Song Review: Seal Kiss From a Rose

Ampersand DailyMusic

I realize my interpretations are not going to match that of the creators or of every body out there, hell maybe not anyone out there. But that’s not what this is all about. I am doing this because I love art and inspiration and blogging. This is not intended to insult anyone or ruin anybody’s day out there so please, if you feel I have insulted you in any way through my interpretations please let me know as kindly as you can conceive how I might change the way I’m looking at a song or film or even just a piece of art work. This is about being open and communicating well with others in a positive manner. Not personal agenda’s.

To begin I think I need to start talking about the history behind the albums I’m reviewing a little bit at the front of these post. For this I will also provide a link to Wikipedia so you can check out additional information in your own time. With these first post on this subject I am looking to provide a good review, but also develop my ideas into a more organized a professionally done blog through the feedback I get from readers. Please take time to comment as I will be soaking in suggestions and perhaps using those ideas to present a better article for the readers of this WordPress.

For further information regarding this album, please visit.

I will provide the track name, number, length, and a link to the lyrics for each song followed by my review of each song.

My favorite site for looking up song lyrics is  If at all possible I will use their site almost exclusively.

Also, I recommend using Spotify to listen to these songs as you read through the review.                                                                                  

If you do not want to use Spotify visit YouTube and look for the songs on there.


Seal Kiss From a Rose 4:16 <<Lyrics

To me there is no other song that is as good as any song I’ve ever heard if not far superior in many ways, but an utter failure in another sense that over time has only given it even more charm. This title standing alone will swoon any mature, thinking, and emotional human being, man, woman, and child alike will easily fall under it’s hypnotic spell as the artist voice graces each soft bass drum kick with wonderful and eccentric dressings that fill your heart with inspiration. On the other hand, this utterly epic song was the headline song for what many consider to be a one of the worst Batman films ever made, next to Batman and Robin, fans of Batman films have often pointed at these two films to be some of the worst adaptations of the mythology behind Batman. I was a kid in 1995 when the film came out, the song came out in 1994. So it’s obvious that as a child, the first time I heard this song was when I was only 10 years old. As ridiculous as it sounds, thinking of the way they filmed that movie, and being impressionable at 10 years old, I cannot help but think of the dark, yet colorful sets of that film. The hypnotic and overly dramatic scenery and ridiculous dialogue by the characters in the film. This song makes me feel a very powerful thing, it is about love, but to me it’s more than that.

Here we have a song, epic in proportions, and a film which many people wish would have never been made, yet for me, it is a powerful nostalgiac feeling I get. When I hear the lyrics, I think of myself as a child, seeing these dark hero’s battle it out with even darker villians, as outrageous as that film was, and as melodramatic as this song is I cannot help but feel deeply impacted by the efforts put into both the film and the song. The song to me made the film and for the first time at a very young age I understood how important music really is in life. It’s not just a bunch of musicians mixing up the same notes over and over again making rythms, patterns, and beats. It is far more than that, if music can make a film work, what else can it do? Can it convince someone to admit their desires to the one they love? Can it cause two people to hang on to one another through difficult situations like this song seems to suggest it’s suggesting, but enough of that cleverness, this song is brilliant.

Forget about mysterious masked hero’s swooping in to save the lady in distress for a moment and just consider the content of the song by itself. You are greeted with a wonderful Acapela piece which is soon greeted by a solemn Oboe. What sounds like a stand-up bass and what is definitely a drum kit kick the meat of the song off as Seal’s soft, yet dominating voice flows into the first Chorus, where the real charm of the song should come out, and this song certainly does not leave one disappointed. The lyrics are simply biblical. The image of a man and a woman falling, staying, or struggling to love one another to me has never been put so elegantly as Seal managed to put onto a record. Coming from a Rocker like myself, I’m sure this entire review has come as a surprise to many who may know me, but perhaps you don’t know me as well as you think, or maybe I’m more obvious than I think, at any rate, this song can and should be enjoyed by everyone you know. It was popular in it’s day and I think this song has the power to stay in the hearts and minds of people for many long years to come if only enough people revisited it.

But hold on a second, while I have your attention, you’ll going to be quickly detoured from those feelings of longing, passionate love, and all the mystique that comes with romance to a different song, that I think was more than likely ignored by the majority of people at the time of Kiss From a Rose. Turn your heart around a moment and experience a different kind of love, the love you have of new experience, the unknown is not always the mystery we believe it to be. Sometime’s the only time we learn the mystery in life is when we stop looking so hard and learn that the best things in life are the unknown and brand new, we have to stop and recognize them. Perhaps someone else just figured out that they are gay and are for the first time dealing with their true emotions in life. What about someone who loses their faith and for the first time, feels freedom. But maybe that same feeling only comes to a person when they come to realize they believe in God for the first time. What is all this about? Should you not enjoy yourself, no matter who you are, or what you believe in, should others not enjoy you being there? I believe those are the kinds of questions that brought about the song “Newborn Friend” on the same album.


This is off my usual path for a music review, what am I saying, it is completely off the wall for my musical taste in general. But lately I’ve been feeling like there have been so many changes in my life, that it’s time to adjust my perspective a little bit. Writing about something that I am not so familiar with has been a pleasure and I can only hope reading it was too.


Thank you for reading!


Scott D. Vogler

Music Review, Kyuss; Blues for Queens and of the Red Stone Age Sun; Part 1 of 3

Ampersand DailyMusic

I will provide the track name, number, length, and a link to the lyrics for each song followed by my review of each song. My favorite site for looking up song lyrics is so if possible I will use their site almost exclusively. Also, I recommend using Spotify to listen to these songs as you read through the review. If you do not want to use Spotify visit YouTube and look for the songs on there.

I realize my interpretations are not going to match that of the creators or of every body out there, hell maybe not anyone out there. But that’s not what this is all about. I am doing this because I love art and inspiration and blogging. Not to insult anyone or ruin anybody’s day out there so please, if you feel I have insulted you in any way through my interpretations please let me know as kindly as you can conceive how I might change the way I’m looking at a song or film or even just a piece of art work. This is about being open and communicating well with others in a positive manner. Not personal agenda’s.

