The Dead Daisies’ new album Holy Ground marked itself the first truly great new pure rock record of 2021 upon its release early this year. That is saying quite a bit, considering the releases of new albums from the likes of Weezer, Foo Fighters, and Michael Schenker Group already available. That is proven from start to end of the 11-song record through its collective musical and lyrical content. The record’s musical arrangements give listeners touches of the pure rock sounds of the 80s, 90s, and even 2000s, bringing the whole together for a whole that will appeal to a wide range of listeners. The lyrical content is accessible to any listener, making for its own appeal. ‘Unspoken,’ the album’s lead single – which the band premiered almost a year ago in April 2020 – is just one of the songs that serves to support the noted statements. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Come Alive,’ which comes early in the 48-minute record’s run, is another key addition to the album. It also shows how the album’s musical and lyrical content come together to make the album in whole a success. ’30 Days in the Hole’ is yet another addition to the album that adds to the record’s interest. It will also be discussed later. All three songs noted here are important to the whole of Holy Ground. When they are considered with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of the album leaves no doubt as to why the record is the best pure rock record to be released so far.
The Dead Daisies’ new album Holy Ground is an impressive work from the veteran rock super group. It is a record that audiences have been awaiting since early last year when the band debuted the record’s lead single, ‘Unspoken.’ The song is just one of the ways in which the album’s musical and lyrical content come together to make the album such a strong return for the band. The song’s musical arrangement almost immediately lends itself to comparison to AC/DC’s timeless hit song ‘For Those About to Rock (We Salute You).’ That is evidenced in the steady, plodding time keeping and the guitar work here. The subtlety and control in the guitar work is a near mirror image of that in the aforementioned AC/DC song. Yet is still manages to maintain its own identity separate from that of the other composition. That is due in large part to the song’s chorus sections. They change the song’s feel considerably. The contrast in those two approaches gives the song’s overall arrangement its own unique identity that will connect easily with listeners. The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement adds even more interest to the overall song.
The lyrical content featured in ‘Unspoken’ comes across as a statement about that type of person who is completely stuck on himself/herself. That is just this critic’s interpretation, of course. The seeming statement is inferred right from the song’s lead verse, which states, “In the static/Gotta make your pledge/So dramatic and you’re out on the ledge/Bones are breaking/Hear the rattle and moan/Your body aching and you’re out in the zone/Yeah, I can hear you breathe/Unspoken/You gotta let go/Unspoken/You’re out in the glow/Unbroken/You let it all flow.” The seeming commentary continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “In the oneness now you realize/Lost your compass and I sympathize/In the darkness now/You fade to grey/In the stillness you will make your way.” Again, this is all the interpretation of this critic and should not be taken as the only interpretation. Regardless, the song’s lyrical content is sure to generate plenty of discussion among listeners. That alone is proof of the song’s role in the album’s overall success. It is just one of the songs that serves to prove the album’s strength. ‘Come Alive,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another way in which the record proves it has reached the top of the field for now.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Come Alive’ is a steady, forward-driving composition whose musical arrangement blends the best of yesterday’s and today’s pure guitar rock. The subtle strength of the song’s bass line together with the steady time keeping and the guitar line makes is so well-balanced. There are moments here in which the guitar line lends itself to comparison to works from Joe Satriani before switching back to a more modern radio rock sound a la Velvet Revolver, modern Stone Temple Pilots and others of that ilk. The precision in which the two sides switch back and forth makes for its own level of enjoyment. The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s fiery musical arrangement helps to illustrate the seeming message delivered here.
The message that seems to be presented in ‘Come Alive’ comes across as being one person telling another that he/she needs to examine his/her life and change his/her mindset. This inferred right from the song’s outset in its lead verse and chorus, which states, “I’m standing in my shadow/And you can find me there/I’ll meet you in the shallow water/They stop and stare/Within my inner vision/I’d like to testify/No crash and no collision/My faith, I can’t deny/Come alive/You can start over/Now, take me by the hand and come alive/I gotta break your malady/You got to live your life free/So come alive.” It is as if the speaker is telling that person here that while he/she might be in a tough spot, he/she still has his/her faith and that the subject to whom the speaker is speaking can turn things around on a better course. The seeming commentary continues in the song in which front man Glenn Huges (Deep Purple, yes the same one) sings, “You’re fallin’ in the skyline/And you will come and go/Your sign is in your bloodline/Sometimes its quick and slow/Somehow the earth is mending/I’ll meet you at the gate/This is your life resending/You got to feel your weight.” The song’s third and final verse puts the period on the interpreted message, stating, “Oh, it’s amazin’, you travel on/I am praisin’, gotta let you roam/Come and deliver/All that you need.” Again these lyrics collectively are only interpreted in the noted fashion by this critic. They should not be taken as the only interpretation. Regardless the possibility of this song focusing on a discussion between two people, one trying to motivate the other certainly seems plausible. If it is indeed the case, then the whole makes this another fully accessible for listeners, as every listener (or most listeners) has found themselves in a similar position. To that end, the whole of this seeming message and the energy in the song’s musical arrangement ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment even more. It shows even more in whole why the album in whole is such a successful new entry from The Dead Daisies. It still is not the last of the album’s most notable works. ’30 Days in the Hole’ is yet another key way in which the record’s musical and lyrical content pair to show why the album succeeds.
’30 Days in the Hole’ opens with a solid drum beat that is soon after accompanied by Hughes’ vocals and the equally powerful guitar and bass lines to round out the arrangement. The whole of the song’s arrangement immediately lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of Motley Crue, Poison, and Warrant. Even with such comparisons, it still boasts its own unique identity that audiences will enjoy.
For all of the fun energy that the song’s musical arrangement presents audiences, its lyrical content seems to take on a much more serious tone as it addresses the consequences of drug use. The contrast in the playful, upbeat sense in the song’s musical arrangement against the more serious lyrical topic makes for a lot of interest here.
The noted topic is clearly addressed right from the song’s outset in the lead verse, which states, “Chicago Green, talkin’ ’bout Black Lebanese/A dirty room and a silver coke spoon/Give me my release/Black Nepalese/It’s got you weak in your knees/Sneeze some dust that you got buzzed on/You know it’s hard to believe.” The commentary continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “Newcastle Brown can sure smack you down/Take a greasy whore and a rollin’ dance floor/If you live on the road, there’s a new highway code/You take the urban noise with some durban poison/You’re gonna lessen your load.” The song’s chorus reminds listeners about the result of using those drugs, stating, “30 days in the hole/I got 30 days.” Maybe the contrast of the upbeat energy in the song’s musical arrangement and serious lyrical content is intentional. It could be meant to help create a sense of irony. People (especially rock stars) think that they are having fun using those drugs and living the rock and roll lifestyle, but in reality, they are only hurting themselves. This is, again, just this critic’s interpretation and should not be taken as gospel. If in fact it is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark, then the song has certainly succeeded in its goal to be so ironic. It is just one more way in which the album proves overall, to be such an engaging and entertaining presentation. Together with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s works, the whole makes the album overall a successful new offering from The Dead Daisies that is unquestionably the first truly great rock record of 2021.
The Dead Daisies’ new album Holy Ground is a presentation that rock purists and the band’s fans alike will agree is a welcome return from the band. That is proven through the album’s collective musical and lyrical content. Each of the songs examined here serve to help illustrate the noted statements in their own way. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, that whole makes Holy Ground the first great new rock record of 2021. The album is available now.
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