TOP 5 MAY 2018 RELEASES

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

 

It’s hard to imagine that we are half-way through 2018. Another month has passed and with it tons of great spring memories, moments to cherish and most importantly – a great list of music releases that made our lives even more colorful! I know I’m pretty much saying this for every month that passes by but damn – May of 2018 was one hell of a month to rock and roll! Plenty of outstanding releases found their way to my playlists and I am eager to share the ones who stood out the most and turned into something more than “new music I checked this past month”.

If you are stuck and need to hear something fresh and exciting, the following 5 albums might be just for you. My May 2018 favorites range from melodic rock to alternative and heavy metal but they share one thing in common – each one of them is capable of and has the right musical qualities to bring you comfort and new emotions. I strongly recommend those five albums and just in case you haven’t had the chance to go through them – now might be it!

Sevendust are topping my list with their comeback, titled “All I See is War”. I’ve been a fan of Sevendust since I was in high school so I hold them quite close to my heart. The aura of that release is hard to describe with words but let’s just say that when it comes to empowering and transferring your inner strength into sound, those guys are one of the best! The album blew me away, especially that beautiful song “Medicated”. Lords of Black, Doomsday Outlaw and Vega are also among my top May 2018 releases, all coming from Frontiers Records. Those guys never disappoint my melodic rock heart and this month they yet again delivered quality music, making my every day boring life significantly more bearable. Shinedown are another blast from my past. I gotta admit it’s been years since I last played something from them but with this album they sure as hell made a triumphant comeback into my life.

Check them out and let me know what you think in the comment section below:


1. Sevendust – All I see is War

sevendust all i see is war


2. Lords of Black – Icons of the New Day

lords of black 2018


3. Vega – Only Human

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4. Doomsday Outlaw – Hard Times

Doomsday Outlaw - Hard Times


5. Shinedown – Attention Attention

Shinedown - Attention Attention


References:
Featured image, retrieved from: https://www.hardwiredmagazine.com/sevendust-all-i-see-is-war-2018/?lang=en
I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/or publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

15 Favorite Rock Albums that Celebrate a 30th Anniversary This Year

I get excited just by thinking of this year – the marvelous year of 1987!!! So many people on social media asked me which I think was the best year for rock music. I always say 1987 with no hesitation. Why? Check my list and you will certainly find out why!

All those outstanding releases are celebrating a 30th anniversary this year (2017) and I really wanted to list all my favorites together, in one place. Of course, I might have missed some of your favorites and yes, Appetite for Destruction is not in my top15 (surprise surprise!) but it is what it is. From Great White to Treat and Def Leppard, I honestly and straightforwardly am telling why exactly I love these albums with the idea to celebrate them and remember that it might have been 30 years since they were released, but the love and excitement over them hasn’t gone anywhere.

Don’t forget to tell me what do you think and which one is your favorite album released in 1987!?

 


Great White – Once Bitten

great white save your loveOnce you hear the mesmerizing ballad “Save Your Love” or the hard-rocking opener “All Over Now”, you will understand why Great White’s junior album deserves a place in your collection. The album came out in the hot summer of 1987 and quickly made a fuss around the band, eventually reaching a platinum status just a year after its release. The highlight and the most-instantly recognizable song from the album has to be “Rock Me” – I bet you know it. “Once Bitten” is actually my favorite Great White album and this song is a pretty solid reason behind my choice.


TNT – Tell No Tales

tnt-tell-no-tales“Everyone’s a Star”, “10 000 Lovers (In One)”, “As Far as the Eye Can See”…and on and on. TNT’s junior album is one of the best releases of 1987 and no one can take that away from it. As biased as I am (obviously), you can’t actually deny the power of vocalist Tony Harnell or the brilliance of guitar player Ronni Le Tekrø who make the perfect dream team. I got “Tell no Tales” in a record store as a “blind purchase” and this turned out to be the best decision of my life!! There are still so many people out there who haven’t discovered the greatness of this band so I urge them to do it now!


Dokken – Back for the Attack

Dokken back for the attackDokken’s fourth studio release also happens to be their best-selling album of all time and certainly one of the most interesting and captivating hard rock gems of 1987. “Prisoner”, “Night by Night” and of course the legendary “Dream Warrior” – the theme song for the horror film “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” are just a few of the stunning rockers on “Back for the Attack”. Some critics and fans don’t consider this album as Dokken’s finest hour but then again I never actually cared about that. The album is full of jaw-dropping rockers and it deserves its place in my list.


White Lion – Pride

white-lion-prideWhite Lion’s sophomore album is an absolute classic and a musical piece that cannot really be described with words. Though my favorite White Lion album is “Mane Attraction”, “Pride” gets the honorable second place! “Wait” and “When the Children Cry” are the hits that came out of it, though I gotta go with “Hungry” as my favorite song from the album. Mike Tramp and Vito Bratta can craft some serious magic and this is one of their strongest products, for sure.


Strangeways – Native Sons

strangeways-native-sons“Native Sons” remains one of the forgotten and highly underrated representatives of the large AOR scene of the late ‘80s, despite the admirable qualities and superb songwriting it showcases. Thankfully, there are still people like me (and you) who know that picking up an apple from the top of the basket doesn’t mean that it’s the best apple of the bunch. “Native Sons” is a melodic bliss from start to finish. “Dance with Somebody”, “Only a Fool”, “So Far Away”…go check for yourself if you have never listened to these songs. Vocalist Terry Brock is one of the strongest voices of melodic rock and this is his finest hour.


McAuleySchenker Group – Perfect Timing

msg perfect timingA predictable choice, don’t you think? I mean of course I will include the debut album of the Michael Schenker and Robin McAuley, released in the fall of 1987. This project and this album represent one of my favorite collaborations in rock music. Those two were a match made in heaven and once you play songs like “Gimme More” or my personal favorite “Follow the Night” you will get what I’m saying. “Perfect Timing” deserves all the love and attention you have and I’m not “just saying it”. 


Treat – Dreamhunter

treat-dreamhunter-1987I’ve been introducing those amazing guys to fans who have a very little idea how much more there is to the world of AOR. “Dreamhunter” is the third studio album of Swedish rockers TREAT and it’s one of those underrated gems that should’ve been way bigger. It didn’t leave a big impact on the world of music but it left a tremendous impact on me and my little rocknroll heart. “Sole Survivor”, “Take Me on Your Wings” and “You’re The One I Want” are some of the stand outs from “Dreamhunter”, all impressing with great production value and brilliant melodies.There’s absolutely no way this album can’t win over any melodic/AOR fan.


Foreigner – Inside Information

inside information foreignerSometimes when we talk about the great Foreigner, this album gets left out of the conversation and I’m not quite sure why. I mean, yes – when you have enormous era-defining albums like “4” and “Agent Provocateur”, the follow-ups might get forgotten sometimes. In fact, though, (honesty hour) the sixth studio album of Foreigner – “Inside Information” might be my favorite release by Foreigner. “Say You Will”, “Can’t Wait” and the title songs are some of their greatest works, indeed. One more thing – it’s the last album to feature the 80’s core lineup of Gramm, Jones, Wills and Elliott, making it quite relevant.


REO Speedwagon – Life as we Know It

reo life as we know itHuge REO fan right here so no surprises that their 1987 album “Life as we Know It” is in my list of favorites. The twelfth studio album of the beloved band features some outstanding music, including “That Ain’t Love”, “New Way to Love” and “In My Dreams” – all beautifully written and highly pleasing tunes, solidifying REO Speedwagon’s position as melodic rock giants. Things after this release were never quite the same in terms of commercial performance and popularity and that could be traced back to the growing tensions between the members of the band; however we do have this fine piece of music and I’m so glad it saw the light.


Helix – Wild in the Streets

helix wild in the streetsHelix might as well be my favorite Canadian band so I just had to include their highly underrated sixth studio album “Wild in the Streets”. The beginning of their career was pretty strong but by the time this album was released, the fire was already fading out. The release is filled with memorable, close-to-my-heart rockers, including “She’s too Tough”, “Never Gonna Stop the Rock” and the gorgeous cover of Nazareth’s ballad “Dream On”. Never understood why this release wasn’t that big but that never prevented me from falling in love with it. 


