Thursday, December 20, 2018

Year In Review 2018 - Top Ten Albums Part 3 (5-1)

Another great year is finishing up for @RockBodElec and we wouldn't be a proper music site if we didn't end the year with a "Best Of" list, so RtBE Presents the Best of 2017 Top Ten Albums numbers 5-1:

In the instance that RtBE has reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else we will link to that review and just give a quick summation; click on the name and title and you can read our full opinion. RtBE worked with the Glide Team to give input on their Top 20 so you can expect some overlap if you already have seen that list.

Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen all the way through. We know these are a dying breed, but it still is the way we consume music, no shuffle or singles for us.

Today we end our top ten, in retrospect it was a year deep with excellent releases but perhaps not an all-time classic which will be remember as a great 10 years form now. That said all of these albums are better then our top 10 last year and probably the year before that. Click that Read More button to see what albums we liked the best in 2018.

#5 Ty Segall - Freedom's Goblin
What a blast of energy this album is. Segall is unstoppable with album releases and this one is his most wide ranging of his career and almost all songs are winners on their own (including the killer "Every 1's A Winner" cover. Segall was in a very happy place and it is palpable on the songs, even the metal and punk noise blasts. As an overall album it is hard to swallow all at one siting but the individual songs are all too good to ignore. This one also grew on us the more it spun, from his "Fanny Dog" opener to his Zappa like closer "And, Goodnight" there isn't a clunker in the bunch, quite impressive.


#4 Screaming Females - All At Once
So cool to hear the Females still evolving and still making great records. This one wasn't nearly as instantly fulfilling as Rose Mountain, but like Freedom's Goblin it has grown the more time spent with it. Marissa Mike and Jared are a hell of a trio and All At Once continues their wining ways. RtBE have been huge fans of the band since the first time we caught them live in 2009 and have written about them a ton and wrote a lot more about this record so dig that and listen to "Bird in Space" while you do. 


#3 Shannon and the Clams - Onion
While all records from #5 through #3 are pretty rad, this was the most complete album, and the biggest leap in quality from past work from the band. RtBE has reviewed the Clams before, but this is a major jump forward helped along by the excellent production work of Dan Auerbach. The group also tightened their songwriting, dealt with tragedy and grew up a bit to release their most complete offering to date. Here is just one great track from an album full of them:


#2 Becky Warren - Undesirable
Jeopardy can make you smarter in more ways then just gained trivia knowledge. RtBE first saw/heard/was made aware of this Nashville artist when we caught her as a contestant on the quiz show. She didn't win on that night, but when we got to check out her newest release Undesirable a few weeks later it was clear she was delivering some winning american rock and roll. The original review compared her to another Nashville powerhouse Jason Isbell and a few months removed the comparison stands. Undesirable is an excellent album for these trying times, inspired by more than just the homelessness the album is a soaring success, we thought long and hard about it topping our list although we got her on Glide's list, while our top pick was rejected...   


#1 Father John Misty - God's Favorite Customer
Our top pick didn't make Glide's list because the site's staff said "We are sick of that guy..." I kind of get it. Self-indulgence is Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty's) specialty and while his previous record tried to deconstruct all humanity and was boring, now he goes after his best topic; himself.

The relationship woes, and "lost weekend" John Lennon connection is deep, as is the warm musical offerings around freighting lyrics of a life spiraling out of control...even Jason Isbell is lyrically worried about him. The beautiful thing about Tillman/Misty is that the character and the honesty is now so entwined it is impossible to see Frankenstein from the Monster as wraps his life into these songs. They can all be lies and half truths but the directness and open raw displays have one questioning how Tillman is actually doing. "Please Don't Die" is so affecting, it moves from point of views but shows the thoughts and finality around his crazy life/relationship and current state of affairs.

All this wouldn't mean much if the music wasn't so awesome sounding, drawing you in like great classic pop rock albums. The Beatles, Nilsson, Lennon's solo albums are all touch points, but this is Tillman's best record yet and while I am sure he will take the high's and love from Honeybear, God's Favorite Customer is when reality and life comes a'calling in powerful fashion. While he is looking at himself in the cracked mirror he allows everyone in, tough to listen to but truly powerful full concept record which delivers the pain, heartache, humor, touring woes, friendship, love (both fleeting and deep) and self reflection. In the end, we are all just human, a thought he has said before but never this well.   




That wraps up 2018 for us. Below is the list recap with links to the complete reviews:

1. Father John Misty - God's Favorite Customer
2. Becky Warren - Undesirable
3. Shannon & the Clams - Onion
4. Screaming Females - All At Once
5. Ty Segall - Freedom's Goblin
6. The Breeders - All Nerve
7. High On Fire - Electric Messiah
8. Jack White - Boarding House Reach
9. River Whyless - Kindness, A Rebel
10. Magic Numbers - Outsiders

Agree? Disagree?  let us know in the comments and as always thanks for reading. 

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