Monday, September 24, 2012

Top 40 Albums (30-21)

I kick-started this series late last night, so if you're wondering where the first batch of albums are, click here. Got myself an afternoon and evening off with no work so I'm really thrilled to sit here watching football highlights, while writing this and listening to some of these great albums I'm raving about.  I'm not much for introductions, you all know what you're about to read about, so let's get right into it.

30 - Everything in Transit - Jack's Mannequin (2005)
Favorite Song - Holiday from Real
Jack's Mannequin's lead singer, Andrew McMahon is undoubtedly the most inspirational person I know of.  Towards the end of making this superb album, the vocalist for Jack's Mannequin was diagnosed with cancer and had to go through immediate chemotherapy. He wasn't allowed to tour and promote the new album, he had to sit in a hospital and fight for his life. The album was delayed, however, at the wishes of the label and still managed to do well. It was the debut album of Jack's Mannequin, which became the new project of Andrew McMahon after constant touring with Something Coporate. This album tells the story of him being reacquainted with California. The album is basically Andrew McMahon, plain and simple. It was partially produced by him, he obviously performs every song and wrote all of the lyrics. I adore it. Holiday from Real, The Mixed Tape, Bruised, I'm Ready, Dark Blue, and Kill the Messenger are truly fantastic and keeps my playing this album on repeat quite often.

29 - Your Favorite Weapon - Brand New (2001)
Favorite Song - Seventy Times 7
So, yeah, this album has been around for over a decade.  Up until this past summer, I had never listened to it.  My bad.  Better late than never, I suppose.  I had known about Jude Law and a Semester Abroad for years now and I LOVE that song, but I never took the time to delve deeper into the world of Brand New and Your Favorite Weapon.  Luckily, I put an end to that and this album hit me hard.  Such spectacular lyrics, some of the best I have heard on any album, mixed in with the performance execution of the band itself.  A perfect mix for me.  Seventy Times 7 really struck a chord with me and made it to the very prestigious pinnacle of being my phone's ringtone for text messages.  Soco Amaretto Lime is a beautiful acoustic song that I can't get enough of and Last Chance to Lose Your Keys is one of those perfect "Fuck you" songs that are littered throughout the album.

28 - Meteora - Linkin Park (2003)
Favorite Song - Faint
I remember when our class took a trip to Springfield, Illinois way the heck back when I was in junior high, we took a bus and most of us just slept on the way home.  I sat here in the dark listening to this album and it made the time fly by.  I must have listened to it twice, back to back and I could not get enough of it.  Nearly a decade later and I'm still praising this album.  I liked Hybrid Theory and the followup albums to Meteora were fine, but this is the peak of Linkin Park, if you ask me.  The singles are legitimately the superstars of this album with Faint, Somewhere I Belong, Numb, From the Inside, Lying from You, and Breaking the Habit.  That being said, don't sleep on some of the other tracks, especially Don't Stay, Hit the Floor, Easier to Run, and Nobody's Listening.  For what it's worth, Nobody's Listening was my favorite song back when this album was released.  I recall blasting this CD while I would sit on the computer every night and Don't Stay always had me belting out the lyrics along with Chester and Mike.

27 - The Used - The Used (2002)
Favorite Song - Buried Myself Alive
When I was cycling through all the albums I felt may have a chance of making this list on my iPod, I had to stop and take a real look at The Used.  Obviously, when I began composing this list, I went to my favorite bands and picked the albums I felt were their best.  The Used never struck me as a band that I should check out, but I wanted to be thorough and I realized just how spectacular this album is.  When I listen to The Used, I listen to these songs.  It's funny how so many of these albums on this list are debut albums, I guess I really like the initial sound of bands.  Buried Myself Alive is one of my favorite songs, period, not just The Used.  The Taste of Ink has always been a personal favorite of mine that I always sing along to and Poetic Tragedy, On My Own, and Blue and Yellow are the typical acoustic songs that I'm a sucker for.  Personal anecdote time?  Personal anecdote time.  Years ago, I went to New York with my mother and father and we took one of those bus tours of the city late at night, which was strikingly beautiful for the record.  I was sitting on the roof of the bus with my headphones on, lightly playing music and On My Own was playing as we drove across the Brooklyn Bridge.  The water glistening from the lights as we drove along the iconic bridge with the perfect song playing at the same time remains as one of my favorite memories of the trip and one of the more serene moments of my life.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I enjoy A Box Full of Sharp Objects.  That song had the coveted honor of being my Myspace song for quite a while back in the day.

26 - Camp - Childish Gambino (2011)
Favorite Song - Backpackers
Oh, look, another debut studio album for the list.  Go figure.  Excuse me, because I'm just now realizing how many debut albums are on this list and it's kinda interesting to me.  Anywho, this is a nice change of pace.  A rap album?  It won't be the last one on these lists.  Yep, that was a tease.  I was introduced to Childish Gambino this past summer and it usually takes a lot for a hip hop artist to earn the staying power needed with me to go out of my way to listen to them.  Gambino has certainly done that and more.  I rarely have a drive to and from work where I don't listen to at least one of his songs.  Backpackers was one of the first tracks I listened to of his and I was instantly hooked.  Heartbeat, L.E.S., Hold You Down, Kids (Keep Up), and That Power are songs that competed for the favorite on the album, but this whole CD, top to bottom, is great.

