Tomas Kalnoky is the Greatest Rock Musician Alive (Prove Me Wrong)

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Do you love music? I fucking love music. It's my third favorite thing in existence behind only "Me" and "writing about me." 

I've decided to combine my 2nd and 3rd favorite things into one series, and write little thingies like this about the music I love.
(Hell yeah, I stacked my three favorite things all into one sentence!)

Getting ranked up with those two things means music is ranked really fuggin' high on my list of things I like, and 4th place (drugs) isn't anywhere close. I generally don't have "favorites" when it comes to entertainment/pop culture, because it leads to me closing my mind off to possibilities and locking in just one thing instead of trying all the flavors available.

I break that rule for one man: Tomas Kalnoky of Streetlight Manifesto. When Death introduced me to this band, he said "They're the music of the revolution!" 
(I 100% agree with that statement)

Alright, so the first thing you need to know is who Tomas is. He's the frontman/songwriter for a punk rock/ska band called "Streetlight Manifesto" and that band is hella dope. The way he writes their music is first he comes up with a tune he likes by himself solo on an acoustic guitar, and then comes up with the lines for all the brass instruments that ska is known for. He also releases *some* of these acoustic solo versions of Streetlight's more popular songs under the pseudonym "Toh Kay".
(Tomas Kalnoky... get it???)

This dudes music, from a composition standpoint, is next level as fuck and his skill on the acoustic Toh Kay tracks is nothing short of a true master. 
(I'm gonna have to do my second favorite thing in existence to really illustrate how much weight that statement carries)

I don't say "master" lightly when it comes to musical talent. I was raised in a family of musicians. Toh Kay is a true grandmaster musician.

This dude is sitting at a tier of skill where there's no such thing as being better than he is. Practice till the day you die, and you'll still be somewhere around equal to homeboy.

So ya, musical composition and talented guitar work? Check. But what about dope ass, poetic, philosophical lyrics, you ask?

Guess what motherfucker, he's got those too. 

This song is my favorite out of all his work. Unless you got some closed-minded hangups about certain sounds/genres that come from building your identity on musical tastes, there's no way this shit doesn't lift your day.

Here's the lyrics and I'ma give you both different versions:

 

"Somewhere in the Between" (←That's a link, in case you're new 'round these parts)

You were gone when we found you.
You were practically surrounded, you were trapped.
But the opposition stalled, their blood ran cold,
When they saw the look of love in your eye.

Maybe the times we had, they weren't that bad,
And everything else was part of the plan.
We sang, "I don't know where we go from here!"
This is the Alpha, Omega, Beginning and the End,

And we all just idolize the dead.

So you were born, and that was a good day.
Someday you'll die, and that is a shame.
But somewhere in the between you lived a life of which we all dream.
Nothing and no one will ever take that away.

You had a love when that love had you,
And nothing mattered you were fine.
Some will complain; they're just bitter, what a shame.
They know that loving and losing is better than nothing at all

Maybe the time we had, they weren't that bad,
And everything else was part of plan.
The is the anthem. The Slogan. The summary of events.

And we all just idealize the past.

So you were born, and that was a good day.
Someday you'll die, and that is a shame.
But somewhere in the between, you lived a life of which we all dream.
Nothing and no one will ever take that away.

Yeah, the times we had, they were not that bad,
And everything else it was part of the plan.
We sang, "I don't know where we go from here!"
This is the Alpha, Omega, Beginning and the End,

And we all just idolize the dead.

So you were born, and that was a good day.
Someday you'll die, and that is a shame.
But somewhere in the between, you lived a life of which we all dream.
Nothing and no one will ever take that away.

And someday soon my friends, this ride will come to an end, but we can't just get in line again...



(Lovingly transcribed by yours truly so I'd have an excuse to listen to it five times in a row...) 

(...Oh yeah. Here's the Toh Kay version I promised)

"But Dave... I thought you said Toh Kay was master level guitar. That song is hella simple..."

Turns out he has other songs, dick. (I'm jk. U kno ilu bb)

Check out this masterpiece, and also the phenomenal lyrics that come with it. If you can play the intro for this on camera without missing a note and send me the video, I'll paypal you $100 just 'cause I feel like you've earned it and I know none of you can:

"Would You Be Impressed?"

Would you be upset if I told you we were dying,
And every cure they gave us was a lie?
Oh, they mean it when they say we're dead and doomed,
And every single symptom brings us closer to the tomb.

And who will take the credit for this swift impending fall? Because it's not... my... fault.

Would you be impressed if I said that the dead would have us counting,
Every single moment that we waste our time?
All the time we're spending vaccinating this disease;
I just get dizzy when I think of all the ways we tried to hide our maladies.

