Monday, August 15, 2011

My Favorite Bands

     How often in your life do you hear this question, "What's your favorite band?"  I've lost track over the past 20+ years.  Majority of the time you'll receive an answer along the lines of "I have a lot of favorite bands, there's no way I could choose just one..." Not from this guy.  You see, I've always been the type of person who liked to have things organized.  Not for other people, but for myself.  I like to sit down and delve deep into my mind and break everything down to figure just whatever IS my favorite movie, my favorite song, my favorite band.  I'll create lists, determine the order using my own self-mandated criteria.  Then inevitably I'll pull a Kris Kringle and make sure I check my list twice, who knows, I may make a last-second change and flip two items.

     So this past night I went ahead and pushed them sexy SkullCandy earbuds in and let my iPod decide for me. I decided to narrow the list down to a top 15.  I could have done a top 20, but once I got past 18 bands, I felt like the other two just weren't really worthy of me discussing.  They weren't on the same level as the other 18.  For the sake of giving credit to the honorable mentions, I'll say that the 3 bands who just missed the cut were Three Days Grace, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus & Hollywood Undead.  As for the bands that cost the other 3 spots on the list, The All-American Rejects, Weezer, Taking Back Sunday, Zebrahead, & The Used all just didn't quite live up to the standard.  Now then, how about we get down to the real list, shall we?  The bands that I turn to in my time of happiness, sadness, frustration, anger, confusion & sometimes just plain boredom.  My personal top 15 bands of all-time.

15 - Four Year Strong
Favorite Song - Catastrophe
Favorite Album - Explains It All
Four Year Strong, a melodic hardcore band hailing from Worcester, Massachusetts, originally won my heart by playing covers.  I've always been a sucker for covers, whether it be of catchy pop/rap songs or just paying tribute to a classic, I love filling my iPod with them.  In 2009 FYS released an album called 'Explains It All' and filled it with 11 covers of music they grew up on.  The music that inspired them, they covered on their album.  They did wonderful renditions of Blink-182's 'Dumpweed,' Nirvana's 'In Bloom,' Sugar Ray's 'Fly,' Everclear's 'So Much for the Afterglow,' Nine Days' 'Absolutely (Story of a Girl),' & The Smashing Pumpkins' 'Bullet with Butterfly Wings.'  I just thought the concept of the album itself was so creative and well dammit, I'll just say it, it was just plain nifty.

14 - Forever the Sickest Kids
Favorite Song - Coffee Break
Favorite Album - Underdog Alma Mater
This pop punk band straight from Dallas, Texas just makes me move.  I will never claim to be a decent, or hell, even a remotely socially acceptable dancer, but this band just makes me want to dance.  Their musical style is so upbeat and catchy, it makes it damn near impossible not to sing along.  They have the catchiest songs I've ever heard like 'Whoah Oh! (Me vs. Everyone),' 'Hey Brittany,' 'My Worst Nightmare,' 'Believe Me I'm Lying,' 'The Way She Moves,' 'She's a Lady,' 'Phone Call,' 'Breakdown,' & 'Catastrophe.'  I know the words to all those wonderful songs from beginning to end and they all make me want to dance.  Then, of course, there's my favorite song of there's, 'Coffee Break' which I've already discussed in a previous post.  I got to see this band live in concert and it was a joy to dance along the rest of their fans to their songs.

13 - The Offspring
Favorite Song - Want You Bad
Favorite Album - Americana
I must begin this write-up by proclaiming The Offspring's 'Americana' album as the album of my childhood.  The punk rock band from Huntington Beach, California released the album when I was a mere 7 years old in the winter of 1998 and it remains, to this day, as one of my favorite albums of all-time.  From the opening track welcoming you to Americana, to being pretty fly (for a white guy), to learning about feelings and girls with issues, to being taught how to walla walla all the way to the end of the line and ultimately being told to get a job, I lost myself in the sheer orgasmic fantastical aweseomness of this timeless album.  The Offspring have long been an underrated band for me, no matter my mood or age, I've always been able to enjoy any one of their songs from any of their albums.

12 - Jack's Mannequin
Favorite Song - Holiday from Real
Favorite Album - Everything in Transit
Jack's Mannequin, led by inspirational cancer survivor, Andrew McMahon is a piano rock band from Santa Monica, California.  This band is always a change of pace for me when they come bouncing across my iPod.  It's no secret that I'm a pop punk kid at heart and that's where my roots lie.  So when I'm sitting there and a soft piano key comes circulating through my ears, I'm always taken aback.  The emotion and sincerity McMahon puts into the lyrics & performance of the songs is so beautiful, I could never get tired of listening to him tell me his life's story through song.

11 - Mayday Parade
Favorite Song - Jersey
Favorite Album - A Lesson in Romantics
Years ago I was in search for new music, so I decided to search Wikipedia by simply typing in 'pop punk bands.'  I scrolled through a long list and at random, picked some bands who I guessed I may like.  Mayday Parade was one of the bands I chose and I am so happy I did.  This alternative rock band from Tallahassee, Florida put together some of the most emotional and moving songs I have ever heard.  I have literally had moments where my jaw dropped whilst listening to a song because the lyrics are so true and hit home so hard.  I love Mayday Parade, I love their honesty, but I actually try to avoid them when I'm in a depressed mood because the lyrics hit me so hard.  I'm a music fan driven by songs that have lyrics that mean something, that speak to me, Mayday Parade is the best band I know to hit me in that exact way.

10 - Sugarcult
Favorite Song - Pretty Girl (The Way)
Favorite Album - Start Static
Sugarcult may win the award for the most underrated band on this list.  This alternative rock band from Santa Barbara, California has never been my go-to musicians when I put on my iPod.  I've never seen them live, nor do I know a lot about them.  I do know one thing though, I absolutely adore their music.  'Stuck In America,' 'Bouncing Off The Walls,' 'Daddy's Little Defect,' 'Pretty Girl (The Way),' 'How Does It Feel,' 'She's the Blade,' 'Memory,' 'Los Angeles,' & 'Do It Alone' make up the all-star team of favorite songs that I sing along to every time they get their turn on my iPod.  I hardly, if ever skip past these things, they're all 5 star songs to me and when a band is as consistent as Sugarcult is at making me smile and sing along, you better believe they're going on this list.

9 - Set Your Goals
Favorite Song - The Fallen...
Favorite Album - This Will Be the Death of Us
This is the first time I've written about the band Set Your Goals, but I can guarantee that it won't be the last time.  I've always been a sucker for bands with two singers and I love the raw sound Set Your Goals has created with their music, they have so much potential.  I can't wait to hear this band in 5 years to see how their sounds has progressed.  I was introduced to this pop punk band out of Orinda, California a few years back when I got the compilation album 'Punk Goes Pop' and they did a wonderfully hilarious cover of 'Put Yo Hood Up' and I have been captivated by them since.  They have a song called 'The Fallen...' that is going to see a spotlight on this blog in the near future...*tease*

8 - Good Charlotte
Favorite Song - The Young and the Hopeless
Favorite Album - The Young and the Hopeless
It was a very difficult decision for me to pick just one favorite song by the pop punk band from Maryland.  Ever since I first listened to his band in 2002, I've been in love with them.  'The Young and the Hopeless' remains as one of my favorite albums of all-time.  One of their more recent albums, 'Good Morning Revival' (2007) was an album they put together that I felt matched 'The Young and the Hopeless.'  I'm amazed I was able to narrow it down to one song, when I can honestly say there are a cornucopia of Good Charlotte songs that I could make a legitimate case for being my favorite of theirs.  I was beyond thrilled to have been able to see this band that has followed me from my pre-teen years to young adulthood live in concert last summer.

7 - (+44)
Favorite Song - When Your Heart Stops Beating
Favorite Album - When Your Heart Stops Beating
Here's the band that it was easiest to pick my favorite album.  Why so easy?  Well, THEY ONLY HAVE ONE ALBUM.  (+44), hailing from Los Angeles, California, released their alternative rock album 'When Your Heart Stops Beating' in 2006 and my Blink-182 withdrawal was finally cured.  I got to hear Mark Hoppus singing along to the drum beat set by Travis Barker and my ears were in heaven again.  I became obsessed with this album, songs like 'When Your Heart Stops Beating,' 'Lycanthrope,' 'Baby Come On,' 'Little Death,' '155,' 'Lillian,' 'Cliff Diving,' 'No, It Isn't,' 'Weatherman,' 'Make You Smile,' & 'Chapter 13.' That being the entire album, I listened to it from front to back day in and day out.  Due to the reformation of Blink-182, (+44) has been placed on the back-burner.  I sincerely hope they don't only release one album, for that would be a sincere disservice to my ears.

6 - All Time Low
Favorite Song - Weightless
Favorite Album - Nothing Personal
All Time Low, a poor man's Blink-182, is a pop punk band that hails from Baltimore, Maryland.  I was farley interested in them for a few years but never fully got into them...that is until they released the album 'Nothing Personal' in 2009.  All of a sudden I had a band that I couldn't stop listening to, an album that captured my full attention and I was itching for more.  Thanks to songs like 'Weightless,' 'Break Your Little Heart,' 'Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don't),' 'Lost In Stereo,' 'Hello, Brooklyn,' 'Too Much,' & 'Keep the Change, You Filthy Animal,' I was introduced to a band that I absolutely adore.  I branched out to their earlier albums and realized how much I loved their songs like 'Jasey Rae,' 'Dear Maria, Count Me In,' 'Remembering Sunday,' & 'Poppin' Champagne.'  'Weightless' has become one of my favorite music videos ever and I really hope All Time Low continues putting out amazing albums, 1 or 2 more and I may have to bump them even further up on this list.

5 - Sum 41
Favorite Song - Walking Disaster
Favorite Album - Underclass Hero
Oh ho, where do I begin?  I LOVE this band.  The pop punk band straight out of America's hat, Ontario, Canada, has been a favorite of mine ever since 'Fat Lip' came blasting through the radio-waves.  I remember playing the video game X-Games Skateboarding on PS2 and 'Fat Lip' was one of the songs on the soundtrack, I skipped past every other song every time just to listen to 'Fat Lip' over and over again.  Their earlier album impress me so much with the quality of music they produced, the song 'Heart Attack' from 'All Killer, No Filler' was a serious contender for favorite song.  'Does This Look Infected?' & 'Chuck' were two albums by them that I absolutely adored. Songs like 'The Hell Song,' 'Over My Head (Better Off Dead),' 'Still Waiting,' 'No Reason,' 'We're All to Blame,' 'Some Say,' & 'Pieces' are what got me into Sum 41 and what motivated me to buy the album 'Underclass Hero' in 2007 and it will go down as one of my favorite albums of all-time.  I could go ahead and tell you my favorite songs off the album but it'd be a waste of time.  The whole album is fantastic, from song 1 to song 15.

4 - Green Day
Favorite Song - Worry Rock
Favorite Album - American Idiot
Here they are, ladies & gentlemen, Green Day *cowers away from haters* I swear, I have never seen such an amazing band get so much unwarranted hate.  You'll hear people downplay Green Day and bash them with such vitriol and why?  Because the band doesn't sound the way they did in 1990 when they released amazing albums like '39/Smooth,' 'Kerplunk,' & 'Dookie.'  Green Day grew up and changed their sound and released a fantastic bridging album 'Nimrod' that held the hand of the fans transitioning from a trio of punk rock kids from East Bay, California to a full-fledged rock & roll powerhouse releasing the mega-hit 'American Idiot.'  While 'Nimrod' will always have a special place in my heart for being filled with fantastic songs, 'American Idiot' was the album that blew me away.  I listened to it every damn day for seemingly forever once it released.  It seems with Green Day, you have to prove your fandom, like if you didn't start listening to them before 'American Idiot' then you're not a 'true fan.'  I think that's bullshit, I listened to Green Day as a kid because my sister would play 'Kerplunk' for me all the time so I was walking around the house singing 'Welcome to Paradise.'  Does that make me a better fan than a kid who grew up listening to their sister play 'American Idiot?'  Hell no.  Fuck the people who can't accept the fact that Green Day grew up, maybe they should try it.

3 - A Day to Remember
Favorite Song - All I Want
Favorite Album - What Separates Me from You
This marks the 3rd blog post that includes the music video for the song 'All I Want' by A Day to Remember.  I think it's safe to say I'm obsessed, but I'm okay with that.  There's a reason it's my favorite song of all-time.  I've made it no secret that A Day to Remember has been my go-to band of the summer.  I assure you, though, this is no summer fling.  This will be a long-lasting relationship that consists to me turning to one of my favorite singers, Jeremy McKinnon, to fill my ears with joy as he leads the metalcore band from Ocala, Florida to the top of my most played list on my iPod.  The seamless mix of hardcore music & pop punk that is made evident in the songs made by A Day to Remember is beyond perfect for me.  They're the ideal band, a band that I am immensely grateful that I have become so acquainted with.

