By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
By Kat Bein
By Abel Folgar
By Laurie Charles
DJ I-Dee, "Eclectic Dreams" feat. Rites of Ash: "The first single off my upcoming debut album on Adiar Cor Records. It features Rites of Ash, an industrial rock band from Washington, D.C. Be sure to check the music video for it on YouTube, as well as my album coming in 2008."
Tay Zonday, "Chocolate Rain": "Best song of the year. Hypnotizing. Nuff said."
Madlib, "Movie Finale": "This is one of those songs that I'll play over and over during a long drive. Very soothing and has a slight Bollywood feel to it. Check Madlib's Beat Konducta Vol. 3-4: In India on Stones Throw."
It's been awhile since current Fort Lauderdale resident Davy Jones was considered hip, if ever the Monkees truly were. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have an ear for music. The British drummer/singer is still in the studio frequently and trying to stave off old age by listening to new music.
"I'm mostly into music from the Sixties and the Eighties, to be honest," he admits. "I actually missed the Eighties the first time around, so I'm catching up finally and listening to lots of music from that decade."
Okay, so maybe Jones isn't the best authority on new tunes, but he still hit us up with a list of what's on his radar:
Sir Paul McCartney, Memory Almost Full: "I got used to it after a while. He's getting older, but I especially like the song 'Dance Tonight.'"
Kenny Chesney, Just Who I Am: Poems and Pirates: "I kept hearing so much about the album, I figured I'd go out and buy it. I like it but I'm thinking, Country Artist of the Year? There's more meat on Willie Shoemaker's whip than there is on Chesney's whole body."
James Blunt, All the Lost Souls: "It was a bit twee, but he's got great songs on there and I liked it."
Norah Jones, Not Too Late: "My favorite artist of the year was Norah Jones by far. My grandchild was born to Norah Jones's music. That probably says a lot about me. I'm old, man. I'm at the point where, when I walk up a flight of stairs, by the time I get to the top, I forget why I went there and walk back down again."
On the surface, you might think rapper/hardcore veteran Vanilla Ice wouldn't know good music if it bit his ass. He's been the butt of a million jokes from his early days as the man behind "Ice Ice Baby," but the Palm Beach County-based MC has fairly eclectic taste in music. He's keeping his career afloat by recording with rapcore legends Insane Clown Posse and making fresh tracks in his spare time.
As Ice, a.k.a. Rob Van Winkle, puts it: "I've got a subculture following in the hardcore hip-hop scene. I've got the 16-to-25-year-old market. They totally missed the 'Ice Ice Baby' stuff and that's a good thing."
The White Stripes, Icky Thump: "They're just an amazing band. Jack White is one of the most amazing musicians in the world, ever. Just to hear him put it down, he's one of the most original artists out there right now, and this album is incredible."
Slim Thug, Serve and Collect: "He's really doing it for Houston right now. I like his whole style."
Chamillionaire, Ultimate Victory: "I really like that slow flow. Ever since [DJ Screw] started slowing everything down and screwing up the beats, I've really been into this music. Chamillionaire is just a dope rapper. I'm feeling this one."
Korn, Untitled: "They keep reinventing themselves. They've got a great live show, and just when you think their whole style is dead and gone, they find a way to stay on top of the game."
Justin Timberlake, FutureSex/LoveSounds: "Man, I never liked him when he was a Disney act, but he's laying it down right now. I've forgotten about all that 'N Sync shit. You gotta give credit where its due, and this album is solid."
Slipknot, Collector's Box: "They're one of my favorite heavy metal bands of all time. You gotta realize they get no radio play, no real support, and still sell millions of records without MTV. That's phenomenal. I've recorded with them before and they're just great guys in person as well."
Rihanna, Good Girl Gone Bad: "That's a bad-ass album. She's crushing it right now. That song 'Umbrella' is sick. I don't know who wrote that song, but it's great. Aside from that, the whole album is good."
Young Jeezy, The Inspiration: "He's holding it down, man. He's got the Midas touch right now — all of his songs are like gold."
Jay-Z, American Gangster: "This album is just ridiculous. Everybody in the world knows Jay-Z is the hottest rap act in the world right now. He owns hip-hop, and since Biggie and Tupac are gone, somebody's gotta own it."
When it came time to work on this year-end list, the first name that came to mind was hometown indie hero Chris Carrabba. The second was John Ralston. Go figure. But news came back that not only was Carrabba on tour promoting his stellar new record, The Shade of Poison Trees, but also he was doing so with Ralston and neither would be available. Bummer. Then from the heavens came an e-mail with Carrabba's top 10 albums of the year. Interestingly enough, Ralston made the list: