The Top Rock Albums of 2022

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.

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My Sunday Song – “Second Chance” by Shinedown

For My Sunday Song #330, we end the Shinedown 10 song set with their biggest hit “Second Chance”. The song was off their 2008 smash album, ‘The Sound of Madness’ and was the second single off the album. It went to #1 on the Adult Top 40 and was the last #1 song played by Casey Kasem before he retired from his American Top 40 show. The song also went to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song alone has sold well over 3,000,000 copies. Not bad at all!!

The song was written by Brent Smith and Dave Bassett and is about the time in your life when you wake up and decide you are going to chase after your dream…do what you want to do. It is when you go outside of your little bubble and find out who you are and what you are here to do. Everyone deserves that chance to reach for their goals. The song for Brent was very personal as it was about the time he left his parents and went out on his own to learn to be a man. He said he still is learning that today. It sounds like his parents might not have agreed on his decision to pursue the rock career, but he had to do it.

The song is a power ballad in that it has a slower tempo, Brent’s vocals are soft and emotive at times. When the chorus hits it ramps up the power and the emotion. It is a very radio-friendly track as it pushes all the sappy buttons so no wonder it did well. But it is popular because it is a very good song. The lyrics can be cheesy at times, but the point behind the song is still beautiful and relevant. That climatic build-up, scream and drum fill at the end of the song, make it standout above the rest of the radio fodder. It is a well-crafted, brilliant song. It is one of those songs for me that I never tire of despite it being completely overplayed on the radio at the time.

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My Sunday Song – “I Dare You” by Shinedown

For My Sunday Song #329, we will talk about the song “I Dare You” by Shinedown. The song is off their 2005 album ‘Us and Them’. It was the 2nd single from the album and released in February 2006. The song was a minor hit reaching #2 on the US Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart and was my introduction to the band. But not from the single release. I actually had heard of the band, but didn’t really know anything about them until I was watching American Idol and Chris Daughtry sang this song. That was October 3, 2008 over two years after its release. He did such a good job, it made me check out the band and I have been a fan ever since.

The song was written by Brent Smith, Brad Stewart and Tony Battaglia. I’ve seen a lot of interpretations about the song on what it means, but my view point is that is about the good & evil inside us all. That voice in your head that tells you do one thing while another tells you to another. The opening verse below is pretty clear in my book…

Hello, let me introduce you to
The characters in the show
One says yes, one says no
Decide, which voice in your head you can keep alive

The protagonist is daring the evil side to tell him to walk through fire, but he won’t do it. He struggles every day with that voice telling him to something he knows is wrong and it is tempting to give in. It feels like addict trying to deal with the demons of being an addict and struggling every day wanting that next hit, but fighting off those voices to choose the right way. Of course, you can say it is about whatever you think it is, but this is what I pull out of it.

The song is a slower track, but not a ballad. It has moments of softness and heaviness as the singer battles against those thoughts in heads. The guitar riffing by Jasin Todd is fantastic. A great guitar tone. The drumming though is an even brighter side of the song. Barry Kerch just pummels away on those skins. His fills are perfect. Brent’s vocals capture all the emotion from the lyrics as he is soft at times and aggressive and angry at others. You are taken on a wonderful ride through this song.

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My Sunday Song – “How Did You Love?” by Shinedown

For My Sunday Song #328, we will dive in to the song “How Did You Love?” by Shinedown. The song is off their 2015 album ‘Threat to Survival’. It was released as a single on October 4, 2016 and went to #1 on the Mainstream Rock Chart. It was written by Brent Smith and Scott Stevens who you know from the band The Exies. He’s also co-written a ton of songs and a lot with Halestorm on their album ‘Into the Wild Life’.

The song is about making sure you understand that you are going to die and being okay with that. Once you are, make sure you live each day to the fullest. When you think back, are you at peace with how you loved during your lifetime. Are you comfortable with that? If not, do something about it. Go out inspire people…and love people.

