These are the albums that for me, basically came out of nowhere, un- or insufficiently-heralded, and became top albums for me. Love these. Didn't really expect to. Got some of 'em on larks, had others inflicted.
H. Rubber Factory - Black Keys
H. Comfort Eagle - CAKE
H. Bleed American - Jimmy Eat World
H. Roll On - The Living End
H. Myths of the Near Future - Klaxons
H. Songs from the Sparkle Lounge - Def Leppard
H. The Jarvis Cocker Record - Jarvis Cocker
H. Some People Have Real Problems - Sia Furler
I can't really rank these within. It's an H-way tie for Hth place!
Hm. I notice...all of these are pretty much Rock. I don't know if that means I have a low expectation for Rock or what? But these all excel, expectation or not.
Aw no you didn't question that. Sia Furler's album, that album there, is ROCK. It may indeed be a slow cookin' soul groove over most of it, but that funk sister rocks my whole tugboat in a cocksure style that I can only say rolls me, rockwise. Therefore: what the f else can one call it? Rock. It is at least Rock.
At the VERY least.
A few specific caveats: The Living End, maybe check a YouTube vid or two first (hey here's one!), see if you like the guy's voice. I do. It's kind of a Johnny Rottenish take on Bret Michaels. Def Leppard - obviously, I shouldn't even have to say this. But okay: if you don't like Def Leppard, then there's no waaaaaaay you're going to like thiiiiiiiis.
A few general caveats: there are several albums, new-to-me, that are in the process of blowing away ALL expectation, as I sink ever deeper into their respective grooves. Time will only grudgingly tell, whether they'll soon crack through to Top-H status.
Another good point: the malleability of expectations within the scope of a given artist over time, for example: Further Complications is better than The Jarvis Cocker Record. I consider that all but inarguable at this point. But it won't be on THIS list! Because Jarvis done shot his expectation sky-high for the followup.
And then, he nailed it. Kudos of an increasingly rare sort there, Jarv.