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Year End Recap: The Best of 2015

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Social media fueled our nostalgia in 2015, which explains why so many of the new songs on this list sound distinctly like 1980's & 1990's throwbacks. Between #tbt and Buzzfeed Rewind, a myriad of tv show reboots (Full House, The X Files, 24, Boy Meets World), and the resurgence of 90's fashion, not much escaped the influence of the past. Then again, I'm not complaining if today's musicians want to take a few lessons from decades past.

10. The Weeknd - "Can't Feel My Face"

Ominous and haunting but joyous at the same time, this song held a special place in my heart during 2015. First, I saw The Weeknd perform it with Taylor Swift at her epic concert in the Meadowlands in July. A stadium of 70,000 fans dancing with LED bracelets blinking in unison to the beat was ultimately perfect. Second, I was at the taping of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon when Tom Cruise won the Lip Sync Battle with his awesome rendition of "Can't Feel My Face"…

Save Rock & Roll: The Perils of Rock in 2015

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Rock is dead. Long live rock 'n roll.

Those two dichotomies have existed since Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis but they're even truer now. A "generation lost in space", looking for the next rock n roll hero to lead us out of the recession and into happier times, times before parents' basements and tax returns and the unemployment seminar. We're looking, and we keep looking...

Artists like Nikki Sixx implore us to keep our ears open to new rock music, to give new generations a chance. Sixx straddles the line between old and new: as the bassist of Motley Crue since 1981, he knows what it means to live through changing rock trends. But it's clear to most Sixx fans that Nikki's heart lies with his newer band, Sixx A.M. - a band from a completely different sonicsphere than Motley. Sixx A.M. has more of a pop sensibility, a theatricality in tone, thoughtfulness in lyrics, in stark contrast to Motley's in-your-face brand of sex, drugs, and hedonism.

If …

David Cook Live at The Ridgefield Playhouse - Feb. 11, 2015

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David Cook at The Ridgefield Playhouse - February 11, 2015

Ridgefield Playhouse is a small venue of just 500 seats, with the proverbial "not a bad seat in the house". It's the kind of place where things can get a bit sleepy; most shows are acoustic sets. Not the case at last night's show - Season 7 American Idol winner David Cook encouraged the crowd to stand and most of them stood through the whole show. 

American Idol is the place where David got his start in 2008, making history as the first Idol winner to play his guitar on the show. While the use of a guitar on Idol has devolved into a crutch for the contestants, Cook truly warranted the instruments - he is an excellent guitarist and pianist. He captured attention with slowed-down, haunting covers of "Billie Jean" and Lionel Richie's "Hello", but proved his versatility with hard rock covers of Beatles songs "Eleanor Rigby" and "Daytripper". He was saddled with one of the…

Year End Recap: The Best Of 2014

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2014 was the year I went to 16 concerts and met one of my life-long heroes.

I  got my wish granted with a 3-disc "Super Deluxe Edition" of Bon Jovi's best album, 1988's New Jersey, featuring all the outtakes that would have been on the double-album "Sons of Beaches" if only for that damn record company. I cried hearing the songs I'd only ever heard in 96 kbps quality from MP3s I'd downloaded in 2001.

And hey, the music released this year didn't suck either.

10. Fall Out Boy - "Centuries"

Tailor made for an arena, with handclaps and a thundering chorus. Black and gold and a new found confidence in Pete Wentz's operatic lyrics. The slightest of snarls behind Patrick Stump's fovever youthful voice. Giving the mummified dreams of late 20-somethings a song to sink their teeth into.

The only reason I'm ranking this song at #10 is because it only found its way into my everyday playlist in the last month or so of 2014. Had it been …