The song starts off with a slow melody that keeps building with the vocals. It is accented with a beautiful piano and some great rhythm guitar by Zach Myers. The song explodes at the chorus and it turns in to an 80’s power ballad in style. Barry Kerch’s drums are powerful, almost tribal. Brent’s vocals are melodic and heartfelt as they sweep through the verses and soar in the chorus. I love a good power ballad and this fits that mold nicely. The band also released an acoustic version of the song that is quite haunting and beautiful. Check it out as well.

Give the song a listen and let me know what you think. Are you happy with how you’ve loved? I also included the acoustic version as well for your listening pleasure. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful and Happy Sunday.

“How Did You Love?”

You can have the sound of a thousand voices calling your name
You can have the light of the world blind you, bathe you in grace
But I don’t see so easily what you hold in your hands
Cause castles crumble, kingdoms fall and turn into sand

You can be an angel of mercy or give into hate
You can try to buy it just like it every other careless mistake
How do you justify I’m mystified by the ways of your heart
With a million lies the truth will rise to tear you apart
Woah!

No one gets out alive, every day is do or die
The one thing you leave behind
Is how did you love, how did you love?
It’s not what you believe; those prayers will make you bleed
But while you’re on your knees
How did you love, how did you love, how did you love?

Nothing ever feels quite the same when you are what you dreamed
And you will never look at anything the same when you see what I see
How we forget ourselves, lose our way from the cradle to the grave
You can’t replicate or duplicate, gotta find your own way
Yeah!

No one gets out alive, every day is do or die
The one thing you leave behind
Is how did you love, how did you love?
It’s not what you believe; those prayers will make you bleed
But while you’re on your knees
How did you love, how did you love, how did you love?

This ain’t no cross to carry
We are the judge and jury; we are the judge and jury

No one gets out alive, every day is do or die
The one thing you leave behind
Is how did you love, how did you love?
It’s not what you believe; those prayers will make you bleed
But while you’re on your knees

How did you love, how did you love, how did you love?

This ain’t no cross to carry
We are the judge and jury, we are the judge and jury

How did you love, how did you love?
How did you love, how did you love?

Written by Brent Smith and Scott Stevens

My Sunday Song – “Sound of Madness” by Shinedown

For My Sunday Song #327, we are talking about the song “Sound of Madness” by Shinedown. The song is from the album ‘The Sound of Madness’ from 2008. The single was released on February 23, 2009 and went to #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks and #85 on the Billboard Top 100. It helped propel the album to double platinum status with over 2,000,000 copies sold.

The song was written by Brent Smith and Dave Bassett and is basically a rant by Brent against people who sit and complain about their problems all the time. They feel they are always the victim and that they need to get off their ass and fight to fix their problems and not be consumed by them. He feels their misery is a self-serving prophecy as if you are always negative only negative things will happen to you. Brent states he knows as he wrote the book on it, but the difference is he stood up for himself.

The song is heavy with pounding, thunderous drums from Barry Kerch. And Zach Myer’s guitar is almost seamless with Eric Bass’ bass to give a great thumping rhythm. Nick Perri’s lead guitar is brutal and all together everything is loud and pulls you in. Brent’s vocals show an anger yet it is so melodic. The chorus is catchy and is hook-filled greatness. A killer track and easily to see why they named the album after it.

Give the song a listen and let me know what you think. Are you always negative or are you a fighter? Or do you know someone like who the song describes? Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed the song. Have a wonderful and a Happy Sunday!! Stay positive!!

“Sound Of Madness”

Yeah, I get it
You’re an outcast
Always under attack
Always coming in last
Bringing up the past
No one owes you anything

I think
You need a shotgun blast
A kick in the ass
So paranoid
Watch your back

Oh my, here we go

Another loose cannon gone bi-polar
Slipped down, couldn’t get much lower
Quicksand’s got no sense of humor
I’m still laughing like hell

You think that by crying to me
Looking so sorry that I’m gonna believe
You’ve been infected by a social disease
Well, then take your medicine

I created the sound of madness
Wrote the book on pain
Somehow I’m still here to explain
That the darkest hour never comes in the night
You can sleep with a gun
When you gonna wake up and fight
For yourself?

