Halestorm is the best female-fronted hard rock band playing today, bar none; and, frontwoman Lzzy Hale has one of the best female voices in all of metal and hard rock. In addition, the very beautiful Lzzy Hale has made Revolver magazine’s list of The 25 Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock in 2011 (#2), 2012 (#1), and 2013 (#2). Halestorm is the present and future of women in hard rock music …
Halestorm is my favorite “newer” rock band, female-fronted or otherwise. They were the catalyst for my obsession with female rockers which, eventually, led to the creation of my first blog Rock Chicks Rule! last year. I have seen Halestorm perform live twice: first on September 4, 2012, and, again, on December 10, 2013, both at The House of Blues Cleveland. Lzzy, as expected, rocked my world both times. Lzzy and I, by the way, were born on the same day (October 10), separated by many years. She is, of course, much younger than me.
Halestorm hails from Red Lion, PA, and was formed by siblings Elizabeth “Lzzy” Hale (vocals, guitar, piano) and Arejay Hale (drums), with Joe Hottinger (guitar) and Josh Smith (bass) rounding out the line-up. Halestorm sounds like a female-fronted version of Bon Jovi with a dash of Guns N’ Rose and a little bit of Heart and Pat Benatar. The band has released only two full albums, to date: Halestorm (2009) and The Strange Case of … (2012). Their debut was amazing, for sure, but, the follow-up was even better, becoming my favorite album released in 2012. Halestorm has also released two excellent covers EPs: ReAniMate: The CoVeRs eP (2011) and ReAniMate 2.0: The CoVeRs eP (2013), which pay tribute to their influences. Currently, they are working on their much-anticipated third album.
So, allow me to share my perfect Halestorm playlist which includes 20 songs clocking in at just under 80 minutes, enough to fill a standard CD-R (if anybody still burns CDs to listen to in their cars) …
1. “It’s Not You” (2009). This Bon Jovi-esque lead track from Halestorm always starts my playlists. It was the 2nd single released from that album. The track opens with cowbell, then, wastes no time, jumping right into its addictive chorus. Favorite line: “Sorry I’ve turned you on but I’m kissin’ you off.”
2. “Bet U Wish U Had Me Back” (2009). This spiteful power ballad was the 4th single from Halestorm, and, is my favorite Halestorm song; but, sadly, they didn’t play it at either of the shows I’ve seen. I must admit, though, that the first time I heard this song, on the radio, I thought it was Kelly Clarkson rocking out. But, Clarkson wouldn’t deliver lines like: “And do you close your eyes with her / And pretend I’m doin’ you again, like only I can.” The single includes a re-recorded “Rock Radio Version”. Both are amazing!
3. “Love Bites (So Do I)” (2012). This sleazy hard rocker was the 1st single from The Strange Case …, and, it won a Grammy Award for “Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance”, in 2013, over artists like Anthrax, Iron Maiden, and Megadeth! I love when Lzzy screams: “I’ve felt pleasure without pain! / My soul you’ll never tame!”
4. “I Get Off” (2009). This track, another sleazy hard rocker, was the 1st single from Halestorm, and, the first song I heard by the band. However, I didn’t know who sang it until after I had fallen for Halestorm on “Bet U Wish U Had Me Back”. It’s like an update of “I Touch Myself” (1990) by Divinyls, as Lzzy gets turned on by a voyeur watching her undress: “I get off on you, getting off on me.”
5. “I Miss The Misery” (2012). This dark rocker was the 2nd single from The Strange Case …, and, it can be heard in a Bud Light “Friends Like This” TV commercial. This song’s about missing the pain and sorrow of a bad relationship when it’s finally over. “I love the way that it hurts,” Lzzy sings. “I don’t miss you, I miss the misery!”
6. “Mz. Hyde” (2012). This heavy alternative rocker, the 5th single from The Strange Case …, is one of several gothic-esque rockers on that album. In this song, Lzzy embraces her dark side: “Welcome to the nightmare in my head (Oh God!) / Say hello to something scary / The monster in your bed (Oh God!).” I love, at the end of the bridge, when she whispers, assuringly, to her lover: “It’s me, Lzzy, I swear!”
