Marketed and distributed by SonyBMG Music Entertainment

On their eighth studio album, rock legends Pearl Jam deliver another collection of songs that cement the fact that they are one of the finest rock outfits in the world. Similar in tone and content to their previous album, Riot Act, the songs address typical American issues like the war in Iraq and George Bush, but also feature ballads reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen’s acoustic work. The album opens with quite angry guitar material and moves all the way through to the seven-minute epic titled Inside Job. A fusion of punk, rock and blues, songs like Worldwide Suicide, Severed Hand, Parachutes and Army Reserve stand out and contribute to Pearl Jam being one of their better albums in years. Having their roots firmly in the grunge era, it’s often difficult to evolve with the band (especially if your musical roots also lie in the grunge era), but this self-titled album certainly delivers the goods.


Marketed and distributed by Universal Music

When photos of pretty boy Pete Wentz in the nude did the rounds on the Internet a few months ago, not many people in South Africa were familiar with his US rock band Fall Out Boy. With the local release of their debut album, From Under The Cork Tree, that is all set to change. Ridiculously catchy, it’s one of the most interesting rock albums I’ve heard in a while, with Dance Dance, the first single released from the album, being a prime example of what these guys are capable of. I also loved Sugar We’re Going Down, 7 Minutes In Heaven (Atavan Halen), Sophomore Slump or Comeback Of The Year, Champagne For My Real Friends/ Real Pain For My Sham Friends, A Little Less Sixteen Candles/ A Little More “Touch Me” and I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Stupid Song. There’s no denying that this is rock and roll, but it’s also melodic with a distinct sing-along quality. The song titles might be insane, but the lyrics are beyond clever and the music simply phenomenal.


Marketed and distributed by SonyBMG Music Entertainment

When it comes to music I’m not one to simply jump on the bandwagon. However, in the case of Seether it is a matter of looking at the facts: the former South African rock band went to the USA and made it big – really, really big (their previous album was a record-breaker on the US charts). The band recently released One Cold Night: a CD/DVD combo capturing a live performance in February this year and featuring 12 of their best-known songs. Stripped down and fairly acoustic I found this setting to be brilliant for Seether – their songs feel much more intimate and in a way the CD reminds me of Nirvana’s much loved Unplugged album. My favourites include Gasoline, Truth, the brilliant Broken (unfortunately without Evanescence’s Amy Lee) and Remedy. One Cold Night provides a collection of songs (that might be considered too heavy under any other circumstances) in a very accessible format that is only made more enjoyable by the fact that it was recorded live.


Marketed and distributed by SonyBMG Music Entertainment

Once considered the most influential man (and one of the best looking) in rock and roll, Bruce Springsteen returns with his 21st album entitled We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, a tribute to Pete Seeger. Not all the songs were written by the folk icon himself, which gives Bruce room to interpret as well. Interestingly enough the album was recorded in Bruce’s living room with no rehearsal or overdubs, which immediately explains the earthy, honest quality of the album. While it might not immediately appeal to everyone, it quickly became a firm favourite in my collection, banjos, fiddles, accordions and the like contributing to the fact that songs like Old Dan Tucker, O Mary Don’t You Weep, Mrs McGrath, Jesse James, Shenandoah and Pay Me My Money Down are some of the album’s most outstanding tracks. While We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions is a far cry from his best-known classic albums like Born To Run, it remains a well executed, highly enjoyable CD – only adding to a remarkable career.


Marketed and distributed by Gallo Record Company

In 2004, British rock band Muse broke onto the American market with their album Absolution. 2006 sees Muse return with a brilliant CD entitled Black Holes And Revelations. While comparisons to Radiohead can still be justified, the new album sees Muse venture into a bigger sound – with astonishing results. Opening track Take A Bow is an epic song with an electronic riff reminiscent of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck, an almost hymn-like atmosphere and vocals that conjure up images of Freddie Mercury and Queen – a mind-blowing start to a mind-blowing album. Starlight is a melodic, almost retro pop-influenced radio friendly track, while Map of the Problematique sounds so much like Depeche Mode that it’s quite scary. And then you get Soldier’s Poem – a very old-school track with a piano-line reminiscent of Elvis’s Can’t Help Falling In Love and more exceptional Queen-like harmonizing – an oddball track that instantly stands out from the rest. To say that Black Holes And Revelations pleasantly surprised me would be putting it mildly. It is not only melodic and innovative, but also adheres to all the basic rock principles without becoming predictable.


Marketed and distributed by Gallo Record Company

Back in the late nineties, grunge came to an end and a more melodic post-grunge sound started its rise to popularity. It was the time when bands like Collective Soul, Better Than Ezra, Hootie & The Blowfish, Live and Third Eye Blind were household names and everyone was singing along instead of getting hooked on anti-depressants. While bands like Live are still going strong, others have faded into the background leaving only a legacy of hits. Third Eye Blind is one such band that failed to stay on top but are still known for infectious tracks like Semi-Charmed Life. A Collection is exactly what the title implies – a collection of their best and greatest “hits”. In honesty, many were fairly unknown to me but the ones that are familiar take you back on a journey of nostalgia: Semi-Charmed Life is one such song; Losing A Whole Year, How’s It Going To Be, and Never Let You Go are a few others. If melodic modern rock still makes you smile, Third Eye Blind’s A Collection will make you very happy.


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