Unsung (song)

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"Unsung"
Single by Helmet
from the album Meantime
Released 1991[1]
Format CD
Genre Alternative metal[2][3]
Length 3:57
Label Interscope
Writer(s) Page Hamilton
Producer(s) Steve Albini, Andy Wallace, Helmet
Helmet singles chronology
"Sinatra"
(1991)
"Unsung"
(1991)
"Give It"
(1992)

"Unsung" is a single by the American alternative metal band Helmet from their 1992 album, Meantime. A music video was produced for "Unsung" and found significant airplay on MTV in the early 1990s. "Unsung" is recorded in Dropped D tuning on both guitars and bass, and begins with a bass intro. Its stop-and-go dynamics and catchy rhythm made it somewhat of a flagship of the growing '90s alternative metal scene. It was also reportedly influential to Pantera's similar song "Rise." Also notable is that in 1991, a full year before the release of Meantime, Amphetamine Reptile records issued the "Unsung" 7" record (scale 41), featuring an earlier recording of the song.

Release and reception[edit]

"Unsung" was Helmet's first single to be released, and was also the lead single to their second album Meantime. The song helped Helmet attain breakthrough success and is their most commercially successful song to date. "Unsung" reached # 29 on the US Alternative Songs chart and #32 on the US Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Unsung was also well received by music critics. Steve Huey from Allmusic reviewed the song positively by stating in his review "Boasting a stuttering, grinding main riff and the wall-of-noise guitar work of Page Hamilton and Peter Mengede, 'Unsung' was the second video pulled from Helmet's second full-length album, Meantime, and quickly became the band's signature song and an MTV favorite during late 1992. All told, it was probably the single best moment for a band that often emphasized sound over songwriting. 'Unsung' was Helmet at their most focused, alternating between memorable verse and chorus melodies and concluding with a monolithic guitar workout featuring noisy, oddly harmonized chords repeatedly drilled into the listener's skull."[4]

Track listing[edit]

1991 Amphetamine Reptile Records 7" vinyl[edit]

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Unsung"   3:54
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Your Head"   3:17

1992 Interscope Records 7" vinyl[edit]

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Unsung"   3:56
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "FBLA" (Live) 2:24

Promo single[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Unsung"   3:56

CD single[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Unsung"   3:56
2. "Better"   3:10
3. "FBLA" (Live) 2:24
4. "FBLA II" (Live) 3:20

12" Vinyl[edit]

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Unsung"   3:56
2. "Better"   3:10
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Bad Mood" (Live) 2:10
2. "Distracted" (Live) 3:07

In popular culture[edit]

Accolades[edit]

Year Publication Country Accolade Rank
2004 Kerrang! United Kingdom "666 Songs You Must Own (Alternative Rock)" * [5]
"*" denotes an unordered list.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Helmet (2) - Unsung". Discogs. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ Ian S. Port (2012-11-28). "Bass Instincts: How Bassnectar Came to Rule American Dance Music - Page 2 - Music - San Francisco". SF Weekly. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  3. ^ Ramirez, AJ (August 3, 2011). "The 10 Best Alternative Metal Singles of the 1990s". PopMatters. Retrieved 21 June 2015. 
  4. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/song/unsung-mt0038789216
  5. ^ "Kerrang! - 666 Songs You Must Own (Alternative Rock)". Kerrang!. Retrieved 2010-01-18.