Monday, February 24, 2014

The Feelers - Fishing for Lisa

In August of 2007 I talked about my favorite Feelers song “Pressure Man.” “Pressure Man” was the first track off of The Feelers’ first album “Supersystem” (1998), so looking back it was a logical launching point for an introduction to the band. I feel it has been long enough to talk about The Feelers again.

The Feelers - "Pressure Man"

For those who do not know, The Feelers are a New Zealand rock band that debuted in 1990 and while their international success is very limited they just might be the most successful local rock band ever produced by New Zealand. The point is The Feelers are a really good rock band and basically no one knows who they are outside of New Zealand except me. Well if “Pressure Man” and my obscurity failed to convince anyone to give The Feelers a fair listen then maybe an additional six and a half years of Music In Review and “Fishing for Lisa” will.

“Fishing for Lisa” is a rock ballad off of The Feelers’ second album “Communicate,” (2001) and I believe it is one of the most powerful ballads about heart break ever. The story is more or less the same as any story of heart break, he used to have her and now she’s gone.

“I'm trying to find my angel,
You give nothing, get the same returned.
I said it would be this hard,
Well if you want it, when you going to learn.”

From the lyrics we can infer this specific ballad to also include certain additional complications of trying to get Lisa back and also I think there is a new lover involved;

“When are you going to wake up?
When are you going to want what's in your face?
When are you going to give up?
Cause when you do I'm going to take your place.”

I do not know, but I always thought the last line there should be “take his place.” As in Lisa had moved on to someone else and our Feelers’ front man James Reid is declaring his rightful place by her side, waiting for her to leave that new guy and return to him.

Also there is child somewhere in the mix;

“I'm fishing for Lisa,
Like a meeting in the water, lost.
You should've know better,
Than a lecture at your daughter’s cost.”

“A lecture at your daughter’s cost,” fills the mind with all sorts of worrisome trouble.

That is the verses for “Fishing for Lisa,” pretty decent lyrics all in all, a strong sense of poetry throughout. “Fishing for Lisa” would stand out as a far above average song of heartbreak and longing if we left it at this, however the real punch in the gut that stays with us forever is the chorus.

“I thought you're my reason to live...
I thought you're my reason to live....”

That pretty much says it all right there does it not? Real passion for a relationship could not be further pronounced or exaggerated than this simple honest sentence, “I thought you were my reason to live.” Some people, the true romantics, the melodramatics, and others, sometimes invest so much of themselves in the person they love they lose sight of themselves. Every brick in the building of James Reid’s narrative character in “Fishing for Lisa” is built upon the foundation of her, Lisa. Without her, there is nothing to build upon, no way up, nothing, and no reason to live.

I think every song about heart break, all the ones that came before and all the ones that came since “Fishing for Lisa” were all of them trying to be “Fishing for Lisa.” The most powerful lyrics ever said on the topic never quite reached this perfect pinnacle. It is such a short and simple summary of every broken heart ever, “I thought you’re my reason to live.”

“Fishing for Lisa” is a sad song I suppose, but there is beauty in the twilight of a ruined heart, something dark and deep we all have felt, a horrible thought we have all at one time crossed and with any strength, hopefully forgot. Sometimes emotions can be so powerful they send us veering into unexpected directions both sorrowful and stupendous.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- King of Braves

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The 69 Eyes - Lost Without Love

Love Metal is a sub genre invented by Ville Valo and his band HIM. HIM for the most part has had a monopoly on the genre they invented but not quite entirely. Fellow Finish metal band The 69 Eyes have something a similar sound to HIM and seemingly fit into the ultra specific subgenre of love metal quite nicely.

As stated a moment ago The 69 Eyes are from Finland and formed in 1989 which is interesting to me because this means The 69 Eyes formed before HIM who I would have thought inspired them. This is additional interesting because the gothic dark metal sound of modern day 69 Eyes is nothing like their original 1989 sound which is much more like hair metal. Twenty-five years is a long time and change can be the key to success and in the case of The 69 Eyes their gradual metamorphism into one of the premiere goth/love metal bands of the world might prove to be the key to their legacy in metal.

The 69 Eyes self identify as “dark metal” but whatever, “words.”

On a quick side note it is rather charming that the line up of The 69 Eyes has only experienced one change in their twenty-five years together.  Singer Jyrki 69, bass player Archzie, and guitarist Timo-Timo and Bazie have been part of The 69 Eyes this whole time and in 1992 the original drummer was replaced with Jussi 69.  None of those are their real names and I do not believe Jyrki and Jussi are actual brothers.  The point is way to keep the dream alive 69 Eyes.

So I guess The 69 Eyes were not inspired by HIM. Still I feel the HIM 69 Eyes comparison fairly apt. The first 69 Eyes song I fell in love with was “Still Waters Run Deep” and I very nearly mistook it as a HIM track and I was not the only one.

Still Waters Run Deep

Furthermore Ville Valo has had some influence on The 69 Eyes. Ville has guest sang “Wasting the Dawn” and also “Beneath the Blue,” which indicates to me they are at least friends and why not they are both awesome rock stars living in Finland. “Wasting the Dawn” could have been a HIM song as far as I am concerned.

Wasting The Dawn

So I basically feel justified in saying The 69 Eyes are HIM’s best compatriot in the sub genre love metal.

Now enter modern day.

It is always something special when a band that has been around for over a decade can prove they still got it and The 69 Eyes still got it, which is something of a reoccurring topic on the Music In Review. In 2013 The 69 Eyes released their new single with Nuclear Blast Records “Lost Without Love,” and it is easily one of their best songs ever.

“Lost Without Love” is a fairly straight forward song, from the title alone you know what it is about. The lyrics are simple but rich. The atmosphere is dark but energetic. The message is obvious but powerful. A nice, tight, catchy love ballad, rock song. A perfect example of what love metal is all about and a great showing of creativity and quality production even after twenty-five years of hard work.

I was waiting for the studio album to come out that contains “Lost Without Love” only to realize just recently there is no studio album coming. Instead The 69 Eyes released a new compilation album “The Best of Helsinki Vampires” in Halloween of 2013. “The Best of Helsinki Vampires” is a double album consisting of The 69 Eyes greatest hits, which for some reason is missing “Still Waters Run Deep,” and the only original track is “Lost Without Love,” which is incentive enough for me to pick it up.

When I look past over 2013 I feel that “Lost Without Love” is one of the best songs of that year.  Also when I look over my music collection, bands like Nightwish, HIM, and The 69 Eyes strongly suggest that Finland kind of kicks ass.

- King of Braves