This isn’t my typical subject matter when it comes to this blog, but it is a subject that I probably speak about in real life (because I don’t credit the digital world as being real life) more than anything else, and that’s music. One of my favorite quotes is, “Music can define the soul of a generation.” I can’t say if it has defined my generation, but it has definitely defined my soul.
When I was 15 I thought I was punk rock and cool, and spent a lot of time listening, or pretending to listen to music that really didn’t speak to me. I want my money back for the MXPX and New Found Glory albums I purchased. So embarrassing. I abandoned those bands when they became uncool, and turned to the next new trend in music which was “hardcore.” This genre went on to have 1.4 zillion sub-genres that I can’t keep up with and don’t even know what they mean. The same unforgiving cycle happened with those bands, they became uncool to like, and I quickly abandoned them for a more mature music taste.
The next “cycle” that peers seemed to be gravitating toward was the whole singer/songwriter movement. Is everyone still orgasming over Bon Iver? Don’t get me wrong, there are few things better than a raspy voice over an acoustic guitar, but I am VERY picky within this genre, and I think that most of it is boring and over produced. If you’ve heard one Ray LaMontagne song you’ve heard them all. I suggest John Moreland’s, “In the Throes” album, Will Quinlan and the Diviner’s “Navasota,” and Sarah Jaffe for some good americana, singer/songwriter music. I could name a bunch more, but I’m digressing.
I wasn’t finding new bands to love and this was not okay. Music is an integral part of my being, my ultimate muse, my guide to life, my rock, and I was falling apart because I didn’t have new inspiration. I discovered The Dear Hunter’s “Act III” album just in the nick of time, and it reminded me of what it feels like to feel music. Casey Crescenzo is probably one of the most underrated songwriter’s out there right now, but I digress again. See what happens to me when I start talking music?! It just spirals out of conversational control.
The point is, when new music wasn’t coming along, I went back to my roots and rediscovered some old music. So without further adieu, here are some bands, albums and individual songs that I abandoned for years, but just rediscovered and believe that they sound as good now as they did fifteen years ago when I first heard them in my mom’s car.
These are in no particular order.
1. The Deftones- I would put “White Pony” in the top ten (possibly top five, but I’d have to really think about that before I can fully stand by such a momentous claim) of best rock albums of the last two decades.
2. Sunny Day Real Estate- Diary (full album)- Same claim as above. This is not an opinion. It’s fact. So if you disagree with me than you’re simply wrong. It’s amazes me that this album was released in 1994. It sounds 100% relevant to today’s rock music scene.
3. The Smashing Pumpkins- Siamese Dream (full album)- This album is art. Listen to “Mayonaise” on PROPER speakers and let it take you on a ride. You’ll come out of the 5:49 song slightly different from how you went into it. How did I ever forget about this album?
4. Jimmy Eat World- Bleed America (full album)
5. Silverchair- “Emotion Sickness”- This is a song that I’m more obsessed with now than I was in 2004 when I got the album just because I had a crush on a boy who liked the band.
6. Sparta- Porcelain (full album)
7. Modest Mouse- The Lonesome Crowded West (full album)- Just shut the fuck up if you don’t like this album.
8. Alkaline Trio- They’ve never stopped being cool in my book, and they’ll always have a spot in my heart because of that particular show that I discuss in Adventures of Touring. They do something that the other bands of that time and genre couldn’t/can’t pull off. They write great lyrics, they’re tight (musically speaking), not every song has the same exact chord progression and their sound has depth.
9. Norma Jean- “Memphis Will be Laid to Waste”- Fuck yeah! So hardcore and awesome.
10. Thrice- A friend sent me this video not too long ago, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=949X-FHj62k (careful females… you’re about to get wet) and this is the video that got me to dig up my Thrice albums that I hadn’t listened to in probably a decade. A true rediscovery. Now I love these albums as much as I did when I was 16 wearing converse and studded belts.
11. Nine Inch Nails- “Something I Can Never Have”- I have never been a huge fan of this band, but I liked this particular song when I was younger and again, after years of abandoning it, I listened recently and I still think it’s gorgeous.
12. Brand New- I never gave them a true chance back in 2003 when all of the “emo” kids were wearing Brand New pins and t-shirts, but I shouldn’t have judged the cover because now I think that they are great.
13. Vaux- “At Your Will”- Songs that sound like they’re going to build up to something epic can be either hit or miss. This one is a big hit. It forces you to feel.
14. Yeah Yeah Yeahs- “Maps”- There was a sliver in time when everyone was in love with this song. It still holds up.
15. Finch- What it is to Burn (full album)
16. Chevelle- Wonder What’s Next (full album)- When this album came out, I didn’t want to admit to anyone that I liked it because it was too “mainstream” to be cool. It stayed in a box, hidden away with a bunch of other CD’s that I was embarrassed by because I was a teenager and for some reason gave a shit when a peer said, “you like Chevelle?” with a superior tone. Fuck that. This album is so good. Sorry, Chevelle. You deserved better from me. I’d like to add that their new album is fantastic as well. Probably their best since this one.
17. Neutral Milk Hotel- “Two Headed Boy”- Nothing you nor I ever create in our entire lifetimes, will even rival the brilliance of this song. Sorry. I may have just killed a dream or two. Consider it my bold statement of the month.
18. Recover- EP- I always liked this EP because it sounds like they recorded it with four tracks and in someone’s living room (which they probably did, come to think of it). It does have a slightly immature sound, so I wouldn’t say that it’s timeless, but I think it holds its’ own within the genre.
19. Underoath- They’re Only Chasing Safety (full album)- Again, it became very uncool to like Underoath, and I’m okay with that. I wouldn’t say that I’m a fan, but I think that this one album is fun and it does something for me.
20. Dinosaur Jr- “No Bones”- Listen to that little guitar lick that repeats throughout, and tell me that that’s not timeless. This band is sexy.
21. Fiona Apple- Tidal (full album)- You simply have poor taste in music if you don’t like this album.
22. Iron and Wine- “Jezebel”- I’m WAY over the Iron and Wine craze, but this one song will never get old.
My homework to everyone is to go have an epic music session alone tonight, and get back to me on some bands/songs that you have rediscovered.