My Top 20 Favorite Albums of 2017

Ladies and gentlemen, it is once again time for me to ramble on about music. To be more specific, it’s time to once again talk about my favorite albums of the recently ended year. 2017 as a year in general wasn’t great. Terror attacks, a less than desirable person becomes president of the United States, people die, people turn out to be sexually assaulting scumbags… there’s been a fuckload of horrible stuff happening in the year. But it has had some bright spots. Mainly in the world of entertainment. We’ve seen some great movies, shows, and games be released over the year. And the topic we’re talking about today is of course no exception to that. So now we’re here to talk about my favorites of the year. Now, there will of course be albums that I missed out on and might discover at a later date, but I don’t exactly have the time or patience to go through every album released just for the sake of this list. So let’s get into it. Some rules first.

Rule #1: This is my list. If you don’t agree with it, then you shouldn’t complain about it. Go make your own damn list. These are my choices.

Rule #2: I will not include any soundtracks/original scores here. This list is all about the albums put out by various bands/artists during the year. So you won’t really see “Baby Driver” or “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” or “Blade Runner 2049” on this list.

Rule #3: Only full-on albums. No EP’s or singles. The only reason why I’m including this rule is because an EP is technically not an album… it’s more like multiple singles. Like a taste of an album. So while I loved Greta Van Fleet’s “From the Fires”, it will not make an appearance on this list. But I do recommend it… it’s awesome.

Rule #4: No live concert albums. Those are not normal album releases. And they often contain older songs from the artists as well. Live concert albums are cool, but they won’t be on this list.

That should cover it. Here we go. These are my top 20 albums of 2017.

Number 20: Pink – Beautiful Trauma (Sample: What About Us)

The first entry on this list is the latest from pop singer Pink. I’m a huge fan of Pink and her music, which might come as a surprised to some of you due to my heavily publicized love of rock and metal. But I do like her. Out of all the mainstream pop artists out there these days, she somehow manages to appeal to me. Maybe it’s the devil-may-care attitude she portrays at times, maybe it’s that voice of hers, maybe it’s the lyrics, maybe it’s the structure of the songs… or maybe it’s a blend of all. And while this isn’t her greatest outing, it’s still a damn fine album.

Number 19: Queens of the Stone Age – Villains (Sample: The Way You Used To Do)

Number 19 is the seventh album from modern-ish rock band Queens of the Stone Age. And it’s good. Not much else I can say about it. It’s another Queens of the Stone Age album. Has distorted guitars, interesting vocals… it’s the stuff you can expect from these guys. It’s a good album. NEXT!

Number 18: Alice Cooper – Paranormal (Sample: Paranoiac Personality)

In this spot we have the newest album from legendary rock artist Alice Cooper. There are fast songs, there are songs with creepy things in them, there’s fun to be had… basically it’s Alice Cooper doing old school Alice Cooper with enough tweaks to make it stand out a little bit. I like Alice Cooper. Which means I like this. It’s a good album. Good ol’ fashioned rock a la Cooper.

Number 17: Neil Young & Promise of the Real – The Visitor (Sample: Already Great)

Neil Young. Musician. Legend. Canadian. In this album we see him collaborating with American rock band Promise of the Real to bring us a cool, ear-pleasing album filled with social commentary. Hell, the sample track I used for this is a jab at Trump’s “Make America Great Again”. It’s a timely album and another solid entry from one of the greatest musicians of all time.

Number 16: Robert Finley – Goin’ Platinum! (Sample: Get It While You Can)

The number 16 spot goes to the newest release from blues/soul singer Robert Finley. It’s a really cool album that shows how you’re never too old to release a fun and asskicking album. Sure, that was more the point of his previous album “Age Don’t Mean a Thing”, but I think it could apply to his newest album as well. It’s filled with fun tunes drenched in old school blues and soul, giving it a unique vibe that you never really hear these days. And that voice of his is just so cool. ’tis a damn good album

Number 15: Samantha Fish – Chills & Fever (Sample: Chills & Fever)

At number 15 we have an album from female blues musician Samantha Fish. Admittedly it is less blues-heavy than her previous albums, leaning more on soul and jazz. But it still kind of works, since the songs are still catchy and a lot of fun to listen to. And we do get some of her guitar playing on the album. She also has a really cool voice that I just love listening to.

