Birthday Shinedown 2017

In general, I like getting the hell out of Dodge for my birthday.

There are a myriad of reasons for this, but mostly, I like hiding. Part of it is because I’m right around a holiday (4th of July) and no one is ever around to celebrate, part of it is because everyone always forgets (parents included) … I’m a weird one in that I generally loathe my birthday.

B, wonderful as he is, has taken it upon himself to make my birthday as awesome as possible. Which for me, means spending it just the two of us (if able; his job makes this iffy), and not in Denver.

Originally, our thought was to go to Boston for my birthday (so I could eat all of the wonderful things), but cost prevented that. So, plans changed. I thought if B wasn’t home and had to work, I’d treat myself to a ridiculously expensive hotel room in the mountains (either Vail or Beaver Creek) for a night and hike around and see wildflowers and whatnot. Or maybe we’d do that even if he was home.

But then we learned Shinedown was touring some in the summer and what do you know … they were playing a show on my birthday. In Lafayette, Ind. That’s what we both honestly wanted to do more … so that’s what we did.

The morning of July 4, we hopped a flight from DEN-MSP and then caught a flight to IND where we rented a car and drove the hour or so to Lafayette. I’d been to Lafayette (well, West Lafayette to be specific) years before – my parents met at Purdue University, and my dad played clarinet in the band, so we went back for an alumni band thingy for him where he played on the field during a football game. I don’t think Brandon had ever been, though.

birfday_trip
Across the street from our hotel.

birfday_trip2
Fourth of July band concert. Oh small towns …

We didn’t stay out to watch fireworks, but could see about a good dozen or so displays from our hotel window. And, since it was Indiana, where fun fireworks are legal, who knows how many of those displays were actually “official.”

The next morning, we woke up and hit up a diner across from the theater for breakfast.

birfday_trip3

birfday_trip4
Random street piano I made B play for the photo op.

We wanted to see if anyone had started lining up yet, and thankfully, they hadn’t. After breakfast, we went for a run – training never stops ’round herrre – then back to shower and to explore.

We popped over to the Purdue campus for a bit – I was taking random photos and seeing if my parents could guess where I was – so I could see if there was anything good in the bookstore (there wasn’t). If they had a “Dad-style” shirt I would have gotten him one, but nope. We wandered over to the stadium so B could send pictures of a rival Big Ten stadium to his Gopher fan dad and drove over to the airport so B could get a sense of their flight program.

After that, we drove my history nerd self over to the Tippecanoe Battlefield.

birfday_trip5

birfday_trip6

birfday_trip9
(We took a serious picture, too, if you can believe it.)

We were starting to get hungry again at this point, so we grabbed some snacks from a gas station and then ate possibly some of the worst Chinese food I’ve had in my life. So terrible.

(As far as birthdays go, this one was awful in terms of food eaten.)

Back to the hotel for a tiny bit and then to the theater to sit outside for a good four hours so we could be up front for the show. We didn’t have a bad spot – 10 back, maybe? – and I had my phone and my nook and some snacks. The hotel was also only four-ish blocks away so if we needed to pee, we’d take turns leaving and going back. This way, we could also take back anything we had to entertain ourselves before heading in. B also left the line at one point to grab us more food – salads and, for him, wings from Buffalo Wild Wings. Worst salad I’ve had from them, too, btw.

Eventually, we were let in, rushed the stage … and were pissed to find VIP people (who were supposed to all be on the upper level in assigned seats) on the rail. Grumble. In any case, we were only one person back from the rail and by the time Shinedown really got going, B weaseled his way up on to the actual rail.

First up was Lacey Sturm.

shinedown_lacey_sturm

They were … okay. I guess she was the singer for Flyleaf back in the day. My thoughts in bullet point form that I made on my phone post-show:
– meh
– bassist good
– guitarist played ZM sig? (in reference to a PRS Signature Zach Myers guitar; proven accurate on Instagram a few days later.)
– (her) voice got drowned out a lot
– sings with passion, but don’t get her stage presence (not sure with what she was doing up there …)
– one of the worst covers of “Roxanne” ever (did not enjoy)
– one of the cymbals fell over and it was funny
– someone in the audience said she had a good vocal range, but I don’t see it. Honestly didn’t like her style.

