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|Albums of the Alphabet|
This one was tough. Every letter of the alphabet, one album per letter. These are albums that have influenced me, helped me, or inspired me at some point in my life. Some I've been listening to since middle school, some as early as last year. Some I don't listen to at all anymore, but meant a lot to me in the past. I tried to get a good variety of genres and time periods, and ultimately I had to snub a lot of big ones (which I will mention).
After the Party
"Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Everything is terrible!" was my anthem of 2017. This is one of those albums that dropped at just the right time. I had just started listening to The Menzingers when this was released, and it fit into my brain like a puzzle piece. As an adult, it's hard to get onboard with most pop punk bands I used to love, but these guys exemplify the natural progression into adulthood that most of those bands never seem to follow. This album helped me take the worst year of my life and say "hey, fuck it, everything sucks but let's have some fun while it all goes to shit."
Snubs: American Football, ...And Out Come the Wolves
For the longest time, this was the only album I knew that I could say was 100% perfect. Musically, it's a journey. Lyrically, it's a masterpiece. I'm still in awe every time I read the lyrics to this album. How some dude wrote them in a period of what - months? - is unreal to me. This album introduced me to mewithoutYou and it was unlike anything I had heard before. Consistently one of the most creative and captivating bands I can name.
Close to a World Below
Last year I finally got into death metal. I'd been meaning to for the longest time, but felt so out of the loop with most metal subgenres that it seemed kind of overwhelming. Lots of bands clicked pretty quickly with me, but Immolation is something else entirely. They have a pretty big discography, and there's not a single album that I don't love to death (lol). If there is a perfect death metal album, it's this one. Every song feels like one step further down in a descent towards the fiery depths. So yeah, the album art works pretty well you could say.
The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
Original, I know. But it's true. It's my favorite album of all time, but it took a LONG ass time to earn that accolade. When I discovered it, I thought it was overrated as hell. But as I made my way through college, each song gradually found it's place in my head in a way that made sense to me. Various life events continued (and still continue) to shed light onto themes that are explored throughout those 12 tracks. In all, the transition from "this is average" to "this is a goddamn masterpiece" took about four years.
|5||From Indian Lakes|
Everything Feels Better Now
Another album that dropped close to The Menzingers one that I marinated in for months. This one is special, and it's one of the few that I've reviewed here. It came out three years ago, and oh, they just dropped their new album's first single today so check it.
For Emma, Forever Ago
The quintessential indie-folk record. Most people have heard some version of the story where Vernon went through a bad breakup and cooped himself up in his dad's northern Wisconsin cabin for a whole winter and recorded this album. It might not be as dramatic as that, but that is certainly the sound and atmosphere embodied in this record. One of my favorites to listen to on vinyl, and perfect for road trips and quiet winter afternoons. Or...any season really.
|7||Creedence Clearwater Revival|
After moving out of the small redneck town I grew up in, I found myself straying from anything that fit into that "culture", if you will. The people, the music, etc. But like they say…you can't kick up the roots. In recent years I've grown a totally new appreciation for stuff like this. There's something really comforting and warm about this brand of old school swamp rock. Makes life feel simple. Not to mention timeless tracks like Bad Moon Rising, Sinister Purpose, Cotton Fields, and the title track.
Snub: The Glow Pt. 2 by The Microphones
Home, Like NoPlace Is There
What a devastating album. This one convinced me that the best music usually doesn't click at first. I spent the first couple months of its release gawking at how overrated it was. Not even sure what bothered me about it, but I straight up didn't like this album. It ended up being my AOTY in 2013. I can think of maybe three songs that have ever physically made me choke up, and like some weird kneejerk reaction, it happens 90% of the time I hear "...pictures of you smiling in times when I just couldn't be around" in Dendron. This album was instrumental in using my affinity for pop punk to push me into more emo territory.
