Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Lana Del Ray, these are the artists whose albums did it for me this year. When it comes to a Best Albums 2012 list, I wouldn’t be satisfied without them. It was a great year in music, even if the industry continues to struggle.
Here’s why I thought these albums stood out. in no particular order:
Bob Dylan Tempest: What can you say about Dylan that hasn’t already been said? This album is utterly brilliant, even if the title track is about The Titanic. Simply production, but, oh, those lyrics. His 35th studio album burns with intensity. We also love his Lennon tribute, “Roll On.”
Robbie Robertson How To Become Clairvoyant: I’ve loved Robbie for years and this album, with guest Eric Clapton, just rolls along beautifully.
The single, “He Don’t Live Here Anymore” is drop-dead gorgeous. His short tour, with the L.A.-based band The Dawes, was exceptionally good. They even did “The View.” Tremendous album. Also playing along are Steve Winwood, Trent Renzor, Tom Morello and Robert Randolph. His fifth solo album scores big!
Glen Campbell Ghost On A Canvas: Glen’s had a rough last few years, but returned with this epic album, produced by Julian Raymond. If this were to be his last album, he’d go out in style. The title track sort of sums up his amazing career and check out the video. No Jimmy Webb songs, which was a bit of a surprise, but classic Glen, for sure.
Lana Del Rey Born To Die: I know, all the snooty critics have taken digs at her, but I love this album. Especially, the title track and Rick Nowels’ “Summertime Sadness.” I love the look, the videos, the Nancy Sinatra atmosphere. A stone-cold classic.
Dr. John Locked Down: The Voodoo master returns with an album produced by The Black Keys’ guitarist and singer Dan Auerbach. Ever since his “Right Time, Wrong Place,” I’ve been a believer, but here he sounds energized like never before. Transformative for sure. Top track: “Ice AGE.” Brilliant!
Return to Forever The Mothership Returns: I grew to love Chick Corea and the group in college. All these years later, with essentially the initial line-up intact, they’ve returned with classic tracks like “After The Cosmic Rain” and “Medieval Overture,” and, of course Corea’s “Spain.” Two CDs and a DVD (and, an illustrated book from the band), a classic album from this year.
Fun Some Nights: Reminds me of the best ’80s music; I think this band and album was the surprise of the year. The title track, currently a Top Ten contender is nothing short of brilliant. Yes, even with the Indian instruments.
Donald Fagen Sunken Condos: The Dan-Man, Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen, returns for just a head-stopping new album. If you were/are a Dan-fan, this album is for you. Special kudos to “The Weather In My Head,” a brilliant follow up to “The Royal Scam.”
Frank Ocean Channel Orange: A brilliant vocalist and terrific album. Forget all the political-ramifications, every track here burns with intensity. A singer-songwriter from New Orleans, Ocean spent his early career as a songwriter for artists such as Brandy, Justin Bieber and John Legend. He’s up for six Grammy Awards this year, including Best Album for Channel Orange and Best Record for Thinkin’ About You.” Ocean also took a courageous stand this year by becoming the first rapper to acknowledge he’s gay. He also got in hot water for allegedly appropriating the melody from “Hotel California” for one of his own songs.
Dolenz, Celebrities Attend KLOS Christmas SpecialMonkee Micky Dolenz and celebrity author Mark Bego were at L. A.’s Nokia Theater last Thursday for the KLOS Christmas Special. Micky performed several of his Monkees hits, and even The Beatles’ “Oh! Darling.” Also on the bill were Al Jardine and Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, Don Felder of The Eagles, and The Doobie Brothers. Dolenz’ new album is entitled “Remember,” and Bego’s first novel is his 60th published book, “Murder at Motor City Records.” (Photo: Beth Wernick)
Names in the News
Tony Seidl, Tony DeStefano, Joel Diamond, Rebecca Holden, Glenn Friscia, Curtius Urbina, Brad LeBeau, Jim Burgess, Tony King, Sharon White, Bob Small, Steve Leeds, Roxy Myzel, Chelsey Northern, Jacqueline Boyd, Jim Kerr, David Salidor, Keith Girard, Pipeline Mgmt.