Lastly, I find that often lyrics listed in the albums inserts and album art are sometimes different from what is actually presented on the song itself. I strongly recommend reviewing the lyrics on Song Meanings and attempting to edit where necessary. This is the first part of a two page review. The reason I have chosen to divide it into two articles is because there is a controversial story to be shared about this band, it’s members, and it’s “intellectual property.” My wordpress page is for both entertainment and also to talk about more serious dilemma’s in the world that I feel are important to talk about. This whole scenario I am going to attempt to tell fits perfectly into the mission of this wordpress and consider this to be one of my more passionate pieces to date. I am not here to offend anyone, but if my opinions do offend you, please share the reasons, I am not closed minded to criticism in any way, so please do share your thoughts below. This albums holds a special place in my heart, along with most of Kyuss’ library. They are not a perfect band, they are not that uber success story that everyone loves to hear about. In fact, just lately, former members sued each other and fought legally for rights to the bands name and music. It is a tragedy in Rock and Roll that breaks my heart. I had the pleasure of seeing the second effort of this bands wonderful premise, straight forward, yet extremely unique blend of stoner rock and what I always felt was a strong mixture of 90’s and 50’s rock. Under the name and guise of the title Kyuss Lives! comprised of three of the four original members and two replacement members, the band toured Europe and the United States playing old Kyuss tracks for fans across the world. This was brought to a halt once they tried to gain the rights to the name “Kyuss” and two former band mates brought a civil suit against Kyuss Lives for copyright infringement.  This band eventually spawned to more successful project of the lead guitarist, Josh Homme, named Queens of the Stone Age, of whom I consider myself a fan of as well. However, the lawsuit has me angry with Mr. Homme at the moment and I do not feel obliged to buy the latest release, even though I want to. For this to happen to two of my favorite bands breaks my heart. Let’s get names out of the way, this is going to be a long, perhaps segmented music review because of my love for this kind of music, and also because of the important legal matters involved. It is perhaps not a unique situation all together, but it does have a bit of notoriety behind it so I feel obliged, being a big fan, to say my two cents here on my WordPress blog. Here is a list of both original cast of musicians Kyuss and of Kyuss Lives! so we can understand who, what, when and where what a little bit better. Each name will lead you to a wikipedia page about each musician.  Kyuss  ( 1987-1995

Kyuss Lives! (!)

I saw Kyuss Lives! in Chicago at The Vic on December 2nd 2011. In March of 2012, Josh Homme and Scott Reeder filed a lawsuit naming his former band mates as the defendants. The lawsuit was filed in federal court under the charge of “trademark infringement and consumer fraud by Kyuss Lives!”  
This is what Josh Homme had to say in a press release. 

“It sucks. To think we went to a meeting in January solely to help them with their request to continue Kyuss Lives! With open arms, we made every attempt to help them continue Kyuss Lives! respectfully. Only to discover while they looked us in the eye, Kyuss Lives! management and band had filed federal documents in 2011 in an attempt to steal the name Kyuss. This is desperately what we were trying to avoid. It’s a sad day for us and for John – but most of all for the fans. What a needless mess.”– Josh Homme


Scott Reeder made this post on his facebook page to comment on the situation as well. “Maaaaaaan, I’ve been called every foul name in the book, and all I did was make a choice to stand up to defend and retain small rights that I should be able to keep sacred and unhindered for the rest of my life and beyond. I didn’t have much of a choice: lose all of the rights in two weeks, or keep them forever. I didn’t choose to be in this situation at all — I was forced to react very quickly with a looming deadline, and it’s been rough. I saw people bitterly divided over this stupid stuff… crazy. But the overwhelming support from friends and family was very much appreciated and needed. Thank you.” -Scott Reeder

Kyuss from Dungeons and Dragons game.

Kyuss; D&D Character


Disciple of Kyuss; D&D Character.

The above pictures and links are there to provide the fact that it was not Josh Homme who invented the name Kyuss, not even a little bit. So I have to ask myself, why didn’t the “true owners” of this character, name, and likeness not come forward when Kyuss was first formed to begin with? All I have to go on is a theory, but I imagine that certain people view sharing ideas and information differently than others. I have heard a lot of fans say that just because Josh Homme and Scott Reeder didn’t have to sue, doesn’t mean they should just let the members of Kyuss Lives walk all over them. That said, it still remains they could have chosen to let this go in favor of a friendship, for the fans sake, and also for the survival of a band that is beloved by many people. Allowing something you worked really hard on to continue to live on with your former band mates and friends to me would seem to please most people I know, especially considering the level of success Josh has gained for himself with Queens of the Stoneage. It’s easy to take the route where just because it’s legal, means he could and should have sued, but I honestly believe everything would have been much better if Josh Homme would have let this go and let his former work continue to live on. He should consider the fact that Wizards of the Coast nor Hasbro gave him any legal trouble when Kyuss first hit the scene. He and his band mates were able to create music that inspired a whole bunch of people based on a characters name that was lifted from a campaign in the table top game of Dungeons and Dragons. To me, this is hypocritical of him to sue.

Brandt Bjork had this to say in an interview with Rolling Stone.

“In the summer of 1987, I started a band with my best friend, Chris Cockrell. This band would ultimately become Kyuss. Kyuss was a name I found in a Dungeons and Dragons book called Fiend Folio. Kyuss is a big part of my life as a musician, and when someone asks me formal questions about Kyuss, or wants to discuss the band casually, I can’t help having a point of view that is naturally inherited by someone who is the original founding member.”

