27 February 2011

The 2010 Grampies

My favorite new release of 2010, hands-down, was my granddaughter Emma Alethea (6 April). Her parents are thus to be congratulated on having a top release two years in a row, since Emma's big sister Sarena shared that spotlight with their Aunt Katharina in 2009. Kudos to Sam & DoRena for such creative productivity, with my personal encouragement for many more good years to come.

Now, then, in my dear Emma’s honor, though following far behind her in my esteem, I here set forth a list of my favorite music albums of this past year. Of course these are matters of my personal opinions, which is obviously the point when it comes to the music that I listen to for fun.

I am especially grateful to MySpace and my local library, to Grooveshark, YouTube, Pandora, and even Amazon (not only for their listening samples, but for their marvelous used and new marketplace, and for their simple MP3 downloads), for enabling me to discover and enjoy new music, even without having to pay for it; else I would have no idea about many of the albums included on this last, and that would be a shame. It’s not the living bread and waters of the New Jerusalem, but the free part is comparable, and that much is rock solid awesome. A tip of the hat to Lala, also, gone but not forgotten. Alas, I loved thee well! Personal thanks to my number one music buddy, my son Zachary, who makes my enjoyment of music that much more interesting and invigorating.

I had hoped to give a fair and honest listen to a number of other albums which have been receiving praise from hither and yon, but, as my lovely lady LaRena has fairly pointed out, if an album hasn’t captured my attention on its own by now, it shouldn’t be a contender for this list.

The 2010 Grampies include only regular albums of new material released in the course of the year. No special editions or greatest hits collections. I've listed my top thirty favorite albums across all genres, as well as my top fifteen favorite albums in each of the five broad categories of music I tend to enjoy. Trying to identify albums according to this or that genre seems to have gotten harder in recent years, for me at any rate, but I’ve made such decisions as best I can.

Anyway, for what it's worth, here’s my list for the Year of Our Lord 2010. Comments from the peanut gallery are welcome, preferably polite.


COUNTRY (Traditional & Modern, whether Folk- Pop- or Rock-oriented)

1. Lady Antebellum - Need You Now

2. Jamey Johnson - The Guitar Song

3. James Otto - Shake What God Gave Ya

4. Zac Brown Band - You Get What You Give

5. The Band Perry - The Band Perry

6. Easton Corbin - Easton Corbin

7. Jason Aldean - My Kinda Party

8. Alan Jackson - Freight Train

9. Sarah Buxton - Sarah Buxton

10. Dierks Bentley - Up on the Ridge

11. Ray LaMontagne & Pariah Dogs - God Willin’ & Creek Don’t Rise

12. Secret Sisters - The Secret Sisters

13. Lee Brice - Love Like Crazy

14. Kenny Chesney - Hemingway’s Whiskey

15. Christian Kane - The House Rules

POP (Acoustic, Blues, Country, Folk, Rock, and Soul)

1. Sara Bareilles - Kaleidoscope Heart

2. Crystal Bowersox - Farmer’s Daughter

3. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More

4. Taylor Swift - Speak Now

5. Jaron & the Long Road to Love - Getting Dressed in the Dark

6. Plain White T’s - Wonders of the Younger

7. Sugarland - The Incredible Machine

8. Ryan Star - 11:59

9. Lee Ritenour - 6 String Theory

10. Eric Clapton - Clapton

11. Sheryl Crow - 100 Miles from Memphis

12. Imelda May - Mayhem

13. Ingram Hill - Look Your Best

14. Court Yard Hounds - Court Yard Hounds

15. Jewel - Sweet & Wild

ROCK & ROLL (Classic, Blues-Based, Garage-Band, Guitar-Driven & Retro)

1. Kid Rock - Born Free

2. The Gracious Few - The Gracious Few

3. Joe Bonamassa - Black Rock

4. Paul Gilbert - Fuzz Universe

5. The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang

6. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals - Grace Potter & the Nocturnals

