My last exam is this Wednesday, so I thought now would be the perfect time to wrap up Fall 2020 and talk about my favorite songs from that time since I had so much fun making My Favorite Songs – Summer 2020 post. I tried to diversify this list by including more songs by different artists, but I couldn’t help it, and I put two AC/DC songs on here (spoiler alert). But enough talking, let’s get on with the list, shall we?
1. “T.N.T.” by AC/DC, from High Voltage (1976)
This song is perfect for sports events; it’s a must at AC/DC concerts, and it could also pump you up for those final exams! I didn’t understand what the “oi” was for when I first heard “T.N.T.,” but at the same time, I didn’t care because it’s fun to chant over and over again. Also, recently I’ve discovered that the main riff was all Malcolm Young! I was too busy staring at his brother Angus chanting “oi” that I didn’t even notice Mal strumming in the background (or most recently, Stevie Young strumming that same riff)! Man, what a genius; rest in peace, Mal!
2. “Painkiller” by Judas Priest, from Painkiller (1990)
I don’t want to start a war, but I find some of Judas Priest’s songs a bit tame and boring. Maybe it’s cause I haven’t been listening to the right tracks, or they kept on changing their style, and I got sick of it. However, “Painkiller” is a badass song, and that album overall was badass! The drums kick you in the face immediately, and Rob Halford is screaming his lungs out on the vocals. I’ve seen live videos for “Painkiller,” and Scott Travis’s footwork on the double kick drum had me shook! This song shows no messing around, and that’s why I love it.
3. “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by The Temptations, from Gettin’ Ready (1966)
Earlier in the semester, I was binge-watching American Idol, and I fell in love with some of the songs I discovered from the show. I can’t recall how many times people covered The Temptations, but despite that, I never get sick of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg;” it’s classic Motown, and when George Huff sang it on season 3, he nailed it! I only had time to watch YouTube clips, so once I finish finals, I think I’ll have to binge-watch season 3 of American Idol next, haha.
4. “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” by Bon Jovi, from Keep the Faith (1992)
Keep the Faith (1992) is Bon Jovi’s best album, in my opinion. There was no commercial hair metal nonsense (not that it’s always a bad thing); it was just straight-up classic rock filled with impeccable guitar playing by Richie Sambora. You thought I couldn’t make this about Sambora, well you thought wrong! “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” describes Jon Bon Jovi’s personality perfectly because he’s still singing (despite losing his voice completely). I’ll give him credit for his performance on this track; let’s cut him some slack this time!
5. “We are the Unknown” by James Durbin, from Riot on Sunset (2016)
James Durbin got a lot of crap from the Judas Priest’s Screaming for Vengeance album review because his version of “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” was “awful.” Don’t worry, I still adore you, Durbin! What I love about him is that he represents the misunderstood, those that got bullied, and people that are afraid to speak up! Even people with disabilities, he represents all of those individuals, and that is why I love him, and he is my second favorite American Idol contestant ever! “We Are the Unknown” was calling my name, and suddenly I was taken back to high school, where I felt misunderstood, and I was in a terrible place in my life. This song gives me hope that everyone has the opportunity to be heard, and I mean everyone!
6. “Drift Away” (1973) by Dobie Gray
Technically, it got recorded by John Henry Kurtz on his 1972 album Reunion, but Dobie Gray’s version is more well-known, and he made it a hit in 1973. Corey Clark did a fantastic version of “Drift Away” on season 2 of American Idol. I don’t know what he’s been through, but despite his mishaps, I was sad when he got disqualified from the show because his high range was incredible. Bon Jovi also performed the song on the New Jersey tour, and Sambora sang the second verse, but he should’ve sung the whole thing! Sambora was the best lead singer Bon Jovi ever had, period!
