I'm guessing you've heard "Rehab" or "You Know I'm No Good," so I probably don't have to tell you much. With producer Mark Ronson by her side, this young, brash Brit has brought forth her unique brand of soul. If Shirley Bassey had been signed to Motown, it might have sounded close to this. She's a great talent who hopefully will get her act together and be around for a long time. Finally, something for those of us who wished the girl-groups of the early sixties had worked a little blue.
"You Know I'm No Good"
"Back to Black"
"Tears Dry on Their Own"
20. A BAND OF BEES — "Octopus"
All around the world, except for the U.S., this band is known as "The Bees." They are a highly technically proficient group thriving off their eclecticism, from their rootsy opener "Who Cares What The Question Is?" to the Smokey Robinson-esque "Listening Man." Listen to this if you like slight psychedelic touches and some strong horn-section work.
"Got to Let Go"
"Love in the Harbour"
"Left Foot Stepdown"
21. FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE — "Traffic and Weather"
While it isn't the career-defining triumph of 2003's "Welcome Interstate Managers," "Traffic and Weather" is another dose of witty, irreverent songs about young, mostly urban-dwelling professionals. Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood don't write songs, they write short stories set to music. Instead of "Stacy's Mom," "Maureen," or "Denise," this time we meet the likes of Seth Shapiro, Beth Mackenzie and Yolanda Hayes, among others. Let the intelligent lunacy continue.
"Someone to Love"
"Strapped For Cash"
22. ELLIOTT SMITH — "New Moon"
He died four years ago, but Elliott Smith's impact is still major. Listening to this double-disc of previously unreleased material recorded in the mid-nineties, is a nice reminder of what he was capable of crafting. "New Moon" doesn't come off like a shallow, post-mortem cash-in. It comes off as a cohesive unit, stacking up well next to his albums. It's really nice to have the early version of his Oscar nominated theme to "Good Will Hunting," "Miss Misery." Elliott, you are greatly missed.
"Miss Misery" (early version)
"Angel in the Snow"
"All Cleaned Out"
23. IDLEWILD — "Make Another World"
Idlewild started out as a Scottish pop-punk band, but they have slowly molded their sound to add elements of influences like R.E.M., U2 and the Smiths into their sound. "Make Another World" is another strong addition to their catalog. Why Snow Patrol is big, and a better, more lively band like Idlewild isn't, I will never understand.
"In Competition for the Worst Time"
"If It Takes You Home"
"Everything (As It Moves)"
24. WILCO — "Sky Blue Sky"
Call this Wilco's lost '70s album. It's rather low key and close to sounding like The Band in spots. When "Walken" takes a left turn and rocks out, it's stupendous.
"Please Be Patient With Me"
25. THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS — "The Else" / "Cast Your Pod to the Wind"