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Top 10 CDs of 2004

Jim Sullivan's picks

1. U2, ‘‘How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb’’ (Interscope)
After hearing much from Bono, World Citizen-Activist, over the past several years, it feels good to hear the man singing with his band. With a multitude of dynamic and musical changes, U2 traverses the lands of hope, love, and desperation.

2. Green Day, ‘‘American Idiot’’ (Reprise)
Once, we enjoyed — but covertly mocked — these three Cal-kids for their Clash-isms. Now, we say they’re our Clash, and their politically charged concept album proves it.

3. Drive-By Truckers, ‘‘The Dirty South’’ (New West)
Simply put, one of America’s best bands. They set tales of wretched heartache and psychic damage to brooding, fierce rockers that honor the homeland and its people.

4. The Shore, ‘‘The Shore’’ (Maverick)
Think Coldplay, the Verve, Starsailor, the Beatles; think lovely, lyrical guitar passages and gorgeous widescreen songs. The LA quartet manages to be mellow, melodic, and explosive all within the course of a song. Sleeper of the year.

5. John Cale, ‘‘HoboSapiens’’ (EMI)
The old master combines his classical chops and complex songwriting with the wonders of modern electronica to make a record that dances all over the map — in a seriousminded way.

6. Mission of Burma, ‘‘ONoffON’’ (Matador)
Boston’s pioneers of jagged art-punk returned to recorded form without missing a beat, making intense, nononsense music for people who believe punk rock is an attitude of liberation, not an excuse for being simple-minded.

7. Gibby Haynes, ‘‘Gibby Haynes and His Problem’’ (Surfdog/Universal)
There was every reason to think the former leader of the Butthole Surfers would never reemerge. He did with all the nasty, seductive, psychedelic charm of yore intact.

8. The Cardigans, ‘‘Long Gone Before Daylight’’ (Koch)
’Tis a pity this never found the receptive home it deserved. It’s on the soft side, but there are prickly bits scattered about. A late-night delight.

9. The Fall, ‘‘The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click)’’ (Narnack)
Technically this was released at the very end of last year, but it didn’t land on our shores until early in the new year and it proved a needed blast of caustic, cranky, vitriol.

10. Scissor Sisters, ‘‘Scissor Sisters’’ (Universal)
They hit a moment of dance-pop nirvana and cheerful subversion and took their place as 2004’s B-52’s.

Jim Sullivan is a Globe staff writer.

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