7. “Stranger in this Town” by Richie Sambora, from Stranger in this Town (1991)
I might as well change this post to “Richie Sambora is the Best and Here’s Why” because that’s where I’m heading, apparently. His first album is f**king brilliant, and it’s such a shame not many people know about it. I still get chills listening to that album, especially the title track. Stranger in this Town (1991) is very blues-based, and I loved every minute of it. But back to the title track, it’s hard feeling like no one knows your name and overshadowed by Jon Bon Jovi. Without going too deep, I’ve always felt invisible, so I connected with this song, and months later, I still love it!
8. “When Love and Hate Collide” demo version (1995) by Def Leppard
I specifically chose the demo version because I’m still mad knowing that Def Leppard never released the demo version on music streaming sites. Back in mid-October, I found out that their Volume 2 Boxset has the demo version of “When Love and Hate Collide,” but I held back from buying it because I wanted to save my money. Nov. 7 came along and said, “I’ve waited long enough; I’m ordering that boxset!” The boxset came with Adrenalize (1992) and Slang (1996) too so, that was perfect. Why was I desperate to have a physical copy of the demo version? Because it contains Steve Clark’s final recorded guitar solo!!!
9. “Harvester of Sorrow” by Metallica, from …And Justice for All (1988)
I bought the …And Justice For All (1988) CD in early October (along with three other ones) from the Book Off, which was another gamble because I only knew “One” was on there. But I remember watching a Metallica concert from The Black Album tour, and I liked a song called “Harvester of Sorrow.” Little did I know that the album I just bought had “Harvester of Sorrow,” which was a pleasant surprise. I also like that the album came with a lyric book because now I know what Jason Newsted was singing for the backup vocals. That song is a headbanger for sure!
Before I get to my last song on the list, here are a few honorable mentions.
“So Good” by Bratz, from Bratz: Rock Angelz (2005)
This is the closest thing Bratz ever got to rock ‘n’ roll! I don’t know who did the vocals for this song, but she did a good job! I own a few Bratz DVDs, and I play this song once in a while because it’s “so good” (no pun intended). But now I realize how unrealistic it is to have five guitar players but no drummer and no bass player. Then again, it is a kids’ movie. As a heads-up, these next two songs will be from kids’ shows/movies, and they are honorable mentions because if I included them on my list, then this post would get no views!
“What if I Shine” by Barbie, from Barbie in Rock ‘N Royals (2015)
From the movie Barbie in Rock ‘N Royals (2015), this song is a bop! I don’t remember how I came across the film, but I do remember how much I liked “What if I Shine” because I could connect with the lyrics. It’s about taking a chance and not being afraid to show the world who you are. Barbie Rock ‘N Royals had some great songs, actually, and it reminded me of Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (2010), only with Barbie.
“Dorothy the Dinosaur” by The Wiggles, from The Wiggles (1991)
I could write a post about how much I miss Greg, Murray, and Jeff, wishing they were still in The Wiggles, but that post probably won’t get any views. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been singing their songs this semester; I sang “Toot Toot, Chugga Chugga, Big Red Car” while feeding my dog, haha! “Dorothy the Dinosaur” is one of my favorites, and I have no idea why they stopped playing it live. The last time they performed that was on Wiggledance! (1997), I think. It’s not too crazy for me to like The Wiggles though, Captain Feathersword did an impression of James Hetfield a few times.
Here’s a bonus video for your entertainment!
10. “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, from The Razors Edge (1990)
I just learned the lyrics to “Thunderstruck,” and all I can say is Brian Johnson’s high-pitched screams are not easy to do! I can’t sing this song without shouting, which probably doesn’t make it any better, but I like to go for the full effect. I’m telling you, once concerts open up again and AC/DC go back on tour, I can’t wait to see them perform “Thunderstruck” live. With Phil Rudd particularly because I love how simple his hi-hat pattern is, unlike Chris Slade’s hi-hat (it’s hard to explain, so work with me, people). But seriously, if you don’t scream “thunder” during the song, then you’re a crazy person!
There you have it! Those are ten songs that have stuck with me during Fall 2020. Can I say what a weird jump that was going from The Wiggles to AC/DC? Man, that was weird! But let me know in the comments below which songs you’ve been listening to nonstop during Fall 2020!
Take care and see ya real soon!