No joke—Amy Ray's solo effort released earlier in the year, Lung of Love, very nearly infiltrated my top five albums of 2012 list. Although it didn't quite make the cut, it is a solid-as-hell pop record. I've always considered myself a bit of an Indigo Girls apologist, always coming to the band's defense whenever one of my unenlightened friends slags 'em (just the other day I heard somebody singing the chorus to "Closer to Fine" mockingly—needless to say, I dished it out). But Lung of Love might be better than anything Ray has been involved with to date; "Glow" sounds sort of like a misplaced Figure 8 gem (!), and the title track absolutely kills. If you're surprised... well, you shouldn't be.