1. Let the World Turn, by Death
Don't let the name of the band fool you. Despite the reaction the name might invoke, this band is not loud scary growling metal. In fact, they were the first punk rock band back in 1971. This track in particular has many elements that would become more explored and prevalent by later bands of the genre. However, the mood and tone of the song shift quite drastically multiple times. It goes from soft ambient, and borderline psychedelic to loud speedy punk and back again a few times. It's quite enjoyable for both its major elements and the fact that you don't know what will happen next.
2. Highway to Hell, by AC/DC
Since hard rock staple AC/DC just performed this classic of theirs at the Grammys, I figured I'd include it in the list this week. Sadly many of the kids watching were probably confused by them because they actually play their own instruments rather than have a studio engineer program everything into a computer for them. All that aside however, it is a fantastic tune and one of the last of AC/DC's well known catalog originally done with original lead singer Bon Scott before his untimely passing in 1980.
3. Mr. Blue Sky, by Electric Light Orchestra
Another tune and band that played at the Grammys this year. Seems that this year's show wasn't bad completely. With winter being half over and the sun being a rare occurrence these days, who couldn't use a little bit of blue sky to brighten up their lives? Despite the fact the song is about 40 years old it is still as delightful and relevant now as it was in the time it was originally written and released to the public in. I cannot recommend this playful upbeat jaunt through the sunshine enough to anyone with seasonal affective disorder.
4. Open My Eyes, by Rival Sons
Unfortunately this is a track and band that got looked over this year. It opens with drums that rumble and lumber in a John Bonham-esque fashion for a good few measures and is then joined by the thickest, fattest sounding guitar riff I've heard in quite some time. However despite the prowess of the rest of the musicians in the band, the real soul comes from the vocals that absolutely howl at the moon. If I had to describe the whole song in one word, it would be "powerful". No posing or studio magic here, kids. This is the real deal.
5. Smoke on the Water, by Deep Purple
Nothing says rock n' roll quite like the single most overplayed guitar riff of all time, right? Most of the time however, those who try to play this iconic Ritchie Blackmore riff do it the wrong way. This song has become a classic for a reason, though. Everyone in the band seems to strut their stuff quite well while keeping everything cohesive. It is a song of multiple layers and it just wouldn't quite work out as well without each of the essential elements.