Brian Montag of Shoreview:

1 The Cars, “Lust for Kicks.” A rare album cut in honor of the late, great Ric Ocasek. This infectious gem shows that the band always remained steeped in ’60s bubble gum yet fully immersed in the New Wave.


2 Iggy Pop, “Sonali.” Who would have thought the Iguana, at age 72, would still be kicking with the same lust for life he had in his heyday? “Sonali,” from his latest album “Free,” shows a more sensitive, sultry side to the punk king.


3 Nick Lowe, First Avenue. Always the charmer, this Englishman turned out one of the best shows of the year. He’s still got that old magic, indeed.



Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:

1 “Country Music: An Illustrated History” by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns. This 528-page book reads like the script for this month’s exhaustive PBS documentary. Like the TV series, this book is packed with priceless photos and insightful anecdotes.


2 “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice.” A valentine to one of the greatest vocal stylists of our time, this doc features vintage clips showing her greatness over the decades, with commentary by her and others providing perspective. Retired because of Parkinson’s, she was fearless, intellectual and pioneeringly independent.


3 Britney Spears’ conservatorship explained, Los Angeles Times. It’s a fascinating, deeply reported story about why her dad still serves as conservator, why fans say “Free Britney” and what courts and officials say.