Rock Legends

Best of 2020 Part 5: Nigel Tufnel Top Ten Albums and More of 2020

2020 may have sucked, but the music didn’t.  This year I bought and reviewed more new releases than ever before, which I narrowed down to the Nigel Tufnel Top Ten studio albums of 2020 listed below.

I would like to dedicate this list to my good pal Uncle Meat who originated the concept of a “Nigen Tufnel Top Ten” earlier this year.  It has become our thing.

BEST ALBUMS OF 2020

11. Now or Never – III

10. Mr. Bungle – The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo

9. Sven Gali – 3 (EP)

8. Kim Mitchel – The Big Fantasize

7. Corey Taylor – CMFT

6. Stryper – Even the Devil Believes

5. Harem Scarem – Change the World

4. Dennis DeYoung – 26 East Vol 1

3. AC/DC – Power Up

2. Deep Purple – Whoosh!

1. Storm Force – Age of Fear

 

Storm Force’s debut album goes straight to #1 on their very first appearance!  No surprise here.  I’ve been raving about this disc since February and I owe it to Superdekes for putting these guys on my radar in the first place.  This is a well-deserved #1.  Age of Fear is an uplifting album with depth.  It’s a thoughtful, heart-pounding blast of classic hard rock.

Deep Purple’s Whoosh! and AC/DC’s PWRUP prove two things:  old dogs that both learn and don’t learn new tricks can all be champions.  (I call this theory “Schrödinger’s Dog”.) Deep Purple’s growth continues while AC/DC managed to tap into the vein of success that always worked for them.  Both records deserve their spots in the Top 3.

It was a thrill for me to learn that Dennis DeYoung both read and enjoyed my review of his newest album 26 East Vol 1.  It’s a terrific, Styx-like conceptual work that will please the old fans.  As will the new albums by Harem Scarem and Stryper, who didn’t stray far from their successful classic hard rock formulas.  Kim Mitchell and Sven Gali on the other hand dared to be different.  Kim went laid back and acoustic, while Sven Gali went with their heaviest uninhibited inclinations.  As for Mr. Bungle, it has been 21 years since their last album California.  All four Bungle studio albums are completely different from one another — four different genres.  For The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny, they teamed up with Scott Ian and Dave Lombardo to re-record their first thrash metal demo tape.  And it could be their best album since the self-titled debut in 1991.  Not bad for a bunch of songs they wrote in highschool.

Corey “Mother Fuckin'” Taylor makes his debut on any list of mine with his solo album CMFT.  It’s a surprising collection of commercial hard rockin’ tunes.  Also appearing for the first time is Now Or Never (NoN) with their third album called III, featuring singer Steph Honde.  It’s an excellent, dramatic metal album with light and shade.


BONUS LISTS

Most disappointing:  Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man

Song of the year:  LeBrain Train by T-Bone Erickson

Single of the Year:  Mammoth WVH – “Distance”

Ultimately whether or not you liked the new Ozzy, its success or failure falls at the feet of producer/guitarist Andrew Watt.  He is already working on the next Ozzy album, so….

Huge thanks to T-Bone Erickson for the “LeBrain Train” theme song, which amazingly and unexpectedly became the song of the year in 2020!  Weird how that happened.  No bias here I assure you.

Finally, Wolfgang Van Halen finally released his first solo music under the name Mammoth WVH.  The non-album single “Distance” is dedicated to his late father Eddie.  Though musically it’s a modern power ballad, the lyrics and especially the music video evoke serious emotion.  Well done Wolfgang.  Can’t wait to check out his album in 2021.


TOP FIVE LIVE OR COMPILATION ALBUMS IN 2020

5. Metallica – S&M2

4. Thin Lizzy – Rock Legends

3. Sloan – B Sides Win Vol. 1 1992-1997

2. Def Leppard – The Early Years 78-81

1. Iron Maiden – Nights of the Dead – Legacy of the Beast

There were a lot of cool rock releases in 2020, so we need more lists!  Of course the brilliant new live Maiden deserved some loving attention.  Meanwhile, Sloan, Def Leppard and Thin Lizzy have continued to put out quality collections of rarities & unreleased material, well worth the time and money you’ll spend on them.  The Sloan collection is a vinyl exclusive and the first in a series of LPs re-releasing some of their B-sides and non-album and bonus tracks.  Finally, Metallica delivered the goods even without Michael Kamen on S&M2, a very different live set than the first S&M.  That’s the way to do it!


