Home / Music / The Rockologist’s End Of Year, End Of Decade Wrapup Part 1: Best Albums Of ’09

The Rockologist’s End Of Year, End Of Decade Wrapup Part 1: Best Albums Of ’09

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2009 mostly sucked. Okay there, I said it.

Don't even get me started on Obama. After spending my first full year as one of America's newly massive underclass of unemployed professionals, you can count me as one of the millions still waiting for all that hope and change we voted for based on the promises of his 2008 candidacy. But anyway, back to music…

Let's see, what happened this year? Oh yeah, Adam Lambert happened. Next.

Taylor Swift also happened, and in a big way too, prompting Kanye West to throw a nationally televised fit like only Kanye West can. Jack White started yet another band. Kings Of Leon had a breakout year. The Beatles gave us their Remasters; and Neil Young finally delivered his Archives.

Eminem came back with a vengeance. Pearl Jam made their best new album in years. Lady GaGa officially took her place as Madonna for the new millennium — or at least as the new Britney Spears of the week. The Black Eyed Peas found a new beginning with The E.N.D..

Meanwhile, music sales overall continued their nosedive into the depths of oblivion, even as artists continued to explore other avenues of revenue. With no more record stores out there to speak of, bands tried everything from offering their music for free online (Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan is the latest to use the Radiohead model) to striking exclusivity deals with major retail chains like Walmart and Best Buy.

Meanwhile, for indie bands willing to go the needle-in-a-haystack route, there was always the instant access afforded from MySpace and the like. It seems anyone can become a breakout success these days — as long as the masses can actually find you.

And if you still don't believe that the new digital music economy is simply the old corporate model with a new set of clothes, just try applying for a job at one of these "progressive" portals of the new musical commerce. Otherwise, go ahead and keep buying into the hype that all of this is good for music. When the internet actually does produce the next Dylan or Radiohead, I'll be sure to pony up on that beer I owe you.

Concert ticket prices continued to escalate and to price many fans out of the market altogether, even as Live Nation and Ticketmaster pushed forward with plans for a merger that would amount to a monopoly of the concert business.

Fortunately, when Ticketmaster managed to screw a number of Springsteen fans out of seats (by instead directing them to a ticket broker they none-too-coincidentally held a stake in), Boss fans responded by getting a few members of congress involved. There may be light at the end of the ticket tunnel yet. But speaking of Bruce…

The year began with new releases from three of rock's biggest guns in Springsteen, U2, and Dylan, and on varying levels all three albums were disappointments.

In the case of Springsteen's Working On A Dream, the letdown was a fairly major one coming off of 2007's Magic and the amazing string of shows with the E Street Band that followed. While WOAD does have its fair share of decent songs ("Life Itself," "My Lucky Day"), the album in no way lives up to its inexplicable #2 ranking on the just-out best of '09 list from Rolling Stone. Talk about sucking up to the Boss…

Even stranger though is the #1 ranking for U2's No Line On The Horizon. Again, this is a decent album with a handful of really great songs ("Magnificent," "Breathe," "Cedars Of Lebanon"). But there is nothing as instantly memorable as the blast of "Vertigo" or the anthemic feel of "Beautiful Day" here. Unlike Springsteen's WOAD though, U2's No Line does tend to grow on you with repeated listens.

Dylan's Together Through Life is mostly saved by the songs "Forgetful Heart" and "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'." It too is a decent, but not quite great album — particularly coming as it does after an album of the decade contender like Modern Times.

Anyway, all three of these albums nevertheless made my top ten list, mainly because there was precious little else out there to fill it this year. I can't remember a year when filling a top ten list was so tough.

How do we put a shine on a mostly sucky year? Only by giving it our best, mostly sucky try I suppose. With that said, the following should in no way be considered scientific. If I were to go for rock critic mode here and try to pick out the stuff that "mattered" most in 2009, this list would be crowded with the Lady GaGas and the Adam Lamberts of the world — and albums I have no interest in, or any intention of seeking out to hear. Instead, consider the following a sample of what your Rockologist listened to most in 2009.

10. Bruce Springsteen – Working On A Dream

Born To Run is a five star album. Darkness On The Edge Of Town is a five star album. WOAD is not a five star album. But in 2009, three and a half stars is good enough to make the cut. "Outlaw Pete" still sounds way too much like that KISS song though.

