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Whether you enjoy classic, modern, or independent rock, 2013 was a great year for music. Several “best of” lists have been posted around the internet already, but it’s time for The Writer’s Journey to weigh in with our list and a brief sentence about each. And away we go…
10. Brandon Reeves – A Decent Melody. A fantastic independent release from a Georgia-based blues artist, Reeves’ album is much better than decent.
9. Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt. The kings of the nineties rule again with a throwback to the seventies.
8. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2. Part 1 is good, but Part 2 will go down as a historically great record.
7. Stryper – No More Hell to Pay. The Yellow and Black Attack is back with soaring vocals and squealing guitar solos, a fantastic hair metal album.
6. J Roddy Walston & The Business – Essential Tremors. Another throwback rock band with hints of Aerosmith and the Black Crowes.
5. Black Sabbath – 13. Ozzy, Iommi, and Butler recaptured the magic of the band’s beginnings and reached No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 charts.
4. Newsted – Heavy Metal Music. It’s heavy and it’s loud and it’s everything you would expect from a former member of Metallica.
3. Krokus – Dirty Dynamite. Full of catchy hooks, but the best song might be the Beatles cover “Help,” arranged as a hair metal ballad.
2. Twenty One Pilots – Vessel. Modern rock at its finest, and they really rock out with a ukulele on “House of Gold.”
1. Death On Two Wheels – Death On Two Wheels. Traditional hard rock sound with more authenticity than anyone else out there.
Here are some other “Best of 2013” lists around the web…
- Bring Back Glam! (contributor Brian Carvell)
- Bring Back Glam! (contributor Christian Graus)
- Loudwire (according to Megadeth)
- Loudwire (rock albums)
- Loudwire (metal albums)
- Matt Tauber
- Ultimate Classic Rock
- Vocals On Top
- Vocals On Top (contributor Danny R. Phillips)
- Vocals On Top (contributor Matthew Coman)
Cover songs are a dime a dozen, and most of them can be thrown away pretty easily. Either they are so poorly performed, pale in comparison to the original, or are so faithful to the original to make them unnecessary. But when done well, cover songs can be thrilling. Think about Jimi Hendrix covering Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower.” Completely different arrangement and delivery, making it almost unrecognizable but still unforgettable.
A good recent example is this Krokus song from the new album, Dirty Dynamite. Listen to it carefully…do you recognize it at all?
So who did Krokus cover? Who was the original artist for this song?
That’s the Beatles, folks. They took that classic pop song and turned it into a sticky sweet 1980s ballad, complete with a crying guitar solo. I absolutely love Krokus’ version of this song.
How about Reggie Watts’ version of “Panama”…which is really nothing like the Van Halen song at all, but still pretty interesting.
Have you ever thought, “I wonder what ‘Stairway To Heaven’ would sound like if it had been performed by the Doors instead of Led Zeppelin?” Wonder no more, my friends…
Alex Skolnick, guitarist for metal band Testament, also has a jazz band that covers heavy metal songs. Check out “War Pigs” below:
If jazz isn’t your thing, how about flamenco guitar? Benjamin Woods did an album called Flametal of cover songs, like Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark At The Moon”…
One more for this post, and then we’ll turn it over to the comments section…The Byrds singing “Friday,” a song originally written and recorded but never released by Bob Dylan. The song was made popular a few years ago by Rebecca Black.
So now it’s up to you…tell me some of your favorite offbeat cover songs in the comments, with a YouTube link if you can find one!