By Roy Kasten
By Kris Wernowsky
By Chaz Kangas
By Joseph Hess
By Julie Seabaugh
By Mike Appelstein
By Rachel Brodsky
By Kelsey McClure
A Monkee, an indie rocker, a Latin/soul DJ and the Ice-Man: Broward County's motley crew weighs in.
It's been awhile since 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 '60s and the '80s, to be honest," he admits. "I actually missed the '80s 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 awhile. 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' 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 emcee has fairly eclectic taste in music. He's keeping his career afloat by recording with rapcore legends Insane Clown Posse and making fresh tracks himself.
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're think they're 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 that 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.
Guitarist Jon Wilkins has had a whirlwind year. As a member of South Florida indie darlings the Postmarks, he was on the road for most of 2007 pushing his band's self-titled debut album. Lucky for him, constant touring also means finding lots of new record stores and under-the-radar releases.
"Most of my picks are from the various tours I've been on this year, exploring new record stores and meeting other musicians with great recommendations," he says. "The Jonny Greenwood mix for Trojan is my favorite. And I've been a big fan of Mavis Staples and all the women of soul like Esther Phillips and Betty Wright.
"As for pop music, it was an amazing year, most notably the Clientele record. Touring with the Apples [in Stereo] really got me into their latest and also turned me on to Aqueduct, both incredibly great records and the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. And I can't help but put John Ralston's record on there. I really do listen to it and it will always be special to me."