My Top 13 At The Halfway Point Of 2013

Twenty_One_Pilots_-_VesselBest album by FAR this year…in my opinion…

At year’s end, I always post my favorite songs from each year. This year I was thinking I would hook you up with my Top 13 favorites SO FAR this 2013 and get a head start on the process. Here ya go!

13. Goo Goo Dolls – “Last Hot Night”
It’s a return to what got them there for the Dolls. This soaring track has all the elements of a big hit…in 1991. Here’s hoping it catches on and gets some radio play. The radio NEEDS a good pop track like this one.

12. Clutch – “Gone Cold”
Talk about grim & bare it. This song is a brooding, stalking menace with a bassline that beats like a dying heartbeat. Neil Fallons baritone vocals are as depressing as any you’ll ever hear. Remember that time you broke up with the one true love in your life? Yeah well…this will remind you how it felt.

11. Jimmy Eat World – “I Will Steal You Back”
Stereotypical Jimmy and, being a fan, that’s all good by me!

10. The National – “Humiliation”
Originally from Cincinnati (and I wish all the sources I see would STOP saying they’re from Brooklyn), the brooding sound of Matt Berninger always resonates with me. Totally dig this track that adds a little bit of a pace and references Guns N Roses. Ya GOTTA love that!

9. Barenaked Ladies – “Odds Are”
The best track from the new album “Grinning Streak,” Ladies co-founder Ed Robertson takes over the lead singer role from dearly departed former lead Steven Page and lands on both feet! Love this track! I hope it picks up some stream on pop radio…

8. Justin Timberlake – “Blue Ocean Floor”
I can’t lie…this is my favorite track on the latest from JT. Put away your suit and tie and chill to this beautiful and somewhat otherwordly track from one of the premier superstars today. If there is one downside, it’s the length. Clocking in at 7:23, it’s a little long but it’s still a keeper.

7. David Bowie – “(You Will) Set The World On Fire”
Bowie comes ROARING back on this one. It seems to be a look at the underground 60’s music scene. I guess I could look into it in more detail however I just find the cryptic lyrics to be entertaining in their own way. Awesome guitar work in this one. Welcome back Mr Bowie!

6. Rick Springfield, David Grohl & Others – “The Man That Never Was”
As I stated not too long ago, I am a Rick Springfield fan. That being said, his role in Grohl’s “Sound City” was what grounded the movie for me and this track rocks the way we all know Mr. Springfield can. Throw in some heavy duty guitar work and a hand from a cast of rockers and this one is worth repeated listenings!

5. Vampire Weekend – “Diane Young”
Why they didn’t do more upbeat music on their latest album, “Modern Vampires Of The City,” is beyond me. The crazy beat changes, the bleeps and bloops…everything in this track is AWESOME! Check it out…

4. The Boxer Rebellion – “Diamonds”
This takes me back to the late 80’s/early 90’s. Seriously…it sounds like the band Icehouse at first (you remember…”Crazy?”). But then the landscape changes with the chorus and the guitar work breaks into a U2-like blend. Very nice…

3. Middle Class Rut – “Aunt Betty”
This one simply kicks ass. I dare you to crank it up to 11 and blow out your speakers. Go ahead…dare ya. For those who like a heavy beat. Check out the video also. Pretty weird. Can’t wait for the whole album to drop at the end of the month!

2. Twenty-One Pilots – “Guns For Hands”
Straight outta Columbus, Ohio, this super cool band has made a BIG splash on my stereo with their latest release, “Vessel.” For MY money, you can’t go wrong buying the entire thing and putting it on repeat. That being said, this is my FAVORITE track off this album which is on course to be my favorite of the year.

1. They Might Be Giants – “You’re On Fire”
Don’t try to understand it…just go with it. Poppy as hell and it makes me wanna dance like a maniac! LOVE IT!!!!!


The Best Songs Of 2012

Grace PotterShe got legs for days and knows how to use ’em! Oh….and she can sing also…

So we managed to survive just by the skin of our teeth (stupid Mayans) and with the coming of 2013 comes the closing of 2012. And 2012 had plenty of good music in it! My interest in music, while wavering a little bit as I find myself steeped in work, home repair and being a daddy, is still strong and all over the map. One day I’m in a country mood, the next I’m jamming with my kids to “Gangnam Style.” It was truly bizarre in music this year. Too much EDM and not enough good riffs. But with that being said, there was still enough great music out there…I just had to go find it sometimes! So without further adieu…here are my Top 50 Favorite Singles of 2012 and my Top 10 Favorite Albums! Enjoy and just a reminder…these are MY choices. They do not reflect record sales or popularity on any record charts. They are simply the top songs that burned a hole in my ears all year…and I believe they are all equally awesome!

50. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe” (pop)
I’m just gonna get this out of the way right off the bat. Look…it’s annoying now but back in the early summer? EVERYONE loved this song and it was played and played and overplayed until no one could stand it anymore! However, that being said, whenever I hear this track I will be instantly transported back to the summer, watching my son play baseball and listening to my daughter sing this song at the pool.

49. The Darkness – “Cannonball” (rock)
I dunno why but I still hear Queen whenever I listen to The Darkness but this track, off their album “Hot Cakes”, is more AC/DC than Queen! I love it!

48. Half Moon Run – “Nerve” (alt-pop)
They opened for Metric in St. Louis and I was struck by the multiple layers of this song. Very 80’s sounding and watching this band perform it was mesmerizing.

47. Brad Paisley – “Southern Comfort Zone” (country)
Being from a small town, I remember when I moved to Dayton then Cincinnati and then began traveling for a living for my job. This song captures that wonder of leaving your “comfort zone” and visiting places that you never dreamed you would ever see. That is my life to a tee and this track says everything I would say if I had any songwriting ability whatsoever.

46. Green Day – “F%$# Time” (rock)
A little bit rockabilly that is all about…well…um….sex. As you can imagine, Billie Joe & company blow this one out with thunderous drums and a rocking chorus. If it wasn’t so X-rated it would probably do well on rock radio!

45. Wild Nothing – “Nocturne” (alt-pop)
Light & fluffy, this song could sit on a cloud with no problem. It’s got lots of synthesizer and sort of floats in your ears. I like it!

RaveonettesWhaddaya mean we didn’t make the Top 5?!?!

44. The Raveonettes – “Night Comes Out” (alternative)
Although they aren’t charting in my Top 5 this year like last year, I still consider them to be one of my favorite bands. I just love how dark they are and I would love to see them live someday…

43. Tegan & Sara – “Closer” (alt-pop)
With their new album dropping in early 2013, I’m expecting great things if it’s as good as this first single! This duo has always had my ear but I really like the path they’re taking, going a little more upbeat and less mopey. I’ll take it!

42. Rascal Flatts – “Hot In Here” (country)
This band is always good for a hot summer single and this one SHOULD have been a hit! Nevertheless, it hasn’t been released to country radio but I found it and I LOVE it! Great track from a perennial country pop band!

41. Slightly Stoopid – “Top Of The World” (pop reggae)
Trippy and bouncy. Nothing too heavy but catchy as hell and I played this one through most of the summer. Grab a pina colada and relax…

40. Alex Clare – “Too Close” (pop)
Featured on a commercial last spring, I actually “Shazam”-ed it to find out who it was. Then…a little while later, it blew up and you couldn’t turn the radio dial without hearing it. Did I grow tired of it? Sure. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that the “wah wah wah” of this song resonates deep in my chest whenever I crank it up!

39. Greg Laswell feat. Sara Bareilles – “Come Back Down” (alternative)
Laswell has limited vocal range but having Bareilles join him gives this song the lift it needs to take it to another level. Nice pace with a fast beat and high production value makes this a great track for this inspiring artist!

38. The Fixx – “Take A Risk” (alt-rock)
Seriously…a show of hands of those who even knew these guys were still recording??? ‘Cause I didn’t! But here they are and despite the fact that they could be considered an 80’s pop band, they return with a blistering track that speaks of the future and what it holds for generations to come. Possibly one of the best “lyric” songs on my list AND it rocks!

37. He’s My Brother She’s My Sister – “Touch The Lightning” 
It just kinda lopes along like a tripping hippy, meandering along with a slow bass line and a tie-dye sort of feel. It takes me back to the Mamas & The Papas in a way and just sorta settles there. I DIG IT MAN!

36. Florence & The Machine – “Breath Of Life” (alternative)
With a thunderous intro, Florence Welsh’s vocals once again soar and this song, which was featured in the end credits of “Snow White & The Huntsman”, strikes a chord of something sinister and yet hopeful. A perfect blend for the movie and for my ears.

