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Top 10 CDs of 2004

Steve Morse's picks

1. Green Day, ‘‘American Idiot’’ (Reprise)
Who thought Green Day would endure for 10 years, let alone hit its stride now? The band created a punk opera that is its most electrifying work since its breakthrough disc. Billie Joe Armstrong & Co. assail the nation’s ‘‘redneck agenda’’ and defend alienated youth to the max.

2. Loretta Lynn, ‘‘Van Lear Rose’’ (Interscope)
Lynn’s dignity as one of the all-time great country singers was not only af- firmed but enhanced by producer Jack White of the White Stripes. Their unlikely pairing elevated both artists. White proved he could put his ego aside, while Lynn seemed reborn.

3. U2, ‘‘How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb’’ (Interscope)
Once the furor died down from U2 doing an iPod commercial, audiences were left to enjoy the group’s most personal record since ‘‘The Joshua Tree.’’ Bono’s heart-filled songs about his father’s passing are a revelation.

4. Mindy Smith, ‘‘One Moment More’’ (Vanguard)
Smith achieved a unique-sounding crossover by combining haunting, Appalachian- style singing with pop-rock evocative of Shawn Colvin.

5. Mission of Burma, ‘‘ONoffON,’’ (Matador)
Boston’s alt-rock pioneers came back after a 20-year studio hiatus to capture a whole new generation of listeners. They showed that true chemistry can be ageless.

6. John Lennon, ‘‘Acoustic’’ (Capitol)
Strip Lennon down to his essentials — voice and acoustic guitar — and he was still phenomenal. The seven previously unreleased versions of his post- Beatles songs take you to an inner world of sheer genius.

7. Toots & the Maytals, ‘‘True Love’’ (V2)
Reggae master Toots Hibbert called in his flock for a duets album — and disciples included Keith Richards, Trey Anastasio, and Ryan Adams. They give a new spin to Toots’s hits. But as ever, Toots is in command.

8. Aerosmith, ‘‘Honkin’ on Bobo’’ (Columbia)
The Boston Bad Boys went back to their blues roots to cover seminal tracks, refueling them for the modern age. But the grit of the juke joints is still there. Old-school Aerosmith fans rejoiced.

9. The Cooper Temple Clause, ‘‘Kick Up the Fire and Let the Flames Break Loose,’’ (Morning)
Merging Radiohead electronica with a Pink Floyd-influenced progressive rock, these lads from Reading, England, challenged the mind with a trippy hard-rock journey.

10. Patti Smith, ‘‘Trampin’ ’’ (Columbia)
Smith’s 12-minute cri de coeur ‘‘Radio Baghdad,’’ about a protective mother in that strife-torn city, is the centerpiece of this extraordinary album. Her rock remains as strong as her politics.

Steve Morse is a Globe staff music writer.

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Green Day 'American Idiot'
Green Day / "American Idiot"
''American Idiot''
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