I used to look with disdain on those music fans who dismissed new music out of hand, preferring instead to keep listening to the same old bands they grew up listening to when they were teenagers. But looking back at the albums that caught my ear in 2008, I find a sizeable portion of the artists responsible for them have been around for at least a couple of decades. There’s still a few newer bands on here so I guess I can pretend I’m not getting old a little bit longer, but I’m afraid the writing is on the wall. Anyway, here’s my picks for the best rock and/or roll music released in 2008.
10. Judas Priest – ‘Nostradamus’
This 2 disc rock opera is way too long and bombastic for its own good, but if you could cut it down to about 50 minutes you’d have a killer Priest album.
9. Alice Cooper – ‘Along Came A Spider’
I still don’t care for the slick production, but the songs are classic Cooper and the album has kind of grown on me.
8. Tarja Turunen –‘My Winter Storm’
The former Nightwish vocalist’s solo debut is too long and a bit heavy on the slow numbers, and the less said about her cover of Alice Cooper’s “Poison” the better. Still, there’s enough killer tunes on here to keep me coming back.
7. The Drive By Truckers – ‘Brighter Than Creation’s Dark’
This band has been around for a while, but this is the first album of theirs I listened to. Maybe I better do some catching up, because this is some pretty good country rock.
6. The Raconteurs – ‘Consolers of the Lonely’
This may be a new band, but the music would sound right at home on classic rock radio. Hard hitting bluesy rock done right, courtesy of Jack White (The White Stripes), Brendan Benson, and two members of The Greenhornes.
5. TV on the Radio – ‘Dear Science’
After their somewhat disappointing sophomore album, TV on the Radio gets back on track with this collection of experimental yet catchy numbers.
4. Portishead – ‘Third’
They may take forever to make an album, but at least when they do it’s a good one.
3. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – ‘Dig Lazarus Dig’
The New Zealand singer/songwriter and his band seem to have been energized by their one-off album as Grinderman. Cave writes some great lyrics to complement the deceptively simple song structures laid down by his band. The result is a top notch album of compellingly gloomy rock.
2. Metallica – ‘Death Magnetic’
These guys recovered from the death of founding member Cliff Burton to reach even greater success with ‘…And Justice For All’ and the self-titled “Black album”. Then they seemed to get lost for about 15 years. ‘Death Magnetic’ marks a welcome return to form, and this video for “All Nightmare Long” is pretty cool in its own right.
1. Volbeat – ‘Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil’
Technically this is a 2007 release, but it didn’t get released in America until 2008. The band has already followed it up with an even better album that is currently available as an import only.