10,000 Days (2006) ? Tool My introduction to Tool, really, and, after years of hearing them more or less pilloried all over the place, I was surprised to find this album not particularly bad. One expects to eventually tire of ambient, droning avant garde musical experimentation, but it?s actually the reverse on this album. At the end of the day, the title track, eleven minutes or not, may be the best track on it. And stuff like Viginti Tres and Lipan Conjuring may be considered filler by some, but it works better than rave ups like The Pot for me. Below the Salt (1972) ? Steeleye Span Brit group with the rotating lineup take the folkie route in repertoire, but the modern route in arrangement. Gaudete, from this album, was both their biggest hit and entirely accapella, but on most of the old ballads, electric guitars twang and drums pound the beat along. A delightful album that ranges from the nightmarish horror ballad of King Henry to the undeniably transcendent lightness of Guadete. The Royal Forester is worth the whole album all by itself. The Best Carols in the World . . . Ever (2005) ? Various Artists A two disc set of luminaries in the choral scene, Bach Choir, Choir of King?s College, Huddersfield Choral Society, etc., assaying to work through the body of classic English Christmas carols. Everything from the standbys (Away in a Manger, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Little Town of Bethlehem) to the obscurities (When an Angel Host Entuned, Adam Lay Ibounden, Sans Day Carol) is here and there are occasional moments of unbelievable greatness. For instance, once you hear the Bach Choir do Gabriel?s Message, you?ll never want to hear Sting do it again. But, with 25 songs on the first disc and 27 on the second, all with basically the same choral sound, they do begin to blend together by the end. Still, an interesting listen, even if I think I could have been satisfied with a much less rigorous collection. So (1986) ? Peter Gabriel Dragging out one of the definitive palate cleansers, a near perfect album that absolutely washes away everything in your mind to feel like the only music you?ve ever heard in your life. From the glorious, R&B stomp of Sledgehammer to the rampaging satire of Big Time to the luminous gospel melancholy of Don?t Give Up and Mercy Street, this album just hits every post on the spectrum. And somehow, I?ve managed to not include In Your Eyes, one of the most iconic songs of all time, in my rundown of the four best songs on the album, which tells you how good it is. Every time I hear it, it just gets me all over again. Bad (1987) ? Michael Jackson It isn?t his best album. For albums from his actual solo career, both Thriller and Off the Wall exceed it. Adding in The Jackson 5, I?d say ABC is certainly a better album. If you throw in greatest hits comps, then there are a couple of those that are better all around than this album. But this is a good album, if not entirely a great one. The Man in the Mirror remains one of Jackson?s finest moments and other songs here are not at all bad, even if they aren?t that great.