of a story telling. I’m telling my story, it’s my life. At every show, I meet people that say “Hey! I just want you to know that I’m an Atheist, I don’t get this Jesus stuff at all, but your music makes me feel better. It’s so positive and it got me out of a hard time” or what have you. I love those stories because I never wanted to be a person who only sings religion to people; That’s the opposite of what I want to do! I like that music should bring people together; I think that’s a really cool thing! So yeah, that prejudice still does kinda exist. Some of it rightly so, because there was a time when Christian music was very much ‘Preachy’ and very much only singing to Christian people. Whether that was the intent or not, that’s what was happening. That’s not what Skillet wants to do…’
‘…you have to remember this, Skillet came out in 1996 and there really wasn’t an internet! I mean, the internet was technically around in 1996, I had never heard of it. And it certainly wasn’t something that people found music on. It was a couple of years later that the internet really exploded. So, when we first started, we sold cassette tapes, mainly CD’s, but we had cassette tapes of our first records, first two records actually! I think that the internet has changed the entire landscape of music. There are goods and bads with that. One of the great things is that Skillet, well… not just Skillet, can be heard all they way around the world now. You don’t have to have a massive radio hit. It used to be that if you didn’t have a radio hit in Australia, then there’s no reason to go to Australia because nobody knows who you are! There have been some wonderful things that have happened. So, that’s probably the most life changing thing that has changed since the inception of Skillet…’
Release Date: July 19th 2019
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre