NaNoWriMo 2017 Playlist

Hello everyone. It’s been a while since I’ve posted to this blog, but it’s National Novel Writing Month, and that means I’m in the mood for writing.

But I’ve noticed something over the years. Without good music, writing is difficult for me.

Every year I make a playlist for NaNoWriMo, usually consisting of the Lord of the Rings soundtrack and other instrumentals from fantasy movies. However, this year I am writing a contemporary fantasy/supernatural/YA novel.

Here’s my playlist for writing this year:

  • “Ramblin’ Bones” – Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown
  • “Could Have Been Me (Acoustic)” – The Struts
  • “Kiss This (Acoustic)” – The Struts
  • “Put Your Money On Me (Acoustic)” – The Struts
  • “Barefoot” – Mount Holly
  • “Feel About You” – Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie
  • “Edge of Darkness” – Greta Van Fleet
  • “Flower Power” – Greta Van Fleet
  • “Meet On the Ledge” – Greta Van Fleet
  • “Talk On the Street” – Greta Van Fleet
  • “New Man” – Ed Sheeran
  • “Slow 30’s Room” – David Lynch & Dean Hurley
  • “The Promise” – Chris Cornell
  • “My Monster” – Blondie
  • “Dark Mood Woods/ The Red Room” – Angelo Badalamenti
  • “The Sound of A” – Alice Cooper
  • “Your Own Drum” – Sully Erna
  • “Blue Skies” – Sully Erna
  • “Hometown Life” – Sully Erna
  • “Janie’s Got a Gun” – Steven Tyler (solo version)
  • “So Bad” – Brandon Skeie
  • “Running With the Dogs (Acoustic Version)” – The Treatment
  • “Human Race” – Three Days Grace
  • “Gravity” – Papa Roach
  • “Cry Baby” – The Neighbourhood
  • “Heartbeat” – David Cook
  • “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart” – Chris Cornell
  • “Before We Disappear” – Chris Cornell
  • “Storm” – Soundgarden
  • “Stay Awhile” – She & Him
  • “Make it Rain” – Ed Sheeran
  • “Runaway” – Ed Sheeran
  • “Something from Nothing” – Foo Fighters
  • “Left Hand Free” – alt-J
  • “Afraid” – The Neighbourhood
  • “Sweater Weather” – The Neighbourhood
  • “Let it Go” – The Neighbourhood
  • “I See Fire” – Ed Sheeran
  • “Black Saturday” – Soundgarden
  • “Love Reign O’er Me” – Joe Elliott & Rick Wakeman
  • “All On Your Touch[2012 Revisit]” – Def Leppard
  • “Hard to Believe” – David Cook
  • “Right Here, With You” – David Cook
  • “Paper Heart” – David Cook
  • “Dance Dance Dance” – Riverdale Cast
  • “I’ll Try” – Riverdale Cast
  • “Full Moon” – The Black Ghosts
  • “Tell Me” – Johnny Jewel
  • “The Last Goodbye” – David Cook
  • “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” – She & Him

AC/DC: Call it quits, retire

AC/DC is the greatest band in the world. Period.

So, you can imagine how exciting it was to see them live at the Tacoma Dome on February 2, 2016. It was amazing and easily the best concert I have ever been to.

But, upon hearing today that lead singer Brian Johnson can no longer perform because he will go deaf was heartbreaking. Not AC/DC. Not the greatest band ever.

What made me angry was that the band is looking for a new singer. Let’s get this straight: Hiring Johnson to replace Bon Scott was a fluke. It doesn’t happen that a and finds another great singer that can leave his own legacy.

AC/DC finding a new singer at this point in their career will alienate fans. I, for one, don’t think I can get behind a new singer. Any other band but AC/DC.

This leaves only one option: It’s time for AC/DC to retire. Malcolm Young is already out of the band, and Phil Rudd is too (although Chris Slade is a better drummer). That leaves only Angus Young and Cliff Williams from the 1980-present lineup.

AC/DC needs to end their career before they destroy it and lose their identify.

New Def Leppard album and single (!!!!)

Do the exclamation points give away my excitement?

Def Leppard is one of the best-selling musical acts in the world and one of the most recognizable names in rock music, yet lately they have been taking a back seat to making quality albums. They are best known for their hit albums Pyromania (1983) and Hysteria (1987), which together contained the songs “Photograph,” “Rock of Ages,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” and “Animal,” among many other hit singles. They continued their success with 1992’s Adrenalize and, too a lesser extent, their collective of b-sides called Retro Active in 1993.

The band changed their style of music for Slang in 1996 by stripping down and letting emotions fuel their music. This proved unsuccessful and the band returned to their signature sound in 1999 for Euphoria, which contained a #1 Rock hit with “Promises,” but lacked what the previous albums had. Then the band took a nose dive with 2002’s X and 2008’s Songs From the Sparkle Lounge. These albums were very hit and miss. The good songs were some of their best, but the bad songs were unbearable, and Def Leppard had never written any bad songs before X.

The live album in 2011 had three news songs on it, in which “It’s All About Believin'” was spectacular but the others were mediocre. Then the band focused on touring, creating the longest gap between studio albums. It had started to look like Def Leppard would never release another album.

But now Def Leppard is releasing a self-titled album on October 30 and they just released the lead single called “Let’s Go.” The song is one of the best the band has done since the millennium, which makes the rest of the album very promising.

Finally some good music

2015 is finally starting to give us some good music, but unfortunately it won’t change the stripped down indie rock trend or the too electronic and fake pop music out there. The problem is that most of the good music coming out now days is by bands and artists who have been around for a long time. There aren’t a lot of new artists that are venturing into hard rock.

Already this year Wednesday 13 released his newest album Monsters of the Universe: Come Out and Plague, which while good isn’t up to par with his last two albums. Then Kid Rock and Blackberry Smoke released albums that had promise but really didn’t take off.

Marilyn Manson released his best album in a decade with The Pale Emperor, showing that his best days are not behind him. Then ’80s glam band Trixter released a not-so-great album that included “Rockin’ til the Edge of the Night,” the best song of the year in my opinion.

Now rock albums seem to be coming out daily.


Disturbed released their 6th album last week, which is their best since their debut. The songs “The Vengeful One” and “What Are You Waiting For” are standouts, although a handful of them have found a place among the top rock songs on the iTunes charts for the past month and received radio airplay.

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi just released a new album that is so embarrassing and rushed that I want to cry. Not really, but the album is terrible. It shouldn’t be a surprise seeing as What About Now in 2013 and The Circle back in 2009, I think, were also under par. The surprise is that there is a gem in the track “I’m Your Man,” which is the most hard rocking song Bon Jovi has released since 2005. Still, it doesn’t make up for the rest of the album.

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden is back with its first album since 2010, which is due out in October. The album’s first single “Speed of Light” is a bit underwhelming for an Iron Maiden lead single, but it still rocks. If the rest of the album is at least as good as this single I’ll probably buy it.

Chris Cornell

I’m a big fan of Soundgarden and I really enjoyed Chris Cornell’s time in Audioslave, but I’ve never enjoyed Chris Cornell’s solo albums as a whole. There are a few songs I’m okay with, but I’ve never purchased a Chris Cornell album. His work in the last few years has been mediocre at best and not up to par with his past work, until now.

His new album, titled Higher Truth, will be released in September. The lead single is perhaps the best Chris Cornell has sounded since Audioslave and it shows him going back to his alt rock style that everyone misses. I bought the song the day it came out and I love hearing it on the radio.


I love Queensryche. Operation: MindCrime and Empire are some of the greatest albums ever made, but Queensryche has struggled to find a consistent style and to regain its lost popularity. I saw them live a few years ago and I was underwhelmed. Their stage presence was boring and Geoff Tate just didn’t have it anymore. This showed on the many albums released throughout the past decade, especially American Soldier and Dedicated to Chaos (although the single “Get Started” from DtC was actually quite good). When the band split with Tate and hired Todd la Torre as vocalist, I was excited. This new guy has some pipes!

Then the album Queensryche was released, and although it wasn’t bad, it was boring. It didn’t have any hit material or standout songs. It showed an improvement, but also that there was still a long way to go. Now the band is back with their album Condition Human, set to be released in October. The song “Arrow of Time” sounds like a song from the band’s 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime, just not as catchy. I’m hopeful that the new album will be better than the last one, and all of the others released from 1999 to 2011.

Collective Soul

I’ve never owned a Collective Soul album or song in my life, but I’ve heard them on the radio over the years. I actually like them, although I didn’t realize that until I heard some of the songs from their new album and then looked up their old ones I had heard on the radio.

Collective Soul’s new album See What You Started By Continuing will be released on October, the same day as the aforementioned Queensryche album. The album’s lead singles are good and show that the band can continue to make good music that doesn’t stray to far from what made them successful.

Def Leppard

We’ve been promised a new Def Leppard album for a few years now, but the band has said multiple times that it will be out sometime this fall. On Aug. 27 vocalist Joe Elliott confirmed that it is finished and will be out before the end of the year to Grand Forks Herald, saying the album will be called simply Def Leppard. If everything the band has been saying is true, the album will be more like ’70s classic rock than Def Leppard, which is fine by me. Elliott sounds great singing Elton John and Mott the Hoople and their Queen-like songs throughout their career have been very haunting.

My favorite album from each year

Last year I attempted to post a detailed list of my 3 favorite albums from each year from 1970 to 2013. I never finished the list, although I had posted 1970 up to 2002 here on this blog. Now my musical tastes have changed, so I made a new list that is much larger and simpler.