7. Robert Plant - Band of Joy

8. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Mojo

9. Taddy Porter - Taddy Porter

10. Saint Jude - Diary of a Soul Fiend

11. Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown

12. The Doobie Brothers - World Gone Crazy

13. Black Country Communion - Black Country

14. Unruly Child - World’s Collide

15. First Signal - First Signal


1. Black Label Society - Order of the Black

2. Disturbed - Asylum

3. Avenged Sevenfold - Nightmare

4. Ozzy Osbourne - Scream

5. Alter Bridge - ABIII

6. Volbeat - Beyond Hell / Above Heaven

7. Bullet for My Valentine - Fever

8. We Are the Fallen - Tear the World Down

9. All That Remains - For We Are Many

10. Alice in Chains - Black Gives Way to Blue

11. Chiodos - Illuminaudio

12. Halford - Made of Metal

13. Stone Sour - Audio Secrecy

14. Firewind - Days of Defiance

15. Apocalyptica - 7th Symphony


1. Alkaline Trio - This Addiction

2. Belle & Sebastian - Write About Love

3. Day of Fire - Losing All

4. My Chemical Romance - Danger Days

5. The Black Keys - Brothers

6. John 5 - The Art of Malice

7. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

8. Against Me! - White Crosses

9. Goo Goo Dolls - Something for the Rest of Us

10. Framing Hanley - Promise to Burn

11. Valencia - Dancing with a Ghost

12. Neon Trees - Habits

13. Dommin - Love Is Gone

14. The Script - Science & Faith

15. Thriving Ivory - Through Yourself and Back Again

Of special distinction: The MVGs


1. Gus G (Ozzy, Firewind, and Rock House Method DVD)

2. Joe Bonamassa (Black Rock, and Black Country Communion)

3. Jeff Beck (Emotion & Commotion, and Les Paul Tribute)

4. Slash (the ubiquitous new poster boy for rock ‘n’ roll guitar)

5. Jimi Hendrix (seriously the best year he’s had in decades!)

6. Paul Gilbert (Fuzz Universe, and Shred Alert DVD)

7. Eric Clapton (Clapton, and Crossroads Guitar Festival)

8. Gary Hoey (Utopia, and Rock House Method DVD)

9. Jeff Loomis (Nevermore, and Rock House Method DVD)

10. Mark Tremonti (Altar Bridge: ABIII, and Live from Amsterdam)

11. Jack White (White Stripes, Dead Weather, and Raconteurs)

12. Keith Urban (Get Closer, and numerous magazine covers)

13. Zakk Wylde (The Order of the Black, and the new godfather of rock)

14. Steve Lukathar (All’s Well that Ends Well, and guest appearances)

15. Lee Ritenour (6 String Theory)

16. Ron Wood (I Feel Like Playing)

17. Joe Satriani (Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards)

18. Zac Brown (You Get What You Give, and various guest appearances)

19. Andy McKee (Joyland album and documentary)

20. Eric Johnson (Up Close)

And then some ‘dis-stink-shuns: (a.k.a.The Grumpies”)


-10. Lady Gaga

put some proper clothes on, and dress like a real lady, Lady

-9. Kate Perry

you, too, girlie; when I refer to “the bottom ten,” that’s not what I mean!

-8. Ke$ha

this spawn of Gaga is even more ghastly and ridiculous; give us a break

-7. The Black-Eyed Peas

wear whatever you want, people, but just go away, wherever

-6. Kanye West

even if he is the biggest, baddest, bestest twit in the entire music world

-5. Cee Lo Green

forget you, Cee Lo, and your vulgar display of profanity, too

-4. Miley Cyrus

does she sing anymore, or just pose and smile for the paparizzi?

-3. Britney Spears

hasn’t done anything worthwhile since that Pepsi commercial in the 90s

-2. Justin Bieber

nothing against him; just tired of seeing his picture and hearing about him

-1. Glee

same complaint as Justin Bieber, above, but multiplied exponentially

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