Growing up in the Garden State, I loved The Clash so much that I didn't even mind when they were arrogantly marketed by their label as "The Only Band That Matters." These days, as far as I'm concerned, the only Best Albums Of The Year list that really matters is your own.
The truth is that I just don't like making these kind of year-end lists, and checking them even once, much less twice. I think that's because as my older son once told me, "Dad, you have a different favorite song every day." I'm pretty sure my boy meant this comment as mocking yet loving criticism of his old man, but it's also completely true. That's why I wake up each day and happily share my WILD SONG OF THE DAY on twitter at @wildaboutmusic. For me, that's fun and more true to my ever-changing musical moods than anything longer term.
This year, I successfully avoiding participating in a number of critics' music polls. But then in recent days, a few friends asked what music they should buy this year for gifts or for themselves. So in the true spirit of this holiday season, I've decided to exploit these requests by burping up one more posting here at Huffington Post. Here, then, is my cheap gift to all of you: my personal Top Ten Albums of the Year list -- based on my mood today -- as well a few other stray merry musical musings as stocking stuffers.
MY TOP TEN ALBUMS OF THE YEAR, ALPHABETICAL BY TITLE, NOT COUNTING "THE"
AMERICAN SATURDAY NIGHT - Brad Paisley
BIBLE BELT - Diane Birch
BLACKSUMMERS'NIGHT - Maxwell
THE BLUEPRINT 3 - Jay-Z
DEFYING GRAVITY - Keith Urban
THE ELEMENT OF FREEDOM - Alicia Keyes
HOMBRE LOBO: 12 SONGS OF DESIRE - Eels
I AND LOVE AND YOU - The Avett Brothers
THEM CROOKED VULTURES - Them Crooked Vultures
WOLFGANG AMADEUS PHOENIX - Phoenix
BEST SONG I NEVER WANT TO HEAR AGAIN -- UNTIL THE NEXT TIME I HEAR IT
"I Got A Feelin'" - The Black Eyed Peas
BEST NEW BOX SET BY A DEAD GUY WHO I STILL TOTALLY DIG
New York by Frank Sinatra
OUTSTANDING TRACK ON CHRISTMAS ALBUM RECORDING BY A JEWISH GOD
"The Chanukah Song" on Cherry Cherry Christmas by Neil Diamond. Sorry Bob Dylan, but Neil takes the gelt here. P.S. Neil Diamond doesn't just deserve to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame -- the man deserves his own wing.
MOST EXCITING BOX SET NOBODY BOUGHT ME FOR MY BIRTHDAY DESPITE MULTIPLE HINTS TO MY WIFE
Where The Action Is!: Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968 by Various Artists
BEST NEW SONG BY ANY ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS CAT STEVENS
"World O' Darkness" by Yusuf
BEST MUSIC VIDEO THAT REMINDED ME I COULD STILL LIKE A MUSIC VIDEO
"Chasing Pirates" by Norah Jones
BEST WEB MUSIC SERIES
Daryl Hall's red hot home show Live From Daryl's House, especially the episode with Todd Rundgren and Diane Birch.
MOST PROMISING UPCOMING WEB MUSIC SERIES
An Incomplete History of Rock 'N Roll by Greg Mitchell directed by his son.
BEST ROCK ALBUM I CAN HAPPILY LISTEN TO WITH MY SONS
Raditude by Weezer
BEST BAND THAT MANAGED TO PISS OFF CANADA
The Boxmasters. I hate to blame Canada, but I will buy American and buy Boxmasters proudly.
BEST ALBUM BY A SENSITIVE SINGER-SONGWRITER MAKING HIS OWN GOOD NAME IN THE FAMILY BUSINESS
BEST COUNTRY SONG FEATURING DWIGHT YOAKAM THAT WARNER BROS. SHOULD RELEASE ALREADY
"Long Goodbye" by Michelle Branch featuring Dwight Yoakam.
BEST REASON TO GIVE "CHINESE DEMOCRACY" ANOTHER CHANCE
"Catcher In The Rye" by Guns 'N Roses. If only J.D. Salinger get busy and write Axl a video treatment.
BEST ALBUM I DISCOVERED THIS YEAR BY A LATE GREAT SOUL SINGER I ONLY USED TO KNOW FOR SINGING "SHOW AND TELL"
Searching For Dolphins -- Al Wilson
BEST CONTINUING ROCK & ROLL SOAP OPERA:
MY FAVORITE TEEN SONGWRITER IN THE WORLD UNTIL SHE TURNED TWENTY
MY FAVORITE PERFORMANCE ARTIST/POP SUPERSTAR WHO DOESN'T REMIND ME OF MADONNA AT ALL
BEST IMPERSONATION OF OZZY OSBOURNE
Greg London in his hsow Greg London's Icons. Second Place: Ozzy Osbourne when he saved -- or was that killed -- variety TV.
BEST REISSUE OF MUSIC FROM A LABEL I NEVER KNEW EXISTED
Titan: It's All Pop - Various Artists
BEST PAPERBACK FROM WHICH THIS WRITER DIRECTLY PROFITS
He Is . . . I Say: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Neil Diamond by David Wild.
LEAST CONVINCING CAMEO BY AN AGING ROCK CRITIC AS HIMSELF
Me in my fleeting role as David, The Nasty Sweating Producer on the Jewel episode of The Chris Isaak Hour. I would suggest recasting, but the network cancelled us instead.
SWEETEST LADY I WISH I'D BEEN ABLE TO HEAR SING IN PERSON
Brittany Murphy. I wrote two speeches for Brittany over the years, both of which somehow concerned her enduring love for Liza Minnelli who her mother had taken her to see perform as a child. In our surprisingly long conversations, Brittany struck me as being extremely sweet, emotional, vulnerable and funny. As it turned out, she also had a big, beautiful singing voice -- just like Liza With A Z. I'm so sorry to hear that Brittany's voice has been silenced so soon.
This one, assuming you class it up a little by adding your own favorites below right now.