Pink Floyd – A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Pink Floyd - A momentary lapse of reason front“A Momentary Lapse of Reason” is often misunderstood and extremely underrated record, despite magnificent songs such as “Learning to Fly”, “Sorrow” and “On The Turning Away”. I often clash with lack of objectivity when it comes to this album but then again, everyone has their own opinion and views. For me, the magic started when David Gilmour took over and released “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” and “The Division Bell” which instantly became my favorite PF albums. I love the classics and Roger Water is indeed a genius but this album right here is the PF release I connected with on a very personal level.


Tommy Shaw – Ambition

tommy shaw ambitionI wish more people would know of this album, because Tommy Shaw truly deserves it. His third solo release, “Ambition” is like a gentle autumn leaf touching your skin. Honestly, it was this beautiful piece of music right here that fully opened my eyes to his musical abilities. Not that I wasn’t appreciating him in Styx but I was always drawn to his melodic rock releases and especially this one. “No Such Thing”, “Dangerous Game” and of course – that magical cover of Survivor’s “Ever Since the World Begin” are offering a memorable experience that can make you a fan of Tommy in an instant.


Fleetwood Mac – Tango in the Night

fleetwood macFleetwood Mac forever blurred the lines between pop and rock in the ’70s with relevant releases like “Rumors”. Their style didn’t change that much in the ’80s as well. “Tango in the Night” is probably my favorite release by the legendary band and “Big Love”, “Seven Wonders” and “Little Lies” might make you agree with me. “Tango in the Night” is their 14th studio album (wow, you read right, don’t worry) and the last studio album from the band’s most successful line-up of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. This release certainly is more pop than rock but …it’s the late ’80s we are talking about after all! 


Whitesnake – 1987

Whitesnake WhitesnakeDo I actually have to introduce or talk about this album? I don’t think so, but here we go…

Whitesnake’s most essential and internationally recognized record till today remains their seventh self-titled studio album. Released back in 1987, “Whitesnake” turned into a major successful hit, producing timeless rock tunes like “Is This Love”, “Looking for Love” and “Still of the Night”. What made this album such an impressive masterpiece is the unique combination of classic solid rock and melodic rhythms. This all became true due to the great songwriting collaboration between singer David Coverdale and guitarist John Sykes. Melody, energy, passion and outstanding production are just some of the characteristics of the album that contributed to its phenomenal success.


Def Leppard – Hysteria

hysteria coverI saved the best (and my all time favorite album) for last. No need for me to tell you why this album is here and what it means to me because you probably know all about it. The monstrous game-changing and history-defining record turned into one of the highlights of the era, not only because of its production values, 7 hit singles and multi-platinum status, but also because it symbolized the strength of the human spirit and how with a little bit of faith and tons and tons of hard work, you can achieve anything. “Love Bites” is certainly my favorite song from “Hysteria”, though every second of it is like a heaven on Earth.


References:
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10 Forgotten but Deserving AOR Classics

Bands like Journey, Foreigner, Boston, ASIA, Survivor and many of similar nature were among the big names of the contemporary ‘80s rock music scene. Their radio-friendly, synthesizer-driven, rich in pop/rock hooks sound, guaranteed them a solid presence on the airwaves. By the late ‘70s things had already changed for the radio stations as their Album Oriented type of programming was drifting away from its original progressive roots. Program directors and music experts were carefully choosing a couple of songs from a particular rock album (not necessarily the released singles), possessing that “universal” and “commercial” appeal and consequently what we know as Album Oriented Rock format turned into a predominant new direction on the radio stations.

The above mentioned bands received a lot of airplay on AOR stations, mainly because of their well-established catchy hard rock formula for songwriting and music production. I personally don’t think people will ever forget ultimate classics like Foreigner’s “4” or Journey’s “Escape” which even nowadays can be heard all the time on rock radios from all over the world. However, the following albums and ultimately, bands, can’t really brag about that. For one reason or another, they couldn’t establish a solid name in the industry, despite their enormous talent and beautiful rock music. Most of them got lost in translation due to the rising popularity of grunge in the late ‘80s and the beginning of the ‘90s. Others were “one hit wonders” which people don’t think of that often, nowadays. Nevertheless, I really enjoy listening to the following albums and all of them, despite being somewhat forgotten and lost in time, will always be a part of my playlist. I hope I remind you of some or introduce you to an album or an artist you are not so familiar with! Cheers and let’s listen!

 To find out more about what exactly AOR is, read my full publication here:

What is AOR?


Strangeways – Walk In The Fire (1988)

strangeways-walk-in-the-fire-1988

The Scottish AOR/Melodic rock band, Strangeways debuted in 1984 with an impressive self-titled album, followed by an outstanding sophomore effort – “Native Sons”. Their third album, however, titled “Walk in the Fire” was the reason why I got to know them in the first place. I played the first track – “Where are they Now” and I was immediately captivated by the gorgeous melody and the superb killer-vocals of Terry Brock. Their Americanized sound can be characterized as mixture between Journey, Boston and Bad Company, but with a little something extra. Strageways’ third album which I am presenting to you right now showcases their musical growth and tons of variety, suitable for any rock fan out there (like me) who expects their rock albums to be served with a large dose of great melodies and blasting rock rhythms. In addition to “Where are they now”, some other highlights include the charming power ballad “Love Lies Dying” and the uplifting “Every Time You Cry”.
“Walk in the Fire” didn’t really achieve commercial success, despite its first class AOR qualities. The album, along with the band should’ve been so much bigger back in the day. Nevertheless, they are worth discovering. I can’t recommend this album enough.


Giant – Time to Burn (1992)

giant-time-to-burn-1992giant-time-to-burn-1992

Giant were another one of those immensely talented bands for which the timing just wasn’t right. During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, all the records companies and music media outlets were shifting their attention and re-adjusting their air time in favor of the newly emerging grunge craze. Giant simply couldn’t compete. Their debut album, “Last of the Runaways” (1989), was somewhat successful, probably due to the ultimate hit ballad, “I’ll See You In My Dreams” and the guitar-driven “I’m a Believer”. However, their sophomore effort – “Time to Burn” didn’t enjoy the same amount of attention and recognition, despite being (in my opinion) better than the debut one in many ways.

“Time to Burn” was released in 1992, which I consider as the last good year of rock music. The album consists of 12 AOR jewels, each better than the one before. It’s a killer collection of rockers, showcasing talent, passion and distinctive style. Giant were not an ordinary AOR band and this album can prove it. From the fiery opening track “Thunder and Lightning” to one of the most emotional power ballads of all time – “Lost in Paradise”, the whole album is one pure melodic heaven. Dann Huff is one of the most expressive vocalists of all time and I can listen to him sing songs like “I’ll be There (When it’s Over)”. Nothing more to say, except get a copy and dive into this AOR treasure!


Fair Warning – Fair Warning (1992)

fair-warning-1992

The German hard rock band Fair Warning debuted in 1992 (that magical year once again) with a beautiful self-titled AOR album. Despite achieving a moderate commercial success in Japan and some European countries, Fair Warning and the album itself didn’t really make a huge splash in the States, unfortunately.

I listened to the album a couple of months ago for the first time and it was love at first listen. So many intriguing things are happening on this album, I can’t believe people didn’t really pay much attention to it. Every song on “Fair Warning” is a glorious melodic rock anthem. My favorite one has to be the power ballad “Long Gone” which completely re-defined the concept of ballads for me. “Longing for Love”, “One Step Closer”, “Hang On” – all breathtaking AOR classics. If you are a fan of the genre, this is the right album for you. Listen from start to finish and there’s no way you’d be disappointed. Such passion, fuelling “Fair Warning” can rarely be observed.


Mark Free – Long Way from Home (1993)

mark-free-long-way-from-home-1993

Mark Free fronted a couple of glam/hard rock bands such as King Cobra and Single but in 1993, he took off on a journey of his own with an AOR solo debut, titled “Long Way from Home”. The album is the ultimate catch for any melodic rock fan out there. It’s filled with gorgeous vocal performances, impressive hooks and superb keyboard details. “Long Way from Home” offers a great selection of rockers, among which striking tunes like “Someday You’ll Come Running to Me”, “Stranger Among Us”, “State of Love” and “The Last Time” are standing out with breathtaking melodies and lyrics.

Overall, “Long Way from Home” is a bit softer and sweeter but definitely his best work as a performer and as a songwriter, that is in my opinion of course. By 1993, melodic rock was already dead and Mark Free couldn’t revive it with this AOR effort. However, the album is a true masterpiece and nothing can change that. It’s almost impossible to get your hands on a copy but if you do, don’t hesitate to get it!  


