Skip to main content

Top Ten Albums Of 2018 - Number 9

A note before I start. This is not the definite list of the best albums of 2018, but my personal top ten.I have only included albums that I own, and there will be notable and popular records not in this top ten simply because I have neither the time or inclination to listen to them all. It's okay to disagree!

With that said here's my selection for number 9.

Living The Dream by Slash feat. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators

Released in September of this year, hear is my review from then which hopefully explains why I think this is a fantastic rock album.

The second release in short order to feature the vocal talents of Myles Kennedy after Alter Bridge's "Live At The Royal Albert Hall", (review here ), and the fourth 'solo' studio album by Slash.

Right from start, as the sinuous opening riff fades in, this album rocks hard and keeps going. Brent Fitz's drumming crackles with energy, the production is impressive and muscular throughout, sounding like a modern classic rock record. Unsurprising given the artist, but kudos to producer Michael "Elvis" Baskette nonetheless.

The twisting riffage of "Call Of The Wild"  gives way to the chugging groove of "Serve You Right" before "My Antidote" continues the hard rocking goodness. 

Mid album highlights are "Lost Inside The Girl" and "The One You Loved Is Gone". These two really show off the full range of Myles Kennedy's vocal talent. I mentioned in my review of the latest Alter Bridge release that too many of the songs there are sung at full pelt, and that his voice should be given space to breath. This album does that, and I genuinely think that this material serves him better.

Lead single "Driving Rain" kicks off the final third of the album before the "Parisienne Walkways" feel of "The Great Pretender" gives way to more classic rock in the finale,  "Boulevard Of Broken Hearts".

On the, (small), downside some riffs and lines are a little familiar. In particular the wah lead work to kick off the solo on "Lost Inside The Girl" echoes the "You Could Be Mine" intro too closely. Similarly the lead guitar outro riff calls back to "Sweet Child Of Mine". The introductory riff of "Driving Rain" references The Eagles "Life In The Fast Lane" to these ears.

Minor quibbles though, and this album goes straight into the list of my favourites of the year. It rocks ridiculously hard, the performances are great, Slash melts faces aplenty, and the change of pace songs are real highlights.  Had it been released as the new Guns n' Roses album it would hailed as a stunning return to form. As it is, Axl Rose's loss is our gain. 

I highly recommend this album. Let me know if you agree. 


Popular Posts

Tuscaloosa by Neil Young & The Stray Gators - Album Review

Shakey's live archive releases continue apace, coming after the excellent "Songs For Judy", (full review here) and the even better "Roxy: Tonight's The Night Live", (full review here). 

This time Neil treats us to excerpts from an Alabama show, (hence the title), from the 1973 tour previously documented on "Time Fades Away". Whilst a commercial success, the tour was fraught due to Young's grief over the drug-induced death of Danny Whitten that led to his masterpieces "Tonight's The Night" and "On The Beach", and his discomfort in translating his sound to the big arenas his success now found him playing. Neil has previously stated that "Time Fades Away" is his worst album. Those of us who have endured "Everybody's Rockin'" or "Landing On Water" might beg to differ....

Anyway another snapshot of that tour emerges here, and an altogether more lighter mood prevails. The autobiographical &…

Songs To Die To - Part 3

Continuing a series about songs death and dying. These are not necessarily songs that talk about the process of dying, rather as the title suggests, songs that I could imagine listening to on my death bed, or taking as consolation during or after a funeral. 

Morbid? I think not, as death is part of life. If we all talked about it a little more, maybe we'd cope with it better.

No 1: featuring "Land Of Hope & Dreams" by Bruce Springsteen here

No 2: featuring "Look On Down From The Bridge" by Mazzy Star here

With that said here's my next choice.

No 3: Gonna Be A Darkness - The Jayhawks

From their superb collection of songs that main man Gary Louris wrote with other artists, (full review here), comes this gem co-written with Jakob Dylan.

I love the extended musical introduction, starting with the mandolin, building with the bass and piano.It sets a lovely relaxed groove that hints at the sadness to come.
Louris and drummer Tim O'Reagan blend their voices beauti…

Eraserland by Strand Of Oaks - Album Review

A new album from Tim Showalter which, barring a final misstep, hits all the Americana, (and more), marks. This album is heartfelt, sleazy, uplifting, classic and referential all at the same time whilst still pointing forwards.

