2017 has been a fabulous year in music, but mostly for all the Anniversary Editions of some of my favorite albums from Def Leppard, Whitesnake and Stone Temple Pilots. However, there were some stellar Rock albums this year as well.
This list will be my favorite “Rock” albums of the year. All other types of music will be for a later post. I am going to leave this one to my favorite genre. It is a broad genre, but these are the albums that I consider to be ROCK!!
Also note, these are MY FAVORITES!! These are not the most popular or trendy albums. These are the albums that I connected with during the year and kept coming back to again and again. And without further adieu, here are the Top Rock Albums of 2017:
My #1 Album of the Year:
Jonny Lang – ‘Signs’: This album is straight-up Blues Rock and was one of two albums I can’t stop listening to this year. With songs like “Make It Move” and “Wisdom” how could I vote for any other album as #1. If that isn’t enough, Jonny’s guitar playing is sensational and his vocals are filled with so much emotion you are attached to these songs. Here is what I said in my review…He has brought a rawness back to his music that brings a more authentic blues sound and brings a lot of emotion. There is no reason you should skip out on listening to this album. (Click at the top to see the review).
My #2 Album of the Year:
Greta Van Fleet – ‘From the Fires’: I had mentioned there were two albums this year I kept listening to and this was the second. Now, this a double E.P. and not a full length album, however, I don’t care. It also was released in November, but four of the songs were released earlier in the year and it was those four songs that made me fall in love with this band. (See review by clicking on their name). Songs like “Highway Tune”, “Black Smoke Rising” and “Safaris Song” are just brilliant even if they sound like Led Zeppelin (only slightly, ha, ha)
The Remaining Favorites in No Particular Order:
As Lions – “Selfish Age”: When you are Bruce Dickinson’s son, how do you get out from under his shadow. Apparently, it is pretty easy. You form a band that sounds nothing like your dad’s famous band and you make them awesome. Boom!! Done!! This modern rock band comes at your full force with powerful rock songs such as “Aftermath”, “Bury My Dead” and “White Flag. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Cheap Trick – “We’re All Alright”: Cheap Trick keeps getting stronger. This bombastic, retro, punk sounding album takes you back to their early days and is pure entertainment. The exhaustive pace of the songs keeps coming at you and won’t stop, but when it does you are ready to jump back in and start again. “Radio Lover”, “Brand New Name on an Old Tattoo”, “Blackberry Way” and “You Got It Going On” are just a tip of what is great about this album.
Royal Blood – “How Did We Get So Dark?”: This is the second album from this alternative band. Some criticized this album for not progressing from their debut, but who the hell cares. It is full of guitars, drums and that damn bass is driving it home. It is a badass rock album and that is all that matters. “Lights Out”, “How Did We Get So Dark”, “I Only When I Love You” and “Hook, Line & Sinker” are all fantastic and a small part of the albums greatness.
Fozzy ‘Judas’: I am glad to say that a Fozzy album is on my favorites list this year. I have never had them as one of my favorites for any of their releases. This one connected with me a lot more. It was more melodic and so much more accessible. I loved “Drinkin’ With Jesus”, “Judas”, “Weight of the World”, “Painless” and “Elevator”. Hell, I could list more for lack of time I will hold off.
Otherwise – ‘Sleeping Lions’: Be prepared for a full frontal assault to your senses as Otherwise will tear you a new hole. I hate I never got around to reviewing this rock attack. It is heavy, it is loud, it is everything you want in a Rock album…at least for me. I love “Angry Heart”, “Suffer”, “Close to the Gods” and “Won’t Stop” to name a few. Give this one a try.
Papa Roach – ‘Crooked Teeth’: Papa Roach delivered a solid album where they strayed a little from the usual style but did not lose themselves in the process. Their mixture of rock and a little hip hop works great together and they can bring the heavy with “Born to Greatness” or slow things down like with “Periscope (feat. Skylar Grey)”. On this album, they did it all and did it well.
Living Colour – ‘Shade’: One of the biggest surprises for me this year was Living Colour. One, I wasn’t looking for a new album or knew they still existed. Two, Damn!! They delivered a stellar release that both shocked and awed me. The band had a lot to say and with songs like “Program”, “Freedom of Expression”, “Who Shot Ya” and “Two Sides” they fearlessly expressed their emotions on today’s society. I gave it a 77%, but the songs I liked were great!!
