2020 was probably the strangest year yet. With the Covid virus running rampant, many new releases were either postponed until late in the year or we never saw the release at all. There were a flurry of albums at the beginning of the year, then basically nothing for a few months until we got to the Fall and now there are too many to get through. But there were some great releases and 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 another post tomorrow. 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 cool trendy bands, because they are usually here today gone tomorrow. 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 2020:
#10 – Storm Force – Age of Fear:
Thanks to some fellow bloggers in the name of LeBrain and SuperDekes, I was introduced to this Canadian band that unapologetically brought us a classic 80’s rock album full of songs that rocked you out and songs that were actually relevant to the events going on in the world which is amazing considering this song came out prior to the Covid shutdowns. I believe these guys can see the future and with music like this, I can see their future being very bright. You need to hear the songs “Breathe”, “Because of You” and “Dirty Vegas because once you do, you will be caught in the Storm!!
Alright…You Picked It! And here it is. The one you picked was AC/DC’s Power Up. The votes were as follows:
AC/DC – ‘Power Up’ – 8 votes
Janet Jackson – ‘Rhythm Nation 1814’ – 4 votes
The White Stripes – ‘Elephant’ – 3 votes
The Stooges – ‘The Stooges – 2 vote
Oasis – ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’ – 1 Vote
Thanks to all for participating. The January choices will be up on Saturday!
AC/DC – ‘POWER UP’:
For a couple of years now, we have been teased with a brand new AC/DC album ever since those pictures leaked in 2018 of Brian Johnson, Phil Rudd and Cliff Williams surfaced. Everyone was been crazy hoping for a new album with the core guys. Of course Angus is on it and Stevie Young holding his own on rhythm, but it was the fact that Brian and Phil and Cliff were back in the fold ready to play that had everyone excited. Me included which is strange because I hadn’t listened to much AC/DC past Razor’s Edge with maybe the exception of 2000’s Stiff Upper Lip, but it really has been 20-30 years since I really paid attention. Why was I so excited? I think it was 2020 that had me excited. As a surprise to know one, 2020 has been a strange and difficult year with lots of change and the fact we could get an iconic band with an iconic line-up to bring us a new album, AC/DC was just what we all needed.
October wasn’t even over before I bought more records, however, the October Purchase post was already done and I wasn’t about to go back and update, too much work. I wrote the post on the October Record Store Day and there was one album I didn’t get that I wanted (well there were two, but I didn’t get the second one). I did get it through another local record store. And when I went and picked it up on that Sunday, I saw another record I didn’t have that was in the new arrival used bin and it was sealed and less than $20 so I bought it.
The RSD record was from the Joe Elliott band Down ‘N Outz…I love the cover with the eerie clown and it almost looks 3D at this angle.
You, my reader, are going to pick an album for me to review each month. It is really simple…first, I will give you 5 albums to choose from and second, you will tell me which one of those you would like to see reviewed on the site. See…simple!
There are a few simple rules I have put in to place in my selections. They are…
One has to be a new release (within the last month)
One has to be one I have never heard before (new releases don’t count for this one)
One has to be from a genre I don’t normally listen to at all or very often
And the last two are choices from my collection that I haven’t reviewed before
What are the 5 albums you ask? Funny you should ask because I have those right here…
New Release – AC/DC – ‘Power Up’ – a lot of my fellow bloggers will be reviewing this one, so it is up to you if you want to hear my take on it as well.
Never Heard Before – The White Stripes – ‘Elephant
Not My Normal Genre – Janet Jackson – ‘Rhythm Nation 1814’
From My Collection – The Stooges – ‘The Stooges’
From My Collection – Oasis – ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory’
Let me know which one you would like to see and sometime in December, I will post a review of the album that gets the most votes. You have one week to decide and from there I will start listening to the album and do a review.
There is only one album this week that even matters. I am not sure why I have the rest on the list. This album is something the world needs in what has been such a crappy year. And we will get to the one in a minute. There are a bunch of other releases this week as the last few weeks have seen an abundance as well so the trend continues. My choice is highlighted in Blue. Let me know what you want to hear and what I may have missed. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend. Let’s get to the one that matters!!!
ALBUM OF THE WEEK!!!!
AC/DC – Power Up – (Columbia Records Group): YES!! AC/DC IS BACK!!! The first single, “Shot in the Dark”, is what we needed and is typical AC/DC. And typical AC/DC is what we need right now. I have the Light Box Special Edition CD on order and it should be here shortly. I can’t wait to plug it in and light up the room and I can’t wait to play the CD cranked up to 11 on the Stereo. I don’t think anything else needs to be said!! Get It and Crank It NOW!!!
And here a few I might listen to when I have time…
Chris Stapleton – Starting Over – (Mercury Nashville)
Check out the LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike Ladano tonight at 7pm on Facebook & Youtube (at Mike Lebrain). I will be joining him as well as Kevin, the legend himself, from Buried on Mars. It should be a fun night talking AC/DC’s new album, the new Iron Maiden album and a ton more releases coming your way. Come join in on the conversation!!
The LeBrain Train – 2000 Words or More with Mike Ladano Episode 32 We were supposed to talk about the upcoming big releases in music last week — and then King Edward died. Devastating. We needed to talk about Eddie. But now, we’ll talk some AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Sloan and more! The angle is based […]
If you are new to the site, I started this series with the year 1987 and then noticed that 1991 and 1983 were also a couple of the greatest years in music. I got to thinking, was there a pattern that every 4 years we have another great year in music. Well theory didn’t last long as I don’t think the next two years I researched were “great” years in music. Those years were 1979 and 1995. If you want to explore all the years I have examined so far, click on the link below…
Now that my theory is busted, I am now on the hunt for the “Greatest” year in music. I reviewed 1971 first and it was pretty fantastic and I am now on 1980. I know, I know. I am not going in any kind of order. I am going with what I am in the mood to explore and this time 1980 has me jazzed as so many great albums are now 40 years old!!
Will 1980 be another great year or will it be the greatest year. Let us explore and see and then decide at the end. But first we have to ask What were the top albums of the year?, What were the debut albums from some of the great rock bands? and What was going on in the world of music that year?
The Sony Walkman: I wrote about the advent of the Sony Walkman in the 1979 post as that was when it went on sale in Japan. In the U.S., it went on sale on June 25, 1980 almost a year later. The way you listen to music was changed forever!! (at least until the CD and then the MP3 and now streaming). Who didn’t have one of these if you were a kid in the 80’s. I definitely did. It helped spur my love for music as it now was more portable and more personal. It was better than just the radio, I could listen to what I wanted to wherever and whenever I wanted. I used mine while I mowed the lawn (and every now and again I would snag the cord on the mower and pull my headphones off). I had a boombox, but that wasn’t the same as the Walkman. There was nothing better (until my iPod). Continue reading “1980 – The Greatest Year in Music?”→
For Thanksgiving, we always travel to Atlanta to visit family and celebrate what we are ‘thankful’ for and just enjoy being around people we love. And two things happened this year that involved vinyl. The first was Black Friday Record Store Day and the second was that a family member brought up they have a collection of vinyl they have sitting around. Anything that involves music or vinyl is a good time for me.
First off, let’s talk about the Black Friday Record Store Day. Friday morning came and everyone was a little tired from eating too much the night before and it was a slow start to the day. My sister and brother-in-law were kind enough to make us breakfast and I couldn’t refuse. Now this started at about 8 or so in the morning. The one record store that was fairly close to my sister (20-25 minute drive) was going to open at 10am so I felt I was still good on time.
Breakfast didn’t actually get ready until closer to 9am and now I was getting worried. I didn’t want to be rude and skip out on breakfast, so I decided that it was more important to sit with the family and enjoy what was a very yummy breakfast rather than get some exclusive limited edition vinyl’s that would bring me hours and hours of enjoyment. And I was right.
My daughter and I eventually got on the road and made it to the record store, Sweet Melissa’s Records at about 9:50 which was 10 minutes prior to opening. And there was no line!!! That is right…NO LINE!!! I was so excited. We got a parking space right in front of the store and couldn’t be happier. We get out of the car and there was a lady at the door coming out and we asked if they were open and she said Yes, come on in. Then she added, we got bored and opened early! Early???? Red Alert….Early?? Danger Will Robinson, Danger!!
My theory is simple…Every 4 years you have one of the greatest years in music. I agree with the three I have already done. Will I agree with it for the next year 1979? We will have to first examine the evidence. What were the top albums of the year?, What were the debut albums from some of the great rock bands? and What was going on in the world of music that year?
The Sony Walkman:
On July 1, 1979, The Sony Walkman goes on Sale in Japan and the way you listen to music is changed forever!! (at least until the CD and then the MP3). Who didn’t have one of these if you were a kid in 1979 or the 80’s. I definitely did. It helped spur my love for music as it now was more portable It was better than just the radio, I could listen to what I wanted to wherever and whenever I wanted. I used mine while I mowed the lawn (and every now and again I would snag to cord and pull my headphones off). I had a boombox, but that wasn’t the same as the Walkman. Nothing better (until my iPod).
If you remember back a few months forTurntables & Vinyl #8 – The CD Edition, I talked about all these CDs I received from someone in the neighborhood that was giving them away. They were in really bad shape and there were 100’s I had to throw out due to broken or badly scratched CDs.
I managed to keep the CD covers in hopes of doing something artsy with them. It turns out, I am not very artsy, so I decided to put them on a canvas and make them into a picture for my office wall. Now, I decided, but I didn’t actually do the work. My wife is the one that put this together as she is the creative one.
Below is a picture of the canvas with some of my favorite album covers from the lot I had to throw away. I am very pleased with how it turned out and I have to thank my beautiful and talented wife for putting this together. I couldn’t have done it without her. The only thing I did was cut out the covers and decide the order to place them in even though she helped with that arrangement a little as well. Okay, so she really did all of it. She’s the best!
Now, I didn’t have any Kiss or Def Leppard albums to include which bothered me, so I printed out their logos and had them incorporated into the picture by only showing partial album covers for AC/DC Back in Black and the Beach Boys Greatest Hits album. See which ones you recognize. I think most of them are very classic albums and I was even able to use the Emerson, Lake and Palmer cover to Brain Salad Surgery which is one of my favorite album covers.