9. Bob Dylan – Together Through Life

The trilogy that began with Time Out Of Mind, continued with Love & Theft, and culminated with the brilliant Modern Times officially came to an end here. There are some great songs, though, especially the darkly beautiful "Forgetful Heart." But overall this is the spottiest Dylan album in quite awhile. God bless his heart though, Dylan showed us he still has a great sense of humor with his Christmas In The Heart collection.

8. Pearl Jam – Backspacer

Short, but sweet. Pearl Jam's best in a decade or more is short in length, but long on punchy songs like "The Fixer" and poignant ballads like the album closer "The End." Reuniting with producer Brendan O'Brien also gave PJ their first chart-topper since their grunge heyday back in the nineties.

7. U2 – No Line On The Horizon

After nearly leaving this one off the list, I gave it another spin in the interest of a second chance for one of my favorite groups of all time. As a result, this comes off the shelf where its been gathering dust for months and moves back into regular rotation at K-Glen. Spotty for sure — but redeemed by the power of "Breathe," the uplift of "Magnificent," and the beauty of "Cedars Of Lebanon."

6. Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown

It's not the instant classic that American Idiot was, but George W. Bush is also no longer our president. You have to admire the way that Green Day turns three simple punk-rock chords into such big operatic arena-rock statements the way they do. Hardly anybody else does this anymore.

5. PJ Harvey & John Parish – A Woman, A Man Walked By

PJ is all over the place here, and in this case that is definitely a good thing. At equal turns haunting and personal ("The Chair", "April"), and then raw and brutal ("Black Hearted Love," "Pig Will Not"), A Woman, A Man Walked By marries the minimalist punk of early Harvey albums like Rid Of Me with the starker shades of darkness and light found on last year's brilliant White Chalk.

4. Engineers – Three Fact Fader

This was a late 2009 entry that surprisingly has found its way into my top five. Three Fact Fader has rarely left my CD player for long since the day I got it. Call it a transcendental joyride without the Maharishi, or a little like falling deep down the rabbit hole without the drugs. But if you've ever loved shoegaze bands like Ride or My Bloody Valentine, this one's got your name written all over it.

3. The Dead Weather – Horehound

Another new band from Jack White — just what the world needs, right? In this case, the answer turns out to be a resounding yes. Jack himself mostly takes a backseat here behind the drumkit, leaving the guitar to Queens Of The Stone Age member Dean Fertita and the majority of the vocals to the Kills' Alison Mosshart. Comparisons to White's other bands — particularly the Raconteurs — are probably inevitable. But the Dead Weather carve a bluesy, dirty, and ultimately very satisfying identity of their own on Horehound.

2. Wilco – Wilco: The Album

Although "Wilco (The Song)" got the most notice, the rest of the songs on this album by Jeff Tweedy, Nels Cline, and the Wilco boys are every bit as good. Cline grates the strings to a metronomic beat straight out of Kraftwerk territory on the "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" soundalike "Bull Black Nova." But on "You Never Know," Wilco manage to wed vintage George Harrison with T. Rex glam-rock for what was, in my opinion, the best power-pop song of 2009.

1. Porcupine Tree – The Incident

The Incident is the two-disc masterpiece where Porcupine Tree mastermind Steven Wilson finally put it all together. The first disc is devoted entirely to the 55-minute epic, "The Incident," a concept piece that combines both the spacey prog of PT's early albums with the metallic grind of their more recent work. It also borrows liberally from Pink Floyd on the "Time Flies" segment, but it sounds more like an homage than a rip-off. The second disc features four songs that sound like they should have been on another album altogether, but are no less beautiful than the main event itself — particularly the haunting "Black Dahlia." Somewhere in an alternate reality, Steven Wilson and PT are the biggest band in the world.

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About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.
  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Well, I guess if ya go by the mainstream then ’09 was a pretty sh!tty year. BUT, if you actually scour the internet for music, you would have found some cool stuff that would have been off limits(geographically & distributive wise) 10 years ago.

    See, the way the internet changes the music industry is that it gives the small artist a fighting chance at making a living off their music. They don’t really need the conglomerate to get attention anymore. Which is,again, what made 2009 a pretty damn good year unless you only pay attention to what sells.

    Some of my picks(not in order):
    Guilt Machine – S/T
    No Made Sense – The Epillanic Choragi
    Heart of Cygnus – Over Mountain, Under Hill
    Gorod – Process of a New Decline
    O.S.I. – Blood
    Subsignal – Beautiful and Monstrous
    Heaven & Hell – The Devil You Know

    There are a few more but I can’t recall them right now.

