Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Essential Top Ten Albums.

Challenges seem to be following me wherever I go.

In this particular case, I'm being challenged to list my ten favorite albums ever. It sounds easy enough, however, it's not.

I've listened to and own so many albums.

For all of the albums that I've put up top, it's potentially more amazing to see the albums that didn't make the cut.

Albums that missed the final cut (in alphabetical order):
Alter Bridge-One Day Remains
Breaking Benjamin-Phobia
Deftones-White Pony
Green Day-American Idiot
In This Moment-The Dream
Killswitch Engage-The End of Heartache
Red-Innocence and Instinct
Smashing Pumpkins-Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Now for my top 10:
10. Sevendust-Chapter VII: Hope and Sorrow-My #1 album last year, Sevendust has made it a career of consistently good albums. What makes this album so good in part is the collaborative efforts of Chris Daughtry, Mark Tremonti, and Myles Kennedy. This album marked a return of the melodic band that had departed with their previous two albums (Alpha and Next) and marked the return of Clint Lowery. It proved that Sevendust (who's been around for over a decade) can be more diverse than a simple hard rock band, even though that is what they are at the core.

9. Evanescence-Origin-By the time I'd first heard about it it was already almost three years old, but that didn't make it any less amazing. The production may be less slick, but this album proved to me that independent artists or artists on smaller labels could have albums as good or better than those on major labels. Despite the three major albums they've put out, many fans still consider this to be their best album.

8. Linkin Park-Meteora-This is the perfect case of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Following up their mega-successful Hybrid Theory was a chore, but as Linkin Park proved, it was not impossible. They're arguably the most successful band of this decade and this album I feel cemented their place. Every song on this album could have been played on radio. And just about every song was. 20 million people worldwide own this album. This album came out in 2003. That just about says it all.

7. Lacuna Coil-Comalies-I originally didn't think much about Lacuna Coil. Not necessarily because I thought that they were copying Evanescence (who I was also into at the time), but I hadn't been exposed to them until around 2004. The re-release of this album (which features bonus acoustic versions) showcased the diversity and the beauty of this band's sound. It was then when I could differentiate between Lacuna Coil's sound and Evanescence's sound. Unlike Linkin Park, they didn't really get the airplay, but that didn't stop this album from becoming the greatest selling album in their label's history (Century Media).

6. Seether-Disclaimer II-For having 20 songs on this album, this album is a ridiculously straight listen. It's probably the longest album out of anything on here. This album is a re-worked, remixed version of the original Disclaimer, which in itself is not a bad album. However, this album has a more polished feel and while the album may not be conceptually solid, every song on the album tells its own tale. This is the way I wish re-releases would happen. Instead of putting out the same album with one extra song, they remixed the entire album and added eight songs (and that's not counting the DVD with the music videos and live show they put on there). At the time, it was the first album to have gone gold and to have its subsequent re-release go gold as well.

5. Dark New Day-Twelve Year Silence-Critics of the band will call this nothing more than Sevendust-lite. However, fans of this band know that's not the case.  At the time I'd gotten this album, I'd actually just gotten into Sevendust as well. Dark New Day's album is different because it's rare to find practically an entire band able to sing. There are songs in their catalog that have four-part harmonies that might make Boyz II Men jealous. Most rock radio listeners will know "Brother" and unfortunately not much else, which is a shame because it appears that they are pretty much 'one and done'.

4. Flyleaf-Flyleaf-I loved them long before their debut album came out and I knew that the album would be big. I just didn't realize how big. Flyleaf's debut album era lasted about 3 and a half years dating back from the first single to their last tours. It gives you an idea of their potential longevity in the industry. Their EP was rather raw and was filled with Lacey Mosley's wails, but the album also showed the beauty and the grace of their music and their faith. Even if you're not a believer in their faith, you can believe in their music because it's intense and authentic. It's something that you won't find very often in the industry.

3. Metallica-Metallica-It's been out since 1991 and it's still the benchmark for what a hard rock band can do. This is the oldest album in the top 10 and there's no question as to why it should be on here. The album has sold over 15 million in the States alone. My uncle let me borrow his copy because I was curious and I almost didn't give it back to him. Quite simply, it is the album that made me a hard rock fan rather than just a hard rock listener. 

2. Sevendust-Seasons-Speaking of making a career of consistently good albums...Sevendust is back on the list for the second time. This was the last album that the band released before Clint Lowery left the first time. This band is the most underrated hard rock band, period. They've always been consistent, but they've never really knocked one out of the park. That's ok though because there's more for fans of this band to appreciate.

1. Evanescence-Fallen-No matter what happens to this band, I will never be able to simply throw this album away. I was personally going through a lot when I first heard "Bring Me to Life" and it was the first song that I've ever listened to that ever caught my emotions, my thoughts, and my feelings so well. Three minutes and fifty-seven seconds that have changed my life forever. It was depressing, it was uplifting, it was beautiful, it was ugly, and everything else that I could think of. I couldn't necessarily take the same thing from every song, but there are lines in most of the songs that I took to change my negative mentality.

Whew, that was not easy, but challenging and pretty fun.

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