Tag Archives: luke coombs

2022 Albums of the Year Countdown: Revelry, Theater, & Therapy [Songs Ranked 18-10]

6 Dec

The Logistics (skip if you don’t care about math and the quantitative stuff):

I only judged good and up ranked songs this year.  I threw out OK, meh, and skip bc with streaming those will no longer get listened to.  Also, I did a percent of good and up songs per number on the album.  Because just stacking an album with garbage songs shouldn’t rank higher either.  You have to have good, great awesome songs, no matter the number of tracks.  I added the % of tracks that were good and above on the album to the score of the level (elite, A, Gr, G) for the final scores.  Highest is best.

Elite 6; awesome 5; A-Gr cusp 4.5; Great 4; Gr-G cusp 3.5; Good 3; G-N cusp 1; Neutral -1; N-M cusp -2; Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6

For the two bands that put their albums out in installments (Weezer and Young the Giant, Imagine Dragon doesn’t count because I already ranked their entire 1st installment last year) I am going to judge them separately, but also as one unit.  So I’ll place each installment in their ranked position, but then I’ll also do a fifth entry for each band judging it as one album.

One last note: I went back and fourth on Brandi. She released some obvious Grammy reminder music this year. They are different versions of her 2021 album, but it’s still the same album pretty much. Other artists like the Indigo Girls have released a double album with rock on one disc and acoustic on the other. And the price point might have been a bit more expensive than just a single disc. But Brandi released her separately–to get more albums sold, acquire more streams, and remind everybody that last year’s album is Grammy nominated. But I think the acoustic version was even more expensive than my signed copy of the original album, and that plus the cheatee numbers game left a bad taste in my mouth. If it had not been one of my top-tier favorite artists of all time, I would have thrown the copycat album away and not bothered ranking it. But it’s Brandi, so I included it. And she’s amazing so of course it ranked high. But I counted it as a half number so as not to throw off the totally legit albums in the ranking. So there’s that, Brandi is making me messy. Again.

Ok, Weezer is really messing up my ranking because they aren’t releasing their fourth installment of this concept album until December 21.  I told me I would only rank my A+ favorites after October 21st.  I had to finish the countdown by the time Midnights dropped so I could focus on that.  And I like to post this prior to Christmas on the first week of December, while anybody is still paying attention to things aside from the holiday.  BUT I have ranked ¾ of Weezer’s material.  I might stop if it had been mediocre and toward the bottom since it wouldn’t make that much of a difference if they were 35th place rather than 39th, for example.  But they are nudging the top spot without 7 more songs!  So what I’m going to do is post this with them in their mathematical position, but then edit to include Winter in late December, which may change up the whole top of the list…

From lowest to highest:


Red hot chili peppers: 64.71% + 39 = 103.71 Final

11 out of total 17 = 64.71%

1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

4.5+12+10.5+12 = 39

They are weirdly enough still their authentic selves after all this time. The album was familiar yet new. They have a formula–and it works for them.

Tippa my tongue- sings similar to Giveitaway. Funky guitar. G-Gr 

Peace and love- funky interlude. G.

Eddie – wails on guitar. Funk. 70s. Gr.

Fake as fuck- catchy. Funky guitar. Spacey, psychedelic bridge. Trumpet! Gr-A

Roulette- G

My cigarette- I absolutely love the music on this track!  It would probably be an awesome if was about anything else.  Anything! Singing about the killer cigarettes is yuck. Smoking is unhygienic, gross, and literally tied to a bunch of cancers and health problems.  I understand cigarettes are small potatoes once you’ve done heroin, but still…  G

Afterlife- Gr

Shoot me a smile- G

The drummer- catchy. Funky guitar. Nice beat. G-Gr

Bag of grin- darker. Fast backing is interesting. Chorus has a nervana sound. Gr.

Copperbelly- G-Gr


Marcus Mumford:  80%+24.5 = 104.5 Final

8 of 10 total songs = 80%

1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 7 Good 3

3.5+21 = 24.5

I liked the album, but feel like it needs something. I can’t quite put my finger on it…

Cannibal- singing sounds like band. Softly angry. G-Gr

Grace- nice singing. Catchy. Drawn out words are nice. Double voice on bridge adds. Guitar breakdown is interesting. G .

Prior warning- quiet. Sparse. Chimes. Shooting noise. G.

Dangerous game- interesting. Sounds like the singing I liked from the band. G.

Better angels- more rock. G.

Go in light-vsings with feeling. G

Stonecatcher- haunting. Duet goes well. Piano. G.

