Sometimes these lists are easy and sometimes they’re more difficult. I actually couldn’t help but wonder if we should list albums that we still consider our favorites, or the ones that, despite not being so greatin our minds now, were pretty influential once upon a time. Since I’m pretty sure it’s not that interesting to talk about Fall Out Boy’s Cork Tree or Three Days Grace’s One-X (critically acclaimed they may be), so I’ll settle for those albums that I can still enjoy (shamelessly) to this day.
The Bravery - The Bravery (2005)
It’s 2005 and I’m lounging on a friends couch watching MTV2 or something while they talk to another friend about how Kanye West is probably his AWOL father because they’re both so conceited (and honestly do kind of look alike). Suddenly a black and yellow domino appears on screen along with Sam Endicott and his motley crew (no no, not that Mötley Crüe, who was also making the rounds with a new album that year). It’s the video for “An Honest Mistake" I ended up loving the song and video and eventually the album, so much so that it’s here on this list tonight. And I think this is probably a little relevant, but I have to say that I was kind of torn when Sam Endicott and Brandon Flowers were having their strange little indie rock band feud. A HOUSE DIVIDED! Or at least… a Max divided.
Favorite Track: “Unconditional”
M.I.A. - Arular (2005)
I had heard of M.I.A. a few months before I listened to her music. But the big push that got me to pick up her CD was a portion of an interview with Alex Pappademas for Spin:
In England, Arulpragasam made a habit of trespassing in posh hotels and other places foreigners weren’t exactly welcome. “Nobody was going to tell me what to do,” she says. “It was like, ‘Pssht, I’ve been shot at. What are you going to do, put a little fence around me?”
It wasn’t much but somehow, at the time, that was one of the coolest things I’d ever read. A few spins of her album later and I was hooked.
Favorite Track: “10 Dollar”
Snow Patrol - Final Straw (2003)
Snow Patrol was an accessory to the crime of making me into an emo mess. I kind of think it might be a little underrated though since I’ve never met anyone my age who had an appreciation for the album. Side-note: now that I’m older, I wonder if the lyrics to “Run” have a double meaning…
Favorite Track: “Run”
Buck 65 - Man Overboard (2001)
I’ve written about my appreciation of Buck 65’s craft before, so rather than rehash my feelings (or even expound on them…) I’ll just link back to that post.
Favorite Track: “Secret Splendor”
Kleerup - Kleerup (2008)
Oh, sweet sweet Sweden. You guys have such great electronic musical talent. If you had asked me 10 years ago to list something about Sweden, I’d have said something silly like wooden shoes. But I’m older now and more mature and less… ridiculous (I mean, still a little ridiculous). Kleerup is another underrated artist who I really enjoyed listening to. His eponymous 2008 album is honestly the only thing by him I’ve listened to but it’s still something I felt deserved a spot on my list.
Favorite Track: “Thank You For Nothing”
Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
Do I even really need to explain this one? It’s just an amazing album and you need to listen to it. Constant repeat all through my Thanksgiving vacation in 2010… and my life.
Favorite Track: “Who Will Survive In America”
Daft Punk - Discovery (2001)
When I was about 12 years old, I saw the first for music videos for Daft Punk’s anime electronica opera, Interstella 5555. I didn’t know that it was part of a complete film and figured it was a short 4 part music video. I got the album later and loved it just as much as I did when I first heard it… and found Interstella in it’s entirety. I give it… 5555 stars.
Favorite Track: “Harder, Better, Faster Stronger”
The Killers - Hot Fuss (2003)
Oh, The Killers. Maybe this is an unpopular opinion but I don’t really care much for their last couple of albums, but Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town were mind blowing and still hold up in my occasional listenings.
Favorite Track: “Smile Like You Mean It”
Hair - The Original Broadway Cast Recording (1968)
I don’t know what possessed me to watch Hair (the movie, not the stage version) but oh man am I glad I did. It would be quite a few years later before I’d find a musical that I enjoyed as much as I did this one. Something about that final number (“The Flesh Failures, Let The Sunshine In”) really got to me. Hopefully it can have that effect on one of you guys.
Favorite Track: “The Flesh Failures, Let The Sunshine In”
Brand New - Deja Entendu (2003)
Listen, Tumblr, I liked astronauts coming out of the ocean before it was cool. But really, Brand New had a great album back then. Helped to make a monumentally poopy summer feel a lot less poopy. And with no friends outside of school, the pain was one of those quiet things that no one ever knows. Sorry., that was crass. I hope you believe me, even if your tommy gun doesn’t. Damn it.
Favorite Track: “Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades”
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