John Mayer – Sob Rock Byrdview

John Mayer is one of those artists that started with some songs I liked, but he has grown into one of my favorite artists. I have always been partial to guitar players so I guess it was inevitable. Mayer does a mix that is truly unique which I call “Blues Pop”, and it doesn’t matter how “average” his songs might start off sounding. Once you give his albums repeated listens all the songs are in your head for months.

“Sob Rock” got tons of media coverage upon it’s release focusing on a nostalgic “tribute” to the 1980’s. Although I do hear elements of the 1980’s it doesn’t strike me as anything glaringly similar to the decade. Maybe if I were a musician I would feel differently, but since I am just the average fanatical music nut I don’t hear anything that sounds “dated” or from any other decade. Actually, they all sound very fresh and flow really well from start to finish.

If there is anything negative I would say about “Sob Rock” it would be the length (38 minutes) and the fact that three songs from it were previously released (a long time ago). “New Light” was out in 2018, while “I Guess I Just Feel Like” and “Carry Me Away” were available in 2019. “New Light” peaked at (#2) on Byrdbored and is a really good addition to the Mayer collection, but I would have just preferred John add all those songs as bonus tracks and release ten completely new songs. I do admit those songs do fit the vibe of the album though, and Mayer is the professional so what does this music nut know? I selfishly just wanted more new music. You can just call me greedy Byrdman.

As far as the other seven tracks, “Last Train Home” is my favorite and spent four weeks at (#1). I have friends that are also John Mayer fans that don’t like it however. I am not sure what they are hearing, because it simply grew stronger with every listen. At first I thought it needed more guitar, but as I listened more and more I realized guitar in the gaps works even better. Once again, John is the professional, and he apparently knows what he is doing. “Last Train Home” is expected to finish in the top five songs of 2021 so that obviously speaks for itself.

The song that really has surprised me is “Wild Blue” which hit (#2) on the SongByrd 60 as of last week (for the week ending November 6, 2021). It could become another (#1) hit from the album for Mayer in the coming weeks, and it has grown into one of my favorites. I think I connect with the lyrics mostly and can relate to the realization of “finding myself when I lost you”. There definitely is “unlikely beauty” in letting someone go emotionally. Of course, there is the unreal guitar playing of Mayer which is like someone getting out of bed in the morning. Automatic!

Another song I most definitely relate to is “Shouldn’t Matter But It Does”. I think most people have had at least one relationship that for some reason it didn’t work, but it should have. This is a very simple song, but some of the best ones are. The production is an absolute grand slam on this one as well. The backing vocals and instrumentation are amazing and made the hair on my arms stand up the first time I heard this. I either have a condition I need to see a doctor for or the song connected. I hope it is the latter, but you never know.

Another couple of songs have some potential down the road as “Shot In The Dark” and “Til The Right One Comes” both are solid hits I believe. I don’t think they will be as big as the previous songs mentioned, but still very good songs that could grow on me as time goes by. After all, I didn’t think “Wild Blue” would be as big a hit initially either.

“Sob Rock” definitely has a smooth vibe, and I have found myself listening to it every week (a couple of times) for four months now. My immediate reaction was to downplay it, but after multiple listens I changed my mind. The album is filled with songs that grow on you, and if you aren’t careful might end up some of your favorite John Mayer songs.

The discussion of where “Sob Rock” might fall on the Mayer album list is interesting. I feel if you are someone like me that loves “Last Train Home” it could eventually be in your top three Mayer albums. However, if you aren’t a fan of “Last Train Home” it could be in the bottom three. From a hits perspective, it could spawn more hits than any other Mayer album. No album will beat “Continuum” for (#1) hits in my book (most likely) since it scored five. However, “Sob Rock” could end up with seven hit songs on Byrdbored. That is nothing to sneeze at. The album became Mayer’s fourth (#1) album on Byrdbored spending two weeks on top. It appears to be on it’s way into Mayer’s top four ranked albums at the very least.

The bottom line for you the music fan, however, is if you are a John Mayer fan I think most will like it. My biggest piece of advice would be not to judge “Sob Rock” too early though. If given a chance I think the album is a very solid piece of Mayer music history. It is chilled out and the title is very fitting, but I haven’t been sobbing uncontrollably since listening to it so that is good right? 4 Byrd Beaks!

MercyMe – Inhale (Exhale) Byrdview

In the last 20 years, MercyMe has become one of the most consistent groups around. Everyone remembers the career defining hit they began with as “I Can Only Imagine” definitely is one of those special songs that only come once in an artist career. It makes it very hard when that career defining song is your debut song. Despite the lofty heights (they began with) the guys have been very strong throughout their career despite the high expectations. Every album is expected to be incredible and that is sometimes unfair, but MercyMe usually deliver.

The band began as Christian Contemporary radio darlings because of songs like “I Can Only Imagine”, “Word Of God Speak” and “Spoken For”. I like all those songs, but the strength of MercyMe is their diversity. They don’t do the same song over and over like some Christian Contemporary artists of today. Some die-hard Christian radio fans don’t like that about MercyMe, but it separates them from the pack (in my opinion). Yes, the band does some great ballads, but they also do some upbeat stuff that makes listening to an entire album a pleasure. All of their songs have very positive messages about life, love and faith that I just love.

First off, “Inhale (Exhale)“ has a very tough assignment. It is the follow-up to 2017’s “Lifer” which is my all-time favorite MercyMe album. It is one of (43) Diamond certified albums in Byrdbored history spending eight weeks at (#1) and (91) weeks in the Byrdy Dozen. It is the third ranked Christian Contemporary album in Byrdbored history behind only Jeremy Camp’s debut album, “Stay”, and Skillet’s “Comatose”. I realize I am in the minority about loving anything newer from the band that much. Most fans of the band seem to prefer the early albums more, but “Lifer” is a classic producing three (#1) songs, two more top fives and another two top tens.

Now onto the actual new album. “Inhale (Exhale)” peaked at (#2) back in May 2021. It has been certified Platinum on Byrdbored and has already produced the (#2) hit, “Say I Won’t”. The song is an inspirational ballad that is very motivating (especially if you watch the official video). It is one of my favorites from the album and could potentially win Christian Contemporary Song of the Year. Two other hits, “Almost Home” and “On Our Way”, have already peaked in the top ten.

The band currently have a very catchy funky hit called “Whiplash” moving up the Byrdy Dozen at (#11) as of last week (week ending October 23, 2021). It is about not looking over your shoulder and revisiting the past too much. It is more important to carry on with the lessons you have learned and move forward. This one could get the band back to (#1) late this year or into 2022.

Another great upbeat tune will most likely kick off 2022 in style as “Uh Oh (Here I Go)” will get stuck in your head and never leave. This could be another potential (#1) hit, and it sounds incredible live!

The album is very upbeat overall with other solid songs like “Blessed” and “So Yesterday” along with collaborations like “A Little Love” with Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts and “Brand New” with Gloria Gaynor (yes that Gloria Gaynor!). It also contains another one of my favorite ballads, “Bright Side Of Broken”, which definitely tries to help turn a frown upside down.

Although I don’t believe “Inhale (Exhale)” is better than their previous album, “Lifer”, I do believe it holds up against almost all of their other albums. I still have other albums I like more, but this one is a solid effort and could potentially have another six or seven hits on Byrdbored. There might not be the huge (#1) hits on this one like they have had in the past, but they should score at least two in my estimation. Although I don’t possess a musical crystal ball, I do like to guess and see how close I end up.

Anyone that knows Bart Millard’s story knows how rough of a start he had, and it is almost impossible to dislike he or any of the other guys from MercyMe. Anyone that likes positive music with a good message delivered from guys who truly sound incredible together will love this album. There aren’t as many “huge” radio hits on this one, but I like that actually. As always, the guys like variety and so do I. Since radio isn’t about variety anymore, it will be hard to always please the folks that just want another “I Can Only Imagine”. However, this album always puts a smile on my face. It is a great addition to MercyMe’s collection. 4 Byrd Beaks!

Gary Allan – Ruthless Byrdview

I can’t say that I have been a huge fan of Gary Allan over the years. I have always liked him, but he doesn’t have a ton of hit songs or albums on Byrdbored. However, Allan blasted back onto Byrdbored late in 2020 with a new song, “Waste Of A Whiskey Drink”, which made me reconsider his past music and realize I have been missing out. The song actually helped Allan take home the Country “How Did They Do That?” Award for Country surprise of the year for 2020.

Allan came onto the Country scene in 1996 which might be part of my issue. There were so many great Country artists in the 1990’s that there were times Gary got lost in the shuffle. After all, I can’t play everything! His first hit, “Her Man”, in 1996 did make the top ten and set him up for the future where he hit (#1) with “It Would Be You” and top five with “Right Where I Need To Be”.

There would occasionally be a song I liked by Allan in the 2000’s, but I didn’t listen to Country as often in the 2000’s. It made it much harder and he simply got lost in the middle of the mess of music I did listen to. Thanks to his new album, “Ruthless”, I have definite plans to go back and give all his music some serious listens. I have grown to really respect Allan and the new album is simply some of the best work he has done as far as I am concerned.

Now onto the actual Byrdview which you knew I would eventually get to (thanks for hanging in there with me). “Waste Of A Whiskey Drink” is the first single from “Ruthless” and hit (#1) on Byrdbored late in 2020 and spent three weeks on top. I connected immediately with it, because it is quite honestly something I would say if I were in the song scenario. I would probably make a terrible bartender for that reason. The sentiment of just going ahead and drinking the whiskey instead of wasting it on a woman that will just break your heart in the end is something I definitely can get behind. The song finished 2020 as the (#18) song of the year and helped return Allan back to the top of Byrdbored.

Allan followed it up with another great song in 2021 as “Temptation” would go all the way to (#2) on Byrdbored and spend five weeks as the top Country song. The song is about a woman always being his “temptation” despite him never giving into that “temptation” is something most people can relate to. We have all had those relationships.

“Slide” is the next tune up on “Ruthless” and is another favorite. It is currently climbing the SongByrd 60, and it definitely has a shot for Allan’s third straight big hit. The song touches on whether a person would accept him in their life despite his flaws. It most definitely should continue Allan’s comeback on Byrdbored.

As I continue into the “Ruthless” album, it becomes apparent that it could score at least six hits which would be the most from any Gary Allan album. “High As I’ve Ever Been”, “Til It Felt Like You” and the title track all have shots at the top ten. Even the final track, “The Hard Way”, is classic Gary Allan and most fans will like it.

The album itself peaked at (#3) for three weeks early in 2021 and has been certified Gold. It equals Allan’s biggest charting album, “It Would Be You”, all the way back to 1998. “Ruthless” is definitely one of my favorite Country albums of the year so far and Allan’s old school classic Country style is a pleasant surprise as I don’t love all the Country music on radio today. Nothing from the album will be a huge hit on Country radio, but that is to be expected (although it is a shame). If you are a Gary Allan fan or a fan of 1990’s Country artists, I would highly recommend it. 4 Byrd Beaks!!!!

For any questions about Byrdview guidelines please feel free to review the very first Byrdview category post May 11, 2019. It details the methodology and basis of Byrdbored reviews.

Mammoth WVH – Byrdview

When I heard that Wolfgang Van Halen was going to have his debut album in June, I was excited but also unsure what to expect. I had a feeling that it wouldn’t sound like Van Halen (and I was correct). Wolfgang wants to forge his own path so I can’t blame him for that. Eddie Van Halen’s legacy is set in stone, and it is time for Wolfgang to build his own legacy. There will always be some people that unfairly judge the young man and expect more from him no matter what he does. Much like Michael Jordan’s kids are unfairly judged, it will unfortunately follow Wolfgang in much the same way.

With that said, however, Wolfgang has made an incredible first chapter of his own music journey. The “Mammoth WVH” album is one of the best Rock debuts I have heard in quite some time. I have been comparing it to the self-titled debut from Daughtry in 2006 (although that is officially a group). I don’t believe Wolfgang has as many huge hits on his debut, however he could score as many as five (#1) songs like Daughtry did. I just don’t know how many will be multi-week (#1) hits. “Mammoth WVH” could have around ten hit songs on Byrdbored though and should have it’s share of top hits.

Speaking of (#1) hits, “Don’t Back Down” hit the top of Byrdbored for one week in early July and became Wolfgang’s first-ever top single. The song definitely is typical of the rockers on the Mammoth WVH album. The majority of the songs on the album actually are true Rock songs and “Don’t Back Down” is one of the stand outs.

A song that I might like even more is “You’re To Blame” which is currently at (#5) on the SongByrd 60 Singles Chart. It might have a rough road to (#1) with all the great songs to beat right now, but it is another solid rocker that stands out on the album. There are many others like “Mr. Ed”, “Horribly Right”, “You’ll Be The One” and “The Big Picture”.

One of the best tracks with some Pop/Rock vibes is “Think It Over” which could end up my favorite song on the debut. Supposedly it was Eddie Van Halen’s favorite on the album as well. It is currently climbing the SongByrd 60 and will be pushing the top ten by the end of 2021. It could end up one of my favorite songs of 2022 depending on timing. Other more Pop sounding tracks are “Circles” and “Distance” which is in honor of his dad.

The album itself has spent six weeks on top of the SongByrd 60 Albums Chart. It has also spent (16) of (17) weeks on Byrdbored in the top two slots (one week at #3). “Mammoth WVH” should easily finish in the top five albums of 2021. There is no doubt in my mind that by the end of the album’s run it will be considered one of the top ten debut albums in Byrdbored history. It could even push the top five debuts all-time.

It is always difficult to review debut albums. I really want to be honest in how I feel, but I have no reference point for the artist before the debut. Therefore, I am leaning on artists that are somewhat similar to Wolfgang to help me gauge “Mammoth WVH”. In my opinion, the Foo Fighters and Shinedown might be the closest and most similar to what Wolfgang is doing on the debut. Those two bands are very high on my all-time list so if Wolfgang has a career anywhere near what they have accomplished he will be just fine.

I also do not want to set this young man up for a downfall with the follow up and rate the debut too high. However, after listening to this album for over four months I honestly don’t know how Wolfgang will top it. Every song is solid with mostly great rockers and just the right amount of Pop/Rock to mix it up some. If someone wanted to start their career in Rock with an album, “Mammoth WVH” is the perfect start.

It also compares and holds up against other bands that are similar. As a matter of fact, in a year that saw a really good album from the Foo Fighters in “Medicine At Midnight”, “Mammoth WVH” is even better. Wolfgang is definitely setting the bar very high, but that is what I expect from the artists I love. I am expecting great things to continue for this young man, and he will most certainly forge his own path if he keeps making albums of the caliber of “Mammoth WVH”. 5 Byrd Beaks!!!

For any questions about Byrdview guidelines please feel free to review the very first Byrdview category post on May 11, 2019. It details the methodology and basis of Byrdbored reviews.

Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia Byrdview

Well it has definitely taken me long enough to get to this Byrdview. “Future Nostalgia” was released March of 2020, but I didn’t start playing this album until 2021. I kick myself every day for waiting so long, because it truly is one of the best pure Pop albums I have heard in quite some time. The Dua Lipa train is most definitely rolling in 2021.

I feel much the same way that I felt listening to Shania Twain’s “Come On Over” in the late 1990’s. Although I don’t believe “Future Nostalgia” is quite as good, I believe it might be one of the best Pop albums since “Come On Over”. Obviously Shania has some Pop/Country vibes on that album. Dua Lipa goes straight to Pop/Dance songs and doesn’t let up. It reminds me a great deal of my high school days of Madonna and Janet Jackson in particular.