How- Brandi always sounds perfect. She is awesome at meeting the vibe. And of course notes/harmonies. Sounds great together.


Luke Combs:  75%+31 = 106

9 of 12 total songs = 75%

2 Great 4; 4 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 3 Good 3

8+14+9 = 31

Doin This- a lot of heart. Shows genuine love for music not just fame. G-Gr 

Any given Friday night- tailgate song! Relatable. Small Town fun. References John mellencamp. G

The kind of love we make- catchy. Love song. The singing has urgency to it. G-Gr 

On the other line- mirraccas! Fishing instead of being with his gal. Unapologetic. Double meaning of line. G-Gr 

Outrunnin your memory- catchy. Miranda sounds perfect with him. Gr.

Used to wish I was- story of a failed fb career but it was fate that brought him here. Embracing who he is. G-Gr.

Ain’t far from it- catchy! References Allen Jackson. Good syncopated beat. Fun. Gr

Call me- he figures Even if she’s bitter he’s still on her mind. G.

Going going gone- descriptive and visual. Comparisons. G.


Dropkick Murphys:  80%+27 = 107 Final

8 out of 10 total sons = 80%

1 awesome 5; 2 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 5 Good 3

5+7+15 = 27

All you fonies- G

Cadillac Cadillac- G

Dig a hole- country western. Guitar changes their sound a lot. G.

The last one- harmonica. Pro- Blue collar work. Workers rights. G.

Never got drunk no more- a conversation. Hungover person says they’ll never drink again. The wife knows it’s been said before and doesn’t believe it. G-Gr.

Ten Times More- G-Gr.

Water are a’risi- G

Where Trouble is at- A



9 of 12 total songs = 75.00% + 33 = 108 Final

1 awesome 5; 1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 1 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 3 Good 3

5+4.5+4+10.5+9 = 33

Overall, I love the positive vibes, I love loving yourself and your friends.  This album seemed like a lot of therapy has taken place, and is doing the talking.  The positivity is a good post-Covid sentiment to push.  I know it’s about Lizzo’s Twitter wars and how that caused her trauma.  I’m glad she could write this album to help process that pain in a constructive way.  As society, we need to find a middle ground on weight.  The 90’s Kate Moss look was dangerous.  But being morbidly obese is also dangerous.  We shouldn’t bully, but not intervening (in either direction) when someone is literally killing themselves is just not enough either.  On a completely different note, I got big, bi-vibes from a lot of these songs.  

The Sign- references quarantine. Cool electric guitar sounds. G-Gr.

About damn time- very disco. Used disco samples-fun. The hustle flute and I’m comin out Tonight lyrics. A little on the nose. Gr.

Grrrls- valuing friends and women. Empower. Bi-girl energy. G.

2b ready (to be loved)- more disco samples. Empower. G

I love you bitch- empowering song about self-love. Tals about struggles . A 

Special- Rhymes video with video. Talks about race, weight, loneliness, and self-esteem. More self-love and love for others. Empowering. Gr-A

Special- empowering. Self love. Propping others up. G-Gr.

Everybody’s Gay- no they’re not. Is that Thriller sampled? It’s hilarious that she references Michael Jackson in a song with gay in the title. Spectacular keyboard. G-Gr 

If you love me – more empowering and self-love. Does the MJ woo!  I like the sentiment very much, but don’t like the fat-positive movement-it’s literally dangerous.  That’s not to say I want bullying, or pro-anorexia, but weight does impact health negatively in many different ways.  G.


Panic at the Disco: 75% + 33.5 = 108.5 Final

9 of 12 total songs = 75%

2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 3 Good 3

9+12+3.5+9 = 33.5

I still don’t know when Brendan did, or why everyone is calling him problematic.  So I went ahead and ranked a band I really liked way back when. I didn’t research the album but my overall impression was that it’s theatric. I’m not sure if it’s an actual soundtrack or play or something, but it could be.

Viva Las Vengeance- I love the energy behind this. The notes always move me. There is a show tune quality to it.  Notes! Gr-A 

Middle of a Breakup- relatable. Notes. Idk much about theater but this song also seems show tune adjacent so I’m wondering if this is a concept album. Meatloaf quality. G.

Don’t Let the Lights go out- notes. Heart beat. G.

Star Spangled Banner- def theater. Never saw Rent, but this seems like it could fit in there. Verse reminds me of Billie Joel. Nice orchestral at end. Gr.

God Killed Rock and Roll- very Queen. Like exact rip- of their everything. Notes. Gr-A 

Something About Maggie- cross between Queen Amie Mann and show tune. Brass is nice.  Notes. I like the circusy interlude. Nice trumpet at end. G-Gr.

