One day I will get back to posting regularly. Until then, I am going to keep on keepin’ on with sporadic posts. This one is extra special because it includes an awesome giveaway at the bottom!
Because I haven’t been able to get motivated lately, I figured I’d take some time to talk about one of my favorite subjects: music! Specifically, I’m going to list out my top 10 albums of all time. I cheated and added way too many honorable mentions because it was hard to whittle these down.
I’m listing the top 10 in alphabetical order because it’s impossible for me to rank them. The rankings would change depending on my mood, but these are 10 albums I consider pretty much perfect. Here we go!
Billy Joel – The Stranger – 1977
Billy Joel might seem like an odd choice for a person who is really into pop punk and alternative, but I think he’s amazingly talented and has put out some of the best music of all time.
The Stranger is easily his magnum opus, boasting songs like “The Stranger,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, “Vienna,” and “Only the Good Die Young.”
Idk, I just really like Billy Joel.
Cheap Trick – Self-Titled – 1977
On most days I consider Cheap Trick to be my overall favorite band of all time. They are a band with a catalog of 17 albums spanning over 40 years. They have had some ups and downs, some personnel changes, and some identity crises.
My favorite album is still their debut. It is a ballsy, lyrically rich record that shows off the range of its members. You’ve got “Daddy Should Have Stayed In High School,” a darkly humorous song about a man creeping on little girls, the melodious “Cry, Cry” and “Taxman, Mr. Thief,” and a song about a gigolo (“He’s a Whore”).
Cheap Trick evolved a lot over the years in many ways, but I think they’re debut remains the most gutsy and original release in their long catalog of great music.
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours – 1977
There’s nothing I can say about Rumours that hasn’t been said already. Fleetwood Mac is a living example of how possible it is to take turmoil and turn it into something beautiful and productive.
Rumours was written and recorded during a time that two relationships between band members were disintegrating — John and Christine McVie and then Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. The music is passionate and the lyrics touch on anger, regret, and love. It’s just a wonderful journey.
My favorite tracks are “Second Hand News,” “Dreams,” “Go Your Own Way,” and “You Make Loving Fun.” But they’re all good, honestly.
Foo Fighters – The Colour and the Shape – 1997
“Everlong” is one of the greatest songs of the ’90s. I’ll fight anyone on that point. Besides that, the second album by the Foo Fighters is basically a perfect album. Expertly blending loud, screaming vocals with soft, melodious crooning, Dave Grohl and Co. created something so moody and so full of feeling that it still moves me to listen to it.
I’m of the opinion that this album features some of the best transitions and track ordering of any album ever. We go from “Monkey Wrench” into “Hey, Johnny Park” into “My Poor Brain” and it’s just like an orgasm for the ears. The later parts of the album are just as brilliant. The quiet, soulful “February Stars” leading into “Everlong“ is almost like a soothing intro building into something powerful. “New Way Home” is a perfect outro to a beyond stellar album.
Jawbreaker – Dear You – 1995
I’m regularly devastated that I didn’t get to experience Jawbreaker as an entity when they were actually around. The band broke up in 1996, the year after this jewel of an album was released. Now, there’s some debate on whether Dear You was the band “selling out” or whatever because the sound was a lot more poppy and melodic than their prior releases, which were more punk and thrashy. I’m clearly not a music critic, but that’s my layman explanation of it.
I’m a person who enjoys hard, fast music… but I also enjoy melodies and I actually think the more polished sound of this album did the songs more justice.
Everything on this album is great, but “Fireman,” “Accident Prone, and “Chemistry” are my favorites. “Fireman” is such a poetic song, featuring one of my favorite lyrics ever:
A wave crashed on the beach.
We rolled around in its foamy grasp.
Kissing in the chaos of a kelpy sea.
Seems I couldn’t save you from me.
Such imagery. Very wow. (We’re not still doing that meme, are we?)
Motion City Soundtrack – Commit This To Memory – 2005
I’ve posted a lot about Motion City Soundtrack over the years. They are one of my favorite bands ever and I was recently pretty bummed about their indefinite hiatus. So it’s natural that one of their albums makes the list.
Commit This To Memory is one of the most emotionally charged albums that sounds syrupy sweet. If you listen to the music without paying attention to the lyrics, you probably think at least the majority of the songs are happy ones. No! This is an album — half written before and half written after the frontman’s sobriety — full of self-loathing, discontent, and anxiety. It’s also an album that is beautiful, relatable, and super fun to listen to.
Favorite tracks include “Attractive Today,” “Make Out Kids,” “Let’s Get Fucked Up And Die,” and “Hold Me Down.”
