- U2's Songs of Experience is number-three. The band is praised for "coming to terms with a world closer to the brink than at any time during their career. They meet the moment with precisely the right balance of grandeur and grace, harnessing their earnest post-punk past to their remarkable facility for modern pop gestures." The album comes out Friday.
- Randy Newman's Dark Matter comes in at 13. "Three songs play the end of Western civilization for laughs – starting with a Marx Brothers version of the Scopes Trial and culminating with a Vladimir Putin variety show – and then..."Lost Without You," in which a husband listens in the shadows as his dying wife tells her kids to take care of him after she's gone."
- Robert Plant's Carry Fire ranks 32nd. The onetime singer in Led Zeppelin "nuanc[es] the mystic stomp of yore for darkening times... The overall feel is at once ancient and new... the patient power of Plant's golden-god-in-winter singing can be astonishing." The magazine singles out a duet with Chrissie Hynde on the old rockabilly number "Bluebirds Over the Mountain."
- Bob Dylan's Triplicate is number 35. Tapping the Great American Songbook, "Dylan doesn't shy away from tunes as familiar as 'As Time Goes By' and 'Stormy Weather' -- it's almost as though he tackles the well-known tunes so you can hear how he's Dylanized them."
- Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie is a notch below Dylan, at 36. "With Mick Fleetwood and John McVie serving as rhythm section, all that keeps this album from being a Fleetwood Mac reunion is the absence of Stevie Nicks... The duo showcases the effortlessness of pop-rock veterans doing what they do best."
- Gregg Allman's final album, Southern Blood (number-41), "is a moving a farewell statement" that is favorably compared to career-ending projects from Leonard Cohen and David Bowie.
Kendrick Lamar's Damn and Lorde's Melodrama rank first and second on the RS list.
Source: Rolling Stone and Premiere