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Best Of 2010 - 2011 jeffrey343

ARTICLE: Best Of 2010 (jeffrey343)
YEAR: 2011

2010 seems to have gotten mixed reviews from many of you. As for me, I found it to be the best year since I discovered there is this entire world of new AOR that I didn't know about back in 2006. I had spent much of 2005 - 2007 tracking down music I remembered from the 80s, and it really wasn't until 2008 that I was really plugged into the new music scene. I found a lot of good albums in 2008 and 2009, but I believe 2010 had more albums that will stay in my rotation than either of those years. Some of my choices were panned by a few of you, but hey, I like them.

As usual, there are definitely some good 2010 releases I have missed or just haven't gotten around to getting. I know I need to get the 'Unruly Child' album, and I'm seeing others pop up that might be right up my alley.

In Summary
Here they are, in a constantly evolving order from my top picks on down.

Treat - Coup de Grace - Seems like everyone loved this one. I hadn't heard of Treat before this album, and it got me to check out their older material. Good stuff, but none of it measures up to this masterpiece. Thirteen great tunes (not counting the intro piece), with absolutely no dropoff whatsoever. In fact, if I have to pick a favourite, it is the last song, 'Breathless'.

Stan Bush - Dream The Dream - I've really enjoyed Stan Bush's new material the last few years, and his older stuff is quite good too. This would be my favourite of all his releases. This is a very positive album, with the majority of songs being of the AOR anthem variety. Good stuff indeed.

Nelson - Lightning Strikes Twice - I absolutely love 'After The Rain', and this was billed as 'ATR II'. Well, it didn't quite live up to the debut, but it is still a darn good album. A few absolute killers, with the rest being very good. It does drop off in quality slightly before ending on a very strong note. It was good to hear the Nelson twins crank up the amps again after experimenting with several other styles through the years.

H.e.a.t - Freedom Rock & Beg Beg Beg (EP) - I'll group these together and consider the two non-duplicated songs on the EP to be bonus tracks for the LP. I'm not sure why many of you guys panned this one, as I find it clearly stronger than the excellent debut. It sounds like it could have come from that great 1989 - 1991 timeframe. Lots of great songs, a good song order (that always makes a difference), and great production. I'm kinda surprised that I find the songs on the EP to be stronger than most of the songs on the actual album.

First Signal - First Signal - Good debut from this group; hope they stick around. Good combination of radio-friendly AOR that works well for my ears. Harry Hess sounds quite good here.

Two Fires - Burning Bright - We hadn't heard from these guys since 2002's 'Ignition'. That one was a case of good songs, lousy production. Kevin Chalfant has remained busy since then. Josh Ramos is not on this album; maybe the group should be called 'One Fire'. I don't know if Chalfant's voice has greatly improved or whether technology has improved or whether this one had a decent budget, but he sounds great on here. It's not as lush as the debut or his material with The Storm, but it is a good return to form.

Terry Brock - Diamond Blue - This is one of my picks that got panned by many of you. I found it quite similar to the 2006 Slamer release 'Nowhere Land', although more accessible. Brock is in fine voice, and Slamer is his typical self. I wrote an essay on the review itself, but I still think this is a very solid album.

Ratt - Infestation - I was a huge fan of the first two Ratt albums and their early EP, and they stayed on my radar through the late 80s. It was good to hear new material from them that rocks as well as most anything they've done. Stephen Pearcy does sound older, but he still sounds convincing. It sounds both retro and modern - just what you'd expect from Ratt if they'd been putting out good new material every three years or so.

FM - Metropolis - It took me a while to get into this one, probably because I think it starts out OK and keeps on improving to the end. I'm not real familiar with the band even though they've been around a while. But many of these songs take me back to the 80s. When some of the songs pop up in shuffle mode along my older tunes, I have to remind myself that this came out in 2010, and that's a good complement.

Issa - Sign Of Angels - Good strong debut from Issa with lots of strong songs. It can get a little more bombastic than I think it should, but she does show lots of promise. Many of the songs sound like amped-up tunes you'd hear on U.S. radio, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Part pop, part hard rock - let's call it hard pop. And good stuff.

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#1 | swazi on April 05 2011 23:07:23
I'm missing VEGA on this list, but otherwise a great selection! clap
#2 | jeffrey343 on April 07 2011 14:46:51
VEGA is one of those I haven't gotten yet. Thanks for putting it back on my radar, as I need to check it out.
#3 | swazi on April 07 2011 16:48:56
Yes, do that! About a month ago I saw a concert with VEGA, HOUSTON and SERPENTINE in London. VEGA was the best of the three bands and beat the others by miles. Hopefully they will stay on track and work on their next release.
#4 | jeffrey343 on February 06 2012 04:57:07
Looking back on my list from 2010, I think it is basically the same. The top four have been joined by the excellent White Widdow debut, which at the moment falls just under the Treat album. Those below the top 5 aren't played as much, but songs from them find their way to various playlists.
#5 | jeffrey343 on January 22 2013 04:03:06
This list has remained quite stable. The Treat gets played a lot, as it is sheer class. The White Widdow debut gets played back-to-back with its successor a good amount, and the Stan Bush is a great album for running. Lots of good songs on the rest of them that make it to a large shuffle-mode playlist. I got into RATT earlier in the year and played all their albums a fair amount, and 'Infestation' measures up well.
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