Basically, it’s not like they were bad; just not for me.

Between sets, we got to see the set up, as usual, and our location enabled me to spot something I’ve never seen before –

shinedown2
Zach Myers’ Grizzlies guitar case. Ha.

Since it was birfday show, I didn’t want to take a lot of pictures – I really wanted to enjoy the show – so I only got this one, and I normally would have deleted it because, crap, but whatever.

shinedown3

As for the show itself …

– It was SO. FUCKING. HOT. inside the theater. I was sweating so badly and at a few points, thought I was going to pass out due to the heat.

– Someone apparently yelled “you suck” up at the stage, so Brent Smith legit stopped the show to go lecture him and the crowd and saying they didn’t need to be there and could walk off the stage. I’m super glad they continued the show (for obvious reasons), but seriously? Whoever that was? NOT COOL.

– In this, my seventh Shinedown show (third state!), I finally broke my streak of seeing a new song performed. I’d already seen every song at this show. Kind of sad day, but also not really.

– The crowd at this show? Sucked. Unfriendly people around, a lot of Facebook live-ing going on, a lot of pictures … Ugh.

– I think because I was so happy, I cried through about 75-80% of the show. Seriously.

– Brandon was able to get Zach’s attention at one point with a scribble on his phone to say that it was my birthday; Zach mouthed “how old,;” I said 34 with my fingers; he mouthed “older than me;” I mouthed back “BARELY!” (okay buddy, by like four months); and he flung a guitar pick our way. It didn’t quite make it, but the security guard retrieved it and got it directly into my hands. (I made sure to thank him again specifically after the show).

All in all, we were able to snag four picks, and it was mostly me! Usually B is the guitar pick snatcher; this time it was me. Yay.

birfday_trip10
Marquee post-show.

Going back to those guitar picks … I was the happiest that I was able to catch both Eric Bass’ and Zach Myers’ show-specific picks because it had my birthday on them … so I tweeted a photo of the picks and a thank you out, and lookie who retweeted it:

sdtweet
Hee!

As we were ranking Shinedown shows later the next day, I found it hard to properly place this show. Not the greatest set list, hot as balls, shitty crowd … but the birthday happiness aspect makes it have a special place in my heart.

Once again, thank you to my husband as well as all of the guys in Shinedown – Eric Bass, Barry Kerch, Brent Smith, and especially Zach Myers – for making this one of the best birthdays in a long time.

Shinedown: West Coast Tour 2017

Also known as Shinedown show number 6 … the sixth show in four years and five or six days.

After we saw Shinedown in October, we figured we wouldn’t be able to see them in a while because of other tours and album writing and whatnot. But then … they released a small West Coast tour. We grumbled slightly about them not coming to Colorado this time, but then I spotted the first two shows on the tour – Albuquerque, N.M. on 3.31 and Tucson, Ariz. on 4.1.

I thought, “Dude. We could potentially see one of those two shows!” I talked to B about it and we decided on the Albuquerque show, as it’s a fairly easy drive down from Denver (6ish hours). He got the 31st off, I requested those few days off from work, we drove on down.

We were considering concert VIP for this show and thought we bought it … but all we did was buy VIP floor seats for the venue (which was 100% worth it, mind you). They had the meet and greets for the tour, but the packages for the ABQ show weren’t available until well after we had already bought our seats. Oh well, maybe next time.

Anyway, this show on the tour was weird in that there was no opening act. There are a few opening bands on this tour (As Lions, Cold Kingdom), but for whatever reason, not at this show.

We got to the venue (Legends Theater in the Route 66 Casino) way early because we weren’t sure if we needed to be in line for ages to get a good spot. We find out that we actually have seats for the show.

Third row, but chairs.

shinedown

Kind of dumb, but whatever. We had several hours to kill and didn’t feel like sitting in a car for the drive back to our hotel (30-ish minutes, probably more with traffic), so we gambled a bit and then played cards in the back of my Rav until it was time to find food pre-show.

