"#1 The White Stripes Elephant An extended mixtape of the year's most vital music -- i.e., the list you're about to read, comprising discs, singles, and album cuts -- must start here. ''Elephant'' (Third Man/V2) is where Jack White becomes a star -- a modern-day ''Clockwork Orange'' droog with a guitar. But it's also where he transforms himself into a one-man repository of American music at its most untamed and poetic. From the wire-brush rawness of White's six-string attack to his excursions into hillbilly duets, yowling power ballads, uneasy-listening folk, and unhinged blues vamps with his drummer and ex-wife, Meg, ''Elephant'' thrashes about without ever losing its nerve, verve, or focus. If ''garage rock'' once seemed the pithiest way to describe the White Stripes, this volcanic album establishes that the term, with all its connotations and stylistic limitations, is no longer sufficient. For two people -- especially one whose percussive chops are clearly limited -- they create an avalanche as forceful as just about any other band in pop: ''Seven Nation Army'' and ''There's No Home for You Here'' sound like the work of an ensemble. Beyond liberating themselves from genre restrictions, the Stripes also manage to accomplish something that seems unimaginable at a time when rock has devolved into either retro-nostalgia conservatism or ugly, brutal aggression: They remind us how volatile, unpredictable, raggedly beautiful, and exuberantly alive the music used to, can, and should be."
mmmmm... entertainment weekly's 15 best cd's of the year... Number one baby!