I can’t believe we are through with another year. And what a year it was, It saw me complete my goal of one post for every day of the year and it saw me start and still not finish the massive Jeff Scott Soto Series. I still have about 6 months to go on that one. Crazy. It saw some struggles as I had a minor surgery but the two week recovery was hard and then I got sick and was miserable for another two weeks and that put a massive damper on my enthusiasm for writing. For October, I barely wrote anything. Thankfully, I keep ahead so it had no impact on my readers, you probably didn’t even notice, but for me, it was hard. But we are way past that now and all is good.
With the Soto series and the Scorpions series, I actually didn’t spend much time with new releases, but I did have a bunch that I liked and wish I spent more time with. So, we are going to go through the Top 10 Rock Albums of 2022 and of course there will be some honorable mentions, a worst of album and some of my favorite Non-Rock albums. Sit back, grab a cup of coffee if it is morning, or a beer if it is any other time of day…and enjoy!!
TOP ROCK ALBUMS OF 2022:
#10 – HALESTORM – BACK FROM THE DEAD: Lzzy Hale and the boys are back from the dead and they are rocking the hell out of you with this one. With the title track, then “Wicked Ways” and “The Steeple”, they showed they mean business and are carrying the torch for rock. Listen to this and you know Rock Ain’t Dead!! And if you want more great ones, I really like “Psycho Crazy” and the ballad “Raise Your Horns”…oh sooooo good!!
#9 – H.E.A.T. – FORCE MAJEURE: I thought there last album was amazing with Erik Gronwell on vocals, but Erik left and is now with Skid Row who also released an album this year. Original H.E.A.T. lead singer, Kenny Leckremo, returned and they released another stellar release. I like it way better than the new Skid Row…sorry Erik. Such stellar tracks as “Back to the Rhythm”, “Nationwide”, “Tainted Blood” and “Demon Eyes” to only name a handful.
After the dismal 2017 release ‘These are the Days’, I had pretty much given up on the band. Heck, on my Album Ranks for Lit…it was the Worst!! That album went too far to the country slant which a lot of rock bands have tried and few, if any have succeeded. Just ask Bon Jovi how well it went. That was not what I wanted to hear. I don’t know if the band heard my complaints or not, but with their new album ‘Tastes Like Gold’, they are back to the Southern California Rock sound despite the fact they are now in Nashville. Whatever the reason, I couldn’t be happier to have that sound back. They sat down with a whole host of writers which I don’t always like, but they were able to pull together a consistent album that was sonically Lit. I’ll take that.
This album for me was my favorite Summer album this year. Musically and lyrically, the album feels light, breezy, sunny and puts me in a great mood with each and every listen. The album painted a picture of driving down the road with the top down and the radio cranking. The beach on one side and glorious palm trees swaying back and forth on the other. The smell of the ocean in the air tickling your senses and putting a smile on your face. Sit back, drink your margaritas (stop driving at this point) and enjoy the fun in the sun.
From the opening party anthem of “Yeah Yeah Yeah” you know you are in for a good time as it is old school Lit all the way. Next is “Mouth Shut” which sees No Doubt drummer Adrian Young join in on the fun. Adrian helped fill in on drums on tour back in 2009 after the death of their longtime drummer Allen Shellenberger. The song is more party fun talking about how you always tend to say the wrong thing. The chorus is catchy as hell and will have you singing along right out of the gate. “Do It Again” has a powerful chorus that feels dramatic and gives a more modern vibe mixed with the old Lit.
“Kicked off the Plane” is an autobiographical song about them getting kicked off a plane for being…well..for being lit!! And no, it wasn’t because they refused to wear a mask!! It reminds me a little of “My Own Worst Enemy” and I mean that in a good way as it shares the same energy. Then we get the tender ballad “Ok With That” and one of my favorite tracks on the album. It is heartfelt and somber but so beautiful at the same time. He seems to be resound to the fact if it is the end of the world, he’s okay with it. It is nice to see the softer side of Lit. The first half ends with “The Life That I Got” featuring American Authors. This is a pure pop song and when they hit the chorus I swear it is “Midnight Memories” by One Direction. I’m torn if I’m okay with that.
The back half kicks off with “Get Out of My Song” and it keeps the party going with a massive drum beat and goes in to that easily sing-song chorus that makes it feel familiar as it is so catchy. Then the title track, “Tastes Like Gold”, has slowed down verses then goes to the bombastic chorus layered with keyboards and goes back and forth making a little predictable. Then with “Here’s to Another” we get an over the top pop song with a ton more keyboards and more of those sunny vibes we’ve been enjoying but overall a rather generic track.
“Hold That Thought” is more of an acoustic track reminiscent of the previous album, ‘These are the Days’, so they haven’t totally abandoned that sound. It is almost a ballad with that pop and country influence mixed together. You have to remember, I didn’t like that previous album so not a favorite song of mine for this one. They quickly redeem themselves with the explosive “Out of It”. This modern pop-rocker sees a more serious side of the band as the song feels more dramatic and impactful. Not a party song, but I’ll take a more modern serious sounding Lit too! The band goes out with a bang with help on vocals from the super-talented Butch Walker as they cover The Cars song “Let’s Go” and they nail it. On keys is Jason Freese who help capture that Cars “magic”. It is pure nostalgia sounding and even has the handclaps. It is a spot-on rendition that is pure excitement and joy. It makes you miss The Cars and love Lit at the same time. Great way to go out.
