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03.10.18 R.I.P. Luke10.31.17 5 Album Music Taste Summary
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03.15.17 Fuck Illinois03.01.17 D-D-D-Digs
02.14.17 Valentines Day Blues01.29.17 Lesser Known Emo Shiznit
01.13.17 A Very Late, Half Assed* Sputiversary01.11.17 Albums That Need a Press to Vinyl
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A Very Late, Half Assed* Sputiversary

So, back in late December, I decided that I was going to make a huge list. I was going to post my top 50 albums of all time along with my top 50 albums of 2016, all with summaries of at least a few sentences. It seemed appropriate since my anniversary is on New Years Day. Basically, I got overwhelmed and got nowhere near completing such an undertaking. I had no idea the time dedication it was going to require and the thought I was going to have to put into it. I decided to quit on it because fuck that noise. I got real tired, real fast of describing shit that I was horrible at describing. But I'm not going to let the hours that I did put in go to waste. So fuck it. Here it is, two weeks late, incomplete, and overall lackluster. I was at 37, but I wanted to hit that nice round 50. 2,025 comments, 855 ratings, 67 lists, 49 soundoffs, 8 news articles, and 1 review later, here we are. Here's 50 of my favorite albums of all time, kind of in order and probably missing a few essentials I forgot. *half assed in that I only did half of what I was planning
1Elliott Smith

Not too much of a surprise considering my name. These days, there are definitely albums that I listen to more frequently than this probably even like more than this. But this album was the first album that I ever truly fell in love with, and it will always be my very favorite. I've always been drawn to "sad" music and Either/Or strikes me in all the right ways.
The Mantle

I had barely dipped my toes in the waters of black metal when I had first listened to this. I immediately felt a strong connection to it. The perfect mix of beautiful and harsh, this is the only album to actually make me tear up out of awe of the pure beauty of the music itself. The atmosphere lends itself to a cold winter afternoon, a chill spring rain, or a gloomy fall day.
3Eyedea and Abilities
By the Throat

I don't listen to hip-hop. I've never really gravitated towards it. I like a fair amount of the accessible stuff. Even so, I don't often return to it. This album is the exception. My friend could never talk enough about this, so I decided to give it a listen. So began the longest album binges I've had to date. I listened to it multiple times a day for days on end. The easily digestible length paired with the less so digestible lyrics made it an interesting listen. From the emotional gut punch of songs like "Burn Fetish", to the uplifting "Smile", to the segue into the somber title track, there isn't a moment on this album that I don't like.
4Brand New
Deja Entendu

My first foray into Brand New was when my girlfriend at the time showed me the song "Guernica". I loved the punchy alternative, bordering on post-hardcore, sound. I binged on that song for some time before listening to anything else. I decided later to give a full album a listen. I went with Deja Entendu. From the opening hushed lines of "Tautou", I knew this album was going to be something special. The subtly somber and saturnine tones really struck a chord with me. The depressing nature of the album isn't immediately apparent and that's why it’s so good.
5Brand New
The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me

It took me awhile to come around to what is considered Brand New's magnum opus. I gave it a brief, very light listen and wrote it off. It took me months to return to it. I gave it another, more involved listen and enjoyed it quite a bit more. It wasn't until a very rough break up that the album took on that magnum opus significance to me. Jesse's delivery on this is what makes it so good to me. From most other bands, the lyrics on here would likely lead to a bit of eye rolling, but coming from Jesse Lacey, it feels right.
6I Hate Myself
10 Songs

Screamo is easily one of my favorite genres. I'm not sure what draws me to it. This is what started my love for it. One of the more accessible screamo albums, it doesn't stick solely to it, branching more into straight emo at times. While not the most accomplished screamo album on a few fronts, it was my first and will always be my favorite. Songs like "This Isn't the Tenka-Ichi-Budokai" and "Conversations with Dr. Suessicide" are scremao classics in my book.
7maudlin of the Well

The first time I listened to this was an experience I will never forget. I had no knowledge of this album. All I knew is that it was supposed to be good. Nothing about the genre, anything. You can imagine my surprise when the the first track transitioned into the second. I was absolutely blown away. At the time, I heard absolutely nothing like it. I was so taken aback, I listened to it a second time as soon as it was done. Not an amazing feat for me now, but at the time, I hadn't done that before. The variation and experimentation across this is just something else.
The Sound of Perseverance