BEST LOCKDOWN SINGLE

5. Queen + Adam Lambert – “You Are the Champions”

4. Scorpions – “Sign of Hope”

3. Marillion – “Made Again 2020”

2. Marillion – “Easter 2020”

1. Alice Cooper – “Don’t Give Up”


 

A LOOK AHEAD AT 2021

It’s naive to assume that major touring and concerts will return in 2021.  This appears highly optimistic at present, with Covid still ravaging the landscape and vaccinations only just beginning.  Instead of looking ahead at things like the resuming Kiss tour, or the Motley Crue reunion, we should continue to put our faith in new music.

Accept have a new album due January 15 intriguingly titled Too Mean to Die.  It is their first without bassist Peter Baltes.  Steven Wilson has a new record out at the end of that month.  In February we get new Foo Fighters, The Pretty Reckless, Willie Nelson and Alice Cooper.  Greta Van Fleet, Weezer, Rob Zombie, Ringo Starr, and Thunder will be back soon too.  Many other bands are writing and recording without an announced due date.  Ghost, Marillion, Scorpions, Megadeth and even Ratt are hard at work to make next year suck a little less.  Support the bands by buying the music.

 

 

 

 

 

The Lists: One Hit Wonders 11/27/2020

This no-disqualification episode was brought to you by Coffee!

First of all — Thank you to all the participants this time out, including Kevin (Buried on Mars) and Deke (Arena Rock). While these two gentleman did appear, they did not do the traditional Nigel Tufnel Top Ten lists and so they are not among the songs below.  To access their “bonus tracks” you are going to have to watch the video!

Second — The MVP this week was Sarca Sim from Caught Me Gaming.  Not to belittle the effort that anyone put into their lists (as you’ll see), but Sarca utilized an additional caveat:  her list was 100% CanCon.  A difficult, impressive and rewarding feat.

Third — You can decide for yourself if anyone deserved to be disqualified this week.  Have Stavesacre or Wesley Willis ever had a legitimate hit?  Is Toto a one hit wonder band?  You decide.

Finally — Really, everyone was MVP this week.  It was a marathon session.  The feedback I have received so far has been excellent.

“I was howling for a lot of it. Michelle kept saying ‘what are you laughing about'” – Chris S

“It was like watching an SNL skit” – also Chris S

“Max is a one hit wonder on this stream lol” – also Chris S

“Love it!!!!!!!!” – My mom

Any songs that were repeated are highlighted below.  There are not many.  Enjoy these tracks!


Mike – LeBrain

11. Blue Cheer – “Summertime Blues”
10. Spacehog – “In the Meantime”
9. Kik Tracee – “You’re So Strange”
8. Wesley Willis – “Alanis Morissette”
7. Marvelous 3 – “Freak of the Week”
6. Tal Bachman – “She’s So High”
5. The Kings – “This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ to Glide”
4. Blotto – “Metal Head”
3. sandbox. – “Curious”
2. E-Z-O – “Flashback Heart Attack”
1. Loudness – “Crazy Night”


Rob – Visions in Sound and Gimli the Cat

11. Alien Ant Farm – “Smooth Criminal”
10. Arlo Guthrie – “City of New Orleans”
9. Frank Stallone – “Far From Over”
8. Prelude – “After the Gold Rush”
7. J Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers – “Last Kiss”
6. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – “Fire”
5. Zager and Evans – “In the Year 2525”
4. Paul Hardcastle – “Nineteen”
3. Information Society – “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy)”
2. Yello – “Oh Yeah”
1. MECO – “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band”


