RIFF REWIND 2006: Lordi, Weird Al and Amy Winehouse

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Amy Winehouse, Back to Black

I didn’t really notice last week what with all the despair, but music is turning around! After my complaints about the early ’00s, things are getting back to where I like it: Extremely metal.

That’s right, 40 percent of this week’s list is face-melting heavy metal. So if you don’t want your face melted clean off your face, turn around and get out while you can!

(Please don’t turn around and get out while you can. Your attention sustains me).

DragonForce — “Through the Fire and Flames”

I was not kidding about the metal. We’re going right into DragonForce!

Dragonforce is what would happen if the weird long-haired kids from your high school who played D&D at lunch had musical talent. The dual guitar solo has little picture-in-picture insets of their hands just so you can appreciate how crazy it is. At least one of these guys definitely owns a van with a wizard airbrushed on the side.

It’s just so beautiful and pure. Really gives you hope, doesn’t it?

Lordi — “Hard Rock Hallelujah”

I was not kidding about the metal.

Lordi may very well be my favorite band of the 21st century so far, though they’ve got stiff competition from fellow Scandinavian theatrical metal band Ghost.

They’re like Gwar, if the members of Gwar took themselves seriously. Everything about Lordi is complete and utter madness in the best possible way. Its music videos are even miniature horror movies, from the above zombie-themed “Hard Rock Hallelujah” to my personal favorite, the Evil-Dead-inspired “Blood Red Sandman,” which is creepier than most actual horror movies

And the best part of “Hard Rock Hallelujah”? It won the Eurovision Song Contest! That’s right! The annual contest to find the best song in Europe that gave us ABBA and Celine Dion was won by this crazy horror metal band from Finland. In one round, the lead singer had slowly-expanding wings! [Roman Gokhman note: This is a pop song, Danny. You got tricked].

Lordi, man. Lordi.

Gnarls Barkley — “Crazy”

My third-favorite thing about Lordi is… oh, we’re moving on? I guess we’re moving on.

Look, yeah, CeeLo Green is a creepy little man with a history of sexual assault accusations and charges. But this is a very, very good song. I’m OK appreciating the work while also being OK if Green’s musical career never recovers.

I’d also like to give a shoutout to the other half of Gnarls Barkley, Danger Mouse. He produced “Feel Good Inc.,” which scores him quite a few points in my book. It’s a great song on a great album, and amazingly it was one of the first things he ever produced.

“Weird Al” Yankovic — “White & Nerdy”

After last week’s… distress, let’s say, I’m putting another Weird Al song on the list as self-care.

This video has Keegan Michael Key, Academy Award winner Jordan Peele, and for some reason Donnie Osmond frantically dancing in the background. Yankovic as a rapper looks hilariously like Riff Raff (the rapper of questionable talent, not the handyman) before he was even a thing to parody. There are D&D jokes and framed portraits of Kirk and Picard over his bed.

Things are really bad in the world. Do yourself a favor and watch it once or twice. It’ll drastically improve your day.

Amy Winehouse — “Back to Black”

Kinda a downer to finish the list, considering Amy Winehouse’s membership in the 27 Club, but… wow, was she good at music. She deserves to be mentioned with Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Jimi Hendrix even without the grim connection. “Back to Black,” at least in my opinion, is an all-time great song.

Remember, young musicians: “Scientists” may say there’s no notable spike in musician deaths at 27 years old. But just in case, lock yourself in a room and wrap yourself in bubble wrap from your 27th birthday until you turn 28. Just in case! Humanity can’t afford to lose much more musical talent. We’re already down to Justin Bieber and a bunch of Soundcloud rappers.

Honorable Mentions

Rob Zombie — “Foxy Foxy”
Red Hot Chili Peppers — “Dani California”
The Killers — “When You Were Young”
My Chemical Romance — “Welcome to the Black Parade”

Follow editor Daniel J. Willis at Twitter.com/BayAreaData

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