Dua Lipa is really the only Pop diva of today that is doing straight ahead Pop/Dance music without as much Hip/Hop thrown in. In my opinion, that makes her stand out. She does have remixes that include collaborations, of course, but she still includes a version without it for people like me. I just don’t prefer having a 30-second “break” in the middle for a rapper to brag about him or herself (or ramble nonsense) and destroy the rhythm of the song. My fear is that the more popular she gets, however, the more she will move into what every other Pop star does. I hope not, but that seems to be what every popular artist does eventually, and they don’t even keep their own identity and dare to be different.

Now to the album itself. “Future Nostalgia” has a Deluxe version called the “Moonlight Edition” which is the version I am reviewing officially. That version actually helps my rating, because it adds three more songs I really love. Since I began late with this album (silly me), her first official hit was “Break My Heart” which peaked at (#2) early in 2021 and has been certified Platinum. It is a great catchy Pop song and one of my favorites from the album with lyrics anyone can relate to as well.

Once Lipa released the Deluxe version of the album, it includes “We’re Good” which peaked at (#3) in the Spring. It is a fun version of a breakup song where a person just wants a clean break and part as grown ups about it. Sometimes it is just best to say “we’re good” and move on.

The next hit has been one of the huge songs of the Summer as “Levitating” spent a month on top of Byrdbored and most likely will finish as one of the top five songs of 2021. No one could go anywhere on the planet without hearing the tune about the euphoria of how love can make you feel when it is right. It is also one of the catchiest hits I have heard in recent years.

A fourth top five hit single, “Hallucinate”, just hit (#1) for two weeks and is yet another catchy song from this album. It could be my second favorite behind “Levitating” as it is definitely a stand out track.

With Lipa announcing a 2022 “Future Nostalgia” tour, it might mean Lipa fans will have to wait longer for any new album. However, the album is so loaded with great songs it doesn’t bother me to wait and enjoy this album for another year to be honest. Of course, she could still release a new song in 2022, but why announce a tour to support the album and then release a new album before that tour ends? We will see.

I can honestly say that I believe Lipa could score eleven hit songs from this album. Songs like “Cool”, “Physical”, “Pretty Please” and the title track are most likely all top five hits on Byrdbored. Since I got a late start on listening to “Future Nostalgia” her first real world hit, “Don’t Start Now”, hasn’t even charted on Byrdbored, but should in the future (most likely a Vault hit).

Pop music isn’t my favorite type of music by any stretch, but I love having solid catchy songs on my playlist when they are done right with great production. “Future Nostalgia” has that easily covered and has been one of the most enjoyable Pop albums for me this year. It isn’t perfect, however, as there are some that I do skip. That does eliminate my perfect five Byrd Beak score despite all of my bragging in this Byrdview.

If Lipa does score eleven Byrdy Dozen hits by the end of the “Future Nostalgia” run, it will be nearly perfect. It will most likely be my album of 2021 as well. It has now spent (37) straight weeks in the top five on the Byrdbored Albums Chart with eight of those weeks at (#1). It will most likely head toward a Diamond certified album in 2022. Even though it is so close to perfect, I can’t pull that trigger. From a number of hits perspective it is, but when there are songs I skip I can’t say it is perfect. 4 1/2 Byrd Beaks!

1/2 Byrd Beak

Ayron Jones – Child Of The State Byrdview

Ayron Jones is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter from Seattle, Washington. He blends quite a few styles into his debut solo album, “Child Of The State”. I hear rock, blues, pop, soul, R&B and a little hip hop in places. He definitely fits comfortably in the rock category though which might be why I like him quite a bit. I would compare him mostly to Lenny Kravitz, but with only one album to compare I will see what road Ayron Jones decides to take in the future.

In many ways, “Child Of The State” mostly reminds me of the more rockin’ tunes from Kravitz. He definitely attacks his guitar with a ton of rock energy and passion which I love. In a normal year, Jones would be the front-runner for Welcome Abored Artist of the Year. However, debuting in a year with Wolfgang Van Halen’s debut album is tough. I was a little late discovering this album, but it has charted in the top ten albums on Byrdbored for the last (14) weeks and peaked at (#5) so far.

As of last week, Jones grabbed his first Byrdy Dozen hit single, “Mercy”, which moved from (#16) to (#11) on the SongByrd 60. The song is a rocker and is very topical with some of the news events of the last couple of years. I try to stay out of politics and not mix it with music so I take a good song as a good song. I don’t talk myself out of good music just because of a different opinion. “Mercy” could have a chance at the top five in coming weeks.

There are many great songs from this debut album, but some of my favorites are “My Love Remains”, “Supercharged”, “Free” and “Baptized In Muddy Waters”. The last three are rockers in the vein of “Mercy”, but each of them get better and better with each listen. “My Love Remains” might be my favorite on the entire album although it is more of a ballad. It just has something that I love and could end up the biggest hit on Byrdbored.

“Child Of The State” could potentially have five top ten hits and remain in the top ten on the albums chart for awhile longer. Even though there are usually a ton of new albums that are released late in the year, Ayron’s debut is just that solid. It truly is well recorded and produced, and I believe Jones could have a very bright future.

If you are a fan of guitar players like I am, Ayron Jones will most likely impress you as he did me. I don’t love every song, and it can obviously be improved upon. However, most debut albums aren’t masterpieces. They are good starting points to build a career upon, and I feel “Child Of The State” is definitely better than most debut efforts. I am expecting great things from this young man in the future. As for now, “Child Of The State” gets 3 1/2 Byrd Beaks!

1/2 Byrd Beak

Alan Jackson – Where Have You Gone Byrdview

There aren’t too many artists that can put their name in the hat for one of the artists of a decade. However, Alan Jackson was certainly one of the biggest Country stars of the 1990’s. He had so many iconic Country hits I can’t possibly list them (well…I could but it would make this Byrdview pretty boring).

Jackson has scored eight (#1) albums on Byrdbored and his most recent release, “Where Have You Gone”, narrowly missed being his ninth coming in at (#2) for three weeks. Obviously, I like the album since it hit (#2) and has been in the top ten albums since it’s release on May 14, 2021. Since I have listened for over three months now, I do have a solid feel for the album.

Alan Jackson simply represents everything that is traditional Country. Obviously Country radio has mostly moved on from that with a few exceptions. There are some like Eric Church, Luke Combs and others that are definitely more traditional leaning, but the chances of Alan Jackson having a huge Country radio hit in 2021 is very remote. That is sad to me, but it is what it is.

Clocking in at an hour and 23 minutes it is most certainly longer than all of Jackson’s previous efforts. However, this is his first official album since 2015’s “Angels And Alcohol”. A great deal of people do not like longer albums. However, I have always believed as long as there are quality songs it doesn’t matter. Alan definitely has quality on this album.

“Where Have You Gone” kicks off with an ode to where has traditional Country music gone? Jackson has gotten some flack for his comments about the current day state of Country music, and this is just his response. His love for traditional Country runs deep and although this isn’t my favorite song it is an important song for the album (not just because it is the title song).

The album does have many favorites for me though. “Way Down In My Whiskey” was one of the first tracks released and has the classic Alan Jackson broken-hearted theme that a great deal of classic Country songs have. “Livin’ On Empty” is a song any person can relate to during these trying times. Life has gotten particularly hard for lower and middle-class people which Alan’s music speaks to the most.

“The Boot” might be in my top three favorites from the album. When times get the hardest in a relationship sometimes it is easier to walk away, but most times people regret that decision. Most times you need to “put the foot in the boot…and go home to her”. It may seem complicated but at the end of the day it usually isn’t as complicated as you may convince yourself that it is.

“Back” is a fun one as Alan is bringing Country “back”. The song has many references to the core of what being Country is and the values that used to be embraced but some have lost sight off. “Write It In Red” is another favorite as sometimes it is best to just go and you don’t need to know the reasons for a woman leaving.

“You’ll Always Be My Baby” was recently announced to be the next official single and probably is the best ballad on the album. It is a song Alan wrote for his daughters for their weddings. Having a daughter myself I can relate, and I honestly did tear up the first time I heard it. It is a very touching song for us fathers of “little girls” who grow up to be remarkable women.