Hollywood Undead – ‘V’: This is one of the newer ones I have gotten into and it quickly made my Top 10, if barely. The review was earlier this month. They can be aggressive with songs like “Pray”, “Black Cadillac” and “California Dreaming”. They can also slow it down a little with “Ghost Beach” and “Bad Moon”. They can sound like Eminem on “Whatever It Takes’…hell, they can do it all.
Those were my Top 10, but I have 2 other albums to highlight before I get to the honorable mentions. There were 2 live albums that I loved this year and those are below…
The Winery Dogs – ‘Dog Years – Live in Santiago & Beyond 2013-2016’: This was a 3 CD set with two discs from the concert and one that was an E.P. The live show is unfreakin’ believable. With the talents of Richie Kotzen on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass and Mike Portnoy on drums, you can’t go wrong. It is like watching a master class on the way these instruments are supposed to be played. You won’t here another one like it.
Damon Johnson – ‘Birmingham Tonight’: Damon Johnson is the lead guitarist for Black Star Riders and formerly Brother Cane. He has played with Alice Cooper and Thin Lizzy. Take all that and roll into a Live concert of some of the best songs he has been involved with and you get a helluva show. I want this on vinyl when it is ever available. For now, only digital
These honorable mentions could have easily been in my Top 10 depending on the day and my mood. That is why I generally don’t rank my top list because it is so subjective to my mood on when I write it. What am I digging at that time or who knows what. So being honorable mention doesn’t take anything away from these albums. They are all worthy. So here we go…
Styx – ‘The Mission’: It is great to have the guys back. This is a concept album that harkens back to the old days. Glad to have them back and putting out quality music.
Alice Cooper – ‘Paranormal’: I am telling you, the old guys brought their A game this year. Alice is no exception. So many great songs on this thing including “Paranoaic Personality” and “Fallen in Love’ with Billy Gibbons.
The Wild! – ‘Wild At Heart’: This a new discovery for me thanks to my blogging friends. This is just dirty, gritty rock and roll. I love “White Devil” and “Ready to Roll”.
Revolution Saints – ‘Light in the Dark’: The super group with Jack Blade, Doug Aldrich and Deen Castronovo. They sound like a heavy metal version of Journey thanks to Deen’s amazing vocals. You gotta listen to it to believe it.
Degreed – ‘Degreed’ – Great melodic rock with guitars and great vocals. It is just good, fun rock & roll. Songs like “Sugar”, “Save Me” and Shakedown” will make you instant fans.
Adelitas Way – ‘Notorious’: This one definitely just missed my Top 10. There wasn’t much I didn’t like about this one. It is a lot like Theory of a Deadman and Nickelback, but so much better. I can’t actually listen and enjoy these guys.
John 5 & the Creatures – ‘Season of the Witch’: The only instrumental on the list this year and damn is it a good one. John 5 is smoking hot and blazing through those strings on “Guitars, Tits & Monsters”, “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” and “Season of the Witch”.
Art of Anarchy – ‘The Madness’: I have a soft spot for Scott Stapp and this album got better with each listen for me. I really loved “The Madness”, “Echo of a Scream” and “Afterburn”. I will take anything that showcases Stapp.
Harem Scarem – ‘United’: I was so glad Harem Scarem put out a new album. I thought they were done. Thanksfully, that is not the case. Harry Hess and gang are back with some great song including “One of Life’s Mysteries” and “Gravity” plus a whole lot more.
Will Hoge – ‘Anchors’: Will Hoge is classified more as Folk Rock with a heavy hint of country. He started off more in the rock genre and that is where I will always label him. His bluesy vocals and all-American lyrics tell such great stories. He gets better with age.
RSO (Richie Sambora & Orianthi) – ‘Rise’: Their new album was only an E.P. and not what I expected. It was more pop and not much guitar. For two guitar aficionados, I had such high expectations…maybe too high.
And the Worst Album of the Year
Quiet Riot – ‘Road Rage’: The album showed promise by adding James Durbin as the lead singer. I had high hopes. They were quickly dashed when I heard the album. It was almost unlistenable for me. The production value was crap and the I didn’t like James’ vocals which is surprising as I love his solo work. Very disappointed in this one.
There you have it. My rock & roll adventure for the year. Amazingly, this is only a smidge of what I listened to during the year. These were just the ones that I enjoyed the most. I hope you enjoyed the list and maybe found something new to give a listen.