35. Cat Power – “Silent Machine” (alternative)
Her album “Sun” got rave reviews and her appearance on “Funny Or Die” was a highlight of this past year. This is one of several quality tracks on the album but I like the throbbing beat and her vocals. It catches my ear and that’s good enough!

34. Neon Trees – “Close To You” (alt-pop)
I’ve been hearing “Everybody Talks” pretty much since early summer but for me? I like this one. It’s dark and exotic, moody and hypnotic. Check it out.

33. Haley Reinhart feat B.o.B. – “Oh My!” (pop)
American Idol Reinhart steals a page out of the Adele pagebook and goes retro with this track. Her vocals soar, the sax gives it a sultry pulse and B.o.B. makes an appearance to make it even more tasty! Great track that shoulda got more airplay! Here’s a clip of her performing it live. Seriously…she can jam.

32. Sleigh Bells – “End Of The Line” (alternative)
This band is noise but IN that noise are some pretty amazing hooks. This song clings & clangs with heavy beats and the breathy singing of Alexis Krauss.

31. DIIV – “Follow” (alternative)
I wish I knew more about this band but the fact of the matter is…I don’t. What I DO know is I totally dig this song. Go check it out and look up the band while you’re at it. Let me know what you find out. Very 90’s sounding and atmospheric rhythms.

30. The Offspring – “I Wanna Secret Family (With You)” (rock)
This band has continually managed to find new life and this song off their latest album called “Days Go By” has a great 80’s hair band hook!

29. Chris Brown – “Stuck On Stupid” (R&B)
He’s released just about everything else off “Fortune” but for whatever reason, this awesome song hasn’t hit the airwaves. It’s one of the best pop songs of the year. I think it’s about time to give this guy some credit. He might be an a$$ but as far as I’m concerned he’s every bit as good as Usher.

28. Lupe Fiasco – “Around My Way” (rap)
Lupe does what Lupe does and this jazz infused jam is right up his alley. With a funky sax and a dope beat this song hops along as Fiasco tells it like it is.


27. Carrie Underwood – “Blown Away” (country)
I originally saw her perform this live on an awards show earlier this year and it “blew me away!” Love the chorus and Underwood hits some sweet notes on this one!

26. Bruno Mars – “When I Was Your Man” (R&B)
For all the pop that this guy puts out, it can’t take away from the fact that at his heart he is a true artist in the same vein as a Michael Jackson. In this one, he scales WAY back and goes simple and beautiful. Nothing but a piano and his vocals and it is excellent.

25. Luke Bryan – “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” (country)
This song of a relationship that has fallen apart but still having that wanting is a typical example of good country gone pop. While pop radio cranks out the EDM and rap, country music is still creating quality pop songs about love and love lost. Tis is a good’un.

24. Twin Shadow – “Five Seconds” (synthpop)
Synthesizers made a HUGE comeback this year and this track by George Lewis, Jr. is a prime example at how well it can be done again! Very upbeat and poppy, it reminds me of the best of Duran Duran!

23. The 1975 – “Sex” (alternative)
MORE synthesizers? HELL yeah!!! I love me some good sex…er…synthesizer and this song blows me away! Reminds me of college in a great way!

22. Eels – “New Alphabet” (alternative)
I’ve been listening to this band for an eternity so when this track arrived in mid December I decided to give em the benefit of the doubt and put them in my favorites of the year. It’s not a stretch for them but it’s everything you expect from a band that’s been around since the late 90’s!

21. Frank Ocean – “Lost” (soul)
He’s a critics darling this year and his album Channel ORANGE will be getting all kinds of awards this year so…I woulda had a hard time leaving him off this list! This is my favorite track off the album and it’s very much everything that Ocean is about.

20. No Doubt – “Undercover” (pop)
How nice of them to come back and bring their synth-infused sound back to rejuvenate THIS decade! Let’s face it…NOBODY does this kind of music like Gwen and the boys and having them put out a new album (which is one of my favorites this year) was a pleasant surprised. Now…if I could just get them to go on tour…

19. Miguel – “The Thrill”
A lot of critics are lauding his album “Kaleidoscope Dream” as being the modern version of Prince. I dunno if I would go THAT far but it IS sexed up the way Prince used to be. I will say this though…the guy knows how to catch your ear and this song is smooth as silk.

18. The Constellations – “Hallelujah” (rock)
Hailing from Atlanta, this blues band hit me with one of the best albums of 2012 and this song was a highlight! This is NOT a remake of the Rufus Wainwright classic but still just as good!

17. Gary Clark, Jr. – “Things Are Changin'” (blues)
He’s bringing blues back in a big way and this track is infused with a kiss of blues, a little R&B and a lot of heat. Love it!

16. Rudimental – “Feel The Love” (electronic)
Seriously…if you’re gonna do EDM, go with something that varies it up a little bit. It’s repetitive sure, but the beat, the horns and the change of pace in the middle makes this the best of the bunch!

15. Electric Guest – “This Head I Hold” (R&B)
I told you about this band a LONG time ago and here is the song that caught my ear. It’s everything you want in a pop/soul song. It’s got that 60’s vibe and that makes it worth your time.

Jacob Martin

14. Jacob Martin – “I Don’t Wanna Be The Only One” (country rock)
Don’t go looking for this one on ITunes because it’s not there yet. I found this band playing in downtown Cincinnati at Toby Keith’s Bar and when they played this song, I was hooked! I chatted it up with the bassist and found out that this track will be released later in 2013. Well…go to their MySpace site and check it out. A LOT of potential here and I love this one!

13. Graffiti6 – “Never Look Back” (pop)
Released WAY back in January, this song grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. The entire album, called “Colours,” is a pleasant reminder of what GOOD pop music can be.

12. Muse – “Madness” (alternative)
Remember what I was saying about synthesizer making a comeback? Yeah…well…these guys started it back in 1994. Taking the reigns from where U2’s “Achtung Baby” left off, this song definitely reminds me of my favorite band and that’s probably why it’s been burning up my IPhone for the past month or so.

11. Metric – “Breathing Underwater” (alternative)
Having seen Emily Haines work her magic on a crowd in St. Louis, I can now say that her voice is not her only asset. She’s thoughtful and approachable and there’s something so freaking sexy about her that I am pretty sure I’d listen to her gargle. Needless to say, she ain’t gargling here and she soars with this song which has one of my favorite lines of the year…“They were right when they said we should never meet our heroes/When they bowed at their feet, in the end it wasn’t me.”

The-Killers-Battle-BornAlbum Cover Of The Year!

10. The Killers – “Runaways” (alt-rock)
I wouldn’t define this band as alternative or rock, but they definitely have a niche somewhere in the middle. With lyrics that rival Bruce Springsteen and a sound that is borderline U2, this song is up there with anything on “Born In The U.S.A.”

9. Mark Lanegan Band – “Riot In My House” (rock)
Remember the early 90’s when bands such as Smashing Pumpkins and Screaming Trees were stealing airtime from Nirvana? Well…some voices never change and in the case of the Tree’s Mark Lanegan, he’s one of the most recognizable voices from that decade. He returned with his brand of rock with his album, “Blues Funeral,” and this song is the crown jewel of the bunch!


8. Lana Del Rey – “Radio” (alt-pop)
I’m not sure HOW you categorize Del Rey’s sound. It’s somewhere between 60’s pop or a David Lynch film soundtrack. Either way, she roared onto the scene with an appearance on SNL before her album was released (a first for ANY artist) and then was slammed by critics who didn’t understand her schtick. I get it…and I LOVE it! This song is my favorite off her album “Born To Die” but it is probably not the one most would have picked. Either way, it is what it is and THIS track is my pick for best on the disk.

7. Jack White – “Freedom At 21” (rock)
Here’s the thing about me…I keep an eye out for artists I like and I know when they release a new album. In the case of Jack White, I knew he had a new album coming out but I really didn’t listen to it until well after its release. Dunno why but Jack has become a lot of the same old sound for me. This song is reminiscent of the stuff he did with Meg in the mid-90’s with the White Stripes.