Autograph – Sign In Please (1984)

autograph-sign-in-please-1984

We all remember Autograph’s signature hit single, the irresistible “Turn up the Radio” which is in my opinion one of the most representative ‘80s rockers. However, there are a couple of other equally enjoyable melodic classics on “Sign in Please” which I believe are worthy of our attention. Night Teen & Non-Stop”, “Deep End”, “Thrill of Love”, “Girlfriends Boyfriend” – all fantastic melodic treasures. The lead singer Steve Plunkett is absolutely killing it on this record! If you are into AOR/melodic rock, you need to have some Autograph in your collection and in particular “Sign in Please” – there’s a lot of passion going on in that album and I can’t recommend it enough.

It’s such a pity that these hardworking LA guys couldn’t enjoy the success they deserved, despite working hard and possessing enormous talent.  I have always been somewhat drawn to Autograph due to their energetic appeal, passionate musicianship and that special “rawness”, which many ‘80s bands couldn’t keep.


Fortune – Fortune (1985)

fortune-fortune-1985

Another essential album to listen if you are into ‘80s AOR music. It took me a while to discover Fortune and their 1985 self-titled debut album, but at the end they found their way to my music library. “Fortune” is filled with melodic hooks and catchy lyrics, strictly following the ‘80s AOR formula. “Thrill of It All”, “Lonely Hunter” and the gorgeous ballad “Stacy” are just some of the well-polished and highly appealing rockers from the album.

“Fortune” is very Journey-reminiscent album but that’s not surprising at all. What’s surprising is that radio stations didn’t do much justice for this glorious melodic paradise. This ended up being their only release, unfortunately.


Giuffria – Giuffria (1984)

giuffria-giuffria-1984

American rock band Giuffria (named after the keyboardist Gregg Giuffria) debuted in 1984 with a self-titled album, peaking at #26 on the Billboard charts. The album remained their most successful release but that’s not something to be surprised at – the great Andy Johns, who worked with Free, Quiet Riot, Rod Stewart, Van Halen, Cinderella and many more co-produced “Giuffria”.
The highlight and the most commercially successful single from album is “Call to the Heart”. “Do Me Right”, “Dance” and “Lonely in Love” are some of the other appealing rockers on “Guifrria”. What I love about this album is that it’s very keyboard-driven and I am enjoying that forcefulness track after track. There are no surprises on the record because it once again follows the AOR formula that is designed to appeal to the mainstream audience. However, it’s still a charismatic, perfectly crafted melodic wonderland.

“Giuffria” is one of the most underrated AOR albums of the ‘80s and it makes me so mad because the radio stations should’ve made them kings! Nevertheless, the album will forever remain a must-have by fans who are crazy about everything that is AOR!


Signal – Loud & Clear (1989)

Mark Free once again makes a statement on my AOR list, but this time as the vocalist of Signal. Their 1989 debut album “Loud & Clear” should’ve gotten so much more than it actually did. Every time I think about this album I get so mad, I just want to go back in time and do everything I can to give it all it deserved! For one reason or another (I once again blame it on grunge, though), “Loud & Clear” couldn’t make a name for itself but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked! The album is filled with impressive AOR hooks, powerful riffs and outstanding vocal performances, guaranteeing a great mood. Where do I begin – “Arms of a Stranger”, “My Mistake”, “This Love This Time” – only a few of the deserving classics from “Loud & Clear”. You can find tons of quality rock music on this album.

signal-loud-clear-1989


Treat – Dreamhunter (1987)

treat-dreamhunter-1987

There’s just something special about Swedish rock bands and Treat are one of the bands that tells us why. Unfortunately, despite being so talented, they couldn’t become a household name in the 1980s melodic rock scene. There was another Swedish rock band that took all the glory but I won’t be talking about them right now.

Their third studio album, titled “Dreamhunter” is another example of how a perfect AOR album should sound like. However, there was also something quite different about Treat and this release in particular, I believe. It’s a bit heavier and definitely more intense but still capturing that AOR spirit with its smooth melodies and attractive vocals. “Sole Survivor”, “Take Me on Your Wings” and You’re The One I Want” are some of the stand outs from “Dreamhunter”, all impressing with great production value and brilliant melodies.There’s absolutely no way this album can’t win over any melodic/AOR fan.
“Dreamhunter” is very difficult to find but in case you come across it, don’t hesitate to buy it!


Harem Scarem – Harem Scarem (1991)

harem-scarem-debut

I almost forgot about the Canadian rockers Harem Scarem and their 1991 self-titled debut album, which according to many fans is one of the best AOR debuts of all time, despite its moderate success and little to no attention from the US music scene. Harem Scarem never actually broke into the mainstream audience, despite releasing some pretty decent AOR classics, including this album, of course.

“Harem Scarem” has no weak or filler song – each one is a potential radio hit. “Hard to Love”, “With a Little Love” and the gentle ballad “Honestly” are some of my favorite ones from the album. There’s just so much more than beautiful melodies and catchy rhythms. The album has depth and I believe it could easily be felt after just one listen. Don’t even get me started on how great Harry Hess sounds on this record. Overall, the pace is a bit faster and there’s more intensity, a bit metal-like even, but still, Harem Scarem are absolutely killing it with this AOR jewel.

 

 


P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

TOP 10 Rock Albums of 2016

top10mine

2016 was the year of the comebacks – some of them great, some of them not so great, but if we look at the big picture, this year definitely rocked pretty hard. Right from the very beginning, David Bowie’s “Blackstar” signaled the arrival of a strong rock&roll year. We lost David just a couple of days later, but we are beyond grateful for his last gift to us. January awarded us with Megadeth’s “Dystopia” and Dream Theater’s “The Astonishing”. After that, all hell broke loose – Elton John released “Wonderful Crazy Night”, Last In Line debuted with “Heavy Crown” and Iggy Pop came back with a new studio album – “Post Pop Depression”. The spring brought a lot of color and joy with the much anticipated releases of Cheap Trick with “Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello”, Sixx:A.M.‘s “Prayers for the Damned: Vol. 1”, Cyndi Lauper’s “Detour”, Eric Clapton’s “I Still Do” and many more. The summer of 2016 was hotter than ever thanks to Paul Simon, Roxette, Neil Young, Jeff Beck, Steve Vai, Heart and Steven Tyler. The last four months of 2016 were, in my opinion, the strongest in terms of rock releases. After 16 years, Kansas came back on the horizon with “The Prelude Implicit”. Along with them, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Barry Gibb, Leonard Cohen, Glenn Hughes, Bon Jovi, Sting, Simple Minds and of course, Metallica with “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct”, left quite the impression with their new albums. December gave us The Rolling Stone’s “Blue & Lonesome” –they surely know how to wrap things up with style.

Coming up with a “Top 10 Rock Albums of 2016” can be quite the formidable task. So many interesting things happened on the music scene this year and I think all of the above mentioned artists deserve a round of applause and our deep appreciation. Of course, the beauty of music is that it has something for everyone and this year there were plenty of releases with which I managed to establish a deep connection. The following 10 albums stood out to me for one reason or another and I truly believe they are among the greatest rock jewels 2016 spawned. I would like to say that this is a personal selection, driven by my taste in music. In case you haven’t listened to those albums yet, I strongly recommend you to do so! Here we go!


1. Kansas – The Prelude Implicit

kansas-the-prelude-implicit

The album that tops my list of favorite 2016 releases is Kansas’ long awaited comeback – “The Prelude Implicit”. Even before the album was officially out in September, I somehow sensed that I will fall in love with it. The elevating, colorful mixture of progressive and hard rock, along with the refreshing vocals of new singer Ronnie Platt created the perfect rock experience for me. David Ragsdale’s heated violin playing was the final element that sealed the deal. “The Prelude Implicit” is absolutely stunning – from the charming opening rocker “With this Heart” to the spectacular instrumental “Section 60”, the whole album just keeps on throwing one strong punch after another. “Camouflage” became my absolute favorite song from “The Prelude Implicit” and I am still waiting for a music video, actually. “Camouflage”, along with “Crowded Isolation” and the exciting hard rocker “Rhythm in the Spirit” are some of the highlights of the album. I can’t recommend this enough.