2 - Say Anything
Favorite Song - Skinny, Mean Man
Favorite Album - In Defense of the Genre
Max Bemis, lead singer of the indie rock band out of Los Angeles, California is my favorite singer not named Tom DeLonge.  Max captivates me with his style of singing and lyrics more than any other singer can dream of doing.  This is another band that made it damn near impossible to make a favorite song.  'Colorblind,' 'All My Friends,' 'Walk Through Hell,' 'Baseball, But Better,' 'I Want to Know Your Plans,' 'Belt,' 'Woe,' 'The Writhing South,' 'Alive with the Glory of Love,' 'The Futile,' 'Spidersong,' 'Every Man Has a Molly,' 'Admit It!!!,' 'Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too,' 'Little Girls,' 'It's a Metaphor, Fool,' 'No Soul,' 'That Is Why,' 'Surgically Removing the Tracking Device,' 'This Is Fucking Ecstasy,' 'The Church Channel,' 'Shiksa (Girlfriend),' 'Baby Girl, I'm a Blur,' 'People Like You Are Why People Like Me Exist,' 'Retarded in Love,' 'Died a Jew,' 'Sorry, Dudes. My Bad.,' 'In Defense of the Genre,' 'About Falling,' 'Spores,' 'We Killed It,' 'Hate Everyone,' 'Do Better,' 'Mara and Me,' 'Crush'd' & 'Death for My Birthday' all had legitimate claims to being my favorite song.  It's amazing, I almost certainly rattled off FAR TOO many songs there and lost anyone trying to follow along this write-up, but I can't help it.  I feel like all those amazing songs should get recognition for bringing me oh so much joy.  I saw Say Anything in concert several years ago and it will go down as one of my favorite concerts of all-time.  Max Bemis, one of my heroes in life, don't ever stop making music.

1 - Blink-182
Favorite Song - Stockholm Syndrome
Favorite Album - Blink-182
Was there any doubt?  I've referenced this pop punk band from Poway, California several times throughout this post and anyone that knows me, knows that Blink-182 has been my favorite band for the better part of a decade.  There isn't a band out there that captures my attention like Mark, Tom, & Travis do, whenever any snippet of news concerning them comes out, I go crazy and find out every little detail I can about it.  If someone were to ask me who my favorite singer is, I'd say Tom DeLonge.  If someone were to ask me who my favorite bassist was, I'd say Mark Hoppus.  I've someone were to ask me who my favorite drummer was, I'd say Travis Barker.  There's a reason they're my favorite band of all-time, folks.  I grew up listening to their early albums, 'Cheshire Cat' & 'Dude Ranch' thanks to my sister.  I progressively got more and more into the band and became acquainted with the fantastic album 'Enema of the State.'  I remember growing up and laughing hysterically at music videos for 'All the Small Things,' & 'What's My Age Again?'  Then, 'Take Off Your Pants & Jacket' was released and I was floored with an album I had never heard before.  One song I was laughing my ass off ('Mother's Day,' 'Happy Holidays, You Bastard,' 'Fuck a Dog') and then the next moment I was singing along to an emotionally charged song that I couldn't help but love and relate to ('Reckless Abandon,' 'Stay Together for the Kids,' 'Give Me One Good Reason')  While I love ALL of their songs, the music videos Blink-182 has produced over the years have been phenomenal.  Whether it be 'The Rock Show,' 'Feeling This,' 'I Miss You,' 'Down' or 'First Date' I can't get enough of the hilarious & beautiful antics of this trio.  Their self-titled album is their most mature & heartfelt album they've released to date.  I was in love with it in junior high and I still listen to it every day.  I wonder, if come September when Blink-182's new album comes out, 'Neighborhoods' if the self-titled album will remain on top.  Only time will tell, but I will say one thing, the fact that Blink-182 is back making music together makes me so ecstatic, I can't even put it into words.  It feels like my music fandom is complete again.

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