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Best Of 2012 - 2013 (jeffrey343)

ARTICLE: Best Of 2012 (jeffrey343)
YEAR: 2013


It seems like each new year gets off to a slow start before picking up towards the end, and 2012 was no exception. I was wondering much of the year whether I'd be able to cobble together a top-ten list. And it has taken me until the middle of April to get it together. Overall, it was not as spectacular as 2011. But 2011 became more spectacular as I found a few 2011 albums last year that I had missed from that year. It ended up being a pretty good year though. As usual, I've missed a few good albums that I'll probably catch this year.

In Summary

H.E.A.T - Address The Nation
This one was on my radar for quite a while. I was concerned with the departure of Kenny Leckremo, but Erik Gronvall was an inspired choice to replace him. I got a hold of the lead single "Living On The Run" and played the heck out of it, and then I played the heck out of the album once I got it. I figured this would end up as #1 for the year for me. Things got a little interesting right before I wrote this, but another couple of spins reminded me just how much I enjoy this one.

Lionville - II
While the H.e.a.t album was immediate, this one took a while to grow on me. It's a more subtle release, but there are 12 excellent songs on here. I can leave this and the debut in the car stereo for days. This is a very upbeat album.

Sunstorm - Emotional Fire
Since I couldn't get this in the U.S. until late February, I consider this to be a 2012 release. It was the second 2012 album I got, and it was an immediate smash for me. JLT sounds as good as he ever has. Having three covers helped me absorb the songs on this album more quickly.

Hardline - Danger Zone
It took me a while to get around to listening to this one. I wasn't as blown away by "Double Eclipse" as many of you were, and I somehow felt that the lead single "Fever Dreams" would be the best song on here. Well, "Fever Dreams" is one of many great songs here. There is a nice commercial sound throughout this album that surprised me - it sounds like many of the songs could have been written 20+ years ago.

KISS - Monster
I had extremely high hopes for this one based on how much I loved "Sonic Boom" in 2009. This is definitely another very solid album with a few killer tracks. I preferred the more polished sound of "Sonic Boom" to the rawer sound here. But this one will continue to get regular spins when I need to rock,

Issa - Can't Stop
Issa's first two albums were pretty good affairs, but the songs she chose for this one take it to a higher plane. There is good diversity in the songs, and the album flows very well. I think her voice is a bit poppier than I'd really prefer, and I don't think the production on here is quite as clean as some of the other releases this year. But this is a great collection of well-executed songs.

Jimi Jamison - Never Too Late
I was somewhat concerned about this one, as his 2008 "Crossroads Moment" had some songs that were kinda corny, and his vocals on 2011's album with Bobby Kimball weren't as solid as I'd have liked. But not to worry - this album turned out quite well. Good songs, good production.

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Last Of A Dyin' Breed
Well, Alun certainly didn't like this one, as evidenced by his rating of 2. I think there are some excellent songs on here. There are a couple that don't do as much for me, but this one in general rocks pretty hard with a good modern Southern sound. I think it would have been better received as a Johnny Van Zant solo album. Since Skynyrd pretty much ended in 1977, we didn't get a chance to have them "sell out" like other similar bands (like .38 Special, not that I minded that direction at all for them).

Jeff Scott Soto - Damage Control
This one has not been reviewed here yet, and that delayed my acquisition of it. My loss, as there are some excellent songs here, and JSS still sounds as great as ever. It may move up as I give it more spins.

Eclipse - Bleed & Scream
Another good album from these guys. A little more on the hard side of my preferences, but it has strong songs, vocals, and production. The previous album had a bit more of a commercial edge that is lacking in this one.

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