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If you're stuck in 1997 like me, the new Third Eye Blind cd came out today. It's available for download on Amazon.com for $3.99.
http://www.amazon.com/Ursa-Major/dp/B002LFRXFC/ref=dm_cd_album_lnk?..."

If you're a fan of the band, this is not a bad album. It's more than worth $3.99.

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Going Through My CD Collection:

Doctor Who Series 7 Original Television Soundtrack - A two-disk set of more Murray Gold music. For big fans of Murray's music and/or sad completists like me.

Chicago has a new album and is touring with REO Speedwagon.

http://chicago-now.com/

Going Through My CD Collection:

 

Monster Ballads XMas - Various artists.  This was given to me. It's Christmas songs as done by various bands like Skid Row, Queensryche, Dokken and Stryper.  Not my usual stuff, but listenable.

My list for the best albums of 2014, in no particular order:

Bruce Springsteen, High Hopes: Bruce's album of recent rarities drew mixed reviews when it debuted back in January but I loved it right away.  Every song was great and the album had a wonderful sense of variety and spontaneity.  I'm glad that critics are coming around to my point of view.  Rolling Stone named "High Hopes" its second best album of the year and Allmusic.com has it featured as one of its top albums for 2014.

Jack White, Lazaretto: White's second solo album is nearly as incredible as his first.  It's got hard, driving guitars and lyrics that are alternately poignant and whimsical.  His High Ball Stepper is one of the best instrumentals I've heard in years. 

Lenny Kravitz, Strut: I got back on the Lenny Kravitz fan train after he reestablished himself on his last couple of albums (It Is Time for a Love Revolution, 2008, and Black and White America, 2011).  Strut continues Lenny's winning streak with killer hooks, catchy lyrics and his inimitable sense of style.  Strut, baby, strut! 

Ed Sheeran, X: Sheeran may be the new favorite of teeny-boppers around the world but he's also an excellent songwriter who seamlessly combines rap and folk sensibilities.  Sing, Don't, Nina, Tenerife Sea, Thinking Out Loud, Afire Love, X is packed with one great song after another.  I also appreciate that Sheeran is expanding his lyrical vocabulary- singing about his grandfather's Alzheimer's on Afire Love as well as his usual fare about falling in and out of love.

New Pornographers, Brill Bruisers: I'm a latecomer to the New Pornographers but don't hold that against me.  I love the lyrical energy of their latest album and the interplay between their many voices.  This is an album I can play over and over, and I've already found myself anticipating the songs before they begin.  The title track, Champions of Red Wine, Fantasy Fools, War on the East Coast, Wide Eyes, Dancehall Domine- this is another album packed with great tracks. 

Leonard Cohen, Popular Problems: If you know me at all, you know that a new Leonard Cohen album is an automatic for a best of list.  But Leonard isn't resting on his laurels here.  Slow is a beautiful- and danceable- tune.  Almost Like the Blues is excellent.  Did I Ever Love You is haunting.  Plus, Leonard is surprisingly optimistic on this album with the closing tune You Got Me Singing.

Chuck Prophet, Night Surfer: The obscure San Francisco rocker has become one of my favorite artists in recent years and I'm delighted to say that his latest album is another masterpiece.  I already liked this album but after seeing him sing half of the songs in concert, I love it even more.  Prophet is at his best on the mid-tempo songs when he's telling a story, as in Wish Me Luck, Tell Me Anything and Truth Will Out, but he's also great when he rocks out as on Countrified Inner City Technological Man and Ford Econoline.

The Pixies, Indie Cindy: My wife doesn't like this album because of the screaming distortion at the beginning and critics don't like either because it sounds too much or not enough like their old stuff, but I adore it.  It's perfect for long car drives by yourself with its headbanging guitars, musical diversity and interesting lyrics.

Aloe Blacc, Lift Your Spirit: I haven't listened to this album as much as I would have liked because my wife sequestered it in her car but I like it more every time I hear it.  The lead single, The Man, is one of the best songs of the year.  But there's also surprising depth with Love is the Answer, Here Today and Ticking Bomb. 

Chrissie Hynde, Stockholm: I was a little iffy about Hynde's first solo project when it was first announced but once I brought it home, I was wowed.  Hynde combines killer hooks with world-weary lyrics that capture the ear and the imagination.  I don't know why it's called Stockholm but other that that, I love everything about it. 