6. Animal Kingdom – “White Sparks” (alternative)
Another moody synth song from a critical fav. They appeared on my favorites list in 2009 with “Tin Man” and here they are making a return! This might have been the most romantic song on my list if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m a old smoothy who has a thing for romantic love songs which leads me to…

5. Robert Francis – “Perfectly Yours” (alt-pop)
Oh how I love the little love songs and Francis is so good at writing them. My sister turned me on to this artist and his “Strangers In The First Place” has been on repeat on my IPhone for a couple months. This song is silky smooth and perfect in every way and the lyrics are amazing…

4. Morning Parade – “Under The Stars” (alternative)
I’m sorry…but there are just times you connect with a song and there’s nothing to explain really. There’s something about this track that is like that for me. It reminds me of Fuel’s “Shimmer.” It has that slow build and then it kicks in and…pure, pop perfection with this really odd bridge in the middle which makes it even more unique.


3. The Constellations – “Black Cat” (blues rock)
Not gonna lie…this is probably my most listened to song of the year. I love the bluesy feel of it and it has a laid back organ caressing the background that just kicks it for me. Love this one and I hope you do too!

2. Taylor Swift – “State Of Grace” (country pop)
What do you do when you consider yourself a “serious” music lover but find yourself listening to a song by an artist who is stereotyped for teenage girls. Well…that was my situation. But I gotta tell you, as far as I’m concerned, Swift has made a masterpiece with “State Of Grace.” Not only is it an uplifting song, it truly doesn’t sound like a country song to me. This could easily be played on ANY format. Well…except for maybe rock. But it could be classified as pop, country, alternative, easy listening, whatever. Either way, Swift soars on this one and I love the uplifting message. If Paul McCartney is correct and some people DO wanna fill the world with silly love songs, then this one is a great example of how it can be done.

1. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – “Roulette” (pop rock)
This song is track 12 on the June release of “The Lion the Beast the Beat” and it is listed on ITunes as a (Bonus Track). What?!?! This song is AWESOME! I’ve worn it out and it STILL gets me every time. Let’s get this straight…I LIKE Ms. Potter and her band. I don’t LOVE them. But for whatever reason, this song has been stuck in my head ever since I heard it and I can’t deny…it is straight up a great pop song. With it’s blistering short guitar solo at the end and Potter’s soaring vocals, this track is right up my alley. Here you go…my favorite song of 2012…

My Top 10 Favorite Albums Of 2011

As much as I hate to admit it…I’m not as into buying albums as I once was. It’s so much easier now with ITunes and other music outlets to simply pick & choose singles and a lot of times I would rather spend a dollar or two on a couple of songs rather than spend $12 on an entire album online. Shopping for music isn’t the same as it was 5 years ago and that is unfortunate. I used to really enjoy shopping for CD’s at the local music shop but those days seem to be gone now. It takes too much time and I haven’t got a few hours to waste going through bargain bins and racks of $20 CDs. So…I am sad to say that I don’t buy as many albums as I used to. But there were a few this year that I made the trip out to the store to get because I wanted the physical copy of it and so…without further adieu…here are my Top 10 favorite albums of 2011!

10. Teddybears – “Devil’s Music”
This Swedish band knows how to make you move your butt. From the opening track, they hit you with techno beats and silly lyrics that are just fun. And with a slew of artists making appearances (from The Flaming Lips to Cee Lo Green), they leave no beat unturned.

Favorite Tracks: Rocket Scientist, Devil’s Music

9. Foo Fighters – “Wasted Light”
From the opening track, David Grohl & company hit you with solid left hooks and slamming guitars and they have made another incredible rock album. It’s almost to the point now where you would think Grohl would phone in an album or two but when it comes to rocking out, there’s no one that can put together the melodies with the metal like the Foo.

Favorite Tracks: Bridge Burning, Rope, These Days

8. Social Distortion – “Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes”
7 years came and went between their 2004 album “Sex, Love and Rock N Roll” and this one but it was worth the wait! With their bluesy rock still as fresh as when they rolled it out of California in 1983, Mike Ness leads the way on this jam packed album. Solid from start to finish, it’s kind of refreshing that my favorite track on the album is actually a slower song.

Favorite Tracks: Bakersfield, California Hustle & Flow, Machine Gun Blues

7. Beastie Boys – “Hot Sauce Committee Part 2”
If ever there needed to be a return to their roots, The Beasties picked the perfect time. After a few overproduced albums and one cancer scare, Committee is a return to the glory days of chest thumpin’ and party bumpin’ of “You Gotta Fight For Your Right (To Party)”. Hooks and wicked beats pepper this album and it’s hard not to get motivated when you got this album boomin’ in your system.

Favorite Tracks: Here’s A Little Something For Ya, Don’t Play no Game I Can’t Win, Make Some Noise

6. Blue October – “Any Man In America”
I don’t know what to say about this album other than it is honest in every way. With his marriage falling apart, lead singer Justin Furstenfeld dove into his art and came out with one of the most curious and angry albums I have ever heard. The key is listening to it in its entirety as it goes from the beginning to the end of the relationship and where it stands, we’re not sure. But it sure is a fascinating journey.

Favorite Tracks: The Honesty, The Follow Through, You Waited Too Long

5. Gotye – “Making Mirrors”
Not gonna lie…I haven’t had this album very long. It came out in August but I just recently discovered it when it appeared on ITunes as a “selection I might like.” And man…I really do! It’s quirky and poppy and has all kinds of loops and whisperings and…well…you get the point. Wally De Backer is a unique talent and this album showcases his ability to find the perfect hook to go with his unique style.

Favorite Tracks: Eyes Wide Open, Save Me, No Easy Way Out, Somebody That I Used To Know

4. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
The half of Oasis that is known for writing the music continues to do so and he does it so well. This album is chock full of soaring guitars, Beatle-esque hooks and the famous Gallagher attitude.With brother Liam leading the charge for the rock band “Beady Eye,” Noel stays true to his roots and puts together a classic that I’ll be listening to for a very long time.

Favorite Tracks: Record Machine, AKA…What A Life, (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach

3. David Nail – “Sound Of A Million Dreams”
If there is one thing I love about country music, it’s that it can be familiar and yet new all at the same time. Taking a page from the Glen Campbell handbook, Nail has that smooth country croon that makes everything he sings about seem like it could be happening at this very moment. It could be love, it could be heartbreak, it could be a fleeting moment in time. But whatever it is, it grabs my attention and I can’t stop listening, wondering what will happen next. This will undoubtedly be one of my favorite country albums of all-time. Granted, only time will tell. But I enjoy ALL of the songs on this album and it’s damn near perfect in it’s pop country way.

Favorite Tracks: She Rides Away, That’s How I’ll Remember You, Let It Rain, I Thought You Knew

2. Black Keys – “El Camino”
There’s not a hotter rock band in the world right now than these guys. Straight outta my neck of the woods (Akron, OH is maybe 2 hours from my hometown), The Keys have won several Grammys and this highly anticipated 7th release was everything I hoped it would be. With fuzzy guitars and thumping drums, this album can only be played loud or it’s just not being played correctly. And the fact that it sounds like it’s straight from a 70’s porn flick gives it all that more street cred.

Favorite Tracks: Lonely Boy, Gold On The Ceiling, Money Maker

1. R.E.M. – “Collapse Into Now”
My world was rocked when one of my favorite bands of all-time called it quits earlier this year…but I totally understand. They’ve been together for almost 30 years and each member has other interests outside of the band so it makes sense. And it is only fitting that they call it a day with this album. Sounding almost like a collection of greatest hits that spanned their careers, this album, the 15th studio album in their collection, is far and away one of their best since drummer Bill Berry left the band in 1997. I am hoping that there are hundreds of new tracks in a vault somewhere that will be released over time however if that’s not the case, then this album is a classic that R.E.M. should be very proud to leave us with.

Favorite Tracks: It Happened Today, Oh My Heart, Discoverer, Mine Smell Like Honey, That Someone Is You, Blue

My Top 50 Favorite Songs Of 2011

Nicki Hit A Home Run…But Did It Go Far Enough?

2011 was a great year for music! Despite what some prognosticators say…I DO NOT believe the music industry is dead. On the contrary, there was great music across the board this year from all genres…from electronica to pop to rock to alternative to instrumental. You name it, there was lots of it. Some was easily accessible. Some you had to go find yourself. But there was a lot to select from and honestly…I probably coulda done a Top 100 with no problem! Here they are…MY top 50 songs of 2011. What a year it was….

#50:  Snow Patrol – “Called Out In The Dark” (alternative)
The new album won’t be released until 2012 but this early release single shows a lot of potential for the band mostly known for their musical appearances on “Grey’s Anatomy.” It has an uplifting message and I like the beat. Nice start…

#49:  Radiohead – “Seperator” (alternative)
Oh so dreamy song from the “The King Of Limbs” and easily its best track. No one does dream rock quite like Thom Yorke.

