Music Video Spotlight: Foo Fighters- “Big Me”

It’s clear that the Foo Fighters are currently one of the most dominant rock acts in the world.  They carry a reputation for several things:  blistering live performances, brilliant songwriting, a carefree approach to the creative process, and most notably- their iconic music videos.

“Big Me,” a song from the band’s1995 self-titled debut album, is one of the most beloved deep gems of their entire catalog.  This is mainly attributed to its hilarious music video.

The video is an all-out parody of 90s Mentos commercials, in which characters would endure some sort of problem or set-back, only to have it solved after popping in a mentos:

These commercials are parodied three times in the video- and each one includes an early Foos line-up playing essential characters.  In one, the band portrays an exceptionally strong group of painters, who lift and move a car for a woman who’s been parked in.  In another, they are shown as soccer players who become inconveniently separated by a limo.  Finally, they play themselves during a live performance- during which an aspiring young musician sneaks past security in order to play on stage with them.

In all of these scenarios, the character in peril has his or her problems solved by eating “Footos (“the fresh fighter,”)” an ingeniously-named knock off of Mentos (as well as its signature catchphrase- “the fresh maker.”)  Each problem’s solution is capitalized on with a slew of exaggerated happy faces from all involved- as shown below:

The “Big Me” video is perfect parody at its finest.  It brilliantly captures the aesthetic of vintage mentos commercials, and then accurately satirizes every little ridiculous detail.

The video’s cleverness and humor make it a staple of alternative rock history.

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Album Review: Volbeat- “Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies”

Lately, Volbeat have been setting the bar high for modern hard rock- bringing a heavy and experimental, yet radio-friendly sound to a genre desperately in need of some variety.

Now, the genre-mixing virtuosos from Denmark are back with what is likely their best album to date.

“Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies,” the follow up to 2009’s successful “Beyond Heaven/Above Hell,” carries the band into a zone of noticeable focus and further experimentation.  “Lets Shake Some Dust” sets up listeners with western-style twangs and harmonica chugs that brilliantly foreshadow “The Lonesome Rider,” a later song that takes this style choice and runs with it in the most beautiful way possible.

The remainder of the album is the full package:  solid track after solid track, with very little dead space.  The infectious hooks of “Lola Montez,” an impressive cover of Young the Giant’s “My Body,” and a vicious collaboration with King Diamond on “Room 24” stand as some of the album’s major knock-out moments.

The album occasionally rings with a tone reminiscent of past Volbeat records, but for the most part, it is a total game-changer for the band.

Volbeat have, once again, done little to disappoint listeners.  “OutLaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies” is just the next step in an uncontrollable creative ascent.

All in all:

Standout Tracks:  “Cape of Our Hero,” “The Nameless One,” “Room 24,” “Lola Montez,” “My Body,” “The Lonesome Rider,” “Our Loved Ones”

Volbeat- “Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies:” 4.5/5

Album Review: Device (Self-titled Debut)

An brief glance at “Device’s” opening tracks shows a collection of songs that sound all too familiar. Heavy, chopping guitars, angry lyrics, and tribal-esque chants and growls?…Surely this must be a new Disturbed album.

Nope, it’s not.  It’s only when the whistling synthesizers of “Villify” kick in that it becomes clear this is actually something different.  Device, David Draiman’s first project since Disturbed began its hiatus, grinds through songs slightly in the same vein as Nine Inch Nails or Marylin Manson.  Songs like “War of Lies,” “Haze,” and “Hunted” find Draiman plastered atop a factory of crunchy guitars and industrial-inspired loops and beats.

A closer look at the album reveals some memorable collaborations with other musicians.  Lzzy Hale plays Lita Ford on a beautiful, stand-out cover of “Close My Eyes Forever,” while Serj Tankian’s rebellious vocals provide extra edge to “Out of Line.

Other notable guests include Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows, Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler, and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, all of which pair very well with Draiman.  Shadows and Draiman’s combined vocals, in particular, are a match made in hard rock heaven.

It is pretty hard to listen to Dramain’s commanding, blast-beat style vocals without immediately thinking of Disturbed.  The vocalist is guilty of occasionally using recycled hooks from the “Believe” and “Indestructible” sessions, but he does take periodic strides outside of his comfort zone.

“Device” toes the line between expected and experimental more than it runs past it, but it still stands as a strong sampling of what is currently a growing thought-pool of potential.

All in all:

Standout Tracks:  “Villify,” “Haze,” “Close My Eyes Forever,” “Out of Line,” “Opinion”

Device- “Device:” 3.5/5