Read more: 

Before moving on I’d just like to say that I admire all of these musicians for their extremely creative and talented attributes. Their music, even their side projects, have inspired me to learn more about music in general and have even helped me get through tough situations by providing me with amazing music to inspire the best in me to come out and shine, like all good music should do. I realize my opinions don’t really hold sway over the situation, but I think it’s important to share our opinions openly so despite having the unpopular opinion here, I side with Kyuss Lives! in this situation. Mostly due to the fact that they at one time were all friends and if I were in Josh Homme’s shoes I would be happy to let my old band mates and friends use the name Kyuss and even claim it as their own. Simply because they were there from the beginning too, they helped create the project and made it into the band all the fans still love today. I would have been happy to know that something I was heavily involved with was going to see new light and perhaps have a second chance to take off. I realize there are monetary concerns here, but sometimes money shouldn’t be what’s important. Again, this is just my opinion on how I believe I might have handled the situation. Considering both Josh and Scott both enjoy very much alive music careers, especially Josh with Queens of the Stoneage being as popular as they are. This should have been a situation where he could sit back and enjoy the fact that his creativity has allowed his friends to enjoy the benefits of working with him on something that many fans still hold on to. 
Obviously I have a biased opinion on this because I really just love Kyuss, the band, and am sad that the project simply cannot continue because of money. I’m not sure how I would react if I were Josh Homme in this situation, perhaps the same way, perhaps not. I understand that Brandt Bjork and John Garcia attempted to claim ownership of the name “Kyuss” as well, and I think that’s just as wrong as Josh suing them for it, but at least Brandt acknowledges where the name actually comes from in his interview with Rolling Stone. Josh to me, along with Scott Reeder, seem to have done this simply because they could. It’s not as if John Garcia and Brandt Bjork weren’t there from the very beginning or anything like, this isn’t a perfect stranger coming along and stealing material right out from under Josh and Scott. It’s as if I’m supposed to forget that John and Brandt had EVERYTHING to do with Kyuss as a band becoming a reality. Josh and Scott definitely played their part, Josh more so than perhaps anyone else which is why I say, if I were him, I would have been more than happy to let Brandt and John continue to play old Kyuss songs under the name Kyuss and generating a buzz for the band as they continue on to make new albums. I know the objection to my argument is obviously that Brandt and John filed for ownership over the name, but like I said
I realize by now this is old news, but it presents me an opportunity to express a concern I have about intellectual property while also reviewing one of the best rock albums from the 90’s that I feel not enough people have heard. When listening to this album, please ask yourself, if you think it is of high quality. Should anyone own an idea? More specifically, should anyone, myself included, be allowed to force others to pay them for using an idea that either resembles their or is a direct copy of their idea? I think force in any situation is bad and that if you have to use it, your ideas are wrong to begin with. But that is just my humble opinion and you did not come here to read a bunch of band drama, or maybe you did, nevertheless this part of the article has run it’s course and I feel it is time to start the actual album review. Which you will find in Part 2 as soon as it’s finished. 

We are not done here!

Devil’s Advocate:

I am writing this into this article because after some serious thinking, there is another angle to be considered here. I have a strong emotional connection to Kyuss which could blind me from anything outside of allowing the project to continue unobstructed. That is why I have added this section to the article, to provide a train of thought that contrast what I personally want and gives Josh Homme and Scott Reeder my benefit of doubt. They claim that John and Brandt tried to file for ownership over the name Kyuss. If that is the case I have to send some negativity towards John and Brandt because of how I feel about intellectual property. Again, why didn’t the originators of the name Kyuss, at Wizards of the Coast ever sue anyone when Kyuss the band gained their popularity in the early and mid-90’s? This goes back into what I said previously that perhaps some people in this world view things differently, what a surprise right?

Please come back for part 2 if you are interested in hearing an alternative view point that perhaps contrast what I’ve said here. 
Thank you for reading! 

Music Review: Fleet Foxes Sun Giant EP

Ampersand DailyMusic

I realize my interpretations are not going to match that of the creators or of every body out there, hell maybe not anyone out there. But that’s not what this is all about. I am doing this because I love art and inspiration and blogging. This is not intended to insult anyone or ruin anybody’s day out there so please, if you feel I have insulted you in any way through my interpretations please let me know as kindly as you can conceive how I might change the way I’m looking at a song or film or even just a piece of art work. This is about being open and communicating well with others in a positive manner. Not personal agenda’s.

To begin I think I need to start talking about the history behind the albums I’m reviewing a little bit at the front of these post. For this I will also provide a link to Wikipedia so you can check out additional information in your own time. With these first post on this subject I am looking to provide a good review, but also develop my ideas into a more organized a professionally done blog through the feedback I get from readers. Please take time to comment as I will be soaking in suggestions and perhaps using those ideas to present a better article for the readers of this WordPress.

For further information regarding this album, please visit.

I will provide the track name, number, length, and a link to the lyrics for each song followed by my review of each song.

My favorite site for looking up song lyrics is  If at all possible I will use their site almost exclusively.

Also, I recommend using Spotify to listen to these songs as you read through the review.                                                                                  

 If you do not want to use Spotify visit YouTube and look for the songs on there.

Let’s begin the review of Fleet Foxes Sun Giant EP shall we?

Album Art
Album Art

(Please support the band if you enjoyed the album by visiting their website and getting an album!)

Released on April 8th, 2008 by Bella Union and Sub Pop Records, this album made quite a big noise in the indie scene. The very first song I ever heard by Fleet Foxes is a song off this very album entitled Mykonos. I thought it was a tremendous effort and fantastic song, we’ll get more into it later, but coming from an Indie band I was hoping to find more variation in their other tunes. I searched for the album on Rhapsody at the time and found something I’ve never really heard before. This band is able to take rock and roll, folk, melodic singing, and perhaps even some old-fashioned country inspiration and create these wonderful pieces of music that aim to reach deep into your being and beg you to be a happier person by facing difficult situations with an honest approach. That’s not to say some of these songs don’t also bring up some challenging ideas and questions, for the most part I hear the desire to be happy being expressed through most of Fleet Foxes music.

The album begins…..

1. Sun Giant 2:14<<<<Lyrics

A deep breath and the journey begins with a melodic vocal performance by all members of the band. The song itself makes me think of waking up on an early morning day with nothing to do but lay there in the sunlight coming through the window and ponder life in general. I literally feel like I could yawn and stretch and just lay there lazily all day with a big smile on my face when I hear this song. Not out of boredom, but appreciation for the simple things in life that let us know we’re alive and well.

There is a small instrumental from what I believe is a mandolin. Serving more as an outro than it is supplementing the vocals. The humming of the vocalist underneath the soothing melody from the mandolin does well as it fades gracefully in to the next song.

2. Drops in The River 4:13 <<Lyrics

I hear a lot going on in this beautiful and sometimes sad song. It begins with a sound from an instrument that I’m not entirely sure of. It reminds me of a Sitar, but don’t quote me on that. Robin Pecknold’s vocal talent comes out in fully display to be absorbed by anyone who may be near. From his voice, I can tell he feels every single word that his vocal chords generate, and with that understanding I hang on every single word I hear. The musical accompaniment blends folk and a bit of rhythm and blues, perhaps a little more rock and roll at times. Either way, it is done masterfully and with grace.

