Great Music #38

Hey there, my friends, I hope you’re doing well. Welcome back to Great Music, the series where I ramble on about songs I enjoy. Been a while since last time… Jesus Christ, September 2020!? Man, I need to get better at doing these… anyhow, let’s talk music.

So what’s on our menu today? Well, I’ll tell you, just relax. So today we’re talking about a song by a band from my own home country of Sweden. The song I’ve chosen today is “I Sell My Kids for Rock’n’Roll” by Crucified Barbara… talk about eye-catching title.

Formed in Stockholm in 1998, Crucified Barbara was a hard rock/sleaze rock/metal band that had a decent audience for a while, but really came into the public eye when they competed in the 2010 Swedish Melody Festival (basically our lead-in to Eurovision) with their song “Heaven or Hell”. They then later broke up in 2016. Much like much of the general public, I didn’t really know about them until that one song. And even then, I didn’t immediately latch onto them (despite my love of rock and metal), that took another few years. But then I finally did, and “I Sell My Kids for Rock’n’Roll” has sort of become the one track I find myself going back to the most. It’s a rip-roaring belter of a song, with fast riffs, heavy percussion, and debaucherous lyrics. Now, this isn’t anything new within the world of rock music (Bill Idol, Mötley Crüe, and many more come to mind), but I feel that Crucified Barbara bring this unique energy within the song. I can’t quite put my finger on what, but they have this firey, balls to the wall attitude that makes this song stick out. Aaaaaand I love it.

Have a good one and enjoy the song.

My Favorite Albums of 2020

Hello there. I hope you’re doing well (unless you’re a racist piece of shit, then off you fuck). We have reached that time of year again. The time where I share my terrible opinions on a bunch of music. That’s right, once again I will share my favorite albums of the year that just ended. But before we begin, let’s lay down some ground rules.

Rule number 1: Let’s all be kind here. This is my list, my opinions, and I hope you can respect them. If you don’t agree with any of them, that’s fine. Just don’t be a dick about it in the comments section.

Rule number 2: I will not be including any greatest hits albums, as that’d just be cheating for very obvious reasons. Only albums of previously unreleased material.

Rule number 3: No soundtracks/scores from movies/tv/games for similar reasons as rule number 2. This is strictly a list of regular albums released by bands/artists.

With all that out of the way, let’s get into my favorite albums of 2020!

Number 11: Gangstagrass – No Time For Enemies (Sample: Nickel And Dime Blues)

Kicking it off with number 11 we have the latest release from eclectic music project Gangstagrass. For the uninitiated, Gangstagrass is a group that mixes bluegrass with hiphop. I’ve been a fan of them for a few years, and I was super excited to see them release some new material. And it’s really solid. It’s fun, but it also has some deeper meaning with a few of its tracks. It’s just good stuff.

Number 10: Hayley Williams – Petals For Armor (Sample: Simmer)

At number 10 is the first ever solo release from Paramore vocalist Hayley Williams. It’s very clear from the offset that this is a very raw and personal project for Williams, which brings us an album that is manages to both entertain as a general music experience, while also giving off a bit of a somber, introspective vibe at times. And that makes for a really interesting listening experience that I’d certainly recommend.

Number 9: Neil Young – Homegrown (Sample: Separate Ways)

Next up on the list is the latest release form none other than Neil Young (more like Neil Old, am I right?). And much like “Hitchhiker” in 2017, this album was actually recorded way back in the 70s, but has remained in the archives since then… until 2020 that is. And while not as terrific as the aforementioned “Hitchhiker”, there is no denying just how good Young is as a songwriter. You can tell that he was going through some stuff at the time, which translated itself a little into the songs themselves. And it makes for a really solid album.

Number 8: Blue Öyster Cult – The Symbol Remains (Sample: That Was Me)

Speaking of old people releasing new albums, Blue Öyster Cult’s back. 19 years after their last studio release, the band has come out with “The Symbol Remains”. And despite that long time between albums, it’s clear that these gents have lost none of their skill. What you get here is a healthy mix of the Cult’s older style, with some more modern influences sown throughout, making for a sound that shows the band’s ability to evolve without sacrificing what makes them unique and interesting. And I love that.