#48:  Lowline – “Suicide” (rock)
I “discovered” this band back in the early summer and their debut album ROCKS! This track was the first that grabbed me and shook me around. Love to drive to this one…

#47: Social Distortion – “Bakersfield” (blues rock)
A strong album released last January from this California rock band and this slow burn of a song is my favorite on the album! Funny…I feel like this a lot…

#46: Jane’s Addiction – “Ultimate Reason” (alternative)
Although not the strongest album by this classic alternative rock outfit, their latest, “The Great Escape Artist,” had a few good tracks and this was my favorite. Thanks to Perry Ferrell for keeping the dream alive!

#45: Wiz Khalifa – “Black & Yellow” (rap)
The Steelers went to the Super Bowl (and lost) and this was the mantra as they beat the snot out of everyone else in the AFC. Hometown boy Wiz trumps it up and roots for the hometeam…

#44: Dum Dum Girls – “Bedroom Eyes” (alternative)
Sounding a lot like Chrissie Hynde, lead singer Dee Dee Penny cranks up the heat in this little ditty. It’s 60’s pop rock at its best!

#43: Wild Flag – “Romance” (rock)
An all-girl band that rocks! With influences ranging from all over the place and lots of guitar work, Carrie Brownstein brings her unique sound over from Sleater-Kinney and jams on it!

#42: City And Colour – “Fragile Bird” (alternative)
Straight from the great north, Canadian rocker Dallas Green goes a little soft on us. Little known fact…the name of the band comes from HIS name…Dallas (city) and Green (colour).

#41: Jeff Bridges – “What A Little Bit Of Love Can Do” (country)
Bridges takes his Bad Blake character one step further and with the help of T-Bone Burnett cranks out this simple yet effective classic country tune.

#40: Max Rafferty – “Go Down Easy” (alternative)
This nice little acoustic track from the Kooks’ lead singer is a haunting song that sounds like it was produced in a tunnel. Very effective use of reverb without losing Rafferty’s vocals.

#39: Maroon 5 – “Moves Like Jagger” (pop)
I know, I know…seriously? But damn if this song doesn’t just stick in my head. And having Christina Aguilera doesn’t hurt it one bit.

#38: Girl In A Coma – “Smart”
Another product from the great state of Texas. This little known band has opened for Morrisey, Social Distortion, Frank Black & Tegan & Sara. Time for them to make an impact on their own, doncha think?

#37: Thievery Corporation – “Culture Of Fear” (rap/trip hop)
This band has been around for a while and for this track, they enlist political rapper Mr. Lif to slam on the man. Damn the man!

#36: Foster The People – “Pumped Up Kicks” (alt-pop)
Yes…it got played to death. But it doesn’t take away the fact that I was listening to this song WAY before pop radio got its hands on it.

#35: Gavin DeGraw – “Not Over You” (pop)
Sad little pop song with a killer hook. DeGraw hits this one out of the park…even if he does lose his heart in the process.

#34: PT Walkley – “Save The World” (alternative)
Wikipedia says Walkley is “regarded by many as one of the top truly independent artists of his time.” I don’t know about that but what I DO know is that this song is AWESOME! May be one of my most listened to tracks of this year…

#33: Peter Bjorn & John – “Second Chance” (pop)
Catchy as hell, this song bounces all over the place and fills your ear with bubblegum pop goodness!

#32: Paul Simon – “The Afterlife” (adult contemporary)
Ever wonder what happens to us after we die? Paul Simon does…and he wrote a song about it. Purgatory has never seemed so much like the DMV…

#31:  Manchester Orchestra – “Leave It Alone” (rock)
A very bleak look at a trouble relationship. The song has emotional resonance and sticks with me.

#30: Kurt Vile – “Puppet To The Man” (alternative)
Vile has had a great year with Spin listing his 4th album as one of the best this year. I’ve downloaded several tracks but this is my favorite. We may be underdogs but we’ll get by folks…

#29: The Kooks – “Rosie” (alt-pop)
Sometimes I just like a good pop song and the Kooks are pretty good at producing power pop alternative rock hooks that can stick to your ear like hair gel. Wonder what I’m talking about? Yeah…me too. But I like this track.

#28: The Kills – “Future Starts Slow” (rock)
Who writes lyrics like this anymore…?

You can holler, you can wail
You can swing, you can flail
You can fuck like a broken sail
But I’ll never give you up
If I ever give you up my heart will surely fail
And after all God can keep my soul
England have my bones
But don’t ever give me up
I could never get back up when the future starts so slow

Apparently The Kills do…and they are awesome!

#27: Foo Fighters – “Bridge Burning” (rock)
Oh come on. A Top 50 without the Foo Fighters would seem just…so…empty. And this leadoff track to their latest album, “Wasting Light,” is the bombastic thrill that only Dave Grohl can produce.

#26: Flo Rida – “Good Feeling” (rap pop)
This is NOT your typical rap song which is why I like it this much! It builds slowly and then smacks you in the face with it’s heavy trippy bounce. A good anthem for any sports arena!

#25: David Nail – “Let It Rain” (country)
Nail nails it as far as a country album goes. His “The Sound Of A Million Dreams” is what pulled me back into the country scene and I love it! This song was the first track to be released and it soars with the pain & guilt of a one night stand. And if THAT doesn’t make a good country song, I don’t know what does.

#24: David Guetta featuring Chris Brown & Lil Wayne – “I Can Only Imagine” (rap/pop)
I dare you to turn it off. Catchy as hell from the DJ who is the hottest thing this side of sliced bread and when the song drops out at 1:15 it gets nasty…

#23: The Black Keys – “Gold On The Ceiling” (blues rock)
The little band that could from Akron, OH is winning over EVERYBODY with their blues rock sound and this song is as funky as they get with fuzzy guitars and grungy vocals.

#22: Gotye – “Easy Way Out” (alternative)
Wally De Backer is an indie darling and he sure knows how to layer a song…and this song soars. If you like the band Spoon, you’ll totally dig Gotye. I struggle with which song to choose for this list because, quite frankly, the entire album is excellent. But I’m going with this one because I like the lyrics and the texture of the background vocals.

#21: Blue October – “The Honesty” (alternative)
I have to be honest…taking ANY track from the latest album by this band is a like stealing a part from an engine. They all work in unison to make a classic album that is so honest and brutal that it was hard to select just one. But this track is indicative of what the rest of the album is like and it could be a the most “honest” of all of them.

#20: Chickenfoot – “Come Closer” (rock)
What do you get when you throw a bunch of classic rockers together from Van Halen and Red Hot Chili Peppers? An amazing song about a struggling relationship is probably  NOT what you would think. But this song works wonders and is a perfect vehicle for all of them to showcase their abilities.

#19: Future Islands – “Balance” (alternative)
I don’t know anything about this band and this song was a part of a bunch of free tunes I got from Spin magazine but it immediately caught my ear and now I can’t STOP listening to it. Like Frightened Rabbit on soda pop, it has this odd lilting sound to it that keeps me hooked.

#18: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – “Record Machine” (pop rock)
Half of Oasis went to Beady Eye, the other half made an album so good that it can be considered a classic. This song has Oasis written all over it, from the soaring vocals to the backing guitars. The Birds fly pretty high and I would pay big money to hear it live in a huge arena. And THAT is really what rock n roll is all about.

#17: Mat Kearney – “Ships In The Night” (pop)
Know the joke about hallway sex? If you do, then this track elaborates on that. Just…not in a funny way.

#16: Friendly Fires – “Show Me Lights” (electronic alternative)
This song is right up there with “Second Chance” as the catchiest songs of 2011. Dunno what they’re talking about but the song rocks!

#15: MuteMath – “Tell Your Heart Heads Up” (alternative rock)
Although their latest album isn’t as strong as “Armistice,” it still offers a few songs that are as good as anything released by any other band this year. I love the pace of this one…

#14: Active Child – “Hanging On” (alternative)
If there is one song that sounds almost religious in its presentation, it’s this one. But it’s about a bad relationship (again) and the vocals are painful and haunting at the same time.

#13: Mumford & Sons – “The Cave” (alternative)
This one is a layup. One of the best tracks of the year…as voted by just about everyone.

#12: Katie Cole – “Gravity” (rock)
You might not know her yet, but this singer/songwriter from Melbourne, Australia will be lighting it up in 2012. This song I found while watching a wristwatch commercial on television and I HAD to find out who sang it. Turns out it was Katie. And she’s awesome!

