Let me be among the first to get their mandatory “Best of 2012” list out there. Once again, I will go over my favorite albums that came out this year. This list will surely offend anyone who’s not a lover of Rock music. I’ll be the first to admit that Rock music made primarily by real people using real instruments is what attracts me the most. This is not to say that I don’t care for highly produced or electronic music. I make electronic music myself. It’s fun. But there is something special about a group of musicians playing songs that they wrote on instruments that they spent many years perfecting. But to keep things interesting, and to pump up my geek cred, I will also tout my love of MODx with each review. Given that, let’s move on to my biased list….
Soundgarden – King Animal
Hands down, this was the best thing to happen to music all year. It took that long to wait for it, and it was worth it. Coming from someone who still considers the grunge wave as the last wave of great rock music, King Animal is a return to the kind of rock music that I have been sorely missing. It is a perfect blend of heavy and melodic. Not unlike Soundgarden, MODx Revolution proves that there’s no school like the old school. In other words, as modern as MODx is, you still get to code-out like we used to; anyway you want to. Nothing beats straight up code. WYSIWYG’s are the auto-tune of the web design world. It may look pretty on the outside, but it’s a mess on the inside.
Muse – The Second Law
Muse never disappoints. Here is a band that has figured out how to make music with a perfect blend of influence and inspiration. This 3-piece is all about huge; their sound, their presence, their message. No band does a better job of predicting the end of the world while delivering hope and a way out. Listen carefully and you will hear Queen, Radiohead, U2, and even a little Duran Duran. Duran Duran, you say? I do. Take a listen to Panic Station and tell me that chorus isn’t a nod to “Planet Earth.” MODx also has similar qualities. MODx is still a star on the rise. It’s way better than many of the popular CMS’s but still has indie cred. When it’s you against the world, MODx is there to help you through it all and show you the light at the end of the tunnel.
Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel….
This album doesn’t rock in the traditional way. In fact, you will be hard-pressed to find any guitar on this album. It’s pretty much Fiona’s voice and piano, and percussionist. Her lyrics and vocal delivery have always made an impression on me. This album only gets stronger with each listen. The same is true for MODx. The more you use it the better it feels and the more you understand and appreciate it.
Jack White – Blunderbus
Jack White puts the White Stripes on the shelf, focuses on his label, and then creates an amazing solo album. Blunderbus is a breath of fresh air in a sea of hip hop and high production. We are, after all, talking about a guy who can install a pickup on a piece of driftwood, put a string or two on it, plug it in, and proceed to rock your world. MODx and Jack White are similar in that they are both unassuming and not exactly the best looking on the outside. But it’s what’s on the inside that shines. And once you are in, you don’t want to leave.
The Shins – Port of Morrow
It took being a fan of Dangermouse to get me to appreciate The Shins. I know, most of you hipsters were in to The Shins before Zach Braff featured them twice on his Garden State soundtrack. Me, I had to wait for James Mercer to work with Dangermouse, as the Broken Bells, for me to notice him. As it turns out, James Mercer is a great songwriter and Port of Morrow is a great album. Plus, for some reason, he reminds me of Kevin Spacey, which is kind of cool. Collaboration with other artists is something that MODx does well. It is constantly improving itself by being influenced by its peers. Being open allows one to grow and improve quickly.
Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth
At last, David Lee Roth returns to Van Halen. And it was good. I really enjoyed this album. Not because they broke new ground musically or that they brought VH into the modern age of Rock music. No, I loved this album because they DIDN’T do any of those things. They made a Van Halen album. But this wasn’t just ANY Van Halen album. This is Van Halen with David Lee Roth! And that is exactly what this album is. They revisit a sound that doesn’t need refreshing or updating. While VH and MODx have little in common, they both have shown that you can make major changes to your core and still be successful and relevant.
The Smashing Pumpkins – Oceania
Billy Corgan retools Smashing Pumpkins and creates a great album. The musicians may be different but there is no mistake that this is a Smashing Pumpkins album. Like the Pumpkins, MODx has gone through a few incarnations and has come out stronger than ever.
There you have it, my favorite albums of the year as compared to my favorite CMS of the last decade or so. I hope you enjoyed the read. I’ll be happy if any of you go out and listen to any of these albums if you haven’t already. I’ll also be happy knowing that at least a few of you will go out and give MODx a shot. Have a very Merry Christmas and I hope all of you have a fantastic New Year.