Alan definitely covers all the classic Country topics with this album and there is a little bit of everything for Country fans. I wouldn’t expect anything else from a classic Country artist whose legacy is written in stone. This album might not have the huge hits Jackson had in the past, but start to finish is solid and very enjoyable for this Alan fan. It definitely enhances his long career and adds another chapter to his musical story that could lead him to the Byrdbored Nest Of Fame in 2022. 3 1/2 Byrd Beaks!

1/2 Byrd Beak

Royal Blood – Typhoons Byrdview

Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher formed Royal Blood in Brighton, England in 2011. The duo have been officially making albums since 2014. Their sound is unique and is anchored by Kerr’s bass playing technique. He uses various pedals and multiple amps to make his bass guitar sound like an electric guitar and bass at the same time.

Their self-titled debut album most definitely made impact with the Rock hits, “Out Of The Black”, “Figure It Out” and “Little Monster”. However, it was their second album, “How Did We Get So Dark?”, that helped them score their first (#1) Byrdbored hit, “Lights Out”, in 2017. It also includes the top ten hit, “I Only Lie When I Love You”.

Needless to say, their first two albums produced enough momentum that I was very excited to hear their third album, “Typhoons”, which was released April 30, 2021. The first single, “Trouble’s Coming”, wasn’t an instant hit, but worked it’s way all the way to (#4). It has more of a pop/rock feel than their previous two albums, but it definitely helped to peak my interest for other songs from the album.

The “Typhoons” album is mostly self-produced and was recorded throughout 2019 and 2020. It definitely has a much lighter and fun feel to it than the duo’s first two efforts. With Ben Thatcher’s AC/DC-style drum beats mixed with a sleazy disco-rock groove, it has been coined by some as AC/Disco.

The second song to hit Byrdbored was the title track which peaked at (#2), but was kept out of the top spot when the guys decided to release another track called “Boilermaker”. Although “Typhoons” is a catchy song like most of the songs on the album, “Boilermaker”, is an undeniable (#1) Byrdbored hit which spent seven weeks on top. In the process, Royal Blood became only the second artist to ever hold the top two spots on the SongByrd 60 Singles Chart establishing the duo as one of the artists of 2021.

“Boilermaker” has reportedly been a fan favorite at shows for awhile, and it is easy to hear why. It’s rock swagger and catchy guitar licks make it one of my favorite songs of 2021. It could be the defining song for Royal Blood, and it will be a hard one to surpass in my book. When you also consider the ultra fun and outlandish video (which I absolutely love), there is just something special about it. Like many of my favorite songs it has something unique that establishes it as one of the songs I will remember most about 2021.

Next up is “Oblivion” which is yet another great catchy track which just recently hit the top ten. It could definitely score another top five hit for Royal Blood, and it will continue the ball rolling for the duo. It also has a phenomenally fun video for those folks that still love the visual aspect of music as I do.

There are many other songs from “Typhoons” that could be hits on Byrdbored like “Who Needs Friends”, “Million And One”, “Either You Want It” and “Mad Visons”. All of them have the duo’s catchy hooks and will have your head bobbing and your foot tapping. Although I do not expect any of them to be (#1) hits like “Boilermaker”, some could crack the top five or at least the top ten.

The “Typhoons” album isn’t perfect, but it spent five weeks as my favorite album. It is absolutely one of my top albums of 2021, and I feel it is Royal Blood’s best album so far. When you consider the hits it has had so far (and the potential for others) it is easily a 4 Byrd Beak effort from Mike and Ben. However, I do believe they are capable of an even bigger and better album. I am leaving room for the fourth album to be even better. Until then, I will continue to have the songs from “Typhoons” on repeat for at least the rest of 2021.

Byrdview – Mid-Year Look At 2021

2021 is my 41st year of tracking my favorite songs, and it is safe to say I did see this year coming. I have been telling all my music friends over the last year, that 2021 should be incredible since everyone was writing songs at home in 2020. After all, what else were musicians going to do while they are home and can’t get out. The only question was how quickly would the written songs get recorded and out to us music fanatics? Well, it didn’t take all that long, because it pretty much started by February with really good new music.

The ByrdTrax volume started moving up and up in February hitting a record (at that point) of (1,245) weekly song plays for the week ending February 13, 2021. Although I haven’t always tracked how many songs I play a week (I haven’t always been this smart), that number of plays is insane for even me. The record was just recently broken the week ending June 12, 2021 with (1,261) plays (even more insane). For anyone crazy enough to care, you can always see the ByrdTrax song plays for the prior week on the ByrdTrax page of the website. Honestly, I don’t know that the total number of song plays for a week means anything definitively about the quality of music. However, it does a solid job of evaluating my interest in that years music. Some of the insane amounts of song plays are just because of my situation though. I have a job that I can play music all day, and I can continue the music in my car (I call those songs “car-tunes”) and no one is home to stop me from continuing the party. Well, except the dog (Cash), and he only howls when I sing which is perfectly understandable.

2021 began where it ended in 2020 with a Country mood that saw six straight weeks with a Country artist on top of the singles chart. Keith Urban kicked off 2021 with “Change Your Mind” spending the first two weeks at (#1). Although Urban is a regular at the top of Byrdbored, Gary Allan’s “Waste Of A Whiskey Drink” spent the last three weeks of 2020 on top and was a surprise. Lee Brice would make it seven weeks out of eight with a Country artist on top with his (#1) hit, “Memory I Don’t Mess With”, the week ending January 23, 2021. AC/DC would be the lone non-Country artist to hit the top as “Realize” became their second (#1) hit from their new album, “PWR/UP”. By the end of January, the Country mood must have passed as another rock act, Black Stone Cherry, took “Again” to the top to become their first-ever (#1). AC/DC’s “PWR/UP” dominated the album chart in January as the guys hit their 10th overall week on top by the end of January.

February would bring the beginning of an historic Byrdbored run by a young man from Canada. Forest Blakk started his run in late 2020 with one of the best pop ballads ever with “If You Love Her”. It would be the first week in February when Blakk began his run on top of the singles chart, but he would continue his reign for an amazing ten weeks at (#1). Blakk’s “If You Love Her” joins eight other songs in Byrdbored history to spend ten weeks or more on top, and the song finished it’s run in the Byrdy Dozen as the (#18) song in Byrdbored history narrowly passing “Every Breath You Take” by The Police. Yes, Forest Blakk, The Police!!! Hopefully he doesn’t let that go to his head too much. It seems that the Explosion Award winner for 2020 (which was Forest Blakk) was a good selection.

On the albums front, February would see both The Foo Fighters and Dua Lipa step forward. “Medicine At Midnight” would spend three weeks on top for the Foo Fighters, and it was the first big rock release of 2021. For Dua Lipa, she was soon going to become the Byrdbored pop queen with her second album, “Future Nostalgia”. Lipa’s album would finish the last week of February on top of the albums chart and continue for a total of four weeks on top until the second big rock release hit. Evanescence had officially been away for ten years (since their last entirely new album of music), but “The Bitter Truth” would bring the rock act back to (#1) on Byrdbored with a resounding rock blast heard all through the Byrdbored home studios (that is just my house, but it sounds better). “The Bitter Truth” would end the month of March on top of the album charts and spend three total weeks at (#1).

As March ended and everyone started to dream of Spring, Forest Blakk would finally surrender the (#1) song (don’t be greedy Forest!) and a rock duo originally from England took center stage. Royal Blood had already scored a (#1) hit single with “Lights Out” back in 2017, but “Boilermaker” would take it up a notch! The new hit song from the duo debuted on top of the SongByrd 60 the week ending April 17, 2021, and would not relinquish the top spot for seven weeks. Until the release of the Duo’s new album, “Typhoons”, Dua Lipa would take full advantage returning to the top of the albums chart with “Future Nostalgia”. Lipa would spend two more weeks on top before Royal Blood would debut at (#1) on the albums chart with “Typhoons”. The new album would spend five weeks on top and finish out the month of May at (#1) with a great deal of thanks to “Boilermaker” which spent it’s seventh and final week on top of the singles chart the week ending May 29, 2021.

