To prep for this list I re-re-re-listened to all of these albums, some all the way, some just skipping through to reacquaint myself with the music. I could have done this forever and reordered this list into oblivion. But you have to stop yourself at some point at admit when you’re beat. Plus, this list would look really stupid if I posted it in June.
90. Slipknot – Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses (2004)
Slipknot by definition are dumb. Heavy metal guys in ridiculous horror show masks trying to scare your parents. This is not something I will fight or debate. But those first two albums showed hints of promise. A singer who could actually sing, a tendency to write hooks and hey, they kinda rocked in spite of all the theatrics. Rick Rubin turned out to be the guy who could rein these maniacs in and say “Let’s focus on good songs, you guys. You don’t need to get graphic, let’s focus on just rocking faces, let in a little subtlety, it might be fun.” I’m guessing that’s what Rubin said. Whatever that dude did, it worked. Clean, crisp production so you can hear every note and instrument, songs and subject matter that’s a touch more nuanced than “THE PAIN THE PAIN YOUR PAIN!”, and hey, still rocks faces. Good job, Rick Rubin. (This will be Rick Rubin’s last good work as of press time. Dude is responsible for this, this, and THIS.)
89. Eagles of Death Metal – Peace Love and Death Metal (2004)
Funny story: While re-listening to this album for this list, Rachel deemed herself OVER Eagles of Death Metal and she never wanted to hear them ever again. She got over it, but it still cracked me up. Peace Love and Death Metal is riff city, population sleazy come-on’s. Jesse Hughes was just figuring out how to do this rock n roll thing on this one, but he was a quick learner. The production is a bit thin at times but the tunes are never less than solid and honest to the rock ethos of ladies, ladies, ladies.
88. The White Stripes – Elephant (2003)
My old roommate McCarty played “Seven Nation Army” for me the first time, screaming “Bass! This song has bass!”, the whole time. He played it on a loop right up until the release of Elephant, which didn’t change the world with additional “Bass!” but had more great songs from The White Stripes. I can’t emphasize how important this record seemed at the time of its release. I feel like it means less than a lot of people wanted it to mean. I just hear a great rock record, which I guess is all someone should hope for from these guys.
87. The Rapture – Echoes (2003)
I wrote a review of Echoes for my college newspaper upon its time of release. I gave it 3 stars(out of 4) saying that I wished that it had more songs like “House of Jealous Lovers“. I mean, it has other great songs on it, but can you blame me? I was so young. In my old age I’ve come to appreciate “Olio” and “I Need Your Love” for the classics they are. But “House of Jealous Lovers” is still the shit.
86. Lillix – Inside The Hollow (2006)
If you head to my Last.Fm page, you’ll see that Lillix is my sixth most listened to band. This is because of this album, which I could not stop listening to. I listened to it when I would work out, I listened to it before I went to bed, I listened to it so much yet I never got sick of it. Clearly. Inside The Hollow is a pop rock record, a little angsty and hung up on girl issues like bad boyfriends and that is fine. The songs are irresistible. It sounds like the kind of pop rock that Max Martin is going for when he crafts a “Since You’ve Been Gone”, but for a whole album. Shockingly, this never received an American release. Our loss(well not mine, I’ve heard it. Obviously).
85. Passion Pit – Manners (2009)
Happy songs about sad things. That is Manners in a nutshell. Sometimes I can’t tell if Passion Pit are being optimistic or just putting on a brave face, but the enthusiasm is contagious. Also, they’ve clearly taken Justice’s lead on the whole child choir thing. Never thought that would be a source of quality music, but what do I know?
84. Radiohead – Amnesiac (2001)
Remember when people dismissed this album as Kid A b-sides? Silly people. Get this: Amnesiac is awesome. “Pyramid Song“, “Knives Out“, “I Might Be Wrong“; this a Radiohead Hit Parade, people! What is also crazy is how listenable all those “experimental” tracks sound these days, turns out they are great too. Don’t sleep on Amnesiac.
83. The Icarus Line – Penance Soiree (2004)
Listening to Penance Soiree, I cannot tell if these slithery bass-lines and screaming guitars are come-on’s or threats. On the one hand, when Joe Cardamone is asking you to “take off all your clothes”, that appears to be self-explanatory. And song titles like “Virgin Velcro” carry their sordid message right out the gate. But you consider opener “Up Against The Wall Motherfuckers“, which stutters awake like some long slumbering creature hungry for your soul, fear appears to be the logical option. So, let’s agree be frightened but a little aroused at the same time.
82. Ben Folds – Rockin’ The Suburbs (2001)
Rockin’ The Suburbs is enjoyable simply because when you cut through his bullshit, Ben Folds can write some doozys. Rockin’ has more than its share; “Annie Waits“, “Zak and Sara“, “Fired“, “Not The Same“; classics all. He should make another album like this. One that is short on the bitterness and long on the fun.
81. Mastodon – Leviathan (2004)
Mastodon crush. They craft these technical, intricate songs that are just metal massacres. Y’know when someone says, “These guys are the real deal”? Mastodon are the guys, and Leviathan is the real deal. Not to mention it is inspired by Moby Dick. Looks like we got ourselves some readers.