I figured if I’m to take this blog seriously then it makes sense to give those who visit it a clear idea of the kind of music I’m into, and there’s no better way to do that than by listing my favourite albums. Initially this page listed twenty albums but I felt I’d left too many deserving albums out so I’ve expanded it to include 100 of my favourite albums, pre-2013. I should clarify that I don’t think these are the best 100 albums ever made but they’re my favourites which I’ve ranked in order of preference. 100-26 are part of a simple list, but I’ve written something about each of the top 25. There’s one album per artist so don’t be confused as to why some artists only feature once despite having other exceptional albums. Also, feel free to comment if you think I’ve overlooked something as I’m always open to discovering new music.
100) Against Me! – New Wave
99) Sigur Ros – Valtari
98) Green Day – Dookie
97) Rinoa – An Age Among Them
96) Lower Than Atlantis – Far Q
95) Senses Fail – Life Is Not A Waiting Room
94) Billy Talent – III
93) Suicide Silence – No Time To Bleed
92) Underoath – Lost In The Sound Of Separation
91) Being As An Ocean – Dear G-d
90) Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP
89) Touche Amore – Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me
88) Cute Is What We Aim For – The Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch
87) Black Lungs – Send Flowers
86) Fireworks – Gospel
85) Weezer – The Blue Album
84) This Will Destroy You – S/T
83) Dead Swans – Sleepwalkers
82) Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
81) Joyce Manor – S/T
80) Thursday – Full Collapse
79) Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport
78) Limp Bizkit – Chocolate Starfish And The Hotdog Flavoured Water
77) The Ergon Carousel – Dead Banks
76) The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
75) The Ghost Of A Thousand – New Hopes, New Demonstations
74) Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon
73) Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math
72) Have Heart – Songs To Scream At The Sun
71) Modern Baseball – Sports
70) MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
69) Cancer Bats – Hail Destroyer
68) The Postal Service – Give Up
67) Bloc Party – A Weekend In The City
66) toe. – The Book About My Idle Plot On A Vague Anxiety
65) Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
64) Converge – Axe To Fall
63) Vampire Weekend – S/T
62) Verse – Aggression
61) Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue
60) Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory
59) Yourcodenameis:Milo – They Came From The Sun
58) The King Blues – Save The World, Get The Girl
57) Placebo – Black Market Music
56) The Strokes – Is This It?
55) Glassjaw – Worship & Tribute
54) Million Dead – A Song To Ruin
53) Say Anything – …Is A Real Boy
52) Funeral For A Friend – Hours
51) Foals – Total Life Forever
50) Lostprophets – Start Something
49) Refused – The Shape Of Punk To Come
48) Rage Against The Machine – Battle Of Los Angeles
47) Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
46) Nirvana – Nevermind
45) The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free
44) Dashboard Confessional – A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar
43) Enter Shikari – Take To The Skies
42) The Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Californication
41) Alkaline Trio – From Here To Infirmary
40) Machine Head – The Blackening
39) Muse – Origin Of Symmetry
38) Gallows – Grey Britain
37) The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan
36) Alexisonfire – Crisis
35) My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade
34) Every Time I Die – New Junk Aesthetic
33) The Front Bottoms – S/T
32) letlive. – Fake History
31) Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
30) Foo Fighters -The Color And The Shape
29) System Of A Down – Toxicity
28) Finch – What It Is To Burn
27) Radiohead – OK Computer
26) Deftones – White Pony
25) American Football – S/T (1999) Probably one of the most relaxing albums I’ve ever heard. I know that I can listed to this landmark album and drift off. Gorgeous soundscapes and minimal vocals make for an album that serves little purpose other than to transport the listener. There’s a reason people value the bands debut and only full length so highly, and its because ‘American Football’ is sublime, and makes an impact on an audience in a way very few albums can.
24) Jamie T – Panic Prevention (2007) I miss Jamie T immensely. Hopefully he releases another album soon, becuase ‘Panic Prevention’ is easily my favourite ‘rap’ album, if you could call it that. Mixing elements of rock, indie and electronica Jamie T created a portrait of life as a British youth, whilst being whitty, charming and occassionally offensive in the process. His debut broke barriers in a similar way to Mike Skinners debut with The Streets. I just value ‘Panic Prevention’ more than ‘Original Pirate Material’.
23) Kings Of Leon – Because Of The Times (2007) For me, ‘Becuase Of The Times’ is the sound of America. I’ve never been able to pinpoint why, but when I visited the US in 2010 the album seemed to suit the journey incredibly well. I remember spending two days on a train between Denver and San Francisco and absorbing myself in ‘Because Of The Times’ whilst watching the country pass by. A lot of my memories are defined by music I listened to at the time, and Kings Of Leon’s third album is no different.
22) Circa Survive – Blue Sky Noise (2010) Anthony Green has a truly incredible voice that adds majesty to every bit of ‘Blue Sky Noise’ he contributes to. Pair his distinctive vocals with excellent soaring instrumentals and brilliant lyrics results in something special. I recently forked out and bought it on vinyl, and I’ve already played it more than most of the records I own.
