I’m going to try to keep the albums section based in stuff that was released this year, but the singles section is going to go back a year or two. Sorry, but you’ll just have to deal.
1. MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK: Commit This to Memory – I was a latecomer to Motion City, but I’m glad I stumbled across them. This record, their second full-length, starts with the ripping “Attractive Today” and doesn’t let up until “Hangman.” The last song isn’t as solid as the rest, but is still pretty damn good.
2. COHEED AND CAMBRIA: Good Apollo, I’m a Burning Star Vol 1 – This one took a while to grow on me, and there are still one or two songs I regularly skip (I’m looking at you “Wake Up” and “The Final Cut”). Still an incredible disc full of sly musical nods to the two preceding it.
3. GREG DULLI: Amber Headlights – A record four years old comes off the shelf and is released, and it’s one of the best rock records in ages. If not for the inclusion of “Wicked,” this one would have been higher. Highlights are half the freakin’ disk.
4. CRUISERWEIGHT: Sweet Weaponry – From the opener “Vermont” onward, this one rocks like none other. “Have You Ever Had One of Thse Days,” however, continues our trend of bad closers.
1. KELLY CLARKSON: Since U Been Gone – Nope. I never would have expected it, either. Kelly records a barn-burner, though. Now, if she could release another song I liked. “You had your chance; you blew it. Out of sight, out of mind.”
2. MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK: A-OK – This one’s a few years old, but still one of the most powerful rock songs of the year. “But don’t forget, don’t forget I am the reason.”
3. GREEN DAY: Letterbomb – A goddamn anthem, and the greatest rock song of the past five years. “She said ‘I can’t take this town. I’m leaving you tonight.'”
4. GREG DULLI: Black Swan – Could have been a Whigs song, but it rocks a little too hard. “C’mon, baby. Save me, love me, betray me.”
5. COHEED AND CAMBRIA: The Willing Well III: Good Apollo II: The Telling Truth – The highlight of a record that’s almost too over-the-top for its own good. Seven minutes of stop-start rock and head-bobbing pop. “So goodnight. Tonight I’m burning Star Four.”