Who says rock is dead? With 2011 bringing monumental releases from Foo Fighters, Chickenfoot, Blink-182 and more, this year may go down as the year that rock was reborn, once again taking center stage! Gibson.com ran through the various rock releases that hit stores and online this year to assemble our Top 10 Rock Albums of 2011. Do you agree? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section, below, and Happy 2012!
10. Beastie Boys, Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2
It’s no secret that Beastie Boys have deeply dedicated fans. So, when the band’s long-awaited, eighth studio album finally arrived in April, it’s no surprise that Beastie fans were all a frenzy. The album’s release was delayed after founding member Adam “MCA” Yauch was diagnosed with cancer, and with the news that he’s doing well, this album serves as a sort of victory dance for Yauch and his fans. Musically, nothing comes closer to classic, Check Your HeadBeasties than this set, with lead single “Make Some Noise” bringing a catchy groove, fuzz-toned instrumentals and explosive rap-rock vocals.
9. Chickenfoot, Chickenfoot3
Sammy Hagar-fronted, hard-hitting supergroup Chickenfoot yield plenty of mainstream, blues-infested rock with their sophomore album, Chickenfoot3. Hard rock ditties such as “Last Temptation” and “Something Gone Wrong” remind listeners that rock, indeed, is rooted in blues, with a blues-infested energy and rawness. Moreover, the album’s variety shows that Hagar and his troupe of bass player Michael Anthony, drummer Chad Smith and guitarist Joe Satriani know how to rock hard and turn it down a notch, if needed, leaving much for the classic rock connoisseur to enjoy.
8. Blink-182, Neighborhoods
Back in 2005, Blink-182 went on an “indefinite hiatus,” leaving fans to believe their favorite punk-pop trio would never regroup. Thankfully, the tiff between members dissipated in 2009, and the guys reunited for a North American tour. Still, new music was in order. Tom DeLonge , Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker at long last put together their sixth studio album, Neighborhoods, and popped it out in September. Buoyed by catchy lead single, “Up All Night” -- a three-chord punk limerick that packets energy and quirky, upbeat lyrics -- the album manifests all that is classic Blink-182: youth, fun and rebellion.
7. Black Country Communion, 2
A supergroup toting four famous British and American hard rock personalities was bound to draw major interest from the greater rock contingent. Black Country Communion -- featuring bass player and vocalist Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple, expert drummer Jason Bonham, keyboardist Derek Sherinian of Dream Theater and blues-rock guitar guru Joe Bonamassa – bring more than empty buzz with their second studio album, 2, which arrived in June. 2 carries catching, real-thing blues-rock, connecting the dots between delicate, intricate instruments and epic, classic rock bluster.
6. Staind, Staind
With Aaron Lewis taking a musical detour into the country life, fans weren’t sure quite what to expect for the band’s seventh studio album, out last September. What they got, however, was a set of the heaviest Staind tracks yet. “Not Again,” the first single off the self-titled release, maintains the kind of size and brutality of Staind’s 1999 debut,Dysfunction, and it might even be a tad heavier, carrying a set of alternative metal songs to please any disciple of post-grunge.
5. Evanescence, Evanescence
Goth-inspired starlet Amy Lee and her rock band Evanescence took five years between their sophomore album, The Open Door, and their self-titled, third studio release. At one point, there was even a question whether Mrs. Lee would just go solo and retire Evanescence for good. Instead, she decided to go the group route, and she sat down with her chosen band members and wrote a complete album, song by song, as a unified whole. The set carries grace and consistency, from the moody, gloomy alternative rock of “The Change” to the pulsating, driving heavy music of lead single, “What You Want,” making this a picture-perfect third album for the Arkansas troupe.
4. Primus, Green Naugahyde
Primus’ first full-length in 11 years, Green Naugahyde, has bass prodigy Les Claypool and company spitting out scatterbrained bass guitar and drum grooves, colorful lyrics and biting, madcap guitar lines. By now, Primus have nothing to prove when it comes to musicianship and proficiency. Instead, the focus is on the personality and persona that is Primus, with tracks that vary from psychedelic and almost menacing (“Green Ranger”) to über-groovy and cool (“Last Salmon Man”). Of course, Claypool’s dizzying slap-and-pop bass leaves its stamp across the set. Green Naugahyde is the album Primus fans hoped Claypool would serve up, and it’s one of the band’s most notable LPs.
3. Sixx:A.M., This is Gonna Hurt
Mötley Crüe bass player Nikki Sixx’s outfit Sixx: A.M. delivers a classic, one-two punch with their sophomore album, This Is Gonna Hurt. As with the band’s debut album, The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack, this compilation resonates with deeply personal, confessional lyrics and a staggering, modern metal pulse. Between DJ Ashba’s coiling guitar work and Sixx’s classic, in-the-pocket hard rock groove, the set delivers both musically and emotionally. We love that Sixx is succeeding on his own, plus keeping his “day job” with ‘80s metal kingpins Mötley Crüe.
2. Red Hot Chili Peppers, I'm With You
When the Red Hot Chili Peppers unleashed I’m With You -- their first studio album since 2006’s double-LP, Stadium Arcadium -- the big question was, “What are the Peppers going to sound like without John Frusciante?” While fans will never forget Frusciante’s crucial influence, it came as a refreshing surprise that I’m With You, featuring the intricate guitar work of Josh Klinghoffer, still sounded, well, like the Peppers. The album is signature Chili Peppers, channeling a charming, funk-rock vibe that has the cool groove of the Chili Peppers’ catalog to a tee.
1. Foo Fighters, Wasting Light
Foo Fighters are possibly the only group in alternative rock to enjoy repeated success on the charts and on tour without any drop in popularity. There’s a good reason for that: Dave Grohl and his amazing knack for churning out elegant, hook-rich rock songs and melodies that stick in one’s head for days. On 2011’s Wasting Light, Dave Grohl and his counterparts prove that -- as Grohl often states -- “rock is not dead,” with a triumphant, colorful album that entered the Billboard 200 at a strong No. 1. Musically, Wasting Light delivers pure, memorable rock, with several tracks already scraping the top of the charts, including “Rope,” “Walk” and “These Days.” As for the Foos’ camaraderie, this album brings back Nirvana bass player Krist Novoselic, guitarist Pat Smear and producer Butch Vig for one historical effort. Wasting Light is everything that’s right with rock ‘n’ roll, and for that, it’s Gibson.com‘s #1 Rock Album of 2011.
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