I can hear it now: All the Death fans crying out in unison "Heresy!" I realize that to many a "trve" Death fan, this is in the lower echelon of their discography. It's over produced, overly technical, and just not Death. But this album, as many on here, hold a special place in my heart, regardless of its objective quality. This was not only my first Death album, but my first death metal album in general. I was in English class Freshman year and I was listening to some metalcore band (Bullet for My Valentine, if memory serves. I still retain that their early albums are decent) and some kid next to me asked if I was listening to death metal. I had gotten this before and I wanted to be able to say yes. Silly reason for checking out death metal, I know. So I went to the first death metal artist I could think of and clicked on the first album listed. The rest is history.
9Pink Floyd
Wish You Were Here

I grew up around Pink Floyd. My dad would play their music all the time. Whether it was on guitar or through his car speakers, they were around me. This album especially. As time passed and my dad started to listen to other things, I sort of forgot about them. When I was starting to explore music further on my own, I came across this CD. I listened to it with a newfound appreciation and it still remains one of my favorite pieces of music.
10Death Cab for Cutie

I remember after going into a PHP program, I would go to my mom's work afterwards for a few hours, waiting for her to get off to drive me home. It was a pretty ditto place; they had some sick arcade games that I would play for the majority of the time. When the sun started to go down, I would always put this on, relax in some comfy chairs, slowly drifting off, watching the sunset. Good times.
11Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven

Upon first listen, I did not like this. Like at all. I found it to be overly long, boring, and drawn out. I still don’t know what I was thinking. It wasn't until my 5th or so listen that it finally clicked with me. I was on a flight back from Florida when I finally saw the majesty of this album. The soaring instrumentals paired with the intriguing ambiance is just perfect.
12Godspeed You! Black Emperor
F♯ A♯ ∞

This album really helped me get into Godspeed. With LYSF not clicking, I decided to try a different album from them. The darker tone on here melded with my current musical interests far better than LYSF did. It really does feel like the soundtrack to the end of the world. That opening narration is still chill inducing to me to this day.
13Carissa's Wierd
Songs About Leaving

Sadness incarnate. I had no trouble at all getting into this one. From the opening harmony on "You Should Be Hated Here", I was head over heels.With some of the most melodramatic lyrics of all time, delivery is everything, and they nail it. Absolutely crushing, and not the riffing kind.
Jane Doe

RAH, indeed. I remember sitting in study hall Freshman year, wondering what all the hubbub about this supposed masterpiece was. At this point, I was in my metalcore and deathcore phase. Luckily, that was a relatively short phase, assisted by this. I was confused and disturbed that this was a thing. Like, what are those vocals? I was so intrigued that I kept listening and it quickly shifted into place.
15Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate)
What It Takes to Move Forward

I've never been the biggest fan of emo revival. It's either too post-rock or too pop-punk for me. But there is the occasional gems. Everything about this is perfect to me. It has a balance of longer tracks and shorter ones, loud and soft, fast and slow. The vocals were the only thing that took a little while to get into.
16The Shins
Oh, Inverted World

If I listened to this album for the first time today, I'd probably give it somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4. It's indie music done to a T, but with not many new ideas. The reason why it's so high on my list is because of when and how much I listened to it. Early in my musical development, I heard the song "New Slang" and listened to it probably more than any song I've ever listened to. I decided to check out the full album and that became my musical obsession for quite awhile. The pleasant melodies and whimsical lyrics make it a laid back listening experience. It's one of the few albums I really enjoy that I can play around my family without them asking "Why is this so loud/sad/angry/weird?"

I'm not quite sure how I heard this one. I may have saw it on some music thread somewhere, or stumbled across it when searching for it somewhere else. Regardless, I'm so glad I did. One of the most unique emo albums I'm heard. Combining elements of post-punk, math rock, with some fun synths, it's totally all over the place. The lyrics are, in my opinion, one of the main strengths of the album. It deals with suicide, failure, abandonment, rape, school shootings, it’s intense. With lines like “I don’t hate this world one bit, I just hate being in it” being nearly indecipherably screamed, it’s some shit. I emailed the guy behind the project on a whim fanboying, and he actually emailed me back and we talked pretty consistently for a couple weeks before he went dark. We talked about our favorite bands and all that. It was super cool. Just another reason why this is so special to me.
18The Pax Cecilia
Blessed Are The Bonds

I've always loved this album from first listen, but it only pretty recently crossed into 5 territory. This album takes screamo to a whole new level. Think Gospel meets Kayo Dot. It's got post-metal, post-rock, progressive metal, and screamo. If the first song doesn't blow you away and you enjoy any form of heavy-ish music, I'm not sure what's wrong with you.
19The Fall of Troy

One of the very few albums where I love every song on here. Sure, it can sound a bit samey at times, but that's one of the reasons I like it; it's consistency. Thom's wackass guitar playing, surprisingly enjoyable cleans, ripping vocals, every part of it.