Number 7: Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown – Pressure (Sample: Pressure)

Coming in at 7th place is “Pressure”, the latest release from American hard rock act Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown. Crunchy guitars, scratchy vocals, ear-meltingly good solos, and some nice, driving percussion. It’s everything you could ask for in a good hard rock release.

Number 6: Alastair Greene – The New World Blues (Sample: Lies and Fear)

Ending the back half of this list is American blues rocker Alastair Greene’s latest release. And let me tell you, if you love blues rock as much as I do, then you’re in for a treat with this. What you get are some fun and frankly interesting lyrics, sung by someone with a really good blues voice. And as the cherry on top you get some absolutely excellent guitar work that is an absolute joy to listen to. It’s a damn good album.

Number 5: Joe Bonamassa – Royal Tea (Sample: Royal Tea)

Speaking of feelin’ the blues… Smokin’ Joe is back with another album. And once again he has managed to make his way onto a best of the year list. Is it possible that I might be a bit of a Bonamassa fanboy? Yes. But that’s also the beauty of this blog… I can let my fanboyisms fly, and no one can stop me. But in all seriousness, Bonamassa is an excellent musician whose craft improves with every new album he releases. And “Royal Tea” is further proof of that, bringing us more of the uniquely interesting lyrics/vocals and ear-melting guitar work I’ve come to expect from him.

Number 4: Deep Purple – Whoosh! (Sample: The Power of the Moon)

I’ll be honest, after 2017’s “Infinite”, I wasn’t sure if Deep Purple would make another album. But 2020 proved me fucking wrong with the release of “Whoosh!” (that’s a fun title). Do you like Deep Purple? Then you’re gonna fucking like “Whoosh!”. It has a lot of the staples we’ve come to expect from them in terms of style, just done to absolute perfection. Ian Gillan’s vocals are still top notch, there’s still good guitar work, and the heavy synth is still as fun as ever. Will this album be listed as a classic along “Machine Head” or “In Rock”? Only time will tell. But in this moment I can at least say without a doubt that it’s a fucking great album. A fucking great album called “Whoosh!”.

Number 3: Run the Jewels – RTJ4 (Sample: Ooh LA LA)

Taking the bronze on this list is the latest album from rap duo Run the Jewels. What’s extra fascinating about it is that they released the album for free on their website before the actual release date, as a gift in the harsh times of 2020. And that’s a cool fucking gesture on their part. And the album itself is great (its inclusion here shoulda been a dead giveaway), featuring plenty of great flows, lyrics with plenty of meaning, and a lot of fun beats. There’s also plenty of interesting guest appearances throughout that adds a lot to it. It’s just a top tier rap album, man.

Number 2: Sepultura – Quadra (Sample: Isolation)

I’ll be honest, for years I couldn’t get into Sepultura. I don’t know why, but for some reason I had a hard time seeing the appeal. But in recent years I have started coming around to them. And the latest album from the Brazilian metal band is some excellent stuff. It hearkens back to a lot of mid to late 80s thrash, while also featuring elements of death metal and even some traditional Brazilian music. And it makes for one of the most electrifying listening experiences I had in 2020.

NUMBER 1: Blues Pills – Holy Moly! (Sample: Kiss My Past Goodbye)

Here we are, friends. The final one. The gold medalist. El queso grande. My favorite album of 2020 is “Holy Moly!”, the latest release from Swedish psychdelic blues rock band Blues Pills. I stumbled upon one of their songs around two years ago, loving it. So I checked out a few more songs, loving those. Which had me eagerly anticipating whatever they’d release next. Cut to 2020 and “Holy Moly!” hits stores and streaming and wherever else their music can be found. And right from that first listen, I fell in love. This album is fun, funky, and absolutely electrifying. It’s simply fantastic.

