The year is almost over so it is time to look back at what was awesome in music during the year. I have already looked back at the Top Rock Albums of 2020 (click to read). This list will cover all other genres that I listened to over the year including Pop, Country, Christian and whatever other genre you want to classify these albums. Rock is my favorite genre and that is why it gets it’s own list, but that doesn’t take away from any of these choices as I think they are great on their own.
I feel I didn’t get to as many as I would have liked as the year seem to got away from me with all that went on with Covid. I did spend a lot of time on a few series such as finishing The David Coverdale Series, The Gene Simmons ‘The Vault’ Series and starting the epic Kiss Review Series. These consumed a lot of my time. What I am trying to say is I missed a lot.
Note: These albums were my favorites and not necessarily the most played on the radio (which I hate the radio) or even the biggest sellers. There aren’t the trendy indie bands on everyone else’s top albums list (okay, there might be one or two). These are just what I came across during the year and connected with me in some way and some thanks to my kids. So, we might as well get started…
#10 – Richard Marx – Limitless:
I have a soft spot for Richard Marx. I think he is a hell of singer and songwriter. I also have a soft spot for pop ballads and he is the King. This album always put me in a good mood and would relax me when I needed a break from the heavy rock. The songs “Another One Down” and “Limitless” really show off those vocals and are so beautiful. And then when your throw in “Front Row Seats” and “Let Go” well, you get an incredible pop masterpiece.
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.
We are ending August with a BANG!! There are an abundance of releases this week and there has to be something for you to grab hold of and listen to all weekend. I am listing 18 different releases and you know I don’t ever have all of them so that is a boatload of stuff. I have a bunch I am eager to hear and 2 on order. My choices are highlighted in Blue and I can tell you right now, I doubt I will get to all of them this week as there are so many. Let me know which ones you are interested in hearing and which ones I may have a missed. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!!
Needtobreathe – Out of Body – (Elektra): Is there any doubt this one would be tops for me. I am a huge fan, but a worried fan as guitarist and a very creative mind behind the band, Bo Rinehart has left the band. I don’t know how much he put in to this album, if anything, but that has me a little concerned as direction and what to expect. The one thing they did that I don’t particularly don’t care for is they released like 5 songs already. I am not a fan of bands doing that.
Metallica – S&M 2 (Live) – (Blackened Recording): I actually enjoyed the original S&M so I am curious to hear this one as well. Metallica and classical music I think are a good match. And the song they released already was pretty great.
I can’t believe we are finally to end of April. The days get confusing as we have now been home for at least 6 weeks thanks to Covid-19 and the basic lockdown from the governments to help save our lives. The month started out with Amazon saying they wouldn’t be delivering any albums as they aren’t “Essential”, what the hell do they know, it is essential to me. And then the local record stores started shutting their doors which meant no crate digging for a long while.
Somehow, that didn’t stop. My crate digging was done virtually. Amazon actually delivered music and some of my local record stores posted stuff on line and they would ship or you could go by their house or the store and pick it up. And that is just what happened. We learn and we adapt. Human nature.
First up for the month was an E.P. by a fairly new artist I discovered as the opening act on the Needtobreathe tour. I got to meet him, but his debut E.P and get an autograph. So when a new E.P. was announced, I was excited, but less so because I didn’t see a Vinyl option. And then on the day of release, I saw on Amazon a vinyl option. And when I got it, I was pleasantly surprised as it was the E.P. plus all the singles & B-Sides he had released the prior year so I basically got a full album of material. I love little surprises like that.
April is here! And as I write this, who knows how crazy it has become. I am sure we are still at home, I am sure the kids still aren’t back to school and the world is probably closed down…for the most part. But, there is still new music coming out and hopefully that hasn’t completely stopped otherwise this whole post will be for naught. What I am interested in are highlighted in Blue. Let me know what you are digging and what I might have missed. Stay safe and I hope you have a great weekend.
Ratt – Atlantic Years 1984-1990 – (Hne): I don’t really need this set as I do have all 5 albums on vinyl. I am really interested in the bonus material. If you haven’t gotten into Ratt, then this set is them in their prime and worth grabbing at a decent price. If you want to know how I rank their albums….check it out HERE!!! Now here is a little Round and Round for you.
Billy Raffoul – A Few More Hours a YYZ E.P. – (Interscope Records): I came across Billy Raffoul at the Needtobreathe concert. He was the opening act. I got to meet him, a horribly bad selfie with him and I bought his debut vinyl E.P. which he was kind enough to sign. So, naturally, I am going to be listening to this one. Hoping for a little something different, but either way, he is awesome.
American Authors is one of those bands I had heard about due to their hit “Best Day of My Life” from 2013, but I had never wanted to take a deeper dive. It is not because they weren’t any good band, it is just not my type of music. It is too pop and generic and nothing really interested me. Well, with the release of their third album, ‘Seasons’, that has now changed.
The reason for that change is simple, they have two songs on the album by a couple of my favorite singers right now, Billy Raffoul and Bear Rinehart (Needtobreathe). You see, those two put out a song…I will listen and American Authors only reap the benefits…or do they…we will have to see.