We wine. We dine. And everything is fine, because it's not... my... fault.

Now you're upset because you finally got the notion,
That everything you had is spinning down the drain.
Oh, do you mean it when you beg and pray and plead?
With your "Give-it-to-me-give-it-to-me-give-it-to-me-give-it-to-me all those things we need."

And what, pray tell, will you whimper when your number will be called? You'll say, "It's not... my... fault."

So go now, the others they'll await you
And every single one of you
a lot of them will have your turn
Ai-Ai-Ai, and Oh-Oh-Oh. Like moths that fly into the flame it always ends up so.

You scream, "Not me, take anybody else, because it's not... my... fault."

I had a dream last night where everyone was trying;
Subconsciously, I knew it was a lie.
And when I woke I knew that it was time to pray
To make amends before the end, before my judgement day. 

I looked around. I stood alone, and I knew what I had to say:
I said "It's all... my... fault."



Fuck all the fake-evil death metal garbage. That song we just listened to is as dark as it fuckin' gets, muh dudes. I think between those two songs, I've made my case. I'ma just drop youtube links to their albums in order from "Most Favorite Album of All Time" to "Technically less favorite 'cause it has to be for the purpose of ranking, but still Most Favorite Album of All Time":

"Everything Goes Numb"  (Streetlight)

The debut album. This is my "Most Favorite Album of All Time" because none of the other ones could have ever happened without this one. The opening song, "Everything Went Numb" is about a dude who goes in on a plan to rob a bank, only to get completely fucked by the decision. There's one about Tomas' heroes that have committed suicide.  Then it gets lighthearted and reminds us that we're all gonna wake up in a better place, and in a better time.

Favorite track:

"We are the Few"

We are the few who won't say nothin' right.
We are the footsteps fading into the night.
Nobody cares, and nobody stares with such conviction and I say,

"I never wanted this. No one ever wanted this.
But they gave it to me so I might as well be proud of it.
I don't know where we went wrong. All I know now is I gotta do something right."

"The Hands That Thieve" (Toh Kay)

In my opinion, this is the better of the two Toh Kay albums. That's definitely debatable though, and they're both tied for "Most Favorite Album of All Time". The philosophical, spiritual, and emotional music on this album just straight moves me. Be ready for some happy feels, some sad feels, and some thinky feels.

Favorite track:

"Your Day Will Come" 

And if I only had a dollar for every horror
That befalls my fellow man.
I'd never work another hour, but I'd grow sour
From the guilt and bitterness.

The luck of the draw will determine the fallen, 
And everyone else will relax and move on.
But what will you do when they come looking for you friend?
I hope that you're brave and you're strong through it all.

"Somewhere in the Between" (Streetlight)

Honestly, this one is probably tied with "Everything Goes Numb" for "Most Favorite Album of All Time". The album art on this one hits me hard. Look at it and ponder the phrase "Somewhere in the Between" and see if it comes to you. So much amazing music, it's hard to pick a song, but I must.

Favorite track:

"Somewhere in the Between"

Maybe the times we had, they weren't that bad,
And everything else was part of the plan.
We sang, "I don't know where we go from here!"
This is the Alpha, Omega, Beginning and the End,

And we all just idolize the dead.

So you were born, and that was a good day.
Someday you'll die, and that is a shame.
But somewhere in the between you lived a life of which we all dream.
Nothing and no one will ever take that away.

"Streetlight Lullabies" (Toh Kay)

This is the acoustic versions of the biggest hits off Somewhere in the Between and Everything Goes Numb. This one easily takes the title of "Most Favorite Album of All Time". I'm having trouble picking a favorite song, because every time I listen to any of them I start orgasming uncontrollably and it gets hard to type.

Favorite track:

"A Moment of Silence"

A moment of silence please for those that never got the chance
They show up to the party but they're never asked to dance
The losers and the liars and the bastards and the thieves
The cynicists. Yeah, the pessimists and those who don't believe in nothin'.

"The Hands That Thieve" (Streetlight)

So you may be like "Dave... didn't you list this already"? No. Tomas, in his infinite genius, made the same album twice. Once in the punk rock/ska style of Streetlight. Another time as Toh Kay. This double albums is easily the top contender for my "Most Favorite Album of All Time". I suppose I'll pick another song off this album to call my...

Favorite Track:

"The Three of Us"

There we were the three of us,
The thief, the king, and I.
Finally, we were forced to see we were equals in the night.

Lookin' down between the trees,
At the town we knew we had to leave.
For what it's worth, we would walk the Earth,
'Til we found the things we seek.

