That's My Jam: Fallen Angels

The problem with most pop-oriented rock bands is that they're usually not heavy enough for rock fans, but in large doses they tend to get too abrasive for people who like more danceable fare. Results vary slightly if the guys in the band are good looking -- but in general when you find yourself caught between audiences like that, it's easy to get swept under the rug.

Oh sure you'll find a handful of rabid followers, but if you can't land that one hit song that everybody likes to have around when they need to wake up in the mornings you'll always sort of be on the outside looking in.

Such is the case I fear with Ra, a self-glossed alternative metal band from LA that showed up on my radar somewhere in the early 2000's with a great little song called "Do You Call My Name?"

Ra has all sorts of things going for it. Arresting vocals, tight melodies and pop-song like hooks, heavy guitars and a taste for exotic influences in their songwriting. A few years back they did a cover of the Police's "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" that ranks as one of my favorite cover versions of all time.

The problem with Ra (at least for me) is that they never really seem to dive below that surface. They always sort of stay in a range where all their good songs are, you know ..ok, but all their good songs sound oddly similar to each other. There's a driving beat, a soaring, easily repeatable chorus, and just enough of a rock edge to get your head bobbing..
But not much else.
Think of them sort of like Disturbed -- just a lot less heavy, and without all the shouting or dissatisfaction with the government in their lyrics.

Or to put it another way: Ra is the band I never buy whole albums from off of Itunes, but I rarely have much interest in downloading illegally either (is that just me, or does anyone else have bands in their libraries like that?). The songs catch my interest -- but the albums are more often than not letdowns in comparison.
It's simply faster for me to shell out the $0.99 and cut to the chase.
And yet, when one of their songs gets into my system, it tends to stay there for a while. Like this one, that's found it's way into heavy rotation once again lately. Makes for really great driving music when you want to get out the road and sing along at the top of your lungs.

Btw - Even though I generally liked the movie Constantine (or at least enjoyed what it was trying to do) I was really hoping to find a better video to go with this song. Unfortunately the only other choice I had was a similar clip featuring snippets of that Kevin Smith movie Dogma. Keanu's a risk I admit, but I really want you to appreciate the song -- so I refuse to let your very first exposure to it be associated with alternating images of Ben Affleck acting like a douche and Linda Fiorentino talking religion to Alan Rickman while wearing a flannel shirt and a pair of granny panties.
So, you know -- don't say I never did nothin' for ya.
Anyways, here's Ra, with Fallen Angels.

[Listening to:  Nine Inch Nails - "You Know What You Are?" ]


wigsf said…
I've been racking my brain to see if I can come up with any such band that I think of in similar terms. It's really hard to do when I'm at work and my music is at home. But I'll give it a try.

In the pre-download days, these would be bands that I would just buy the greatest hits and been content with just the greatest hits. Here's a for example: Nazareth. There's maybe four or five songs worth listening to by Nazareth, right? Hair of the Dog, This Flight Tonight, Razamanazz, Love Hurts and maybe, MAYBE Shanghai'd in Shanghai.

Bet you thought you'd never see anybody mention Shanghai'd in Shanghai on your blog before, huh? Well, if anybody was going to do it, it would have to be me.
Hex said…
WIGSF -- you know, that's probably a better way to put it, "Who are your 'Greatest Hits' bands?"

It's kinda like how when I say, "Oh man, I love Heart -- they rock" what I really mean is "Actually, I really just love Barracuda, Magic Man, and Crazy On You. Most of the rest I hardly remember, and then after the one girl went all Carnie Wilson and Nancy forgot how to play guitar I kinda stopped paying attention altogether.

..but yeah, Heart is great. They rock!"
wigsf said…

Plus Nancy Wilson aged nicely.
Werdna said…
Nice spam ^

I don't know, most bands I get into I guess I like most of the catalog. But I guess there are some that I just like the hits.

Tom Petty- I just like the greatest hits until just about "southern accents".

Rolling Stones- pretty much greatest hits. Their B-sides can be amazing but generally the early hits are what I'm good with.

Maybe Talking heads the same way.