It happens every year. There's always one album that I hear and think, "Hey, that's pretty good," but for whatever reason it doesn't hit heavy rotation status on my stereo. Then, shortly after the new year, I'm prompted to dig the album out again and it hits me in a whole new way. I'll declare it a masterpiece and it will be my most listened to album of the year, the year after it came out. Last year, as I've mentioned before on this blog, that album was Steve Earle's Washington Square Serenade.
Alejandro Escovedo's Real Animal is well on its way to being that album for 2009. It has it all. At 58 years old, Alejandro still rocks twice as hard as kids a third of his age, and the ballads (such as "Swallows of San Juan") are as gorgeous as ever. Real Animal is quite possibly the pinnacle of Alejandro's storied career.