Read My Full Review Here : Kansas – “The Prelude Implicit” Album Review

My Copy of “The Prelude Implicit”

kansas


2. Glenn Hughes – Resonate

glenn-hughes-resonate-album-art

Number 2 on my list is Glenn Hughes’ powerful hard rock dynamite, titled “Resonate”. No words can describe the dangerous, electrifying and absolutely mind-blowing aura of the record. Glenn is one of a kind legend and this jaw-dropping album only solidifies his position as one of the best rockers out there. “Resonate” is no joke, it’s the ultimate galvanizing rock experience of 2016! Glenn hits hard right from the beginning with the aggressive “Heavy” and moves on to “My Town”, “Let It Shine” and “God of Money” – all explosive, guitar-driven tornadoes. “When I Fall” demonstrates the gentle side of the rock monster. Overall, if you want to get drunk on pure hard rock, this is the album for you. Glenn is still here, still relevant and still releasing incredible material. The youngsters need to take notes – “Resonate” is a great example of how real hard rock should sound like.

Read My Full Review Here : Glenn Hughes – “Resonate” Album Review


3. Eric Clapton – I Still Do

Eric Clapton - I Still Do (2016)

Legendary guitar hero Eric Clapton released his twenty-third solo album in May 2016 and as a long-time fan of him I just couldn’t be happier! For “I Still Do”, the king of blues recorded original songs, as well as cover versions of classics by artists such as Robert Johnson and Bob Dylan. Positively laidback, the album definitely grabs your attention with its bluesy easy-going and breezy aura that creates the perfect mood. The songs are rather homogeneous and once again perfectly aligned with Eric Clapton’s standards and practices of reviving and exploring old ways and meanings of music. The original composition “Spiral” is one of the highlights of the record, on which Clapton demonstrates how well he can improvise with a guitar and how effortlessly he can create something so fanciful and memorable. Robert Johnson’s “Stones in My Passway” and JJ Cale’s Somebody’s Knocking” showcase Clapton’s confidence when it comes to the blues. The genuine “I Still Do” reflects Eric’s current self-assured spirit – he wants to do music his own way and he couldn’t care less what everyone things about it. The album just goes beyond class – it’s everything I dreamed of.

Read My Full Review Here : Eric Clapton – “I Still Do” Album Review

Me With My Copy of “I Still Do”

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4. Last In Line – Heavy Crown

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Former members of DIO – drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain, guitarist Vivian Campbell, and keyboardist Claude Schnell, along with vocalist Andrew Freeman formed Last In Line in 2012, with their name, of course, coming from DIO’s 1984 album. Kicking off things as a mere tribute band, reminding fans of the glory days of DIO and explicitly focusing on the classic albums “Holy Diver”, “The Last in Line”, and “Sacred Heart”, the guys quickly stirred things up the excitement among the fans. It wasn’t long before they decided that it’s time they pave their own way with original compositions. “Heavy Crown” was released in February 2016 and it instantly captivated the audience, including myself. I am a huge fan of Vivian (because of Def Leppard, of course), so I was impatiently waiting to see how he will lead Last In Line into triumph, which he absolutely did with this unbelievably good old-school hard rock blast, titled “Heavy Crown”. “Starmaker” and “Devil In Me” are the instant attention-grabbers with their fiery tempos and of course, the soaring chants of Andrew, who is absolutely killing it on this record. “Burn This House Down”, “I Am Revolution” and “Blame It On Me” are a couple of others energizing metal explosions, completely overpowering every one of our senses. “Heavy Crown” follows the strong spirit of DIO but at the same time, goes beyond that, quite successfully if I may say. Moreover, this album gives us one more chance to experience the talents of Jimmy Bain, which in itself is a reason enough to put the record in my top 5.


5. The Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome

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Since I love the blues so much, including The Rolling Stones’ “Blue & Lonesome” on my list would come as no surprise. The rock&roll Gods came back with a phenomenal collection of spirited covers, bringing us back to the golden days of blues. “Blue & Lonesome” is Rolling Stones’ first album to feature exclusively cover songs. Among the twelve blues jewels, we get to listen to interpretations of forgotten but classic tracks by Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Buddy Johnson, Memphis Slim and other legendary bluesmen. Recorded within just a few days, with no preparation whatsoever, “Blue & Lonesome” is the perfect example of how The Rolling Stones can effortlessly craft some serious magic out of nowhere and still sound as confident as ever. Mick Jagger is absolutely killing it on songs like “Just Your Fool” (Buddy Johnson), “Little Rain” (Ewart G. Abner Jr. and Jimmy Reed), “All of Your Love” (Magic Sam) and the atmospheric title track “Blue & Lonesome” (Memphis Slim) – raw, brave and soulful, his vocal delivery is obviously reflecting his high level of satisfaction with this album. I am mind blown by the terrific guitar work of Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood and the drum beats of Charlie Watts. Also, my idol – Eric Clapton also appears on “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby”. “Blue & Lonesome” offers a galvanizing blues experience and I definitely recommend it.

Read My Full Review Here: The Rolling Stones – “Blue & Lonesome” Album Review


6. Cheap Trick – Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello

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In 2016, Cheap Trick were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, but that definitely didn’t mean they were done with rocking and rolling – on the contrary, their golden days are far from over. Their “Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello” simply proved that those guys have a lot more energy, talent and joy to spread to the world. Uplifting, spirited, charming and highly entertaining – the record was the perfect spring rock sonata. Cheap Trick are still rocking pretty hard and we can clearly see it in songs like “Heart on the Line”, “When I Wake Up Tomorrow”, “Blood Red Lips” and “Do You Believe Me?”. The band’s first release for the country giants Big Machine Records is also the first album without the presence of long-time drummer Bun E. Carlos. Nevertheless, this modern-day rock extravaganza is everything but boring. Guitarist Rick Nielsen is doing a superb job; I am absolutely in love with the catchy riffs on “Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello”. A well-deserving comeback by Cheap Trick, I recommend you guys to take a listen or two!


7. David Bowie – Blackstar

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David Bowie’s last album – “Blackstar” was released just a few days before we lost him. I still can’t believe this beautiful human being is not with us anymore, it was such a tragic loss for everyone. I am beyond grateful for “Blackstar” – the last chance to say goodbye and experience his magical voice and one of a kind musicianship. The value of the album lies in its aggressive experimentalism which for many people may be a bit difficult to absorb, but as a long-time fan of progressive/art rock, the anxiety of “Blackstar” perfectly matched my tastes. The twenty-fifth album of Bowie, produced by long-time collaborator and a friend, Tony Visconti, presents seven intriguing, devilish even compositions, each reminiscent of Bowie’s ‘70s glory days but still compiling tons of new and exciting elements. Songs like “Girl Loves Me”, “Lazarus” and “I Can’t Give Everything Away” are fuelled with pure drum’n’bas wickedness. David’s moody groans are the foundation of “Blackstar”. It’s so inspiring to hear him perform so bewitching given what his condition was at that time. Saxophonist Donny McCaslin is also bringing so much to the table. You will never ever hear anything like “Blackstar” again and for that it deserves to be listened and appreciated.


8. Heart – Beautiful Broken

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“I Jump” was my absolute favorite song of summer 2016! I couldn’t have my day going without listening to this glorious tune by the Wilson sisters. As a matter of fact, this song itself is one big part of the reason why this album is even in my top 10.
On “Beautiful Broken”, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson are simply offering an intriguing selection of seven re-imagined and re-recorded cherry picks from their early career, along with a few new exciting additions to their catalogue. Ann Wilson will always be one of my favorite female vocalists of all time and this record definitely proves that she still got it! Some highly appealing things are happening on this record, including the guest appearance of Metallica’s James Hetfield, whose roaring vocals work quite well with Ann’s soulful and clear singing. The heavy orchestral “I Jump” possesses that Led Zeppelin vibe, which is not surprising at all – the girls are often crediting Led Zeppelin as their biggest musical influence. “Two” and “Heaven” are a couple of other high points from “Beautiful Broken”. Many of the fans out there, including myself, are quite sentimental and prefer the original classics, however “Beautiful Broken” definitely deserves a chance – if not for the old-new songs, than for the three gorgeous new additions to their music library. Also, Ann’s voice is a reason enough to have this record!