I will always maintain that most people who make fun of Slipknot don't know this album. To date, one of the darkest, heaviest, and most miserable albums I've heard. As a massive horror buff, the atmosphere is mesmerizing. Especially on the closing title track; a 15-minute brooding ambience piece that feels like you're trapped in the mind of a killer. According to the stories, the vocal takes had Taylor throwing up in the studio during the making of that song. Everyone in the band was at rock-bottom with themselves and each other at this time, and it really shows.
Snub: Illmatic by Nas
A stark contrast from Iowa, Joyride is my favorite happy-go-lucky, cruising-with-the-windows-down summer album. It's light, refreshing, just cheesy enough, and never stale. God, give Transit back to us!!!
Snub: Joy as an Act of Resistance by IDLES
|11||Pianos Become the Teeth|
This is where Pianos lost a lot of fans, but picked me up in the process. These songs are cathartic and soothing, like stumbling upon a spring-fed stream snaking its way through a New England forest in late autumn. If I ever forced myself through the daunting task of making a Top 25 songs of all time list, Repine would sit comfortably there. This is one those albums that is often overlooked, but feels like it runs through my veins.
Snub: Kid A by Radiohead
A Love Supreme
Jazz has had a hold on me since I started playing saxophone at age 13, and I'm pretty sure this is the greatest jazz album of all time. Coltrane is the king. It's only about 30 minutes long, so I highly recommend it to any Love Supreme virgins out there.
Snub: Listen & Forgive by Transit
|13||The Color Morale|
My Devil In Your Eyes
One of those bands that doesn't have a place in my life anymore, but will always mean the world to me. Some of my favorite music memories ever are associated with this band; seeing them in a tiny church in an Indiana cornfield, talking to the band in a parking lot in the wee hours of the night, and even naming one of their songs - I could write an essay about the impact this band has had on me.
No Gods, No Managers
As a huge fan of ska, punk, and some hardcore, I felt that Choking Victim was a good representation of all three. One song here almost dips into death/doom metal territory. Basically this band just kicks ass and makes me wish I could have experienced this scene at its peak in the 90s.
The Chariot was a bit of an enigma. They were part of the metalcore scene, but they weren't really a metalcore band (and people actually liked them). The elements of noise and hardcore mixed with Scogin's frenetic screeching was hard to define and categorize. Their live show is the type of thing a lot of us crave to experience again, but thankfully the energy flows through a newer conduit called '68
To Pimp a Butterfly
Hands down my #1 hip hop album. I've had an on/off relationship with rap most of my life, but Kendrick reeled me back in for good. The length, weight, range, and cohesiveness of this record blows my mind every time. It's a dark and emotional journey that proficiently explores huge themes and combines elements of jazz and funk in all the right places. "I remember I was conflicted..."
The Queen Is Dead
A generic pick, sure, but it's timeless. While Morrissey can sometimes represent the worst of humanity, this album represents some of the best. "There Is A Light" is one of those songs that makes feel like everything is alright, and if it's not, then at least it will be someday.
Reign in Blood
I've known Slayer since middle school, but it wasn't until last year that I finally went full-on metalhead and sold my soul. I typically find the "top" albums in most genres to be overrated, but this one truly represents the best of thrash. The imagery, anger, and technical prowess are to die for. Seeing them live for the first time in April was a bucketlist item, and I was completely blown away.
Turnover gave me taste of what dream pop was like, but Slowdive's comeback album was my proper introduction to shoegaze - a genre that haddn't really worked for me up until this point. I debated using Souvlaki since its their magnum opus, but this one was my stepping stone (and is ALMOST just as good).
Snub: Sublime by...uhhh...I forget
They're Only Chasing Safety
Underoath was my first real show ever, and probably the first post-hardcore band I got into. Some of the songs on this album get me so nostalgic that it almost physically hurts. This is another one that I could write pages about in regards to their significance in my life.
|21||The Story So Far|
Under Soil and Dirt
What You Don't See is the album that got me into pop punk, but this was their debut and was largely responsible for reinvigorating a scene that was pretty stagnant for some time. Nothing pairs better than June 1st, pizza, Oberon, and TSSF. Fight me.
