Dedicated to the memory of his best friend -- who ultimately betrayed Lennon by way of an affair with the singer's longtime girlfriend -- "Friendly Fire" is an exquisite rumination on deception, dislo

Dedicated to the memory of his best friend -- who ultimately betrayed Lennon by way of an affair with the singer's longtime girlfriend -- "Friendly Fire" is an exquisite rumination on deception, disloyalty, the bewitching effects of love and our inexplicable propensity to hurt those closest to us. Melding gorgeous Beatles-esque melodies with the melancholic colors and intoxicating aural effects Radiohead made a name on, Lennon delivers his pain with astounding honesty yet an utter lack of knee-jerk malice. Musically and lyrically the album is thoughtful and mature, an introspective journey through the prolonged and tumultuous process of grieving. The remarkable production wraps these 10 songs in a warm, focused glow that illuminates and unifies them. The hidden track at the end -- a stunning open letter to his father that in three eloquent minutes captures 25 years of sorrow -- draws a parallel between Lennon's experiences of loss and reminds us that tragedy is both personal and universal. One of 2006's best. -- Susan Visakowitz

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