  • zingzing

    holy shit, glen, 2009 was one of the best years in forever. completely solid.

    yoko ono, washed out, wolf eyes, the very best, liturgy, japandroids, handsome furs, shackleton, omar souleyman, mi ami, the juan maclean, health, group bombino, grizzly bear, girls, fuck buttons, flaming lips, faust, dirty projectors, destroyer, cass mccombs, biblio, arthur russell and animal collective all put out fantastic stuff.

    i’ll have to agree with brian in principle here. the mainstream has been fairly bad for a long, long time. look elsewhere.

  • Jordan Richardson


    Russian Circles, Mastodon, Pyramids with Nadja, Wild Beasts, David Mead, Alvin Band, Sunn O))), Clutch, Dredg, Megan Hamilton, Regina Spektor, Beirut, Charles Burst, Converge, The Tragically Hip, The Antlers, Edward Shape and the Magnetic Zeros, THE MOUNTAIN GOATS (!!!!)…

    And on and on. I still have a shitload of stuff to hear, too.

  • If there was ever a certainty in this world, it was that you add your two cents and your own indie-metal list here, Brian. Thanks for being consistent and for not disappointing. Thanks to you Zing and Jordan as well.

    The biggest problem with the internet…at least the way I see it…is that it represents a needle-in-a-haystack. Yes, the playing field is leveled in such a way that virtually any artist has an equal shot. The problem for the indie artist is how to draw attention to your product when the internet is over-saturated with literally millions of other bands.

    When someone is able to crack that nut, then the internet will be a viable medium for exposure, and maybe then the real revolution can begin.


  • i’m not sure the internet will ever be a viable medium for exposure, at least not in the same way other media has been in the past.

    bands make their money these days on playing shows and selling merch there. the days of big-selling cd releases are in the past.

    my favorite band of the year, The Low Anthem, has done it all by word of mouth and touring their asses off.

  • To quote Kris Kristofferson, when it comes to music on the internet, “freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.”

    I’m not sure what that means, but I thought it sounded cool.


  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    No Problem, Glen…

    My list may be a bit filled with Metal but I think it was us internet “Indie” faithful that turned you on to your number one pick. Hell, if I remember correctly, Porcupine Tree amassed most of their fan base by word of mouth(Street Teams) and the internet forums.

    I think that whenever you try to compare the internet to the days of Brick & Mortar or Big Label wallets, you are missing the point. Sure, “Indie” artists will probably never make the limelight like the mainstream but, like I said, now a lot of artists get a realistically obtainable way to make a living from their music on their own without the money grubbing execs.

    BTW,bands have always made their money by touring & selling merch. It was the record companies who made the money off of CD sales. Now, with sites like CDBaby,etc.. the artist has the control over CD profits plus a lot more sites offer other viable formats(flac) to buy,so, that lessens the overhead and distribution issues.

    Check out The Beatles remastered albums available for sale on an apple shaped USB drive that are in FLAC format (and @ 24Bit)

  • zingzing

    “When someone is able to crack that nut, then the internet will be a viable medium for exposure, and maybe then the real revolution can begin. ”

    nut’s been cracked for a while now. it’s blogs/lists like this that are helping it out… used to be there were a few music magazines, some radio/tv programs, your circle of friends, and that’s about it. now there are thousands of such things, catering to your tastes and subverting them. the amount of info, some of it far more informed than one would ever see in a weekly magazine or on a tv/radio program catering to everyone all of the time, is staggering. but it’s not unfocused.

    “i’m not sure the internet will ever be a viable medium for exposure, at least not in the same way other media has been in the past.”

    nope, tis better. word spreads like fire when something gains a bit of traction. and there are more words. maybe there are smaller fires, but there are many, many more of them. it’s the plurality of the internet that makes it such a joy.

    no offense, but you guys are of another generation. you seemed to have grasped the power of the internet, but you don’t see what’s there in front of you. in the early days of radio, things were localized. then, with television, it became national… with the internet, it’s worldwide.

    as to how bands make their money, a whole lot of bands make a decent living making music. that’s wonderful. i’m glad it’s possible to make a living doing it. but i really don’t give a shit if i see another rolling stones or led zepplin, riding around in private jets and living in multiple mansions. that kind of success is not necessary. actually, it’s detrimental. you become a brand, only interested in the bottom line and the common denominator. this model works out better for me, the consumer, the listener.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Zing definitely touched upon a lot of what I feel. Great Points!! I get excited when I see this internet slowly bringing the music back to the people and away from those greedy motherfucking record execs that ruined the industry here in the US. Fuck Brands! They don’t make music – They make 3 minute commercials!!

