This is why I don’t do best-of lists very often.
Hands down, Jackson is the best album opener of the year. Until I remember Our Love… from Mended with Gold by The Rural Alberta Advantage, that is, and then I’m lost in a little twisty maze of passages, or a twisting maze of little passages. Or Lost in the Dream, except - wait, no, that’s something different altogether (and something that might just crop up here, as it has everywhere else…)
There’s something about Jackson, though.
There’s something in the way Joseph D’Agostino goes up into falsetto, and then back down while the melody whirls around like the rides at Six Flags - one of several New Jersey landmarks referenced in Jackson - and comes back down half angel, half fury, all balled up and ready to take you on. And there’s definitely something in the way the guitar solo takes over; it’s one of those high crying, bending solos that takes flight before it, too, crashes back into the main melody. All the time there’s this bass line just wandering up, and back down again like nothing much in the world is happening.
There’s something and everything in the ebbs and flows, in the way the layers of the intro foreshadow the song’s fierce ending; there’s no holding it back as it bursts out of every pore of your speakers, so give in, and do give up.