So those were my favorite albums of 2020. And whether you agree with my picks or not, I hope you enjoyed reading through that. Maybe you even discovered a new favorite? Anyhow, if you have any favorite album from 2020, feel free to mention it in the comments.

Have a good one.

Great Music #37

Hello there, friends! I hope you’re doing well. So it’s time for another Great Music post. You know, those irregularly posted things of mine where I ramble about music I enjoy. Nothing deep, nothing analytical… just good tunes. So let’s get into it.

So last time we went for a somber ballad. But today is a little different. It’s still a song with an interesting narrative baked into it, but it’s presented in a slightly more digestible and (for lack of a better word) fun package. Today we’re talking about “I Was Just a Kid” by Nothing But Thieves.

Hailing from Southend-on-Sea in the UK, Nothing But Thieves is a rock band in a similar vein to Royal Blood. And in 2017 they released their album “Broken Machine”, an album all about how nothing in this world is perfect. On said album is “I Was Just a Kid”, a fast-paced rock tune with relatively mellow vocals on verses and loud shouts on the chorus, a combination befitting a song about the loss of innocence. Combine this with thumping percussion, driving guitar, and some nice bass to back it up, and you get a really great song. So on the surface it can be seen as just a fun hard rock tune, but if one cares to delve deeper, nuance can be found. And I guess that dichotomy is part of what has helped me appreciate it. Because I first discovered it while playing “Need For Speed: Payback”, getting pumped up by it as I tried to beat my opponents in various races. And since then I’ve learnt to appreciate its deeper meaning. So that’s cool.

Have a good one and enjoy!

Lock-down Godzilla

Hey there, friends. Today’s post is a little different. In some ways, one could probably consider it a part of my Great Music series, but I that I wouldn’t do that in this case. As you all know, the world’s in a bit of a shitty spot right now with a certain virus-related thingamabob going on. I’m not trying to make light of it, I just don’t wanna say its name too much, as you already know what it is. Anyhow, it’s not just us regular folks who are in lockdown. Famous artists are stuck too, which means they can’t really be out touring and playing gigs… but that’s not stopping some from entertaining the masses.

Recently a video was posted to youtube by one of my favorite bands. That band of course being Blue Öyster Cult. And in it, we have the current band members Buck Dharma, Eric Bloom, Danny Miranda, Richie Castellano, and Jules Radino sitting in their respective homes, giving us a fresh rendition of their 1977 classic “Godzilla”. Not only do I like this because I adore the band in general, but I also like it because the guys clearly still got it. Really, it’s just a fun little video that I’ve been enjoying recently. And I thought I’d share it with you guys, because I enjoy sharing things that I like with my friends.

Have a good one and enjoy!

Great Music #34

Well hello there, friends. Time for the first Great Music piece of 2020. Are y’all excited? I know I am.

So to kick off a new year of me obnoxiously telling you all what songs I like, I might as well ease y’all into it. And by ease you into it I don’t mean some soft, radio-friendly ballad. No, but ease into it I mean that we take a song from a band that everyone knows. Iron fucking Maiden.

I adore Iron Maiden, they’re one of my favorite bands, having made a ton of songs I love. So there were a lot of options for me to choose from. But like I said, to ease us into a new year of these posts, I thought I’d go with what could be considered their most accessible song… “Wasted Years”. It’s a song about how fleeting time can be. It’s something we all can relate to on some level, which is partly what could make it one of the band’s more accessible songs for anyone that hasn’t really given the band much of a shot. The structure of the verses and chorus is also the closest the band has ever really gotten to a typical power ballad sound, without fully sacrificing their own sound in the process. Bruce Dickinson gets some really good vocal sections, Steve Harris still of course has some damn fine bass licks, and the guitar work is as good as it’s ever been. Guitarist Adrian Smith did a wonderful job in writing this song, creating what might be my favorite tune from the band… well, it’s either this or “Run to the Hills”, I kind of go back and forth from day to day which I like more. Either way, “Wasted Years” is a wonderful song.