Number 14: Gotthard – Silver (Sample: Tequila Symphony No. 5)

Here we have the latest release from Swiss hard rock band Gotthard. And while they don’t do anything outside of their comfort zone, what they do here is still great. Instead of being jacks of all trades, they aim to instead focus on one thing they’re good at and just do that. And I love that about this album… it’s just Gotthard being Gotthard. It’s great.

Number 13: Deep Purple – inFinite (Sample: Time For Bedlam)

From the band behind “Smoke on the Water”, “Highway Star”, “Perfect Strangers”, and many more classics comes a new hard rock album… and it’s good. These old men still got it. It’s definitely not the band’s best album (“Machine Head” still holds that crown), but it’s still a good return to form for them. It’s a good rock album.

Number 12: Otis Taylor – Fantasizing About Being Black (Sample: Twelve String Mile)

At number 12 we have the latest from blues musician Otis Taylor. It’s a very raw album with some cool and damn interesting tracks. Combine that with Taylor’s voice and you get some damn fine music. It’s about some serious and interesting subjects, mainly civil rights and such. And hearing those things sung by this voice makes it almost heartbreaking without actually feeling too emotional or pander-y. It’s a damn good album.

Number 11: Sons of Apollo – Psychotic Symphony (Sample: Signs of the Time)

Halfway through the list and we’re talking a look at the debut album from American supergroup Sons of Apollo. Consisting of people who’ve played with/in/for all kinds of cool artists/bands, this supergroup is based heavily in prog-metal, and it’s honestly pretty awesome. It’s heavy, but it never loses sight of melody or meaning. It’s actually quite impressive. But I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised when you have that kinds of cool lineup.

Number 10: Body Count – Bloodlust (Sample: No Lives Matter)

Starting the top half of this list is the latest album from rap-metal band Body Count, led by rapper/actor Ice-T (Yes, really). When I first heard about them around mid-2017 I had a hard time believing it and even kind of laughed at it. But then I looked them up and listened to their songs (this album in particular)… and I really like them. While this kind of music seems like it would only be about killing people and such, that isn’t quite it. They have shit to say about society and the law and other such things. They’re like a modern equivalent to Rage Against the Machine (which is ironic considering Prophets of Rage exists). But they talk a lot about how people (especially black people) get totally fucked over in society. And it’s true, it does happen. And this album explores such themes very well. That said, they also have a cover of Slayer’s “Raining Blood” which I think they included just for fun.

Number 9: Samantha Fish – Belle of the West (Sample: Blood in the Water)

Surprise, an artist appeared twice on this list! Not gonna lie, I’m kind of surprised as well since most artists tend to only release one solo album at a time. But in 2017 Fish was very active. First “Chills & Fever”, then some touring, then “Belle of the West”. And this is definitely a more blues-y album than “Chills & Fever”, but it also takes a couple cues from country/western. And it’s a damn cool album. I really dig it.

Number 8: Kasey Chambers – Dragonfly (Sample: Ain’t No Little Girl)

The number 8 spot goes to Australian country/pop singer Kasey Chambers. The album is a ride that will take you through several emotions. You won’t necessarily feel all of them, but they are all part of the songs. It has a decent amount of themes going through it, and the instruments combined with Kasey’s amazing voice makes for a great album.

Number 7: Rise Against – Wolves (Sample: House on Fire)

At number 7 we have the latest from punk/rock/metal band Rise Against, a band that always has deeper meaning behind their songs. I’ve been a big fan of them for years, and while it’s not their best album, “Wolves” still didn’t disappoint. It’s another awesome album filled with great instrumentals, engaging lyrics, and Tim McIlrath’s awesome voice. It’s a great album.

