Top 10 albums of 2011

All right! All the entries are in and I have spent the better part of the last month going over all the rock albums of 2011 in an attempt to narrow down the 10 greatest. It was an amazingly tough feat as the last year was an amazing year for music as both old and new bands and artists have put some of the best work of their careers with nary a clunker  in sight, but I believe the following albums to be the best of the best!!!


For the past 30 years whitesnake has been like the grand central station of rock bands. More people have gone in and out of this band than any other band in rock with the only mainstay being legendary frontman David Coverdale. Over the past few years however the band has finally seen some stability at it’s core with he guitar duo of Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach boy have they really breathed new life the band. Starting with 2008’s “Good To Be Bad” and continuing on through “Forevermore” the pair have really taken things to knew levels and really compliment Coverdale who’s vocals are as great as ever!!


I have said it many time…. this band is the future. Since their debut in 2008 guitarist Robert Sall has proven himself a master song-smith and has written some truly incredible songs not just for “Work of Art”, but for many other artists and as great as their debut was their sophomore album “In Progress” is leaps and bounds better!! Great, catchy, melodic songs and some great vocals from singer Lars Safsund!!


Fergie Frederikson has had a rough couple of years first being diagnosed with cancer then the road to recovery, but with the grace of God he is back and healthy and with the help of some great songwriters such as the aforementioned Robert Sall and “Mr. Melody” himself Jim Peterik has released a truly great melodic masterpiece that features some of the best work of his career.


Two of the greatest voices in rock history have come together for the first time and the result is truly magnificent!! When I first heard of the pairing of Bobby Kimball (Toto) and Jimi Jamison (Survivor) I was met with conflicting feelings of Euphoria and apprehension. On the one hand we have to of the best voices in the business, but on the other I was not quite sure how their voices would mesh together and how cohesive the songs would be as none of them are songwriters. After one listen all of my fears were put to rest!! The tone of the album is similar to that of Fergie Frederkison’s “Happiness is the Road” as it featured the same songwriters such as Robert Sall and Jim Peterik, with the inclusion of some great tumes by Erik Martennson of Eclipse and Richard Page!


Now this is what a Hard Rock album is about people! Funky! Bluesy! Rockin and Rollin! After just one listen to Chickenfoot III all I have to say is that I don’t really give a shit if Van-Halen never makes another album again because no matter what (If Anything) they have in store it is not going to be anywhere near as good as this fucking album!! These guys are tight!! They are more than just band-mates,  they are friends that are having a great time and that definitely shows in the music!


Now this is the Night Ranger we have been waiting for for the last 23 years!!! Good old fashioned American Hard Rock with that West Coast twist!! With “Somewhere in California”, Night Ranger went back to their roots and the result it s a kick ass album that’s gonna rock your socks off! Easily their best album since 1988′s “Man In Motion”


Definitely the surprise of the Year!! What was originally planned as a new group  called “Strangers In The Night” featuring Schenker/ Pete Way/ Herman Rarebel / and Michael Voss  ended up as just a michael Schenker solo album. Still this album rocks like nobody’s business and show’s the guitar god pumping out his best work since the Robin McCauly days! Just when you thought Michael Schenker’s best work was behind him he releases a mind blowing rock album like “Temple of Rock” and cements his guitar god status!!


Mr. Big’s “What If” was the first major release of 2011 and it is a doozy.  Produced by Kevin “Caveman” Shirley”, “What If” is a huge rock album that offers a great mix of both modern and retro elements. A definite heavy modern rock feel, but never looses that classic Mr. Big sound and feel. Considering how many years its been since these guys have played together it is amazing they are still so tight, like a well oiled machine.




OK… now this is very hard for me, but I had to be fair and this is how it goes down.





There are not many things that get me excited anymore, but a new Journey album is one of them, and it was a very special feeling waking up and running to the record store right away to pick up the latest album by my favorite band. Of all the bands and artists in the world their music speaks to me the most, so when a new Journey album comes out it is a very big deal. They are the best they are at what they do and what they do is make some damn great rock music.

With “Eclipse” the band are sending out a message. A message of how they see the world and how we can make it a better place. It is by no means a political statement, just a mere observation. It is also a musical “Journey” from beginning to end and features some of  the best work of their entire catalogue . This is a huge rock album and Neal Schon shines all the way through. He has without a doubt the most distinctive sounding guitar tone in all of rock and he plays like a god dam demon all over this album!

One thing about Journey is that they are never stagnant. They are always moving forward and no two Journey albums are the same. The band is constantly evolving and with “Eclipse” it seems they have reached the true peak of their creative talents!!




and the moment of truth…. The Winner Is!!





OK… In actuality this album is not any better than Journey’s “Eclipse”… so why did I give it the number 1 spot over my favorite band of all time? For the mere fact that a couple relative new comers came in and stood toe to toe with the best in the world that’s why!!

This is the debut solo album from Pride of Lions vocalist Toby Hitchcock and is an amazing album filled with melodies and hooks and harmonies and everything a fan of melodic rock can ask for!! This is the first time we get to hear him take on songs from a songwriter other than Jim Peterik and I was very curious to see how he would handle it.

Even though the album is technically classified as a Toby Hitchcock album, the cover should really read Hitchcock / Martensson, as Erik Martensson is the real mastermind of this album. Not only did he both write and produce it, but he plays all of the damn instruments on it!!

With his first solo album Toby Hitchcock has indeed proved that he can make a life for himself out side the confines of Pride Of Lions, thanks mostly in part to the talents of Mr. Erik Martensson who is responsible for the great songs and production, but credit must also go to Toby himself for giving the vocal performance of his already impressive career!

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