2014 is coming to an end. Know what that means? Time for a top 10 list of the best albums of the year! I have decided to spread the list through the week and only including two or three albums in the order in which I'm ranking them each day. Yesterday I got the ball rolling and went into a bit of detail about what numbers 9 and 10 are. Today I'll be talking about 8, 7, and 6. To see what I ranked as numbers 9 and 10 yesterday, click here.
8. Sonic Highways, by The Foo Fighters
Dave Grohl has once again brought raw meaningful rock n' roll to the mainstream with The Foo Fighters' latest release Sonic Highways. Anyone who has followed the band for some time will not be too surprised by the nature of this album's content, but in a way that is not necessarily a bad thing. It blends balls to the wall riffs and raw vocals with pure heartfelt moments and pleasant melodies. At one point in the song Something From Nothing there is even a tribute to the late metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio where the main riff from Holy Diver is played briefly.
In all honesty, this is a pretty solid effort from Grohl. I'm more of a fan of the earlier Foo's stuff but the beauty of this band is that they evolve and adapt over time while still being true to themselves and the messages that they try to get across to the world. It's better this way because nobody wants the same album over and over again. Not every band can get away with stuff like that the way that AC/DC can.
7. Red Dragon Cartel, by Red Dragon Cartel
If you were a fan of Ozzy Osbourne in the mid 80's, then chances are you knew who Jake E. Lee is. After nearly two and a half decades of virtual silence (except a few tribute records here and there throughout the years) Osbourne's former guitarist has burst back onto the heavy metal scene in a humongous way, with his playing chops still as solid and flashy as ever. For this endeavor Lee put together an entirely new band with mostly unknown musicians who despite this fact are by no means slouches.
In his new band's debut, Lee shows that he is not stuck in the 80's like many other musicians of his generation. He features many of his more modern influences while at other points tearing it up old school style for his older fans. The songs on Red Dragon Cartel do show that Lee meant for himself to be the centerpiece, or main focal point if you will. It is his project after all so that is to be expected. Everything still comes together very nicely, though. It is some solid heavy metal and a great way for Lee to make his return. To add even more incentive, Red Dragon Cartel also features guest spots by Robin Zander, Paul Di'Anno, Maria Brink, Sass Jordan, Rex Brown, Scott Reeder, Todd Kerns, Brent Fitz, and Jeremy Spencer.
6. Get Right, by The Soft White Sixties
Now I understand most of you probably have not heard of this group yet, but that is perfectly understandable. Unlike the impression their name may give, The Soft White Sixties are anything but soft. They are a newer band that have been building up a bit of momentum in the past year or two. Get Right is their first full length release and it is really something else. It's a unique blend of classic rock and modern pop. You wouldn't think that such a blend would work out particularly well, but believe me when I say that it does. It makes two genres that would normally be on opposing sides in their fandoms accessible to one another. In their live performances they are so full of life and energy that it's hard not to have a good time.
The music on Get Right is reflective of those shows by being really energetic, melodic, and creative. The blend of guitar and keys is impeccable, considering it's one guy (Aaron Eisenberg) doing both of them at the same time (at least live anyway). A lot of the music has a really sweet groove to it that makes it easy for anyone to dance to. The cherry on the sundae however is the vocals. You can tell that vocalist Octavio Genera could get away with doing straight pop if he wanted to but instead brings that same talent and energy to rock instead. Look up this album. You won't regret it.