I’m so sick of this tombstone mentality
If there’s an afterlife
Then it’ll set you free
But I’m not gonna part the seas
You’re a self-fulfilling prophecy

You think that by crying to me
Looking so sorry that I’m gonna believe
You’ve been infected by a social disease
Well, then take your medicine

I created the sound of madness
Wrote the book on pain
Somehow I’m still here to explain
That the darkest hour never comes in the night
You can sleep with a gun
When you gonna wake up and fight
For yourself

I created the sound of madness
Wrote the book on pain
Somehow I’m still here
To explain
That the darkest hour never comes in the night
You can sleep with a gun
When you gonna wake up
When you gonna wake up and fight

I created the sound of madness
Wrote the book on pain
Somehow I’m still here
To explain
That the darkest hour never comes in the night
You can sleep with a gun
When you gonna wake up and fight
For yourself

When you gonna wake up and fight for yourself?
When you gonna wake up and fight for yourself?
When you gonna wake up and fight for yourself?

Written by Brent Smith and Dave Bassett

My Sunday Song – “A Symptom of Being Human” by Shinedown

For My Sunday Song #326, we will let Brent Smith dive in to the song “A Symptom of Being Human” by Shinedown. The song is off their brand new, 2022 album, ‘Planet Zero’. It is not a single (yet), but it is one of the songs that grabbed me the most when I heard the album. The album went to #5 on the Billboard Top 200, but #1 on pretty much every other rock chart on Billboard. I think this is one of the standout tracks.

The song was written by Brent Smith and Eric Bass. As far as the meaning of the song, I’m going to cheat and let Brent tell it in his own words. From Glide Magazine in an article written by Leslie Michele Derrough, Brent said the following about it…

“A Symptom Of Being Human” is a very poignant song on the album and what it is referring to and what it is about is so important. In that chorus, we’re unpacking a lot in that chorus. So I would have to say with that song in particular, the lyric that says “Sometimes I’m in a room where I don’t belong and the house in on fire and there’s no alarm and the walls are melting too, how ‘bout you.” The house represents your mind, your thoughts and what’s going on, and sometimes in modern day what we’re all dealing with on a daily basis and how we’re trying to navigate this place, sometimes, you know, up top we just kind of question what’s going on up there and sometimes it takes a lot out of you. And “Symptom” is about understanding that, hey, it’s not just you, it’s all of us; it happens, things aren’t always going to be perfect all the time; but you’re not alone, we all feel like this from time to time; that’s why it’s called being human. So I would say that lyric hits me really, really hard. That song hits me really, really hard. Every single time I hear that song it does something to me still.

The song is an emotional, ballad in the sense it is a slowed tempo, acoustic and has an orchestration feel to it. It makes it more dramatic and the piano break at the end just adds a finishing touch that brings the feels. Brent’s vocals are smooth and emotive and his tone makes you stop and take notice. You absorb every word, every note and get lost in it. Every listen brings something new to focus on, whether it is the vocals, the piano, the drum beat and definitely the lyrics. A brilliant track.

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My Sunday Song – “Cut the Cord” by Shinedown

For My Sunday Song #325, we are diving in to the song “Cut the Cord” from Shinedown’s 2015 album ‘Threat to Survival’. The song was released on June 29, 2015 and written by Brent Smith and Eric Bass. The song is a platinum seller with sales over 1,000,000 and went to #8 on the US Rock Airplay chart and #10 on US Hot Rock & Alternative Song chart. It was the debut single off the album and helped propel the album go Gold and reach #6 on the Billboard Charts.

The song is about waking up, taking ownership of your life and realize that you control your own destiny. Find the courage and strength and don’t let anything get in your way to what you want. Basically, whatever is holding you back, cut that cord to free yourself and don’t be afraid to fail. We all need that strength at times as there is always an excuse why “not” to do something. This is the anthem to make you say failure is not an option.

