Friday, October 30, 2015

Jack Willowbee's Top 100 Albums Of All Time (81-90)

Hey! Welcome back! This is my second installment of my top 100 favorite albums of all time and right on time! Now we will take a look at albums 81-90. This is where it started to get tricky. With so many GREAT albums out there, how do you even narrow it down to 100? I'm sure there's some I missed and i'm also sure that in 10 years this list will be drastically different. Musics cool like that. You may be into one band a lot now, but years from now they change and so do you. Perfect example... Incubus. They started out as a funk metal band and now... well... if you listen to them a lot like me, you'll know what i'm talking about. Anyways, to narrow it down to 100 you have to start with your absolute favorites and go from there asking yourself... "do I like this album more than the previous?". It's daunting and here I am still making slight edits as I go along. I did have Audioslaves debut album in my top 100, but it got pushed out when I realized I had forgotten a couple of my favorites. With all of that said, let's take a look at 81-90. Oh and if you didn't read 91-100, start there first!

____________________________________________________________________________

#90 - Team Sleep - Team Sleep (2005)



This was one of those cd's that took awhile to embrace for me. My friend Jimmy used to play the shit out of the demos for it and it slowly but surely grew on me. 10 years later after the official release of the album and i'm still hooked. There's just something about the surreal feel to it that relaxes me everytime. They truly picked a great name for themselves to go by. It was refreshing to hear Chino stepping out of his comfort realm and trying something completely different. If you ever want to chill to a cool night time cd, this is one to do it with.

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#2 - Ever (Foreign Flag))

____________________________________________________________________________

#89 - Tracy Lawrence - I See It Now (1994)



Tracy Lawrence scored big in 1994 with this album. He did something very cool around 93-96, where he "leaped" through time in each of his music videos connecting them together. It was very "Quantum Leap". I loved it. I have never been into country much but for some reason around 1995 I lived for it. His videos were on CMT all the time and I can remember just having to hear a few notes to know it was on and I would come flying in to watch it. If you like country and even if you don't, this is a classic album to check out. I even got to meet the guy cause I was in his fan club. I was just too young to appreciate it. Don't believe me... Here's a little something extra for ya. Haha.


SUGGESTED LISTENING (#6 - As Any Fool Can See)

____________________________________________________________________________

#88 - Korn - Follow The Leader (1998)



The first thing I think about when I think about this album is the artwork. It was drawn by famed comic artist, Todd McFarlane. He created Spawn by the way. The second thing I remember is how the first 12 tracks were nothing but silence. I can remember everyone thinking their disc was broken. I worked at media play and everyone was always wanting to return it till I showed them it started on track 13. (Funny side note... I actually just read the wiki on it and it seems that early versions had the 12 silent tracks after the music. The silent tracks were a memorial of sorts to young a fan named "Justin" who tragically died of intestinal cancer. His last wish was to meet and hang out with Korn. I don't know if he ever did but they named a song after him on the album and the 12 silent tracks formed a minute of silence for him. So next time you go to skip those tracks remember that. VERY KOOL.

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#8 - All In The Family (Featuring Fred Durst))

____________________________________________________________________________

#87 - 311 - The Blue Album (1995)



My first introduction to this album was from a teacher of mine named Mr. LeBlanc. We were in music class one day and he asked the class if anyone wanted to buy it for 5 bucks. I knew the song "Down" and was the only kid who was eager to check it out. So I bought it from my hard rocking, Kings-X loving guitar playing teacher for 5 bucks. It turned out to be my first official introduction to a band that would lead to me discovering Incubus, Hoobastank and many others. I loved it then and I still to this day, 20 years alter, love it now. You can thank them, Run DMC and Faith No More for anyone who ever has or will rap over rock music.

SUGGESTED LISTENING - (#1 & 2 - We Will Rock You / We Are The Champions)

____________________________________________________________________________

#86 - Counting Crows - August And Everything After (1993)



This was one of those albums that transcended genres. I liked it, my dad liked it, my brother liked it, my MOM liked it, everyone did. "Mr. Jones" was and is still to this day one of the most recognizable songs ever written. There was just something magical about it. The first track, "Round Here", definitely didn't get as much play but was a much, much better song. Haunting is the best word I can describe it with. It was definitely a "heavy" song for an 11 year old kid to grasp. But it always made sense to me. And that's mainly why this record is number 86.