June would begin as the month of Dua Lipa. Her album returned to the top of the chart (yes, Dua loves attention) for two more weeks, and she earned her first-ever (#1) single with “Levitating”. With a total of eight non-consecutive weeks on top of the albums chart and three weeks at (#1) on the singles chart, Lipa had arrived in her full pop queen-ness (yes, that is now a word). There is no doubt that “Future Nostalgia” is an Album of the Year contender, and Dua Lipa most definitely could win Entertainer of the Year. The last female to take that award was Shania Twain who won back-to-back in 1998 and 1999 with the help of another massive hit album, “Come On Over”. I truly believe “Future Nostalgia” might just be the best pop album since that time.

As June ended, however, there was a new king on the Byrdbored throne and he had a very familiar last name. Wolfgang Van Halen is someone almost everyone in rock music circles knew already. He toured with Van Halen when he was a very young man as the bassist, but now it is time for Wolfgang to make his own mark. His “Mammoth WVH” album debuted at (#2), but easily moved to the top of the albums chart the week ending June 19, 2021. It could be quite simply the best rock debut album since a guy named Chris Daughtry formed a band and released his self-titled debut in 2006. That album is currently ranked as the (#6) album in Byrdbored history. “Mammoth WVH” could be setting up for a long run on top of the albums chart, and Wolfgang Van Halen could be a very important part of the future of Byrdbored.

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For the week ending June 26, 2021, the Foo Fighters would grab the (#1) SongByrd 60 Single with “Cloudspotter”. The song had appeared to have stalled at (#4) for four weeks, but the Foo Fighters rocked their way to the top anyway. It became the band’s fourth overall (#1) song on Byrdbored. The Foo Fighters biggest all-time hit is 2002’s “All My Life” which spent four weeks on top and (15) total weeks as the top Rock song. “Cloudspotter” is the second hit from their 2x Platinum former (#1) album, “Medicine At Midnight”, as “No Son Of Mine” peaked at (#2) earlier in 2021. The album did finally drop from the Byrdy Dozen after (19) weeks and three weeks on top, however, the points earned help the Foo Fighters jump to (#89) all-time with exactly (1,400) points as of the week ending June 26, 2021.

How will 2021 finish? Obviously, that is an impossible thing to predict. After all, I am a music nerd, not a fortune teller. However, I try to keep my finger on the pulse of what might be out by the end of the year. I fully expect the same artists that have dominated in the first half to continue their assault on Byrdbored. Dua Lipa, Forest Blakk, the Foo Fighters, Evanescence, AC/DC and Mammoth WVH should all have great finishes to 2021. Lipa has so many great songs on “Future Nostalgia” that I could release songs for another year and she would still be having top ten hits. Rumor has it, she is already working on a new album, however, and a new song could be out before year-end. Forest Blakk has scored another top ten hit with “Foolish”, and his latest EP, “Sideways”, could include another hit or two down the road (even if he doesn’t sneak a new song in before year-end). The Foo Fighters, Evanescence and AC/DC all have multiple possible hits from their new albums so there is no doubt they stay on the singles and albums charts the rest of 2021. Wolfgang Van Halen has only just begun his invasion of Byrdbored and his debut album is loaded with hits.

Now that I have delivered the easy part, let’s dive into the unknown. Silk Sonic has already scored a (#2) hit with “Leave The Door Open”, but anything Bruno Mars is associated with has the potential to blow up big time. If the duo have a new album before the end of 2021, it could be huge late in the year. It just really depends on the direction he and Anderson .Paak take. If the next song released is an upbeat fun pop/R&B tune, the sky is the limit. I love the throwback sound of “Leave The Door Open”, and it does show that the sound is classic and with the right song can always be a hit.

On June 25th, Ed Sheeran released his new song, “Bad Habits”, from what is expected to be a new album in 2021. In the past, I have not been a huge fan of Sheeran although his 2017 hit, “Shape Of You” spent three weeks at (#1) and finished the year at (#10). “Bad Habits” may not end up topping “Shape Of You”, but could be good enough to get back to the top for Sheeran. It is possible he could score another top ten song for a year, and if he gets a new album out before 2021 ends he could have major impact on the end of the year. He will also (most likely) have a ton of his older music played as 2021 comes to an end since I really haven’t listened to his entire catalog of music. 2021 could be the start of a ton of points earned for Sheeran.

John Mayer already has a new single in the top ten, “Last Train Home”, and a new album will be out July 16th called “Sob Rock”. Most articles I have read claim it could have what some have coined as a “yacht rock” sound and sort of a throwback to the 1980’s keyboard driven pop/rock sound. Personally, I obviousy like the new song, and I most likely will like some other tracks from the new album. Mayer is always a hit or miss with me, but overall he is closing in on possibly making the Nest of Fame in the next couple of years. If “Sob Rock” is really good, he could even be inducted in 2022 since 2021 is his 20th year officially. His earlier stuff is definitely my favorite with his first four albums particularly having a ton of great songs. He has cooled off some in the last ten years, but did have a huge (#1) hit with “Helpless” in 2017 that finished the year in the top five songs of 2017. “Last Train Home” has the potential to get him back to (#1), but the competition is fierce right now. Mayer is definitely a wildcard to end 2021.

Imagine Dragons have been huge on Byrdbored since they debuted roughly a decade ago. As a matter of fact, they already have enough points to be eligible for the Nest of Fame, but have to wait until their 20-year mark of recording to be eligible overall. They are dropping a new album, “Mercury – Act 1”, on September 3 2021. Their first single, “Follow You”, hasn’t exactly torn up the Byrdbored charts like normal. It is still stuck in the top 20 currently, but does have enough momentum to possibly get into the top ten soon. Since three of their four albums have hit the top, I would expect the same from a new album. However, 2021 is one of the tougher years I have seen in some time. I would still expect the album to have enough hits to make some significant impact as the year ends. With almost four months to receive song plays the new album should be able to make some impact. Although it is probably too late to win Album of the Year (Dua is not having that anyway), there is plenty of time to possibly hit the singles chart with a huge (#1) song which would have enough time to make a run at Song of the Year (Forest Blakk is not having that either).

Coldplay, much like John Mayer, has cooled off lately. However, their early albums have some great hits and a new album in 2021 could definitely make a splash. Their new single, “Higher Power” got off to a very slow start, but is starting to pick up in the last two weeks. After some listens to the song, it reminds me some of the “X&Y” album which is my favorite. Hopefully it is a indication of the direction of the new album. They have been really hush hush about a release date, however, with no real word on when it might see the light of day. Their last (#1) hit single was 2017’s “Something Just Like This” which features The Chainsmokers so they are capable of the top spot, but they are also a wildcard for 2021. They are very unpredictable.

Jason Aldean is in my top ten artists of all-time currently at (#8). When it comes to Country artists of today, he is one of the best at what he does. The rumors have been fairly consistent that Aldean will have something new out by the end of 2021. Most likely it will be a new song by the end of the Summer and hopefully a new album by the end of the year. If the album gets held up until 2022, his impact will be minor for 2021, but if the album comes out in October or before, he could put his name in the hat for Country Album of the Year for 2021. He is very consistent, and usually doesn’t include a bad song on any album he does (if you are a Country fan). Since only his self-titled debut album is the only album to not hit (#1) on Byrdbored, I feel fairly confident he could get to (#1) with a new release. There is always a chance he disappoints, but that is the case with any new music. He and Keith Urban are generally up for Country Male Artist of the Year every year so a new album could help Aldean win another award or two.

