Jennifer Dill ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
There are so many albums out there that have affected me in one way or another. Whether they make me angry, sad, or feel too many things to explain, nearly every record I listen to has some power in affecting my mood or my personality.
However, there are only a select few that I would consider my favorites. The ones that I have to buy all of, instead of select singles. The ones that hit me in a way like no other.
The following albums are the top ten that have played a major role in my life.
- Oops!…I Did It Again by Britney Spears
This album defined my childhood.
Britney Spears is a pop icon. From “Baby One More Time” to her more recent hits like “Hold It Against Me,” nearly every single she’s released has garnered tons of air time and a huge following. Even though I now mostly listen to pop-punk, I still to this day wish I was her, and this album is one of the reasons why. The album is like listening to her diary, where she is honest, open, and vulnerable — especially in her beautiful ballad “Lucky.” It’s a great look into what it’s like being a teenage girl in a very glamorized perspective.
I know every word to every song, every tempo change, and the words to every little intro/outro between songs. This album was my religion for the entirety of my childhood, and I can’t imagine anything else taking its place in my top ten.
- Vessel by Twenty One Pilots
Any album that can make you simultaneously happy and sad is a good one in my book, and Vessel is one of the most successful at doing this.
This album features a mix of slower ballads like “Ode to Sleep” and “Trees” and upbeat songs like “House of Gold” and “Semi-Automatic.” While this may seem like any standard album’s set up, this dynamic duo somehow manage to take every song, regardless of tempo and sound, and make them meaningful.
One perfect example of this is the album’s most well-known single, “Car Radio.” Starting as a ballad about someone stealing a radio from a car, this song goes from meaningless to an anthem for struggling to drown out inner demons in an attempt to set a good example for younger generations. It takes a seemingly unimportant topic and makes it into a powerfully packed message, and it’s not the only song to do so.
From anxiety to relief to fear, this album covers every emotion and every tone and is definitely one to check out.
- A Lesson in Romantics by Mayday Parade
Mayday Parade is best known for their romantically toned songs. This album, in both title and content, pays homage to that and is one of their best.
The album starts with the nostalgic “Jamie All Over,” lamenting the death of a past relationship, then segues into the upbeat and angry “Black Cat,” a song about a self-centered protagonist. Every song and quick change on the album brings you into the many different feelings of a variety of relationships. With the hostility from “When I Get Home, You’re So Dead,” the fear in “Jersey,” and the uncertainty in “Take This to Heart,” this album is pretty much a guide to relationships. Who hasn’t at one point lamented a lost relationship and related to the line: “Is there something I could say to make you turn around? Cause nights like these I wish I’d said don’t go”?
Plus, this album features one of the most iconic sad songs of all time, “Miserable At Best,” which is the perfect song to cry to after a breakup.
- Duality by Set it Off
As the most recent album released by the now four-piece band, Duality is Set It Off’s second, but best LP. With killer up-tempo jams such as “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” featuring William Beckett, and the breakup/friends-with-benefits anthem “Ancient History,” this album is another that documents many aspects of human relationships, specifically the bad ones.
With the exception of the happier tracks “Why Worry” and “Tomorrow” featuring Jason Lancaster, the album gets you hyped and ready to move on from your ex and fight the Man.
Basically, if you are an angry person or like angry music, this album is for you.
- Hold Me Down by You Me at Six
“Stay With Me,” “Hard to Swallow,” and “Underdog” are three of You Me At Six’s best songs, all from their sophomore album Hold Me Down.
An underrated British band, You Me At Six is one of the greatest bands in the alternative/punk-rock scene. With songs that range in tempo and message, like the upbeat and angry “Liquid Confidence” and the slow and heartbreaking “Fireworks,” the band uses this album to display their great range vocally, lyrically, and musically. Just like with Twenty One Pilot’s Vessel, this record has a song for every feeling, even the feeling of wanting to hate someone because loving them is too painful — see “Safer to Hate Her.”
- Almost Here by The Academy Is…
I will be the first to admit that upon first listen, this album was not the most impressive. However, as time went on and I grew up, this album went from something I listened to only certain songs from to a cohesive piece that I could listen to over and over without getting bored.