Here we’re presented with another song about heartbreak, this kind of story is so intriguing to me because of how timeless it is. Since the beginning of the concept of love and commitment to another has brought with it certain feelings. When put to song, it can be extremely corny if not executed correctly. Rick Astley’s  Never Gonna Give You Up comes to mind. While I’m sure some can appreciate that song, for me hearing the 1000’s of alternatives to that song have convinced me that some artist have a much better understanding of the emotions that come with loving another. This song dives right in unlike so many songs into realms perhaps unexplored by others.

There is a certain level of objectivity one must take on when reading the lyrics to this song, which is why it is such an effective song to begin with. Anyone who’s ever felt anything close to the feelings being expressed here is going to relate to this tune for the simple face that it’s such a classic story told in a very unique yet very broad way as to say “you know what I mean don’t you?” I love that! I totally know what he means in the song when he sings ” You hesitate so my memory fade, I’ll hold to the first one. I wouldn’t turn to another you say, on the long night we’ve made. Let it go.” This is my favorite part of the song because it’s that moment where you face the reality of the situation and have to be honest with yourself and the person you love. Things were wonderful at one time, let’s leave it that way before we hurt one another and let too much time pass before we realize we’ve wasted each others precious time.

3. English House 4:41 <<<Lyrics

As the door opens for this song to begin, I get the feeling that I should take off my shoes and go running through the wilds of the world. Soak in all the sun I can, live free of restraint, and find as many friends to enjoy my time with as possible. It opens with a pleasant acoustic guitar melody and a vocalization of “Doo Doo Dootley Doo” and blended in is a simple yet needed electric guitar diddy, brings a smile to my face every time. When the music finally spills over, the drums sound as if Native Americans are doing a dance under the layers of acoustic guitar, mandolin, and electric guitar. Again, the vocal talents of the lead singer are on full display, as they should be, and often are.

To me this song represents a lot. We’re presented another love interest, but I hear so much more than that being expressed through the music. It feels like a grand adventure through unknown lands full of completes strangers. Barely can you sense the danger in such a place as the overwhelming beauty of the place takes you back to your love only to say “stay close to me and hold my hand, this is a lot to take in.” You hear brief warnings of lurking danger underneath the layers of beautiful and graceful folk music. Almost as if the song begs you to stop worrying so much, yet the lyrics are holding on to the reality of the situation.

I really like the section of the song where he can only say “Woah my love, whoa my love, woah.” As if to express how amazing everything seems to be. Sometimes in life, things can pass by so quickly that we barely notice it and once you do notice it can cause you to have a knee-jerk reaction where you simply need someone to hold on to while you gather yourself. You may be frightened and unaware and may say things that are unnecessary because often our personal fear of the world may have already been over come by the people we love, they understand though that you have just woken up to a new reality and are going to be there for you as you continue on your adventure together.  The lesson for me is to venture forth into the wild, hold on to your love and help them through rough times, and eventually you come across your own little place together. Just don’t be the liar featured in beginning of the song.

5. Mykonos 4:35 <<<Lyrics

This is the very first Fleet Foxes song I ever listened to. At the time I was going through a really tough separation from a dear and long-standing friend. The trouble with this song at that time was how much hope it gave me, despite the dark mood it presents. It begins simple enough with an acoustic guitar/drum kit intro. The vocals are haunting on top of the rock and roll inspired instrumentals. This is perhaps the most rock and roll of any of the songs on the album and I think it was done to give this song a darker edge. The really interesting part for me is how well executed all the vocal performances are done. The entire band pitches in to create some of the most haunting yet beautiful interpretive humming I’ve ever heard. On top of that, a top-notch rock song that progresses in intensity as the song moves along. I feel like this is song was inspired by Prog Rock from the 70’s blended with the alternative sounds of the early 90’s and a pinch of folk.

Friendship is the first thing that comes to mind when I listen to this song. I can clearly understand the pain that comes with squaring off with a friend over differences in opinion, politics, or just the general outlook’s you have about life. Sometimes, unfortunately this can lead to losing a friend, as in my case, because you can no longer get along with your dear friend, it is too painful to realize you cannot be yourself around them any longer. As sad as this song is for me, I clearly hear the triumph of what friendship really stands for. This song was written for friends to remind each other how precious it is to find another you can share your experiences with. I only wish I was wise enough to realize that at the time my friend and I had our falling out. I see the beauty in being able to let go of those closest to you and bidding them well wishes as you turn to face your life without them.

But perhaps that’s just how life works. Perhaps some things are better left alone and people are better off without you. Tough to accept isn’t it? That you are not who they wanted and you can never be what they want if you are being true to yourself. Perhaps I am better off doing what this song suggest at the end and bid my friend farewell and remind him that only every so often will you find a friend who will give as much as I did. Wishing only the best for my former friend and hope he comes to realize why I couldn’t go on at his side. To put it in a way others might understand, I felt like he could not open his heart and mind up to me in a meaningful way other than the hobbies we both shared an interest in. It began to feel shallow and forced, I realized it was over when I couldn’t bring myself to mention my feelings. If that is the case, then there was never a chance. I am still open to advice on this if anyone cares to share their experience with me.

5. Innocent Son 3:07 <<Lyrics

The beautifully sung vocals ring out immediately and deliberately from the onset of this very down trodden song. Not without reason, once you absorb the lyrics, you have to feel a level of compassion for the subject of this tune. A solemn guitar riff plays along with the vocals and leaves very little to the imagination, which is the point of this song. It’s meant to have you hanging on to every word and every note without distraction.

It seems as though this song is acting as the reaction to Mykonos. After having a falling out with a dear friend, the feeling of lonliness can be overwhelming. You can point fingers at each other all day over who did what, but at the end of the day, neither one of you is innocent or without some responsibility for everything that’s happened. This song can be looked at in different ways, from either the perspective of the friend who chose to leave or from the perspective of the person who was left behind. Either way, the points from either side are valid because it is tragic on both sides.

