Vent - Collective Soul
Weeks on Chart: 2 Peak: #43 (Feb. 2001) buy it!
Vent is from Collective Soul's Blender CD. As usual, the Georgia band tries to cover all the bases. Part of Vent is dancable with silly disco keyboards. Part of it has hard rocking guitars. Similarly, Ed Roland's vocals swing from that of a tough rocker to a goofy falsetto. Vent's chorus is undeniably catchy but marred by its stupid, nasty lyrics: "no truth in you exists/you bite before you lick, I love ya cause you're such a prick."
Video - India Arie
Weeks on Chart: 4 Peak: #48 (May 2002) buy it!
Video, from the Acoustic Soul CD, has been around for a year. It's been on VH1's playlist for almost the entire year. Video finally moved near the top of the pop charts after India Arie Simpson got a bunch of Grammy nominations including for album of the year and best new artist. Hearing any song frequently over a long period can make you a little sick of it. At this point, I sometimes think about Video: I'm glad you love yourself but enough already. I generally still love Video. The message about being happy even if you don't look like a supermodel or have expensive clothes or cars is a very welcome reponse to the ostentatious displays of material wealth and idealized female beauty in countless MTV videos. Video has a very likable, relaxed sound. India Arie's vocal is appropriately confident but charmingly unassuming. She plays an appealing shuffling acoustic guitar riff over loose, varied percussion.
Vindicated - Dashboard Confessional
Weeks on Chart: 3 Peak: #27 (July 2004) buy it!
It's been noted that Christopher Carrabba, Dashboard Confessional's sincere, earnest singer/songwriter, is a kindred spirit for Spiderman's sincere, earnest alter-ego Peter Parker. A Spiderman movie that matched Dashboard Confessional's music would be heavy on Peter thinking about Mary Jane's safety and light on crime fighting and action. Still, it's appropriate that Dashboard Confessional provided the lead track on the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack. Carrabba is an appealing, genuine personality. His big emotions and optimism are striking even when compared to other idealistic emo performers. The downside of Dashboard Confessional's songs is that they're monochromatic. Carrabba is forever the 13 year old who just had his first kiss. He seems unwilling to take steps towards more complicated situations that could lead to disappointment, even if they could lead to richer, more interesting experiences. Dashboard Confessional's music has an alluring purity. Vindicated uses a small number of intense, ambitious sounds. It has a big, simple beat, a ringing, grinding guitar sound, a few piano chords and Carrabba's yearning vocal(apparently backing up himself as he joyfully howls on the chorus). Vindication probably sounds great along with a sweet, dramatic cinematic moment. It's a powerful song that's among the band's best work. But Vindication's lack of complexity or subtlety means that, like a lot of the band's music, it loses impact on repeat listens. Carrabba sings about finding hope and vindication for his choices in a supportive girlfriend who helps him see positive things in himself. The lyric climaxes nicely in a sensual moment where she turns up the corner of her lips, parts them and feels his fingertips and he lets himself slip away in a romantic current.
The Voice Within - Christina Aguilera
Weeks on Chart: 8 Peak: #27 (Feb. 2004) buy it!
Christina Aguilera isn't as good at working the media as Britney but she's a bit better at making hits. The Voice Within is the fifth smash from her Stripped CD which, when it was released more than a year ago, many predicted would be a flop. Since Aguilera has a big voice and loves to show it off, it was only a matter of time until her record company released a big, soaring ballad of the sort Whitney and Mariah topped the charts with a decade ago. The Voice Within was produced and co-written by Glen Ballard. Ballard did Alanis Morissette's hugely successful Jagged Little Pill CD but the credit on Ballard's lengthy resume that might be most appropriate in the case is his work in Wilson Phillips' short lived hit making career. The Voice Within doesn't have the intimate, personal feel of Beautiful, Stripped's first single, but it's pretty good. The Voice Within is like I Turn To You, the cliched but fine and fairly stirring single from Aguilera's first record, and maybe a little better. Aguilera's is a skilled singer and she doesn't go over the top until the inevitable intense climax. The Voice Within starts nicely with just Aguilara's voice and a piano. It remains appealing as drums come in. Unfortunately, the big ballad formula demands that the sound grow. So Ballard adds strings, bigger keyboards and showy choir-like backing vocals, all of which force Aguilera into vocal gymnastics. In that mode, Aguilera is technically impressive but her showiness undermines the personal feeling her voice and the lyric communicate earlier in the song and reinforces a feeling that The Voice Within isn't very original. Still, for a lofty ballad, The Voice Within isn't bad. It's a bit more generic than Beautiful but, like Beautiful, The Voice Within has a theme that, while inconsistent with Aguilera's self centered image, is sweet. The familiar lyrics add to a sense that The Voice Within is a rehash of other songs with a similar theme but the message is still nice. Aguilera tells a "young girl" that in troubled times, if she believes in herself, she can find the "strength that will guide your way."
Voices - Disturbed
Weeks on Chart: 12 Peak: #29 (Feb. 2001) buy it!
Voices, the second hit from the Sickness CD, isn't quite as unpleasant as Stupify but I still find it unappealingly nasty. David Draiman angrily roars that he's "gonna talk about some freaky shit now" then asks "are you breathing now?" and says "someone's gonna die." Voices is probably about Draiman's troubled mind. It ends with some garbage about feeling "the subliminal need to be one with the voice and make everything all right" but Voices' imagery is still distasteful. The heavy, atttacking guitars creating a menacing, though powerful, atmosphere.
Voodoo - Godsmack
Weeks on Chart: 22 Peak: #6 (April 2000) buy it!
Voodoo closes out Godsmack's self titled CD. It creates a decent mystical atmosphere with drumbeats and minimal instrumentation. However, Sully Erna's very serious vocals, as he sings "I'm not the one who's so far away, when I feel the snake bite enter my veins" over and over, are too pretentious.