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Normally I would not mention Gary Allan as having big impact on Byrdbored. He has been a solid Country artist for a long time for sure, however, he hasn’t typically been a major force. At the end of 2020, however, Allan scored his second overall (#1) hit single with “Waste Of A Whiskey Drink”. The momentum from that hit seems to have followed him into 2021 as he just hit the Byrdy Dozen with a second single, “Temptation”. His new album, “Ruthless” just debuted at (#3) on the SongByrd 60 Albums Chart which ties his second album, “It Would Be You”, for his highest charting performance on the albums chart. The album is loaded with possible hit singles so Gary Allan may just be getting his second wind. It looks like underestimating Allan for, at least, the rest of 2021 would be a mistake. Allan actually hit (#1) on the SongByrd 60 Artists Chart for the week ending June 26, 2021, so if that isn’t making impact I don’t know what is.

The new Prince release, “Welcome 2 America”, which is due out July 30th would normally be a huge deal to me. Prince was inducted into the Nest of Fame in 2008, and has always been one of favorites. However, most of what I have read mention it being a “political heavy” album which generally doesn’t interest me. I have been around long enough to know though that not everyone hears the same thing when they listen to an album. It is entirely possible that even if Prince dives deep into politics on the album, it won’t matter much to me if the songs are good. Prince was always a creative genius in my book, and although he definitely took many detours away from what I like I respected his talent and drive. There will never be another Prince, so any album released will most definitely get some listens. Prince, as usual, is the very definition of a wildcard to finish 2021. Not many artists could possibly be significant after they have passed, but Prince could be one of the few that can.

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Avril Lavigne’s first two albums were nothing short of pop perfection. Both received a perfect 5 Byrd Beak rating with the debut, “Let Go”, spending eight weeks on top on it’s way to 6x Platinum, while “Under My Skin” was even bigger spending (13) weeks at (#1) and has been certified 8x Platinum. In the last ten years, however, she has only garnered one (#1) album with 2011’s “Goodbye Lullaby”, being certified 2x Platinum. I understand that she has had some health issues, and that most definitely can play a major factor. There have been rumblings that she is ready for a comeback, and 2021 might be the year we see a new album from Avril. With no official release date or new single available yet, it is difficult to tell if the rumors are true. However, I am hoping and pulling for her to make a comeback soon. Even with some music that I haven’t cared for over the years, she is still ranked as the (#62) artist all-time, and with some great new music she could kick the door open to the Nest of Fame. I know Avril would love to kick any door down, and hopefully 2021 will end great for her.

Shania Twain is also in need of a major comeback, and recently I read articles about how high she is on her new music that she is finishing up. Of course, she is saying things like “my best album ever” which no one could possibly believe. However, I am most definitely game for some new classic Shania Twain to add to Byrdbored. Twain has two of the (43) Diamond certified albums in Byrdbored history in “Come On Over” currently ranked (#2) all-time, and “The Woman In Me” which is currently ranked (#17). Shania was inducted into the Nest of Fame in 2016, but it would be nice to hear some more classic hits from the Byrdbored Queen of the 1990’s. I am sure she also wants to show that ex-husband of hers she can write some hits without him as well. Her last release, “Now”, in 2017 simply fell very short of expectations (for me and everyone else for that matter). I am not sure if I even believe she can make a comeback, and I am one of her biggest fans. One thing that is for sure though. If you know her story you know she is a fighter. This could very well be her last legitimate shot at being big again, and I would love to see it. As of now though, no word on any official release date.

As is typical of Byrdbored, I have to hit on some rock artists. Rock has always been my favorite overall, although I listen to many, many types of music. Shinedown will have a major undertaking ahead of them following up the massive hit album, “Attention Attention”, which produced nine consecutive (#1) singles. That was the first time in Byrdbored history that any album had achieved that. The album ended it’s run as the (#10) ranked album in Byrdbored history spending (17) weeks on top and (131) weeks in the Byrdy Dozen. The (131) weeks on the chart is second only to the (#1) album of all-time which is “Hysteria” by Def Leppard. The band has announced that they expect a new single by the end of the Summer. I am not sure if a new album will happen in 2021 with that late release of a new song, but it should follow fairly soon I hope. Shinedown has really surprised me over the years. I never thought they would be one of my all-time favorites, but “Attention Attention” guarantees the Nest of Fame for them down the road. They are currently only one of (24) artists with (3,000) points or more. Another great album and Shinedown might jump into the top ten artists of all-time. Although I have realistic expectations following up a massive album, Shinedown is most definitely one of the better rock bands around.

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Halestorm is another rock band that have been very hot in the last decade or so. Their self-titled debut album hit in 2009 and Lzzy Hale and the guys have not looked back. They have landed four (#1) albums including their last, “Vicious”, in 2018 which has been certified 8x Platinum. They have also hit the top of the singles chart six times with five Platinum songs. At this point, there is no official word as to a song or album release, but the band have been leaking little teases about their excitement over the new music. I would think a new song will at least drop in 2021 with an album out by early next year at the latest. Halestorm sometimes does go into harder rock which sometimes I like and sometimes I don’t. However, their track record is so strong that I have no reason to believe their new music won’t be incredible. It is just all about the timing and when the new music becomes available. If a new song is out by the end of the year expect a huge year for Lzzy and the band in 2022.

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There is probably no group outside of Def Leppard that got off to as great a beginning as Daughtry. Their self-titled debut in 2006 is the highest ranked debut album in Byrdbored history currently coming in at (#6). Actually their first four album releases all hit (#1), and they have some of the best Byrdbored statistics of any rock band. Daughtry has scored (40) Byrdy Dozen hit singles with (36) of them charting in the top five and (16) hitting (#1). Now for the bad news. Their last album, “Cage To Rattle”, became their first to not hit the top peaking at (#3), and it only spent (21) weeks in the Byrdy Dozen. Almost everything I am reading about their new music is positive, however, as the consensus is that they are getting back to their roots and going to rock more like the early album releases. They released a first single, “World On Fire”, in 2020 which did peak at (#5), but the follow up, “Heavy is the Crown” only hit the top 20. All indications are that an album will happen in 2021, but no release date is officially known. If everything I am reading is correct, I would not count out Daughtry for a huge rebound when the new album does become available. Chris Daughtry is a very likable guy, and he has one of the better voices of any rock lead singer of the last fifteen years. Now all they need is great songs. Piece of cake right?

Fuel announced just this week that they will have a new single, “Hard”, out July 9th with a new album, “Anomaly”, to follow in October 2021. The return of the band had been discussed quite a bit earlier in 2021, so most of us rock fans knew it was coming. The return of Carl Bell who originally wrote all the band’s biggest hits was a surprise when it was first brought up though. Fuel have scored five (#1) Byrdbored hits including the (#55) ranked song in Byrdbored history in “Hemorrhage (In My Hands)” which spent six weeks on top and nine weeks as the top rock song. With four (#1) albums in their catalog, it isn’t impossible that Fuel could hit the top on the albums chart at the very least. The new lead singer. John Corsale, sounds great from the clips I have heard, and with Carl Bell’s song writing back in tow they could be a late surprise for 2021.

Click pic for more info on Fuel

For most people, aging rock bands are a no-no. They turn their noses up and totally ignore the existence of such bands claiming that they have had their time in the sun, and it is time to move on. One of the major things I am happiest about is that Byrdbored is all about the songs. I truly do not care if the artist is 17 or 70 as long as the songs are what I like. If I want to hear a song over and over it will be a Byrdbored hit. One of the greatest examples of that is the rock band Night Ranger who continue to do solid rock music and simply do what they do best. Most don’t even realize they continue to make new music, because they don’t look for it. However, Night Ranger has new music and a new song, “Breakout”, which is pushing the top 20 on the SongByrd 60 and a new album, “ATBPO”, due out August 6th. Since they have scored eight (#1) albums all-time, they are always capable of hitting the top again. Night Ranger has always been my under-the-radar rock band from the 1980’s that I just love most of what they do. Actually, some of the songs they have released in the last ten years are some of their best in my opinion. Obviously, there will never be another “Sister Christian”, but if you are a rock fan the guys have a catalog of music that will surprise you if you give it a chance. I expect a big finish to 2021 on into 2022 for Night Ranger.

