- - Friday, November 2, 2018


I grew up in the era when what is now referred to as classic rock dominated the radio airwaves. Classic rock is generally defined as music ranging from the late 1960s to the late 1980s, primarily focusing on commercially successful rock ‘n’ roll. If you wish to start a raucous debate with your friends and neighbors, simply declare with utter certainty that you know the greatest rock ‘n roll band of the 20th century. It doesn’t matter whether you choose the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, the Allman Brothers or U2, you will surely find an argument.

As a rock ‘n’ roll connoisseur, one who cut my broadcasting teeth on rock radio airwaves at age 13 and one who has nearly 15,000 songs on my iPod, I like to think I have keen insight not only into what I personally enjoy, but what makes some talent particularly special. The Allman Brothers Band birthed a genre we now call southern rock. Without them we might not have the catalogs of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Outlaws or countless others. U2 not only created great rock, they successfully evolved and constantly pushed new sounds and styles - all while still sounding uniquely U2. Without them we might not have Thirty Seconds to Mars or Coldplay.

As we go reeling toward the end of the second decade of the 21st century does rock still have a meaningful place in popular music? In a word, yes. Nielsen Music compiles every music sale including CDs, vinyl, digital downloads and streaming. From that information they found rock makes up 30% of all sales, followed by rap/hip hop at 22%, pop at 19% and country at 10%.

Many people over the age of 30 cling only to the music they grew up with and much like their parents, complain about the music coming out “these days” but the truth is there continues to be plenty of bands generating great rock ‘n roll.

The best among them is The Struts. Yahoo Music called them “one of the most exciting and electric performers in rock today. ” MTV said The Struts are “well on their way to bringing rock & roll back to the forefront.”

Let me go a step further. The Struts are the best rock ‘n roll band of the 21st Century.

No matter how one measures it, the conclusion is the same. The Struts are the greatest rock band of the last twenty years. Their debut album “Everybody Wants” was filled with upbeat, anthem like rock tunes. The 2016 release grabbed the attention of listeners and critics everywhere. The Struts music also grabbed the attention of rock royalty. The Rolling Stones asked them to open for them. So did The Who. During the past year Foo Fighters described them as the best opening band they’ve ever had. Now The Struts have launched their own headline tour.

The end of 2018 finds The Struts dropping a new album, “Young and Dangerous.” It kicks off in high gear with Body Talks, an infectious radio-friendly tune that gains steam as it goes along. That’s followed up by Primadonna Like Me, a rock tune with an opening every bit as memorable as the guitar lick that starts The Rolling Stones classic Brown Sugar. The song has it all. Guitar hooks, great percussion, pounding backbeat and a chorus that you can’t help singing along with by the time the second verse comes around.

The entire album is strong. It showcases lead singer Luke Spiller’s amazing vocal talent, and the band’s uncanny ability to craft anthems fit for stadiums. The Struts are no one-trick-pony either. On the song Who Am I they explore a dance vibe reminiscent of Miss You (Stones) and Hot Legs (Rod Stewart) but with a distinctive Strutsy sound. The playful chorus will be stuck in your head for days. Fire (part 1) and Ashes (part 2) are two separate songs cleverly telling two parts of celebrating all life has to offer with one special person. The first talks of “Young love living fast …” while the latter explores the melancholy reflection of a life lived together when one partner inevitably passes before the other.

Everything about the new album is strong. The vocals, the lyrics, and the well-balanced material. The music is a celebration in your ears. “Young and Dangerous” is five stars out of five.

As good as the album is, The Struts greatest talent is performing live. They are excellent musicians one and all, and lead singer Luke Spiller brings an onstage charisma and ability to engage an audience without peer. There are no pyrotechnics or special effects yet you leave a Struts show feeling like you’ve just seen the best concert of your life…and maybe you have.

The Struts are equally comfortable playing to 1200 people or 12,000. Nearly every song has the (usually sold out) crowd singing along. Spiller talks, laughs and cajoles the audience each night. It’s obvious the band is having fun and so is their audience.

Let me repeat. The Struts are the best rock ‘n roll band of the 21st Century. Give yourself a treat. Buy the new album and if you have the chance to see them perform live, jump on it. You’ll thank me I promise.

The Struts “Young and Dangerous” is available on Interscope Records.

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