Saves The Day – Stay What You Are – 2001
This album is probably the biggest wildcard on the list. But there’s something about it that I just love. Falling in love with this album was unexpected. This is the only album on my list that is put out by a band or artist that I don’t rank among my favorites. I mean, I obviously like Saves the Day, but other than this album I haven’t been super impressed with their stuff. The stars just aligned for this one, I guess. I bought it during the onset of my pop punk phase, probably in about 2012. Yes, I was late to the pop punk party. I know.
Anyway, I got the album mostly because I liked the songs “At Your Funeral” and “Freakish.” In retrospect, “Freakish” is one of my least favorite songs on the album.
This album is really just so fun to jam out to and, similar to Motion City Soundtrack, it is full of kind of uptempo songs with brutal lyrics. “As Your Ghost Takes Flight” — which I actually recently found out is about a heroin addict — is my favorite song on the album. It features some gruesome lyrics, such as:
And I’d drink your blood and feel it dripping down my throat and head for my heart.
And as your body sags and the stench rises in vain,
the people on the street are collecting in dismay.
Yeah. It’s brutal. Brutally awesome.
Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream – 1993
This album generally kills me in the best way possible. I just can’t deal with how great the Smashing Pumpkins were from like 1991 to 1995. It was all downhill from there, but those years resulted in some of my favorite music ever.
I like every song on this album except for “Sweet Sweet,” which I think is just ok. But “Cherub Rock,” “Disarm,” “Mayonaise,” “Geek U.S.A,” and “Spaceboy” are all favorites of mine.
“Mayonaise” is probably a contender for my favorite song of all time. It’s just a beautiful song that is so pleasing to the ears, so soothing, so filled with gorgeous imagery. It gives me the chills and has probably made me cry on multiple occasions. Damn you Billy Corgan.
Taylor Swift – 1989 – 2014
Yes, yes, yes. I know. Roll your eyes. I’m totally fine with that.
I think that 1989 is the best pop album to come out in years. Granted, I’ve been a T. Swift fan since Fearless came out. I might be a bit biased. Here’s one of many things I dig about Taylor — she writes her own music from her own experiences. Her music is insanely catchy and spirited, but it all feels incredibly genuine. That’s something that I think a lot of pop artists are missing.
Sure, it’s fun to listen to songs like “Problem” by Ariana Grande… but it’s such a generic pop song that lacks individuality and personality. That’s not a diss to Grande because I own both her albums and have pre-ordered her new one… but I just think it speaks volumes about Taylor’s talent and her ability to be vulnerable and relatable.
I have enjoyed all of Taylor’s albums, but she seems to grow artistically with every release. 1989 is her most mature, introspective, and diverse record to date. It features hit song after hit song after hit song… and they’re all so good. My personal favorites include “I Know Places,” “Wildest Dreams,” and “Clean.”
Third Eye Blind – Self-Titled – 1997
I will state for the record that I think Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins is one of the best lyricists of all time. The band’s first album is full of rich lyrics and catchy hooks. I think Third Eye Blind gets a bad rap and is thrown in with a lot of less talented bands (like Eve 6 and Vertical Horizon — neither of which do I dislike terribly) just because of the time they came out.
This album honestly makes the list because the last three tracks are all devastatingly beautiful. “The Background,” “Motorcycle Drive By”, and “God of Wine” are each perfect works of art.
The opening track — “Losing a Whole Year” — sets the tone for the whole album. It is bitter but nostalgic — and the album continues as such. And, of course, there’s the well known “Semi-Charmed Life,” which is about crystal meth. The more you know. It’s still catchy as hell.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Long After Dark (1982) — An odd choice, possibly, but full of insanely good tunes
Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA (1984) — If only for “Dancing in the Dark” and “Downbound Train”
Social Distortion – White Light, White Heat, White Trash (1996) — Nonstop punk fun
Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers (1971) — Honestly just so kickass. “Bitch” is a gem of a song
Fall Out Boy – Infinity On High (2007) — Pop punk infused goodness from start to finish
Blink-182 – Dude Ranch (1997) — Pop punk classic. Side note: why are so many of my favorite albums from 1997?
Alkaline Trio – Crimson (2005) — Dark, morbid, awesome
Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995) — Some tracks are just as good as those included on Siamese Dream. This album didn’t make the top 10 because I do find it a bit overly long and think a few of the songs are “meh”
Cheap Trick – In Color (1978) — A little more poppy and a little lighter than their debut, In Color is Cheap Trick’s second studio album and it further establishes their brilliance. “Downed” is a favorite of mine.
Third Eye Blind – Out of the Vein (2003) — One of the best albums to listen to if you’re going through a breakup. A lot of songs about regret, healing, and other things you go through during tough times. It’s brilliant, reflective, sad, and occasionally hopeful.
What are some of your favorite albums of all time?
As promised, there’s an awesome giveaway that you can enter! You could win a $170 Ulta giftcard!
In the free entry, please say that you’re entering from Modern Yet Nostalgic. Good luck!