My Favorite Albums of 2019

Well howdy there, ladies and gents, I hope you’re all doing great. It’s that time of year again. That time when I go over my favorite albums from the year that’s recently passed. It’s a yearly tradition on this blog, and I have no intention of stopping it yet. So, let’s go over some rules first.

Rule 1: Please keep it civil. These are my picks. If you don’t agree with them, that’s fine. If you want to have a discussion about good music from last year, then I’m very much open to it. All I ask is that you keep it civil. Be kind and respectful.

Rule 2: No movie soundtracks/scores. I love listen to movie music, but if I included any of those albums, this list would go on for days, and no one has time or patience for that.

Rule 3: No “Greatest Hits” albums. I think that explains itself, no compilations of a band’s best songs. That’d be cheating.

That should about cover it. Now, without further ado.. my favorite albums of 2019!

Number 15: Rival Sons – Feral Roots (Sample: Do Your Worst)

Kicking off the bottom of the list (bottom does not equal bad, just means least awesome) is the latest release from Californian rock band Rival Sons. These dudes have a very old school approach to their style that I appreciate, since good ol’ fashioned hard rock doesn’t dominate the airwaves as much as it once did. So it’s good to hear a band keeping that sound alive. It’s a fun album.

Number 14: Dream Theater – Distance Over Time (Sample: Untethered Angel)

At number 14 we got the latest release from long running  prog-metal band Dream Theater. It’s a slightly more stripped back and focused affair than some of DT’s other releases… but that doesn’t stop it from being a fun, epic, and frankly fun album to listen to. It doesn’t really do much to seem like something new in the band’s discography, but it also doesn’t need to, because it’s still a badass album.

Number 13: Whiskey Myers – Whiskey Myers (Sample: Die Rockin’)

At number 13 we find the latest release from Whiskey Myers, an American country/southern rock band from Texas. I actually discovered them earlier in 2019 when I heard two of their older songs in an episode of “Yellowstone”. Obviously liking what I heard, I of course started checking out the band more (like their previous album/social media). And that’s when I found out they were releasing a new album, which had me interested. And when I listened to it… well, the inclusion of it on this list should be a dead giveaway as to my feelings on it. The band is like a heavier version of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and I really like that sound, which is why this is on the list.

Number 12: Beth Hart – War in My Mind (Sample: Bad Woman Blues)

Next up we have the new release from American blues singer Beth Hart. In this release, Beth strikes a nice balance between blues, funk, and soul to create a sound that is simply magical. I’ve enjoyed Hart’s music for a few years, and this album doesn’t disappoint at all, it is a blast to listen to.

Number 11: Phil Campbell – Old Lions Still Roar (Sample: Rocking Chair)

Coming in at number 11 we have the solo album debut of former Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell. Even with the experience as guitarist in one of the greatest metal bands of all time, you never know how well your solo stuff might turn out. But Campbell (along with his many guest acts) really knocked it out of the park. Some are more stripped back affairs like “Rocking Chair”, but then you also got tracks like “Faith in Fire”. But one thing one notices throughout it all is that Campbell is quite contemplative in his tunes, which makes for a rock album that pleases both poetically and in terms of being fun to listen to.

Number 10: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen (Sample: Bright Horses)

Now we’re getting into the meat and p’taters of this list, the top ten. And kicking off this section is “Ghosteen”, the new release from Australian artist Nick Cave, and his band, The Bad Seeds. It’s a direct follow-up to their previous album, “Skeleton Tree” (which also made it to my best of the year list when it came out). In that album, there were moments where Cave was dealing with the recent death of his son, and Ghosteen is him fully embracing that dark and contemplative process, making for a beautiful and haunting album that, while not something I’d put on at any time, still had a lasting effect on me thanks to its beautiful production, and Cave’s soulful and pained vocals.

Number 9: Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown – Truth and Lies (Sample: Shock & Awe)

At number 9 we have “Truth and Lies”, the new album from blues-inspired hard rock act Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown. If you like heavy blues-rock, then this should be right up your alley. I certainly like that sound, and I really like this album, it’s cool.

Number 8: Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell! (Sample: Norman fucking Rockwell)

Every year there’s usually at least one album that sneaks onto my list that I didn’t expect in the fucking slightest. And this time, it’s the latest release from American pop singer Lana Del Rey. It’s a soulful and cleverly written album which features Lana discussing some interesting stuff, all while a beautiful strings and piano-based production backs her up. And it’s all great, making for an enjoyable trip that I wouldn’t mind listening to again.