Vulgar Display of Power
One of my first exposures to metal, some tracks I had heard as early as 5th grade. In high school, I used this album to pump me up and get psyched to fight a bully who caused a shitload of problems for me (the fight never happened). This album jamz into eternity.
|23||Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties|
We Don't Have Each Other
I vehemently opposed anything resembling country for the longest time. And though I still would not call myself a "country fan", this album helped ease me into music with country and americana influences. I know it hasn't even been around all that long, but I think it has helped me grow a greater appreciation for a wide variety of artists such as The Gaslight Anthem, Johnny Cash, and Drive-By Truckers.
Snub: WORRY. by Jeff Rosenstock
Welp, this is literally the only thing I've rated that starts with an X….and it's not even a full length. But it still works, because I've been following Landon for about 10 years now and his ability to write just about any genre is impressive and influential to me. He found his roots in metalcore but focuses more on his solo stuff which ranges from R&B, hip hop, experimental, blues, rock, you name it. His new album came out this morning. Check it.
Citizen, like The Hotelier, was one of my earlier emo interests. My age is really showing, huh? They were one of those bands that started as generic pop punk, but then ventured into emo and even grunge. Their songwriting style is a good example of simple but EFFECTIVE. The pure emotion seeping out of Youth will stick with me long after I outgrow them.
Snub: You Won't Get What You Want by Daughters
My choices are limited with the final letter, so I'm going with an album that I haven't actually spun a whole ton. But what it represents is a larger collection of influential punk bands that paved the path for so many modern day classics. From The Clash, to Misfits, Rancid, and Jeff Rosenstock, this kind of angst and energy will never die. Punk spun-off so many other subgenres that it's just incredible to think about. Thanks for reading all this bullshit, happy Friday.
|Hope this is at least mildly interesting. I'll edit soon and add the snubs.|
|good list my dude|
|I would enjoy this list even more if it were all about me in a complimentary way.|
I pos’d nonetheless.
|that'll be my next list!|
|Cool idea, and great list.|
Especially hard agree on 11 (although I was a fan before and after the sound switch-up #brag).
|cheers!! that album is magical to me, I'll never understand how people can say it aint good|
|Surprised you didn't go with On The Impossible Past for "O". Solid list, though. Neat idea. |
|I almost did! But I wanted to keep it at one album per band, and ATP holds a little more significance to me, especially with the timing of the release|
|cool list but id never call joyride light or happy like instrumentally yes but its sad af|
|well, even then not all of the songs are sad. and honestly if a song is written in a major key, then I'll generally consider it a happy song. because you won't know its sad unless you're actually paying attention to the lyrics. like this is not an album I would ever listen to if I were in a sad mood, outside of loneliness burns|
|I am looking forward to the Greek Alphabet list.|
|Quality material here, though.|
|Sweet list, nicely done|
|Great list. Man, jamming 10 now and absolutely lovin it|
|Hell yeah! That album is like a nice big breath of fresh air |
|a unique idea and awesome list, lot of phenomenal albums here. also, i actually had the same experience with 8, and now "Dendron" is one of those songs that can make me have a solid cry damn near every time i listen to it, regardless of how i'm feeling lol|
|I'll give 10 a go too then. I could do with some of those vibes.|
|2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 13, 15, 20, 21(!) epics|
|Cheers Ian, yeah that feeling never goes away with that song haha. |
Trif, if 10 had come out this year then I would have rec’d it yesterday lol. Fun breezy album, but keep in mind that it can get a little cheesy! Love the shit out of it though.
|Haha, I already thought it couldn't have been from 2019 when reading the description! I'll add it to the list nonetheless, sounds promising and I'm from NL so the more cheese the better!|
|I feel like I should know what NL stands for|
|You should. It's The Netherlands.|
|Whoa only now noticed A Love Supreme being here. Superb pick for the L man! That album is ridiculous.|
Loving Wallows so far!
|Cool list, interesting read.|