"If you take away all the tabloid stories and shenanigans and just focus on the music and the lyrics, youÂ’ll hear something pretty special. With her confessional lyrics and songs that brings you back to old Motown, Winehouse has taken something old and created something new with the help of producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi. Chock-full of heartache and soul."
"No sophomore slump here! Pipe organs, big arrangements, lyrics with a bite. These Canadians made an excellent soundtrack for the state of the world. The best album that Bruce Springsteen didnÂ’t make this year."
"On first listen, I thought this was a bit scattered and wasnÂ’t sure how I felt about it. However, with one good listen, that all changed. This album has a little bit of everything. Sometimes the records I donÂ’t care for much at first are usually the ones I end up liking the best, and this one definitely fits into that category."
"Classic Bruce for the modern day. A lot of the album sounds similar to his old stuff but he still manages to make it sound relevant. The songs may be catchy but donÂ’t let those melodies fool you...he is dealing with some bleak subject matters here."
"The only truly independent artist on the list. Kristin has been making music for years but this one is her best. Blurring the lines of country, folk and rock and using them as her backdrop, she wraps her sultry vocals around each arrangement. It also contains the best cover this year, Â“I Say A Little Prayer For YouÂ”, which she completely reinvents and makes her own."
"This band has been around for a while but I am fairly new to them. I saw them open for Interpol a few years ago and became a big fan fast. While this may be their most accessible album yet, there is still plenty of eccentricity to make this band unique."
"A recent purchase and as a result IÂ’ve only listened to this a few times. Similar to three Â“TheÂ” bands: The Flaming Lips, The Shins and The Jayhawks. Who knows where it would have been on the list had I had the chance to really delve into it."
"Eddie goes solo for this Soundtrack to the movie of the same name. Although my two favorite tracks Â“Hard SunÂ” & Â“SocietyÂ” are the only songs on the album that he didnÂ’t actually write, Eddie delivers, making them his own."
"The masters of melodies are back...and itÂ’s a welcome return. They made a great album in the face of grief when their drummer Paul Hester committed suicide. But something beautiful came out of it as these are some of Neil FinnÂ’s most heartfelt songs."
"At times this Brooklyn band sounds like a combination of Sufjan Stevens melodies with a mix of Thom Yorke and David BryneÂ’s vocals. The arrangements are big and the instruments varied (French horns, accordion and organ). It all makes for one compelling sound."
"On his latest, Neil shows us his softer side with the opener Â“Beautiful BlackbirdÂ” which easily could have been an outtake from Â“Harvest.Â” But by the third song, NeilÂ’s in a rockinÂ’ mood with Â“Ordinary PeopleÂ” which clocks in at eighteen plus minutes. ItÂ’s contrasts like these that always work in his favor."
"(TIE) This is one of those subtle albums that doesnÂ’t sound like much on the first listen. Slowly but surely the songs do reveal themselves. A more muted, yet solid effort from the former Dire Straits leader."
"(TIE) This is a bit of a departure for them as they explore their poppier side. As youÂ’re listening though you realize that itÂ’s yet another break-up album. Who doesnÂ’t like a little sugar with their bitterness?"