  • brian and zing, i actually agree with you guys. what i meant about that internet is that i don’t see it as a leverage point for overnight fame in the same was that mtv or radio was in the past.

    hell, there’s a ton ‘o great music out there. this year was no exception.

  • The Internet provides way more opportunity and potential. Are you guys really telling me you have combed it well seeking out new bands? The list is almost all very well-known acts so I would question that. And surely, much of The Low Anthem’s word of mouth happened on the Internet since there’s no record stores for people to meet and share music.

  • Again, I don’t question the internet’s ability to provide exposure to bands who otherwise might not get the chance. As Mark points out though, I just don’t see it as an effective replacement for the old (yes, I said old) grassroots marketing via record stores, magazines, and underground radio that brought that music to a potentially larger audience. We can get into the various semantics of whether that was a good thing or not, but the fact is that is the reason most of you reading this discovered music in the first place. Bottom line was that it was about music, and because of that it worked. It was only after music became a billion dollar industry, and the money guys got involved that things began to get away from the music, and everything got so fucked up.

    And as for those greedy, money-grubbing record execs? The record companies I worked for were staffed by music people. The software companies who control the flow of music now are staffed by corporate types who are not invested in music so much as they are their stockholders. Most of them wouldn’t know Thom Yorke from Tom DeLay.

    Think I’m kidding? Try applying for a job at one of these places. When Rick Rubin hired me, the interview consisted of listening to records and talking about music. Today, the same interview would include a full-on psychological profile and invasive questions about things like my bathroom habits.

    Cool blog sites like this one notwithstanding, the idea of the internet being this wild new frontier for music marketing is, at this point at least, mostly an over-hyped myth. The music business is tanking (has tanked). A lot of good people whose only crime is their passion for music, are out of work and have been replaced by the corporate bean-counters at these internet portals who are music’s so-called new champions. Don’t kid yourself — MySpace is as cool, hip, and underground as Chase Manhattan Bank. And it is run by exactly the same people.

    Revolution my ass! More like a case of “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

    Rant off…


  • I love the internet. I really, really do.

    I don’t like the way big, monolithic companies (bigger than the major labels ever were) and the corporate bean-counters who run them have fooled music fans into believing they represent the cutting edge vanguard. They’re not.


  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    All of what you pointed out is quite true Glen, BUT, I don’t think you’re grasping the whole idea(like zing said). As a musician/band/project,whatever, I don’t have to use Myspace,Facebook,etc to get my music heard. I can get involved with whomever I want or establish my own website. Does it take any less work than the grassroots path? NO. But I now have the potential of easily and inexpensively reaching a whole new audience that I couldn’t do with the grassroots approach.

    Plus, as a music lover as well, I have been introduced to tons of bands(yes, even old ones)on the internet that I had no idea about even though I was totally in tune with the metal mags,radio/tv shows,etc; when I was younger.

    Sorry, even though I agree that anyone can still use the internet for greed, I have to agree with zing & El Bicho that the internet holds far more opportunities to get noticed than the traditional methods. I mean just look at Perez Hilton…Oops, bad example.

  • The D.I.Y. model of starting your own site, label, etc. is a good one Brian. On that we are in complete agreement. At least that way you control everything in terms of marketing, etc.

    The idea of finding an audience, and particularly a large one, on sites like MySpace, etc. is however a complete myth though. Sites like those are driven by the internet business model of content = hits = advertising.

    The corporate accountants who came up with this model don’t give two shits about quality, as long as it constitutes more content. The more content, the more the traffic, the more the advertising dollars roll in. Thats the reality of the internet business model for sites like MySpace, and for that matter, for Blogcritics.

    So in terms of music, since it is just “content” to them, it doesn’t make a difference if you record a symphony or just the “artist” farting into a microphone. It’s just content.

    And that is where this whole idea of those big sites being an “opportunity” for unsigned artists is a big myth. The few savvy ones may use it to their advantage. But for the rest, your just another needle in a mountain sized haystack of…well, content. Yeah, content, that’s it.