Number 7: Neil Young with Crazy Horse – Colorado (Sample: Olden Days)

More like Neil Old, am I right? Joking aside, how the fuck is Neil Young still releasing good music. Sure, his voice isn’t quite what it once was. But the fact that the songwriting still hits me and his voice still conveying every emotion perfectly is testament to his skill. Combine that with his first teamup with Crazy Horse since 2012, and we got a really well produced album that finds Young still knows how to reach into my heart and make me think.

Number 6: Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars (Sample: Western Stars)

From one old legend to another, at number 6 we have the latest release from The Boss himself, Bruce god damn Springsteen. And he hasn’t lost his touch yet, “Western Stars” is a beautiful country/soft rock album that shows Springsteen at his strongest once again. I don’t know what else to say here, Bruce Springsteen making good music shouldn’t really be much of a surprise to anyone.

Number 5: Airbourne – Boneshaker (Sample: Burnout the Nitro)

From nice and soulful, to high octane rock n roll. This was seriously one of, if not my most anticipated album of the year. I am a huge fan of this band and their AC/DC-esque sound. A new Airbourne release is always fun to listen to, because they just make some badass rock n roll. When I first listened to it, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this one. I thought it was fine, not making much of an impact. But further listens have made me appreciate it more. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s certainly… a boneshaker.

Number 4: The Highwomen – The Highwomen (Sample: Redesigning Women)

At number 4 we have a self-titled album from all-lady country band The Highwomen. Sound-wise, it’s a classic country sound, showing that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Where it stands out however is in the lyrical department, making some interesting commentary on society and women’s role in it, which I find quite fascinating and engaging, especially when paired with the beautiful country composition.

Number 3: Leonard Cohen – Thanks for the Dance (Sample: Thanks for the Dance)

We’re getting into the nitty-gritty now, y’all. In the bronze position, we find the new release from the late, great Leonard Cohen, which he of course recorded before his passing in 2016. Produced by Cohen’s son, Adam, this is a beautiful, emotionally charged, and soulful experience that sees Cohen at his finest. It’s a nice posthumous send-off for one of the greatest songwriters ever.

Number 2: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Infest the Rat’s Nest (Sample: Planet B)

Well, this is certainly a leap in genres. In second place is the newest release from Australian rock band King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (possibly the greatest band name ever). And it’s an old school thrash metal album, hearkening back to mid-80s Metallica or Slayer, while still putting in some minor flourishes of their own to make it stand out. And good god damn, I am in love with this album. I only heard it for the first time very recently, and yet it has made quite an impact for me. Partly because of the interesting storytelling concepts throughout the songs, but mainly because I am a big fan of old school thrash metal, and this is one of the finest takes on that genre.

NUMBER 1: Gangstagrass – Pocket Full of Fire (Sample: You Can Never Go Home Again)

In previous years, I’ve had a rule against including live concert albums. But I decided to loosen that rule this year because 1, this my blog (so I can do whatever I want). And 2, I really really really wanted to mention this. What we have here is American hip-hop/bluegrass band (yes, that mix does work) Gangstagrass at various live venues, playing their songs, and making it all sound fantastic. Seriously, these are some of the best and most head-bobbing recordings I’ve heard of these songs. So yeah, my number 1 is technically cheating my own rules, but I also don’t care, because great music transcends everything.

So those were my favorite albums of 2019. But now I’d love to hear from your guys, what are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments.
Have a good one.

Movie Review: Fight Club (1999)

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You know how many mainstream movies get so much love from a ton of people who will then try to decapitate you if you say anything bad about it? It happened to me once when I gave a little negative comment on “The Avengers”. Some if not most of these movies are usually hit-ot-miss. Either you love it, or you hate it. This movie has been on my watchlist for quite some time now and I finally decided to sit down and watch it. This is one of the most popular movies of all time.

Men and women…”Fight Club”!