Number 6: Blacktop Mojo – Burn the Ships (Sample: Dream On)

At number 6 we have an album from a hard rock band that I had never heard about until late 2017. I was just cruising around youtube, listening to music. Then I saw this cover of “Dream On” in my suggestions and I clicked it and I loved it. So I decided to check the band out which led to this album and I love it. It’s great. It’s exactly what I want in a good hard rock album. Great instrumentals, great vocals, interesting structure… it’s just really cool.

Number 5: Trombone Shorty – Parking Lot Symphony (Sample: It Ain’t No Use)

We’re in the top 5 now. And kicking this part off is this great fucking album from Trombone Shorty. It’s a cool album that takes a whole bunch of genres and uses them to make great songs. There’s hip hop, jazz, soul, R’n’B, and more. All while you have some nice brass going through it all. And it’s just one of the coolest and most unique albums of 2017 in that way. It’s just got so much energy and style that I can’t help but kind of love it.

Number 4: Brad Paisley – Love and War (Sample: Love and War)

At number 4 we find the latest album from country artist Brad Paisley, AKA my favorite country artist. And on this he sings about love, parties, soldiers not necessarily being treated as well as they should… yeah, it’s a great album. And the overall quality would probably not matter much in the long run as I would’ve put it on this list purely because of my love for Paisley. But since it is as great as it is, I could happily put it high up on the list without any “guilt”. It’s also cool to have a bunch of other famous artists featured in various tracks throughout the album, such as John Fogerty and Mick Jagger. It’s another win for Paisley.

Number 3: Robert Plant – Carry Fire (Sample: Carry Fire)

On third place on this list we find the newest solo album from former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant. And here you won’t find any of his classic rock n roll antics, oh no. This is a much more reserved Plant. Not saying it’s as reserved and laid back as Mojave 3, but it’s quite reserved compared to his old Zeppelin days. This is a Plant that has taken musical inspiration from several different cultures in this world to combine them and create some really memorable and fantastic songs. This is truly a fantastic album

Number 2: Styx – The Mission (Sample: Gone Gone Gone)

On the penultimate spot we find the latest release from ye olde rock band Styx. And while some of their older stuff could be hit or miss, with entire albums being kind of inconsistent, this is an album that I find myself listening to quite often. While not the most complex album in the world, it’s still a lot of fun to listen to. And it’s also fun to hear that Styx still got it, almost even being better than ever. I also love the space travel concept of the album. I love space and they made some exciting songs about it.

NUMBER 1: Neil Young – Hitchhiker (Sample: Hitchhiker)

Taking the top spot on this list is “Hitchhiker”, the newest solo album from Neil Young. Not only is the album fucking masterful, containing some emotionally charged songs, but it also has an interesting story to it. This was originally recorded in 1976, but for some reason was never released… until 2017. So in some ways I could technically be cheating since it was made in the 70s. But my counterargument is that is wasn’t actually released until 2017. So it’s a 2017 album. And it’s amazing. And that’s why it’s my favorite album of 2017.

So those were my favorite albums of 2017. Now I’d like to hear from you. Did you have any favorite albums from the year that I didn’t mention here? Did you like any of the ones I mentioned? I’d really like to hear what you guys think.
Have a good one.

My Top 20 Favorite Songs

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How’s it going, guys? I hope you are having a good time doing whatever you are currently doing. I am here to give you another list/countdown/opinion-pile. And this time it is for my personal Top 20 Favorite Songs. You’re probably thinking “Wow, “Top 20 Favorite Songs”, something special must’ve happened!”. And the nswer to that is “No”, nothing special has happened, I just couldn’t figure out anything else to use for today’s list… yeah. So, let’s stop standing here and let’s get the rules.