25 - Louder Now - Taking Back Sunday (2006)
Favorite Song - Twenty-Twenty Surgery
Back when I was a terrible high school student, I remember that my grades had dipped so low that my parents began forcing me to do mandatory two hour sessions of homework after dinner each night.  I was allowed to play music while I did so on the speakers, because oddly enough, music helps me concentrate on what I'm doing and this album was played constantly throughout those nights.  The mid-2000's were the heyday of my album buying habits.  I went out and bought CDs constantly and I definitely miss doing that.  Louder Now is the Taking Back Sunday album that really separates itself for me.  I love all of their albums, I really do, but this is where I turn to first if I have a Taking Back Sunday type of day.  This is an example of a CD where the core songs really managed to surpass the singles that made me take notice in the first place.  Of course, MakeDamnSure and Liar (It Takes One to Know One) are always going to be memorable to me, but songs like What's It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?, Up Against (Blackout), My Blue Heaven (a song that nearly got dubbed as my favorite on the album), Spin, Miami, and Error: Operator are what makes this album very special to me.

24 - Don't You Fake It - The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (2006)
Favorite Song - Your Guardian Angel
I picked up this album, simply because of two songs.  I liked buying CDs and if there was one or two songs that caught my attention, I didn't mind dropping some cash to hear the rest of them.  Face Down and Your Guardian Angel were smash hits in my world back when this album was released and that was more than enough for me.  Luckily, the rest of the album didn't disappoint for me either.  In Fate's Hands, Waiting, False Pretense, Damn Regret, and Atrophy are exactly how I want The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus to sound.  They're still tracks that I find myself playing often in my life and it brings back a lot of nostalgia as well.  The summer of 2007 was littered with songs being played from this album and that was an awesome summer for me.  I love when songs take me back to happy memories and I fully admit that it enhances this album for me.

23 - The Sufferer & the Witness - Rise Against (2006)
Favorite Song - Ready to Fall
This now marks three albums in a row that were released in 2006.  I guess that was a good year for music to me?  I played a TON of basketball out back on my hoop in the alley years ago and I always had to listen to music while I did so.  The Sufferer & the Witness got a whole lot of playtime during these basketball sessions as I would listen to the CD top to bottom as I tossed shots up.  Ready to Fall was the song that made me take notice early on and I remember getting it fairly quickly after the video debuted on Fuse.  I always liked getting an album when it was initially released and cycling through songs wondering which of them would be released as singles and given music videos.  I knew from the beginning that Prayer of the Refugee, a personal favorite of mine, would garner a video and it did.  Behind Closed Doors was another favorite of mine that Rise Against gave a video for and there's so many other songs that deserve recognition. Injection, Under the Knife, The Approaching Curve, Worth Dying For, Roadside, and Survive are all tracks that should be checked out.  I seem to remember Under the Knife being a personal favorite of mine during the basketball sessions.

22 - A Lesson in Romantics - Mayday Parade (2007)
Favorite Song - Jersey
Last night, I posted the first batch of albums and I teased that this album would be featured in the future.  Well, here we are 12 hours later and I deliver.  Pretty sneaky, sis.  I really don't even remember if I knew any songs by Mayday Parade before I bought this album.  I believe it was a word of mouth thing or simply me wanting to discover new music.  Whatever it was, I'm thrilled that I took a flyer on these guys.  I spent much of the 2nd half of summer in 2007 listening to this album and, like I already stated, the summer of 2007 (well, actually pretty much all of the 2nd half of 2007) was spectacular for me.  Black Cat, Jersey, Miserable at Best, Walk on Water or Drown, and I'd Hate to Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About are standout songs to me that could have been named the favorite on the album.  Miserable at Best remains as a sentimental favorite, but the prestigious former ringtone Jersey just edges it out.

21 - Swan Songs - Hollywood Undead (2008)
Favorite Song - This Love, This Hate
This truly was the swan song for Hollywood Undead.  All of their EPs and unreleased tracks before this were awesome and a hell of a lot of fun and this album was superb.  Anything after it has been pretty disappointing to me.  Maybe it has something to do with Deuce leaving the band or the change in sound, I don't know, but this is the album you can stop at with Hollywood Undead.  I was always a fan of Hollywood Undead's unreleased songs in the mid-2000's and had no idea a studio album was incoming.  Someone played Undead for me when it came out and I was floored.  I loved it and NEEDED to get the album A.S.A.P. I went out and nabbed it, gave it a listen and it exceeded expectations.  Everywhere I Go is flat-out hilarious and Sell Your Soul, No Other Place, No. 5, Young, Black Dahlia, This Love, This Hate, Bottle and a Gun, City, and California are Hollywood Undead at their finest.  All of the songs on this album are good and the band should go back and listen to them to remind themselves of what once made them great.

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