Read My Full Review Here: Heart – “Beautiful Broken” Album Review


9. Metallica – Hardwired To Self-Destruct

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The mighty metal Gods survived through the long gap, after which the majority of rock acts would’ve been totally obliterated by the constantly changing music scene, and rose from the ashes with a smashing new heavy metal storm, titled “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct”. The expectations were high but they did deliver something quite satisfying so let’s give a round of applause to singer-guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich who co-wrote almost the entire set of throat-grabbing tunes.
“Hardwired…to Self-Destruct” is an epic double monster album, spitting 12 fiery tracks which run for almost 80 minutes! At first I thought that the record could be easy to inhale but once I heard the entire set, I realized that probably they should’ve just stopped after CD1 (which by the way is the reason why this album is in my top 10). “Dream No More” quickly became a personal favorite; I am enjoying this dark and highly-intense tune every time I play it. Some other memorable moments from “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct” include the opening track “Hardwired” and of course the surprisingly splendid tribute to Lemmy Kilmister, “Murder One”Metallica build up quite the excitement among fans, including me, so it’s natural to completely lose your mind over this album.

Read My Full Review Here: Metallica – “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” Album Review


10. Jeff Beck – Loud Hailer

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This summer, Jeff Beck surprised us with a brilliant 11th album, which completely blew me away. I must say, I was sceptical at first, but the album just grew on me with every listen. “Loud Hailer” is not your typical Jeff Beck record – it’s a completely different kind of monster. Then again, it would be foolish to expect him to do the same thing over and over again, so I am applauding him for this revolutionary work on “Loud Hailer”. Two immensely talented female musicians – vocalist Rosie Bones and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg are the reason why there’s so much color and intrigue on this record. Bones sings about apathy, greed, politics, media and a number of other issues, destroying our society. That’s one of the reason why it appealed to me that much. “Live in The Dark” is the highlight of “Loud Hailer”, at least to me. I am falling in love with the thrilling vocals and time-stopping rhythms over and over again every time I play it. The haunting instrumental “Pull It” is feeding my soul with so much power. “Shrine” wraps things up with a similar folk-blues vibe, which sends you to another dimension. “Loud Hailer” melts me with ever listen. I can’t recommend it enough.


The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
Cheers~

Congratulations to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2017 Inductees

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It’s official! Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Journey, YES, Electric Light Orchestra and Joan Baez are joining Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. Nile Rodgers from Chic will receive the Award for Musical Excellence.

The full list of nominees included Bad Brains, Chaka Khan, Chic, Depeche Mode, ELO, the J. Geils Band, Jane’s Addiction, Janet Jackson, Joan Baez, Joe Tex, Journey, Kraftwerk, MC5, Pearl Jam, Steppenwolf, the Cars, Zombies, Tupac Shakur and Yes.

Fans were once again involved in the decision by voting on Rock Hall’s official website. Their votes, along with the opinions of hundreds of notable critics, journalists, musicians, industry insiders and every living Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, finalized the class of 2017.
The induction ceremony will be held at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on April 7th, 2017. The event will also be aired on HBO in later months.
Last year, the inductees included Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, Steve Miller, Chicago and N.W.A.

My thoughts:

I am immensely satisfied with this year’s list of Rock Hall inductees. Journey’s induction was long overdue and the thought of seeing Steve Perry back on that stage with Neal Schon and the rest of the guys will definitely keep me warm for the upcoming winter. I was sure that either ELO or YES will be inducted, however to my surprise the Rock Hall decided to induct both of those progressive rock giants. If this is not a cause for celebration, I don’t know what is! I am very happy that one of the most important voices of folk music – Joan Baez, will also be given the recognition she deserves. Pearl Jam became eligible this year and immediately got in. I was expecting it, to be honest. The “controversial” inductee this year would be the deceased d Tupac Shakur. I have been following comments on social media since the release of the results and I have to say, fans are not satisfied. I can understand why Rock Hall decided to induct him, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right direction. With respect to him and his unquestionable legacy, I have to say that I am not entirely agreeing with this decision, nor am I mad about it. He deserves a special place in history of modern music, but Rock Hall is probably not where he belongs.

Meet the inductees:

JOURNEY

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One of the most beloved American bands – Journey are going to be inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in 2017. With more than 90 million records sold worldwide, 14 studio albums and 59 timeless hit singles, their induction is more than justified. Originally a progressive rock band, Journey rose to stardom in the late 70s and enjoyed commercial success throughout the ‘80s. With a change in musical direction and “the voice” himself – Steve Perry, fronting the band, Journey spawned some of the most groundbreaking staples of arena rock in the ‘80s, including “Don’t Stop Believin’”, “Separate Ways”, “Open Arms”, “Send Her My Love”, ”Faithfully” and many more.
Fans are waiting with anticipation to find out whether Steve Perry will join the band for the induction ceremony. If he does, that would be the highlight of the evening, I am sure.


YES

YES band 2

The progressive rock monsters, YES, are also among the members of “class of 2017 Rock Hall inductees”. Founded by Jon Anderson in the late 60s, this outstanding band, composed of classically trained musicians, created structured rock music that challenged the concept of progressive rock. From their debut album, released in 1969, fueled with brilliant harmonies and symphonic elements, to their pop-oriented musical style in the ‘80s with the album “90125”, YES sold more than 13 million copies in the USA alone, making them one of the best-selling progressive rock acts of all time. “Fragile” is often considered to be YES’ finest record. Released in 1971, the album became synonymous with YES and quickly turned into a commercial and critical success.

I am excited to see “Roundabout” materialize on the stage of Rock Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Fingers crossed that they will play it!


ELO

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One of my favorite bands of all time – Electric Light Orchestra, led by the musical genius Jeff Lynne himself, will also be joining the Rock Hall in 2017. Immensely uplifting, spirited, incorporating elements of modern rock, classical music, friendlier pop-sounds, piano, string instruments and keyboards, the music of ELO influenced generations of music lovers. Selling over 50 million records worldwide and releasing 50 hit singles, ELO truly deserved the recognition they are getting from the Rock Hall. “Eldorado” (1974) and “Time” (1981) are among the band’s most signature and influential concept releases. Timeless classics like “Evil Woman”, “Don’t Bring Me Down”, “Mr Blue Sky”, “Ticket to the Moon” and “Rock n’ Roll is King” will forever remain a staple of art/progressive rock.

They say that if The Beatles hadn’t broken up in the late 60s, this is what they would’ve sound in the 70s.


PEARL JAM

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Pearl Jam has to be one of the most representative grunge bands of all time, following Nirvana, of course. Armed with radio appeal and possessing that pure rock spirit, their commercial success was inevitable in the 90s. Their infamous 1991 album “Ten” sold over 13 million copies in the USA alone, making it a key player of the grunge movement. No wonder critics refer to them as one of the most popular American bands of the 1990s. Pearl Jam brought alternative music into the mainstream with commitment and a much desired freshness. Their stripped down, heavy approach to music laid the foundations of modern rock music.


JOAN BAEZ

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A songwriter, musician and most importantly, a social activist, Joan Baez is known for being one of the most essential key players of the counterculture in the ‘60s. Despite her folk roots, she has also been notable for playing country, pop and gospel music. Throughout her career, she has participated in many Civil Rights Movement demonstrations, performed and wrote songs about war, human rights, LGBT rights and many other social issues. Joan and her music have been an inspiration for many people all over the world who have been treated unjustly.

Her first three albums, Joan Baez, Joan Baez, Vol. 2, and Joan Baez in Concert are all critically acclaimed releases and widely beloved.


NILE RODGERS

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Chic’s Nile Rodgers is 2017 Rock Hall Musical Excellence award Inductee. One quick scan through his long and prolific career will give you an idea of why is he given this award. Challenging the boundaries of music by leading an original disco band whose members didn’t rely on synthesizers and machines, but rather on their own skills, Nile Rodgers quickly gained recognition for his artistic vision and creative approach to music.

He has worked as a producer, songwriter, composer, musician and guitarist with almost every artist in the industry – Madonna, Daft Punk, Duran Duran, David Bowie, INXS and countless more. His innovative musicianship and fearless production skills are finally getting the recognition they deserve.


TUPAC SHAKUR

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Tupac Shakur is famous for his hip hop music, fuelled with themes, dealing with racism, social injustice, violence and the hardships of life on the streets. His brave approach to lyricism got recognized by fans and critics all over the world, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. 2Pac’s double disc albums All Eyez on Me and his Greatest Hits are among the best-selling albums in the United States alone. On his first year of eligibility, he will be inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in April, 2017.