#11: Wye Oak – “Civilian” (alternative)
This track has the most blistering guitar solo of the year midway through it. I can’t seem to turn my stereo up loud enough when it comes on.

#10: Raphael Saadiq – “Heart Attack” (funky R&B)
This is old skool at the heart of it but it sounds so fresh that you can’t help but wonder where you’ve heard it before. Saadiq returns to the roots of funk and gets brilliant.

#9: The Black Keys – “Lonely Boy” (rock)
With their fuzzy guitar and hot back beat this song makes me wanna dance. And for a white guy, that’s pretty damn funky.

#8: David Nail – “She Rides Away” (country)
Oh look who’s back. Country artist Nail has said that he didn’t even think he wanted to record this song and it is my favorite song on the album. Arena country rock that has me seeing a woman driving her El Camino in the desert, leaving her man in her dust. Odd imagery but that’s what I got…

#7: Teddybears – “Rocket Scientist” (dance)
I dare you to put this on and NOT shake your butt. Go ahead…DOUBLE dare ya…

#6: Gym Class Heroes – “Ass Back Home” (pop rap)
In many cases, music is a soundtrack to my life. In the case of this song, it is a reflection of my life on the road. Much like last year’s “The Wind”, this man in this song is very much like myself…on the road a lot and trying to keep his relationship intact. Tough stuff for a pop rap outfit but this song nails it.

#5: R.E.M. – “It Happened Today” (alternative)
How much am I gonna miss Michael Stipe and the boys? After retiring a few months ago, I broke out this CD and wore it out…again. It’s a fitting ending for an amazing band that has been a staple in my music collection for decades. And this song has Stipe and Co. singing to the heavens…

#4: Joe Bonamassa – “Dust Bowl” (blues)
Listening to this song makes you feel as if you’re walking through the desert in search of a cold drink when you find yourself in a dirty old cactus town. There, over at the corner bar, you ask for a bottle of whiskey…and this guy is playing on the jukebox. And yes…it is EXACTLY like that.

#3: Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass” (rap pop)
This song will forever remind me of the summer of 2011. Nicki was only a backup voice until this song shot her into the upper echelon of today’s pop rap artists. There wasn’t a catchier rap track on the radio this year…

#2: The Raveonettes – “Ignite” (alternative)
Something about this Danish duet that does it for me. I don’t know if it’s the fuzzy guitar or the distorted vocals or just the vibe but The Raveonettes are about as cool a band as you can ask for these days. This song never got any airplay but it is a classic. If there ever was a great simple song about longing and unrequited love, this is it.


#1: Beastie Boys – “Here’s A Little Something For Ya” (rap)
The REAL Beasties have returned and their latest album saw them return to their roots. For those about to party, feel free to put on the ultimate party jam. With classic rap lines and a beat that kills it, the Boys give you a song that you can blow out your speakers and that’ll make your tires bounce. Here’s the Beastie Boys with the best song of 2011. And if ya feelin’ chilly I’m gonna get ya a shawl…

My Top 10 Favorite R.E.M. Songs

With R.E.M. calling it quits, I’ve decided to compile my Top 10 favorite songs by Stipe & Company. Having grown up listening to this band, believe me when I tell you that picking just 10 is a tough thing to do but here they are and truthfully…there is no particular order. I love them all equally…

10. “Living Well Is The Best Revenge” from the album “Accelerate”
Not one of the best R.E.M. albums but this track was a welcome return to form after getting sleepy in the post-Berry  timeline.

9. “Begin The Begin” from the album “Life’s Rich Pageant”
I found this song in my college days and played it out. Still one of my favorite songs by any band and always included in my workout mixes.

8. “Try Not To Breathe” from the album “Automatic For The People”
Oh sure, there are definitely more popular songs on the album, but THIS track was the diamond in the rough. Love the lyrics and it’s one of slower tempo songs by them that I honestly love.

7. “It Happened Today” from the album “Collapse Into Now”
This song showcases Stipe’s ability to convey emotion without even singing lyrics. At the end of the song he simply sings at the top of his lungs a chorus that rises to the heavens and it is beautiful. Wish I could have seen this one live…

6. “Fireplace” from the album “Document”
Making use of the saxophone for the first time, this has always been a favorite of mine.

5. “Life And How To Live It” from the album “Fables Of The Reconstruction”
Classic R.E.M. sound and once again Stipe’s soaring vocals and the tempo by Berry’s drums make this a classic!

4. “Me In Honey” from the album “Out Of Time”
The B-52’s Kate Pierson provides backing vocals as Michael Stipe sings about love gone south. It’s a great combination! And I wore this one out my senior year at Ohio University…

3. “The Wake-Up Bomb” from the album “New Adventures In Hi-Fi”
I distinctly remember hearing this one live before the album was released and thinking…”That is AWESOME!” And it is.

2. “Windout” from the album “Dead Letter Office”
Believe it or not, this song is from the soundtrack to the Tom Hanks movie, Bachelor Party. It’s featured in one of the scenes during the big party romp at the end of the movie. It’s mindless fun and one of the few songs by R.E.M. that is just that…mindless.

1. “The One I Love” from the album “Document”
Great song and the first I ever remember hearing by the band. It was their first song to chart on the Billboard 100 and will always be the one that most defines them to most people (well…it’s either this one or “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”

Top 10 Albums to Bring With Me On A Deserted Island

Recently Jeff Pollack of the Huffington Post put together a Top 10 list of the albums he would choose to take with him if he was ever stranded on a deserted island. The way I see it…being on a deserted island sounds pretty darn good right about now…as long as I have a lifetime supply of food and beverages and sunblock. Oh…and a hammock. It would really suck having to sleep under a palm tree every night. Here are the albums I see fit to have in such a situation…

1. U2 – “The Joshua Tree”
Taking the top spot is my favorite album of all-time. With so many great songs and not one dog in the mix, I consider this to be the best of their best!
Best Track To Listen Too During A Tidal Wave: “Bullet The Blue Sky”

2. Alexander O’Neal – “Hearsay”
Oh I know…there are gonna be naysayers, but this truly is one of my favorite pop/R&B albums ever and it is a surprisingly strong body of work…even if it does include the cheesy dialogue snippets between songs.
Best Track To Listen To While Sleepin’ In My Hammock: “Sunshine” 

3. AC/DC – “Back In Black”
Although this may not be the most relaxing album to have when beachside, I still consider it to be one of the greatest rock albums of all-time! Whenever I wanna party, I throw this album on. Not one song disappoints (even “Let Me Put My Love Into You” has a classic rock anthem chorus!).
Best Track To Drink Pina Colada’s Too: “Have A Drink On Me” 

4. MuteMath – “Armistice”
Who says no one is releasing great albums anymore? In 2009, MuteMath unleashed this excellent album and I can say that not one track lags. So if I’m gonna be stranded, might as well have a little modern rock to jam too!
Best Track To Fend Off Electric Eels With: “Electrify” 

5. U2 – “Achtung Baby”
No one said I had to narrow it down t 1 album by my favorite band so I choose this classic from the early 90’s. Everyone dogs on U2’s post 80’s stuff but I really enjoyed their “Pop” era and this has so many awesome tracks on it that it also made Pollack’s list!
Best Track For When I Get Lonely: “Until The End Of The World” 

6. Prince – “Purple Rain”
If there is one album that reminds me of my youth it’s probably this album. “Purple Rain” was such a huge hit and with the other classic tracks on here, it takes me back to when I would listen to this on the roof of my house and crank it up!
Best Track To Play When I See A Ship In The Distance: “Take Me With U” 

7. INXS – “Welcome To Wherever You Are”
This 1992 album had only 1 hit song and was considered to be a mis-step by this great band but I disagree wholeheartedly. This is a GREAT album that was, unfortunately, released during the height of the grunge popularity. I love every track on this album!!!
Best Track To Listen Too When Talking To The Turtle That Has Crawled Onto The Island: “Communication” 

8. Journey – “Escape”
I remember when this album was HUGE in my younger days and the fact that it still rocks me to this day is a testament to this bands influence in my appreciation of rock n roll. Seriously…who else has pipes like Steve Perry back in the day? Hell…who has pipes like that now? No one, I say!
Best Track To Listen To When Longing For Companionship: “Who’s Crying Now” 

9. Gordon Lightfoot – “Sundown”
This one sticks out like a sore thumb but if I’m gonna be laying on a beach on a deserted island I’m gonna want something mellow to chill with and I’ve been chilling with this album since I was a kid. Is it a great album? Maybe not. But it is as mellow as I can get without being catatonic and Gordo has a way of making me feel all chillaxed inside.
Best Track To Listen Too While Hallucinating In The Summer Sun: “Seven Island Suite” 

