I won't beat around the bush here, because my number 7 album is not about bush beating. It's Thunderbitch, which I wrote a little bit about not too long ago, and is about as straightforward as it gets. This is the type of album you can play and wind up losing complete track what happened during the 32 minutes that Brittany Howard and company trashed your head like some hotel room afterparty.
And yet. . .
There are moments of angst and vulnerability that peak through from behind the debauchery. From the opening track, "Leather Jacket" I get the sense of a kid dreaming of being this rebel street tough and hanging all her hopes on the idea of putting on this jacket. But there's also some flashes of the price of that choice, which get hinted at several times through out the album, no matter how "totally fucking awesome" she looks in the leather jacket that's disintegrating off her bones.
It's in that context that the druggy, Stonesesque "Very Best Friend" goes beyond just being about this girl tracking down her very best friend with all the pills she wants to take. Because once you think you've figured out she's just talking about her pusher, there's a bit about how "Momma called me and told me not to hang out with that boy no more, he ain't no good to talk to. But momma he was there for me, where were you? And now it's kinda all your fault." And then there's an apparent overdose or something as she laments the future she could have had. Somehow, all this comes across without putting any kind of damper on the party at all. It's this complete sense of self abandonment that we tend to romanticize in Rock n Roll that gives it the sense of danger and, really, its basic appeal. It's that line between sex and death that the leather jacket bikers walk and it's in full display on this album. How could it not be in my top 10?