Here’s the second half of my 20 favourite albums to date, following directly on from yesterdays post, seen below.
10) Frank Turner – Love, Ire and Song (2008)
Over the past few years, Frank Turner has become my go-to singer-songwriter, and ‘Love, Ire and Song’ is an honest and emotional listen that displays everything we’ve come to know and love about Frank. It’s exceptionally well written, dealing with a variety of topics from growing old (Photosynthesis), love (Substitute), and the loss of a close friend (Long Live The Queen). It’s a great album, and my favourite that Frank Turner has released. His ability to tell a story via a song is unrivaled in the solo scene, and he possesses a natural ability to write songs that are catchy and heartfelt.
Favourite track – ‘To Take You Home’
9) The Dillinger Escape Plan – Ire Works (2007)
In ‘Ire Works’ The Dillinger Escape Plan wrote an album that baffles and amazes. To most people it would probably sound like an absolute mess, and to me it kind of does, but it’s a mess that has captured me again and again – it’s bizarre and brilliant, and my favourite Dillinger album. It’s hectic and crazy, but is a brilliant 40 minutes as a result. It’s an album that most people overlook as a result of its sound, but is also what makes it such a great album. Dillinger are an acquired taste as a result of their manic sound, but this sound makes ‘Ire Works’ a truly exhilarating experience.
Favourite track – ‘Milk Lizard’
8) Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)
Hands down, ‘WPSIATWIN’ is one of the greatest British albums ever released, and will be for a very long time. It’s a perfect portrait of British life, with exceptional storytelling and the songs required to make it a classic. It was a revolution upon release, making Arctic Monkey’s icons, and is currently the UK’s fastest selling debut album and tops many lists as the best British album to have been released this century, for good reason. ‘WPSIATWIN’ is an album I’ll get bored of listening to.
Favourite track – ‘Fake Tales of San Francisco’
7) Death Cab For Cutie – Plans (2005)
Benjamin Gibbard is one of my favourite songwriters and he excels both vocally and lyrically on ‘Plans’. It’s an album that I listen to regularly, if only to drift off for a while, because ultimately that’s what ‘Plans’ does best. It’s a graceful album that never soars or lulls but relies on expertly crafted songs to transport listeners. This album has seen me through monotonous car journey after monotonous car journey and is perfect for killing time or simply relaxing. It’s an absorbing listen, which needs to be heard regularly and often to be put to best use. Not many bands can write songs as well as ‘Death Cab For Cutie’ can, and ‘Plans’ is a perfect example as to why, being very tough to beat.
Favourite track – ‘What Sarah Said’
6) Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (2008)
This indie-folk album holds a special place in my memory, and is an essential listen during snowfall in Winter. I remember the first time I heard it perfectly, five years ago, on a snowy day in December, walking through the woods near my house. It was an album that suited the scene incredibly well, and is cemented in my memory as a result. Justin Vernon created a magical album in a sense, in that it has the ability to detract from everything surrounding it. Recorded in a cabin with nothing but loneliness and his ability Vernon transfers his emotions onto record perfectly to create an album about love and loss which is completely unique. It’s a testament to how good music of this type can actually be, and I’ve heard nothing like it since that snowy day in 2008.
Favourite track – ‘For Emma’
5) Brand New – Deja Entendu (2003) / The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me (2006)
This one was like the musical equivalent of Sophie’s choice. Choosing between ‘Deja’ and ‘TDAG’ is something I’ve never been able to do, because both are exceptional albums. It’s more a matter of how I feel on the day. Today I was swaying towards ‘TDAG’ but to list one as better than the other shouldn’t be done. Both showcase Brand New’s ability to write brutally honest and passionate songs, with clever lyrics and excellent instrumentation (particularly on TDAGARIM). Jesse Lacey is both one of my favourite lyricists and vocalists, and his work on both of the aforementioned albums is stellar. It’s difficult to summarise in words how strongly I feel about Brand New, so I won’t bother, but these two albums are as close to perfect as an album can be, from a musical perspective.