Watch the video for “Mz. Hyde”, Halestorm‘s latest, here:
7. “Familiar Taste of Poison” (2009). This sultry, Evanescence-esque ballad about intense toxic desire was the 3rd single from Halestorm, and it’s Lizzy‘s best vocal performance on that album. Favorite line: “I breathe you in again, just to feel you / Underneath my skin …”
8. “Beautiful With You” (2012). This track is sincere, unashamed pop/rock in which Lzzy‘s insecurities disappear when she’s with someone who loves her. Lzzy sings: “I stare, at the girl in the mirror / T-shirt, torn up jeans, no beauty queen.” She adds: “But the way that you see me / You get underneath me / And all my defenses just fall away, fall away / I am …” Perfect for a Valentine’s Day mix (if you’re a girl)!
9. “Freak Like Me” (2012). This track, another heavy alt-rocker, was the 3rd single from The Strange Case …, and, it’s a shout-out to Halestorm‘s dedicated fans, like me: “If you’re a freak like me, wave your flag / If you’re a freak like me, get off your ass / It’s our time now to let it all hang out.”
10. “You Call Me a Bitch Like It’s a Bad Thing” (2012). This track, another Bon Jovi-esque rocker, is Lizzy‘s ode to being a confident and assertive female who knows what she wants. Favorite line: “But you call me up and have the nerve to say, C U Next Tuesday.”
11. “I’m Not An Angel” (2009). In this somber ballad, from Halestorm, co-written with songwriters Kara DioGuardi and Marti Frederiksen, tortured Lzzy warns a lover she can’t resist, or stop hurting: “I don’t have wings, to fly with me won’t be easy / ‘Cause I’m not an angel.”
12. “Innocence” (2009). This alt-rocker, co-written with Ben Moody (ex-Evanescence, We Are the Fallen), is similar, in theme, to “I’m not An Angel”. Lzzy warns: “If you choose to stay, you’ll throw it all away / And I just want to take your innocence.”
13. “Break In” (2012). This track is an emotional piano ballad that Halestorm plays in concert with Lzzy alone on stage with only a piano, and her voice. She opens her heart, completely, to someone she loves (or her fans): “Yeah it’s perfectly reckless / Damn, you leave me defenseless / So break in, break in.”
14. “In Your Room“ (2012). In this passionate pop/rocker (similar to “Beautiful With You”), Lzzy begs the one she loves to open his heart: “Let me in your room / I’ve seen the rest of you / But I know there’s something more, in your room.” The excellent bonus track “Private Parts” (feat. James Michael of Sixx:A.M.) is lyrically similar.
15. “Better Sorry Than Safe” (2009). In this mid-tempo ballad, Lzzy wants something better even though what she has is good enough: “I can’t even think of one good reason / Why I’m always thinking about leaving / It’s not like everything’s so horrible.”
16. “Rock Show“ (2012). This track, apparently, was inspired by a young female fan’s letter to Lzzy about seeing Halestorm in concert and being inspired to start her own band [I read that on Wikipedia!], but, the song captures the thrill of seeing any rock concert.
17. “Daughters of Darkness“ (2012). This heavy alt-rocker is Lzzy‘s call-to-arms for all the heavy metal and hard rock chicks standing strong on the front lines with the men who dominate the field: “We came to battle baby / We came to win the war / We won’t surrender ’til we get what we’re looking for.” Respect.
18. “What Were You Expecting?” (2009). This hard rocker is similar, thematically, to “You Call Me a Bitch …” in that Lzzy asserts her sexual independence like men do all the time: “What were you expecting? / Another lullaby? Are you kidding? You must be high, you must be high / ‘Cause it was just one kiss.”
19. “American Boys” (2012). This track is a country rocker not unlike any Toby Keith song, and, as such, it’s just waiting to be used in a Ford F-150 commercial! This song is Lzzy‘s ode to her male fans (like me): “American boys, gotta love ’em, God I need ’em, God I want ’em / They’re my drug of choice, yeah, yeah, yeah.”
20. “Here’s To You” (2012). This acoustic rocker was the 4th single from The Strange Case …, and, it’s last only because it’s a perfect closing track. It was co-written with singer/songwriter (ex-child star) Danielle Brisebois, and, covered on the Fox TV series Glee (w/o expletives). The single was re-recorded as a “Guest Version” featuring Slash, Brent Smith (Shinedown), Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge), James Michael (Sixx: A.M.), Tyler Connolly (Theory Of A Deadman), David Draiman (Disturbed / Device), and Maria Brink (In This Moment)!
So, there it is. The perfect Halestorm playlist. However, don’t count out the songs not listed here, including the bonus tracks [“Tell Me Where It Hurts” from Halestorm and “Hate It When You See Me Cry” from The Strange Case of … are my favorites], because every song by Halestorm is worth listening to!
If you’re not a fan, you should be.