Pop Rocks

The shiniest and catchiest of 2005's snap and fizz

10. The Darkness, One Way Ticket to Hell...and Back (Atlantic): Even a less-than-perfect Darkness album is still infinitely more rock and roll than 95 percent of any given year's releases. Working with Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker, the flamboyant UK rockers naturally do a credible--and often scarily dead-on--impression of Queen's wheedly-wheedly guitars, indulgent solos and multi-layered 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. --Annie Zaleski

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