I feel as though this song is coming from the person who was left behind however, because of the lyrics “Some twisted thorn tells me you saw me in the night with another. Keep all my promises to break them I am no, oh no, innocent son. You run, rabbit run.” As if to say they are beginning to accept reality without their friend. Perhaps in a frustrated manner, but at least honest enough to say go and don’t look back. Letting go of the one’s you love sometimes is the only way you can prove to them how much you do love them. I think this song exemplifies that notion.

In conclusion……

This is a short EP, so don’t expect a grand album that’s indicative of Fleet Foxes entire library. Instead, you are given a very scrumptious taste of what they have in store for new listeners. As a whole, this album takes you many different places in just a short amount of time with the masterful vocal performance by Robin Pecknhold. Not to downplay the musicianship of the rest of the band, but for me the highlight is the vocals and lyrics. Singer songwriters should appreciate this album or any fan of folk art or even perhaps some rock and roll enthusiast who don’t mind taking the excitement down a few notches. Fleet Foxes are masterful at blending different genres of music together and creating beautiful harmonies which entice the listener to hang on to everything being presented to them. I recommend this album to all ages and walks of life.

One last thought, this album holds a special place in my heart as it helped me get through a tremendously tough time in my life. I am willing to share this with my readers because I don’t want to just do a technical review of these songs both because I lack the knowledge to give an in depth musical theory review of any piece of music and because the focus of these reviews are to give my interpretations of the songs in a more subjective manner. In other words, I want to share and communicate with others about their feelings and life experiences so that I and others may grow from these stories. If you enjoy these post as much as I enjoy listening to and reviewing these albums, please subscribe, comment, and share so we can grow a little section of the internet.

Thank you for your time!

Scott D. Vogler

Music Review: Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine

Ampersand DailyMusic

I have decided to start doing reviews of different types of media that inspire my philosophical side to talk about the world and attempt to provide trains of thought that could be taken and turned into solutions by the doers in our society. For my first album, I could think of no better album than the emotionally ravishing Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails. This album takes the listener on a chaotic yet very directly ordered and disciplined soundtrack. There is a very deliberate and obvious message of intensity when it comes to all of Nine Inch Nails albums, and this album is no different.

Produced in 1989, early on in Nine Inch Nails history, there is some sounds produced by this album which can give it a dated feel, however, for me, the date something was produced is far less important than the execution of the instruments and mediums being used to create the music I am hearing. If anything, it makes me feel like I’m getting ready to watch the rated R version of Back to the Future at times, which gives me a great big evil smile to think about.

I will provide the track name, number, length, and a link to the lyrics for each song followed by my review of each song. My favorite site for looking up song lyrics is so if possible I will use their site almost exclusively. Also, I recommend using Spotify to listen to these songs as you read through the review. If you do not want to use Spotify visit YouTube and look for the songs on there.

One last note, I realize my interpretations are not going to match that of the creators or of every body out there, hell maybe not anyone out there. But that’s not what this is all about. I am doing this because I love art and inspiration and blogging. Not to insult anyone or ruin anybody’s day out there so please, if you feel I have insulted you in any way through my interpretations please let me know as kindly as you can conceive how I might change the way I’m looking at a song or film or even just a piece of art work. This is about being open and communicating well with others in a positive manner. Not personal agenda’s.

I realize that often lyrics listen in the albums inserts and album art are sometimes different from what is actually presented on the song itself. I strongly recommend reviewing the lyrics on Song Meanings and attempting to edit where necessary. 

Album cover.
Album cover.

(Please visit the bands site if you enjoyed this album and show some support!)

The album begins….

1. Head Like a Hole 4:59  <<<Lyrics

The intro reminds me of how it felt to be a young boy, excited that my friends were coming over to rough house and run around in the woods with sling shots and paintball guns. You could almost say it’s as if it transports me to the Island where the boys from Lord of the Flies were stranded and I’ve become overwhelmed by my immaturity and am acting out on my youthful animal instincts. The electric drum rhythm, the sporadic kit drums, and the childish voices ringing out in the background forming into a coherent beat and rhythm, just then, Trent Reznor begins to sing.

The lyrics to this song give me the feeling that Trent is speaking out against greed and corruption that comes with the quest to control your own life and others through wealth and power. I feel he takes an honest approach because if I’m honest, I know how greedy I am, while it is not on the same level as Trent Reznor is speaking out against, I believe everyone can learn from this song, rich or poor. This song helps me realize that both rich and poor are just human beings, that each have certain qualities about them that may be different, yet others which make them quite similar.

Depending on your perspective this song is going to mean different things at first, but I find with most artistic presentations, if you spend enough time pondering the messages involved, you can learn to see things from different perspectives and how those persuasions affect your life .  While this song certainly does pull any punches, that is exactly what makes this song so powerful and important to the over all album. It’s as if in one hand those who lust for wealth can say “you can’t take it from me” while in the other those who live in a more giving way can shout “I’d rather die than give you control” and vic-a-versa and mean completely different things, yet share in the idea of being free from one another.

I feel that the over all message for me by the end of the song is that we all have strengths and weaknesses, not all of us can be billionaires, but we can be very wealthy when it comes to other things in life that have nothing to do with money. This song can be either a blue-collar shout down at the rich and wealthy or the wealthy looking down upon what they believe to be their flock. The dichotomy that comes to mind is what makes this song so appealing to me, subjectively of course, being somewhat of a free-thinker I tend to look at things from both sides of any argument, being less well off than others, I tend to lean towards the poor man’s arguments, but see things from those more fortunate perspective at times as well. Keep an open mind, Head like a Hole.

2. Terrible Lie 4:38 <<<<Lyrics

Track number two begins with a strong industrial beat banging, clicking, clanking, and grinding. The drummer lays down a simple, very direct, and loud pattern for Trent to wrap his lyrics around. In the midst of all that, what sounds like a distorted keyboard chimes in with an interesting pattern of notes that help glue it all together.  The questions being asked of God remind me of a believer at the end of his belief in God. The anger and the shame that comes with realizing that perhaps everything you were taught as a child by those who were supposed to be honest with you and look out for you simply were not true comes out in this song very obviously.