Have a good one and enjoy.

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.

Great Music #24

Hi there! I’m back to talk about some music I like. So here we go.

So the song I’ve picked today is a metal one. It’s “Confusion” by Metallica, a band I’ve praised about six billion times on this blog and on social media and in real life. But I can’t help it, they jsut make so much awesome stuff. And I have two reasons why I’ve chosen “Confusion” for today. Number 1: It’s a really good song by one of my favorite bands. Two: I want to talk about the music video. Let’s start with the story of this thing. “Confusion” is a song about a soldier who comes home from war and gets an average job and then these two worlds start blurring together because this person has PTSD. Metallica have never eschewed from having deep and serious themes in their song, so this is nothing new. What is really interesting here is the video. Sure, it’s basically just a video version of the song, that’s been done millions of times before. What’s so special about this one? Look at the video. The way it’s shot, the way it’s paced… it’s fucking fantastic. The video for “Confusion” was directed by Claire Marie Vogel, a woman who has done a lot of photography and also directed a fair amount of music videos. And just looking at the video for “Confusion” gives me the impression that she’ has a lot of talent. The video is just under seven minutes, and if she can make something that short as dramatic and intense as it is, imagine what she could do with an entire movie! People are always talking about how the movie industry (Hollywood especially) needs more women making the things. I am all for that. Let’s start with getting Claire Marie Vogel some movie gigs… please.
Have a good one and enjoy!

Great Music #22

Good evening, ladies, gentlemen, and others. I hope you’re all having a good Friday! Let’s talk about some music!

So today I am recommending a band that I’ve been listening to for a while and that I’ve become quite a fan of. The band in question is Screaming Eagles, a hard rock band from Northern Ireland. And the song we’re talking about is “Rock n Roll Soul”, the seventh track from their debut album “From the Flames” which came out in 2014. My backstory with this band is that I heard one of their songs, this one we’re talking about today to be more specific, in an episode of “Justified” (Sidenote: If you haven’t seen “Justified”, go rectify that as soon as possible!). And I thought “This song’s pretty cool” and then I looked up the episode’s soundtrack on the internet, found the song, listened to the song, listened to more songs by the band, and the rest is history. And I love the music that these guys are playing, because it’s a type of rock n roll that just says “Hey… let’s have some motherfucking fun, yo!”. And “Rock n Roll Soul” is the epitome of that. Also, the music video is just a lot of fun.
Enjoy!

My Top 13 Albums of 2016

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We have finally come to the end of this godforsaken year. And with that, everyone makes their ends of the year lists. And I am not too different in that sense. Primarily speaking I talk about movies on this blog, but since I haven’t seen that many 2016 releases, you will not see any “Top ___ Movies of 2016” from me any time soon. But I could at least make this type of list since it’s easy to listen to music thanks to free (and legal) services like Spotify and Youtube. With that said, let’s go over some of the ground rules here.

Rule #1: This is my list, featuring MY opinions. It’s not my list, featuring YOUR opinions. So don’t bitch and moan over what is featured on this list. I encourage friendly discussion, but bitching and moaning… get that shit out of here.

Rule #2: No “This artist’s greatest hits” albums will be featured. Would be a bit of a cheat to feature that since it would only be made up of older songs by the artist. Only new stuff.

Rule #3: I am not including any soundtracks or original scores here. Otherwise this list would be impossible to limit to a reasonable amount.

Rule #4: No live concert albums will be featured here. I kind of basse this on the same reason as rule #2, since it’s never made of only original material. That said, I am giving an honorable mention to Joe Bonamassa’s “Live at the Greek Theatre” album, because it’s pretty great.

Now that we’ve laid the foundation for this thing, let’s get started! Ladies and gentlemen, these are my Top 13 Albums of 2016!