We did pop in the time the doors opened at 7 to get our seats. B asked one of the security people if we could get on the rail, but she said no. Not that that stopped everyone once the show started anyway … So we did end up getting up front anyway!

Before I get ahead of myself, set list, courtesy of Setlist.fm:

Asking for It
Black Cadillac
Devour
Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
I’ll Follow You
How Did You Love
If You Only Knew
Enemies
Unity
State of My Head
Second Chance
45
Cut the Cord
Simple Man
Sound of Madness

You could tell it was the first show of the tour as the boys were a little off (specifically through “Asking for It”), but it was a lot of fun. Brent Smith dedicated “Simple Man” to Zach Myers’ son Oliver, as it was Oli’s birthday that day (and during “Sound of Madness,” you could see Myers’ wife Bethany holding Oliver backstage. Cute kid.).

In terms of Shinedown shows we’ve seen, I would say it was average. Definitely not the best, but not the worst either. That’s not to say it was a *bad* show, though; on the contrary, it was pretty awesome. Myers was totally on this show and I think Barry Kerch was having more fun than usual.

Other items of note:
– Brent Smith, please stop growing the hair back out. You look creepy.
– Eric Bass, what the heck was going on with your hair???
– I quickly sharpie’d a “Happy B-Day to Oliver, Zach! :)” note on the back of our tickets (printed out) and showed it to him during “Simple Man,” and he seemed super touched when he mouthed “thank you” back.
– We raked in the souvenirs this show, with a drum stick (this one actually is a BKerch signature as opposed to the Halloween show one we got) and three guitar picks – one Zach, one show-specific (well, the first two shows of this tour) Eric, and a Back to the Future duplicate that we could possibly use to trade later.

I’m super thankful we made it to this show, as I’m not sure when we’re next going to be able to see them live again.

shinedown2

Creativity Corner: Shinedown Word Art

So. I’m hoping to create more this year (don’t I say that every year??), but so far, so good for the month!

I did doodle a bit in my sketchbook for the first time in ages, but I wanted to do something a bit more substantial, so I decided to do some word art for B. We’ve been talking about painting random song lyrics for the longest time, so I finally said, “screw it!” and asked him for some Shinedown lyrics and then a color theme.

This is the result:

hdyl

I only apparently had large canvases around (that I could find at the time, at least). He wanted warm colors, so I did a loose play on a sunset/sunrise. I added a metallic Shinedown logo (sort of visible in the dead center) and then washed over it to make it super subtle. Finally, the lyrics from “How Did You Love” that B texted me.

I still need to get a lot better with painting words/doing word art, but he’s super happy with the end result, so I’ll take it!

Shinedown: Take Five

This was *technically* a Five Finger Death Punch headliner show, but since both B and I had to be up early the next morning … we skipped out after Shinedown. That, and I heard from my cousin (the one that tours with Papa Roach) that the guys from 5FDP are douches, so y’know. I trust him.

After the amazingness that was the Colorado Springs show, we weren’t expecting as good of a show, particularly given that it was a bigger venue. But, on the off chance we thought it was awesome because we were so close on the floor, I bought us GA floor seats pretty much as soon as tickets went on sale (in fact, I might have even gotten them through a presale).

It thankfully worked out that B was home for the show, sneaking home during a break in Delta training. I ended up having that day off from work, so we woke up, got in a run, and headed to Pepsi Center ass early (doors were at 5/5:30; we got there … before 2pm, I want to say) so we could storm the stage. Quite a few other people had this same idea, but we probably weren’t any worse than maybe 100 people back.

When we were finally allowed in (getting our floor wristbands), Brandon stampeded the stage while I high-tailed it to a pee room. We had been hiking down to the gas station while we waited for snacks, but the gas station that essentially splits the Pepsi Center parking lot doesn’t have a bathroom. No, it has porta-potties outside it … which were so damn disgusting that I just couldn’t.

While wandering about, I was also tasked with finding us food. Hot dog for Brandon and mediocre chicken fingers for me. I miss when food at Pepsi Center used to be good … back in high school …

Brandon, meanwhile, was able to get us essentially second row on the floor. I somehow fought myself, our food, and two waters (not in bottles; opened in cups) to him, aided slightly by concert buddies Brandon had made. We ate our food and I probably pissed more people off by sneaking back through the masses to throw our trash out and then snaked my way BACK. People probably did not like me for this, but eh.

