Will Hoge

Will Hoge’s studio debut starts off a bit slowly, but by the second track, Carousel picks you up by the collar and hardly puts you down again for the remainder of the program. "Let Me Be Lonely" is the best cathartic rock ‘n’ roll song in years, a two-minute blast of adrenaline-powered guitar and romantic desperation. Contrary to all the rules of songcraft, Hoge builds the tension and releases it at the very beginning of the song—in the space of two seconds, four beats and one phrase—establishing the song’s tonal center, its mood of self-deceiving emotional independence and the shape of its glorious chord progression all at once. The rest of the album flows from there, alternating barnburners like "Wish" and "(Pretty Sure) I’m Over You" with more reflective fare, but never letting the underlying emotional tension drop. Spectacular. Visit www.willhoge.com.