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Driving home from Emmaus, I started thinking about the best albums released since I started to care about music – at least the ones I liked the most. And here’s my Top 5:

1. U2, The Joshua Tree: Having gone to a Catholic high school in the mid-’80s, U2 are my boys: passionate, earnest, arena rock that still holds up.

2. John Hiatt, Bring The Family. Hiatt’s best album, and gosh, just one of those, “man, he killed it” albums as he rebounded from an alcohol problem and his wife’s suicide. “Have a Little in Me” should have been my wedding song, but I was too addled to figure it out. Slow Turning, his next album, was similarly great, and he has receded as his circumstances have improved, but god, by the time you get to Learning How to Love You, you have the feeling he’s gonna turn out alright.

3. Ryan Adams, Gold. More often than not, just great songwriting. La Cienega Just Smiled, the Rescue Blues, When the Stars Go Blue and New York New York is a great, great foursome.

4. Bruce Springsteen, Live 1975-1985. So much great music on 3 CDs. I don’t know where to start, and I won’t.

5. U2, Rattle and Hum. From I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For through Pride (In The Name of Love), has there ever been a better live album sequence? I don’t think so.

Honorable mention: Patty Griffin, Living with Ghosts. John Hiatt, Slow Turning. Damian Rice, O. Tracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman. Shelby Lynne, This is Shelby Lynne.

OK, so have it. What are your favorites?

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