Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Best Albums of 2015: Number Five

best albums of 2015

While there is certainly a good helping of rock among my top 10, this album at number 5 is really the only one where the whole rock n roll superheroes vibe comes across. You know what I mean? That whole slimy and glamorous, gritty and grand, rebellious and authoritative, atmosphere that you get from some of the great, larger than life, classic bands. The Dead Weather's Dodge and Burn is what I imagine people that really loved Led Zeppelin or The Rolling Stones in the 70s felt that band was doing. If the music business was what it was back then, this is a band that would absolutely dominate the culture right now.

The term supergroup, when members of several big bands come together to form a supposedly bigger band, comes with a lot of baggage, hype and hubris. But while this band technically fits the definition, it also delivers on the original promise of the term. This really is the Rock n Roll Justice League of today, the gold standard. Because ultimately, even though Alison Mosshart and Jack White are the most recognizable here (the Batman and Superman, if you will) there would be no Justice League without The Flash and Green Lantern (Dean Fertita and Jack Lawrence). It's the whole that is ultimately greater than the parts and here, unlike ego heavy supergroups, that comes across crystal clear. Which is a giant feat considering White's legendary (and maybe even justified) ego.

dodge and burn

On Dodge and Burn, their third album, they are at their most comfortable but that doesn't come with any loss of tension or energy. The first album felt a little more cautious and while the second album completely let loose on the world, this time they really demonstrate that this is no mere "side project." I always get the sense that Mosshart is a hairs width away from crying and/or beating your ass with your own limbs in some orgasm of hate and lust and I don't know what. In short, her voice is the ultimate distillation of rock n roll and in the hands of mad scientist White producing, this band is like a beaker of rock n roll moonshine that will burn your fucking soul. The groove in tracks like "Let Me Through" push you to abandon all else in order to jam.

At the moment, I would say my favorite track on the album is probably "Cop and Go." This thing is pure white fire and sexy horror. Fertita's overblown guitar twang over White's bashing, a psycho piano from hell and Lawrence's funky bass is awesome here, but the bit that pushes it over the edge to me is that "will you give a little back to me" tag line from Mosshart. In any other year, this would have likely been higher on my list. But the truth is, from here on, it's really almost interchangeable. For now, just listen to this thing and if a team of black leather clad badasses burst through your walls with flaming guitars, well, you might be hallucinating from this album, so just turn it up louder and enjoy.

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