By Emily Duff
As we approach Halloween, I decided it was necessary to discuss the artist whose tracks make the perfect Halloween playlist. For me, no cheesy playlist is complete without Alice Cooper - whether you want an element of spookiness to bring October to life or the perfect track to accompany your road trip, his groovy rhythms and haunting lyricism is perfect. Alice Cooper is always my go-to and as it’s halloween I thought it best to focus on the Alice Cooper tracks that make or break a halloween party soundtrack.
In order of worst to best (although all four are great), I’ll have to start with 'I Love The Dead'. Firstly, what's striking about this Cooper track is its more chilled out vibes. While still being a head-bangger with his use of killer - pun intended - guitar, the majority of the track is slow and haunting rather than Cooper’s usual use of pushing horror in your face. With less of a focus on heavy guitar and drum, creepy lyrics like, “The bluing flesh for me to hold”, take centre stage and allow a listener to truly squirm at his disturbing imagery. However, the addition of piano makes this track groovy so don’t be too fearful of the gore.
Following on, 'Welcome To My Nightmare', the title track of his 1975 album of the same name, is another chilled out but typically eerie Cooper track. Using the backing band of Lou Reed, this track has a very ‘70s feel to it with funky bass riffs in the chorus that get your hips moving instantly. Starting similarly slow to 'I Love The Dead', super funky guitar melodies take over towards the end of the track after listening to Cooper whisper, “I think you’re gonna like it”, in your ear. Use of trumpets and saxophone and piano create a contrapuntal and intense sound that freaks out a listener in a different way to 'I Love The Dead' as the sound effects of unidentifiable but presumably monster noises take focus over freaky lyrics.
Then the classic, 'Poison'. Released on his album 'Trash' in 1989, this single was Cooper’s first top ten single since 1977 and for a very good reason. Opening with a synthy guitar, the track then immediately breaks into the classic Cooper rock and roll riffs we’re used to hearing. With a sneaky silent moment beforehand the chorus is given an intensity before the famous, “I wanna taste you but your lips are venomous poison”.
My personal Halloween favourite, 'Feed My Frankenstein', embodies the cheesy spookiness we all need. Opening with a dialogue between Cooper and his Frankenstein monster, the track then goes into detail to make it as outlandish as possible. I don’t think this track needs much explaining as it’s a halloween classic but make sure to add it to your party playlists immediately.
One of the most successful and influential ‘70s rock-horror artists, to me, Alice Cooper embodies Halloween. With relatable singles like 'I’m Eighteen' and his spooky tracks discussed in this article, Alice Cooper has well deservingly managed to remain relevant and interesting for decades. As part of your spooky movie marathon I would definitely recommend 'Dark Shadows'. A cheesy Tim Burton plot but with the classic Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter cast. Fun fact: Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper also went on to form Hollywood Vampires in 2015.
If you'd like to find out more about what Alice Cooper is up to nowadays, the links to all his socials are below via the icons:
By Edward Burnett
As music listeners we have our preferences when it comes to genres. We are more likely to listen to music types which suit us and at Rock N Roll Reports, we are no different. It is no secret that we predominantly specialise in indie rock acts whether they be soft rock, alt rock or indie pop among others. Regardless of their individual names and labels, they are all part of the wider genre we aim to cover. However, as music lovers ourselves, we are always open to new sounds and every so often an artist of another genre pricks our collective ears. In the case of this month’s second Amplified Analysis, a highly talented solo artist did just that with her newly released single and so it is time to move to the focus of this article. We NEED to talk about Hana Canhasi.
Hana Canhasi is not your usual start up musical artist. She doesn’t have happy beginnings or reasons that led her to creating her songs. Her songs don’t follow the usual topics that the main crowd of upcoming artists rely on. A singer-songwriter in her twenties, Canhasi moved to the United States in 1999 when her family fled from war in their home country of Kosovo. Having spoken to her for the previous month, she has told me that from a young age she has always loved performing, partaking in talent shows and of course, playing the guitar. Prior to this year, Hana had not recorded her vocals on a microphone yet she felt ready to do so with the pandemic occurring and what a decision that was. This now brings us to the present and more importantly, her fresh new track, ‘Drama’.