Rule #1: As I always put as rule number 1 on my lists… this is my list therefore you can’t bitch about anything if you don’t agree with it. Every spot on this list is purely based on my opinion and I don’t mean to say that I give you an objective truth. So no bitching!

Rule #2: This list will probably alter a fair amount over the coming weeks/months, so this is just how I feel at this time. Also, every spot on this list (except for the Top 2) are put kind of willy-nilly.

Rule #3: I’m gonna put some emphasis on the fact that the picks for this list aren’t the objectively best songs in the world, these are just the songs I love listening to the most…ish.

Rule #4: I have kept it to one song per artist/band, because otherwise this list would be about 95% AC/DC songs.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you… My Top 20 Favorite Songs!

Number 20: I am Kloot – Avenue of Hope.

A calm and relaxing song that I actually discovered fairly recently. I head it for the first time when I watched the 2007 sci-fi movie “Sunshine” (Sidenote: Go watch “Sunshine” is you haven’t, it’s fucking great). The lyrics are mysterious yet soothing, the guitar is slow and methodical and that freaking saxophone is just magical. It all culminates into a great song.

Number 19: Andy Williams – Speak Softly, Love.

Next up we have a beautiful love song from a fantastic movie. It is what is usually considered the main theme of Francis Ford Coppola’s mafia masterpiece “The Godfather”. I know, there is a bit of a running theme here with songs first being heard in movies, but that’s just purely coincidental. Anyway, this is a beautiful song with powerful instrumentals and terrific singing from the magic voice of Andy Williams. It is overall fantastic and I think you should listen to it.

Number 18: The Jeff Healey Band – Confidence Man.

Next up on the list is a cool song from the blind blues-rocker Jeff Healey (R.I.P). From Healey’s blues voice to the terrific guitar to the overall cool vibe, this is a pretty great song. Listen to it. Also, when making this list and putting this song in it I remembered that Healey was in “Road House”… strange how life works.

Number 17: Johnny Cash – Hurt.

Of course you need a song by “The Man in Black” in your list, question is though which one you will use. Should you go with the ever so popular “Ring of Fire” or maybe go to jil with the “Folsom Prison Blues”? Well in my case we go with his incredibly powerful cover of Nine Inch Nails’ 1994 song. Fun fact: When Reznor saw the music video for this song, it made him cry, and I don’t blame him… it made me tear up a little bit. Every time I watch it I feel like I just lost a friend. That is how powerful this song (and video) is.

Number 16: Beastie Boys – No Sleep Till Brooklyn.

Going from extremely depressing to extremely fun we have the mid-80’s hit by the white hip-hop trio that actually succeeded at being a white hip-hop trio. Also, I think I know why they have such a guitar/rock-based soung despite the lyrical parts being hip-hop; It turns out they started out as punk band but that didn’t really work so they changed to hip-hop and that worked for them. Anyway, one thing’s for sure: It all worked out for them and they have a unique sound that I fucking love. Also, R.I.P. Adam Yauch (In other words MCA), you are missed.

Number 15: Frank Turner – Peggy Sang the Blues.

Here we have a song from musician Frank Turner who has gotten a little bit of recognition these past few years, especially for his song “I Still Believe” which I also love. But for this list I using his song “Peggy Sang the Blues” which jsut like “I Still Believe” is featured on Turner’s album “England Keep My Bones”. I think this song really says what most people want to believe in through the phrase “It doesn’t matter where you come from, it matters where you go“. I intrepret it as that you background doesn’t matter, but please do something about your life, don’t all mundane, do something with your life! I don’t know, I might be really wrong on that, but until someone comes with a better argument I am keeping by it! But this song hold up thanks to excellent lyrics, great instruments (particularly the guitar) and Frank Turner’s fantastic voice.

Number 14: Toto – Africa.

