2017: A Sense of Loss
Like any year, we lose amazing artists whose contributions were immense. 2017 seemed to be an especially sad year. Some I couldn’t even image what rock music would be like (Fats Domino and Chuck Berry).
But I was also hit hard by the artists who left much sooner than we wanted or expected.
- Chris Cornell: This one hit me like a ton of bricks. I came of age as a music fan just as the grunge era kicked it into high gear. Chris was at the center of everything. Its not hyperbole to rank him as one of the most powerful rock singers of all-time. I distinctly remember hearing Jesus Christ Pose for the first time and being completely blown away. His acoustic instrumental, Seasons, from the Singles Soundtrack, is one of my favorite songs of all time.
- Chester Bennington: I wasn’t a big fan of Linkin Park. That being said, my word that guy could sing his ass off. Some people can sing, others scream, but how many scream like they’re singing?
- Tom Petty: Tom was always there. Full Moon Fever was probably his greatest album, yet its hard to say its better than Damn The Torpedoes. On the other end of the scale, he never seemed to mail in any records either. He just pumped out hits every few years and in time had built a complete canon of great work. After all of the other deaths, I remember my friend Shawn texting me “now Tom Petty too…” and I was just in disbelief. Gone too soon.
- For a more complete list, see this article from the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/19/obituaries/musicians-who-died.html
Remastering The Past
One welcome development in the past few years has been the wave of remasters being put out by artists. While I have some hesitation for some editions because I fear they are just going to be “loud” albums, I have been pleased with the resulting work.
A couple highlights was the OKNOTOK collection from Radiohead, a remastering of OK Computer, which I think is the greatest album made in the 1990s.
I have long wished for remasters from Metallica, particularly Master of Puppets and …And Justice For All. My friend Alex disagrees, particularly with …And Justice For All. Well, Metallica did put out a remastered Master of Puppets and I can say it sounds spectacular. Metallica has had a reputation for being too loud and compressed on their last couple albums with Rick Rubin, but I felt the sound was crisp, clear, and fresh. Not bad considering this is the greatest album ever made. Hard to believe its been 31 years since it came out.
No New Tool Album
No new Tool album, no end in sight. I suspect I will be writing the same thing at the end of 2018.
An Incomplete List of Some of my favorites from 2017
On Another Ocean (January / June) by Fleet Foxes
Lucky Man by Jim James (Cover)
No Wolf Like The Present by At The Drive-In
Oh Baby by LCD Soundsystem
Total State Machine by KMFDM
The Story of O.J.
The May Queen by Robert Plant
Happy Hour by Weezer
Hail To The Chief by Prophets of Rage
Hallelujah by Logic
Farewell by UNKLE
Hot Thoughts by Spoon
Nobody Else Will Be There by The National
Jaguar God by Mastodon