First band to go on was As Lions. I’m pretty sure this was their first ever tour, which, damn, is awesome for them. They were British, but didn’t have that British rock band sound (see: that Springs post linked above).

In any case, the music wasn’t bad and they were highly entertaining.

shinedown_as_lions
High energy lead singer.

shinedown_as_lions2
Set list. The bottom part cracks me up.

Next was Sixx:A.M., which I had heard a little about. They put on an awesome show – you could tell they have a lot of fun on stage, which I, as a fan, love to see.

shinedown_sixx-am2

shinedown_sixx-am3

Next up, Shinedown. Firstly, before I get into anything, set list:

Adrenaline
Fly From the Inside
Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
Unity
How Did You Love
Enemies
Call Me
State of My Head
Second Chance
Cut the Cord
Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)
Sound of Madness

Notice song #7 on that list. NOTICE IT. That is probably my all-time favorite Shinedown song that they hardly ever play anymore. But the song went Gold this year after being out in the world for eight years, so maybe that’s why? Or, as I joked to Brandon, “it’s because you yelled “Call Me” and “play Call Me” at the Springs show.” I cried throughout that whole song. And through How Did You Love.

shinedown

(I didn’t take as many photos this time because I chose to ENJOY the experience, and it was worth it. I also hopped around and danced like a crazy person, which had the happy side effect of making the guy who had seriously creeped up into my personal space back off lest he be elbowed or stomped on.)

Other highlights:

– caught three guitar picks. Two different, one the same as one from the Springs show, so we gave the duplicate to our concert friends.

– It was Eric Bass’s birthday, so they brought out a cake and we all got to sing to him.

shinedown2

shinedown3

– The crowd test of Brent Smith hopping into the crowd on the West Coast tour must have worked out well as he did it again at Pepsi.

– During the “Simple Man” section, there was a tiny break and I was close enough to Zach Myers to show him the picture of the Germantown Commissary I put on Instagram (that he liked …), zoomed in on the logo … and he saw it and his eyes lit up in recognition and he mouthed, “Hey! That’s my hometown!” Pretty cool. Also pretty sure he attempted to flick guitar picks our way after that …

When wandering for food, I saw a tee that had “Call Me a Sinner, Call Me a Saint” on the back (clearly from “Call Me”) that I kind of just had to buy. And we got a shirt for Brandon, too.

While not as intimate as the Springs show, the guys are starting to show some better personality on tour which makes it that much more fantastic of a show experience. Sure, they do some generic schticks, but when it comes down to it, they just put on a great show.

And it helps when Smith doesn’t do the volume “you’re right here, I need you up here” thing, because damn is that annoying. Not experiencing that again? GLORIOUS.

Shinedown. They’re the best. Go see them. I’m at five times and will happily grow that number.

(Tour still going on now – see if they’re coming to you!)

Shinedown: West Coast Tour 2016

What, another Shinedown concert post? I know, I know … I feel like they’re the only band I go see.

In the post I wrote after the Saints and Sinners Ball, I commented, “I’ve seen this band three times … and I’ve essentially seen the same show three times. If the show I’m going to see of theirs in March (hopefully) is basically the same show again … I may not want to go see them anymore because I don’t want to spend my money on the same. exact. show. over and over again.”

Well, they came to Colorado Springs on March 13 and it so happened that both Brandon and I were around to see them. I decided to give them one more shot and see how it went. The show was part of a small West Coast run, which is probably why they came to the Springs as opposed to Denver.

I worked that morning, went for a run (oh, Ironman training …), realized that yes, I was getting sick (as was Brandon), but screw it, and headed down to the Springs early. We had high hopes of getting a dang guitar pick this time, so we wanted to get to the venue early in hopes of getting close to the stage.

We grabbed a (should have been) quick(er) dinner at Denny’s and then got to City Auditorium about 4:45 (doors opened at 6).

shinedown
The line, when we got there, was just around the corner. By the time the doors opened, it was well around the block. When we got into the building, we split up – Brandon stampeded the stage to get a spot and I high-tailed it toward the porta-potties.