Journey have always been a favorite of mine and are currently ranked at (#17) all-time. They are one of the “Fabulous 5” artists that were the first to be inducted into the Nest of Fame in 2006. Unfortunately, the last album from Journey was released in 2011 so they have been in free fall over the last decade with no new music to fuel them on Byrdbored. On June 24th, the guys released a new song, “The Way We Used To Be”, which was the High Flyin’ Debut the week ending June 26th coming in at (#9). The song sounds like classic Journey with Neal Schon’s guitar work sounding like he hasn’t missed a beat. With a revamped lineup including Randy Jackson on bass (don’t even get me started on Ross Valory), keyboardist Jason Derlatka and drummer, Narada Michael Walden (don’t get me started on Steve Smith either), along with Arnel Pineda who replaced Steve Augeri on vocals in 2007, Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain seem to be set for another run. Of course, the obvious elephant in the room will always be the Steve Perry debate, but unfortunately that ship seems to have sailed all the way back in 1996 with the last album to feature Perry on vocals which was “Trial By Fire”. I understand why many fans don’t want to hear Journey without Perry, but they are the ones missing out. I get it, but I am not going to be closed-minded and miss out on good songs because Perry isn’t involved. From the first new song, it sounds like Journey are capable of some more hit music in 2021 and beyond.

Duran Duran’s last album release was 2015’s “Paper Gods” which peaked at (#5), but did not yield a Byrdy Dozen hit single. Duran Duran have always been a little up and down with me especially in the last 20 years or so. 2010’s “All You Need Is Now” hit (#1), however, and produced the (#8) title track. So is Duran Duran capable of a comeback? Most certainly they are. The first single from their new album, “Future Past”, has already hit the top ten as “Invisible” has so far peaked at (#6). “Invisible” is the biggest hit single since 2004’s “(Reach Up For The) Sunrise” peaked at (#3). The new album is set to drop October 22, 2021 so it might be a little late to finish in the top ten albums of the year. However, Duran Duran could see another single possibly hit Byrdbored in 2021 and continue their momentum into 2022. Beyond that, Duran Duran have always been a band that are on my bubble as far as the Nest of Fame goes. A strong new album might help guarantee the guys a spot there in the future. I have a good feeling about “Future Past”, but we will find out for sure in October 2021.

Christian Contemporary music is never a huge deal on radio or ever on pop charts with very rare exceptions. However, Byrdbored does have quite a few artists that do make major impact from time to time. One of the biggest is Jeremy Camp who has a string of (#1) albums that ties him with some pretty big artists. Camp has eleven (#1) albums all-time which ties Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, and Tim McGraw. Camp is expected to release his new album in September so it is possible he takes the lead in that category. Camp also has (42) hit singles under his belt and (18) overall (#1) hits. Since 2002, Camp has most definitely been very consistent and one of the top Christian Contemporary artists of his time. Although his newer music hasn’t had the huge hits he had early in his career (that can be said for most artists), he is still relevant and capable of (#1) songs and albums. His new single, “When You Speak”, is currently moving up the SongByrd 60 Singles Chart and sits at (#23) as of the week ending June 26, 2021. Camp will be one to watch as 2021 ends.

Another Christian Contemporary act that always makes big impact is MercyMe who’s new album, “Inhale (Exhale)”, appears to have peaked at (#2) but remains in the top ten as of the week ending June 26, 2021. They already have one of the top Christian Contemporary songs of the year with “Say I Won’t” which peaked at (#2) on the SongByrd 60, and they currently have the top Christian Contemporary song with “On Our Way” which has so far peaked at (#16). The album is very good and is expected to produce multiple top ten hits down the road. Any conversation of new music for 2021 (and 2022 for that matter) has to include MercyMe. The guys are primed and ready for a Nest of Fame appearance soon and are very deserving.

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list since there are many artists that I haven’t been able to find any new music updates for. However, part of the fun of music is the not knowing and then the surprise of knowing in that instant. New music instantly changes the landscape one way or the other. Something great changes music history for the better, and disappointments leave openings for other artists to take advantage. Hopefully some of the above artists will have great new music, but undoubtedly some will disappoint. 2021 has been one of the best music years for me personally that I can remember, and it is only half-way finished. What will the rest of 2021 bring? I don’t have a crystal ball (it would be called a “Byrdy ball” if I did), but I celebrate all the music fans like myself who want a great musical ending to 2021. Keep flyin’ high Byrd heads!

Evanescence – The Bitter Truth Byrdview

It has been ten years since the last official “new” album from Evanescence. Although the band did release a 2016 album entitled “Lost Whispers” that includes some songs that are pre-2003 (before their official debut album “Fallen”), that I do like. It actually peaked at (#2) on Byrdbored, and it does have some good songs on it. The band also released “Synthesis” in 2017, but it is re-worked songs from previous albums (for the most part) and did not chart on Byrdbored.

When you consider the ten year gap between brand new material for the band it is tough. Most bands could not come back from that much time away and have any chance of being relevant. However, I am more open-minded than most music fans, and I was looking forward to hearing what the band could still do when I heard about the album release. I also listened to a ton of interviews from Amy Lee, and she honestly sounds like she is much happier. The band seems to be more in tune with each other than they have been in the past. Amy Lee definitely got the reputation (rightfully or not) for chasing band members away. After all, the original lineup were all gone after “Fallen” and seemed to change with every album. I am hoping the current band lineup helps solidify Evanescence for years to come.

First off, I will state the obvious. “Fallen” will always be the musical measuring stick for Evanescence. It is the second highest rated debut album in Byrdbored history behind only Daughtry’s self-titled masterpiece in 2006. It is very tough when your first official release is the album that instantly becomes your best. There is a ton of pressure, but honestly Evanescence did a very good job of following up “Fallen” with “The Open Door” in 2006 and the self-titled release in 2011. Both albums hit (#1) on Byrdbored, and they produced more big hits as well. Therefore my expectation of “The Bitter Truth” was simply to get back to the level of “The Open Door” and “Evanescence” albums.

“The Bitter Truth” has far exceeded my expectations as it could be their second best album to date. I believe it has a more rockin’ vibe similar to “Fallen”. Although not all the songs are as strong as the tracks on “Fallen”, it definitely gives me the same rock rush that “Fallen” did. The first Byrdbored hit, “Wasted On You”, is a top five hit, and it has the classic Evanescence sound that I have truly missed. It was the first single made available by the band, and it shows Evanescence still has something left. Other new songs followed in “The Game Is Over” and “Use My Voice”, but it was “Yeah Right” that caught my ear next. It also peaked in the top five and has that classic Amy Lee swagger. I am sure that I will get back to “The Game Is Over” and “Use My Voice” later as they are also very solid tracks. The current Byrdbored single, “Better Without You”, is another rocker that I love, and it should be their third top five hit potentially. It is one of the better songs on the album as far as I am concerned.

I really believe by the end of this album’s run on Byrdbored, it could produce six hits including all the songs mentioned, as well as, “Feeding The Dark” which is another strong track. If there is any negative, however, it would be that I don’t hear any (#1) songs. Obviously, (#1) songs don’t just happen all the time. It is very hard to get to the top of any chart (no matter which one). I have always felt that any song or album that can get into the top ten or so is really good. It always depends on the competition, and 2021 is a very strong year. I also miss predictions all the time. It is totally possible that a couple of songs from “The Bitter Truth” catch fire and can go all the way to the top. Most of the time the difference between a top five and a (#1) hit is so narrow that unexpected things do happen. That is part of the fun for me. All the pleasant surprises that music gives me is truly priceless. I am surprised quite often, and that is good. However, my gut tells me this might be their first album to not score a (#1) hit single. The album, however, did hit the top and became the band’s fourth (#1) hit.