"99 Songs of Revolution"
(Streetlight doing covers)

So this is a multi-album project spanning all of Tomas' work and involving a few other artists as well. 99 Cover-songs for the revolution. There's some great ones on here, and Tomas the God of music actually found a way to include his own song on an album of covers while still having that song qualify as a cover. Speaking of covers, all of Streetlight album covers are great, but this one is especially genius. Every single element included in that picture comes from one of the songs on the album in some way. That sort of genius why this album is such a clear winner for the crown of "Most Favorite Album of All Time".

Favorite track:

"Linoleum" 
(Originally by NOFX)

Possessions never meant anything to me.
I'm not crazy. Well that's not true,
I've got a bed... and a guitar...

"Keasbey Nights!" (Streetlight Manifesto/Catch-22)

This is a remake of my favorite album of all time by "Catch-22", Tomas' original Punk/Rock Ska project. Catch-22's version was dope, and Streetlight's version is even more doper, which is why it easily takes the #1 spot on my list "Most Favorite Album of All Time" list twice in one entry.

Favorite Track:

"Riding the Fourth Wave"

"DUN dundundun duhhn duhhn
DUN DUN DUN DUN DUHHNN DUHN DUN
DUN dundundun duhhnn duhnnn duhn duhhhnnn"
(When they make a movie of my life make sure they include this track)


"A Call to Arms!" (Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution <That's Streetlight + A string orchestra>)

Wait what? Ska music + a string orchestra? Is someone trying to trick me into listening to classical music? If so, it fuggin worked. This shit is so god damn amazing, there's just no way I can pick any other album for "Most Favorite Album of All Time". No bullshit, out of all these albums, this one is not only the shortest but also the one I'm having the hardest picking a favorite to quote lyrics from. The Runners up are the intro, "This is A Call to Arms!" and "It's A Wonderful Life". One doesn't have lyrics, the other I'm not gonna post the lyrics 'cause I don't want them taking your attention from this bombshell I'm about to drop you on. Still, I'm a little sad I can't share the lyrics to both, 'cause they're next level shit. Alright, without further ado, here's the gold nugget buried amongst the other gold nuggets that are this phenomenal EP.

Favorite track:

They Provide the Paint (for the Picture Perfect Masterpiece That You Will Paint On the Inside of Your Eyelids)

They provide the paint for the picture perfect masterpiece
That you will paint on the inside of your eyelids
Can you possibly see everything you wanna see, no? (Hell no!)
There's something wrong with the way I see. 

And he wanted to be a soldier in the next great war
He wanted to kill and fight and maim
But not be told what he was fighting for
Well that's the way it's gonna hafta be my friend
(That's the way it's gonna have to be my friend)

I met a man on the corner in the city yesterday,
Singin' 'Yada yada yada and tomorrow it'll end'
And I never thought I'd live to see another sunny day
But I'm here and I fear I'll be here 'til the end.

So, watch your mouth, or you're gonna make a great mistake
Hold your tongue, or you're gonna catch a bullet in the head
Watch your mouth, or you're gonna make a great mistake
Don't die for anything less than the best of life


So there you have it. You now know my "Most Favorite Album of all Time" by my "Most Favorite Musician of All Time". We're done here. Here's that runner up from "A Call to Arms!" 'cause I just can't resist forcing my musical tastes onto people.
(Sometimes I swear I'm a narcissistic sociopath =p)

"It's A Wonderful Life" 
(Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution)


Once again I wake up alone on the wrong side of my bed
Once again you begin your dancing nakedly on the right side of my head
It's for a lack of better words that I can hardly speak my soul
And I'm feeling what I'm feeling what I'm feeling when it's time to lose control, my love

And once again we're off to war
But I can't agree with what we're fighting for
And that's not all because every time she smiles I see her soul
And I smile, what a wonderful life

It's true I used to try, but then I gave up
I learned it doesn't really matter, what I do ain't enough
To appease or to please, all my well-meaning deeds
Seem to all go up in smoke

And every time I'm looking through these smoke filled skies
I wonder what she's doing, why I volunteered to die
But tonight I will fight for my life
So I might see my wife again

I explained to her that I'd be back
When I gave my word that the fighting wouldn't last
But despite my pact, I know that every breath I draw might be my last
And I smile, it's been a wonderful life

Goddamn, another summer in the city and
I've never seen a girl look so pretty as you
When you smile, oh, you're wild, for a while
I was hoping I might see you again

I know that everybody's willing to go
But I find I'd turned it all and leave on a dime
If I leave tonight, screw what's right
I can make it home by dawn

And I was told, "boy, prepare for war,"
But they failed to mention what I'd be fighting for.
So I fight for this, the fact that as I pass away I'll feel her kiss,
And I sigh, what a wonderful life.

Me oh my, what a wonderful life.
Oh, to die for such a wonderful life!