By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Crowded House, Time on Earth
"It's amazing. I love Neil Finn and have had a solid crush on him for nearly 23 years. I got to tell him so after their awesome show at the Greek Theatre this summer. Love them."
The Cliks, Snakehouse
"An incredible record. I went on the True Colors tour with them and also directed their video 'Eye in the Back of my Head.'"
"This was in heavy rotation. I love her, and she is insanely cute. On the cover she looks really Super Mario Bros or Donkey Kong. Her fashion sense is crazy. So cool."
Antony Hegarty [frontman, Antony & the Johnsons]
"When he's singing he sounds like he's clutching the pearls around his neck and spilling a gin and tonic all over the place." —L.L.
A Monkee, an indie rocker, a Latin/soul DJ and the Ice-Man. A pity this quartet hasn't started a band.
It's been a while 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. So it would seem that checking in with Jones, who is a resident of Fort Lauderdale, to hear what he's been listening to this year would be a good idea.
"I'm mostly into music from the '60s and the '80s, to be honest. I actually missed the '80s the first time around, so I'm catching up finally and listening to lots of music from that decade."
OK, 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.
"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' 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 tastes in music. He's keeping his career afloat by recording with fellow rapcore legends Insane Clown Posse and making fresh tracks himself. As Ice, aka 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."
"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."
"They keep reinventing themselves They've got a great live show and just when you're 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 it's 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."