Here we have the classic synth-rock song “Africa” from synth-rock band Toto. Fun fact: keyboardist Steve Porcaro has been keeping busy these past few years, providing the soundtrack for the TV-show “Justified” (Sidenote: Go watch it). But this spot isn’t really about “Justified”, but much rather about this amazing song from Toto. It just has a classic and overall great feel that I just love. The lyrics are pretty great too, being kind of powerful in the chorus. Go listen to it, it’s great.

Number 13: Green Day – Good Riddance (Time of your Life).

Next up is a great song by punk/pop/rock band Green Day. I was originally gonna go with “Warning” for this spot, but then I thought “Nope, Good Riddance is a much better song, let’s use that!”. And I used it. It may be short, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t leave an impact… because to me this song had a huge impact. A song that can interpreted as “Life can and will suck at times, so have as much fun as possible when you can”. Not in a “fuck the police” kind of way, but rather in a “Go out right now and have fun because you might not get a second chance!”. And that is one of the many reasons that it works.

Number 12: Muse – Knights of Cydonia.

As you probably know by now after I have talked about it about 659,4 times, I am a huge fan of westerns. And this song kind of reminds me of westerns, or at least cowboys. In the style of it and also because there are some horses neighing in the beginning of the song. But this song boasts a feel and a surprisingly badass style that I fucking love. I first discovered it when playing “Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock”. And to this day I still can’t beat it on hard difficulty… *sigh*. Song’s great though.

Number 11: Metallica – One.

This might have been one of the more difficult choices for this list seeing as I love Metallica as much as I do. I love most of their songs, not that many on the album “Death Magnetic”, but that’s an entirely different story. But choosing which Metallica song to use was a big challenge, but finally I settled on “One” the song about a soldier… I think. If you look at parts of the lyrics it suggests that and if you look at the video it used clips from the movie “Johnny Got His Gun” which I haven’t seen but want to. Anyway, this is a great song with some excellent guitar, fantastic drumming and the always awesome voice of James Hetfield.

Number 10: The Green Car Motel – Asi Sera.

Time to bring out the motherfucking hipster music. And by that I mean, I don’t think the majority of the world has even heard of this song or even of this band. Which is a sad fact because not only is this song itself great, but the band has made some overall really good tracks that you should listen to some day. A beautiful ballad in spanish filled with excellent/beautiful guitar playing, a great rhythm and by god, that freaking trumpet is fantastic. Oh yeah, the singer’s great too. The entire song is great, listen to it.

Number 9: Steppenwolf – Born to Be Wild.

Get your motor running, head out on the highway! Lookin’ for adventure, in whatever comes our way! Those first few words really what describe what “Born to Be Wild” is all about… freedom. Freedom on the highway. BORN TO BE WIIIIIILD!!!

Number 8: Clint Mansell – Memories (Someone We’ll Never Know).

I never said songs from a movie’s original score was banned from this list! Any song is eligible for this list as long as I write which version of the song I’ve chosen for the list and also that I never use the same artist/band twice. With that said, this is to me (and anyone else who loves this amazing movies) a very emotional song. Hell, I think it might be emotional for anyone who hears it since it is in general a beautiful piece of music. The slow and beautiful piano, the magnificent strings (especially the cello, that shit’s pure magic) and the overall feeling of loneliness and abandonment makes this one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard.

Number 7: Ted Gärdestad – Himlen Är Oskyldigt Blå.

Hey look, a song from my home country! On a quick sidenote: For those of you who don’t know, I am from Sweden. Now that I got the sidenote out of the way, I love this song so much! Not only is this one of my favorite songs of all time, Ted Gärdestad(R.I.P) is also one of my favorite musicians of all time. This song got everything; Beautiful piano, great intrumental play in general, a great feel and also a fantastic voice to hold it up. There is nothing I dislike about this movie, I love absolutely everything about it!

Number 6: Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water.

