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Top 10 Albums Of 2018 - Number 10

A note before I start. This is not the definite list of the best albums of 2018, but my personal top ten.I have only included albums that I own, and there will be notable and popular records not in this top ten simply because I have neither the time or inclination to listen to them all. It's okay to disagree!

With that said here's my selection for number 10.

Live At Hammersmith by The Darkness


If you're only familiar with The Darkness from the huge hit "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" then this 19 track live set would be a good place to get a feel for the band since they re-formed in 2011. The live setting has always been the best place to enjoy this band as they put on a great show, with Justin Hawkins a superb front man.

The tone is set from the outset as the band begin with "Open Fire" which whilst it bears some tonal similarity to "She Sells Sanctuary" it rocks a whole lot harder. 



The segues straight in to the monster power ballad from their big selling debut, "Permission To Land", an album which didn't change the face of rock music, but certainly gave it a firm kick in the behind.

The band sensibly pepper the less well known material from the later albums with the smashes from their debut. The somewhat profane "Solid Gold" stands out amongst the newer songs. 




With this album originally being released in June, it does seem a little incongruous to hear "Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End) outside of December, but the show which comprised this recording was from 10th December 2017 so it is understandable that it was included.

Rather than a track by track rundown, I'll simply say that this album is the best way to experience The Darkness, other than seeing them live. I've seen them 3 times, and they always put on a great show.

I'd like to comment a little on the phenomenon of The Darkness and my thoughts as to why they disappeared so quickly after they rose, before re-emerging to success, but at a somewhat lower level than the "Permission To Land" heights.

From today's viewpoint some regard the band as a mere fad, or 'joke' band, as did many in the music industry back in the early 2000's; which was why they had such a big live following before securing a record deal. 

As ever though, context is king. I clearly remember the first time I heard them, and being knocked out. Here was a band that were equal parts Queen, AC/DC and Thin Lizzy with a debut album that rocked as hard as anything those three classic bands produced. They sounded so different, and fresh despite not making a new sound, to all that was around them at the time. Earnest 'alternative' rock, mainstream pop and nu metal dominated. The Darkness crashed, or rather started the party, with an album that stood out in the same way "Appetite For Destruction" did in 1987. 

Comparing them to Guns 'n' Roses, Queen, AC/DC and Thin Lizzy might seem over the top now, but go back and listen to "Permission To Land". It still stands up today. With "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" the band had a lightning in a bottle song, that in hindsight set expectations too high. It's one of those few songs, and riffs, that can be recognised just from the first note; a "Layla", "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "Sweet Child O' Mine" that forever defines a career. Add those expectations to well documented 'off field' issues and an underwhelming second album and you have a quickly punctured balloon. 

The reception to their comeback in 2011 showed just how fondly remembered they were and the impact that debut had. I'll leave you with that lightning in a bottle moment. \m/



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