Number 13: David Bowie – Blackstar (Sample: Lazarus)

Kicking off the list is the final album by legendary entertainer David Bowie who unfortunately passed away very early this year. Bowie of course is known for making a ton of great music throughout the years, as well as wearing some very interesting styles of clothing/makeup. Safe to say, he is missed. And hwile I don’t think this is one his best albums, it is still good (it’s on this list for a reason). Bowie did some very experimental stuff with this album, and while I am not the biggest fan of it all, I at least appreciate that he tried something so different and interesting with it. But I do have to say, the track featured in this post, “Lazarus”, is absolutely fantastic and one of the best songs of the year.

Number 12: Sabaton – The Last Stand (Sample: The Last Stand)

Here we have the latest album by Swedish metal band Sabaton. Several of their albums tend to have some interesting themes explored, which tends to make for some pretty epic metal songs. The theme of this album is “famous last stand battles”, hence the album title. If you’re not a history buff, you might not know which battle each songs is about, so I recommend reading up on the album on wikipedia. But I am a big fan of Sabaton, and this album is pretty badass.

Number 11: Doug Seegers – Walking on the Edge of the World (Sample: Walking on the Edge of the World)

Mixing it up at number 11 with some country. To be specific, it is American country musician Doug Seegers, who not too long ago was just a street musician. Then Swedish musician Jill Johnson found out about him and made him famous. And now he’s a pretty big artist. And like his first album, “Going Down to the River”, this album is really good… not much else to say.

Number 10: Leonard Cohen – You Want it Darker (Sample: You Want it Darker)

Here we have the final album by legendary singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, who died not too long after this album was released. Not to reopen wounds, but 2016  was a really awful year to be a fan of great entertainers. Oh well… c’est la vie. But as I said, this was the final album recorded by Cohen, and it kind of shows. It’s dark, contemplative, interesting, haunting… it’s a really great album and a perfect way for his career to wrap up.

Number 9: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree (Sample: Skeleton Tree)

Wow, 2016 was filled with interesting and haunting music. This is the latest album from teh critically acclaimed Australian band, and it’s definitely another solid album from them. It’s interesting to kind of read up on the album and find out some of the behind the scenes stuff. Mainly speaking, how the album was pretty close to finished when Nick Cave’s 15-year-old son died, which as you might expect, halted production. And this of course changed a few things in the album. Not exactly sure what, or how much… but some things got added. If you listen to it and look at the lyrics, the theme of death and tragedy is explored, which might have been triggered a little bit by the unfortunate passing of Cave’s son. His son is never explicitly mentioned, but it might’ve had some effect on it. Either way, this is a great album.

Number 8: Eric Clapton – I Still Do (Sample: Alabama Woman Blues)

So for the number 8 spot we have the latest album from Eric Clapton, one of my personal favorite musicians/songwriters. Clapton has always had one foot firmly in the blues genre, and this album clearly shows it. And yeah, it’s another win from Clapton. I wouldn’t say that it’s as great as “Slowhand” (his best album), but it’s still pretty damn good.

Number 7: Rick Astley – 50 (Sample: Angels On My Side)

You think I’m joking? I swear, this is serious. The man who for a while was one of the biggest internet memes, released a genuinely great album. I am not necessarily the biggest fan of pop music… but this shit is great. Astley’s vocals sound fantastic, even better than they did 30 years ago, and everything is overall very well composed. Really, it’s a great album.

Number 6: Shawn James – On the Shoulders of Giants (Sample: Hellhound)

To tell you the truth, I discovered Shawn James very recently. First time I ever heard one of his songs was through the “Last of Us Part II” trailer, which was released at the beginning of this this month. So I of course looked up the song used in the trailer and then began listening to more of what Shawn James had to offer and by god, he is awesome! His raw, smoky voice is great, and combined with some great instrumentals makes for some awesome music. And really, his 2016 album (which is the topic of this thing) is another win from him.

