Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Top 20 Best Rock Releases Ever

Now for the next 10 albums in my top 20. These albums don't have to be at least ten years old, but I do have to listen to them once in awhile. Since they haven't stood the test of time yet, this part of the list will probably change over time. So be it! In alphabetical order:

Dire Straight's self-titled album (1978) is likely to remain on the list simply because it has been a favorite for so long. It is hard to describe how new, crisp, and utterly unlike anything that preceded it this album was in 1978. Dire Straights no longer sound unusual because of all the other D.S. that have followed and all the airtime that those albums get. But in 1978, I can tell you that this was the album to have in most any freshman college dorm room.

Another album you probably did not expect, and that you may not even know about. The Uncle Kracker album Double Wide (2001) has quickly become a favorite of mine. It probably has a great deal to do with the fact that it sounds a lot like Kid Rock - another favorite of mine. Give it a listen - you may be surprised. (Note: no K.R. has made it onto my list yet because there are usually great cuts on his albums, and miserable cuts on his albums...not very consistent. But I'm seriously considering adding Rock N Roll Jesus (2007) to my top 20)

Now, folks, now we're talking! If you haven't noticed, this is the first female singer on my list. I really didn't like most of the female singing from decades past (Heart excepted), but since 2000 there has been an abundance of great stuff out there. The first I noticed this was with Ciara's Goodies (2004) and there has been a continuous stream since then. Welcome to my collection, all you female singers!

Now I've been using a rule that a band can't have two places in my top 20, which almost gets broken here since Mr. Fagen is half of the duo we normally think of as Steely Dan. But this album came out of his solo career, so I don't count it as a Steely Dan recording. Kamakiriad (1993) is very jazzy, very laid back recording that just sparkles. I'm not sure why and I'm not sure when I got hooked. But I am most certainly hooked.

Here's another one: Gwen Stefani's Love Angel Music Baby (2004) is rarely not found in my car interior somewhere. I just love it. I love it so much that I have to watch carefully that I don't play it too much and burn out. My favorites include Luxurious, Harajuku Girls, and Rich Girl. Very nice work, Gwen! If you don't agree, let me take you for a spin in the Vette one Saturday night with this playing...I think you'll change your mind.

And here is the album we discovered when we discovered gyms. I credit this album with motivating me to do just one more set each night, which in turn motivated me to lose weight, which in turn motivated me to a stronger self image. Yes, Black Eyed Peas Monkey Business (2005) has been very good to me.

It's a crying shame that Eric didn't make it into my top 10, but I would not be able to sleep at night if he wasn't in my top 20. So here is Slowhand (1977) which is in my opinion head and shoulders above anything he did before or since. Just listen to Wonderful Tonight, Lay Down Sally, and We're All The Way and tell me you don't agree. I dare you.

OH, Oh, oh. Does this album ever hold a special place in my musical collection. We had just bought this CD when we went to Vegas and, perchance, were given a convertible as a rental. We ran around that town until daybreak every night with this playing in the warm night air, with the bright Vegas lights making our heads glow. There is some very memorable music on Outkast's double album Speakerboxxx / The Love Below (2003) and I'm sure it would be in my top 20 anyway, but that Vegas weekend sure didn't hurt it any.

Let's jump into the way-back machine one more time and take a gander at this Edgar Winter classic. In some ways I'm miffed that it got knocked from my top 10, but in other ways I'm perfectly content it is still in the top 20. No matter what your age, no matter what type of music you like, check your pre-conceived notions at the door and listen to They Only Come Out At Night (1972) when you are in a relaxed, content, open-minded mood one evening. It's great and I would really like to expose it to as many people as possible. Take care.

My oldest son introduced me to Stone Temple Pilots and I'm very glad he did. We were just starting to explore their discography when Tiny Music - Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop (1996) came out and we fell in love almost instantly. This one is a favorite of our entire family. And we immensely enjoyed the STP concerts we've attended (the most recent: July 4, 2009 in Pala, CA). Please give this a listen. Actually, ten listens as I don't think one can truly appreciate music until it has been played 10 times within a week or two.

No comments: