2019 was another year with some great releases and way too many to get through them all so I am sure I missed a number of great albums and if you look around the web, there will be tons of Top Album lists you can get a pretty good idea of what you should check out in case you missed any of these.
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. You won’t find the new Tool album here because I don’t like them and I never had any desire to hear it. So, they won’t even be rates as worst album because I didn’t listen to it. These are the albums that I connected with during the year and I kept coming back to again and again. And without further adieu, here are the Top Rock Albums of 2019:
#10 – Michael Sweet – Ten
Michael Sweet’s 10th solo studio album brings us a very Stryper sounding album, but one that takes us back to the early days of Yellow & Back Attack and To Hell With the Devil which in my opinion is a very good thing. He brings a special guest on each song which you would think would make the album a little disjointed, but it works on so many levels. The album rocks out from beginning to end!
#9 – Whitesnake – Flesh & Blood
David Coverdale is back with a vengeance and this time you have Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra along for the ride. And to think of it, Joel appears on our #10 album so he is on two Top 10 releases…coincident? I think not! With this release you get a solid blues, rock album with some great songs such as “Shut Up and Kiss Me” and “Trouble Is Your Middle Name”. The best thing they have done in years.
#8 – Soren Andersen – Guilty Pleasure
In a surprise release I knew nothing about, I was so thrilled to finally find it. I didn’t get a repeat of his first solo album, instead I was treated to a rocking instrumental that contained songs without lyrics that you could still sing along to with that guitar. This was a blast from beginning to end. No showboating, just thrilling guitar playing with a master of his craft.
It is a Beauty and a Beast with the softer ballads along side the brutal attacks of heavier metalcore songs. I Prevail had an album that would lay waste to the world that was perfect to blast in the car on a bad day of traffic when I wanted to lay waste to the cars around me. This one was played a lot this year and the louder the better especially “Gasoline” and “Bow Down”.
The songs were rocking out, were heavy, and John 5 displayed his proficiency with the guitar like so few can. His creativity and style are unmatched currently and his songs feel like songs which some instrumental albums don’t come across that way. It isn’t all show-boating. Plus, with Ian Ross on bass and Logan Nix on drums, he is surrounded by nothing but talent and their contributions don’t go without being noticed. It is a talented trio.
The Defiants take you back to an era of music that was all about fun. They stepped it up and gave us an even better album than their debut. If you like Danger Danger and any of the 80’s rock, then this one is right up your alley. Paul Laine’s vocals are on point as always and you throw in Bruno Ravel, Rob Marcello and Steve West and you might as well be listening to Danger Danger, only better!!
Scott has given us a very personal album that explores the demons he faced and now is stronger for it. He has come out the others side where a lot of people can’t. He stands before us a changed man and his music is a testament to that strength and I hope will help people see that there is a light at the end of the ever so dark tunnel. Songs like “Name”, “Purpose for Pain” and “Red Cloud” are songs worth hearing so check them out.
What do I love about it? Justins vocals, the guitar playing, the humor, the flamboyance, the theatrics, the songs, pretty much everything. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I simply adore it. If I have had a rough day at work, I turned this on in the car and life suddenly got better. Seriously!! It put a smile on my face and rocking beat to my heart! Check out “.”Rock and Roll Deserves to Die” and and “Easter is Cancelled’.
Tom Keifer brings his roots and influences full force with one of the best Hard Rock Blues album I have heard in a long time. Like a fine wine, Tom keeps getting better with age and shows no signs of slowing down. The production and songwriting were top-notch and that guitar sound was the most killer part of the whole package. I loved “Death of Me”, “Rise” and “Untitled” to name a few.
If people think Rock is Dead, I am sorry to let you know that is far from the truth. Rock is alive and kicking with Rival Sons and may they carry the torch for years to come. I hate to admit that I had only been a casual fan and that has since changed with the release of ‘Feral Roots’. There is no need to be casual as a deep dive is needed to explore all the textures they have delivered over the years. “Do Your Worst”, “Back in the Woods” and “Sugar on the Bone” are a few standouts of the many on this release.