The death throws of a mans faith can lead to anger and frustration that can leave a one traumatized. This song in particular has served for me as a means of therapy. Knowing that I wasn’t the only man to feel this way made me feel less alone and afraid. Especially right after realizing I no longer believed in God and feeling totally lost and depraved, realizing my fellow human beings have come to realize this and still were able to go on and create a nice life for themselves gave me great hope. However, I have to admit this song can make me sad at times thinking about how religion in general has poisoned the hearts and minds of millions of people on the planet into believing that it’s worth going around the world and murdering others for not believing the same things.

I feel at the time this was written, Trent was in the “Death Throws” stage of letting go of his faith and losing his religion. Still referring to God as if it still existed, throwing his anger at religion, yet acknowledging the existence of a higher power. If I could talk to Trent about this perhaps I would ask him if he still believes in God first and then point out that some of the lyrics in this song are “I need SOMEONE to hold on to.” Perhaps in this song this was meant to mock those dependent on others are weaker than those who separate from the herd, but I believe having someone to hold on to, through love, respect, and open-minded interaction is a wonderful thing! Humanist, this song is a hidden gem when it comes to your philosophy, one I can respect on many levels.

3. Down in It 3:46 <<<<Lyrics

The track opens with what sounds to me like a dance party club scene bass sequence. It feels out-of-place exiting the previous track, but aggressively catchy enough to blend in and take the listener into a new realm of musical play. The choppy sound effects in the back ground steps up the tempo, followed by a flowing effect leading into Trent’s lyrics, which sound less like singing and more like an expressive form of speech. The drumming remains consistent, simple, yet unique.

This song addresses an important issue that is still and more than likely forever will be a side effect of waking up to certain realities that are unavoidable once you reach a certain age of enlightenment. For those who choose to see, they will experience a sense of higher moral ground than others. This is a cycle of behavior that Trent seems to be addressing perhaps as a warning to others to never think of yourself superior to your peers. We like to think because we know something unique about the world that some how it puts us above others when in fact, doing so will only reflect how similar to those you oppose you really are.

For me, growing up with the internet, instant access to information that was previously unattainable by most, this lead me to a superiority complex for a few years where everyone else was a sheep and I and a few others had a one up on everyone else. What arrogance I displayed because I came to realize that everything I know is just a fraction of a fraction of what’s out there and I am NOBODY to judge others for knowing or not knowing anything. The more you try to separate yourself from the others, the more you stay the same as them. Perhaps this song is meant to inspire a different way of looking at the world.

4. Sanctified 4:58 <<<<<Lyrics

The drum effects begin with a simple rhythm and beat, the space sound effects draw you in to a bass riff that flows into the lyrics. The tension builds quickly as Trent ask several questions that perhaps most people will ask themselves when they are infatuated with another or perhaps in a different way addicted to a drug. This song is telling the story of an individual who will do anything to please their infatuation or perhaps their addiction. Their entire life revolves around their next encounter with the object of their obsession.  How far will one go in order to satisfy and feel justified in what they are doing, even if it’s hurting them in the long run?

Considering relationships, we’ve all seen what happens when someone becomes too involved with someone who simply isn’t the right person for them. People will do almost anything to feel loved, even pretend someone loves them even if they obviously do not. When it comes to drugs, an individual addicted will come up with any reason what so ever to get their next fix, even if it makes no logical sense. To that person however, it is a 100% legitimate excuse, whatever it may be.  Often we feel we are justified in our actions when in reality we really aren’t. The evidence of this comes from the fruit of the behavior. Things keep getting worse, yet we sometimes choose to lie to ourselves and continue down that path.

Another way I look at all of this is that perhaps we need those lies in a strange and perhaps grotesque way. Perhaps these low points and flaws about us is exactly what helps us grow into a more complete human being. At the end of the day not one of us is perfect so looking in the mirror and hopefully seeing our flaws leads us to a better understanding of what life is really all about. Maybe this means we really are sanctified in making these mistakes, as long as we learn from them and grow.

5. Something I Can Never Have 5:54 <<Lyrics

The ghostly intro features a deep droning noise accompanied by a haunting piano piece. I feel as though I’m entering a dark realm of mystery and intrigue. Trent again uses his words deliberately in a speaking voice, rather than belting out the song’s questions and answers. The lyrics give way to more droning and piano, birds chirping in the background, and the sound of a distant violin is barely audible. Everything about this song begs the listener to listen very closely to all of the little details going on throughout the entire song.

Some things in life are simply not meant to be, yet we hold on to these feelings don’t we? Have you ever been so close to someone, yet, very far apart? What a terrifying notion that you can love someone with all your heart, even change for them, and improve yourself in order to impress them to be with you, but they just won’t have you. I’m not sure there is anything more painful than this situation that almost everyone finds themselves in at one time or another in life. Being rejected despite your endless love and attention can cause us to become obsessive and destructive. We begin to alienate our life in order to prove your love for another who simply will not have you. This song is yet another warning from Trent to the listener. Yes, love is tremendous and glorious, but it can also become something very ugly if we are not careful.

I think this song, at the end of the day, is Trent coming to the realization that there are some things in life you are not meant to have. You do not own anyone and despite how sad it makes you feel, you cannot force things that aren’t meant to be and you cannot force others to change just to suit your needs. No matter how much you’ve changed, no matter how much you think you love someone, and no matter how much time passes by revisiting this will often just remind you how much time you’ve wasted and open up old scars reminding you who you used to be. And in a way, can shed a bright light on the good things you have now. Focus on the good you have now instead of trying to attain something you can’t have.

6. Kinda I Want To 4:33 <<<Lyrics

Grinding into this track you’re greeted abruptly with a trip hop track and an aggressive vocal effort from Trent Reznor. Exploring again the realm of addiction, infatuation, obsession, and other flaws in humanity that have to be experienced first hand to understand. Having been through my own problems, I have to admit this song nails that feeling right on the head. The music is devious, the lyrics are aggressive, the meanings of the words cannot be mistaken. It’s that selfish feeling inside that causes you to lie to your best friends face and do exactly the opposite of what everyone is telling you to do just because you want to. Forget about modesty this song seems to celebrate that feelings of freedom of exploring your desires to their fullest. Or does it?

” I’m not sure of what I should do. When every thought I have is of you. All of my excuses turn to lies. Maybe God will cover up his eyes. Why does it have to be this way, why does it have to be? Kinda I want to, maybe just for tonight we can pretend it’s alright. What’s the price I pay? I don’t care what they say, I want to. I want to, I’ll take my chance tonight.”