The movie follows an insomniac office worker simply credited as “The Narrator” (Edward Norton). He is not very happy with his life. Why? He can’t fucking sleep, that’s why. He thinks it is because he does the same stuff all the time. So he joins a support group for testicular cancer (even though he have not conducted that disease). In there he meets his new friend Robert “Bob” Paulsen (Meat Loaf). Bob got his testicles removed because of the disease and have become more feminine. He became so feminine in fact that he *sigh*…grew boobs. But the Narrator likes this support group thing since it helps him cry which apparently helps him to get sleep. So he starts attedning even more of them. Everything goes fine and dandy…until the chain smoking woman Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter) starts attending them and it just fucks everything over for the Narrator. He confronts her and they make a deal about who will attend which support groups. Oh and on every group, the Narrator chooses a different name, like Cornelius…yeah. But a while later on a plane, he meets this strange man Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). And he IS weird, I mean…he talks about how to make napalm with regular household products. But when the Narrator after the flight finds out his apartment was blown up…he calls for Marla, but she does not want him in her place. Then he tries calling Durden, and gets no answer. Then suddenly, the payphone rings…and he answers it. And guess who it is, it’s motherfucking Tyler Durden. These two guys talk and decide to go out for a beer. Then the Narrator asks if he could stay with Durden. And he can, on one condition: He have to hit Durden as hard as he can. Of course he questions why he has to do that, yet he does it…on Durden’s fucking ear. Then he hits him back…and they start fighting. After the fight they decide to start doing this little fight thingy again. Then we come to Durden’s house. A rotten-ass house it sure as hell is. Things seem like they can break at any second and it is just the worst fucking place ever. Believe me, you would not like to live in that place. It’s a good ol’ shithole. Remember earlier when I said the “do the fight thingy again”? Yeah they do that and get quite the audience…which later turns into a big sort of underground Fight Club. Now, all this does not sound like simple plot, ’cause it ain’t. This movie and its plot is just to me…perfect. Throughout the movie, it gets more complex and I fucking love that. The more complex a plot is, the more I will probably enjoy it…I love complex thinky stuff. Also, this movie is very brutal…just sayin’. So if you’re squeamish…yeah.

The characters of “Fight Club” are odd, flawed and complex. And in my book that is something good. They are very varied in style. For example, the Narrator is…well he is like every Edward Norton character ever…intelligent but very troubled and even a little fucked in the head. Tyler Durden is a mystery with a leather jacket and a pack of cigarettes, he is complex and just so damn entertaining. Then we have Marla…who is a nutjob who chainsmokes. But she is like everyone else in this movie…complex as all hell. Even though she is not nearly as complex as let’s say the Narrator or Tyler Durden. But still complex in her own way. I mean, she has to be complex…she is Helena Bonham Carter…she has more layers than a three foot cake.

The music is just fucking fantastic. At a lot of points it is dark and chilling, like a lot of parts of this movie. But at some points it can be quite light hearted, for the more light hearted parts that is. But in general, I love the soundtrack for “Fight Club” since it fits so well for this strange/weird movie.

Remember when I said this was brutal? Well, it is. Too brutal for a whole lot of people I would assume…but I don’t fucking care, the fight scenes may be brutal, but they are still very well choreographed and shot. Speaking of how scenes are shot, this movie is very well directed and incredibly well shot! This movie is one of the most good looking ones I have ever seen. Also, the action scenes doesn’t use unnecessary shaky cam…and I love that, you can actually see what’s going on.

Reception for “Fight Club” was incredibly mixed. A ton of people loved the shit out of this, and some hated it. This is probably one of the most, if not the most, debated movies ever. Rotten Tomatoes holds the rating of 80% on this and have certified it “Fresh”. Metacritic gave this movie the rating of 66/100. Roger Ebert wasn’t the biggest fan of this, giving it only 2/4 stars. He said it was

“Beloved by most, Not me”

imdb.com has the rating of 8,9/10 on this and it is ranked #10 on their Top 250 list.

I have thrown out some major stuff on this very beloved movie simply known as “Fight Club”. And now I will give it my score…*Takes deep breath* I am giving this the 10/10 rating. This movie is to me…fucking perfect. Everything from the story, to the characters/acting, to the music, to the…EVERYTHING! This gets the “Seal of Approval”. This movie is a must buy! For any movie lover and anyone who likes movies in general! This is now my all time favorite movie of all time.

“Fight Club” is now at last…reviewed.

It’s kind of ironic that I talked about this movie when the firs rule of it is…HEY!