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…in no particular order.
Caleb Johnson and the Ramblin’ Saints – Born From Southern Ground: Caleb has full-on delivered with this gem. He stayed true to his roots and is showing the world who Caleb Johnson is and that you should stand up and take notice. I know I did. With the help of Jay Buchanan from Rival Sons on a couple songs, you get a good old fashioned, rock & roll album.
Papa roach – Who Do You Trust?: There was something about this one I really liked. They rocked out on a few, had some ballad-type songs and some of the old school nu-metal with others. There was a little Rage Against the Machine feel to some of the songs as well which is always a plus in my book. Solid release as usual.
Collective Soul – Blood: On their 10th album, the band shows they still have a little left in the tank…who am I kidding, their tank is full and they are still going strong. The album kept that Collective Soul sound while at the same time allowing them to explore different styles and sonics that shows the range and talent that few bands have.
Degreed – Lost Generation: Degreed’s on their 5th album I believe and they are still delivering. If you like a melodic rock record with an 80’s AOR sound reminiscent of Journey and bands of the like, then what are you waiting on. I am digging “You All Know My Name” and “Alive” as well as the title track and many more.
Art Alexakis – Sun Songs: The man behind Everclear branches out for the first time on his own. The debut is a departure from the Everclear sound and is an acoustic album that seems to take us further into the depths of that creative mind of Art. It is always a very interesting mind to dive in to and he rarely disappoints. I like the direction he took and hope to see more risks taken in the future.
Down ‘n’ Outz – This is How We Roll: Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott side project releases it’s first album of original material. After giving us a couple releases of covers that celebrate their heroes, we now get original songs written in the same vein of their heroes. So, if you like 70’s Rock, Glam Rock and Joe Elliott, this is for you.
Hellyeah – Welcome Home: Album #6 and Vinnie Paul’s last album due to his untimely death, you get more of the same…solid, heavy and brutal rock & roll. They don’t hold back with songs like “Welcome Home”, “Oh My God”, “333” and “Black Flag Army. Turn the volume up as high as it will go and prepare to be blown away.
Through Fire – All Animal: No sophomore jinx on this release. It is heavy rock & roll with melodic vocals and songs that feel and sound right. You can’t go wrong with songs like “Listen To Your Heart” (the Roxette cover) and “All Animal” and don’t stop there. Listen to it all and tell me I’m wrong.
Drivin n Cryin – Live the Love Beautiful: I love how they have maintained that classic Drivin N Cryin sound while being fresh and modern at the same time. There is nothing sounding dated which is what I have loved about them for all this time. There is a timeless feel to a lot of there songs. I like “If I’m Not There, I’m Here”, “Spies”, “Free Ain’t Free” and “I Used to Live Around Here”
The Parlor Mob – Dark Hour: I don’t know how to define their sound. All I know is I like it. It is rock, no doubt. However, their are so many layers, textures and flavors that I hear and consume. It is a sensory overload with songs like “House of Cards”, “Dark Hour”, “Setting with the Sun” and “Gun in My Hand”. I wish I had more time with it as it might have made Top 10.
Motley Crue – The Dirt Soundtrack:
Motley Cure returned with some new songs for the soundtrack to their movie ‘The Dirt’ and let me tell you those songs basically suck ass! I mean, they even did a version of Madonna’s “Living on A Prayer”…REALLY!! WTF!!! Totally disappointing. Now the rest of the songs, were classic Crue and wonderful!! But the new ones were such a letdown.
WORST ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
Quiet Riot – Hollywood Cowboys
What can I say about this album other than it is better than the last one and that ain’t saying much. As much as I liked James Durbin prior to QR, I can’t really stand him with them. He seems to be over singing and the songs really aren’t that good to begin with so not totally his fault. I think they are better off without him, and I do mean that in a good way…not a knock against either.
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. Let me know what your favorites were this year or let me know how wrong or correct I was, either way, glad you stopped by. Can’t wait until next year.