Favourite tracks – ‘Play Crack The Sky’ / ‘Sowing Season’
4) Taking Back Sunday – Tell All Your Friends (2002)
‘Louder Now’ was the album that introduced me to Taking Back Sunday but ‘Tell All Your Friends’ was the album that made me love Taking Back Sunday. It isn’t the most complex album on this list, neither is it the most well made, but for me it excels because it knows these things, and relies on raw passion and emotion, as well as a sharp tongue to make an impact on the listener. It’s a massive achievement, and what ultimately gives ‘Tell All Your Friends’ it’s sense of longevity. The dual vocals are pulled off perfectly, often back and forth, and overall the tone of the music ultimately reflects the passion and emotion poured into it. As far as emo / rock albums go, ‘Tell All Your Friends’ is one of the best of the 2000’s.
Favourite track – ‘You’re So Last Summer’
3) Genghis Tron – Board Up The House (2008)
Nothing gets me more excited for an album than the opening minute of ‘Board Up The House’. What follows this initial minute are 42 more minutes of madness. Similarly to ‘Ire Works’, BUTH is a manic and crazy album, but is more structured than the Dillinger effort and ultimately better. It’s a tidal rush of electronic-metal hybrid music that is definitely an experience. It’s unique and mesmerizing, and it’s a shame the album was followed by an indefinite hiatus by its producers. Simply put, Genghis Tron are unlike any other band I’ve ever heard, and ‘Board Up The House’ melts your brain in the best kind of way – phenomenal.
Favourite track – ‘Board Up The House’
2) The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past (2012)
The most recent album to feature is The Menzingers 3rd effort, an album that I’ve rarely stopped listening to since its release last year, for good reason, because it’s fantastic. It’s a very American record, packed full of nostalgia, passion, and pure spirit, which drips from every note played and every lyric sung. I’ve never connected with an album as instantly as I did with ‘OTIP’ purely because no album I’ve heard is as absorbing as this one. It’s a masterpiece in every sense of the word that sounds like it could have been released at any point over the last 30 years and be met with the same critical acclaim. It’s a timeless record, and will still be one of my favourite albums on 30 years. Punk-rock albums / albums in general don’t come any better than this, because ‘On The Impossible Past’ is a triumph.
Favourite track – ‘Casey’
1) The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound (2008)
Back in 2008 when this album dropped, I used to walk home from school every day along the same route, for 40 minutes besides a canal, and every day for around three months ‘The ’59 Sound’ by The Gaslight Anthem was the sound track to all of these journeys. I literally didn’t listen to anything else, because there didn’t seem any need to. I’d found an album that I could listen to every second of every day and not tire of it, and albums of that quality come around very rarely. It’s been around a month since I listened to ‘The ’59 Sound’ in it’s entirety so I did so today, walking home from work along that same canal, and I fell in love with this album all over again, because every lyric and note is engraved in my mind, and each relates back to a different day and a different feeling I felt when listening to this album on all those walks home. It’s an album that, for me, is brimming with nostalgia and good memories. Brian Fallon tells stories via his music in a way that few can and the music speaks for itself in terms of excellence. It’s poignant, passionate, clever, and just generally brilliant. It’s a work of art; a modern masterpiece. Each of these factors have turned ‘The ’59 Sound’ into an album that I will always hold in the highest regard, because that’s how I see those 41 minutes and 32 seconds. I can listen to it regardless of my mind-set and instantly be transported, and impacted by what I’m listening to. It seems like an odd thing to say about music, but that’s just how highly I value this album. From the opening crackle of a record player on ‘Great Expectations’ to the final chord dying out on ‘The Backseat’ nothing else matters to me except what I’m listening to, which is why I love this album more than any other I will probably ever hear.
Favourite track – ‘The Patient Ferris Wheel’