Dee Snider has, for decades, made a place for himself in the rock community with his outspoken nature and his music. That combination has made him one of the industry’s most talked about figures in the rock community. With the release of his new album, Leave a Scar Friday through Napalm Records, he is sure to continue cementing that reputation, too. The album’s lyrical themes and its musical arrangements each support the noted statements in their own way. ‘Down But Not Out’ is just one of the songs featured in this record that serves to help support the noted statements. It will be discussed shortly. The same can be said of the late entry, ‘Open Season.’ It will be examined a little later. ‘Stand,’ the album’s finale, is yet another way in which the album’s musical and lyrical content proves to make Leave a Scar another sure way for Dee Snider to remain one of the rock community’s most talked about figures. It will be discussed later, too. All three songs are obviously important in their own way to the whole of the album. When they are considered with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes Leave a Scar a record that will leave a definite impact on audiences.
Dee Snider’s latest album, Leave a Scar is a strong new offering from the veteran rocker. That is because its musical and lyrical content combined continue to exhibit his strong opinions and creativity. Case in point is the early entry, ‘Down But Not Out.’ This song’s musical arrangement immediately lends itself to comparison to the best works of Judas Priest and at the same time, some of today’s top new hard rock acts. That all around heaviness can likely be credited at least in part to Snider working with Hatebreed front man Jamey Jasta on this record. As a matter of fact, a close listen to the shouts in the chorus and the heavy “chunk” of the guitars at points does in fact point to Hatebreed as one of those noted current hard rock bands for comparison. The intensity in the song’s arrangement works well to help translate the emotion in the song’s lyrical content.
The lyrical content presented in ‘Down But Not Out’ is a proudly defiant statement about perseverance, which again is a central theme to most of Hatebreed’s songs. Right from the song’s outset, Snider sings, “We cannot/We can never stop/We’ve got to fight/This is our life/Your’e never lost when you can see the top.” So right from that, this is that proudly defiant statement. It continues in the rest of the song’s lead verse, “You think the world’s against you/You never had a chance/The bastards/They won’t let you through/We’d rather make a stand/Reach beyond/You’re not done…You may be down/But never out.” Now some of the lyrics here are a little difficult to decipher sans lyrics sheet, but enough is understandable that the noted theme is clear. The rest of the song continues in similar fashion, with Snider and whomever provides the backing vocals here re-enforce the message in the song’s chorus, singing, “Down, down, down/But never out.” This positive, uplifting message is so firm and concrete in its presentation, and when it is paired with the song’s musical arrangement, the whole makes the song a clear example of how the album’s lyrical and musical content joins to make it so engaging and entertaining. It is just one of the songs here that serves that end, too. ‘Open Season’ is another way in which Snider’s open commentary works with the album’s musical arrangements to ensure the album’s engagement and entertainment.
‘Open Season’ presents a musical arrangement that brings its guitar, vocals, bass, and drums fully together. They combine to make the song’s musical arrangements one of those hard rock songs that bridges the cheesy over the top hard rock of the 80s and more assured sounds of the early-mid 90s. The power in Snider’s vocal delivery here presents such a fire and anger. It is an emotion to which so many listeners will relate.
The fire in Snider’s delivery is enhanced when one takes in the song’s lyrical content. Snider at one point comes right out and says to whomever, the he doesn’t “give a s***” about their self-love. This comes across as being a response to the self-glorification that today’s generation has become obsesses with as a result of social media. What’s more, he sings right from the song’s outset, “Hey, motherf*****/Are you kidding me?/You’d better/Get ready/This is a lesson that I give for free/Your lesson/Is coming/Your lamest words/They fall on deaf ears/It’s time like these/I live for all your salty tears/I live for times like these/You’ve given me a rason/To tell it like it is/Now it’s open season/I aim and never miss/No hidden meanings/My words are meant to burn/It’s open season…You’re gonna learn.” This, as Snider says, is no nonsense. People whining about x, y, or z and those items are likely so minor, he says they give him reason to rip into them. People don’t like such response, but so be it. This is how Snider has always been and he is declaring here that this is how he remains. It is also how so many others are in this nation. Those audiences will welcome this statement as they take in the song. He continues in the song’s second verse, “You must have thought that I was someone else/You better get ready/I don’t give a s*** about your love of self/Your lesson/Is coming.” This re-enforces the message presented in the song’s lead verse. It is him reiterating that he does not care, he is going to speak his mind. Again, there are plenty of people out there like him who refuse to just be outright overly diplomatic about everything in life and tiptoe around every topic. It makes this song another clear example of Snider incorporating his often controversial personality into this record and making it work so well. It is just one more way in which the album shows its strength, too. ‘Stand,’ the album’s finale, also plays its own important role in the album’s presentation.
‘Stand’ takes listeners back to Snider’s classic rock roots in its musical arrangement. The previously noted Judas Priest comparison is just as prevalent here as in other songs in this song, what with its brooding sound and approach. It makes for an interesting contrast to the song’s firm message encouraging audiences to “Stand up for something/Never fall/No one trusting….Stand for something/Stand up/Don’t leave a mark/Leave a scar.” He is saying here to do something that will leave a permanent mark on the world. Usually, such a strong message would be accompanied by a much more fiery musical arrangement. In this case, the heaviness is there, but the whole is so contemplative rather than assured and firm. It really makes for an interesting presentation that still does echo Snider’s straight forward views and his ability to make music that people will remember. When this unique whole is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole proves itself another way in which Snider is sure to continue cementing his place in the rock and hard rock communities.
Dee Snider’s new, forthcoming album Leave a Scar is a record that is sure to leave its own mark on audiences. For that matter it will definitely leave its mark on this year’s field of new rock and hard rock albums. That is proven through its musical and lyrical content. All three of the songs examined here serve well to prove that. Their lyrical themes echo well, Snider’s openness with his thoughts while their musical arrangements do well to bridge his classic rock and metal influences with more modern leanings. When these songs and the rest of the record’s works are considered together, they make Leave a Scar a work that will leave itself a memorable addition to this year’s field of new hard rock albums. Leave a Scar is scheduled for release Friday through Napalm Records.
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