Memento Mori

Oh my goodness, thank you Flyleaf. You failed to disappoint me, and I am super grateful.

Your new CD (which I didn’t know about until YESTERDAY – if I hadn’t have purchased the December issue of AP yesterday, I never would have known!) has been blowing me away for almost twenty-four hours.

I can’t get over the tracks “Again,” “Beautiful Bride,” “Swept Away” and “In The Dark.” I have listened to “Again” 3 times, “Beautiful Bride” 5 times, “Swept Away” twice and “In The Dark” four times. All within the past twenty-four hours.

The vocals are beautiful, Lacey. On Memento Mori I can understand what you’re singing! With your older material, the instrumentals were catchy and were what pulled me in, but this time, it’s not only the instrumentals anchoring me down for a listen. The lyrics are beautifully crafted and sing of religion (which I’m not too keen on), but I don’t care because they’re amazing and I can understand them on this CD.

For awhile there, I was scared because I liked Fireflight a little more than I did you, Flyleaf. But now, Memento Mori has convinced me otherwise. That is, until Fireflight releases their new CD.

XX is greater than XY (My latest NeXt article)

Take out your iPod, select the “Music” option and click on “Artists.” Scroll on through from A to Z and count the number of bands that are composed of only males. Male-fronted bands probably make up the majority, correct? It might interest you to know that some females in this world can rock harder than the opposite sex.

The three female-fronted bands that nearly everyone in the teenage crowd has heard of are Flyleaf, Paramore and Evanescence, but there are plenty more out there in this world that are none too popular. While Lacey, Hayley and Amy Lee’s voices are indeed beautiful, there are other gorgeous female voices that deserve just as much attention.

A few bands that fans of Paramore might enjoy are: Hey Monday (of West Palm Beach, Fla.), Damone (from Waltham, Mass.), The Material (which started out in San Diego, Calif.), and New Years Day (of Anaheim, Calif.). Cassadee Pope of Hey Monday and Noelle LeBlanc from Damone are sure to gain more fame in the next few years with their voices leading the way.

Colleen D’Agostino of The Material has a beautifully clear voice that is irresistible. One might think that a female singer changes the gender of a band’s fans, but both Roi Elam from The Material and Ashley Costello of New Years Day disagree: “I don’t really think so,” said Elam, “I see an equal amount of guys and girls at our shows.”

“Nooo … not at all, and I was surprised by that,” exclaimed Costello. “When we play I see just as many guys in the crowd as I see girls. It’s really cute.” New Years Day has often been described as the female version of Fall Out Boy. Yes, here and there a likeness is detected, but New Years Day is a band all its own. “I feel like a lot of people took more notice of us because there was a girl singer, but it’s also very hard,” said Costello. “There are so many guy-fronted bands that I feel sometimes the female-fronted band gets pigeon-holed and maybe a label won’t look at us.”

Many people are skeptical of females being in rock bands, but listen to some New Years Day, and let Ashley change your mind in “Temecula Sunrise” or “My Sweet Unvalentine.”

Pretty close to one another in your iPod should be two bands: Fireflight from Eustis, Fla., and Flyleaf of Texas. Both bands are Christian rock, bordering on metal, and are led by females who know what they are doing.

The lyrics that Dawn Richardson and Lacey Mosley sing are powerful and attuned to God. “We all contribute our own parts and help each other to improve upon each other’s suggestions,” said Dawn. “Both Justin [guitarist/ background vocalist Justin Cox] and I work on the lyrics but I am the main lyricist, I imagine me being a girl does affect the way I write…” Nobody would think Flyleaf and Fireflight are all about God, but listening to their lyrics very carefully can help you realize just how much their faith influences the artists in these bands. “We write about what we have gone through in our lives and how God’s love has brought us through,” said Richardson.

Think the farthest thing from the music made by Flyleaf and Fireflight and you have a band called Save Ferris from Orange County, Calif. Although they are no longer together, their deliciously quirky sound and clever lyrics do not fail to entertain. Check out “Under 21” or their cover of “Come On Eileen” (originally by Dexy’s Midnight Runners) and enjoy some ska. Monique Powell is now a solo artist, but her voice was perfect for the likes of Save Ferris.

Ask me: who is the exact opposite of Save Ferris? I will think about it for a second before I reply with one word: Kittie. Don’t let their adorable name fool you — this is a cat you do not want to cross paths with.

Kittie strikes me as the female version of Slipknot — Morgan Lander attacking the listeners with her voice. After many changes over the years, currently rounding out this all-female quartet are Mercedes Lander on drums/vocals/piano, Tara McLeod on guitar, and Ivy Vujic playing bass. Originating in Ontario, Kittie has been around for years, putting many a CD out. Check out “What I Always Wanted” or “Paperdoll” and behold the scarily musical meow that is Kittie.

From Amy Lee to Dawn Richardson, Ashley Costello to Morgan Lander, some females can really rock. So put away the Avenged Sevenfold or Metallica CD and go try something different and new. Found on my iPod is a playlist called “Female-fronted bands.” Maybe you should create one as well, and drag all of the music from these bands onto your iPod.

Also worth listening to: Within Temptation, Garbage, Automatic Loveletter, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 1997, Meg & Dia, The Donnas, Be Your Own Pet, Letters to Cleo, The Morning Of, Veruca Salt, Lacuna Coil and The Veronicas.

“Being the only girl in a band is awesome. It has just as many pros as it has cons. I’m always protected, but then again I am always picked on by them. It’s like a little sister-big brother relationship,” said Ashley Costello.

Emily Steves is a sophomore at Gowanda

Alone

Some people my age might be a little frightened to be home all alone, but I really enjoy it. For a few hours, I can do what I please, which is mostly just writing and reading, but without ANY interruptions. Another plus about being by myself is that I don’t have to fight the urge to burst out in song. I can walk around the house belting my guts out, and not feel self conscious at all. The place I usually sing my heart out is in the shower, but when nobody is around I belt it out wherever. I can sit here at the computer desk, and sing as I type.

Sometimes I feel stupid and wonder if the neighbors can hear my voice, but honestly, who cares if they do? Are they going to come up to me and tell me that they heard me singing? Probably not. I do my best singing when I am all by my lonesome, with only my two dogs and cat to keep me company. They are the only audience that really gets a taste of my voice.

Now, what is it that I sing when I am alone? Well, I belt out whatever meets my fancy. Mostly it’s some Paramore, but we musn’t forget Evanescence, Flyleaf, 1997, Automatic Loveletter, Hawthorne Heights, t.A.T.u., New Years Day, Garbage, and Autumns Monologue by From Autumn To Ashes. I love singing Paramore songs because Hayley’s voice is much like my own, and I love trying to match Amy Lee’s voice whenever I sing My Immortal, Hello, or Lithium. I find it challenging to sing Lacey Mosley’s parts, but I have fun trying.

One of these days, I want to put videos of me singing on YouTube. I like listening to other girls my age singing some of my favorite songs, but I cannot help but think that I could do a better job than they can. Hopefully someday soon, I will be able to prove myself, but I doubt my mother would approve of it. I will probably have to wait until college to begin videotaping myself singing.

Once they pull out of the driveway, I open my mouth and out comes something not very many people have heard. I sing rather conservatively in public, but when I am in the shower, or home by myself, I let it all out. I love getting home from camping because then I can finally lock myself in the bathroom and get all of the singing out I couldn’t do while we were all camping together. I hope to someday make a career out of this little hobby of mine. Only time will tell…