Sad clown- Dichotomy between the happy energetic music and angsty lyrics. Notes and notes and notes! Gr.

All by yourself- slow. Reminds me of wonder years Beatles theme at first. Notes. G

Do it to Death- sounds like a commercial ad. Choppy transitions.



Imagine Dragons:  66.67+42 = 108.67 Final

12 of 18 total songs = 66.67%

1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 5 Good 3

4.5+12+10.5+15 = 42

It was like there were two writers on this album. Some of the songs were very screamy and some were the sound I liked from prior albums. The discs are very–I’m in therapy. Which is fine, and sometimes uplifting. Not their best work.

Bones- catchy. Distortion. Electronic snips. Just enough screamy.


Sympathy- interesting comparisons. Flute? Ownnawannapia. Gr.

Sharks- foreboding. Claps that aren’t Ott pop. Like the pace of comin to get you. Whisper used to good effect. Like a horror movie. Gr.

I Don’t Like Myself- someone had therapy. Introspective. Gr-A 

Blur- Gr.

Higher Ground- syncopation. Reminiscent of their earlier work. G-Gr 

Take a Easy- channeling Weezer. Catchy. Harmony. Nice Base toward the end. Could do without the screamy. G-Gr.

Waves- catchy. Seems heartfelt and sincere. More comparison to water. G.

I’m Happy- therapy. Repetition. Some moag. Nice distortion at the end. G.

Sirens- catchy. G.

Younger- this must be the letter to self that was mentioned earlier. Good instrumental break. G.

I Wish- lots of emotion. Nice to hear about friendship.  The vocals get a bit overwrought, but the swelling instrumentation at the end is nice. G


Kelly Clarkson:  83.33%+25.5 = 108.83 Final

5 out of 6 total songs = 83.33%

1 Elite awesome 6; 3 awesome 5; 1 A-Gr cusp 4.5

6+15+4.5 = 25.5

I really wish Kelly would have put out a full-length album.  She would probably be my top album of the year if there was more material.  Girl can SING.  It’s breathtakingly amazing to listen to her belt it out.

Call Out My Name- notes!  The instruments sound 80s.  Gr-A

Happier than Ever- starts very slow, but blazes into a notes/bitter song.  Tiny elephant trumpeting.  The beat ramps up.  The notes ramp up. A

Trampoline- A

Queen of the Night- WOW, wow, wow!  How does anyone compare to Whitney?  It’s pretty brave to even do a cover of possibly the best singer of all time.  But Kelly really goes for it.  Great notes and a bit more edgy of a delivery.  Buzzsaw noises. Taking into account production and technology differences between the early 90s and now, I dare say this one is the better version.  They are both elites though.  Elite Awesome

Fake Plastic Trees- notes! A


Demi Lovato:

11 of 16 total songs = 68.75% + 46 = 114.75 Final

3 awesome 5; 3 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 1 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 1 Good 3

15+13.5+4+10.5+3 = 46

The genre switch is forced, but Demi’s pipes are able to work any material in front of her.  I didn’t think the pop-punk was apt or genuine for her, and I begrudgingly remain unbiased when giving points.  I don’t like her appropriating pronouns, and I don’t like her sketchy manager, but the gal can SING!!!

Freak- channeling Paramore. More edgy. Screaming. G-Gr 

Skin of my teeth- reminds me of Ashlee Simpson. Personal lyrics. Catchy. Notes! A.

Substance- upbeat backing for depressing sentiment. Notes. Personal. Gr.

Eat me- lots of acoustic background sounds. Fast. Shouting. Angry. Brittney copy. Note to yell. Could be in a comic movie. A.

29- age inappropriate. 17 to 29. Calling out some scumbag. Notes! G-Gr

Happy Ending- about her addiction. Relatable about demons and searching for elusive happiness. G-Gr 

City of angels- many LA sights & places. Hard rocking. Gr-A.

Wasted- double meaning. notes. Gr-A.

Dead Friends- personal. Upbeat. Punky. Notes. Gr-A 

Help Me- screamy. G 

Feed- uplifting. Personal responsibility and choices. A

Album Countdown 2019: My Disappointments (19-28, rather 28-19)

28 Dec

I usually rank all of these artists higher, so I was particularly disappointed in them in 2019.  And can we just talk about how country music is totally off the rails right now?  Like, what the fuck happened to it?  Where has it gone?  It’s really superficial, lacking most of the elements I look for in a good country song.  The closest thing to it is this folksy Americana/roots stuff that Brandi Carlile ran off into.  Roots in fine in small doses.  But I want country, country!  And I’d like Brandi to go back to a more folk-rock sound.  Please and thank you.