When I consider everything in one big musical blender, I truly believe that start to finish this is the band’s second best album. It rocks more than the last two “official” releases, and it should have more hits overall as well. There really isn’t any bad songs on “The Bitter Truth”, and it is one of the better rock albums I have heard this year. I do expect big hits from Evanescence, but if they end up with six Byrdy Dozen songs from the album, I would definitely think that is a major success story. If the album contained a couple of “slam dunk” (#1) hits I would consider elevating my rating up slightly, but under the circumstances I believe 4 Byrd Beaks is a very strong comeback for Evanescence. The band could actually be in the running for Entertainer of the Year which I would not have expected a year ago. Congratulations to a fantastic new album that I do believe rock fans will all enjoy (especially if you are a fan of the band’s first three albums).

Foo Fighters – Medicine At Midnight Byrdview

The Foo Fighters have always been one of those rock bands that I respect and give all of their music some listens. I haven’t always liked everything they do, but Dave Grohl would be good with that I am sure. They have always done what they wanted to do without any fear of what the critics might say or even the fans in some instances. Dave Grohl is most definitely one of the most outlandish and outspoken frontmen in rock history which I love personally. It should be all about fun or why do it? He speaks his mind, and you don’t ask him something if you don’t want an honest answer. It is amazing to think that a band that had such simple beginnings with just Dave Grohl and a cassette tape of songs could make it to the Hall of Fame, but in 2021 they did. I guess when you condense it down to the very basics, every band has to start somewhere. They probably all have their stories of humble beginnings on their way to rock star status. The funny thing about the Foo Fighters is that they really don’t come off like big rock stars. They seem like a bunch of guys that just love what they do and anyone could just hang out with (and have a blast). Humble rock stars are the best.

Coming off the band’s last album, “Concrete And Gold”, I didn’t have high expectations. The 2017 effort wasn’t one of my favorites from the guys, and it only received 2 Byrd Beaks. As a stated from the top, I don’t always love what the Foo Fighters do, but I still respect their creative talents and process. I have always believed it is fine to occasionally have an album by an artist that I don’t love. I have always lived by the belief that if everyone likes you it is probably a bad thing. If you don’t occasionally piss someone off, you are probably not doing it right and you won’t achieve anything in the long-term. I can always expect a change of direction from the Foo Fighters. It seems they never do the same album twice, and that is definitely the case with “Medicine At Midnight”.

It has now been over four months since the release of “Medicine At Midnight”, and I can definitely say this is my favorite album since 2011’s “Wasting Light”. Even without me loving the first single, “Shame Shame”, I liked it enough to chart in the top 20 on Byrdbored. It is definitely something I have never heard from the guys before, and I applaud that. It ended up growing on me quite a bit. I didn’t have the same feeling about “Waiting On A War” though as it never really connected with me. Both “Shame Shame” and “Waiting On A War” hit (#1) on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart and even though I never loved either of them I also never skip them when I listen to the album. “No Son Of Mine” was the first big one for me, however, as it has this bombastic rock sound that I simply love. It peaked at (#2) on the SongByrd 60 and spent seven weeks as the top Rock song. It became the band’s fifth Platinum single on Byrdbored.

“Cloudspotter” might very well be one of my favorite songs the Foo Fighters have ever done. It has a rockin’ sound from the start, but also adds just enough pop flavor to make it stand out on the album. It sort of reminds me of a harder-edge Cars song. It is currently in the top five on Byrdbored, but could end up one of the top five songs of 2021. The title track is my third favorite song on the album, and I can see a solid top five run for it in the future. I also really dig “Making A Fire” and “Holding Poison” which could both see some extensive plays on into 2022. I typicially don’t love that many songs from a Foo Fighters album, which is part of the reason I believe this is my favorite album since “Wasting Light” which I really loved. “Medicine At Midnight” is a former (#1) Byrdbored album which spent three weeks on top, and it actually remains in the top ten as of last week (week ending June 12, 2021). It has been certified 2x Platinum on Byrdbored.

The Foo Fighters have always marched to their own drummer which is the band itself. I have listened to many interviews with the band, and you can simply tell the guys are in a very good place personally and creatively. You can also tell that by listening to “Medicine At Midnight”. It is a very cohesive, steady album that represents what the band does best. Even though I don’t love every song, it has a distinctive Foo Fighters sound. It is a very good album and would be a solid addition for any fan of the Foo Fighters. 4 Byrd Beaks!!!!

Lindsay Ell – Heart Theory Byrdview

Lindsay Ell is a singer, songwriter and guitarist from Calgary, Alberta. She was born the year I graduated high school so she has that going for her. Her music is a combination of so many types, but I hear pop, rock, blues and country all rolled into one mix. Like so many artists that are trying to break into the Nashville music scene, it can be very difficult for them. Just ask Keith Urban how long it took him to break big. There is no doubt this young lady has some talent, and I was immediately excited to find out she is a guitar player. After all, I am a big fan of a great deal of guitar players and their music. Any newer artist that plays guitar and writes their own music I am very excited to listen to. She is considered country for the most part, but labels are never a big deal to me. I am just a fan of good solid music that I enjoy listening to over and over. “Heart Theory” is a surprise album that I started listening to in late 2020 so I have had some time to really dive deep into it.

The 12-track album was produced by Dan Huff who is one of my favorite producers so right away I assume the sound will be perfect (and I was right). I didn’t realize it at first, but Ell wrote an album basically tied around the seven stages of grief in the order she dealt with them. Now that is deep! Lindsay Ell confronted a breakup, health scare and even a sexual assault according to what I have read. The songs from “Heart Theory” basically chronicle her path to healing, but are done in such a way that you really wouldn’t realize the emotional territory they cover. This is her first release of original material since 2017’s “Project” album, and you can definitely tell the growth in this young lady. Most of the songs are upbeat and tuneful and all of them show off her guitar skills and growing confidence as a vocalist.

The first song that I heard from the album was “Want Me Back” which has such a confident, sassy swagger about it. It is done in a fun way, but definitely displays the confidence of someone that is finally starting to get over someone. There is nothing wrong with knowing you are special, and deep inside knowing the other person blew it by not being with you. “Want Me Back” peaked at (#8) on Byrdbored, and was a very solid beginning for her chart debut. My favorite track is most likely “Go To” which just hit the top five on Byrdbored, and it also displays the confidence of someone ready to move on with someone worthy of them. “Hits Me” is the very first track, and it hits on the feeling of when a relationship first ends. You are trying to battle all the emotions and feelings that arise, but also stay distracted with whatever you can so you don’t think about it. No matter how you try it still finds a way to “hit” you when you let your guard down. It is very catchy, and is one of the stand out tracks on the album.

“I Don’t Love You” is the classic denial song of how bad you want to believe you no longer love the person that used to be in your life. It has a fantastic sound, and really nails that feeling that all of us have felt before. “Good On You” is such a fun track which hits on the feeling of how you are coming to grips with a breakup, but at the same time that other person has moved on faster than you have. You want the best for them, but at the same time you aren’t quite ready to see them that happy without you. The best ballad is “Make You” which is an incredible ode to how the tough times will most definitely make you who you are down the road. “Make You” is one of my favorites on the album, and I could see it in the top five at some point.

Lindsay Ell won my Country Female Vocalist for 2020 so I am obviously impressed with “Heart Theory” enough to warrant that award. I tend to really like singer/songwriter artists that can also play music and make albums that I love to play again and again. “Heart Theory” is most definitely that. It was one of my most pleasant surprises of late 2020 and is still being played in 2021. It peaked at (#3) on Byrdbored, and I really believe this is a fantastic effort from Lindsay. I really feel like I have found an artist that will continue to release solid, catchy and thoughtful songs. I actually can’t wait to hear what Lindsay Ell does next. She could definitely be a big part of Byrdbored, and be one of the younger artists to take it into the future. As far as an official “Heart Theory” rating goes….4 Byrd Beaks!!!! It is an excellent album, but I am still leaving room for some improvement. I believe she has the potential to be one of my favorites in the future. I am looking forward to following her career.