Pop Rocks

Ten albums that'll snap and fizz

in your ear buds all winter long

10) The Darkness, One Way Ticket to Hell...and Back (Atlantic): Even a less-than-perfect Darkness album is still infinitely more rock & roll than 95 percent of rock albums released in any given year. Working with Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker, the flamboyant UK rockers naturally do a credible — and often scarily dead-on — impression of Queen's wheedly-wheedly guitars, indulgent solos and multilayered harmonies. But the cascading, shriek-like-a-girl "la-la-la" chorus screams of "Hazel Eyes" sounds like a prog-rock elf frolicking in the English countryside, while Hell's cock-rocking riffs smirk and conjure the arena bombast of Def Leppard, AC/DC and Thin Lizzy.

Death Cab for Cutie: Tiny vessels.
Death Cab for Cutie: Tiny vessels.

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