Sorry for the delay....it's tough for me to rank things. I'm like a freeking O.C.D. patient when it comes to making lists. Just FYI, the movie one won't be up till the weekend as I simply must see "There Will be Blood" before I rank anything cinematic. That being said, here are my favorite albums numbers 6-10. 5-1 should be up tomorrow pending hangover size.
6. Bruce Springsteen- Magic
When I saw the video for “Radio Nowhere,” I think I posted on here that Tommy Tutone would be pissed that The Boss stole his riff from “867-5309.” Since then, I’ve managed to overlook that as “Radio Nowhere” is a great song that gets me fired up whenever I hear it. I also had some trouble getting into the album and it really took some time to grow on me. But now, I get it and I like it.
While I still prefer “The Rising” to “Magic,” there’s some real advances here for the Boss. He’s “sin ging” all pretty like and seems to be more…available lyrically. He’s not afraid to speak out against the bullshit our government is pulling but he manages to insert these thoughts into songs about life and relationships almost seamlessly. A good example of this is on the song “Livin’ in the Future Age,” my favorite tune on the album, wherein Bruce chats up his lover by assuring her everything’s gonna be all right and the rape of the constitution can’t happen because we’re livin’ in a future age.
7. The Hives-The Black and White Album
I like-a the rock a rolla, what can I say. When you’re battling traffic for 2-3 hours 3 days a week, nothing quenches the road rage like some solid guitar rock that makes you want to play your steering wheel while you curse at the asshole in front of you who just cut you off.
I also love the Hives cocky attitude, smooth suits and their dedication to the guitar riff that made their last album “Veni Vidi Vicious” so ass-kicking. We need more people in rock who want to rock and rock hard. And The Hives do. I’m dying to see them in concert but they were just on the road with Maroon-5 and I can’t go there.
8. Amy Winehouse- Back to Black
Yes, I read the gossip and yes, it’s the epitome of irony that a song about refusing rehab is written and performed by a chick who seriously needs to go to rehab. Hardy har. But, beyond all that is a really great album that borrows heavily from the Phil Specter “wall of sound” sound yet updates it without ruining it. “Back to Black” is a really, really…good album.
Winehouse can belt it out and her self deprecating, life-of-a-fuckup songs settle in with beats and grooves and horns and all sorts of cool sounds provided by Mark Ronson who I think will be shown to be the true mastermind of this album if Winehouse goes with someone else for the next album. If there is a next album. But still, this is just a solid effort and it makes me feel like I’m a hip guy for liking something everyone else likes. That rarely happens.
(I couldn't resist this awful pic of her as a kid!)
9. Will Kimbrough- EP
Will’s new album is an EP….so that’s not just a clever name. I am a huge Will Kimbrough fan and I love this record…but not quite as much as his last few. Plus, I have to come clean. I bought “EP” at his show in Sacramento and listened to it for like, 3 weeks straight. But now, I can’t find it. I bet if I knew where it was, it would be in the top 5. Sorry, Will!
However, I do love this album and I really like the way it feels organic yet really refined, if that makes sense. While he’s redone older songs “Godsend” and “Horseshoe Lake” (which Todd Snider did a while back) there’s some songs on here that are real steps forward for probably the best unsung guitar player out there. His songs have always been awesome lyrically, but there’s a new level on songs like “Hill Country Girl” and “Interstate” that really show how versatile and, well, badass Mr. Kimbrough is. He very well may be an alien. Check him out here.
10. Tommy Womack- There I Said It
For years I had heard great things about Tommy Womack through the Todd Snider community, but I never heard the guys stuff until this past year at South by Southwest. Turns out the mini-hype was well worth it as Tommy is a no frills singer songwriter with that perfect combo of humor and insight I love in my singer-songwriters.
“There I Said It” is an album by a guy who realizes his dreams of being a rock star ain’t gonna happen. But if you’re writing an album lamenting (sort of) the loss of what you thought would happen but embracing what you do have, you’re still making music and that’s the point of art. You do it because it’s what you do…it’s your passion. One of my favorite songs of the year “Alpha Male and the Canine Mystery Blood” is on there and there’s a song about a day spent swimming with his family at a friends house that’s just about as perfect as songs get. His awesome and funny website can be found here.