. I wrote about this album a few weeks ago, and the more I listen to it the better I like it. The songwriting is superb, and Brian Eno's ambient handiwork flows smoothly into all the right spaces on so many of the songs. In its own way, Surprise is as fine a work as Graceland.
. I've already publicly proclaimed my love for this album, too, naming it No. 1 in my mid-year countdown. B&S has a bit more competition for the top spot, but they're still a contender. I stand by my earlier comments: "It's the feel-good album of the year. The musical stylings of this record are clean and effervescent, reminiscent in many ways of late '60s mod from Swinging London, baby. ... The latest single from this album, 'White Collar Boy,' features a chunky 'Spirit in the Sky' fuzz-guitar opening and bassline that sticks in the ear, and conjures up nostalgia for Norman Greenbaum's one and only hit. That alone should be enough of a reason to get this album."
. Oh! Did I write about this one too already? I did. This posthumous release, produced by Rick Rubin, displays the fragile voice of The Man as he finishes his race with "Doctor Death." As I wrote back in August, "The album is finely crafted and mostly unadorned. Cash's signature voice -- a quivering, unsteady, sometimes ghostly voice, worn by time, but as rough-hewn and full of conviction as ever -- is at center stage here. The supporting cast of musicians, including six different guitarists, never gets in the way of The Man." Good stuff.
. What is it about this basic, Detroit-style garage band that gets my ya-yas going? Is it the lead singer's honey-and-whisky voice? The blistering rockabilly guitar? The shades of everything true and good about primal rock and roll, from Fats Domino through the Motown sound through countless anonymous bar bands stroking the same three or four chords over and over? I dunno. I have no excuse for loving this album. But love it I do.
So there you have 'em. Tell us your five favorites.