From classic rock to confessional pop to alternative metal, July's Top 20 contains a little something for every stripe of rock fan imaginable. That said, let's begin with all the singer-songwriter fare, because it's a great month for fans of the sensitive ballad. In addition to highly anticipated releases from young upstarts Skylar Grey and Jillette Johnson, established star Sara Bareilles and that always-fabulous voice of hers can be heard on The Blessed Unrest, a record that in all honesty is far bubblier than its predecessor, the uniquely somber Kaleidoscope Heart.
As for the heavy stuff -- well, veteran rockers Skillet have certainly dented the charts with their solid new album, Rise; and the same can be said of Sick Puppies, who return with the rabid and snarling Connect. But far and away the most exciting slab of hard rock is the self-titled debut from Palms, a bona fide supergroup that features Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and members of metal experimentalists Isis.
Last but definitely not least, don't overlook vital reissues from The Allman Brothers Band, Eagles, Bobby Whitlock and Big Star. The Eagles catalog is, of course, new to Rhapsody, which is why we chose to include Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) in our Top 20. But in terms of actual new releases, the soundtrack to the Big Star documentary [Nothing Can Hurt Me] also serves as an excellent introduction to one of rock 'n' roll's great cult acts. If you're a fan of '60s classics such as The Beatles, The Byrds and The Move, then you have to hear the mighty Big Star!