Despite this song only being at number 6, it has still had a larger impact on me than any other song on this list. It was the first song I ever played and beat on “Guitar Hero”, it is a song that stuck easily in my mind and it is one of the few songs I actually know the full lyrics to (I recite the lyrics in my spare time a lot). Anyway, I think the main reason everybody knows this song and can recognize it easily is because of that classic guitar riff. A simple layout with a simple execution turned into a worldwide phenomenon. My love of this song go beyond the riff however, I personally love everything about the song. Like I said, the impact it had on me me is massive. I know the lyrics, I know the backstory behind it, I have listened to this song probably more than 500 times throughout my life (which might sound like a little to some, but is actually a huge amount) and I just overall love exactly everything about it.

Number 5: Brad Paisley – You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.

Hey look, a country song! And a pretty amazing one at that. It is a song with excellent guitar playing, excellent use of all intruments and it also has Brad Paisley’s smooth voice. It also tells a story of Harlan County’s coal industry and how it began. Those are things that make the song as great as it is (to me). Here is how I discovered the song: I was watching “Justified” (Sidenote: Again, go watch it!) and when I got to the season 1 finale this song started playing and I went “Wow, this song’s great, I have to look it up!”. So I looked it up, found out which song it was and I have listened to it and loved it ever since. It is a great song that deserves all the love it gets!

Number 4: Bruce Springsteen – Streets of Philadelphia.

Once again, a song that I got introduced to through a movie (Sidenote: The movie for those of you who don’t know is “Philadelphia”). And boy, am I glad the movie introduced me to this song because it is just beautiful! The drumming is soothing, Springsteen’s voice is soothing and the lyrics some of the most poetic and beautiful I have ever heard. This is one of the few songs that can make me close to tearing up because of beautiful it is. This is a song that I hope will touch so many more people. Even though it is pretty much about gay people who get aids and start dying (go to songmeanings.com and you will understand).

Number 3: Skillet – American Noise.

This is a song that just hit me as soon as I heard it. It comments on society, it has powerful lyrics that resonated with me it is jsut straight up beautiful. Whenever I hear this magnificent song I just want to yell out “I GOT A VOICE!” and then jsut burst into song to make the world a happier place. I remember chatting with my best friend on facebook one day, sending a link to this song to him and he just fell in love with it. I guess that is exactly what this song is… Love. Anyway, even if it for some reason turned out to not actually be love but instead be something else I can for sure say that it is an amazing song.

Number 2: AC/DC – Hells Bells.

This spot might come as a shock for some people since I have stated many times, both here on wordpress and in real life that AC/DC is my favorite band. And holy shit, it was so shocking I gave Jeff a heart attack. Someone call 911. Anyway, uhm… yeah. You’d think that if AC/DC is my favorite band then I’d put one of their songs at number 1, but I am kind of ironic in that sense because I put them at number 2. But despite it not being on number 1, I still fucking love this song (and AC/DC). This is honestly my favorite AC/DC song, I don’t know why it is my favorite by them, it just is. It is pretty amazing in my opinion.

Before we reach number 1, let’s just throw out one honorable mention because I am a dick like that! And that honorable mention will go to “Paradise City” by Guns ‘n’ Roses. Great rock song, fun to listen to, honorable mention over.

NUMBER 1: Ennio Morricone – The Ecstasy of Gold!

THIS. SONG. IS. FUCKING. AMAZING. CAN’T. SPEAK. PROPERLY. But in all seriousness, this song really is a masterpiece. Written and conducted by Ennio Morricone for “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” (Sidenote: MY third favorite movie of all time), it is an epic song that gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. The intro piano/oboe, the gradually increasing sounds, the woman who sings in it, the brass the… EVERYTHING! This is a song I can just put on repeat at any time and just have a great time with because it is big, epic and brings me so many memories of big and epic westerns. And that is why this is my all time favorite song.

Now that has been my Top 20 Favorite Songs. Let me know in the comments what your favorite song is. I hope you an enjoyable time reading this and listening to the great music.

Have a good one!