Every year in late fall, I find myself taking care of the leaves in my yard. Whilst not my favorite chore, I use the time to also catch up on the year’s best CD releases to come up with my top ten CDs for the year. 2018 is no different and it’s been a year of two distinct music tracks for me. First are CDs that I shouldn’t or didn’t expect to like, but was pleasantly surprised. The others are the ones that were exactly what I expected them to be (in a good way). Surprises are always more fun. You’ll see there are a number of CDs that, if you asked me at the beginning of the year, I wouldn’t have expected them to make a best of 2018 list. But, that’s the great thing about rock music! Here are my top ten. Enjoy!
JEREMY’S Top Ten Albums of 2018
This album is hard to describe. It has a strong vibe, but hard to put my finger on. It works though. Feature guest vocalists include Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander, New York Dolls’ David Johansen and Terry Reid, each blends nicely with Perry’s guitar. Reid may be the wild card here as his unique voice takes a few listens to get used to. It’s an interesting album that’s a bit different than his last couple.
This CD is the first to feature their new singer, Jeff Gutt. If no one told you (and if he hadn’t died), you would have no idea it wasn’t Scott Weiland. That’s great for Stone Temple Pilots and their fans. Maybe not so much for Gutt if he’s trying to establish his own voice. These songs would fit on any of the classic STP CDs.
There will be no politics mentioned here. This is another CD in which I wasn’t expecting much. Ted’s made more news lately talking politics than rock and roll. Well, he’s letting his guitar do the rock talk, and he’s got a lot to say. This is a surprising strong effort that is only hurt by a confusing remake of “Cat Scratch Fever” with new lyrics about hunting.
#07. BLACK LABEL SOCIETY – Grimmest Hits
Solid effort from Zakk Wylde and gang. With BLS, you know what you’re going to get. Super riff heavy rockers counter balanced by sensitive ballads. If you like BLS, you’ll love this CD, but there’s not much new ground broken here. But, coming off of his Zakk Sabbath tour, this group of songs is noticeably influenced by the Black Sabbath songs Wylde has been channeling.
It took me a while to listen to this CD. While I love Myles Kennedy playing with Slash, I’m not an Alter Bridge fan. So, I wasn’t expecting too much from his solo CD. I was pleasantly surprised. The personal subject matter brought out incredible songs that tell Kennedy’s story. A much more bluesy, soulful album, this is worth checking out. The songs are complex and well-constructed. I’m sorry I didn’t make a point of listening to this sooner.
It’s hard to believe that Judas Priest was so close to hanging it up a few years ago. This CD shows they have a lot left in the tank (even with Glen Tipton’s Parkinson’s diagnosis). Rob Halford’s voice sounds incredible. The songs sound fresh and inspired. Richie Faulkner continues to breathe new life into the band and this CD fits right in with their classics.
With this band, we’ve come to know what to expect: heavy, blues-based riffs, kick ass solos and Myles Kennedy’s signature voice. This CD delivers exactly that. Quite honestly, this band is so good, that I have no desire for Slash to create a new Guns n’ Roses CD. Axl’s voice just can’t stand up to Kennedy’s.
I’m honestly still a bit torn on Greta Van Fleet. When vocalist Josh Kiszka sounds just like Robert Plant, he sounds great. When he doesn’t, I find his voice a bit irritating. But, that seems to be when Jake Kiszka shines on guitar. Jake’s guitar work really stood out to me as the strength of this CD. That’s not to take anything away from the rest of the band as the it’s all top notch. But, the guitar is what keeps me coming back to listen again.
The Struts are a band that I shouldn’t like nearly as much as I do. They’re way more poppy than I usually like, but the songs are solid and fun. Experiencing them live cements their status as a one of the bands that can take rock music into the future. This CD reminds me of late ‘80s bands that dominated MTV. If you haven’t listened to them yet, you’re missing out.
#01. DEAD DAISIES – Burn It Down
Straight up catchy, rockin’ CD that hits its groove from the first notes. Dead Daisies mash together the best elements of your favorite classic rock bands to create their own fresh sound. This is easily the best album of the year. Still flying under the radar a little more than they should, hopefully the CD will continue to bring them more awareness.