There seems to be an endless fascination with the fact that today is 12-12-12. It is likely the last time that most of us will ever see the month, date and year the same again. Years from now, this will be just another day, but it will be interesting to look back and see the Top 12 Hard Rock Songs of 2012…
 Pop Evil – “Purple”
Every once in a while, a song comes along that you can listen to over and over again without ever growing tired of hearing it. Songs like this usually end up becoming a band’s signature song that is played at every live show (usually as an encore). Pop Evil has some great songs, but there is something about “Purple” that elevates it above the rest of their music.
The imagery that is created in the mind’s eye with the opening poetic lyric sets the tone for the song…
“Such a beautiful color…you wear upon your skin…and the perfect shade of purple…on a flower permanent…and I’m constantly reminded of a past that never bloomed.”
The melody and infectious hook of the song is brilliantly accented by the band’s harmonies with Leigh Kakaty’s lead vocals.
“I’ve never been down this road before…as the days go by I only miss you more…I thought one day we would touch the sky…never grow up…never gonna die. I never realized what you meant to me…til I tried drowning out your memory…but it burns red…like it’s not over…it only hurts when I’m sober.”
It’s rare that a song about regret and love lost can make you feel so uplifted, but “Purple” is the exception to the rule.
 Slash with Myles Kennedy – “Anastasia”
Guns N’ Roses fans will always wonder what might have been if one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time didn’t fall apart because of drugs and egos, but if they were still together today, the hard rock world would have missed out on Slash with Myles Kennedy. With all due respect to Axl Rose, Slash and Kennedy are a better combination. It’s hard to believe that a singer as talented as Kennedy languished in relative obscurity until teaming up with Slash.
The brilliance of Slash and Kennedy as individuals shines even brighter when they are together. “Anastasia” is the perfect song to showcase the Slash/Kennedy sound to those who still haven’t jumped on the bandwagon. Kennedy’s four-octave range is not a studio enhancement; he sounds exactly the same in concert.
Many other songs by the duo were worthy of being in the top 12 of 2012, but as the saying goes…“variety is the spice of life.”
Hard rock fans would be well served to use “Anastasia” as a starting point to dig deeper into the Slash/Kennedy catalog.
 Aranda – “Satisfied”
Passion, pain and vengeance may not be a recipe for happiness, but this lethal combination does make for a great hard rock song. It takes a special talent to make a slow, relatively stripped down song about lost love into an edgy hard rock song, and Aranda has done so masterfully with “Satisfied.”
Dameon Aranda delivers the song with such pain and emotion that you start to feel melancholy while listening to it, but it is so moving that you don’t want the song to end.
“And I…no, I never want to see you smile… I…no, I never want to see you die…but I never want to see you satisfied.”
 Halestorm – “Here’s To Us”
The raging pool of testosterone that is the hard rock genre does not make it easy for female rockers to shine, unless of course they can hang with the boys. Lzzy Hale of Halestorm not only hangs with the boys, her vocal delivery has more balls than many of her male counterparts. Hale is the Lita Ford of her generation.
A lot of consideration was given to putting “I Miss The Misery” in the top 12, but “Here’s To Us” got the nod because it is quite possibly the edgiest love song ever written…
“Here’s to us…here’s to love…all the times that we fucked up. Here’s to you…fill the glass…cause the last few nights have kicked my ass. If they give ya hell…tell ‘em go fuck themselves!”
This song has the makings of an awesome show closer. Picture an arena filled with lighters swaying back in forth, the band pauses and the whole crowd shouts “Tell ‘em go fuck themselves!” in unison. The perfect bonding moment for hard rock couples!
 Five Finger Death Punch – “The Pride”
One of the hardest things to be in music is unique. There are always a number of bands that have a similar sound in any given genre. Every once in a while a band bursts onto the scene that doesn’t sound like anyone else. Their sound is instantly recognizable even if you are hearing a song for the first time. Five Finger Death Punch is one of those rare bands whose sound is so unique that they create instant recognition.
Vocalist, Ivan Moody, is one of the few singers who can mix a melodic singing style with a guttural growl and not miss a beat. “The Pride” is a perfect example of the immense range that Moody can deliver. You wouldn’t think that Billy Joel and Five Finger Death Punch would ever be compared to each other, but in this case it is warranted. Moody and Joel both have incredibly unique sounds, and “The Pride” is like “We Didn’t Start The Fire” on steroids!