This was successful. We were about three or four “rows” (as rows is a very fluid thing on the floor) back and next to a really nice couple who we chatted with to pass the time until the show started.

The opening act was the Virginmarys. They were … okay. Sounded a bit familiar despite never knowing about them before this, but when I heard the lead singer talk and realized he was British, it made sense. This is going to sound a bit crazy, but all British rock bands have a similar sound. It might be a chord here or there, but there’s teeny tiny little similarities, from these guys, to Oasis, to Blur, to whomever.

shinedown2

I could tell this Shinedown show was going to be a bit different because there was no swath of fabric blocking the stage between sets like usual. Which really just meant we could see the roadies set stuff up, but you know.

The set list was also vastly different …

Unity
Fly From the Inside
Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay-Boom-Lay-Boom)
If You Only Knew
Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide
The Crow & the Butterfly
Through the Ghost
Enemies
I’ll Follow You
Amaryllis
Cut the Cord
State of My Head
Second Chance
45 (acoustic snippet)
Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover; acoustic)
Sound of Madness
(thanks to setlist.fm)

“Unity” was different as an opener, but I liked it – upbeat, happy … it set the tone for the rest of the show. “Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide” is something they haven’t played live in several years, so it was a nice treat to hear that. “Through the Ghost,” likewise, was amazing and I pretty much cried through the whole thing.

“Amaryllis” was played due to a Twitter request from a fan (who played it at his wedding); another song I cried throughout.

I was a little bummed once again that they didn’t play more off of “Threat to Survival,” but I really have no complaints. The guys interacted with the crowd the most out of any of the three previous shows I’d seen and it was the least scripted, as well, which I really loved. I felt like they actually cared about we, the fans, as opposed to some of the other shows of theirs.

And of course, my close-up spot afforded some pictures …

shinedown3
Both Zach Myers and Eric Bass (pictured) had guitar picks on their mic stands and I loved the way the light reflected through them.

shinedown4

shinedown5
(I think I like this one more for the cell phone in front of me …)

shinedown6

shinedown7
So Brent Smith parted the crowd and hopped onto the floor to talk to the audience … and as a result, we moved up a row or two on the floor.

shinedown8

shinedown9
For the “encore,” Zach came out in a Peyton Manning jersey. He’s a Titans fan, but is a general fan of Manning’s from his days at Tennessee.

shinedown10
Ahh, lens flare …

Also of note:
– Brandon caught a water bottle tossed by Brent Smith – twice.
– WE FINALLY GOT OUR GUITAR PICKS!!!! We got two – one of Eric’s and one of Zach’s … and should have had at least one more. One came right near me; I turned on my phone flashlight to find it … and some guy next to me used my genius against me. Boo.

In closing: Shinedown’s music is amazing; we know that. They sound good live; we know that. But when the guys put out a personality during the show … they’re really hard to top.

Saints and Sinners Ball

Also known as Shinedown round three.

Way back on Halloween, Brandon and I went to go see Shinedown (double-headlining with Breaking Benjamin and alongside Nothingmore) at 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo. This was my third time seeing Shinedown and second time at 1stBank Center.

Let’s start off with the first two acts.

Nothingmore opened with the theme song to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the band came out in costume … dressed up as the Turtles.

shinedown_nothingmore

Their music wasn’t necessarily my style, but they were good performers. Some bands that have been around for years (*cough*Uncle Kracker*cough* don’t have the stage presence that these guys did. Their drum stuff and some of their theatricality (like with this awesome creation:
shinedown_nothingmore2
)
reminded Brandon a bit of Blue Man Group.

The night we saw them was their last night on the tour, so they took a giant selfie with the crowd at the end of their set.

shinedown_nothingmore3

Next up was Breaking Benjamin, who also embraced the day and came out in Star Wars costumes.

shinedown_breaking

Brandon was really excited to see these guys and they did put on a great show. They threw out candy to the crowd. They grabbed a sign from an audience member (sign was for said member’s significant other serving overseas) and brought it up on stage to sign,
shinedown_breaking2
giving a great shout out to our service men and women before playing “Unknown Soldier.”