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#1 - Round Here)

____________________________________________________________________________

#85 - Breaking Benjamin - Phobia (2006)



Breaking Benjamins, "Phobia" was an album I really sat down and listened to when it came out. It's the kind of album where it was easy to quickly pick out your favorites. To me, there was just something about the guitar riff in the beginning of "Until The End", that quickly hooked me in. The coolest thing about the album in general however, may be the intro track of the airport. It was a "hidden" reference to singer, "Ben Burnley"s fear of flying, hence the name of the album... "Phobia".

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#6 - Until The End)

____________________________________________________________________________

#84 - 10 Years - Feeding The Wolves (2010)



This album is very special to me. It came out around the first time I tried to start a music review blog and I listened to it over and over again for the next year. I met my future wife while listening to this cd. We both love the time it represents and it's always great to play it again every once in awhile. By far, this is their best work to date and will have you singing along in no time. My personal favorite is, "Waking Up The Ghost". Whether you're already a 10 Years fan or not, this is where you should start.

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#9 - Waking Up The Ghost)

____________________________________________________________________________

#83 - Avenged Sevenfold - Nightmare (2010)



This album picked up where Metallica left off with their "Black Album". The first time I really listened to them was with this album. I was driving a U-Haul when the song, "Welcome To The Family" came on our local radio station. MAN... I remember hearing, "Bat Country" and it was cool and all. But this song did it for me. I instantly bought it and jammed out to every track for a week straight. I can remember one song standing tall above the rest though... "Save Me". It was an epic track lasting 10:57. Pretty long track nowadays. Especially in this ADD society we live in now. For those who listen, it will reward you. Check it out!

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#11 - Save Me)

____________________________________________________________________________

#82 - The Notorious B.I.G. - Life After Death (1997)



This album is easily recognized as one of the top 5 rap albums ever recorded. LOADED with great songs, this album brought Biggie mainstream success. Originally this album was supposed to be released in 1996 on Halloween. It got pushed back to March of 1997 and ironically Biggie was shot 2 weeks before it was released. Consistently considered a 4-5 star album, it was with this album Biggie gained the most fame of his career. It's just a shame shit get's crazy in the rap game cause it would be great to hear where he would have went with his career. No, instead were left with Jay-Z and NAS.

SUGGESTED LISTENING (DISC 2 - #8 - Sky's The Limit (Featuring 112))

____________________________________________________________________________

#81 - Megadeth - Countdown To Extinction (1992)



This cd is probably the cd my brother would call a top ten. I heard it through him by going through his room and taking his cassette while he was gone. There was just something about Dave Mustaine. He almost seemed like an anti-rock star. The title track on this album is just simply amazing. I'm sooooooo happy he didn't last in Metallica. We would not have had this and Last Action Heroes, "Angry Again". had they kept him around. "Symphony Of Destruction", was another great song from it. Definitely their shining moment, this album was an instant classic for thrash heads everywhere!

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#7 - Countdown To Extinction)

____________________________________________________________________________

So 20 albums into it and 80 to go. Is it Christmas yet?!?? I love sharing my memories and favorites with all 5 of you reading. Hopefully as I write more and more... more and more of you show up! Well, till next time...

Friday, October 23, 2015

Jack Willowbee's Top 100 Albums Of All Time (91-100)

So like I said before, we all know what a great album is and what it takes to make it one. With that in mind, remember... This is not necessarily what I think is the definitive top 100 list of all time, but rather what my personal favorite 100 albums are. Feel free to comment on what you like, what you didn't like and what you would change. But just remember... MY list. You can tell a lot about a person by the music they associate themselves with. So without further ado, I present you with my top favorite 100 albums of all time. So if you wanna be the cool kid in school that listens to tons of cool ass, off the wall music... Check back every Friday from now till Christmas day for the next 10 on my list!

____________________________________________________________________________

#100 - TOOL - LATERALUS (2001)



While this album didn't quite bring the same fire that "├ćnima" did, it was still destined to become an instant classic. It also brought with it the most memorable bass line from the 2000's and possibly of all-time in "Schism". You couldn't walk into a music store without hearing someone attempting to play it. It was just one of those lines that played over and over in your head. My favorite track on Lateralus however was definitely the title track, "Lateralus". There's just something about the guitar line in the beginning of the song that makes me happy every time I hear it. Overall this album was pretty good. Not as groundbreaking as "├ćnima", but pretty good.

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#9 - Lateralus)

____________________________________________________________________________

#99 - THIRD EYE BLIND - BLUE (1999)



Third Eye Blind was one of those guilty pleasures for me. There in the span from 1997-1999 they were truly an awesome band. It was hard to go anywhere without hearing one of their songs playing somewhere you were at. When this cd came out in 1999 I was working at Media Play. The internet was coming ahead full speed and a new millenium coming sure was exciting. Around this time I became obsessed with trying to find rare tracks from artists I loved. Upon my search I came across the song, "Slow Motion" with lyrics. "With lyrics???", I thought to myself. If any of you reading know this song with the lyrics, you'll know how dark of a song it truly is. Out of all of Third Eye Blinds songs, this one will stick in your head the most. It's nothing like anything else you've heard from them. If you're not lucky enough to find the album with that song, then don't fret... you're still in for an hour of great music! Obviously "Slow Motion" is my favorite, but the first track, "Anything" has become one of my favorites as well. All of the tracks are pretty good and just like the album before this, you will be humming these songs before you know it!

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#13 - Slow Motion - W/ Lyrics)

____________________________________________________________________________

#98 - METALLICA - RIDE THE LIGHTNING (1984)



I must say I was torn between this and "Master Of Puppets". Overall though, I think there was just something a little more special about "Ride The Lightning". The first time I ever heard "For Whom The Bell Tolls" was in my brothers room around 1988. I was 5. Heavy stuff for a 5 year old. But I loved the shit out of it. I can remember running down the hall going, "DUH NUH DUH NUH DUHHHHHHHHHH!" Haha. It's funny how some memories never fade. Then they used it in Zombieland and I was happy about it all over again. It would also feature one of my favorite all time Metallica songs... "Fade To Black". Words can't express how much I love that song. Overall, "Ride The Lightning" is another classic album from a band just hitting their stride. 31 years later, it's just as relevant then, as it is now. "DUH NUH DUH NUH DUHHHHHHHHHH!" Yep. Still funny.

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#3 - For Whom The Bell Tolls)

____________________________________________________________________________

#97 - Queen - News Of The World (1977)



"We Will Rock You & We Are The Champions" is possibly the greatest back to back songs on an album in rock & roll history. You can't play one without the other immediately following. It's become a staple for any and all arenas to play these songs on a daily basis. Not only were most of the songs excellent, but the albums art taken from an issue of "Astounding Science Fiction" was a great choice for the listener to look at while listening to this awesome record. I can only imagine what it was like to be growing up in the late 60's and early 70's with all of this great music coming out. But hey, I had the 90's so "I Ain't Mad At Cha".

SUGGESTED LISTENING - (#1 & 2 - We Will Rock You / We Are The Champions)

____________________________________________________________________________

#96 - Lil Wayne - The Carter III (2008)



To me "The Carter III" was a great album. Not only did it usher in a new generations rap music but it set a standard for which I measure all modern rap albums too. Nothing will ever come close to rap in the 90's. But this album sure was a nice break from everything else that was coming out. I truly believe this was Lil Wayne's shining moment. This was the album where he discovered his own style and owned it. 2008 was a weird year for me. I can remember my friend, Anthony liking this album so much that he decided to put it on repeat all day while we were working so I heard it like 8 times straight. That's when I fell in love with it.

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#7 - Phone Home)

____________________________________________________________________________

#95 - The Eagles - Hotel California (1976)



The guitar solo in "Hotel California" is by far the greatest guitar solo in history. Period. It's hard to deny that. If you do, sit down, smoke a doob & listen. It's magical. It will take you to faraway lands. Joe Walsh really outdid himself on this track. Literally. Nothing he has recorded since has come even close to how great his solo is in this song. Add that song, along with "New Kid In Town & Life In The Fast Lane" and you can see why this album makes alot of peoples lists! Definitely a great album to drive around to on a cool October night.

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#1 - Hotel California)

____________________________________________________________________________

#94 - Godsmack - Godsmack (1998)



When this cd came out in 1998, we had just gotten a Circuit City in my neighborhood. For awhile they had awesome deals on cds and some were around $7.99. I remember this being one of them. I bought it cause of the song, "Whatever". But after listening to it, I realized how much better they were than that song. "Bad Religion" was my favorite track on this cd. Something about that intro man. That's something you'll learn about me in the coming years... I am a SUCKER for intros. I'll be honest though. I HATE "Voodoo". There was just always something about that song that irked me. Overall though it was a great album that I don't think they ever touched again through any of their other 6 or so albums. "DUN DUN DUNDUN DUN DUNDUN GET BACK!!!" Seeing a pattern yet? Haha.

