Pop Rocks

Ten albums that'll snap and fizz in your ear buds all winter long

The Weight Is a Gift
The Weight Is a Gift
You Could Have It So Much Better
You Could Have It So Much Better

10. The Darkness, One Way Ticket to Hell . . . and Back (Atlantic): Even a less-than-perfect Darkness album is still infinitely more rock 'n' roll than 95 percent of rock albums released in any given year. Working with Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker, the flamboyant U.K. rockers naturally do a credible -- and often scarily dead-on -- impersonation 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" sound 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.

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