I don’t know much about the band, so I will get straight into the music. American Authors are really good at writing, happy type, uplifting songs and the opening track, “Stay Around”, is just that. It is an uptempo and fun song that sounds exactly like an Imagine Dragon song with that drum beat and the lyrical phrasing. Good song, but come on if you are going to copy any one why the hell would you copy Imagine Dragons?
The next song is one of the best on the album called “Say Amen”. It features new singer Billy Raffoul and is probably why I am biased about loving this song. It is a darker song for American Authors and I like this darker edge to the band. Bill’s Jeff Buckley style vocals work well with singer Zac Barnett who I think changes his vocals to be a little more in Billy’s style which is great because Billy’s vocals have a lot of texture and character.
Wow, how are we already in to February. Time flies when you’re having fun. We are having fun…right??? Anyway, we don’t have a ton of releases…only 6 on my list this week. And maybe I will give them all a listen, I haven’t decided. There are two on my list this week for sure, the rest will make some time, if at all. Let me know if there is anything you are interested in or if I missed anything. Thanks and have a great music weekend.
Tom Petty – The Best of Everything: The Definitive Career Spanning Hits Collection 1976-2016 – (Geffen Records): An extensive greatest hits collection for the Tom Petty fan consisting of 38 tracks from his Heartbreaker work, his solo work and even his Mudcrutch work. It is a pretty great track list with 2 unreleased tracks and an essay by Cameron Crowe. All just spectacular and must have for every Petty fan. (UPDATE: Apparently this got moved at the last minute to March 1st because when I wrote this up it was due to drop on Feb. 1st…sorry about that)
American Authors – Seasons – (Island Records): This pop rock, alt rock band is back with their 3rd album. They have pretty great songs, but this one is attracting me more because of the two songs I have heard are exceptional. One with Billy Raffoul on it called “Say Amen” and the other is “Neighborhood” with Bear Rinehart from Needtobreathe. These are two people I really, really like and want everything they do so this is on my list for sure.
It is time for the Top 20 Songs of 2018. My previous post, if you missed it, was the Top 20 Rock Songs of 2018. Go check it out by clicking on the link. These 20 songs are all genres other than rock. Some were popular and chart toppers and others were not. They are my favorites, that touched me in some way so don’t expect any indie bands or anything trendy. If you want that go to one of the cool sites out there, this ain’t it.
#20 – “Space Cowboy” – Kacey Musgrave off the album ‘Golden Hour’: I am not huge into today’s country music, but Kacey is different. She is doing things her way, pushing boundaries and sounds. I love her voice and her songs are always interesting and worth diving into lyrically. This one is no different. It is more pop than country, but still good.
#19 – “Say Hello” – Rhett Walker Band off the ‘Rhett Walker Band E.P.’: Rhett’s a Christian rock band and this song comes off with the power of Church Revival and gets you up out of you chair, hands in the air and give it your all. If you want to get moving, this will do it.
The year is almost over so it is time to look back at what was awesome in music during the year. I have already looked back at the Top Rock Albums of 2018 (click to read). This list will cover all other genres that I listened to over the year including Pop, Country, Christian and whatever other genre you want classify these albums. Rock is my favorite genre and that is why it gets it’s own list, but that doesn’t take away from any of these choices as I think they are great on their own.
Note: These albums were my favorites and not necessarily the most played on the radio (which I hate the radio) or even the biggest sellers. There aren’t the trendy indie bands on everyone else’s top albums list. These are just what I came across during the year and connected with me in some way. So, we might as well get started…
The #1 Album of 2018
Matt Nathanson – Sings His Sad Heart: Man, what can I say about this guy. He is my favorite singer/songwriter out their right now and has been for sometime. Within just a couple listens to this album I felt like I knew all the words and I was singing right along like I had grown up with these songs. And how do you know an album is great, you keep singing it when you aren’t even listening to it. Yes, I was and I am still singing. The songs “Mine”, “Way Way Back”, “Used To Be” “Long Distant Runner” and “Best Drugs” are some of my favorites but there is not a bad song. Perfect!!
For My Sunday Song #120, I am discussing one of my favorite songs of 2018 called “I’m Not A Saint” by newcomer Billy Raffoul. The song is from his 2018 E.P. called ‘1975’ which I did a review on a couple months back (go check it out – click here). The song was released as a single, but sadly, I don’t think I have heard it on the radio which I find to be sad as the world is missing out on a real talent.
When I saw Billy Raffoul open for Needtobreathe over the Summer, I was really impressed with his Jeff Buckley sounding vocals and so I picked up the E.P on vinyl at the show (which he gladly signed for me) and it turned out to be one of my favorite albums I have heard this year. This song in particular jumped out at me and I really connected to it.
The song is about the fact we all have things we do that we know we shouldn’t. Some sort of vice that is keeping us from being what he calls a “saint” such as smoking, drinking and cursing (which is my biggest problem). He states he could be a saint if he tried, but honestly, I don’t think he is going to try which is fine as there is nothing wrong with having a vice (well as long as it doesn’t kill you I guess it is okay.