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#5 - Bad Religion)

____________________________________________________________________________

#93 - Radiohead - The Bends (1995)



My introduction to Radiohead, was the same as most of yours with the song "Creep". However, being the MTV fiend that I was, I remember seeing the video for "High & Dry" one day. I loved it instantly but it wasn't until years later when my friend Rob played me the song "Just" that I truly sat down and listened to it in it's entirety and realized how great this album is. I also didn't realize that the guitar breakdown in "Just" was one of the songs used on MTV promos back in the day. See, when I was a kid, I loved everything on tv. There were some cds I listened to all the way through, but not many. I wish I had listened to this one though. And like I said, the guitar break down in "Just"... WOW.

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#7 - Just)

____________________________________________________________________________

#92 - Boyz To Men - II (1994)



When this came out in 1994 I was 11. I can honestly pinpoint this being the cd that made me want to sing. I can remember sitting alone in my room trying to harmonize and learn every lyric from every song. There was just something about how smooth they sounded that made me want to do what they were doing. Still to this day I listen to it every now and then. Their cover of "Yesterday" by The Beatles is still almost as haunting as the original. Definitely one of the greatest R&B / Pop / Overall albums of all time.

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#13 - Yesterday)

____________________________________________________________________________

#91 - Deftones - Around The Fur (1997)



One of the first full songs I ever learned how to play on guitar was "My Own Summer (Shove It)". To this day if i'm ever in Drop D tuning, it's always a go to jam that's always fun to play. It was a hard band to escape in the late 90's and every high school had that one girl who was always OBSESSED with Chino. You can find a neat video of the song "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" on Youtube from a Little Nicky promo. It also featured a young Brandon Boyd & Mike Einziger from Incubus & Adam Sandler. That video was one of the main reasons I checked this album out in the first place. I was always late to finding cool bands when I was younger.

SUGGESTED LISTENING (#3 - My Own Summer (Shove It))

____________________________________________________________________________

Well there you have it, the first of a many weekly installments leading up to my music review blog in 2016! Once again check back every Friday as more of my top 100 albums of all time are revealed!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Music Lovers UNITE!!!

So I decided to scrap all of my old music reviews and begin this page all over again with the hope of it actually taking off this time. Let me start by telling you a little about myself and why I feel like I can help you find new and exciting music you've never heard of. I am a musician and music has flowed through my bones since I was a child. I breathed it. I watched it on MTV & The BOX. I listened to every cassette, cd and radio I could get my hands on. Sometimes I would just sit in the dark with my walkman and turn it up as loud as humanly possible and sing along at the top of my lungs. When I was 10 it was 1992-1993. LOTS of great music was coming out. Nirvana, The Offspring, Green Day, The Smashing Pumpkins, the list could go on for paragraphs.

Throughout my years as a music lover I have listened to TONS of different styles and artists. With my favorite artists I can tell you their album discography, the track numbers, the lyrics and the year it came out. That's how you truly define a great album. One that takes you so deep within it, that you literally remember EVERYTHING about it. Everyone has their own favorites and that's just another great part of it all.

I'm mainly a rocker at heart but I love everything. Really... everything. I can name you songs by everyone from Kenny G to Master P. I have listened to so much music in my lifetime that it would be hard to put an hour count on it. I have went to a lot of live performances and one of my favorite things to do is just sit back and take in everything going on around me. I love to people watch and it was fun seeing how other people react to the same music I like. I'm 32 now so I have definitely heard a LOT of music.

On this page I will be doing reviews of both new and old music. I think to start things off i'm going to compile my top 100 albums of all time and review 10 a week until Christmas. This will require some deep thought but I feel that after you see what I like and what i'm about, you will be able to determine how much my opinion is worth to you.

So check back every Friday night from the 23rd until the end of the year as I present you with my personal top 100 albums of all time. I look forward to talking to all of you in the coming months and can't wait to hear all of your feedback and recommendations. Hey, you or me might even find a new favorite band!

Sincerely, Jack Willowbee