Last year flew by and now here we are in 2023 and already at our first month purchases wrap-up. It was a good start to the year if I do say so myself. I started a new collection, found some stuff for other collections I have, treated myself to an album I’ve been wanting for years and even found a Jeff Scott Soto CD that I didn’t even know existed. I would say that all makes for a solid month.
The month kicked off in full glory when 2nd & Charles kicked off the year with a buy 5 get 5 free sale on their CDs and so I pounced on it. Sadly, my memory sucks and one is one I already had, see if you can guess which one because it was in my November purchases as well.
If that wasn’t enough, later in the month I went by Repo Records here in Charlotte and found a handful of picture sleeve 45’s. I love the picture sleeves and so I bought about 9 this time around. Some great stuff to add to the collection…
Abba – Voyage – (Universal Music / 1221 AB / Polar Music): If you thought things were bad with the pandemic, they are, but you know the world is doomed when we actually get a new Abba album. Who had that on their Pandemic Bingo Card??? After 40 years, our prayers have been answered or is it our nightmares came true…not sure which. Still, who doesn’t want to hear the new Abba album. I’ll give it a spin…why not!!! Things can’t get worse, can they?????
Crazy Lixx – Street Lethal – (Frontiers Records): Sweden is the hottest Glam Rock country in the world. They have given us hundreds, if not thousands, of Glam Rock bands over the years and one of the really cool ones. Always worth a listen!!
April was a solid month of purchases and some great finds. I went digging at an antique mall and cleaned up, I found a few things on ebay and discogs I needed for something special and then I found a few things that were especially cool.
First up, we will go with the especially cool things. I am a big fan of the Train album ‘Drops of Jupiter’ for many reasons. One, it is a really great album! Two, my brother-in-law was the engineer on that album. So when the 20th Anniversary Edition popped up online, I had to grab as I don’t think it had ever been issued on vinyl prior which means I didn’t have it. It is a beauty…
The next was a Michael Sweet album. Stryper released an album years ago called ‘Reborn’ which was the band’s comeback album. The album was originally done as a Michael Sweet solo album, but it was decided to redo it for the band. Well, now we get the original Michael Sweet solo album the way it was intended. This one is called “Reborn Again” and is on a fiery red vinyl and is autographed (on the back) by Michael Sweet…SWEET!!!
Welcome to December, the final month of this miserable 2020. Ok, that is the pessimist in me, but the optimist has enjoyed working from home and being with my family more. I’ve also enjoyed a lot of music and today there is A LOT!! We have over 20 albums for you to check out. I have a few I will listen to and those are highlighted in Blue. I think we have only 2 more Friday New Releases and then it will be quiet for about 3 weeks or more before new releases start picking back up. So, with that in mind, grab as much as you can. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.
Hollywood Undead – New Empire, Vol. 2 – (BMG): Volume 1 came out earlier this year and these guys killed it yet again. I really dig their sound which if you don’t know is a metalcore sound that mixes hip hop and heavy metal. I am usually not a huge fan of that genre, but I like these guys and I haven’t missed a beat with them. Looking forward to this one.
Shawn Mendes – Wonder – (Island Records): Okay, I will admit, I’m not completely over the moon for this one but my girls like this kid and I have to admit also that some of it isn’t half bad for radio pop music. My daughter says for her 16th birthday she wants to meet him so Shawn, you have 3 years to get the restraining order.
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!!
With Steve Perry back in the public eye and me seeing Journey in concert, I for some reason have neglected doing a collection of memes for the great band of Journey with or without Steve Perry. Sit back and enjoy…
Welcome to October. Halloween decorations will start going up and Fall should be arriving soon…well I am in the South so I guess we don’t get Fall weather until Christmas. The new releases are still coming fast & furious (great title for a movie franchise…I wonder if it has been done). There are two releases from 2 of my favorite singer songwriters and there are just so many to choose you should be able to find something. My choices are in Blue. Let me know what interests your or I am missing anything so people will know.
Matt Nathanson – Sings His Sad Heart – (Acrobat Records): Matt Nathanson, what can I say. He is one of my favorite Singer-Songwriters out there today. I have seen him live 3 times (all is an opener…I need to see him as a headliner). This album will be there when I get home on vinyl along with his Def Leppard Cover E.P. on vinyl as well. This will consume most of my listening this weekend. His lyrics are insightful at times, quirky, funny and sometimes damn near brilliant. I can’t say enough good things. Damn…I hope I haven’t built him up too much to disappoint…nah..can’t happen.
Steve Perry – Traces – (Fantasy): The legendary Journey singer is back with his first album in over 20 years and I could not be more excited. I can’t say I am a huge fan of what I have heard so far, but that doesn’t matter. Any new music by this man is welcomed and will be listened to for time to come.
One of the most recognizable songs in the Journey catalog was “Open Arms”. It was from the ‘Escape’ album and the single was released in January of 1982. The song did pretty damn good and went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, but for some reason it couldn’t hit that #1 spot. However, that is still one of the highest chart positions the band ever reached for a single if not the highest.
The song is believed by many to be one of the greatest power ballads ever written and is said to be one of the main catalyst for starting the power ballad movement in the 80’s. The funny thing is that most members of the band other than Steve & Jonathan did not want the song on the album. It was too sugary sweet for their tastes. As tie has shown, those members of the band were wrong.
Or were they. The band became known for this sound and it changed everything for the band from that point on. They had to have power ballads on every album as they were now expected from the band. And they did end up writing many more great ones and went on to superstar status. It did get them huge successes and paydays, but was it worth it? Probably so.
The song was brought to the band by Jonathan Cain as he already had the melody written when he tried to use it for his previous band, The Babys. However, vocalist John Waite, was not real keen on the song and said it was too syrupy. Wow, both bands originally stated the same thing…both were wrong.
Love It or Hate It, Journey went down a whole new path with the release of ‘Frontiers’. After the incredible success of the album, ‘Escape’, the ballad became King for Journey. Some feel it was the start of the downfall, others think it is the pinnacle of their success. I think it is a little of both.
With the success of ‘Escape’, Journey was catapulted into the stratosphere of popularity. They were one of the biggest bands in the world. Steve Perry had the most recognizable voices on the radio and probably one of the absolute best voices on the radio at the time…if not ever. The man could sing. But for some reason I still hadn’t bought a Journey album. When I heard their second single of their latest album, ‘Frontiers’, I finally bought my first Journey album. The single was for “Faithfully”.
There is so much to love about this album and there is so much to pick on the band for about this album. Let’s start with the picking on piece first as it is the most fun. Oh, where to begin…
Let’s start with the album cover…I picture of a futuristic, robotic looking head or maybe a futuristic, human head. Not sure I get it, but I know it has to do with the name of the album, ‘Frontiers’ as I think the band was saying they were reaching into a new frontier. The amazing artwork from the previous albums was no more. The whole continuity between all the other album covers was gone…and is sadly missed.