28. David Gray:
He used to be one of my staples. And I was very excited to see his new album had ‘jazz’ right in the title! I really expected something. But alas, the tunes were quited and meh. And I aborted (which I never take lightly) the song by song review because of boredom.


27. Marren Morris
Her breakthrough albums made me an instant fan! I really liked it and had it on heavy rotation for 2 years. So I was excited to see her next effort since she has more fame, clout, money to go in a direction she wants musically. I’d have liked to see more personality on the 2nd album–it was kinda forgettable despite the duets. What a disappointment.


26. Madonna
File this one under: Expert Trying Too Hard. Yes, Madonna will always have it. But I could tell she was really trying to get in touch with a moment to better fit the aesthetic of 2019. Like that mom that borrows her 16 year old’s clothes to try to fit it with the kids.
“Extreme Occident” right/left/lost is not strong enough, and I found it to be a political cop-out. Madonna has never shied away from telling us who she is and what she thinks. Also, she has a large following and big audience that she influences. Finally, she’s a bit removed from the chasing fame and certainly financially stable. So what does she have to lose by making a big statement?
“Bitch I’m Loca” speaking part at the end was funny.
“I Don’t Search” very electronic (house?) with kinda dreamy lyrics. I, of course, like the “Vogue”-eske snaps.
“Faz Gastoso” is foreign language (Spanish?) and has an R&B tough-gal sound and a lot of tongue-rolling. It also has that sound given to a lot of 3rd world scenes with the instrumental breakdown and all. As a matter of fact, I felt a sense of dejavu listening to it, and was trying to figure out if it was copied from something…


23. Lady Antebellum:
I found the album a little ‘too.” You know overly sentimental and trying too hard.
-”The Thing That…” Nice harmony and nice like echo effect of the singing.
-”What If I Never” I liked how they alternate male vs female vocals on the verse then came together on the chorus. It’s a good concept-the thought that time might not always heal broken hearts caused from breaking up.
-”Pictures” Short and meh.
-”Downtown” Tells a story, with a lot of description.
-”On a Night Like” Is a nice love song.


22. Avett Brothers
-ugh! Too much talking! Every song is ruined with talk.
-”New Woman…” good political points/feminism, but I think it must have been written before Trump? It’s pretty optimistic, and the current political landscape and state of feminism is (I would say) bleak.


21. Jonas Brothers
The album seems quite generic and boring.
“Used to be” poppy. Just Ok.
“Love Her” is nice with the snaps and la-las.
“Hesitate” I like the sentiment of the lyrics.


20. Luke Combs
I was actually pretty disappointed this album was such a let down compared to the prior one that was well written. This one felt more forced and came off as phony to me–not nearly as authentic as the last album. I also thought that deep, resonant singing got lost on this one.
-“Angels Workin…” Has a good beat, is a good tailgate song, and was probably the strongest offering on this album.
-“Every Little Bit..” I like that it’s sad and cheeky. I always enjoy a good break up song, and this one is relatable.
-“Beer Never Broke” is a good tailgate song.
-“Even though…” Daddy? Um no, you’re too old for that, Luke. The song is folksy.
-“Frigerator Door’ is trying too hard to force sentimentality.
-“Mexico” is kinda short and meh-not that notable.
-“Better Together” is just OK. The singing is kinda rough.
-“Lovin on You” sounds like a jukebox song, with a good beat, and love lyrics.
-’Even Though” is too much for me. I put in in the ‘Army Wives’ category.


19. Thomas Rhett:
It isn’t the autobiographical catchy tunes of the other album I liked. I found most of the songs felt too short. He did more shorter songs and I wish he had added to each one even if the album turned out shorter.
-”Don’t Threaten me w/a Good Time” party song, fun, jam-band instrumentals
-”blessed” nice love song, only complaint is that it’s too short
-”VHS” is mildly catchy like the other album, but not in a strong way. Watered down summer jam.
-”Notice” is a nice, catchy love song. I like the detail in it, and I like how singable it would be at concerts.
-”Sand” is a summer party song and also a love song. I think the singing is good here-some higher notes
-”Beer Can’t Fix” is the Jimmy Buffet island song of the album. Calypso sound and duet sounds nice for the beach.
-”Don’t Stop Drivin’’ has a nice beat, more poppy.
-”Barefoot” gives a nice mental image. Has some background vocals reminiscent of the other album.