References:
Photos, taken from Rock Hall of Fame official website: http://rockhall.com/ and Google images.
Information, facts and sales numbers retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Want to Get Drunk on Progressive Rock? Listen to These 5 Albums:

One of my greatest musical passions is progressive rock. There is just something so magical and immensely captivating in mixing rock with elements of classical music, all wrapped up under layers of complex instrumentation, life-changing lyrics, intense experimentation and supreme technicality. Not to mention the groundbreaking album artworks those beautiful compositions come with. The origins of progressive rock are quite debatable – many people, including myself, believe that it all started in the late 60s as a logical advancement of psychedelic rock. It’s important to mention the significance of albums like “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles which is credited by many critics as the album where the idea of progressive rock began. It wasn’t until the ‘70s when prog rock found its way to the hearts of the general audience. Albums like “The Dark Side of the Moon” (1973) by Pink Floyd completely transformed the notion that this type of music is very difficult to enjoy. For the rest of the decade, prog rock was a predominant force on the worldwide music scene, especially among British audiences. Rock acts like YES, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Genesis, Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues, Frank Zappa and many more are notable names in the genre.

My gigantic adoration for progressive rock grew out of a couple of albums which till today remain my ultimate soul-feeding musical pieces. The following albums are definitely part of the list. Not only that, but each of them has its own unique place in the history of progressive rock and music in general. If you are not so familiar with the genre and are looking for the start, look no further – these five records are surely going to provide you with the ultimate progressive rock experience. Noticeably, I haven’t included the earth-shattering prog rock titles like “The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd because I wanted to demonstrate a little bit of variety and give the green light to other equally essential records. Also, Pink Floyd are a completely different monster.
Please enjoy my selection and I hope those albums can bring you at least a little bit of the comfort they bring me.


King Crimson – In The Court of the Crimson King (1969)

king-crimson-in-the-court-of-the-crimson-king-1969This might be a bit heavy for some listeners who are not accustomed to the sound of progressive rock but bottom line is – every conversation about progressive rock should begin and end with this album! Historically relevant, highly experimental, critically acclaimed and seen by many as the birthplace of progressive rock – meet King Crimson’s 1969 debut album “In The Court of Crimson King”. Personally, I see is as one of the most impactful forces in the history of rock in general. Where do we even begin with this album? Jazz, blues, classical influences, psychedelic rock elements, mind-blowing lyrics, questioning your entire existence. “In The Court of Crimson King” is THE progressive rock album! The monumental artwork is another reason behind the album’s significance – just look at it! That is how you will react when you listen to King Crimson for the first time!


Yes – Fragile (1971)

Yes - Fragile - Roger DeanIf you want to experience progressive rock at its fines, YES’ “Fragile” (1971) is another album you should devote your time to. “Roundabout” is YES’ ultimate classic and one of the reasons behind the commercialization of progressive rock. People were, and still are, simply in love with the elegant guitars of Steve Howe, accompanied by mindblowing organs, stunning keyboards, mind-altering drums and of course Jon Anderson’s a-list vocals. This whole record is a fantasy coming alive. It became a rock staple and influenced generations of musicians.


Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Brain Salad Surgery (1973)

emerson-lake-palmer-brain-salad-surgery-1973And ladies and gentleman the album that changed my life – Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s “Brain Salad Surgery” (1973). This record is like a door to a new colorful world, a world in which there are no limitations to what your body and soul can experience. I can’t even begin describing why this album is such a huge masterpiece. “Still. . . You Turn Me On”,“Toccata”,“Karn Evil 9” – all sending you on a mind-altering journey after which you feel like a different person. The trio is simply phenomenal – Keith is running through the keyboard with unimaginable precision; Carl is the king of the drums and Greg’s impactful but gentle vocal delivery is releasing you from every little trace of stress and negativity. That’s just how it affects me…


Jethro Tull – Thick as a Brick (1972)

jethro-tull-thick-as-a-brick-1972Jethro Tull’s “Thick as a Brick” is just one 44-minute song which really does it for me. Concept, parodies and tricks aside, I do really enjoy diving into the atmosphere of this musical treasure from time to time. You click on “play” and for the next 40 minutes you have the perfect background to your work. I feel like this type of music synchronizes quite well with your work tempo and gives you that extra push! (Or maybe It’s just me). It’s a beautiful piece of progressive rock and musically speaking it is the whole package, not to mention the dozens of instruments we get to enjoy throughout this tune – trumpet, saxophone, timpani, violin and so much more.


Rush – Moving Pictures (1981)

rush-moving-pictures-1981Another album you have to listen to if you are into “progressive rock mood” would be Rush’s “Moving Pictures” (1981). Both critically and commercially acclaimed this is one of the albums that truly deserve a spot on your shelf and in your heart. I included it as a part of my selection because despite coming out relatively late, compared to other progressive rock jewels, it did manage to leave a lasting trail of classic prog rockers and radio staplers. It’s a perfect combination between hard rock, adopting a lot of experimental techniques and state of the art technologies to craft the perfect sound. It’s accessible progressive rock at its finest; a natural evolution of a genre!


 

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

My Top 10 Rock Songs about “TIME”

You guys know that crafting playlists with songs addressing a specific theme or suitable for a particular occasion is one of my favorite things to do! It all goes back to my favorite past time when I was a little girl – recording music from the radio and making mixtapes for pretty much every possible mood or situation. Some things never change I guess…

These weeks I have been thinking about a very sensitive topic – time. Probably because I am at this point in my life where every second of my day is filled up with work and countless of projects and tasks but I seem to have been using the phrase “I don’t have time” way too often. That’s not how a person should live their lives – it’s not about having time, it’s about making time and being in control of your own day…and that’s something I lack. Maybe some of you, guys can understand me.

I don’t want to get philosophical and all but the concept of time can be pretty scary. The mere thought of this mysterious, life-eating master of our universe who dictates every step of our lives can make you shiver. We are so obsessed with checking our clocks and scheduling our lives second by second that sometimes I think we forgot how to stay “that’s it” and start using our limited time more wisely and happily. Time waits for no one – you can’t buy it with money and you can’t control it. The only thing you can do is learn how to make special, spend it with beautiful people, and fill it with love, smiles and joy. It may sound quite romantic and idealistic, but every second counts and every moment is precious – find the time to love, laugh and experience all the beautiful things live can offer you.

The concept of time is a very popular theme in all forms of art – poetry, painting and of course, music. Many brilliant musicians have dedicated a song or two to the idea of time and all of its encompassing notions, such as living for the moment; spending it with someone you love; choosing the right time to do something; how time changes everything; waiting no more or simply leaving it all in the hands of time and so many other related twists. Since this is a place where we celebrate rock music, I will naturally be focusing on rock acts, the way they interpreted time and incorporated it into their music. I have gathered 10 of my favorite songs, dealing with this subject, all performed by outstanding rock musicians who truly managed to deliver their message about time, each in its own  tasteful and special way. I do hope that those melodies and most importantly lyrics, will somehow remind you that even though we are here, on this planet, for a limited amount of time, we should find a way to fill it with what gives our souls wings to fly. Last, but not least, it’s a collection of incredible rockers which surely deserve your attention.

PLAYLIST:

THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT – “Time” (1980)
PINK FLOYD – “Time” (1973)
JOURNEY – “Precious Time” (1980)
CREAM – “Passing the Time” (1968)
ROXETTE – “Spending My Time” (1991)
CHICAGO – “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? “ (1969)
ASIA – “Only Time Will Tell” (1982)
BAD ENGLISH – “Time Stood Still” (1991)
ALICE COOPER – “Time to Kill” (1987)
RUSH – “Time Stand Still” (1987)


 

THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT – “Time” (1980)

Time
Flowing like a river
Time
Beckoning me
Who knows when we shall meet again
If ever
But time
Keeps flowing like a river
To the sea
Goodbye my love
Maybe for forever
Goodbye my love
The tide waits for me
Who knows when we shall meet again
If ever
But time
Keeps flowing like a river (on and on)
To the sea
To the sea


PINK FLOYD – “Time” (1973)

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death…


JOURNEY – “Precious Time” (1980)

How it rescued me, baby, baby it rescued me.
Oh, there’s a place in time not far from here,
A place we all could see;
So if you’re lookin’ for a better day,
Touch the sky and see.
Oh, precious time placed it’s hand on me;
Oh, precious time, how it rescued me.