Reading those words only makes me realize just how selfish we can become over such minuscule events in our lives that do nothing but agitate those around us and cause them grief and perhaps even further into pain and depression. Perhaps part of this song celebrates the idea of letting go of your selfish desires and simply existing in peace with those around you. Letting go of that which anchor’s you and your peers and turning a bad situation into a good thing. In fact, this song puts this awful situation so bluntly that I cannot help but look past the arrogance that produced it and see a young man getting over his troubles and delusions to be able to produce such an amazing song. Top notch song.

7. Sin 4:06<<<<Lyrics

The sound effects that greet you here are other worldly echoing, repeating, spacious, and whistling things. Perhaps a voice saying “Jump” repeatedly with a monotone bass pattern leading into a driving tune with immediate and growling lyrics. Obviously someone is feels strongly about something so let’s move on to the meat of this very robust song.

Have you ever had a relationship with where ideologies collide? The frustration that comes with someone not understanding your point of view is tremendous and affects anyone who has a mind of their own to use. Throw love in the mix and it’s a recipe for drama on epic proportions. It starts innocently enough and then one day you are looked down upon or even looked up to by your significant other as something you really aren’t. This causes you to try to be more like yourself which in turn could repulse the skeptic or disappoint the admirer. It’s like you have to live a lie in order for some people to accept you for who you are. I believe the point of this song is to express the anger and frustration that awaits anyone who attempts to live this lie.

There is a heavy emphasis on punishment, morality, and anger in this track. It is carried by an amazing soundtrack which finds different nooks and crannies and gives me a sense of chaos. The chaos you will feel if you choose to share your life with someone who just does not understand you. One day you feel you can handle it and in the very next moment the eyes of the person you are sharing your life with will meet yours and you realize that you will have to give up on all of your principles and morals just to satisfy them. The title of this song suggests one sin begets another and leads to yet another. How long will you let this go before you realize you are the sinner?

8.That’s What I Get 4:30 <<<<Lyrics

This song to me represents everything that’s great about this album yet it also feels like the hidden gem of the entire package.  It is not the most complex when it comes to  lyrics and story being told, however, the classic love/tragedy/triumph story has never been told so uniquely. It begins with a driving theme, mid range bass track and the clanking twangy sounds as if an array of metal wires are being plucked. Just on que, a mixture of delicate and soft synthesizers with a consistent deep bass pattern fill the background which are accompanied by words which everyone who’s ever had their heartbroken have spoken to themselves since the beginning of time.

The crashing noises and zipping sounds flow into the driving bass theme from the beginning and we get a singing bridge with excellent musical accompaniment that then set’s the stage for this songs brilliant ending. The snap of a snare drum signals my favorite part of the song.

“That’s what I get” becomes more than the name of a song, or a what you tell yourself when you are sad. It becomes empowerment as you hear Trent accepting his mistake and realizing he has to move on from the pain he caused himself. You can hear the inspiration of a new life in the lively drumming pattern and synth pumping out an inspirational tune over the background of everything else you’ve already heard. What I love about this song is that the idea has been done before, but not like this. I think anyone can relate to this song if they have a mind to hear the story being told. “That’s what I get” becomes a lesson learned. In the end you get a the classic story, but accompanied by music you’ve never heard before. I can’t help but appreciate what Trent was going for in this track.

9.The Only Time 4:47 <<<<Lyrics

From the onset we stagger into this song now knowing what’s about to hit us. Just some lyrics and a catchy bass line, but the lyrics lead me to feel drunk, tipsy, and disoriented with the bass line chopping up his words. The feeling I get is similar to that rush of adrenaline you get when you’ve made a fool of yourself in public after having one to many drinks. All the eyes staring at you only embolden your resolve to do whatever you want. You go through new acquaintances as quickly as you go through the drinks until finally you see that woman smiling wildly at you and you stumble over to her. You share a drunken conversation that makes no sense to anyone but you and her. Both of you realize what you’re about to do to each other is wrong but also know you’re going to do it anyways. Off you go out the door stumbling into her car as she takes you on a wild ride back to her apartment where dirty little secrets are going to be made between you two.

This song goes even deeper into the human experience. Why is it that we pick our scabs, say things we shouldn’t, or stay friends with people who treat us like crap? Why do we put ourselves through strange and new experiences only to come out the other side a damaged human being? Why on earth would anyone put themselves through something like that? The answer to that is we all do it, the only difference is a matter of degree. Some of us are more sadomasochistic than others, so the harm we bring on ourselves and others might be enjoyable for a time, until you learn that it’s not what you needed from life. When you begin to question whether or not you’ve made a mistake, it’s usually too late to do anything but let go and walk away. What pops out to me is how this can relate to every single one of us. An ultra-conservative Christian might think using the lords name in vain is as naughty as an atheist college student thinks it is to cheat on their significant other. Life is full of those experiences where reality pushes us beyond our normal routine and causes us to seek out new experiences. Sometimes this leads to unfortunate tragedy yet other times a pleasant surprise awaits. Either way, it’s how we live our lives, no matter where you’re basing your moral standards.

The title of the song suggests that being pushed outside our comfort zone and experiencing a new thing in life is the only time he ever feels alive. I think this is true for everyone though as far as the degree to which one could define something being a “new” experience. But perhaps the opposite is true as well. Perhaps the behaviors we form over time lead us to a comfortable routine for a very good reason. While there is nothing wrong with experiencing new things in life, sometimes the emotional strain that comes with it can truly hinder one’s ability to be productive and happy with life. I think you reach a point in life where you know what you want and what you like to do enough to realize whether or not you will enjoy something enough to take it on. This is a sign of maturity for a lot of people, myself included, knowing a person is somewhat set in their ways shows me that they stand on certain principles and moral ideas that would be extremely difficult to change in them. I see the good in this as well as the flaw because after all, we would never have gotten set in those behaviors without at first trying them to begin with. Life is as much about taking risk as it is maintaining a level of consistency. Both have their place in life.