John – 2loud2oldmusic

11. Red Rider – “Lunatic Fringe”
10. Modern English – “I Melt With You”
9. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – “Come On Eileen”
8. Aldo Nova – “Fantasy”
7. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “Relax”
6. Cutting Crew – “(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight”
5. Kix – “Don’t Close Your Eyes”
4. Saigon Kick – “Love is on the Way”
3. The Darkness – “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”
2. Gnarls Barkley – “Crazy”
1. Portugal. The Man – “Feel It Still”


Eric – Uncle Meat

11. Bobby Pickett – “Monster Mash”
10. Nick Gilder – “Hot Child in the City”
9. Neneh Cherry – “Buffalo Stance”
8. Deee-Lite – “Groove is in the Heart”
7. Ace – “How Long Has This Been Going On”
6. Haircut 100 – “Love Plus One”
5. Tracy Bonham – “Mother Mother”
4. Donnie Iris – “Ah Leah”
3. Modern English – “I Melt With You”
2. Martha and the Muffins – “Echo Beach”
1. Gnarls Barkley – “Crazy”


Max the Axe – kind of a big deal

11. Donnie Iris – “Ah Leah”
10. Toto – “Hold the Line”
9. Atlanta Rhythm Section – “Imaginary Love”
8. Holly McNarland – “Elmo”
7. Moist – “Push”
6. Youth Gone Mad – “Crime Rate ’88”
5. Stavesacre – “Shiv”
4. Demon – “Liar”
3. The Trojan Ponies – “Deny”
2. Cheech and Chong – “Earache My Eye”
1. Eddie Murphy – “Party All the Time”


Aaron – KeepsMeAlive

11. The Surfaris – “Wipe Out”
10. Rusted Root – “Send Me On My Way”
9. Dan Baird – “I Love You Period”
8. Billy Falcon – “Power Windows”
7. Coleman Wild – “It Doesn’t Matter”
6. Marc Cohn – “Walking in Memphis”
5. Us 3 – “Cantaloupe (Flip Fantasia)”
4. Blind Melon – “No Rain”
3. Sublime – “What I Got”
2. Timbuk 3 – “The Future’s So Bright”
1. Mountain – “Mississippi Queen”


Sarah – Caught Me Gaming – special all Canadian list

11. Alta Moda – “Julian”
10. Cats Can Fly – “Flippin to the A Side”
9. The Kings – “This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ to Glide”
8. Eight Seconds – “Kiss You (When It’s Dangerous)”
7. Idle Eyes – “Tokyo Rose”
6. Len – “Steal My Sunshine”
5. Neo A4 – “Say This To Me”
4. Daniel Lanois – “Lotta Love to Give”
3. John Bottomley – “You Lose and You Gain”
2. Maestro Fresh Wes – “Let Your Backbone Slide”
1. The Northern Lights – “Tears Are Not Enough”


Additional resources – Todd in the Shadows – “One Hit Wonderland”

One Hit Wonders or Not? You decide on this week’s epic LeBrain Train!

Nine participants.  Epic lists.  Utter chaos!

The theme for this week’s Nigel Tufnel Top Ten list was One Hit Wonders!  This was a special “no disqualifications” matchup so anything went.  Are Toto a one hit wonder band?  Max the Axe thought so even if the majority disagreed.

You panel this week:

  1. LeBrain (me)
  2. Max the Axe (He’s kind of a big deal)
  3. Sarca Sim (Sarah)
  4. Burned On Mars (Kevin)
  5. Mr. Books (Aaron)
  6. Rob Daniels (Visions In Sound)
  7. 2loud2oldmusic (John T Snow)
  8. Uncle Meat (Eric Litwiller)

With special appearances by:

  1. Superdekes (Thunder Bay Arena Rock) & Vinnie Vincent (KISS)

I wrote down all the songs chosen, so when given some time I’ll post all the lists for you to examine in more detail.  But after an almost three hour show, I need to go get something to eat.

Added bonus:  A quick look at the new Thin Lizzy 6 CD rarities box set called Rock Legends.

It’s a long show, but fucking hilarious.  Enjoy.