As The Academy Is…’s debut album, this LP set the tone for their later works. Specifically, it documented their aspirations for the future, via lyrics in songs such as “Almost Here” and “Attention,” both of which begged audiences to listen to them while making it known that the band was worth listening to.
Plus, this album has one of the band’s greatest songs on it. “The Phrase that Pays,” an emo-kid anthem that is a great reminder to keep on keeping on and to “hold your head high heavy heart.”
- Save Rock and Roll by Fall Out Boy
Say what you want about Fall Out Boy, but Save Rock and Roll was, in my opinion, the greatest comeback album of all time. From “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” and “Alone Together” to the power ballad “Save Rock and Roll” featuring the one and only Elton John, this album is full of musical surprises. In fact, this pop-based piece is astray from Fall Out Boy’s older work, which is commonly classified as more “punk.” But, the entire album is a great representation of how Fall Out Boy has changed for the better. With Patrick Stump’s powerful but controlled vocals, Andy Hurley’s intense drumming, and Pete Wentz’s and Joe Trohman’s incredible bass/guitar riffs, every song is a hit. Plus, the entire album was turned into a great music video series entitled The Young Blood Chronicles, which is definitely worth a watch.
- Genuine & Counterfeit by William Beckett
Putting this album on this list and not having it be higher up quite honestly hurts. As most people know, I love William Beckett. I even have a tattoo in his handwriting. But, while I love this album and have four copies of it, each of which has been played thousands of times, it is not the greatest thing I’ve ever heard.
As his debut LP, this album was written and performed solely by Beckett. Each song tells a story of love, loss, growing up, and going out on your own. From the upbeat single “Benny & Joon” talking all about love and knowing who you are, to the somber bonus track “Just You Wait” which was written for his sister as an anthem to recovery, this entire album speaks to your soul in a way others do not. But that may just be me being in love with William Beckett.
- From Under the Cork Tree by Fall Out Boy
Trying to choose which Fall Out Boy album has affected me more than a William Beckett album was near impossible. But, in a battle between Folie à Deux and From Under the Cork Tree, the latter came out victorious.
This album, which has a killer feature from William Beckett himself on “Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year,” is pure perfection. Every song is upbeat and gets you ready to hate your town and fight your way out in true pop-punk fashion.
Some classics from this album include “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” and “Dance, Dance,” two of the band’s most well known singles. I definitely recommend you check out the other tunes, for they are all worth a listen.
- Fast Times At Barrington High by The Academy Is…
This album is the third and final LP recorded by The Academy Is….
While it is their most commercially successful, this album is often hated on by fans who feel that it was a sellout album. I feel differently. This album helped me survive high school. All of the songs tell the listener stories about events that occurred to members the band during their time at Barrington High. All of these stories are relatable. For example, “Rumored Nights” talks about the heartbreak and anger that comes with a breakup caused by cheating. “About A Girl” talks about resentment towards the feeling of love and how falling for someone can suck, a lot.
I even quoted two of the songs in publications my senior year: once in my graduation speech and once in my yearbook. After all, who doesn’t relate to the lyric “we’re the cast-outs with messed up friends who never did fit in”?
Everything about this album makes me smile. William Beckett’s vocals, Mike Carden and Adam Siska jamming on guitar and bass, and Andrew Mrotek banging it out on drums — all coming together in a perfect combination of crazy and beautiful.
Lost in Pacific Time by The Academy Is…
This EP was the last thing ever recorded and sold by The Academy Is… prior to their 2011 break up. It features five songs that are all amazingly different yet somehow make a cohesive piece. I strongly suggest that you check it out and get a taste of how talented this band really is.
Asymmetry by Mallory Knox
I heard of Mallory Knox for the first time last year and instantly fell in love. Their album was nearly impossible to get, but worth every bit of the struggle. Mikey Chapman’s vocals make you swoon and the combination of lyrics, bass lines, and near-perfect percussion on this album is sure to make you obsess as much as I did.