    I think you are in to something with the whole D.I.Y. idea though. This conversation also just got much more interesting.


  • brian, and zing make good points about this. i happened to find out about the Low Anthem because they played a show in my town. however…part of the reason for their continued success was that they were smart about using things like facebook as a promotion tool. hell, they went from playing a church hall in peterborough, new hampshire to playing festivals like bonaroo and the newport folk festival.

    they also ended up selling out a bunch of shows in europe. sure, Nonesuch did pick them up but there was a ton of internet communication that helped them along.

  • yeah, Brian and zing did make good points

  • Zing and Brian do make very good points.

    There are definitely success stories out there, and in the present climate a new artist or band has to do whatever they can. In that respect, the internet is a very valid tool for marketing and promotion. Used in the right way, it can definitely work.

    But I think Brian really keyed in on something with the concept of doing it yourself. The fact remains that if traditional record companies regarded music as “product,” it is equally, if not more true that the big internet sites regard as music as just another form of “content.” And where the record companies offered something that had a distinct monetary value (even if it was just studio time), all that the big internet portals offer is space.

    What you do with that space is entirely up to you. All I know, is that when I used to sit in A&R meetings, the nicest package usually got the most attention. As was the case there, bigger and shinier is what is going to get the most attention, regardless of what’s inside.

    The thing to remember here, is that the guys calling the shots at the big portals look at this as little more than content. What you do with the potential audience is entirely up to you.


  • zingzing

    “Cool blog sites like this one notwithstanding, the idea of the internet being this wild new frontier for music marketing is, at this point at least, mostly an over-hyped myth.”

    no, it’s not! bands have been making use of this for years. there is actually a genre called “blog-house” which refers to indie-minded people who love dance music. this is not only NOT a myth, it’s the future. where that future leads, who knows. but this is the medium that will decide it. the internet may not have the sway of the major tv networks/twilight/magazines/d&d yet, but they will. you’re only looking at a future approaching so fast, you can’t see it.

    the idea of blog hyping has already had a backlash and has come back. then nobody mentioned it anymore. but they will again.

    “I just don’t see it as an effective replacement for the old (yes, I said old) grassroots marketing via record stores, magazines, and underground radio that brought that music to a potentially larger audience.”

    it’s not the same, but it’s effective in its own way. i find it far more effective actually… i moved my music to a hard drive last summer, but since then, i’ve started to need another hard drive. music is far too plentiful. this is what it SHOULD be like. there are so many good bands doing different things that you don’t know where to turn.

    “The D.I.Y. model of starting your own site, label, etc. is a good one Brian. On that we are in complete agreement. At least that way you control everything in terms of marketing, etc.”

    yeah, that’s great. it’s been taken over. by people who don’t even have to print physical labels. they provide artwork and a digital download. no printing, no distribution. the internet. take note.

    stop bitching. there are more great bands doing interesting stuff than ever before. there’s so much more to explore, and that’s the way it should be.

  • The fact remains that if traditional record companies regarded music as “product,” it is equally, if not more true that the big internet sites regard as music as just another form of “content.” And where the record companies offered something that had a distinct monetary value (even if it was just studio time), all that the big internet portals offer is space.

    well, that’s sort of true, although i don’t think it’s right to be equating record labels with internet portals, since the portals aren’t really the gatekeepers in the same way that portals are. if you use myspace as an example, it’s more of a tool than anything else.

    same thing goes for facebook.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    *Whoa* I’m feeling way too much love…

    But, seriously, I think if you, as a band/musician, step away from a “Business Model” mindset just a little bit(like zing is saying) and you find the pulse for your style of music(via forums/blogs/websites), the rewards can be huge. I really feel that a greedy mentality won’t last very long on the internet. Just like that one good song per album basically ruined album sales and almost the format. The polls have already shown that the people who buy the most music are much more often the same ones who already know how to get it for free.

    From my own experience, I’ve been able to share my music(as unfinished as it is) with tons of people. Except, now, I’m not limited to the people I meet in person. If my band had a finished product, I could find a site to sell it by tracks and whole albums or I could rent a domain from GoDaddy, setup a server with a website that I designed using Dreamweaver and offer some tracks in Mp3 for free on Myspace,Facebook and even Twitter with a link pointing to my site where the FLAC formatted version of my album can be bought for quite a bit less than a CD. All the while, having complete control over the ultimate size of the album(how many songs) and the artwork which would be included digitally. To be completely honest, with the professional grade equipment that is now quite inexpensive due to the advancements in technology, I could record the whole thing using the same computer I built to run my website. Imagine your favorite artist offering up a personal insight to their recording process but it would be streaming live as they are doing it?!

