What does it say about the two founding members of Biff Bam Pop when their Top 5 lists are so different from one another? Simply, that diversity is a way of life and music. No doubt there’s something for everyone on both of our lists, so search through and find some music that speaks to you. Now, on to my Top 5 list.
5) The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
Here’s a band that combines punkish vocals, 80’s rock guitar solos, and Springsteen-esque delivery to form what many are calling the best band in America right now. Stay Positive from The Hold Steady is anthemic, clever, and chock full of hooks that sink in immediately and leave you pushing replay once the album is done.
Listen to Sequestered In Memphis from The Hold Steady’s Stay Positive.
4) The Killers – Day & Age
What’s the sign of a good album? When you come to the end of it, you immediately want to hear it again. That’s how it was for me and the third studio album from The Killers. While “Human” may be the hit, it’s not representative of the album. For that, you’ve got to check out the Bowie-esque opening track “Losing Touch”.
Listen to Losing Touch from The Killers Day & Age.
3) Brian Wilson – That Lucky Old Sun
A concept album about California from the man who literally invented the sound of the state. Coming off the critical and commercial success of 2004’s SMiLE, few expected Brian Wilson to deliver anything that could compare. But working with longtime bandmate Scott Bennett, the former Beach Boy crafted a 35 minute song suite that’s arguably the best new work he’s done in 30 years.
Listen to Going Home/Southern California from Brian Wilson’s That Lucky Old Sun.
2) Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs
Considering the fact that I’m a late-comer to Death Cab, a year ago I would have been surprised to find their name on any Top 5 list from me. But Narrow Stairs is a great album, full of songs that get under your skin and stay there, none more so than the slow build and awesome release from “I Will Possess Your Heart”. Don’t listen to the edited version though – you’d be missing out on the foreplay.
Listen to I Will Possess Your Heart from Death Cab For Cutie’s Narrow Stairs.
1) Chinese Democracy – Guns N Roses
Forget the long wait. Forget the drama. Just listen to the music. This is a masterpiece of huge hooks, introspective lyrics, and limitless production. While Axl Rose may be the only holdover from the original GnR line-up, make no mistake that this is a band recording, with stellar guitar work from the man they call Buckethead. Want a power ballad? Check out “Street Of Dreams”. In need of an epic? “There Was A Time” is up your alley. Want a rocker to kick your ass? The title track is there waiting. Chinese Democracy is an amazing achievement, and one that reveals its riches with every subsequent listen.
Listen to There Was A Time from Guns N Roses Chinese Democracy.
Andy B’s other notable albums from 2008:
TV On The Radio – Dear Science
Bob Dylan – Tell-Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Volume 8
Metallica – Death Magnetic
The B-52s – Funhouse
Panic At The Disco – Pretty.Odd.
Girl Talk – Feed The Animals
Coldplay – Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends
Wolf Parade – At Mount Zoomer