The beginning is inauspicious. "Weird Ways" starts out like a standard Ryan Adams ballad, but takes off halfway through in a way that reveals the pedigree of the other musicians on the album. After hearing this track I thought it sounded like the aforementioned Mr Adams playing with My Morning Jacket(MMJ). The reverb drenched sound kept rearing its head and a little research revealed that, minus main man Jim James, they were the backing musicians on the album . No wonder I kept hearing them! As a band who has produced much that I like this was a good thing. 

After "Weird Ways" heads for the stars we stay there with "Hyperspace Blues" which is one for fans of Jason Pierce's Spiritualized, and sounds just as a song with that title s…

On The Line by Jenny Lewis - Album Review

Arriving with positive notices and an all-star supporting cast that includes a former Beatle in Ringo Starr, a former Heartbreaker in Benmont Tench along with renowned players like Jim Keltner, Don Was and produced by Ryan Adams it would be easy to dismiss such a description as too good to be true.
However, sometimes it is okay to believe the hype..
The 4th solo album from Jenny Lewis is an example of the old adage that misery makes for great art, and is another entry into the canon of great break-up albums.
It is crammed with catchy melodies, expert playing and excellent, if sometimes just a little too cool for school, songwriting. Right from the very start with "Heads Gonna Roll" the sweetness of the melodies is leavened with a perfectly judged dose of underlying menace and bitterness.
Mention has to be given to the Hammond solo from Benmont Tench on this track. The tone is deliciously fat and filthy in the best possible way.
"Wasted Youth" continues with a ridiculous…

Songs To Die To - Part 4

Continuing a series about songs death and dying. These are not necessarily songs that talk about the process of dying, rather as the title suggests, songs that I could imagine listening to on my death bed, or taking as consolation during or after a funeral. 

Morbid? I think not, as death is part of life. If we all talked about it a little more, maybe we'd cope with it better.

No 1: featuring "Land Of Hope & Dreams" by Bruce Springsteen here

No 2: featuring "Look On Down From The Bridge" by Mazzy Star here

No3: featuring "Gonna Be A Darkness" by The Jayhawks here

With that said here's my next choice.

No 4: Everything Flows - Teenage Fanclub

This song is here less for it's explicit subject matter rather than the way it makes me feel.
Certainly the lyrics, "I'll never know which way to flow, set a course that I don't know" talk about journeying, searching and convey an ambiguity that could apply to a passage beyond this life.

This so…

Hello Sunshine by Bruce Springsteen - New Song Review

After the Broadway experience comes a new song, and my initial thoughts upon hearing it were not about this track specifically, but what it means for the upcoming "Western Stars" album in June. As Bruce has said, this is a different type of album, not a rocker but a 'return to sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements'. 

My hope is that we are going to get Bruce's version of "Nashville Skyline", as the track has a laid back, country feel, with a rhythm that immediately evokes "Everybody's Talkin' ". 

Another one of his early influences, the great Roy Orbison, also shines through, and as a defender of "Outlaw Pete" from "Magic", (more on that here), this can only be a good thing. His vocal has a country tinge and the pedal steel and strings complete the image. 

Given his battles with depression, documented in his autobiography, the lines about "being too fond of the blues" and "loving the lonely place&q…

I Am Easy To Find by The National - Album Review

Accompanying a 26 minute film starring Alicia Vikander, for which edited parts of this album comprise the soundtrack, the new album from The National arrives with perhaps impossible expectations.

After the run from "Boxer" through the transcendent heights of "High Violet" to the continued excellence of "Trouble Will Find Me" and "Sleep Well Beast" it has become normal to expect nothing but the best from the indie rock standard bearers. 

Unfortunately, whilst there is much to enjoy here, it is a definite step down from those mentioned above. Perhaps, understandably, wanting to continue to stretch themselves this album suffers from the art project surrounding it. Not a strict soundtrack, but definitely less than a normal album, (whatever that is of course!), too many tracks meander into quickly forgotten homogeneity. Whilst these songs work better in shorter snippets accompanying the film, the album is released as that, an album and needs to be judg…