Despite already releasing her debut single ‘Deserve’ this year, our focus very much lies on her follow up song. ‘Drama’, as Hana has told me, is written about a difficult time in her life when some close friends turned their backs on her showing a lack of character. Hana said it was a “situation that was hard to deal with” but one that led to her going professional with her music and ultimately the release of ‘Drama’, in effect going full circle. This anecdote is key to understanding the type of person Canhasi is. Despite hardships like having to flee her home country at a young age due to conflict and also being betrayed by those apparently closest, she still prevails and powers forward, all the more stronger for it. This isn’t a shy new singer who sticks to the safe basics and writes love songs. Canhasi instead channels this pain, focusing on her empowerment from these negative experiences. For an up and coming artist this is an extremely bold and experimental path to take but it is most certainly a welcomed one.
Having discussed the meanings and theme of ‘Drama’, it is now pivotal to analyse the actual sound structure of the new single also. As mentioned, the song can be described as being of the RnB genre with heavy themes of this which run throughout. The song reflects Canhasi’s mood as it provides the listener with a chilled and calming beat yet with a bold confidence in Chanhasi’s voice creating a delightful audio juxtaposition. Calm yet collective would be fitting words to describe the singe as there is a true atmosphere to ‘Drama’ which makes the listener feel transported to Canhasi’s domain for the three minute runtime. The tune lulls you to a state of tranquility so that you are able to give all of your attention to canvas’s voice and the poignant lyrics which carry such meaning. Alongside the success of the music is of course the talent that is Hana’s voice. Her vocal style is similar the of Ariana Grande’s, possessing an impressively powerful vocal range to match as well. Each word seems to roll off her tongue with ease matching the smooth flowing tune expertly. The way Canhasi lingers on a note, almost wobbling the final words of a line, only acts to amplify the mood she is aiming (and succeeding) to create as the control she has over her voice deeply reflects the control she has over the situation she is singing about.
Overall, a single of another genre has to be engaging and a true standout to gain the attention of others, especially so much so to feel moved to write an analysed review of said single. Hana Canhasi’s music is exactly that. ‘Drama’ embodies a mesmerically confident vibe which demonstrates to the listener exactly who is in control and holding the proverbial cards. This is unmistakably fitting as Canhasi’s strength of character is monumental having managed to come through multiple hardships in her life and still follow her musical dreams, producing and releasing high quality songs regardless. Hana’s welcoming warmness and admirable strength is only exceeded by her stunning talent thus highlighting her to be a true future star on the rise.
If you'd like to keep up to date with Hana's news and future releases or listen to 'Drama' on YouTube, you can find links to all of her socials via the icons below:
By Emma Furrier
The power of music holds no boundaries, and perhaps no one knows that better than English singer songwriter, Graham Smith. After years of live performances, now at age 67, the Sussex native has released his first single, 'Safe in my Hands'. In this debut track, Smith draws from his influence of American West Coast sound, and taps into his own acquired wisdom after traveling the world and observing the human condition. Inspired by the harmonious vocals of American legends such as Don Henley, Jackson Browne, and Graham Nash, 'Safe in my Hands' presents its sound in a beautifully constructed, folk-rock inspired ballad.
The track begins with the haunting echo of piano, and then picks up its tempo in a collective melody that kicks off subtle drums and acoustic guitar with a breezy effervescence. His voice holds a youthful quality that catches you by surprise, and contrasts his maturity and insight. Multiplied vocals join together in a blissful harmony, reminiscent of Beach Boys-style congruence, which quickly envelops you into a realm of comfort and unity. There is a sense of reassurance to it all; a hopeful cadence that affirms his musicality after years utilizing song to win over the woman he loved, and scouring London to locate every Bob Dylan and Beatles songbook and record possible. Smith took notes along the way, which resulted in this single emitting refrains of nostalgia and the spirit of a life well lived. It holds the qualities of something familiar, yet brand new and hopeful, all in a blissful union.
Smith’s lyrics reflect universal human emotion and desire, especially in times of need. When everything in the world is uncertain, we all need something to cling to, and for many, that is the power of music. He grants us 4 minutes of pure consolation, where we are swathed in the warmth of his voice and the reassurance of his words. “You’re safe in my hands/Love is a lifeline/Part of the plan/It’s part of the grand design”. While the world may presently leave us cast in uncertainty, it is the resilience of the human spirit and the guidance of love that will keep us united.
Graham Smith exemplifies the notion that the best things take time, and that a slow burn is better than a hasty start. After two years of delicately crafting his debut record with producer Matthew Parisi, he will be releasing new tracks every few weeks via Red Chimp Records. If this track is anything to go by, I look forward to relishing in the ease of his future efforts.
If you would like to find out more about Graham and Studio Chimp, you can find links to their social medias via the icons as well as the Youtube link to 'Safe In My Hands' below: