For those of you just tuning in, Alter Bridge debuted their new single “Show Me a Leader” off their newest CD The Last Hero, due out 10/7/16. For those of you who are diehard Alter Bridge fans, you were up at 6:30 a.m. to hear it for the first time on Sirius XM‘s Octane. Says Alter Bridge’s Myles Kennedy (vocals/guitar):
Show Me a Leader is a reflection of how polarized and fractured things are in our society. This song doesn’t push an agenda, it simply expresses a very common sense of disillusionment people seem to be feeling at this point in time.
Upon first listen, this is a catchy tune, a radio-friendly upbeat number that has my ear. Scott “Flip” Phillips (drums) and Brian Marshall (bass) lay down a solid rhythm section and my heart rate increases. However, had I not known it was Alter Bridge’s newest single, I’m not sure I would have figured it out from the intro. Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti has an easily recognized, highly celebrated, style that is not immediately evident in “Show Me a Leader.” As it turns out, nearly one minute and a half of the full version (the guitar intro and solo by Kennedy) was edited to produce this radio cut. But fear not, Tremonster fans; Mark breaks out a seven-string guitar and kicks out a killer solo later in the song. While Alter Bridge has a world-wide following, it feels quite obvious upon first listen that this is a timely release during a divisive election year.
We’re all too divided this time/Show me a leader that won’t compromise/Show me a leader so hope never dies/We need a hero this time
In an interview with radio DJ Supa Dave of 101.1 WJRR – The Rock Station, Kennedy responds to a fan question regarding lyrical inspiration for The Last Hero. “We were watching campaigns, paying attention to how that was all going, which was a bit of a charade, so there was a little bit of — that made it into some of the — so that was inspiring.” It’s not great stretch to assume “Show Me a Leader” is one of those songs Kennedy is alluding to.
As for the song as a whole, it’s familiar, but different. When a band with a catalogue spanning over a decade completes their fifth album, you have to wonder if they’re going to sound the same, or if they’ve given over to experimentation and progression. If you listen to their previous four albums in succession, it should come as no surprise that the fifth produces a new sound, still Alter Bridge, but ripe with purposeful evolution and influence (Kennedy, an accomplished guitarist as well as lead singer also tours and sings with Slash & the Conspirators.) I have to admit, “Show Me a Leader” is slightly reminiscent to Slash’s “World on Fire,” but that’s okay. Myles performs with both bands, so ultimately the influence is at least partly his own. In regards to the sound of The Last Hero, Tremonti states, “It’s more progressive than what we’ve done in the past, the arrangements are more involved. There’s a lot going on. I think when people first hear the record, they’re going to have to hear it a good five or six times before it really sinks in.”
So, give it a listen five or six times, in fact, listen to it as much as you want today (before it goes on sale tomorrow), courtesy of Alter Bridge and Sirius XM’s blog. Just click here!
Alter Bridge is touring now, and will be making an appearance at Louder Than Life on October 2nd where it’s a good bet you’ll be hearing “Show Me a Leader” and more from The Last Hero.
Research credit: Allison Theriot