Pdawgg make his first contribution to Biff Bam Pop! with his Top 5 of 2008. Welcome to the show, Pdawgg!
5. Ryan Adams and The Cardinals – Cardinology
Has anyone released more good music in the last eight years than Ryan Adams? The most prolific songwriter of our time returns in 2008 with another gem that is on just about every “Best of” list for 2008. Ryan is either hitting his stride with his 6th album in three years with his band the Cardinals, or, as has been the case with him in the past, he’s ready to implode and take his career in a new direction. Time will tell. But until then, do yourself a favor and give any one of his 11 albums a listen…you won’t be sorry.
4. John Mellencamp – Life, Death, Love and Freedom
The most honest record of the year. The live show I saw didn’t do some of these dark, introspective tracks justice. T Bone Burnett adds his touch as producer on this excellent album that sees Mellencamp deliver his most complete collection since 1991’s Whenever We Wanted.
2 (tie). Guns n Roses – Chinese Democracy
The most highly anticipated album of 1993 becomes the most schizophrenic project of 2008. To my ears, the album sounds like an encapsulation of the last 15 years of popular music. At times this album irritates me (see vocal intro to Scraped and Axl’s tendency to go to full screech in the first few bars or every song). However, there are other moments that are amongst the best in recent memory. Chinese Democracy, Shackler’s Revenge, Better and I.R.S. are powerhouse rock songs for new and old fans to enjoy while Street of Dreams and Catcher In the Rye are the blueprint for the modern power ballad. The production on this album is incredible considering how many studios, musicians, producers, engineers and time it took to put this album together. Cut three tracks and this would be #1.
2. (tie) Metallica – Death Magnetic
Fast, aggressive, in your face and filled with one bone-crunching riff after another. It’s as if the band went back in time to make the album that should have come out after …And Justice For All. The production and mixing of the CD are off (everything is turned to 10 so there are no dynamics to be found between the instruments and vocals) otherwise this would be #2 all on its own.
1. Butch Walker – Sycamore Meadows
You’ve probably never heard of Butch Walker, but my guess is you’ve probably heard some of his work. For years, Walker has written songs and produced tracks for some of the biggest names in the business including Pink, Fall Out Boy, All American Rejects, Simple Plan, Hot Hot Heat and Avril Lavigne. After losing every one of his possessions, including the master recordings of every song he ever recorded or produced in the California wildfires of 2007, Walker delivers Sycamore Meadows – a tribute to the street he once lived on. For fans of old school Tom Petty, Springsteen, Bon Jovi or John Mellencamp, this album is for you. Great melodies, colorful story telling, and an honest vibe that only a 37-year-old veteran of the record industry and the California music scene could deliver. I will be enjoying this one well in to 2009.