10. R.E.M. – “Collapse Into Now”
Oh I know that this just came out this year and I understand that it got buried with all the other music that’s out there these days but I gotta tell you…this album reminds me of so many of REM’s classic songs that it’s like the greatest hits package that never existed. Each song is great and I pit it against any of their earlier albums from their “heyday.”
Best Track To Listen To When Being Rescued By A Passing Ship: “It Happened Today” 

My Top 10 Favorite Album Covers

Album covers are a dying art form…right? No longer are the days of buying an album because the cover looks cool. But many years ago, I used to buy albums solely on their cover and many times I was greatly disappointed. However…the cover DID look pretty damn cool! Here are my Top 10 Favorite Album Covers. Oh…and for fun…a few extras that you can weigh in on…

10. The Darkness – One Way Ticket To Hell & Back (2005)

9. Asia – Alpha (1983)

8. Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness (1995)

7. Counting Crows – Recovering The Satellites (1996)

6. Drivin N Cryin – Fly Me Courageous (1991)

5. Dave Matthews Band – Under The Table & Dreaming (1994)

4. The Eagles – Hotel California (1976)

3. The Cribs – Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever (2007)

2. The Gutter Twins – Saturnalia (2008)

1. The Clash – London Calling (1979)

Is there a more iconic cover than this? I think not (well…maybe “Abbey Road.” But THIS cover speaks to me!)…

And now a few extras that I thought would add to the appeal of this particular subject…

Creepiest Cover

Most Inappropriate Cover That Made Me Laugh

Least Hottest Cover By A Band With Songs You’ve Heard On The Radio: Orleans

Hottest Cover By A Band With Songs No One Has Ever Heard:
The Sounds

The Album Cover Guaranteed To Ruin Whatever Sexual Thought You Might Have Had When Looking At The Previous Album Cover…

Top 40 Favorite Songs Of 2010

Most disappointing artist of 2010? Unfortunately…yes. I expected bigger & better things…

What a strange and wonderful year for music. So many great singles, so few great albums but so much to choose from! And I DID choose a lot. I’m pretty sure I downloaded over 200 songs and a boatload of albums off ITunes. With music becoming so easily accessible, it’s hard for a guy like me to NOT download too much. Seriously…having ITunes on my phone KILLS me. Anyway, here are what I consider to be MY favorite tracks from 2010.

40. The Weepies – “How Do You Get High” (alternative)
Boppy number from this notoriously slow ballad band. Bounces around and is a nice change for them.This is about as exciting as this married couple get!

39. Circa Survive – “I Felt Free” (alternative)
Don’t really know much about this band but heard this track on Pandora months ago and it has stuck with me. I like the lyrics and the anthemic sound. Good track! Check it out!

38. Passion Pit – “Let Your Love Grow Tall” (alternative pop)
I dig this track. Gotta a nice beat…and I can dance to it. ‘Nuff said.

37. T.I. – “Welcome To The World” (rap)
T.I. had a good year with getting out of jail and then dropping this album that was smokin’ hot! He has 2 tracks in my favs this year but really the whole album is top shelf!

They’re here to make you think about death and get sad and stuff!!!

36. Sex Bob-Omb – “Threshold” (rock)
Is this a real band? Eh…who cares when the music ROCKS like this! Straight from the “Scott Justice vs The World” soundtrack, this track grabs you by the ears and kicks you in the gut. Love it!

35. Anberlin – “Impossible” (pop rock)
Power rock pop that is impossibly peppy and is obviously right up my alley. Yep…that’s THIS track. And I don’t apologize for it.

34. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – “Hot Summer Night” (rock)
Seriously…this chick has got some serious pipes and considering how cold it is right now…I could use a little of THIS action!

33. Atomic Tom – “This Is How We Like To End” (alternative)
This was a surprising track for me, but I really like it and I like the words. Sad and yet somehow hopeful.

32. Taio Cruz feat Ludacris – “Break Your Heart” (pop)
Nothing defines my summer like this song. My kids love it and admittedly…so do I. It’s repetitive and catchy and I still find myself bopping my head along to it every time I hear it.

Sure…why not?

31. Crystal Bowersox – “Kiss Ya” (rock)
I don’t know what the future holds for this American Idol runner-up, but I’ve always thought she has an amazing voice and this track highlights her ability to hit the high notes. It rocks and so does she!

30. M.I.A. – “Believer” (alternative)
Is she fascinating? Overrated? Weird? Who cares? this song is TRIPPY and it lopes along in a weird funk, dripping with sexuality. I get it. Even if I don’t get her…

29. Greg Laswell – “Take Everything” (adult contemporary)
Something about this guy I really like and this song is sad and yet hopeful at the same time. If you like David Gray (which I do), you will like Greg Laswell.

28. Hanson – “Thinking ‘Bout Something” (pop)
Before you start thinking me crazy, go LISTEN to it yourself! Pop in all of its glory! Yeah…I know, I know…”MmmmBop” is annoying and the IDEA of liking these guys is slightly annoying but LISTEN to it and tell me you’re not shaking your ass and I’ll call you a liar. Oh…and it’s kind of a sad song…which makes it even more interesting…

27. Broken Bells – “The Mall and Misery” (alternative)
With simple cords and a poppy chorus, this song has been stuck in my head for months. With the lead singer of The Shins and the producer Danger Mouse, this reminds me of a modern “Simon & GarFUNKel.”

26. Stereoside – “Life Goes On” (rock)
I love me some rock and this single reminds me of classic 80’s hairband rock. Hailing from Florida, this band could almost be mistaken for Whitesnake! And that is pretty cool…

25. Justin Bieber – “Somebody To Love” (pop)
Well crap. Look…I don’t care what you say about this kid, he IS pop right now. And with Usher producing, this single is easily one of my favorite pop tracks of the year.

24. Kings Of Leon – “The Immortals” (rock)
I was so glad to hear that the Kings followed up their awesome “Only By The Night” with a comparable followup in “Come Around Sundown”. It’s different in all the right ways and very arena rock oriented and this is my favorite track off the album.

23. Frightened Rabbit – “Nothing Like You” (alternative)
What a unique and strange voice, but Scott Hutchinson knows how to put together a great song. This track moves at a frantic pace and is one of FR’s best!

22. Iration – “Wait & See” (pop/reggae)
My favorite new band of the year, this southern Cali band was a refreshing wave that had me hooked all summer long. I wore out their album “Time Bomb” and this track is one of the reasons.

21. JP, Chrissie & The Fairground Boys – “If You Let Me” (rock)
Chrissie Hynde IS the female voice of rock n roll and this track confirms it. Sultry and forceful at the same time, this track highlights everything about her that I love. Classic song about unrequited love…which ALWAYS makes for a great pop song!

20. Outasight – “Catch Me If You Can” (alt-rap)
Richard Andrew is doin’ something right and this hybrid of rap and funky soul is right up my alley. I can’t wait to hear what his new album sounds like but he released a 6 track EP back in May and this song has been on heavy rotation on my IPod ever since.

19. Vampire Weekend – “Cousins” (alternative)
This song is like listening to a hummingbird, it bops and bounces all over the place! And with that now famous Vampire Weekend verve, it sucks you in and shakes you along with it.

18. Kanye West – “Power” (rap)
From the first note it hooks you then Kanye kicks it with a siren wail and a blistering rap. Seeing as how he has somehow made good on the “Taylor Swift incident,” I guess it’s safe to say he’s back…and still kinda pissed off and full of himself. But what’s a rap track without a little bit of bravado, right?

17. Metric – “Black Sheep” (rock)
This little track appeared on the “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” soundtrack and it stuck in my head immediately!  Sounding a lot like “Garbage” back in the day, I totally loved Metric’s album from last year and now I can’t wait for the next Metric album to drop.

16. Arcade Fire – “City With No Children In It” (alternative)
This album got all kind of props this past year from the music community. Personally, I thought it was ok, but not the “White Album.” This track, however, is right up my alley and I like the message.

15. OK Go – “White Knuckles” (pop)
Coming across sounding like Prince, this jam is quirky, loud and funky! If you need a reason to shake your booty…this is it!