Going on with the Star Wars theme, they did a great mash-up of the Imperial March and a few other covers – Schism, Smells Like Teen Spirit, and Walk. Probably my favorite musical moment of the show.

I forget which song they did it for, but they had all the house lights turn off and had all of us light up the arena with our lighters (that is, cell phone flashlights) to show how much light we can bring and it was fairly fantastic to see how much light it was.

shinedown_breaking4

They ended up their set by grabbing a whole bunch of fans from the crowd and bringing them on stage to sing “The Diary of Jane,” and to have a chance to be on stage with their favorite band, which was super, super cool.

shinedown_breaking5

Finally, Shinedown.

First, pictures:

shinedown
Opening.

shinedown2
Barry Kerch with some killer make-up going on.

shinedown4
So there was this stuffed Eeyore at Brent Smith’s feet and I’m not sure why …

shinedown6
Zach Myers with some face paint.

shinedown8
Brent Smith and Zach Myers.

shinedown13
Near the end of the show.

Thoughts on the show:

The Good:
– Music was fantastic, as always.
– They also threw out candy into the crowd.
– They played “How Did You Love,” probably my favorite song off the new album.

The Not So Good:
– They really didn’t embrace the Halloween theme like the other bands did. Okay, so they tossed out candy, and Zach and Barry had some face paint on, but that’s it. A little disappointing.
– For it being the “Threat to Survival” tour, I expected way more songs from the new album, as opposed to … three. Come on now, guys.
– I’ve seen this band three times … and I’ve essentially seen the same show three times. If the show I’m going to see of theirs in March (hopefully) is basically the same show again … I may not want to go see them anymore because I don’t want to spend my money on the same. exact. show. over and over again.

On the plus side, Brandon was able to get one of Barry’s drumsticks (unfortunately it’s just plain; doesn’t have his name on it like the Papa Roach sticks we have) and I was able to somehow snag a Breaking Benjamin guitar pick at the end of the night. Woo!

CD Review: Threat to Survival

So, back a couple weeks ago (oh hell, almost a month ago now), Shinedown came out with a new album (FINALLY), “Threat to Survival.” Since I downloaded the album into iTunes, I’ve wanted to write down a review/my thoughts … but I wanted to be able to give the whole thing several listens and really formulate my thoughts.

I think I’m finally at that point that I’d like to do this … plus I can’t really put it off much longer because I’m going to go see them live (again!) on October 31st and I’d like to get this out before I need to recap the concert.

Note: I’ll preface this like I did my last CD review – trained journalist, but not regarding music reviews. This will be my second, and mostly in the same format as the first, going song by song.

Overall, it’s a solid album and a great fifth effort by Shinedown. It’s definitely a bit of a departure stylistically from “Amaryllis” and “Sound of Madness” which newer Shinedown fans may not like. (I might be an exception here.) They draw from a lot of different influences and sounds and genres but blend it all together in a way to still make it distinctively Shinedown.

My first main nitpick is that while all the songs fit together thematically, if you listen to them in album order, from track one to track eleven … there’s really no flow. It feels a tad disjointed. I wonder if this is an unfortunate byproduct of the digital age, where whole albums might be purchased, sure, but probably not ever listened to in the proper order. I’m old school, so I made sure to listen to the entirety of “Threat to Survival” as it should be.

Asking For It
– This song is a great opener. I feel like the early riffs have … maybe an early-90s, almost punk, upbeat influence? Yes, I may be talking out of my ass here, but it’s familiar and it’s not recent.
– Every time I listen to this track, I marvel at the line, “When all is said and done/You need to tie your tongue” because it is a masterful twist of phrase. Being tongue-tied usually isn’t a good thing and typically associated with being unsure/astonished in a situation. To be told to purposefully tie your tongue, well, it means you’re too overconfident and need to back it off. LOVE. IT.
– Great message to beware of words and their power.