CREAM – “Passing the Time” (1968)

Passing the time, everything fine.
Passing the time, drinking red wine.
Passing the time, everything fine.
Passing the time, wine and time rhyme.
Passing the time.
It is a long winter,
Away is the summer.
She waits for her traveller
So far from home.
She sits by the fireside,
The room is so warm.
There’s ice on the window,
She’s lonely alone…


ROXETTE – “Spending My Time” (1991)

I get up and make myself some coffee
I try to read a bit but the story’s too thin
Then I thank the Lord above
That you’re not there to see me
In this shape I’m in
Spending my time
Watching the days go by
Feeling so small
I stare at the wall
Hoping that you think of me too
I’m spending my time…


CHICAGO – “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?“ (1969)

As I was walking down the street one day
A man came up to me and asked me what the time was that was
on my watch, yeah
And I said
Does anybody really know what time it is
I don’t
Does anybody really care
care
If so I can’t imagine why
about time
We’ve all got time enough to cry…


ASIA – “Only Time Will Tell” (1982)

Now, sure as the sun will cross the sky
This lie is over
Lost, like the tears that used to tide me over
(Only time will tell)
One thing is sure
That time will tell
(Only time will tell)
If you were wrong
The brightest ring around the moon
Will darken when I die…


BAD ENGLISH – “Time Stood Still” (1991)

Time stood still
As we walked into the night together
The memory is locked in our hearts forever
It seems just like yesterday
Time stood still…


ALICE COOPER – “Time to Kill” (1987)

Well, I was born on a dead end street I’m cold blooded but I always felt the heat.
All my friend are dead and gone
If there’s a hell, I’m one step closer to it
Somewhere I crossed the line
Somewhere I’m lost in time
I lost my soul and now I’m losing my min
Time to kill
I’ve had enough of all your lies
I’ve only got time to kill
I’ve seen the fire in my eyes
I’ve only got time to kill…


RUSH – “Time Stand Still” (1987)

(Time stand still)
I’m not looking back
But I want to look around me now
(Time stand still)
See more of the people and the places that surround me now
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each sensation a little bit stronger
Experience slips away
Experience slips away…


 

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

The Sexiest Rock Mixtape You Will Ever Listen To

collage-sexy-rock-songs

Things are about to get pretty hot in here!

Nothing wrong with being a little suggestive and naughty from time to time! Rock&Roll has always been fun and sexy, after all! Many rock tunes are regarded as too provocative, getting out of hand and even a little bit sexist, but we have to understand that making love has always been and will always be an inseparable part of music.

I’ve always been somehow drawn to this direct, quite voluptuous side of rock&roll because let’s face it – it’s what makes things so much more interesting. I have created this playlist of 20 classic rock songs that are pretty spicy but definitely worth listening to. Whether its rhythm, lyrics or the overall atmosphere, each of these songs is about to make you sweat, I guarantee it! Also, if you and your significant other are in a good mood, this playlist can be a suitable companion for your special night.

I would also like to thank my Twitter friends who also participated in the creation of this playlist! You guys are awesome (you know who you are)!

 

Feel like making love?

 


The Doors – Light My Fire (1966)

Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar (1971)

Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love (1969)

AC/DC – The Jack (1976)

Bad Company – Feel Like Making Love (1975)

Montrose – Rock Candy (1973)

Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me (1987)

Scorpions – Rock You Like a Hurricane (1984)

Thunder – Dirty Love (1990)

Danger Danger – Naughty Naughty (1989)

Guns ‘N’ Roses – Rocket Queen (1987)

Winger – Seventeen (1988)

Kix – Midnight Dynamite (1985)

Great White – Baby’s on Fire (1989)

Firehouse – Hold Your Fire (1992)

38 Special – Rockin’ Into the Night (1980)

Aerosmith – Love in an Elevator (1994)

Def Leppard – All Night (1999)

Kiss – Uh! All Night (1985)

Van Halen – Hot For Teacher (1984)

Lynch Mob – Tangled in the Web (1992)


 

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

10 Classic Rock Records That Should Be Owned By Everyone

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Innovation, brilliant musicianship and timeless impact are the three criteria based on which I chose the following list of 10 albums I believe should be owned by absolutely every person who values and understands music. There are indeed SO MANY groundbreaking albums that re-defined history but then again, we have those 10 which I think went far beyond re-defining – they simply turned things upside down. The echoes of their strong collision with the music world were so loud we could still hear them every day. Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Eagles and Fleetwood Mac are among the artist the works of which I would like to draw your attention to. I am positively certain that my readers know and are already in possession of those record but in case you don’t own a copy, grab your things and rush to the nearest record store!

(P.S. I made this list based on my personal expertise and opinion. I realize that some of you may not agree, but I still think those 10 albums deserve to be on everyone’s record shelf)


The Beatles – Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

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I just had to kick things off with this groundbreaking masterpiece, because let’s face it – no other record can actually beatSgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” when it comes to influence, cutting-edge music and artistry. Beatles retired as a live band and focused entirely on writing new music and experimenting with latest techniques in the studio. In June 1967, the results were in. Beatles didn’t have to worry about playing this album live, so they could go in any direction they want – they had the absolute freedom to arrange and produce things the way they wanted them to be. On Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, each of the Beatles adopted a new imaginary persona, which made things so much more interesting. The album also marked the beginning of album-oriented rock. “Sgt. Pepper” is a concept album you just have to listen from start to finish in order to truly understand its beauty; the record is simply one 40-minute song, an entity, an exceptional musical monster. Not only that, but it was the psychedelic, highly experimental, ambiguous, quite surreal nature of the record that gave rise to art and progressive rock, as well. Let us not forget that “Sgt. Pepper” has one of the most original artworks which re-evaluated the importance of album covers for future releases. “A Day in the Life”, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “When I’m Sixty Four”, “Penny Lane” – songs that live forever.


Led Zeppelin – IV (1971)

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With masterpieces like “Stairway to Heaven”, “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll”, Led Zeppelin’s fourth album was destined for success. Surprisingly this album never actually topped the US charts, despite being in top 5 best-selling albums in the States of all time and being owned by pretty much every person who lived during the 70s. The organic and folky but quite atmospheric song “Stairway to Heaven” became the most requested song on a FM radio ever, breaking that 3 minute song barrier. It didn’t matter what the critics said about Zeppelin or this album – what mattered is that they made history.


David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)

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The absolute peak of David Bowie’s career has to be the adventurous concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”. For this album, the white duke adopted the persona of a Martian who comes to Earth liberate human kind. The album, along with David Bowie himself became synonymous with art rock, praising individualism, mysticism, theatrical performances and fashion. David was so ahead of his time – he simply offered a glimpse to another world, where you can be whoever you want to be.


Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

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“The Dark Side of the Moon” shook the grounds of progressive rock the moment it was released to the public. It was this album that forever shattered the notion that progressive rock couldn’t be enjoyed by everyone – Pink Floyd simply brought this style to the mainstream audience. “The Dark Side of the Moon” is not just your ordinary influential rock album of the 70s – it’s an absolute cultural landmark and a celebration of cutting edge techniques, keyboards, synthesizers, sounds effects and coherent musicianship. With its highly intellectual, avant-garde lyrics, the album explores themes such as time, money and the dark-sides of human nature. “The Dark Side of the Moon” spent 471 consecutive weeks on the Billboard album chart – an achievement no other album could ever surpass. Kudos to the brainchild of David Gilmour and Roger Waters!


Eagles – Hotel California (1976)

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Eagles are probably one of the most beloved American bands of all time – Americans wouldn’t trade them even for the Beatles. In 1976, they just blew off the roof with the concept album “Hotel California” which eventually became one of the best-selling albums of all time and one of the most critically acclaimed records of all time. “New Kid in Town”, “Life in the Fast Lane”, “Hotel California” – all brilliant rockers with an everlasting impact! The title tracks contains one of the most memorable guitar solos; lyrics-wise, it deals with topics still relevant nowadays – self-destruction, corruption, drugs and the greed in the music industry.


The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)

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Whether you like Beach Boys or not, you gotta respect them for their legacy and especially for “Pet Sounds” – one of the most influential albums of all time, loved by critics and fans from all over the world. Brian Wilson’s goal was to create “the greatest rock album ever made” – a powerful rock tornado with absolutely no weak points or filler songs. I am not sure we can refer to “Pet Sounds” as the greatest rock album but it’s definitely in the top 10. Brian Wilson adopted so many interesting, cutting-edge techniques and approaches for this album – from unusual instruments to sounds of dogs barking and bicycle bells; from complex symphonic arrangements to sophisticated vocal harmonies. No wonder “Pet Sounds” changed history – it offered the ultimate musical experience. Not to mention that, just like “Sgt. Pepper”, “Pet Sounds” was equally responsible for the development of art and progressive rock.


Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)

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Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” is essential for so many reasons. If, for a moment, we put aside the fact that it’s one of the BEST SELLING albums of all time and won a Grammy award for album of the year, “Rumours” was the album that forever blurred the lines between pop and rock. On top of that, “Rumours” was recorded when all members of the band were divorcing or breaking up with each other. There was no way a good album would come out of it. However, against all odds, their brutal frankness somehow stroke a chord with the audience and the album achieved something they never even hoped for – immortality. Candid, open-minded, emotional – I guess it’s true that the greatest masterpieces come out of pain, sorrow and heartbreak. Every song on this album, though it’s about sadness and break-up, is worth listening to.


Derek & The Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

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I don’t even know where to begin with when it comes to this album. Often considered as Eric Clapton’s greatest career achievement, the double album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs”, can’t stop captivating the audience with its emotional intensity and groundbreaking guitar work. Eric Clapton was simply giving it his all on this record. The inspiration 7-minute epic ballad title-song, “Layla”, has to be one of the highlights of the 70s and the ultimate staple of what a love song should sound like. The album is so much more than that though – “Bell Bottom Blues”, “I Am Yours”, “Anyday” – any song of the record offers comforting blues, solid rock&roll, raw guitars and a great mood.


Black Sabbath – Paranoid (1970)

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After careful consideration, I decided to wrap things up with Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”. When it comes to the origins of heavy metal, things might be a little bit blurred. The foundations of the genre were laid in time, with the contribution of so many bands, styles, approaches, etc. However, to me personally one of the first records that presented a clear-cut vision of what heavy metal should sound like was “Paranoid”. There’s no surprise that many critics refer to this album as “the birthplace of heavy metal”. The simplistic approach to music, heavy guitar hooks, gloomy lyrics, exploring dark subjects and of course – the loud and quite sharp vocal delivery of Ozzy, defined the sound and image of heavy metal.

How many of these records you guys own?


References:
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

10 Things You (Should) Know About YES

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Before we go to YES, do you know what is art rock or progressive rock?

Progressive rock emerged as a musical trend and evolved in the late 1960s and early 1970s, falling under the umbrella of the so called “art rock”. Art rock can be quite difficult to explain due to its complexity and numerous forms it can take, however simply put, it’s rock music that goes above and beyond. What I mean by that is that the style itself surpasses the norms of the ordinary hard rock as we all know it, by experimenting with instruments and various other elements, taken from other genres and forms of art, such as literature and theater. When we think of “art rock”, the first name that should come to our minds is definitely David Bowie – he revolutionized and popularized the concept of “art rock” with its music, looks and stage performances.

Now, let me get back to progressive rock. I couldn’t just jump in without saying a few words about art rock because progressive rock is often thought to be a subcategory of art rock. Briefly put, progressive rock is a sophisticated mixture of classical music elements; complex instrumentation;  supreme musical technicality; conceptualism; abstract and imaginative lyrics; heavy experimentation with sound and new technologies, such as keyboards and synthesizers; lengthy songs; visually stunning stage theatrics; and all that wrapped under beautifully drawn fancy cover album artworks that can make your imagination go wild. The roots of progressive rock are questionable but many people say that it all begun in the States with psychedelic bands, such as The Doors, before it moved to the UK, where it was mastered and transformed into a fully developed style and genre. Yes, it was once again the British who formulated and perfected it. It was only natural, giving in mind their rich traditions, refined literature and classical European music influence. One of the very first British bands to fully adopt the qualities of progressive rock were King Crimson in the late 1960s.

Progressive rock, however, fully developed and reached its commercial peaks in the 1970s. When we talk about progressive rock and the 70s, there are a few bands that should immediately appear in front of your eyes. Those bands are also often referred to as “The Big Four in Progressive Rock in the 1970s”. I’m talking about YES, Genesis, Pink Floyd and Emerson Lake & Palmer, of course!

Today I will specifically draw your attention to YES, because I think there are a few things that should be said and reminded about this outstanding band of classically trained musicians, creating structured rock music that simply sends us to another realm. Just like many other progressive rock bands, they moved on to more commercial, radio-friendly sound in the 80s which divides their career into two distinguishable periods. Maybe some of you know more about YES than me and it won’t be interesting to read those facts I’ve gathered for you but for those of you who want to know more about YES, here we go!


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  • YES is a British progressive rock band, founded in 1968 in London by singer Jon Anderson who previously played with other bands such as The Warriors and Gun. He briefly went solo before the fateful meeting with bassist/vocalist Chris Squire from the band the Syn. Both of them quickly bonded over similar interests and pursues in music and assembled a line-up, featuring Tony Kaye on keyboards, Peter Banks on guitar and Bill Bruford on drums.

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  • The name of the band “YES” came from their guitarist Peter Banks and was chosen due to being short, striking, straightforward and even a little sweet.
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The band’s logotype was designed by artist Roger Dean and used since 1972.

 

  • YES’ debut, self-titled album was released in July 1969. The record included cover versions of rock, folk and jazz acts, including The Byrds and The Beatles. The majority of original compositions on the record were written by Jon Anderson. “YES” received positive reviews and signaled the arrival of a strong progressive force, despite both released singles failing on the charts. The album displayed brilliant harmonies and a classical approach to music, all wrapped up in a rather futuristic, even space aura; it clearly established the grounds of the band which would later on develop into the YES as we know them.

  •  YES had numerous line-up changes throughout the years, mainly due to disagreements in the musical directions of the band. For instance, Tony Kaye (keyboards) was fired because he refused to play on newly emerged and electronically-heavy keyboards. Founder Jon Anderson left the band in 1980, only to join a couple of years later for their highly successful album “90125”. Co-founder Chris Squire also left the band in the early 80s but came back for “90125” as well. Frequent line-up changes and ups and downs within the band members often affected their consistency and focus of production.

  • Yes - Fragile - Roger Dean“Fragile” is often considered to be YES’ finest record. Released in 1971, the album became synonymous with YES and quickly turned into a commercial and critical success. “Fragile” was popularized by its album cover, crafted by Roger Dean and the single “Roundabout”, which became their most famous and well-known songs.

  • Artist Roger Dean is the man behind the infamous album artworks of YES. Their long collaboration started with “Fragile” and is still going on. His futuristic and highly imaginative, colorful pieces of art became a trademark for the band and an inseparable part of their progressive style. His mesmerizing landscapes, environments and creatures perfectly fit the band’s concept and contribute to the overall experience and even visualization of their music.

  • YES - 90125YES’ “90125” is their best-selling album up to date. Often referred to as one of the most successful comebacks in history, “90125” presented a new, more contemporary and radio-friendly YES sound that appealed to the majority of audiences. Many fans criticize them for shifting from the complex, classical music-inspired rock to simpler, rather mainstream pop/rock music. However, many others were celebrating the new YES, rising from the ashes of Cinema – a band formed after the disbandment of YES in 1981 and consisting of bassist Chris Squire, drummer Alan White, singer Trevor Rabin and former YES keyboardist Tony Kaye. On top of that Jon Anderson was also on board, resuming his duties as a vocalist. The album showcased a fresh, innovative mash-up of progressive, electronic and typical ‘80s hard rock sounds.

  • “Owner of a Lonely Heart” from “90125” is YES’ one and only song to ever top the charts. In addition to being their most instantly recognizable tune, the track turned into the ultimate cross-over hit and a staple of ‘80s AOR. The opening killer riffs of Trevor Rabin made the intro of “Owner of a Lonely Heart” one of the most memorable song intros of all time.

  • Keyboardist Geoff Downes, who previously formed The Buggles (“Video Killed The Radio Star”) joined YES for the “Drama” (1980) album. After that, along with Carl Palmer from ELP, John Wetton from King Crimson and fellow YES guitarist Steve Howe, he became a member of the supergroup ASIA. The band’s debut self-titled album turned into one of the best-selling and most popular records of the ‘80s. Geoff Downes would later on return to YES once again in their Fly from Here (2011) and Heaven & Earth (2014) albums.

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  • heaven-and-earth-yes-album-coverYES is one of the longest running progressive rock bands in the history of music. The band released 21 studio albums and 32 compilation albums during their career that begun in 1969 and is still continuing. YES’s latest record, titled “Heaven & Earth” was released in 2014 and is the final album to feature original member and co-founder of the band Chris Squire before he died in 2015.

References:
YES official Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_(band)
YES Biography: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/yes-mn0000685647/biography
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~