14. Deerhunter – “Desire Lines” (alternative)
I could listen to this song over & over again. It reminds me of 90’s Smashing Pumpkins lite. Not too hard but not so slow either. It’s just right. And I dig the lyrics…

13. Mike Posner – “Please Don’t Go” (pop)
This guy is smoooooth and this pop concoction is the perfect track for wooing the women. Nice beat, slick lyrics and the kid from Duke shows that he knows how to put together some good pop music.

12. The Black Keys – “Howlin’ For You” (rock)
Dirty, grungy bluesy rock track from Akron’s new favorite sons. This band is HOT right now with a summer tour with Kings Of Leon and several appearances at key festivals, they are finally getting the attention they deserve.

11. T.I. – “Ya Hear Me” (rap)
After spending some time in jail, T.I. decided to write an album that documented his feelings on being in the lockup. This is a highlight off a pretty damn good album! Kicks in all the right places and T.I. shows he’s not gonna let anything slow him down!

I know it’s not HER song…but work with me here…

10. Eminem feat Rihanna – “Love The Way You Lie” (rap/pop)
Overplayed? Yes. But there isn’t another song out there with more compelling lyrics this year and Rihanna’s soulful chorus makes it resonate even more.

Yeah…I got nuthin’…

9. Katy Perry – “Teenage Dream” (pop)
I know, I know…I got a lot of pop songs in here but my kids are at an age where they are loving the pop and I have to listen to what THEY listen too and quite frankly…I like ALL these songs! Katy Perry was HUGE this year and this song is a big reason why. It’s a love song with some sexual edge to it and that makes for one of the best pop songs of the year!

8. Third Day – “Make Your Move” (rock)
Listed as Christian Rock, I don’t think so. This is blues rock at its best! With a nasty bassline and wicked drums, I think this is one of those songs you grind too in a dirty bar somewhere. Christian rock? Huh….I doubt it.

7. Iration – “Time Bomb” (reggae pop)
This southern Cali band is making a play for my favorite album of the year with the title track coming up just short for my favorite song of the year! But this entire album is awesome and hit at just the right time for me. This song of a girl on a destructive path is perfect in every way and is definitely a must hear!

6. Big Boi – “Daddy Fat Sax” (rap)
Sweet jam with some of the slickest lyrics this year, Big Boi cranks the funk and jams! Who needs Outkast when you have 2 individual artists cranking out such great music! LOVE this track!

5. Linkin Park – “When They Come For Me” (rock)
Some would argue they’ve lost their edge but for me, this track is what alt-rock is all about. With their middle finger high in the air, Linkin Park tackles all the naysayers and brings it with a hot bassline and a vicious rap.

4. Atomic Tom – “The Moment” (alternative)
Something about this song that really appeals to me. It has an 80’s alternative sound and the lyrics about that one second when everything falls into place are something we all think about. And when that moment does happen? It’s pure heaven…

They are NOT the Black Eyed Peas!!! Mostly because they don’t have a Fergie to look at…

3. Far East Movement – “Don’t Look Now” (dance)
With a huge hit under their belt (Fly Like A G6), this band made some big waves this year with a great dance album. This song is my personal favorite. With Keri Hilson supplying a guest vocal, this song will eventually make it to pop radio…I promise.

2. John Butler Trio – “Close To You” (rock)
An awesome riff that takes you and shakes you and just won’t let go! This song is so damn good that it SHOULD be a tie for #1 because I love both of them so much. This is easily my most listened to track on my IPhone this year.

1. Trapt – “The Wind” (rock)
The only reason I’m taking this song over “Close To You” is for a simple reason…the lyrics. 2010 saw me all over the place, from one end of this country to the other, and this song is about how life can take you away and be exhausting and overwhelming at times. But at the same time, it opens up new doors and allows you to shine. I feel that way right now. And so that is why “The Wind” is MY favorite song of 2010.

My Top 25 Favorite Pop Songs Of All-Time

The epitome of POP music? Discuss…

There seems to be some confusion over what exactly pop music is. Is it dance music? Is it electronic music? Is it country music? Can it BE defined? I have MY opinion of what pop music is…but that doesn’t mean that it is what I think it is. Pop music, by definition, can really be ANY kind of music that is loved by a mass audience. For decades, artists who could be defined as “country” or “dance” or any other kind of genre could be found in the Billboard Top 100 Most Popular Songs. Take a look at the early 80’s. Pop was littered with country artists like Dolly Parton or Eddie Rabbitt. In the 90’s, hip hop entered into the pop scene and nowadays it seems like electronica has made a major splash in the pop arena. So “pop” music has come a long way since Buddy Holly and Neil Diamond. But for me, pop music is more simple. And when I say simple, I don’t mean as in the definition, I mean the song itself. Usually a pop song is simple. There’s no drama surrounding it. There’s no anger or violence or sex. Usually I consider a good pop song something that I can sing along too or I can crank up in my car without having my neighbors all complaining about the noise. And usually it involves love or the yearning for love or the loss of love.

A good example of a classic pop song is Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On” from 1990. Seriously…it’s not my favorite song…but it has a refreshing hook and a “feel good” vibe about it. It’s got a nice beat and there’s nothing about it that screams angst or anger or violence. It’s just an easy song to listen too and it doesn’t intrude on your thoughts. It’s about as simple a song as you’ll ever find and that is why I use it as an example. Is it gonna rock the world? No. But it was the Single Of The Year that year and it was nominated for “Song Of The Year” at the Grammy’s. For MY money, one of the best pop songs I’ve heard in ages is by Erik Hassle called “Wanna Be Loved.” It just came out last week and I’ve already worn it out on my car stereo. Both of my kids LOVE it and for some reason it tells me that I’m not the only one who likes my pop music to be easy on the ears.

Pop music, to me, is a simple melody. Simple lyrics. Simple music. And it is usually not as simple to make as I would imagine it is. Here are my personal Top 25 Favorite POP (by MY definition) Songs. I’m not gonna lie…I’m partial to the 70’s & 80’s, mostly because those decades are when my musical tastes were being developed. Let’s see what you think…

25. Olivia Newton John – “A Little More Love” (1979)

24. Jude Cole – “Better Days” (1987)

23. PM Dawn – “A Lifetime” (1995)

22. Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose – “Too Late To Turn back Now” (1972)

21. Pete Townsend – “Let My Love Open The Door” (1980)

20. Icehouse – “Crazy” (1987)

19. The Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations” (1966)

18. Richard Marx – “Should’ve Known Better” (1987)

17. Johnny Nash – “I Can See Clearly Now” (1972)

16. Rick Springfield – “Love Somebody” (1984)

15. The Weepies – “World Spins Madly On” (2005)

14. Michael Jackson – “Rock With You” (1979)

13. David Gates – “The Goodbye Girl” (1977)

12. Patsy Cline – “Crazy” (1962)

11. Bryan Adams – “Heaven” (1984)

10. Alexander O’Neal – “Criticize” (1986)

9. Barenaked Ladies – “Falling For the First Time” (2001)

8. The Outfield – “Your Love” (1986)

7. The Beatles – “In My Life” (1965)

6. Cyndi Lauper – “True Colors” (1986)

5. Elvis Presley – “Memories” (1968)

4. The Spinners – “Could It be I’m Falling In Love” (1973)

3. America – “Sister Golden Hair” (1975)

2. Phil Collins – “In The Air Tonight” (1981)

1. George Harrison – “What Is Life” (1970)

So there you have it. Pop music as I think it should be. These songs are all a part of me and my history. They are forever in my mind as a part of who I am and that can never be changed. They are what I think pop music can best be defined as. So now…what are YOUR favorite pop songs and what do you feel best defines pop music?

My Top 15 Favorite U2 Songs

No band touches my ears the way U2 does. I’ve only seen them in concert once, but it was my all-time favorite show. Their music is just built to soar! With Bono’s vocals, The Edge’s signature guitar-work, Adam Clayton’s bass and Larry Mullen, Jr’s consistant drumming, U2 has become the biggest band in the world…and for a reason. They are consistently great at what they do! So to celebrate my favorite band of all-time, I figured I would list my Top 10 favorite tracks. Except I couldn’t just go with 10…so I went with 15. Is that okay? And…here…we…go…

15. “Numb”
from “Zooropa” (1993)
It’s like an electronic orgy. The Edge actually does vocals on this one in a monotone voice. Different and kinda weird. Love it!

14. “Beautiful Day”
from “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” (2000)
I remember seeing the video and hearing the song for the first time on a plane heading to Seattle. Still reminds me of my favorite city.

13. “All I Want Is You”
from “Rattle & Hum” (1988)
I recall a buddy of mine singing this song for a girlfriend back in the OUZ studios in 1988. Still reminds me of him to this day.

