It’s December, it’s the end of the year, and to quote Bruce Buffer, it’s TIME! Time once again for you to have to suffer my opinion of this year’s music – it’s time for my top seven albums of 2015! And as usual, I’ll answer the “Why only seven?” question with the answer “Why not?”
It’s been a good year for music this year, and as such, I have a ton of honourable mentions for bands that didn’t make my top 7 list but still put out cracking albums – The Darkness, Clutch, Kid Rock, Motor Sister, Richards/Crane, Eclipse, Coheed & Cambria, Steve n’ Seagulls and The Answer. Go check them out too, you won’t be disappointed.
As ever with these things though, there’s only room for seven, and we’ll do this in the traditional reverse order of immense anticipation. I’ll just wait here while you secretly scroll to the bottom, see what’s there, tut in disagreement and then come back here.
Back? Good. Let’s get on with it!
The Book Of Souls
Iron Maiden are a curious beast. They manage to remain relevant and a juggernaut, but they also remain constant to their traditional “sound” and fans. This is a classic Dickinson style album, that sounds like it could have been the successor to No Prayer For The Dying. It’s easily the best album of Dickinson’s return and well worth your time, be you a new Maiden or old Maiden fan.
In another resurgence, or blast from the past, whatever you want to call it, here’s Def Leppard back from Vegas! This is a cracking, old school Leppard record. Big hooks, big choruses, big harmonies – if you wanted it from a Leppard record, it’s all in here. Who doesn’t love a bit of Leppard in their life?
Gun are perhaps the best kept secret on the live circuit at the moment. They’re regularly filling out their UK tours, and play the legendary Barrowlands on a regular basis these days. Don’t think it’s a nostalgia tour, their newer material is as good as their classic hits. Don’t miss out and dismiss this album!
Black Star Riders
The Killer Instinct
Black Star Riders second album is definitely a continuation of their evolving from an incarnation of Thin Lizzy. There’s Scott Gorham’s killer guitar lines in there, some good old double guitar licks and Ricky Warwick’s excellent vocals. It’s a great album in it’s own rights, and the little nods to the Lizzy heritage are always welcome.
Sweet & Lynch
Only To Rise
Take Matthew Sweet’s instantly recognisable voice, and add it to George Lynch’s guitar swagger, and this is the result. An incredible collaboration that gets in your head and stays there. This came out early in the year, and has remained on my rotation ever since. ‘Dying Rose’ is up there as one of my favourite tracks of the entire year.
Into The Wild Life
No bias here at all, honestly. Sure, Lzzy Hale is hotter than hell, and having met her this year, can attest to her being one of the nicest people in the world too, but this record stands on it’s own merits. It’s an evolution of a band growing into themselves, the riffs are a bit meatier, the hooks just a bit bigger and the vocals a bit more grandiose. It’s well worth your time, and not just a case of style over substance.
I’ll freely admit, I thought this day would never come; that Thunder would ever come close to topping the classic debut album ‘Backstreet Symphony’ – but Wonder Days is proof that I got it wrong. This is an immense album. It grabs you right from the first chord and it keeps you in it’s grasp. The band have never sounded as motivated, and Danny Bowes voice just gets smoother and better as the years pass. Go and get this if you don’t have it already.
So there you go. My pick for the best records this year. I’m sure a lot of you think I’m legally insane, and you may be right, but it’s not because of these records. Go and have a listen, you might just find something you like.
And that Thunder record is a killer, trust me.
Until next time… have fun, go mad.