My Top Albums of 2012 list will be posted tomorrow, but there were some albums that didn’t make the list – not even into the slots just out of the Top 10. And not because they were bad or I didn’t like them, but there was so much great music this year that I had to really be picky about what made the top albums cut for the end of year list.
Also, the Top list post will be albums only, so I thought I would pick a few of the songs that I really liked this year for inclusion in this edition of Music Monday.
Van Halen “A Different Kind Of Truth”
I have been a Van Halen fan/fanatic since I first heard “Runnin’ With The Devil” in 1978 on KMET 94.7 in Los Angeles. I’ve stuck with them through just about everything they’ve done [with the obvious exception known as the Gary Cherone period, which I just couldn’t get behind at all]. And while I’ve always said the band was better under Sammy, it was the David Lee Roth era that was the most dramatic, recognizable and entertaining.
So when 3/4 of the original band came together, I was 3/4 excited. Wolfie could never replace Michael Anthony, but he’s a thread off the old guitar string – so there’s that he has going for him. And then to hear of this new album, I thought, “Wow.. this just might work.”
And for the first 40-50 listens, many of the songs still work. Yes, several of them were written before the iconic debut album, which would make them almost 35 years old. But I admit to still liking a good half of the songs like “You and Your Blues”, “She’s The Woman” and “Outta Space.”
I reviewed this album earlier this year and I still like it enough 10 months later, even though it’s been off my iDevices for a couple of months now. A worthy effort by a band that still rocks years later.
Soundgarden “King Animal”
My anticipation for this new release by all of the original members – 14 years after their last studio album – has been high. And with my prediction a few years ago, I can honesty say that after a good 10 listens, it is a welcome return to the sound that Soundgarden has given us over the years.
Of the 13 tracks, none are really that off or lacking in the full sound this band can produce. The opening song “Been Away Too Long” hits you with the pounding beats of Matt Cameron, who is also the full time drummer for Pearl Jam, and the guitar shredding of Kim Thayil, who aside from some session work here and there, hasn’t been publicly active in the music world while Soundgarden were apart. Of course, Chris Cornell has been very active since their initital breakup in 1996 with solo albums and fronting the short-lived Audioslave project with the Rage Against The Machine guys.
Track wise, I also like “Non-State Actor”, “A Thousand Days Before” and “Halfway There.” Like I said above, this is a nice return to greatness. So why won’t it be on my top albums list? Again, as I mentioned above, there was so much great music released this year and this album barely came out a few weeks ago and I would like more time with it to sink in. Perhaps I will regret not adding it to my list, but I can see this growing into a great album that will prove itself in longevity.
Matt & Kim “Lightning”
Such a great sounding duo making great pop songs. The album opener and hit “Let’s Go” is catchy, fun and hip. But hipsters need not apply here. The other 9 tracks on this release are just as great and you will be humming and singing along to most with just a few listens. For a duo, they put a lot of energy into their music. My daughter has seen them in concert and in her view, their abilities translate well onto the live stage. About the only negative here is the length of this album: 10 songs in under 32 minutes. Not long enough for this upbeat set of songs.
Papa Roach “The Connection”
I’ve been a fan of this nu metal/hard rock band since their 2000 album “Infest” and their lastest effort has progressed into a sound that has maintained a good amount of their familiar sound. Jacoby Shaddox’s vocals are certainly a large part of that familiar sound.
I’ve really grown to like many of the tracks like “Where Did The Angels Go”, “Walking Dead” and “Give Me Back My Life” About the only thing negative I can point out here are that some of the songs seem a bit too manufactured in the production quality, like with “Not That Beautiful,” which does heavily rely on James Michael’s production style, which if you are a fan of Sixx:AM, you can pick out a lot of song construction patterns. But other than that, it’s really a good release from this hit metal band.
Often there are songs that end up getting stuck in my head for weeks and months at a time. I found these few tracks easy on the perma-play status in my brain. Click the play button under each one to hear the song.
Divine Fits “Would That Not Be Nice”
Britt Daniel from Spoon started a new band this year. And they have a catchy hit song on their hands.
Linkin Park “Burn It Down”
I don’t normally like this band, but I admit to liking this song.
Snow Patrol “Called Out In The Dark”
When anyone named Gary Lightbody writes a great song, you have to like it, right?
Any of these favorites? Any other albums you are anticipating seeing on my Top Albums list?