12. “Until The End Of The World”
from “Actung Baby” (1991)
The Edge’s guitar work makes this track soar!

11. “The Fly”
from “Achtung Baby” (1991)
Awesome live!

10. “Silver & Gold”
from “Rattle & Hum” (1988)
When The Edge “plays the blues”, it gives me goosebumps…

9. “Vertigo”
from “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb” (2004)
The video is awesome! And this song just rocks my world…

8. “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
from “War” (1983)
A signature classic. It NEVER gets old. And the opening drums could be the most famous opening to any U2 song…

7. “Breathe”
From “No Line On The Horizon” (2009)
My favorite track from last year’s excellent album!

6. “Red Hill Mining Town”
from “The Joshua Tree” (1987)
Just about anything off “The Joshua Tree” is excellent! But I picked this track because it doesn’t get much press and it’s a great song!

5. “Bad”
from “The Unforgettable Fire” (1984)
I’ve always loved how it builds and Bono’s vocals are awesome!

4. “Mysterious Ways”
from “Achtung Baby” (1991)
Love the skittish intro and this song reminds me of an old girlfriend.

3. “A Day Without Me”
from “Boy” (1980)
The first U2 track ever released off their debut album. Still one of their best…

2. “Bullet The Blue Sky”
from “The Joshua Tree” (1987)
Larry Mullen, Jr. drums his way into the musical war of this song.

1. “The Unforgettable Fire”
from “The Unforgettable Fire” (1984)
Love the lyrics. Love the imagery. Love the vocals. Love the 80’s sound. Don’t have a particular reason, but THIS is my all-time favorite song….ever.

My Top 10 Favorite Saxophone Songs

I realize that the sax went out of style in 1989…and I’m okay with that. You don’t hear too many bands with a horn section anymore. But there are a few, such as The National and Spoon, who use a horn section and a few bands who still implement the sax here & there. So…I figured I’d present my Top 10 favorite songs that include the coolest, uncool instrument out there…

10. Al Stewart – “Time Passages/Year Of The Cat”
Oh…I know…that’s 2 songs! That’s cheating! But not really. If you think about it, the sax in both is eerily similiar and I love both songs equally. They both clock in over 6 minutes, both have a sax solo in the middle and both are the title track of each album from which they were released. Basically…they’re the same freakin’ song! But Al managed to sell them as 2…so I am saying BOTH belong here!

9. Violent Femmes – “I Held Her In My Arms”
Quirky isn’t exactly how I would describe this band. Everyone knows “Blister In The Sun”, but this track from 1986 is one of their best and the sax really kicks it up a notch!

8. The English Beat – “Mirror In The Bathroom”
With its bouncy beat and the catchy rhythm, I can’t NOT bop my head anytime I hear this little ditty.

7. Michael Stanley Band – “Someone Like You”
For the opening alone, this song belongs here. Seriously, the first 30 seconds reminds me why I love this instrument so much. It sounds like a heart yearning for love. It’s THAT good!

6. Oingo Boingo – “Dead Man’s Party”
Ok…if you are ever at a party at MY house, and this song isn’t playing at some point, you are allowed to kick me in the head as hard as you want. Because it is NOT a party until some Boingo has been played. It’s inevitable. And the sax in this song kicks butt. And it’s not just the sax…but the entire horn section that is just cool.

5. Eddie Money – “I Wanna Go Back”
Remember THIS little tune from a guy who could have been bigger if Huey Lewis hadn’t stolen his thunder? Okay…that might be a stretch, but I love so many of Eddie’s songs and no one ever plays them anymore? But I hear plenty of Huey Lewis on the radio. WTF?!? Whatever, this tune has a great sax intro and then it reappears at the end. LOVE it!

4. Bruce Springsteen – “Born To Run”
Oh Clarence. Where would the sax be without you? I mean, you could take just about ANY pop song, have Clarence blow on his wonderful sax and it would make the song 10 times better! And then you stick him with The Boss and you really can’t go wrong. So many songs to choose from, but I choose the signature song simply because his sax is the heartbeat of Bruce’s amazing tune.

3. Morphine – “Whisper”
This band was never gonna be huge. They weren’t built that way. 3 guys. That was it. And 1 of ’em played sax. They played what some called “low rock”. It’s as underground sounding as any music I’ve ever listened to and, if lead singer Mark Sandman (it’s even a cool name for a lead singer!) hadn’t died of a heart attack in 1999, this band would still be playing in smoky bars all across the world! This track is amazing! But it’s only one in a whole listing of great songs by Morphine.

2. R.E.M. – “Fireplace”
Not a band to use the sax, Michael Stipe & Company surprised everyone (and by everyone, I mean me) with this gem on their awesome album, “Document”. Quite possibly my all-time favorite REM track, and it IS because of the sax.

1. Gerry Rafferty – “Baker Street”
Think about it. If you are thinking “sax song”, where does YOUR mind drift? Seriously, the sax at the end of this song is so prolific in my mind, that it might very well be the reason I love the instrument so much. Just a little sidenote…according to Wikipedia, this song inspired a resurgence of saxophone use in music and commercials known as “The Baker Street Phenomenon” in 1978. Sax sales also jumped and the song itself went to #2 in the U.S. Soooo…some might consider this to be a one-hit wonder from the 70’s. I consider it to be a classic song that has always been an important part of my musical growth! Plus….it was covered by the Foo Fighters. And that automatically makes it cool…

Honorable Mention & late additions from readers….

Wham – “Careless Whisper”
Pink Floyd – “Us & Them”
Dire Straits – “Your Latest Trick”
Sade – “Is It A Crime”, “Smooth Operator”
Paul McCartney – “Silly Love Songs”
Skipper Wise – “Standing Outside In The Rain”
Breathe – “Hands To Heaven”
Bob Marley – “Roots, Rock & Reggae”
Kenny Loggins – “Danger Zone”
Ian Gomm – “Hold On”
Collective Soul – “Better Now”
OMD – “So In Love”
Billy Idol – “Catch My Fall”
All my life – Phil Collins
Sad Cafe – The Eagles
Bad to the bone – George Thorogood
Die Trying – Dave Matthews Band
Crack in time – Calvin Harris
River of time – van Morrison
You aint smiling – Audience
House on the hill – Audience
Inside Out – Pink Floyd
The Edge Of Glory – Lady Gaga
Last Friday Night – Katy Perry
Time – Culture Club

My Top 10 Favorite Piano Songs

10. Brad – “The Day Brings”
A relatively unknown band out of Seattle with an amazing song. If you’ve never heard of them, go check it out! This track was released back in 1997 and is one of my all-time favorites.

9. Greg Laswell – “How The Day Sounds”
One of my favorite songs from last 2008! This simple little tune brings a smile to my face every time I hear it.

8. John Lennon – “Imagine”
So simple and it says so much.

7. Tori Amos – “Tear In Your Hand”
I’ve always thought Tori was underrated as an artist and this is my favorite song by her. Very deep song and quite personal.

6. Kate Bush – “This Woman’s Work”
So sad and pretty. Makes me wanna cry it’s so damn good.

5. Ben Folds Five – “Song For The Dumped”
Ever had your heart ripped out and stomped on and you just wanted revenge? Well…this is the song to play JUST before you go and use the key on the car.

4. Billy Joel – “She’s Always A Woman”
Possibly the greatest love song ever? You decide. But this is Joel’s ode to his woman that makes EVERY woman want to hang with an average joe like Joel.

3. Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”
This classic rock staple will always remind me of Wayne’s World, even if it is one of the greatest opera/rock songs ever (with the exception of Meatloaf, I don’t really know any others!).

2. Elton John – “Love Lies Bleeding/Funeral For A Friend”
For the intro alone, this song belongs high on this list. Elton takes it up on side and down the other. And then he rips into one of his greatest songs EVER.

1. Jerry Lee Lewis – “Great Balls Of Fire”
It’s been well documented that Jerry SHOULD have been the King Of Rock N Roll. Except for some guy named Elvis. Either way, Elvis ain’t making this list. Nobody can pound the ivories like Jerry can! And as cool as it is to see Billy Joel & Elton John on stage, face-to-face, I’d take Lewis setting his piano on fire ANYDAY!

You might be asking yourself…”Where’s Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’?” Well…if I ever do a Top 10 greatest HARMONICA solos I would probably put that song in here. But really…if you listen to it…the piano in “Piano Man” is very subdued. It’s really more of a great lyric song…not so much a great piano song. Just sayin’…