  • 1967 – Big Brother & the Holding Company – Big Brother & the Holding Company (Janis Joplin)
  • 1968 – Beggars Banquet – The Rolling Stones
  • 1969 – Led Zeppelin I – Led Zeppelin
  • 1970 – American Beauty – The Grateful Dead
  • 1971 – IV – Led Zeppelin
  • 1972 – Exile on Main Street – The Rolling Stones
  • 1973 – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John
  • 1974 – KISS – KISS
  • 1975 – Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – Rainbow
  • 1976 – Rock and Roll Over – KISS
  • 1977 – Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
  • 1978 – Powerage – AC/DC
  • 1979 – Highway to Hell – AC/DC
  • 1980 – Back in Black – AC/DC
  • 1981 – For Those About to Rock – AC/DC
  • 1982 – Screaming for Vengeance – Judas Priest
  • 1983 – Pyromania – Def Leppard
  • 1984 – 1984 – Van Halen
  • 1985 – Heart – Heart
  • 1986 – Turbo – Judas Priest
  • 1987 – Hysteria – Def Leppard
  • 1988 – Open Up & Say…Ahh! – Poison
  • 1989 – Dr. Feelgood – Motley Crue
  • 1990 – The Razors Edge – AC/DC
  • 1991 – No More Tears – Ozzy Osbourne
  • 1992 – Adrenalize – Def Leppard
  • 1993 – Candlebox – Candlebox
  • 1994 – Jar of Flies – Alice in Chains
  • 1995 – Ballbreaker – AC/DC
  • 1996 – Slang – Def Leppard
  • 1997 – Nine Lives – Aerosmith
  • 1998 – Sunburn – Fuel
  • 1999 – Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • 2000 – Something Like Human – Fuel
  • 2001 – Time Bomb – Buckcherry
  • 2002 – And the Dancehall Doctors – Tim McGraw
  • 2003 – Meteora – Linkin Park
  • 2004 – Show & Tell – Silvertide
  • 2005 – Tommyland: the Ride – Tommy Lee
  • 2006 – The Paramour Sessions – Papa Roach
  • 2007 – Runnin’ Wild – Airbourne
  • 2008 – Black Ice – AC/DC
  • 2009 – Metamorphosis – Papa Roach
  • 2010 – No Guts. No Glory – Airbourne
  • 2011 – Balls Out – Steel Panther
  • 2012 – Amaryllis – Shinedown
  • 2013 – The Dixie Dead – Wednesday 13
  • 2014 – Rock or Bust – AC/DC
  • 2015 so far – The Pale Emperor – Marilyn Manson

Band of the week: Van Halen

Van Halen is one of the greatest bands to ever exist. They started out with David Lee Roth on vocals, releasing six amazing hard rock albums from 1978 to 1984. Then the band picked up the red rocker, Sammy Hagar on vocals. With Hagar they released four albums on par with Roth’s work with the band from 1986 – 1995.

Like many Van Halen fans I choose to forget about the Van Halen III album in 1998 and their newest 2012 studio effort with Roth, A Different Kind of Truth. The latter just shows that Diamond Dave isn’t shining so bright anymore.

Still, the band has left a legacy and I chose them as band of the week because I have been on a Van Halen kick. Yesterday I listened to Van Halen, Van Halen II, Women and Children First, Fair Warning, and Diver Down. Today I listened to 1984, 5150, and OU812. I will finish listening to the other Hagar albums tonight. It feels great to own all of these great albums and I hope that if you are not a fan currently that you will give them a listen.

Here are a few of my favorite Van Halen songs:

Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love (1978)

So This is Love (1981)

Finish What Ya Started (1988)

Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do) (1995)

Band of the week: Silvertide

Silvertide is one of the greatest bands to emerge in the modern era of music. Why? Silvertide stays true to the hard rock sound that everyone else was so quick to abandon.

Silvertide released one album, Show & Tell, in 2004 and toured in support of major rock acts such as Van Halen and Motley Crue, even earning a performance on Jimmy Kimmel. Then their record label went under and they seemed to completely disappear from view.

Guitarist Nick Perri went on to play with Shinedown and many solo projects, as did other members of the band.

In 2014 they released their first new work in ten years, the single, “Try Try Try,” and announced plans for a new EP or album in the future, which I am extremely excited for.

Ain’t Coming Home (2004)

Blue Jeans (2004)

Try Try Try (2014)

Expanding my music library

Today I managed to spend $13. That doesn’t sound like much, but with that $13 I was able to come home with quite a few new pieces of music for my growing music library.

For $3 I bought three records from an antique store that were in great condition. One was a Frank Sinatra record, one was a Dean Martin record, and the final one was Elvis Presley’s famous Christmas album. $1 vinyl is a steal, especially for albums as good as those.

I thought that my spending was done for the day, but I was greatly mistaken. I had to go to the mall for an appointment with my optometrist to check on my eye infection (which has gotten better, but it is still not cured) but I ended up spending a few minutes talking with an old friend and I bought Marilyn Manson’s new album, The Pale Emperor, at Target. I was considering purchasing Godsmack’s newest album as well but decided against it.

As I write this I am blasting Manson and I am greatly impressed. It is definitely his best album in many many years.

Band of the week: Airbourne

Airbourne is a rock band that started just a few years back. They have released three amazing, hard-rocking albums much in the same vain as legendary rock band AC/DC.

They are one of the best modern bands because they chose not to follow the boring mainstream rock trend like everyone else and instead stuck to rock’s roots.