    My point? There are just way too many scenarios to show the amount of opportunities that a band has to get some attention and even a little attention on such a vast level is huge. Remember, this can also be used for other things than just music… I won’t get started about being a music lover with an internet connection.

    (Sorry, I get a bit overzealous when it comes to this stuff)

  • there’s no doubt that the digital world is a great opportunity for this stuff, but i still have a foot in the ‘old’ world. not so much the business model but the fact that i still like (and always will) enjoy shopping in a store, talking to real people. i do realize that i’m lucky in that i have a great store nearby that’s operated by actual humans, a rarity these days.

    i’m not convinced that physical products will disappear entirely. if they do, my consumption of music will go way down.

  • Paul Roy

    I’m just glad I can still go see one of the best band’s on the planet, Porcupine Tree, in a club or theater instead of some frigging football stadium. Let’s keep them our little secret a bit longer. Although The Incident is number one on Glenn’s list, and probably close to that on mine, it is not even one of their top three best albums.

  • Glen, maybe the Rockologist should stop listening to so much rock as he seems to be getting so little joy from it?

    Also, how does a Dylan trilogy span four albums?

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Mark – I’m not necessarily happy with the idea of a “people-less” world where I get my music but I guess I should divulge a little more about my history. I used to love going to the music stores when I was a teen & even into my twenties but even then it was a rarity to find a guy/gal in the shop that knew his/her shit about the music I enjoyed. Back then it took someone with a finger on the vein to catch wind of a killer underground band(yup, there was one dude in Coconuts). Hell, the stores that were available up to recent had no clue about anything I was into including Newbury Comics. All these shops went the way of selling trends and basically shot themselves in the foot because they couldn’t afford to give their shelf space to just any Joe Schmoe. I know, I know…How could any store survive trying to sell the shit I love. But, that’s because my type of shops probably exist in Europe, where they are a little more open-minded to diversity not just the rainbow bumper sticker.

    The internet gives me this opportunity to find a lot of cool shit that speaks to me. Just today I found two funky-fucked-up type bands:

    An Endless Sporadic
    The Fractured Dimension

    And one semi-cool act that I could give a second chance:

    To A Skylark

    Honestly, the dude behind the counter wouldn’t have the time to spit out an overview of all these bands that might get me worked up never mind the insight into my fucked up brain about my life long passion especially all the bands that I already know & love.


  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Here’s my chance:

    Go check out my (unfinished) jam-type shit with a project (that I’m calling) Black & Grimley

    Seriously, let me know whether you love it or hate it or everything in between:)


  • re: brian #25: the only places i know of that still have knowledgeable staff are the toadstool out near me, and bull moose over in portsmouth.

    #26: will check out.

  • Chris (#24),

    Quite the contrary sir. I derive great joy from listening to my rock records, and it often gives me even greater joy to express myself by writing about them. I’ve just seen better years than this one, and I like to be honest about what I write about.

    That said, I enjoyed listening to this years records by Porcupine Tree, Wilco, and the rest very much — and that includes the U2 and Springsteen albums, even though I wouldn’t judge either as among their best. That’s not to say I hated them or anything though.

    As for the “trilogy” question…apparently I didn’t make myself clear enough in the article. The “trilogy” is “Time Out Of Mind” “Love & Theft” and “Modern Times.” This years Dylan album, at least to my ears, represented a musical shift and a clear break from those albums — thus putting an effective end to the “trilogy.”


  • It’s just that there is so much more to music than Rock, Glen, which hasn’t had any new ideas for a long time. The proof of that is that all of your top 10 albums could have been released in any of the last three decades, four in most cases, and would have fit right in.

    Maybe listening to some other genres would re-invigorate you…

  • Maybe Chris. Maybe. But I’m always gonna’ be a rock and roll guy in my heart of hearts. That’s something I couldn’t change if I wanted to…and for the record, I don’t.

    There was however a time back in the eighties and early nineties when hip-hop moved me nearly as much. Reference my “Call Me Shockmaster” series for those recollections.