This year was quite the interesting time for the rock community. That’s because of the wide range of acts who produced new albums throughout the year. Queensryche, Skid Row, and Joe Satriani all released their latest albums this year, all of which proved quite successful. Rock super group Motor Sister also released their debut album, to its own acclaim, as did Slash, Scorpions, and Collective Soul. Between all of these and so many others, the rock albums released this year gave audiences plenty to appreciate, thus the call for a list of the year’s top new rock albums.
This year’s list of top new rock albums serves as a reminder of all that is so good with the rock industry, proving yet again that as much as certain corporate entities would have people believe, rock is not dead. Rather it is as alive as ever and as healthy, too. As in years past, Phil’s Picks presents the top 10 records of the given category and five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 albums. Those five honorable mentions are no less engaging and entertaining as the other 10. They just happen to be of their own note.
To that end here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2022 Top 10 New Rock Albums.
PHIL’S PICKS 2022 TOP 10 NEW ROCK ALBUMS
Joe Satriani – Elephants of Mars
Mickey Leigh’s Mutated Music – Variants of Vibe
Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The conspirators – 4
Motor Sister – Get Off
Derek Sherinian – Vortex
Skid Row – The Gang’s All Here
Michael Schenker Group – Universal
Fozzy – Boombox
Ginger Wildheart and The Sinners – Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners
Soraia – Bloom
Queensryche – Digital Noise Alliance
The Dead Daisies – Radiance
Ty Tabor – Shades
Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate – Hell, CA
Cleanbreak – Coming Home
That is all for this list, but there is still plenty to come including the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums list. That list is coming tomorrow, so stay tuned.
Former L.A. Guns front man Jizzy Pearl (a.k.a. James Wilkinson) released his latest record with his Love/Hate project Friday, in the form of Hell, CA. The record came five years after the release of the group’s then latest album, Before the Blackout, and less than four years after the release of Wilkinson’s then latest solo album, All You Need Is Soul. The 10-song record will appeal to Wilkinson’s established audiences as well as more casual fans of the rock sounds of the 80s. That is due in part to the album’s featured musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. The arrangements’ companion lyrical themes play their own part in the record’s appeal among the noted audiences and will be examined a little later. The record’s production rounds out the most important of its elements and will also be examined later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make the album a mostly successful entry in this year’s field of new rock albums.
Hell, Ca, the latest album from Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate, is a mostly successful new offering from the group. It is a presentation that will appeal just as much to Wilkinson’s established audiences as it will to more casual 80s rock fans. That is due in part to its featured arrangements. From beginning to end, the record’s arrangements are pure guitar rock taken right from the late 80s and early 90s. The bombastic solos are there as are the equally familiar bluesy riffs and distinct, sharp vocal styles made so famous during the era. It is that short yet so hitting style of delivery that audiences came to expect from the likes of Vince Neil (Motley Crue), Bret Michaels (Poison), Axle Rose (Guns N’ Roses), to provide a reference point. The rich sound of the bass and drums thanks to the production adds even more to that sense. Interestingly enough, one could even make the most subtle comparison to works from Led Zeppelin at points, going even farther back in time. Even in the record’s lone ballad (of sorts), ‘Last Chance,’ audiences get that familiar 80s/90s rock sound and approach. Thankfully in the case of this song, the over the top schmaltzy approach of those old school power ballads is replaced here by a more balanced approach of rock and introspection. Simply put, the record’s musical content offers audiences the best of the rock sounds of the late 80s and early 90s with none of the over-the-top excess of those sounds in each arrangement. It is just part of what makes the album engaging and entertaining. The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical content adds to its success.
The lyrical themes featured throughout Hell, CA are important to the record’s presentation because they are just as accessible as the album’s musical content. Much of the record’s lyrical content centers on the fairer sex. ‘Acid Babe’ and ‘Soul Mama’ for instance are clearly about a woman. In the case of ‘Acid Babe’ it would seem that the woman of whom Wilkinson sings is one who is not good for the song’s subject. In the case of ‘Soul Mama’ meanwhile, the matter is the exact opposite. This is about a woman who drives the song’s subject crazy in a different way. ‘Wanna Be Somebody,’ on yet another note, is also about a woman, but in yet another way. In the case here, the song’s subject is essentially indicting that woman for the lengths to which she will go to make a name for herself and…well…be somebody. Even in ‘Gonna Take You Higher,’ listeners get a song with some swagger in which the clearly male subject is trying to win over the woman with his confidence. The only song in this record that seems to not be about a woman is ‘Hard To Say Goodbye.’ In the case of this song, it seems to center on the song’s subject reminiscing about a friend or loved one who has passed. Considering this and everything else featured in the record’s lyrical content, the whole of said content makes the overall lyrical content just as engaging for the noted audiences as the record’s musical arrangements.
While the musical and lyrical content featured in Hell, CA ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment, each in its own way, that overall content is just part of what makes the album work. The record’s production rounds out the most important of its elements. The record’s production is important to note because of its role in the album’s general effect. Each song is so energetic and fiery. Keeping that in mind, it would have been so easy for the arrangements to get bogged down in themselves. Thankfully that did not happen. The instrumentations and vocals (as well as other minute items) are relatively well-balanced throughout the record. The result is that each line compliments its counterparts and in turn ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment in its own right, too. When this is considered along with the appeal that the record’s musical and lyrical content generates for the noted audiences, those listeners will find the record overall worth hearing at least once.
Hell, CA, the latest album from Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate, is an interesting addition to this year’s field of new rock albums. That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements. The arrangements present the best of the rock sounds of the late 80s and early 90s without all the excess of those works at the same time. The album’s lyrical themes are relatively accessible what with their familiar content. The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation, ensuring each arrangement presents the best possible general effect. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make Hell, CA a rock record that is worth hearing at least once.
Hell, CA is available now through Golden Robot Records. More information on the album is available along with all of Jizzy Pearl’s latest news at: