9) Bubblegum - Mark Lanegan Band

Mark Lanegan has one of the best voices in rock music. It's a fact. Whether its his solo stuff, old Screaming Trees stuff, Queens of the Stone Age stuff, or from his Twilight Singers project with the always awesome Greg Dulli, the man's three-decade spanning career is legend. He could be the next Tom Waits, but he, frankly, isn't weird enough. He's dark as shit, though. His troubles are well documented; struggles with drugs and depression fill as many stories about him as praises for his talent. Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen the guy smile. I take that back, actually. There's a picture of him and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top from during the recording of a QOTSA album and he's smiling there. Regardless, the guy is no one's ray of sunshine, and he's just fine with that, thankyouverymuch.

See? Real cheerful looking dude right there.

"Bubblegum" is the hangover after a blackout night. You might be dying, but the fact that you woke up might mean you're invincible. Maybe all you want is to die. Maybe the person that woke up next to you is the most important thing you have. Maybe they weren't ever yours to begin with. It's an album featuring a who's-who of desert rock royalty. His bandmates from QOTSA make appearances (Josh Homme plays guitar on a bunch of tracks, Chris Goss is there, as are Nick Oliveri, Troy Van Leeuwen, Joey Castillo, Natasha Schneider and Alain Johannes), along with Greg Dulli, PJ Harvey, Izzy Stradlin and Duff MacKagan... Christ, his ex-wife even sings on the thing. Come to think of it, this album isn't a hangover. It's the bookend to Queens' "Songs for the Deaf". Where "SFTD" was showing the fantastic weirdness of a drive home through the desert, "Bubblegum" is the drive through the desert when you have no home. You aren't going anywhere. Metaphorically AND literally. Thats when I dig this out. I've never been to the desert, but this is probably the next best thing when I'm in that state of mind. The slow songs are sad. The loud ones are sadder. I'm in that state of mind a lot. I'm probably gonna wear this record out this year. I should order myself a backup while I'm thinking about it.