First time I listened to this was on a foggy, cool, rainy day in the park. I was sitting under the play equipment, trying to get out of the light drizzle the best I could. It was a perfect first exposure. Under the right circumstances, this album has an absolutely insurmountable atmosphere. I don't listen to this all that often for that reason. The stars kind of have to align for me to feel in the mood for it, but man, when I'm in the mood, it's flawless.
21Kayo Dot
Choirs of the Eye

After obsessing over maudlin of the Well, I wanted more. Cue Kayo Dot. I was expecting a clone of motW since CotE had all the same members from motW and was supposedly the 4th motW album. Obviously not. I was slightly turned off from it for a little because it wasn't the maudlin clone I was looking for, but I came to love it after realizing that it was indeed just as masterful as anything that maudlin put out. Different doesn't mean bad. Just different.
22Queens of the Stone Age
Songs for the Deaf

For awhile, I looked at these guys as just another alternative rock band that came from the late 90's. I knew a guy who was into some really interesting stuff who just were head over heels for these guys, so I decided to check 'em out. I started with this. I have such a distinct memory of listening to this when I was playing World of Warcraft. I was running Firelands and the wild atmosphere of the album worked with the flaming environment so well for some reason and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since. Although, it is declining slightly lately though. Go With the Flow will never fail to get me pumped as F U C K. I cannot physically play that song at a reasonable volume.
Brother, Sister

This is one of the few cases where my first impression of a band isn't my favorite. My girlfriend at the time was going to a show to see a few bands and mewithoutYou were on of them. She didn't know them and neither did I, so I checked 'em out. I started with Ten Stories because it was their newest record at the time. I immediately knew I liked them, so I checked them out further. I listened to Brother, Sister next and I was blown away. The lyrics were on another level, the intensity was greater, and was just overall more enjoyable than Ten Stories. Ten Stories still holds a special place in my heart.
24Eyedea and Abilities
First Born

I listened to this several months before I listened to anything else from Eyedea and Abilities. As previously stated, I'm not the biggest into hip-hop and this was one of the first hip-hop albums I listened to. The philosophical and psychological themes blew me away. It also has a fair amount of more personal songs, so it doesn't feel like some neckbeard contemplative album. I don't know what it is about Eyedea, they just suit me ear so well. This was the first and only album that I 5'd on first listen. I brought it down because that seemed a bit preemptive, but I eventually bumped it back up. Funny how that worked out. Trust your instincts, I guess.
25The Brave Little Abacus
Just Got Back from the Discomfort

(Fuck, it's getting tough to try to have any sort of order now) There was a time when my mp3 player was fucked up and I couple only listen to a few albums (it's actually back into that state woooo) and this was one of them. I liked this quite a bit before I was stuck with it, but the forced frequent listens really put it on another level. It’s incredibly unique, passionate, and sincere in a way that nearly no album can pull off.
26Circle Takes the Square
As the Roots Undo

(Yeah, these are pretty much on all relatively the same playing field at this point) A - if not THE - screamo classic. The spastic guitar, dynamic vocals, loud-soft alternation, the intense music, and complex lyrics, it's all perfect. Don't have any sort of story to go along with this. It just slays.
We Are the Romans

Top 5 metalcore classic, easy. Released in the same year as Calculating Infinity, this album helped inspire the sub genre of mathcore. It was also responsible for inspiring many metalcore bands to come in the 21st century. This was a major landmark in the genre of metalcore due to its innovation with technicality. Goes so hard.

Ashes Against the Grain

It took me a long ass time to finally check something from Agalloch that wasn't The Mantle. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had a far more metallic edge. Taking from post-metal almost as much as black metal, making a chilly and unique blackened post-metal that is often mimicked, but never duplicated. Agalloch has this special something that makes them them.
29Funeral Diner
The Underdark

Let’s get some more screamo on here. This is an absolute screamo essential. For some reason, though, it took me a little while to get into. I’m not sure what it was, but only just moderately recently did it click. It truly is one of the darkest, most brooding screamo records I’ve heard.
30City of Caterpillar
City of Caterpillar

Here’s another screamo record that took awhile to click for me, but this one I know why. I first listened to this very early on in my musical development and I was pretty turned off by the whole long building thing and I wanted immediacy in my music at that time. I revisited City of Caterpillar with more experience and I saw the intensity in the building crescendos and subtler parts of the music. Now I’m seeing them in about a week and I couldn’t be more excited.
31Electric Wizard

