Honor roll: Grammy Award for Best Rock Album

Each of these albums has been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. They are ranked by honors received.

Album:How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

U2

The album that carries U2 into its 25th year—and likely the mixed blessings of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—is one of its most frank and focused since the days of October and War. But its gestation was anything but simple, in part salvaged from ‘03 sessions the band deemed subpar. Enter Steve Lillywhite, the band’s original producer and sometime collaborator in the decades since, who helped retool the track “Native Son” (originally an antigun screed) into the aggressive iPod anthem “Vertigo” and leaves his distinctive stamp on the muscular “All…

Album:American Idiot

American Idiot

Green Day

For its first new set of music since 2000’s Warning, Green Day tears up the blueprint and comes up with something unexpected: a punk rock concept album built around elaborate melodies, odd tempo changes, and a collection of songs that freely reference classic rock warhorses like the Beatles and Pink Floyd. “She’s a Rebel” and “St. Jimmy” might sound like vintage Green Day, but the rest of the disc finds the Northern California trio trying on a variety of different guises: “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” is a cliché-strewn Foo Fighters-style power ballad;…

Album:The Rising

The Rising

Bruce Springsteen

Although it seemed the Boss had put writing rock anthems behind him after Born in the U.S.A., his longtime fans knew if any artist could write anthems addressing September 11, 2001, and not make them sound jingoistic, it would be Bruce Springsteen. The numerous anthems on his much-anticipated first full-length album with the E Street Band in 18 years are subtler than those of the Born to Run era. But the elements are all there: the joyous rocking strains of “Countin’ on a Miracle,” “Mary’s Place,” and “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day”; the dark overtones of…

Album:All That You Can't Leave Behind

All That You Can't Leave Behind

U2

The foursome come roaring out of the blocks with their latest collection. The album's first single, "Beautiful Day," raced to the No. 1 slot on the U.K. singles charts and received a similar rapturous reception stateside. From its shimmering preamble to its sweeping, infectious chorus, it perfectly stakes out the middle ground between the anthemic U2 of the '80s and the more grounded group of the '90s. With Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno sharing production chores again after having taken a break with Pop, the U2 team enters the new millennium with their lineup--and mission--intact. --Steven Stolder

Album:Fallen

Fallen

Evanescence

The Daredevil soundtrack provided a nice boost for this previously unknown quartet from Little Rock, Arkansas. Evanescence’s songs “My Immortal” and the imposing “Bring Me to Life” are clear standouts in the film, mainly because they work so well with the dramatic, eerie undertones of the storyline. They reappear here on the band’s debut, alongside a selection of similarly brooding tracks that evoke pensive artists like Tori Amos and the Cranberries. Vocalist Amy Lee has the kind of voice that can cause weeks of insomnia, but on songs like “Tourniquet” and…

Album:One by One

One by One

Foo Fighters

There’s a certain sameness to the spiky, percussive bursts of punk-pop tabled by the Foo Fighters. Yet it’s pretty hard to fault players as palpably enthusiastic as Dave Grohl and his gang. Every Foos record, up to and including their fourth studio disc, One by One, fluently merges rock menace with unabashedly cheery melody and thoughtful if cryptic lyrics. (And those videos!) So while insistent, guiterrorized tracks like “All My Life” and “Times Like These (One-Way Motorway)” don’t expand the Foos’ oeuvre, they’re catchy as hell and well worth the price…

Album:There Is Nothing Left to Lose

There Is Nothing Left to Lose

Foo Fighters

Riding the momentum of the hit single “Learn to Fly,” which hit No. 1 on the modern-rock charts long before this album’s release, the Foo Fighters’ third record is unarguably its most refined and poppy. The ominous riff that the opens “Stacked Actors” (which sounds like something Kurt Cobain could have hacked out on Nirvana’s gnarly In Utero) is pretty much a red herring. The 10 tunes that follow are a succession of hook-laden pop songs tarted up with guitarist-vocalist (and former Nirvana drummer) Dave Grohl’s thick guitars and increasingly sugar-sweet…

Album:A Bigger Bang

A Bigger Bang

The Rolling Stones

It should come as no surprise that it took sex, disease and death to shake the Rolling Stones out of their latest creative dry spell. Leading up to the making of A Bigger Bang, produced by Don Was, Mick Jagger endured a very public break-up with Jerry Hall, Charlie Watts battled throat cancer, and Ron Wood was devastated by the news of his ex-wife’s suicide. Out of their collective struggles, the members of the venerable British rock band managed to piece together some of their best work in nearly two decades. It’s a slick, slightly uneven affair bounding…

Album:In Your Honor

In Your Honor

Foo Fighters

It’s likely that a decade after its debut record this band now has fans who might ask, “You mean Dave Grohl was in a band before the Foo Fighters?” But they, or any Foo followers who pine for the increasingly refined vocals and polished pop-punk uniformity of the first four albums, will swallow this one whole—or at least half. For as much as vocalist/bandleader Grohl and Co. mix a similar concoction on the 20-song double CD, they manage to agitate the formula ever so slightly. Disc one follows the Foo’s classic sonic blueprint: lip-smacking melodies and enigmatic…

Album:Prairie Wind

Prairie Wind

Neil Young

An artist for all musical seasons, Neil Young returns to autumnal harvest mode on Prairie Wind, with homespun material and sing-song melodies that renew the spirit of some of his most popular releases. Yet the mood here is darker in its maturity than on Harvest and Harvest Moon—the previous releases in what now sounds like a trilogy—and the arrangements have greater range and aural depth, with Wayne Jackson of the soulful Memphis Horns, the Fisk University Jubilee Singers gospel choir, and a string section employed to striking effect. This is…

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