Album Review of Halestorm’s The Strange Case Of…
Halestorm is one of those rock bands that has had an impact on music in a short period of time and is involved in the rebirth of Rock music. After scoring two top 10 singles (“I Get Off” and “It’s Not You”) from their self-titled debut and touring steadily for two years, they returned to the studio in 3 sessions to record their new album.
Singer Lzzy Hale has channeled the soul of Pat Benetar, Joan Jett, the Heart sister, and even Lady Gaga and made it a voice of her own now. She is one of the most down to earth bands on the road who treats her fans like a part of family. Lzzy’s brother, Arejay is one of the best young drummers out there, showing there is more to drums than what you’re hearing in today’s rock. On this new album, you can tell they experimented on different drum placement and recording of the drums so they stand out and in your face. Rounding out the band is Joe Hottinger, who has really stepped up his guitar playing on this record and combined with Lzzy, gives Halestorm a great guitar attack. Along with the rest of the band, Josh Smith on Bass gives Halestorm a solid foundation.
Out on the road with fellow label mates, Staind and Godsmack for the Mass Chaos Tour – what better time to review this new album than now.
First song on the CD is Love Bites (So Do I) and it opens with Arejay counting off before the guitars tear into the song. This song came about as Lzzy says, “I was talking to this little girl over Twitter who was going through her first breakup, and she was asking me for advice,” recalls Hale, who regularly interacts with her fans online. “She typed ‘Love Bites,’ and I replied, ‘Well, so do you, darling. You can still bite back.’ It was meant to be an empowering song for people when love goes down the tubes, and I think it’s a very realistic way of looking at relationships. Nobody talks about all the crap you have to do to keep something alive or just deal with your boyfriend or girlfriend. They always talk about falling in love or having your heart broken. So this is a way of saying, yes, everything can end, but it’s rejuvenating to stand up and go, ‘This sucks right now, but it’s not going to take me down with it.’”
Mz Hyde has a very psycho frenetic sound to it and shows the direction this album has in store for you with the many different sides and emotions each track has.
I Miss the Misery is one of my favorite songs; it opens with Lzzy screaming (I Miss The Misery) before going into lyrics of a relationship gone wrong and not taking it anymore. It’s kind of a big middle finger to anyone who has ever messed with her.
Freak Like Me reminds me of a song Lady Gaga wishes she could write if making a rock album. This song just kicks ass and hearing this song live is a head banger for sure.
Beautiful With You is where I hear the Heart connection and some of the purest lyrics I heard from Lzzy and her exposing her soul on this song is beautiful. When you listen to it you feel every word she is singing and is one of the best ballads this year.
In Your Room is another slow tempo song, with an almost country feel to it before kicking in and the soaring vocals. This song, like the whole album is one where you just hit play and listen to it all the way through on a road trip or just sitting back with a cold one with your partner.
Break In is a sensitive piano ballad that almost sounds as if she is singing to her fans before going on stage or not on the road, but also a love song between two people apart as they meet again.
Rock Show – If Break In was about her fans, this song is about how her fans may feel seeing them in concert and the freedom a live show can bring to fans. By far, one of the best songs on this album and love how this song just builds to this huge arena rock sound.
Daughters of Darkness opens with tribal drumming before kicking in. Lzzy said this song is an admission that women, like men, have their dark side. “Even with the sweetest woman in the world, you click a switch somewhere, and she’s a little bit crazy or she has her secrets,” Hale says. “And a lot of times you see these girls let all that stuff out at our concerts, which is really gratifying.”
You Call Me A Bitch Like It’s A Bad Thing Is a straight up rocker and in your face with the lyrics.
American Boys is about all the different men in the USA that lzzy finds great about this country. At the break, the guitars kick in with a sick solo; this song is for sure a live crowd pleaser.
Here’s To Us reminds me of a Kid rock song but with even more ballsiness than the Kid himself would have. It’s a song about celebrating the ups and downs of your journey as you go along because even the bad times can be reasons to “crack open the champagne.” It’s a great way to close out the album, leaving the listener with a sense to celebrate life.
This album continues the recent streak of Rock music making a leap back up the charts along with Seether and Shinedown. If you’re looking for an album to listen to from start to finish, then this is the one for you. Halestorm has taken a big leap from the first album and hit a homerun.