11) Anais Mitchel “Young Man in America”
I feel like I’ve followed her from the beginning having seen her at the Ryan lounge in my old college; the same lounge where I would listen to Jimmy Buffet and stare at the sailboats waiting for my next class.
12) Bruce Springsteen “Wrecking Ball”
Every year I have at least one album that agrees with the Rolling Stones list. I’m not sure Bruce could release an album that wouldn’t be on both of our lists.
13) Kamelot “Silverthorn”
This album brought back my love for Kamelot after “Poetry for the Poisoned” failed to win me over. Of all the songs I chose to play, “Song for Jolee” was the most difficult to pick out. The melody was all over the place, often over a single chord. I ended up simplifying things a lot.
14) Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody “Ascending to Infinity”
I won’t pretend I can tell the difference between Luca’s Rhapsody and Rhapsody of Fire. Both are full of songs about swords and dragons sung by a guy with a Scandinavian accent. This album sounds like that.
15) Antje Duvekot “New Siberia”
After 3 quality studio albums Antje should get out of the church halls and into the stadiums.
16) Brentalfloss “Bits of Me”
I discovered Brentalfloss from the podcast “My Brother, My Brother and Me”. Someone needs to compile a list of comedy albums I would like since I’m sure there are many more hidden away like this one.
17) Girlyman “Supernova”
Girlyman as a trio had a magic formula producing great studio albums and smile-inducing live shows. I recall sitting on a plane from Minnesota to Boston a few years back with a growing headache. I put on their first album “Remember Who I Am” and the pristine harmonies escorted my headache through first class, out the door, and down to probably Ohio. The new album would have made that headache worse. That sounds like a scathing review, and it shouldn’t be. The Between the Buried & Me album would also worsen a growing headache and it earned a higher position on this list. I’ll explain.
The issue is with the drums, the 4th Girlyman. A fine drummer, I’m sure, but it changes the once perfect formula for the worst. And while the drums could have been mixed low in the background, they’re front and center and often overpower a song. While that’s fine for Arena Rock, this is acoustic folk. The album starts with a very pleasant 2 seconds of “Nothing Left” until the snare drum kicks in. THRAWPPT!! Was that a gun shot? Did Batman enter? No, it’s an over-mixed snare. I can only imagine that a drunken and senile Christopher Walken kept walking in and complained of a fever that could only be cured with more snare drum.
18) Lyle Lovett “Release Me”
It’s hard to top Natural Forces, but this is a solid release. Throwaway songs from Lyle are better than the best material from most. I understand there’s some spite expressed on this album towards his now former record label. We all benefit from the output (well, maybe not the record label, anymore).
19) Rush “Clockwork Angels”
Rush can basically do whatever they want now. With 40+ years of material they can fill a concert with mainly songs from the synth-heavy 80s period. Nothing will top their prog days for me, but no other classic prog band from the 70s is still putting out quality stuff.
20) Newsies “Official Broadway Soundtrack”
I have a cousin and wife that were a bit obsessed with this when the movie came out in the 90s. I never really gave it much of a chance and considered the music a bit of a novelty. I figured the obsession geared more towards a cute and pre-angry Christian Bale rather than a stand-alone soundtrack. I wanted to give the music a fresh try with this new recording. It made the coveted #20 spot so it was worth it.
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