10. Ringfinger 5:40 <<<Lyrics

The closing title for this album will leave the listener longing for more. This song greets you with a synthesized melody and steady kick drum beat. Trent Reznors voice joins momentarily and the point of the song becomes clear almost immediately. There is no hidden meaning in this song and that’s its strength. Everything about this song is out in the open and so are the lyrics. This songs lyrics and music seem to be at odds with one another until you really think about the over all message. The beginning remains mostly as described but adds another layer of synth music and an additional bass line eventually leading to a high-pitched guitar riff. You will notice that not one part of this song is like the others as it moves along. More and more layers begin to add up as the music get’s more intense. Eventually, the lyrics take on a new meaning once the music catches up to the over all theme of the song which I will interpret in the next paragraph.

We have many personal relationships with people and impersonal relationships with various technologies, addictions, and events in our life that sometimes wear us thin. The feelings mount in this part of the song as it becomes obvious that no one in their right mind should take this sort of abuse sitting down. When you make a commitment to something, you go all the way, absolutely, but should you start to feel worn out it is important to take a break from those things. Commitments shouldn’t be life sentences of pain, anguish, and mental torture. Once the song hits it’s stride it gives me the feeling that Trent Reznor wanted to communicate his frustrations about his commitments in life but realized that’s part of what makes life so challenging and rewarding. He didn’t produce this album by sitting on his hands and complaining about how sore he was, how tired he got on long nights, or by letting go of his commitments. As frustrating as those commitments can get, getting through them is part of what it takes to do something great with your life.

However, I think there is a darker side to point out and that is when it comes to people and relationships and marriage, commitment takes on a whole new level of importance. Putting a ring on someone’s finger and promising that person that their life is just as, if not, more important than your own is nothing to take lightly. What happens all the time in the USA with marriages? Need I remind you how often marriages end in divorce? Is there any reason to wonder why in a society that’s all about instant gratification how a marriage could end up with one of the participants feeling used and abused by the other? This song present this problem in bold living color for the listener to soak in as yet another warning from this amazing album. Do not make promises you know you cannot keep.

In Conclusion….

This album and Nine Inch Nails in general is not going to be for everyone. Trent Reznor has always been about trying new things with music and has always had an aggressive nature when presenting his crafts to the world. I think the thing people misunderstand most about the aggressive nature in some music is the attempt to present and wonder about things that society at large and popular culture normally does not give much attention to. Exploring why someone is being bullied and the emotional processes that come with it for example is something many may want to avoid facing when trying to enjoy music, but for me, it only enhances the experience. The idea that music should only be happy and go-lucky to me seems unrealistic and misses the point of what art in all of its forms is supposed to be. I can’t help but imagine the benefits society has gained from the small amount of people out there who do enjoy this kind of music and take a little more seriously than just banging your head like a mad man. The people who stopped to actually listen to the story being told in these kinds of songs and who enjoy this kind of music for those reasons are some of the most polite and honest people I’ve ever met. I think it’s because artist like Trent Reznor aren’t afraid to ask the challenging questions and make the controversial points with their art work.

As for this album, obviously it is full of obligatory drama padded by aggressive music which drives the point home. I recommend this album to anyone who enjoys philosophy, politics, and longs for something to challenge their sense of reality. This may even set well with fans of techno and industrial music just for the musical mechanics going on, which spreads across most of Nine Inch Nails library. This just happens to be one of the first efforts from the project so I thought it would be a good place to start with these music reviews. If you’ve never listened to Nine Inch Nails before, please understand that each album is unique from the last one. You may really enjoy this album, but not be so much of a fan of the next. Don’t judge everything you think about Nine Inch Nails off this one album.

Don’t Let the World Divide Your Love

Ampersand Daily2

I am a young man who’s lived most of his life questioning authority and have lived contrary to popular culture. I do this because the idea of just going along to get along does not sit well with me so in turn I find different ways to do things that most people just do the way everyone else does it. While I enjoy this life style and am proud of how I am not easily herded into a single group or way to think about the world, this life style does not come without it’s down sides. If you are still in school or just starting out in life, this article is for you.

Take it from a guy who just lost the love of his life due to how I’ve chosen to live and deal with the world around me. She is the sweetest and most beautiful girl in the world to me and I treated her as such. She even told me that I was the best boyfriend she’s ever had and that I should be treated like a prince. However, that did not stop her from leaving me. I let my opinions and stances on the world get in between us. I allowed this mess of a system we all live in get the best of me and I lost the most precious person in my entire life because of it.

This is going to be short and sweet because all I really have to say here is that if you fancy yourself revolting against the status quo, standing up to authority, and questioning everything, just remember, others may not understand where you are coming from. People in your life may have little to no experience in dealing with the raw emotions that come along with living this kind of life and will not tolerate your outrageous views for very long.

It is a dangerous thing to know you are right when everyone around you is insisting you are just a lunatic on the fringe of society who doesn’t deserve love or attention. It is dangerous for the same reason it is dangerous to walk into a Ku Klux Klan rally and telling the members they are all dead wrong about their beliefs and that they should be more accepting of other than white people.  It is dangerous, most of all, because people will react violently in order to protect their identity within society and how that’s formed them into the person they are. This is covered in loose detail in the film The Matrix represented by a woman in a red dress distracting the main character and allows the agent of the machines to eliminate the hero. The message here is do not let life distract you from what is truly important. 6/4/2013

On an upbeat note, my girlfriend has returned to me. She believes she understands me much better now and while she doesn’t agree with a lot of what I say, she see’s that my intentions are pure and wants to help me find a better way to approach society without faltering so easily to the kinds of distractions I mentioned in the previous paragraph. I cannot begin to tell you the level of power this makes me feel. It is the closest to unstoppable I’ve ever felt and it’s all because of the undying love of a beautiful woman that I am willing to take a second look at myself and the world around me and find a better way to live my life.

In closing I just hope this article can help just one person figure something out to ignite the spark in their life that leads them to more freedom and happiness. I want others to learn from my errors, not complain and whine about how rough life is only to get attention, no, I want others to see the mistakes I’ve made and realize they do not have to make the same mistakes I did. Many will see these mistakes and scoff, and more power to them, I’m glad they aren’t foolish like me, but I know something they don’t. They too will fall from grace and they too will have to face themselves and their loved one’s with an open heart and mind and realize there is always room for improvement. 6/15/2013


Thank you for reading! 🙂



Scott D. Vogler