100) Danger Casanova – “Fuck Strut”
It seems appropriate to begin my list with a big, dumb, guilty pleasure, and really, what else could a song called “Fuck Strut” be? The video is charmingly low budget, the song is ridiculously low brow and the band is proudly low class. Hailing from North Dakota, they’re about as bar band as you can get, image clearly not meaning anything to these guys. Their sound is oddly reminiscent of Corrosion Of Conformity even though the music they play owes its debt more to AC/DC. My recommendation: don’t take this too seriously; it’s just good time rock n’ roll.
99) Avenged Sevenfold – “Hail To The King”
Avenged Sevenfold is one of a handful of classic metal revivalist bands that popped up in the mid-to-late 90’s when I wasn’t really paying attention. As a result I don’t have a great deal of history with them and their new stuff sounds fresh to me. This is the lead single from their most recent album and a good introduction to their sound.
98) Anna Kendrick – “Cups (Pitch Pefect’s When I’m Gone)”
I liked Anna Kendrick in the movie “Up In The Air” and then… she fell off my radar (outside of occasionally being pointed towards her hilarious Twitter account). I guess I just wasn’t the target audience for her follow-up films. To be honest I haven’t even seen the movie “Pitch Perfect” (nor do I really know anything about it). I only know this song because a friend’s daughter was apparently obsessed with the hand/cup thing and I watched a couple of homemade videos of the two of them doing it. That of course led to me tracking down the original so I had some context and damn if this isn’t one of the catchiest little songs ever. Another guilty pleasure in a long line of them to come.
97) Adrenaline Mob – “Barracuda”
Metal supergroup Adrenaline Mob followed up their excellent 2012 debut album Omerta with a full album of cover tunes, any number of which I could have placed on this list. But it was this version of the classic Heart tune that I loved the most, as I had long wanted a heavier band to take a stab at that fantastic riff. They’ve sped the song up just a hair, which works fine for me, and the male vocal gives the song a slightly different dimension. Most covers of famous songs will come up well short of being an improvement on the original, but sometimes it’s fun just to hear it anyway.
96) Alice In Chains – “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here”
This album was highly anticipated by me earlier this year and was among my fave albums for the first six months or so. Sadly it has dropped pretty far as I just don’t find myself going back to it and the songs aren’t holding up that well. The title track though is my favorite of the bunch, with a classic Jerry Cantrell swamp riff. They’ll never be the same without Layne Staley, but sometimes they come close.
95) Deep Purple – “Vincent Price”
Nobody expects a band like Deep Purple to suddenly become relevant again nearly 45 years after they first appeared on the scene, so naming a song after a long ago B-level horror movie actor isn’t quite the out-of-touch death knell it might be to another band. Which is good, because it’s a classic Purple track with some cool haunting keyboard splashes from new (yet old) keymaster Don Airey. Steve Morse’s guitar is a little too muted, but Ian Gillan’s pipes are as good as ever.
94) Fates Warning – “I Am”
Fates Warning slides in alongside Dream Theater as my two favorite prog-metal bands, but while DT has continued to pump out albums every two years, Fates has slowed to a crawl with their output, with nine years passing between the excellent FWX and this year’s Darkness In A Different Light. Prog-metal doesn’t lend itself well to “singles”, but after repeated listens this song tends to jump out at me a little more than the rest, so I figured it was worth slotting here in the upper tier. The overall album is phenomenal though and highly recommend for any fans of the genre. Ray Alder has to be one of the most criminally overlooked vocalists in metal history. His sound is incredible and he shows it off here.
93) Barbe-Q-Babies – “STFU”
I love it when the ladies rock out and that seems to be happening with greater regularity these days. Gone is the time when it was Lita Ford and Vixen and then a scattering of also-rans. Barbe-Q-Babies are an all-female band that takes the framework of Joan Jett and then piles a bit more attitude on top of it. Some of their earlier stuff actually calls to mind AC/DC with their attention to heavy riffage. This song is another un-PC number that makes no attempt to disguise it’s lyrics with innuendo, coming right out and saying what it means. No, you won’t be hearing this chorus on the radio, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t inherently singable. Bad boy rock done by bad girls instead. I ain’t got no problem with that.
92) Red Line Chemistry – “Paralyzed”
Part of the reason that Alice In Chains has fallen slightly out of favor with me this year is because of the rise of this band, another entry in the AIC-inspired sweepstakes (of which Godsmack were once the uncrowned kings). Red Line Chemistry’s album put AIC’s to shame and this debut single is a big reason why as they’ve captured a great deal of the energy of youth that Alice has lost. Love the camerawork in the video too.
91) Redrum – “Dust In Your Eyes”
Michael Bormann is a vocalist from Germany who has contributed to a number of quality but unknown melodic rock acts since the early 90’s, Jaded Heart being the most notable, which if you’ve never heard of them should say it all. Redrum is another such project and with their second album he’s not necessarily in danger of becoming a household name, not due to quality but rather due to the fact this style of music will never be trendy again. But if like me you’re a fan of 80’s muscle rock, this should please. There’s a southern feel to it but with a bit of polish thanks to some backing keyboards. Bormann at times comes across like a young Jon Bon Jovi and at others like Joe Lynn Turner and on this track it’s a perfect hybrid of the two.