It is nice to see Lit redeem themselves after their last catastrophe. It is a reminder of how fun they can be and how exciting their sound is when they go old school. The first half of the album is stronger then the back half, but that Cars cover is the best. This for me was my Summer album as I mentioned at the beginning. A total blast and a great reminder of everything I loved about Lit. It is all right here. Go sit by the pool and crank this baby!! My Overall Score is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars.
We are moving through the year quite fast I believe as it is already the end of July. And it was a hot one, both temperature and purchases. Now, I do have a handful of vinyl, but as prices skyrocket, I am focusing on the albums that mean something to me or from bands that mean something to me so the purchases have slowed. CDs are cheaper and a lot easier to obtain so I seem to be buying way more of those these days. With minor exceptions, I have been laser focused on what I’m buying. Let’s go through the vinyl first. First up is the new album from Shinedown called ‘Planet Zero’. I have all their albums on vinyl as I am a big fan so why not get the new one…
Then it I picked up a couple holy grail type albums. First was one from Kiss that had only been issued for their very limited exclusive Kissteria box set. I didn’t think I’d every own one. Thanksfully, they re-issued it on vinyl and I snagged a copy. Not their best compilation, but one that was lacking in my vinyl collection so couldn’t be happier…My list of missing vinyl is now smaller.
Summer has been heating up and so did the purchases for this month. This month had some serious quality for me and at the same time some quantity as well. And the month came in with a bang as all my Def Leppard albums I ordered finally made it in. When I say “all”, I mean the new one and all the formats I ordered. I’m starting to like it too!
And it kept on going with a huge sale at 2nd & Charles having a buy 5 CDs get 5 CDs free and I took advantage of that discount. My daughter joined me and picked up some DVDs and CDs as the sale applied to those as well. First batch is all Kiss!!
We are in the middle of the month and still a ton of releases. This week we have around 50 releases for your viewing pleasure today. I actually have a bunch I want to hear (before I buy) and one that is already on order and will be here today. Those are first up and marked in Blue. Let me know what you are digging this week and what we may have missed as that does happen. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you all have a great weekend.
Lit – Tastes Like Gold – (Round Hill Records): It has been 5 years since their last album and it was more tinged towards country than the pop punk they usually do. This time they are going back to their original sound…thank goodness. Here’s hoping for a return to form.
Iconic – Second Skin – (Frontiers Records): Another Frontiers Supergroup which is actually getting kind of ridiculous…but is one is featuring Nathan James (Inglorious), Michael Sweet (Stryper), Joel Hoesktra (Whitesnake), Marco Mendoza (ex-Journey, Whitesnake), Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake). It was co-produced by Michael Sweet and Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, Revolution Saints). Hard to argue with a line-up like that. And the fact Michael Sweet isn’t even singing is a huge surprise. Nathan is a beast on vocals so this should be good.
Welcome to the first round of purchases for 2022. Yes, I know, it never seems to end…my wife and wallet keep telling me that, but I don’t listen…obviously. And this week was another stellar month and a few really good deals as well…at least I think so. The first set of purchases were from gift cards left over from Christmas that I hadn’t spent and it was tough to decide. First I went with a vinyl I had been wanting for awhile and finding an original vinyl pressing was going to be expense so I went withe re-issue from Music on Vinyl for Extreme!!
The other items I picked up on those gift cards were the studio albums I was missing for Robbie Williams…I figured no time better than to complete that collection so I did. There were four left and here they are… Now I just need to the rare stuff that I am missing…challenge accepted!!
The band Lit actually started way back in 1988. The were first known as a band called Razzle, then they dissolved and back Stain. They released a demo and signed with a record label in 1995, but there was a problem. The name Stain was already claimed, so they changed their name to Lit. Their debut album was released in 1997 and the rest is history.
The members from the classic Lit era (the late 90’s to early 2000’s) was A. Jay Popoff, Jeremy Popoff, Kevin Baldes and Allen Shellenberger. The would make their first 4 Lit albums together before the line-up changed slightly in later years. The members weren’t the only thing to change as did their sound. They went from this Southern California Pop Punk type sound to more of a Pop Rock beachy feel all the way to Country on their last album. Quite a journey.
I have followed them ever since their 2nd album ‘A Place in the Sun’ all the way until today, but I haven’t enjoyed the entire journey. There have been hits and misses as with most bands. If they continue with the Country sound though, I am pretty much done with them. But until we see what happens, let’s go through their catalog and rank the albums from Worst to First.
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!!
Lit, the Pop punk, power pop, California rock band is back after five years with a new album and a very different sound. They went from California Rock to California Country and why I have no idea. They have always been a rock band; although that sound has changed a little over the years as they have grown as writers and musicians, they were still rock at heart.
Now I will admit, if you listen to their lyrics on their old albums, they could be Country songs as the word-play they do in the songs is similar to what you hear in Country music, only better because it was rock & roll. Their music always made me feel good like I should be partying out on the beach with music blaring and a surf board in my hand (I have never surfed, but I wanted to if there were no sharks and no one watching to laugh).
We are up to 2012 for my Throwback Thursday list. I feel 2012 was a relatively weak year for new music. This year, it was mostly rock that got me going. Only one country artist made the list (sort of country and she made the honorable mention at that). Not much else excited me, but the ones that did I really enjoyed. Here are my Top albums for 2012 (in no particular order).
Lit – The View From The Bottom: So glad these guys came back and did another album. It had been way too long since their last album. Their return was well worth the wait. A great collection of songs and was probably my 2nd favorite album of the year. I loved “Miss You Gone”, “The Wall” and “Same Shit, Different Drink” just to name a few. Just good, fun, rock & roll.