I can remember when I first got into this album and doom metal as a genre, I wanted to show my only friend who was into “metal” at the time. I showed him “Funeralopolis”. He asked me “Does it just keep going like this?” and I said “Yeah, isn’t it great?” He was less than enthused. This is one of the most vile, disgusting, hateful albums out there and that’s why I like it so much.
32Brand New
Your Favorite Weapon

Many a Brand New fan would’ve had Daisy here, but not I. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Daisy. Not sure why. YFW on the other hand is a pop-punk masterpiece. Every song on here is punchy, catchy, memorable, and distinct from one another. Nearly every song here has at least one lyric that I can’t help but shout along to. While I’m glad they moved away from this sound and matured as a group, I wish they played more song from this when they play live. I really do love every song on here.
All We Love We Leave Behind

Converge’s most “accessible” album is an unexpected necessity to their discography. They start to come out of their skin and show they have more ideas than RAH. They’re not going soft on us either. There’s still plenty of songs to kick your ass. It was a perfect progression from Axe to Fall.
Axe to Fall

Speaking of Axe to Fall, here it is. I really wish I started with this album when getting into Converge. While as I said before, I believe AWLWLB is Converge’s most “accessible” album, this is a perfect midpoint between more accessible and unrelenting intensity that Converge is known for. Instead I started with Jane Doe and it took me longer to like Converge than I think it would have if I had started with Axe to Fall. Another album where I really enjoy every song on here.
Petitioning the Empty Sky

How Converge went from Halo in a Haystack to this in two years baffles me. This album marked the beginning of something special in the metal and hardcore genre: The start of the Converge we know today. One of the best early examples of hardcore taking strong and immediate influence from extreme metal. An essential in the metalcore genre.

They haven’t gotten too melodic or technical, but elements of both are definitely present; Chuck hasn’t changed his voice, but you can hear that it’s starting to; Death has had many a line up, but this is possibly the best. This is Death at their best. The first in their “Big 4” series, they’ve started to show they have a real knack for a little experimentation, like “Cosmic Sea”. This is the perfect medium of Death.
37Jimmy Eat World
Static Prevails

Many a Jimmy Eat World fan may be questioning the placement of this album due to its low average rating. But I tell you that average is a farce and a lie. This album should be considered a 90’s emo classic, but for some godforsaken reason, it’s not. The dichotomy between Tom and Jim is so interesting and adds another layer to their music that isn’t present on later albums. The hard hitting sound on here has never been found on another JEW album. There are hints of it in Clarity, which brings me to my next entry.
38Jimmy Eat World

This was my first Jimmy Eat World album and what an album. What is arguably their magnum opus, it has all their best elements. Their catchier side that came in later in their career, their harder, emo side from earlier, which comes to make an album like no other they’ve produced. It is the perfect medium of all their sounds and an emo classic. God, I hate the fact that The Middle put me off these guys for so long. Oh well.
39Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains
Love Songs For The Apocalypse

No electric guitar, no drums, and a trumpet and harmonica make frequent appearances. Despite all this, this is by far one of the most punk records I’ve ever heard. It’s angsty, passionate, personal, and a ton of fun to listen to. As Johnny Hobo and crew shout about drugs, sex (sort of (see D.I.Y. Orgasms)), and all other sorts of absurdities, you can’t help but feel slightly drawn towards the lifestyle. But the album also acts as a sort of warning that this is not the ideal life. It gives you a taste and a tease, but also forewarns you of its dangers.
The Moon Is a Dead World

I have no idea why this took so long to sink in with me. It sounds right up my alley; It’s dark, progressive, post-hardcore with a nice dash of screamo put in for safe measure. It should be a slam dunk on first listen. But it wasn’t. Nor on the second, third, or even fourth. It took some time for me to really see it as the absolutely brilliant album it is. It’s spastic, but contained. The fact that it’s their stand alone album actually adds to the overall appeal. It feels like it was a perfect storm of events, a mysterious glimpse of sorts. As mandated by site policy I also have to mention that fucking drumming. Fuck.
None So Vile

I didn’t get this behemoth at first. I feel most people didn’t, though. I still don’t completely comprehend it. In my mind, NSV ear Cryptopsy was the perfect death metal band. Lord Worm is possibly the greatest metal vocalist to walk the Earth. His lows are absolutely unrivaled and terrifying. Flo Mounier is a fucking inhuman, I’m convinced of it. Eric Langolis is absolutely filthy behind a bass. Jon Lavasseur found a perfect balance between wank and technicality, and brutal and boring, which can be a delicate line to walk. Not to mention that fucking produciton. The bass is audible, but never outshines the guitar. It’s all pretty much fucking perfect. Despite its relatively short runtime, it’s dense as hell and you may hear something new every time for a long time. If you’re a metal musician, whether a vocalist, bassist, or drummer, any one of these fantastic musicians could very well be your hero.
42Cap'n Jazz
Shmap'n Shmazz

