My girl started sorting through my mess and found my Rise of a Digital Nation CD. Since I obviously care about the band, she listened on her own time and wasn't fully impressed. Not to be discouraged, I've compiled what I believe to be a better set to introduce her to the band and perhaps explain why I like it so much. Her car ride home is about the 80 minutes this disc will cover, and CDs are also the best audio her car has, so this is really the best option.
1. Anthem Apocalyptica - Lots of tracks with great intros but this goes back to 2001 when I first fell in love. I had my mp3s and I would listen in alphabetical order. This track got me in the mood to listen to everything else. No contest on this being the first track.
2. Earthbound - probably my first favorite. several good hooks in this track.
3. Ghost - trying to explain the band for a project, I had another track picked out, but I just wound up talking about Ghost the whole time. Seriously some of the best lyrics and a great track to boot.
4. Attack Music - close tie for first favorites. several great hooks here too.
5. I Turn To You - Not only is it a great track but it also pays tribute to an artist in another genre. This is simultaneously classy and musically impressive.
6. Follower - Outstanding lyrics at the heart of the band.
7. Winterstorm - Again, lyrics are great and solo is like an orgasm. I find myself rewinding to hear the solo again.
8. Origin - Again, impressive lyrics and execution.
9. Nemesis - I've commented on this before, but not only are the lyrics impressive, it appears the riffs have been selected specifically to mimic the emotions the lyrics would provide if read as poetry. Particularly closing with a broken riff to signify not being able to attain that level of enlightenment again...easily one of my favorite tracks.
10. Hero - I couldn't just open with a track like this. It's just...so...good. The fact that this started as an instrumental first makes it all the more impressive. I still have my instrumental version and listen to it occasionally...it's nice when the instrumental is a track unto itself.
11. Need For Steve - perfect transition out of that nostalgic period showing some of the improvements to the band.
12. Conveyer - Again, showcasing themes and riffs at the heart of the band.
13. Rogue World Asylum - I love this track so much. It's probably the most universal track, capable of sliding into just about any mix. I'll even throw this in with some classic rock when playing cards with friends and family. It turns some heads to be sure, but it's not out of character with the mood.
14. Through The Looking Glass - transitions, transitions, transitions. This might be one of the hardest things for any band to do and you do it to excess, and brilliantly. The solos are a bit short, but that is ideal for those without the patience for brilliant solos. The piano also goes to show that the keyboard isn't just about SID and this band isn't just about video games, it's about rock.
15. Persona - Outstanding lyrics, outstanding intro, great bridge away from TTLG.
16. Flagcarrier - The album needs a ballad and this is probably the most poetic.
17. Beyond Good and Evil - favorite track from Phantom Shadow and a perfect transition into where the band is now. If you've noticed, the CD starts with the old and fades to the new, hopefully making the entire playthrough seamless. I picture myself at the end of this album standing in the middle of a crowd at a concert cheering for an encore.
Regrets: many. Conveyer without Violator? That was a tough choice. No Sidology? Another tough choice. Rise of a Digital Nation (album) has good points but she's already heard the album and I didn't quite see where the transitions would fit. No Empire? That was tough too. It's a bit heavy for an intro to the band though, so perhaps if this CD earns an encore, it'll be the closing track. Edge and Pearl, Dreadnaught, Rocket Dragon, Force Feedback, Nova Prospekt, Versus, Villain of this Story....the list goes on and on. Ultimately things had to get cut. If I score an encore, these will be the first in.