Number 5: Skillet – Unleashed (Sample: Feel Invincible)

I am not a very religious person. I’ve been baptized, I’ve gone through confirmation… but I am not particularly religious in general (my foul language should be a very clear clue). But I also go by the philosophy that you don’t have to be very relgious to appreciate good music that has a religious subtext. As long as the music sounds good and is well composed… then who gives a shit if it’s based in relgion. And that’s basically my way of justifying why I love Skillet, an American Christian rock band. I have been a fan of these guys for years now, and I was of course incredibly hyped about their new album “Unleashed” being released. And when it came out, I thought it was great. Not their best album, but it was still pretty great (Again, it’s on this list for a reason).

Number 4: Santana – Santana IV (Sample: Forgiveness)

I’ve been a fan of latino rock band Santana for quite some time, so seeing that they came out with a new album this year of course got me incredibly happy. Like with previous albums, it’s filled with some cool beats, some nice vibes, and Carlos Santana’s god damn guitar playing. Seriously, that man knows how to play a guitar like a boss. Really, his guitar playing is the main reason why I love the band. Yes, there are other great things too, but that guitar, man… it’s so amazing!

Number 3: Airbourne – Breakin’ Outta Hell (Sample: Breakin Outta Hell)

Sometimes you don’t need a deeper meaning or experimental instrumentals to make good music. Sometimes all you need is some passion and a guitar. And by that I mean, Airbourne is just a straight-up hard rock band that don’t seem to give two shits about what anyone thinks. They just play the music they love… hard rock (clearly inspired by AC/DC and a little bit of Judas Priest). And that’s what I love about these guys. They have over the past few years become one of my favorite bands of all time, and when their new album was announced… boy, was I hyped. And then it came out aaaaand it was fucking awesome!

Number 2: Joe Bonamassa – Blues of Desperation (Sample: Mountain Climbing)

And at the number 2 spot we find the latest (non-live) album from American blues musician Joe Bonamassa, who I didn’t know about until some time in fall of last year. And now he is one of my favorite artists of all time. And this new album by him is pretty damn great. From some of the slower ballads like “Drive”, to the fast stuff like “You left Me Nothin’ But the Bill and the Blues”, to the heavy and badass “Mountain Climbing”… all of it is so amazingly good! Or at least that’s what I think.

NUMBER 1: Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct (Sample: Hardwired)

If you were surprised by this, then you clearly don’t follow me on twitter (@TheMarckoguy) or you’re just very new here. I have talked about Metallica a whole bunch of times (at least… 5) on this blog, and I have tweeted about the band a few too many times before (I am not sorry). They are my second favorite band of all time (Number 1 is AC/DC), so I might have some slight bias with this placement. But that’s okay, because it’s my list and I can do whatever the hell I want to. But I have listened to this album a lot of times to try to get the feel of it and I came to the conclusion that I absolutely love it. It’s a great return to form for the band, and a real treat for long time fans of the band. It also feels great to have another Metallica album out, since the last one before this came out in 2008. So yeah… this is my favorite album of 2016.

What are your thoughts? What’s your favorite album of 2016? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one and happy new year!

 

Great Music #20

Hello guys, I hope you’re all doing well. So I haven’t done a post like this since mid-September, so I felt like I had to done one now. So let’s talk about music.

I hear you asking “BUT MARKUS… How can you make a post about music during the Month of Spooks?”. Well, it’s simple. Take a song (or at least music video) that have something related to spooky stuff. And what I have picked today is pretty much that. Now, I have made my love of Metallica very clear on this blog… and my twitter (#ShamelessPlug) feed… and my instagram (#ShamelessPlug) feed… and in real life.  So don’t be surprised that I picked a song by them to put here. Now, most Metallica fans might assume that I’d go with “Enter Sandman”, which is a fantastic song with a really creepy video… but that’s not what I’m going with today, though I do still highly recommend it. No, the song we’re going with “Until it Sleeps”, a song about dark themes. But the main reason why I chose it was because of the music video. It features dark, surreal, and downright creepy imagery. From religious stuff, to snakes, to death… it’s some creepy shit. And the song in itself is pretty great, I’d even say that it’s one of the band’s most underappreciated songs. So that is why I chose it. A great song for Month of Spooks.
Have a good one and enjoy!