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Today is Michael Poulsen’s 39th birthday, Volbeat are gearing up for yet another US tour and to top it off they just won a German grammy

Dansk version

As I write Michael Poulsen is probably enjoying his birthday in the skies. Litterally. On a plane bound for the US of A where another tour of God’s and Obama’s own country beckons. To be more accurate: The day after tomorrow in Denver, Colorado – the first of 29 shows in America this time around.

While celebrating Poulsen’s birthday Volbeat might as well also celebrate the fact that they just landed a German grammy – called an “Echo Award” – in Berlin as “best international rock act” ahead of the legendary Black Sabbath.

While in Germany Volbeat was also presented with a platinum award for sales of 200.000 copies of latest album “Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies”.

All in all ample reason for yours truly to celebrate all this with a list of my personal ten favorite Volbeat songs. So here you go:

”SOULWEEPER” (from ”The Strength/ The Sound/ The Songs”, Mascot 2005)
Ten years ago or so Michael Poulsen entered my then office in downtown Copenhagen, threw the demo of this song on my desk and demanded:
“So what do you think?”

I congratulated him with writing the hard rock equivalent of Manic Street Preachers’ anthem “A Design For Life”. To put it mildly Manix fanatic Poulsen was well pleased to hear my verdict. “Soulweeper” is still one of his finest songs and at any given time a great flag waving tribute to life.

 “I ONLY WANNA BE WITH YOU” (from ”The Strength/ The Sound/ The Songs”, Mascot 2005)
It takes guts to cover an iconized song like “I Only Wanna Be With You” and particularly because there are loads of covers of this song already out there. So well done Volbeat having donefir the best cover of this wonderful song I’ve ever heard. The combination of roaring guitars and a good melody really never hurt anyone you know.

“RADIO GIRL” (from “Rock The Rebel/ Metal The Devil”, Mascot 2007)
A song that better than most in the Volbeat catalogue underlines the fact that Michael Poulsen knows his musical guidelines and his classics. This one really mentally seats you in a classic car with the radio turned to max. Way back in the age of innocence where a simple song about true love first made you fall in love and later broke your heart. The melody with references to both 50’s rock and roll and Motown is to put it bluntly just perfect.

”DEVIL OR THE BLUE CAT’S SONG” (from “Rock The Rebel/ Metal The Devil”, Mascot 2007)
A raging heavy metal ride into whisky oblivion. All the way to a point where you discover that whisky won’t exorcise the demons from your tortured mind. Rather the opposite actually. This song speaks to me and that’s probably not very good. The song is though!

“GUITAR GANGSTERS & CADILLAC BLOOD” (from “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood”, Mascot 2008)
When I first heard this I just knew it: “VOLBEAT HAS ARRIVED!” I simply saw it written in giant flaming letters right in front of me so to speak. Quite simply an absolute stormer where you can actually sense that the band themselves also knew that now – as in NOW – they’d truly arrived.

“MARY ANN’S PLACE” (from “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood”, Mascot 2008)
A lesson in how to make a brilliant song even better and kiss the edge of heaven. In an inspired moment you ask Pernille Rosendahl to guest as a vocalist. The combination of a great song, Poulsen’s raw rock attack and Rosendahl’s ethereal voice is irresistible.

“A BROKEN MAN AND THE DAWN” (from “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood”, Mascot 2008)
A criminally overlooked but nevertheless completely brilliant song – maybe the best of them all if you ask me. Loaded with soul and sentiment to an extent where you can be forgiven for tears on your face accompanying the smile of joy you can’t wipe away because of the sheer brilliance of the song.

 “HEAVEN NOR HELL” (from “Beyond Hell/ Above Heaven”, Vertigo 2010)
The late Henrik Hall’s fantastic harpplaying on this one would really be enough to land “Heaven ...” on this list. That it is also one Volbeat’s very best “straight-down-route-666” rock and roll songs make it indispensible. R.I.P. Henrik Hall – you’re sadly missed.
 
“THE NAMELESS ONE” (from “Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies”, Vertigo 2013)
A close cousin to “Heaven Nor Hell”. A scorching and in your face guitar intro pretty much convinced me that Volbeat had written a future live favorite. And lo and behold: They had! As last fall’s tour proved.

“LOLA MONTEZ (Harp version)” (bonustrack on “Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies”, Vertigo 2013)
With all due respect to lead guitarist Rob Caggiano for his playing on the ”official” version of ”Lola Montez”, Paul Lambs harp on this version adds depth, dynamics and  colouring that makes at great song even better. So why this one was chosen as bonus rather than the bonafide album version is rather beyond me.

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Dagens Sang

 

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