Rock isn’t dead, and here are ten records to prove it. If the rocker in your life likes classic hard rock, there’s a good chance he’ll love some of these albums. They are not all brand new, but there are some hidden gems that even the most grizzled rockers have not heard.
- Bulletboys – Elefanté
- Hollywood Vampires – Hollywood Vampires
- Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls
- Lynch Mob – Rebel
- Paul Gilbert & Freddie Nelson – United States
- Rival Sons – Pressure & Time
- Scorpion Child – Scorpion Child
- Scorpions – Return To Forever
- Triggerdaddy – Stereosonic Meltdown
- ZO2 – Ain’t It Beautiful
Of course, if your special rocker is into stuff off the beaten path, check out these bluegrass records that really rock:
And then there are books about music…
I’ll be seeing Brooklyn-based ZO2 very soon, and wanted to post this video of their song “If You See Kay.” It’s from the album Ain’t It Beautiful, though the studio version omits the spoken intro. Check it out if you love rock ‘n’ roll…
“Hair metal” is my favorite musical genre. But it is not the only kind of music I listen to. I enjoy some classic country (Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard), 80s pop (Young MC, Tone Loc), and several other types of music (Buckcherry, Fergie, Violent Femmes). Each has its own qualities and I have to be in the mood to listen to any one of them, but they are all a part of my life.
In 2007, there was quite a revival of hard rock. I am going to limit my top ten list to rock releases (though not necessarily always “hard” rock), so you won’t find Rihanna popping up here (regardless of how much I love the disc). And keep in mind that this is only my opinion, and I’m probably forgetting something somewhere.
Honorable Mention: Sebastian Bach – Angel Down. The solo album from one of rock’s greatest voices misses the top ten because of my own laziness. I just haven’t taken the time to listen to it as much as the other discs, but the few times I did I thought it was really good. Had the former Skid Row singer released it earlier in the year, I probably would have listened more and it may have made the top ten.
10. Scorpions – Humanity Hour 1. These German rockers have had an up-and-down career. There are classics like “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and “Still Loving You,” and then there are not-so-classics like “Winds of Change.” Humanity Hour 1 is a continuation of the return to their hard rock sound that they started with 2004’s Unbreakable. Best track: “321.”
9. Ted Nugent – Love Grenade. The Motor City Madman would have made the top ten if all he released was the single “Love Grenade.” The rest of the album is not as strong as the title track, but it is still a raucous, politically incorrect hard rock fest. Best track: “Love Grenade.”
8. CRASHDÏET – The Unattractive Revolution. Mick Mars from Motley Crue stepped in to help out these Swedish boys on their second release, which is notably heavier than their debut. New singer H. Oliver Twisted stepped in and did well on the vocals, but he definitely has a different style than the late Dave Lepard. Best track: “Falling Rain.”
7. Ozzy Osbourne – Black Rain. I’m not a huge fan of Ozzy’s solo work with Zakk Wylde on guitar, but this CD sounds more like a Black Label Society album with Ozzy on vocals. That is why I like it. It is heavier than any album Ozzy has ever done, and Zakk’s fretwork is amazing. Best track: “I Don’t Wanna Stop.”
6. Sixx:A.M. – The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack. Nikki Sixx’s side project with DJ Ashba (Beautiful Creatures) is a hit-and-miss affair, but still solid despite the misses. Don’t buy this if you are expecting a Motley Crue album. There is more of a modern rock feel to it, and very little outright glam. Best track: “Van Nuys.”
5. Foo Fighters – Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. I hate Nirvana. Everything that band did is total rubbish to me. On the other hand, I love Foo Fighters. I don’t recall ever hearing a Foo Fighters song and thinking, “I don’t like that.” Dave Grohl is a genious, and is to be commended for his emergence from Kurt Cobain’s shadow. Now, the 2007 CD is not as good as some of their past work, but it’s still great. It is standard Foo, no real surprises. Best track: “The Pretender.”
4. White Stripes – Icky Thump. I was surprised how much I liked this CD, because I’m not a big fan of the White Stripes’ previous work. But Jack’s guitar work here just grabbed me and wouldn’t let go, and his songwriting is amazing. You’ve probably heard some of these songs on the radio by now, so I won’t go into any more detail than to say it is a great alternative rock album with a classic rock feel on many of the tracks. Best tracks: “I’m Slowly Turning Into You” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told).”
3. Airbourne – Runnin’ Wild. The best AC/DC album since The Razor’s Edge is by a band called Airbourne. These Aussies rock it just like their predecessors, and they make no apologies for that fact. Currently it is only available as an import from Australia, but will be released in the rest of the world in January of 2008. If you decide to wait for the worldwide release, you can search for their videos on YouTube and check out some of their tunes that way. Best tracks: “Diamond in the Rough” and “Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast.”
2. ZO2 – Ain’t It Beautiful. Brooklyn-based ZO2 got a spot on the 2004 Kiss/Poison tour based on their independent release of Tuesdays & Thursdays, but Ain’t It Beautiful blows that CD out of the water. There are shades of Audioslave, classic Aerosmith, and Kiss throughout the entire album. Paulie Z’s vocal style is very similar to Paul Stanley’s, and the band’s chemistry is undeniable. Plus they put on a killer live show. Best tracks: “If You See Kay” and “Ain’t It Beautiful.”
1. Endeverafter – Kiss or Kill. Hands-down, the best album of the year. Already in the top five of the decade. Endeverafter opened for the Poison/Cinderella tour in 2006, and finally released their debut album in October of this year. It was well worth the wait. The guys have a classic glam metal sound, and this disc is every bit as good as (if not better than) anything Poison put out. Shredding abounds, and you can’t resist but bang your head to these songs. Best tracks: “Baby, Baby, Baby” and “All Night.”
Biggest Disappointment of 2007: Poison – Poison’d. Poison is my all-time favorite band, but this disc of cover songs is a travesty. “Dead Flowers” was awful, and the overall song selection was poor. They did a decent job with the Romantics’ “What I Like About You” and Alice Cooper’s “I’ll Never Cry,” but for the most part the disc is a throw-away. Add to that the fact that only 8 of the songs were new; the other 5 were previously released remakes. Poison needs to get back into the studio and record some new material, and it better be good.