The amount of bands that this single one has spawned is unbelievable. It was a messy start for these guys, but I love it nonetheless. It was passionate, spastic, and totally one of a kind. The original title, Burritos, Inspiration Point, Fork Balloon Sports, Cards in the Spokes, Automatic Biographies, Kites, Kung Fu, Trophies, Banana Peels We've Slipped On and Egg Shells We've Tippy Toed Over, is a title of throw back youth during the 80’s, which creates a further sense of juvenility. Emo music at the time was far more post-hardcore and hardcore influenced, but this took a more punk, with hints of pop-punk, approach. This album was revolutionary in genre, despite its glaring flaws. With time, those flaws became some of my favorite things about this.
43Have a Nice Life

This is heavy. Not heavy like sludge or death metal. Heavy like you want to sink so deep into your bed, that it completely consumes you and all that’s left is darkness. Overdramatic? Most definitely. Accurate? Completely. Combing everything from post-punk, dark ambient, industrial, to even black metal, this album weighs on the soul in a way that is both subtle and intense. (I’m seriously running out of things to say about all this shit).
44The North Atlantic
Wires In The Walls

Chances are, you’ve never heard of these guys. They only released one record that went completely unnoticed. What a true shame. A unique album that blends post-punk, indie rock, noise rock, and post-hardcore; it’s fierce, but restrained, and overall creative. Will never be able to recommend this enough. If I do one significant thing before I die, it’s getting this album the attention it deserves.
45The Dillinger Escape Plan
Calculating Infinity

The only full length with vocalist Dimitri and it’s Dillinger at their most bombastic. The guitar work on this record is bordering on wankery, but only just that. Every part of this record is absolutely unhinged and feral. Guitar that’s all over the place, drumming that’s nearly impossible to keep up, and of course Dimitri’s visceral vocals. A metalcore/mathcore classic.
46Neutral Milk Hotel
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

One of my first loves in the music world, as it was for many a sputter. It’s funny thinking back on this album and remembering how weird I thought this was. Now, it’s pretty tame by comparison the some of the weirder stuff I listen to now. Nonetheless, I still adore it. This was the first record that I bought (A poor copy of CCR’s Cosmo’s Factory bought at an antique shop for $3 notwithstanding). With bouncy songs like “Holland, 1945” and slow building epics like “Oh Comely”, it’s an offbeat, ride of an album that will always remain in my rotation (Man, the quality of these descriptions were never great, but it’s really becoming repetitive).
The Power of Failing

I couldn’t call myself a fan of emo if I didn’t have this on here. An absolute emo classic. One of the first bands to really refine the sound and create several of the staples of the emo genre. The climax of “Parking Lot” never fails to give me chills. Everything here is incredibly tight; the lyrics, vocals, melodies, it’s just about one of the most flawless emo albums out there.
48Sunny Day Real Estate

An equally classic, if not THE classic, emo album. Emo was on it’s way for nearly a decade after Rites of Spring’s End on End, but emo didn’t really get a solid foothold sound-wise until this album. I thoroughly enjoyed this album for quite some time, but it didn’t really become one of my absolute favorites until I got it on vinyl. It came with a booklet chronicling the inception and disintegration of the band, told by members of the band. It shone a new light on the album and realized just how much of a perfect storm this album was. It really was a meant to be sort of thing.
49The Antlers

Not much that I can say about this that hasn’t already been said for years, as is with many of these albums. I don’t listen to this very often anymore because it takes real dedication to listen to this. It’s not an easy or comfortable listen. It’s about as emotionally involved as it gets with a heart ripping narrative and emotional strain abound. Peter’s falsetto is so powerful. I’m not that moved by sad music. I usually find it to be peaceful and comforting. But this is the exception.
50Emma Ruth Rundle
Marked For Death

This album was going to be my transition into my top 50 albums of 2016 because it is definitively my AOTY and I also feels it cracks my top 50, but alas, it will sit alone. I don’t know what it is about this album that keeps me coming back. It was the only album from 2016 that revisited regularly. The post-metal metal influence in combination with the dark folk elements is just haunting. Every song on here is just amazing to me.
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