SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE YEAR: Ian McLagan & the Bump Band — Never Say Never (Maniac) :: Strength can manifest itself in many ways, but spiritual strength is the hardest and humblest strength of all to master — which is why Mac is a far better man than I for having the emotional wherewithal to dig deep and come up with a sensitive soul-searing album like this in light of the tragedy he’s recently had to endure. Just listening to Never Say Never brings a tear to my eye, so I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must be for Mac to actually sing songs, especially the two poignant heartbreakers that bookend this album. But it’s not all heartache, because sandwiched in between them are more than enough keyboard-driven Faces-style rockers and beer barrel bashes to make you grin ’n’ bear it. That’s why Ian McLagan’s Never Say Never is the best album of the year, bar none.
SIZZLING ANIMATED MOVIE OF THE WEEK: David Bullock — Justice League: The New Frontier (DC Universe/Warner Premiere DVD) :: Not only is this streamlined adaptation of Darwyn Cooke’s epic graphic novel The New Frontier vastly entertaining, it’s also extremely thought-provoking in how it expertly evokes both the ’50s shadow of the McCarthy era and the ’60s sunshine of the Kennedy era — but don’t worry ’cause there are more than enough action scenes in this JLA origin story to keep your pulse pounding for all 75 minutes.
SIZZLING DOCUMENTARY OF THE WEEK: Murray Lerner — Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who (Universal Studios Home Entertainment) :: The director of the Who’s 1970 Isle of Wight film is back with this definitive film in which battle-scarred survivors Townshend and Daltrey both bravely step in front of the camera and frankly come to grips with what was and what will never be again. Go out and buy this one now to 1) hear in their own words how they managed to come out of it alive; and 2) experience Lerner’s revolutionary new visual vinyl-video verity.