Part I – Overview
Part II: The State of Rock and Alternative (the Artists)
Part III: The State of Pop and Other Current Radio Formats (the Artists)
The Best Albums of the Last Three Years
Top Ten Albums of 2010:
1. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
2. Slash, Slash
3. Hanson, Shout It Out
4. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Mojo
5. Maroon 5, Hands All Over
6. Brandon Flowers, Flamingo
7. Sheryl Crow, 100 Miles From Memphis
8. The Saw Doctors, Further Adventures of…The Saw Doctors
9. The Black Keys, Brothers
10. She & Him, Volume Two
Honorable Mention – Kings of Leon, Come Around Sundown; Gin Blossoms, No Chocolate Cake.
Top Ten Albums of 2008-09:
1. Kelly Clarkson, All I Ever Wanted
2. The Killers, Day & Age
3. Bruce Springsteen, Working on a Dream
4. She & Him, Volume One
5. Kings of Leon, Only By The Night
6. Chickenfoot, Chickenfoot
7. U2, No Line on the Horizon
8. David Cook, David Cook
9. Brian Setzer, Songs From Lonely Avenue
10. Muse, Resistance
Honorable mention: Pink, Funhouse; Michael Buble, Crazy Love
That concludes my look at the people I’ve had enough exposure to to have something worth saying about them. Here’s a quick look at the rest.
Not Worth My Time
There are a bunch of other recently active acts I’ve sampled or been exposed to and come away unimpressed, but who weren’t really worth a full writeup:
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Mumford & Sons
My Morning Jacket
Florence and the Machine
Band of Horses
The Plain White Ts
The All-American Rejects
The Goo Goo Dolls
Lil’ Wayne (his “rock” effort; obviously I’m not interested in rap)
Rage Against the Machine (Tom Morello has a good voice and unique guitar skills, but I’m not into Stalinism)
I’m not done; there are definitely a host of other artists I know I need to give a longer listen to, including:
-Wilco, which I’m hesitant to judge on a quick first impression.
-Most of Weezer’s catalog (I only know ‘Buddy Holly,’ which is a really good song and a better video, and ‘Island in the Sun’; I’m assured that there’s more good stuff out there – they’ve put out nine studio albums – and Rivers Cuomo has a good pop music voice).
-Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, an old-school R&B act.
-Airborne Toxic Event (I’ve liked what I’ve heard so far, especially ‘Gasoline’ and ‘Sometime Around Midnight,’ I just haven’t gone far enough to figure out how many good songs they have).
-Josh Ritter (I like ‘Rumor’ and ‘Mind’s Eye’)
-Alter Bridge (Myles Kennedy, the lead singer, did a couple of solid turns on Slash’s album)
-AC/DC’s output since 1981’s For Those About To Rock, especially 2008’s Black Ice.
-Bob Dylan’s output since 1990’s Under the Red Sky; I have a few of his later CDs now from my brother’s collection.
-Rush’s albums since 1991’s Roll the Bones.
-Paramore, which has a couple decent-sounding songs, although I suspect I won’t like enough of their stuff to buy more than a song or two.
-The rest of Black47’s output besides 1998’s outstanding Live in New York City.
-I need to give a fair hearing to Creed, but I seem to recall checking them out at one point and not being impressed. They seem to be hated by most of the same people who hate Nickelback, which should tell me something.
-Metallica’s post-Black Album output (I did check out their album of covers, and didn’t like most of them other than their cover of Bob Seger’s ‘Turn the Page,’ which – this being neither here nor there – was used as Adam Dunn’s music at Nationals Park).
-Possibly a few more of the suggestions from the comments to this post.
One Song Only
Other artists I’ve picked up just one post-2000 song by, but haven’t yet heard anything suggesting I should dig deeper:
The Fratellis – ‘Chelsea Dagger’ (now that is a pop song).
Rock Kills Kid – ‘Paralyzed’
Outkast – ‘Hey Ya’
Cage the Elephant – ‘Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’
Robert Francis – ‘Junebug’ (hat tip to Joe Posnanski on Francis, who bears watching)
The Dandy Warhols – ‘Bohemian Like You’
Cee-Lo Green – ‘F*** You’
Adele – ‘Rolling in the Deep’
Cake – ‘Comfort Eagle’
Snow Patrol – ‘Take Back the City’
Macy Gray – ‘Kissed It’ (with Velvet Revolver – also her 1999 hit ‘I Try’)
Bedouin Soundclash – ‘Until We Burn’
James Blunt – ‘Stay The Night’
Chester French – ‘She Loves Everybody’
Lena – ‘Satellite’
Interpol – ‘Slow Hands’
The Stills – ‘Still In Love Song’
Matthew Sweet – ‘Byrdgirl’ (although 1990’s ‘Girlfriend’ remains a power-pop standard)
Eric Hutchinson – ‘OK It’s Alright With Me’
Silversun Pickups – ‘Lazy Eye’
Michael Franti & Spearhead – ‘Sey Hey (I Love You)’
The Music – ‘Freedom Fighters’
Sister Hazel – ‘Hello It’s Me’
Kaiser Chiefs – ‘Ruby’
Soundtrack of Our Lives – ‘Sister Surround’
The music scene is more fragmented than ever, and the golden age of mainstream mass-market rock, pop-rock and rock-influenced R&B will never return. But fans of Sixties pop, old time rock n’ roll, Motown and Big Band shouldn’t give up entirely on today’s music world. If you look hard enough, there’s still good music being made, interesting careers to follow, and good live shows to be attended.
Part I – Overview