The song is heavy, powerful and a massive wake up call of sound. Barry Kerch’s drumming is immensely intense and thunderous. Zach Myers guitars are heavy and lethal. The song opens with a choir of vocals on the “Freedom la la la la” lines and they show up through the song. Brent Smith’s vocals are wild, crazy and psychotic as he means what he sings and brings an intensity that is only matched by the music. The heavy melodies and catchy chorus find the right groove and it is a song you won’t forget.

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My Sunday Song – “Save Me” by Shinedown

For My Sunday Song #324, we are discussing the song “Save Me” by Shinedown. The song is off their 2005 album ‘Us and Them’. The song went to #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart and #72 on the Billboard Hot 100…didn’t quite make to Top 40. The song was written by Brent Smith and Tony Battaglia.

The song is something Brent had worked on back in the 90’s, but finally finished it for the ‘Us and Them’ album. It is about those people that want to help out and solve everyone else’s problems and issues. They take on so much that they run in to problems of their own and then need to be saved. The exact same thing happened to Brent we someone tried to help and later he had to help them.

Brad Stewart opens the song with a cool bass line which is accompanied by some eerie guitar riffs from Jasin Todd that give the song this whole doom and gloom vibe. Barry Kerch’s drumming is superb and his fills give the song a little something extra and help with the intensity that is in Brent’s vocals. The chorus amps up the energy and there is an urgency in the song that gives you chills. A standout track on the album for sure.

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My Sunday Song – “Bully” by Shinedown

For My Sunday Song #323, we are talking about bullies with the song “Bully” by Shinedown. The song was the first single off their 2012 album ‘Amaryllis’. The single was released on January 3, 2012 and #3 on the Billboard Hot Rock & Alternative Songs. It actually did break the Top 100 Charts landing at #94. The song did go Gold selling over 500,000 copies which isn’t bad. The song was written by Brent Smith, Zach Myers and Dave Bassett.

The song is about what you think it is about…Bullies!! It is definitely not condoning the actions of bullies, but instead telling people it is okay to stand-up for yourselves against bullies. Fight to survive against losing your self-respect and your dignity. Leave the bullies behind and they will become a faint memory. Brent’s father taught him to box so he would stand up to bullies…he has stated he got his butt kicked a few times, but he would stand up for himself.

The song is a pure rocker and an anthem for the underdog. Brent’s vocal deliver is more chant-like and then the chorus explodes in to a full on battle-cry to stand up for yourself. The guitar riffs are contagious and catchy as hell, there a ton of melodies. The guitar solo electrifying and then at the end of the song a chorus of kids with voices of angels join in and amplify the meaning to not back down. It is a powerful song with a powerful message.

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My Sunday Song – “Monsters” by Shinedown

For My Sunday Song #322, we are talking about “Monsters”…not real ones, but the ones in the mind. It is by the band Shinedown and off their 2018 album ‘Attention, Attention’. The song is their third single on the album and was released on March 1, 2019. It is yet another Platinum selling single and went to #7 on the US Rock Airplay chart and #10 US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs. Even Canada got in on the fun where it went to #34 on the Canada Rock charts. The song was written by Brent Smith and Eric Bass.

The song isn’t about physical, real life monsters although there are those. These monsters are in your mind. These are the demons you fight with everyday and if you are someone who has battled addiction or alcoholism and are now sober, those demons are picking at you everyday. Each day can be a battle and that one slip up can push you over the edge back on to the binging. Brent struggles with it everyday and that is what inspired the song.

Musically, the song is rather gut-wrenching like the lyrics. They are ominous and threatening and make you feel like the demons are pounding on the door wanting to get in. The music is so powerful at the chorus, a thundering explosion of struggle. The verses are tender and solemn and Barry Kerch’s cymbal work is so good and adds such a cool sound as if the demons were signaling their attack. Zach Myers guitar work is splendid with a killer solo while Eric Bass’ bass (I guess he was destined for that instrument) drives the rhythm. Brent’s vocals are powerful and you can feel every ounce of pain he is going through. A splendid song.

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