Cut the Cord
– This may have been the first single, but I actually think it’s one of the weakest songs on the whole album. Husband agrees with me on this point. There are so many other, better songs.
– That being said, I think next year’s new Ironman inspirational quote is coming from this song: “Be a fighter, backbone, desire/Complicated and it stings, but we both know what it means/And it’s time to get real and inspired”.

State of My Head
– I like this song, but I don’t know why, because the lyrics don’t really speak to me.
– However, the lyricality (yes I made that up) in the music and the flow of the words really works and sometimes, that’s what does it for me in terms of liking a song, so maybe that’s it.
– Brandon, however, doesn’t like this song much at all.
– All the lyrics websites say “concrete street skin” and I believe they’re right, but the first few listens I heard “concrete thick skin” and I like the way that sounds better so I’m going with my delusion on that line.

Outcast
– I don’t even know which genre influenced this song, but this might just be my least favorite song of the bunch.
– Musically, lyrically … it just doesn’t speak to me.
– Also – and this might be part of why I don’t like this song (as much) – outlast every outcast? I’m not 100% sure what this even means. This is really the one song that I just can’t understand the (underlying) message of.

How Did You Love?
– Best song on the album, hands down.
– Full of fantastic EVERYTHING.
– Okay, so it might be a tad 80s power ballad – there’s a total moment of this right before the bridge – but whatever, it’s still awesome.
– I have the most amazing vision for a music video for this song, so if any of y’all are curious and interested in getting that made, call me.

It All Adds Up
– AKA Shinedown does musical theater.
– No, seriously, stick with me on this for a second. Picture the snazzy outfits the band wore on tour in spring of 2013 and match them (and an ensemble cast, of course) with either a “Guys and Dolls” and/or “West Side Story” inspired set and mix in some finger snapping and dance moves. See it? I know you do. The whole tone change after “and it all adds up” completely works with this theory.
– I also find this song awesome, by the way.
– Brandon adores the line, “Every murder has a motive but you ain’t killing me”.

Oblivion
– This to me, more than any other song on here, throws back to early Shinedown.
– Brandon likes this song; I’m actually ambivalent. It’s probably in my album bottom three along with “Cut the Cord” and “Outcast.”
– Part of why Brandon probably likes this song is the “soul sisters” (as he calls them) in the background.

Dangerous
– When previewing this album on iTunes the day/night it came out, the 90 second (or whatever) clip of this song did not impress me. In fact, I thought it was kind of cheesy. Of course, that preview pretty much started with the chorus and skipped out on the first few lines which set up and explain the whole freaking song.
– Needless to say, I love this song and it is one of my favorites. Possibly second favorite behind “How Did You Love?”.
– “Maybe if my arms were ten feet tall/I could finally reach that crystal ball.” This line speaks to me and I have loved it from the first listen. I have absolutely no idea why.
– I also adore the message of this song, and I think I know where the next popular Shinedown tattoo lyric is going to come from: “Everybody/Is Somebody/And anybody is you/I own my story/I won’t say sorry/And neither should you.” (I initially thought just the second half of that – from “I own my story” onward, but the whole bit really works.)

Thick as Thieves
– This song took several listens to grow on me, but now that it has, it’s one of my favorites.
– I read this song as someone talking to an old (possibly former) friend (or lover), but reminiscing or trying to convince said person to let him/her back in said friend/lover’s life. I don’t know if that’s what they were going with, but this song really hits home for me as I’ve lost several close friends in recent years for stupid shit, really.

Black Cadillac
– This song probably rounds out my personal top four favorites solely due to the music.
– I’m not entirely sure where the influences on this song came from – blues? gospel? – but whatever the homage, I adore it. The lyrics are honestly a bit meh, but oh god the awesome music makes up for it.
– Also, I totally need to stop living in the past in a few areas of my life, so this song helps beat that into my head, which I need.

Misfits
– This song is a great album closer. While I made the note above about how I think the album is a tad disjointed, the opening and closing songs are on point.
– This song, again, speaks to me, for I have always been a misfit.
– (Basically, high school. Oh high school. This song can make me cry.)
– Musically, this song is also very strong.

While yes, I did mention “least favorite” songs, I really do love the entirety of “Threat to Survival.” Extremely solid, and I can’t wait to see a good chunk of these performed live.