Honorable Mentions:

John Mellencamp, Plain Spoken: There are some excellent thought-provoking songs on this album like Sometimes There's God, Freedom of Speech and The Courtesy of Kings, but for now, it's a little too  similar-sounding to crack the top ten.  Top eleven though?  Yeah, that sounds about right.

Eric Church, The Outsiders: I don't listen to a lot of country music but Church made it onto my radar thanks to his rock 'n' roll and outlaw influences.  The anthemic title track is amazing and the rest of the album is pretty good too.  It's the best country album I've heard in a while, though Willie Nelson's Band of Brothers was another strong contender with its witty lyrics and barebones approach. 

Important Disclosures:

U2, Songs of Innocence and Weezer, Everything Will Be Alright in the End: These two albums have been lauded by fans and critics alike as a return to form for two of my favorite bands.  But, unlike everybody else apparently, I liked How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, No Line on the Horizon, Raditude and Hurley while the new albums haven't wowed me.  They may win me over given time- it wouldn't be the first time an album grew on me after I was initially unimpressed- but for now, I'm the odd one out.

I forgot that I meant to be posting these in this thread and not the other one. Oh, well...

 

Going Through My Vinyl Collection:

 

The Big Ben Banjo Band Plays the Best of the Oldies - Another one from my Dad's collection.  Instrumental versions of  1920's songs: "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover", "Japanese Sandman", "Swanee", "Chicago" and others.  Nice background music for when you're reading.

 

Battle of New Orleans - Johnny Horton.  Another one of my Dad's.  I saved this one for the title song, an old favorite of mine. The rest of it is listenable, also.

 

The Man With the Golden Gun - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Dad's again. It's funny - he hated James Bond as a character but really liked John Barry's music, so he had all these Bond soundtracks but I don't think you could have paid him to go see a Bond film.

 

The Best of Rudy Vallee - One more from the Old Man's collection. More nice background music. Familiar songs include "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries", "As Time Goes By", "The Whiffenpoof Song", and "The Drunkard Song".

Going Through My CD Collection:

 

Two new additions:

 

Cheek to Cheek - Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. They cover lots of swell old songs, like "Anything Goes", "I Can't Give You Anything But Love", and "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't GotThat Swing)".  These two work well together. Fun stuff.

 

Nostalgia - Annie Lennox.  She covers various songs, including "Georgia On My Mind", "I Put a Spell On You",  "Summertime", "Strange Fruit" and "God Bless the Child".  Good stuff. She's got a beautiful, haunting voice that really suits this kind of music.

Going Through My Vinyl Collection:

 

The TV Theme Song Sing-Along Collection - Lots of TV themes. My favorites are Desi Arnaz singing the I Love Lucy theme, and Andy Griffith singing the little-known lyrics to his show's theme.

 

Hooked on Classic II - Louis Clark conducting the RoyalPhilharmonic Orchestra with the Royal Choral Society. Snippets of classical and other music witha sor tof back beat behind them.  I loved this at the time, now I find it kind of bland.

 

Cool Water - Sons of the Pioneers. Another one of my Dad's.  Listenable old country music.  They do a good cover of "Riders in the Sky", an old favorite of mine.

Going Through My Vinyl Collection:

 

A Folksinger's Choice - Theodore Bikel. Another one of my father's A fun collection of songs from around the world.  My favorite tracks are "Away With Rum" and "Co-Operative Cookies".

Going Through My Vinyl Collection:

 

Two more from my Dad:

 

A Wee Bit o' the Highlands - Andy Stewart. More Scottish fun. My favorite track on this is "Marie's Wedding", which would make a good hiking song.

 

Inside Shel Silverstein - What I always found impressive about Silverstein was that while he could do fun (if twisted) stuff like "You're Always Welcome At Our House", ne could also do chilling stuff like "25 Minutes to Go".

Going Through My Vinyl Collection:

 

Marlene's Dietrich's Berlin - Songs in German.  I've always liked her singing voice.

 

Hooked on Classics - Louis Clark conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  I thought I had volume one of this around somewhere.  Nice background music.

Going Through My Vinyl Collection:

 

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Another old favorite. This one is rather a it scratchy, as we all used to love to play it.  Gotta love that Ennio Morricone.

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