 Stellar Revival – “The Crazy Ones”
What do you get when you mix numerous clichés with a great melody and rebellious fun? Stellar Revival’s “The Crazy Ones.” The song is the first release from the band’s upcoming debut album “Love, Lust & Bad Company” which hits the streets on 1/22/13. One listen to the infectious “The Crazy Ones” and you can’t help but sing the chorus in your head all day long, but the song offers more than just a catchy melody.
Many people want to fit in and live a “normal” life, but there are those who are looking to blaze their own trail regardless of what others may think. This song is for “the mavericks, the dreamers and the forgotten sons” who “color outside the lines for fun” and for the “badass, outcast, son of a guns” who “march to the beat of a different drum.”
 Three Days Grace – “Chalk Outline”
Broken relationships have always been a great source of inspiration for songwriters, but few have used imagery as powerful as Three Days Grace in “Chalk Outline.”
“You left me here like a chalk outline…on the sidewalk, waiting for the rain to wash away…wash away. You keep coming back to the scene of the crime, but the dead can’t speak and there’s nothing left to say anyway. All you left behind…is a chalk outline.”
The power, emotion and energy that singer, Adam Gontier, showcases in the song will make you feel the pain that most feel when a relationship ends.
 Accept – “Shadow Soldiers”
Many of the hard rock bands that reached their peak in the 80’s are still performing, but most are catering to the same fans that grew up on their music. A few notable bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest have bridged the generation gap, but most 80’s hard rock bands are not relevant to this generation of hard rock fans. Accept’s “Shadow Soldiers” captures the magic of their “Balls to the Wall” heyday and combines it with a modern-day hard rock feel that will allow them to bridge the hard rock generation gap. Frontman, Mark Tornillo, sounds like Udo Dirkschneider in his prime, so old-school Accept fans will feel like they are back in the “Balls to the Wall” days when they listen to “Shadow Soldiers.”
 Nonpoint – “Left For You”
Although Nonpoint has been around since the late 90’s, this incarnation of the band is relatively new. The only members of the band that remain are singer, Elias Soriano, and drummer, Robb Rivera. While it is a bit unusual for a band to have a self-titled album beyond their initial release, it makes sense in this case since the majority of the band is new. If “Left For You” is any indication of things to come, it seems that this may be the right mix to put the band over the top. Fans of Nonpoint should definitely follow them on Facebook. They truly understand what it takes to use social media to their advantage.
 Another Lost Year – “War On The Inside”
The end of each year brings many “best of” lists (like this one). It’s a way of recapping what happened and capturing a moment in time. This time of year can also be a painful time of reflection for those whose didn’t have a good year for one reason or another. It comes as no surprise that a band with a name like Another Lost Year has the ability to tap into the painful aspects of life and put them into their music. “War On The Inside” does just that. You can feel the anguish in the song as Clinton Cunanan belts out the lyrics…
“All these voices calling my name…keep reminding me of all of this pain…cause I am stuck here out on this ledge…can you save me tonight…from the war on the inside?”
 Fozzy – “Sandpaper”
Hard rock music and professional wrestling have always gone hand in hand. The music is often featured on WWE video games. But Fozzy takes the marriage between wrestling and hard rock to another level. Frontman, Chris Jericho, may have made his name as a professional wrestler, but singing is his true talent. While wrestling’s ass-kicking may be fake, Fozzy’s ass-kicking music is the real deal. “Sandpaper” is proof positive that Jericho has what it takes to make it outside the ring.
 Shinedown – “Bully”
Bullying has always been a problem. And though there is a movement to stop bullying, the problem still runs rampant in schools across the country. Shinedown’s “Bully” nailed what every bullied kid must be thinking…
“It’s 8am…this hell I’m in…seems I crossed the line again for being nothing more than who I am”
In this song, the bullied kids band together and fight back…
“We all know that life ain’t fair, but there is more of us, we’re everywhere….we don’t have to take this back against the wall…we don’t have to take this…we can end it all!”
The song also features some very harsh and sobering lyrics from the viewpoint of a bullied kid…
“No one’s gonna cry on the very day you die…you’re a bully!”
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