21) Fucked Up – The Chemistry Of Common Life (2008) Fucked Up embody everything that punk music should be, and it shows on their second full length. This is easily one of my favourite punk albums, and I still think it’s criminally overlooked despite its numerous accolades and rave reviews. It’s punk music in its purest and best form, and I’ve yet to hear a gritty punk album that really beats it in terms of character and quality.
20) La Dispute – Somewhere At the Bottom of the River… (2008) Lyrically, La Dispute have always excelled and this ability is most apparent on ‘Somewhere At the Bottom of the River…’ in which La Dispute create an album that’s brutally honest, creative, and above all else is just good. It’s a very musically competent release, both instrumentally and vocally, and the way in which it makes you feel and think is truly unique.
19) Panic! At The Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (2005) Now 8 years old ‘AFYCSO’ was something different at the time it came out, unique in a sense that it was fast, catchy, and lyrically very strong, and is still an album I listen to regularly. I remember buying it for a fiver in HMV and losing myself in it for a good month.
18) Bring Me The Horizon – Suicide Season (2008) This was the album that properly introduced me to ‘heavy’ music. I remember seeing the video ‘The Comedown’ on Kerrang! and being well and truly freaked out, because the sound was very new to me at the time. I went out and bought the album because I was curious, and was a apprehensive. I’d have been 13 at the time, so listening to music that heavy would probably have been me acting out, as no-one else I knew was into music like that. Now I listen to metal on a daily basis, and I owe a lot of that to Bring Me’s 2nd full length.
17) New Found Glory – Sticks and Stones (2002) Probably one of the most essential pop-punk albums of all time ‘Sticks and Stones’ has defined a genre, and rightly so. It’s an album that has provided the soundtrack to plenty of sunny days since its release 11 years ago. It cemented NFG’s place as the centrepiece of pop-punk, and still puts me in a good mood to this day.
16) The Wonder Years – The Upsides (2010) Staying in the vein of pop-punk, ‘The Upsides’ is another personal favourite and essential release. It does everything an album of this type should, and does it very well. Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell delivers track after track, with great lyrics about growing up but not giving up, and friendship. ‘The Upsides’ is definitely one of my favourite albums to come out of this genre, and what every new release is compared to. It’s spinning in my record player right now, and has a lot since I bought it a few months back.
15) Blink-182 – Enema of the State (1999) As far as I’m concerned, ‘Enema of the State’ is Blink 182’s best album, and set a benchmark for all their future releases. It’s fast, clever and tongue in cheek, and encapsulates everything that’s good about Blink-182, and always will. Considering it came out 14 years ago and still beats the majority of punk albums that come out is a testament to how brilliant this album is, and I wish I’d found it sooner.
14) Biffy Clyro – Puzzle (2007) This was the first Biffy Clyro I listened to, and remains my favourite to date. It was one of the first alternative rock albums I really listened to, and I remember thinking it was ridiculously good at the time, which I still do 6 years later, after a few hundred playthroughs. Simon Neil’s ability to write captivating and well-crafted songs was at its best on ‘Puzzle’ and songs such as ‘Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies’ and ‘Semi-mental’ showcase this. As far as British rock albums go, I don’t expect to hear many better than ‘Puzzle’, and don’t expect Biffy to reach the highs they reached on this exceptional album again.
13) Slipknot – Iowa (2001) ‘Iowa’ changed the way I perceived music – it made me appreciate anger in music, and the way it can be utilised to deliver an experience that I initially found very weird. There’s no denying that Corey Taylor is one of the greatest frontmen in music and his involvement on this album is great, especially on standout tracks like ‘People=Shit’. ‘Iowa’ is ferocious and exhilarating as a result, and an essential metal album that will always be a hallmark of the genre.
12) Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American (2001) Released in the same year as ‘Iowa’, ‘Bleed American’ is a direct contrast, it’s warm and uplifting, and probably JEW’s best release. It’s openly known as one of the best albums to come out of the American punk rock scene, and rightly so, showcasing brilliant song writing and juts generally oozing quality. I remember buying it from a charity shop around 5 years ago for £1.50, and still testify that it was the best money I’ve ever spent. ‘Bleed American’ is a masterpiece.
11) Fall Out Boy – Take This To Your Grave (2003) From one staple mark of the ‘emo’ genre to another, ‘Take This To Your Grave’ is every bit as good and influential as ‘Bleed American’, despite sometimes being overlooked due to the release of ‘From Under The Cork Tree’. Pete Wentz’s lyrics on TTTYG are honest and heartfelt, and put FOB on the map when coupled with Patrick Strump’s great voice. It’s an album full of angst and wit that I still relate to years after first hearing it. Another one of the genre’s finest products.
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.
9) The Dillinger Escape Plan – Ire Works (2007) On ‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 in 30 years. Punk-rock albums / albums in general don’t come any better than this, because ‘On The Impossible Past’ is a triumph.
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.