i hope you all are enjoying my walk through some of my favorite music. it's been a lot of fun to sit back and listen to these albums straight through over the past few weeks and months. the albums in this portion of the list all have one track that stands out far above the others, with a strong supporting cast to create great overall albums. they feature some of my favorite songwriters, as well.
CONTEST: here's the big announcement! today i'm announcing a contest where you can win a hard copy of an album of your choice from my top 20. here's how to do it:
on sunday, october 3rd, i will begin to announce my top 10. before that day, you can leave a comment on this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your guess of my top 10. if you can nail ANY album in the CORRECT spot in my top 10, you win an album! up to 3 can win. if no one can pin an album in the exact position, then whoever can guess the MOST number of albums in my top 10 correctly, in any order, will win an album.
sound good? hit me up! keep reading! win music! here are numbers 15-11.
15. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive (2008) - In the summer of 2008 I started to buy new albums without listening to them much in an effort to fill the void of new-music-influx that WPTS had filled during my college days. This was the first album I bought, thanks to a recommendation from Rolling Stone, and it was a rousing success. The Hold Steady are lead by the storytelling of Craig Finn and backed by some old fashioned rock and roll. Finn's lyrics tell stories of kids just trying to find their way, and Stay Positive is no different. There's a certain epic feeling to this album as it hits you in the face early, builds the story in the middle, climaxes, and closes with some laid-back resolution. The Hold Steady are everything good about rock and roll.
Key Track: Sequestered in Memphis
14. Fall Out Boy - From Under the Cork Tree (2005) - I'll probably receive a good bit of flack for this choice, but I just have to do it. Fall Out Boy is one of my favorite bands because they have clever lyrics (featured in about 20 different away messages in my AIM days) and songs that will get stuck in your head for days (plus, did i mention, an Oregon Trail knock-off game? re: falloutboytrail.com). From Under the Cork Tree hits with song after song about teen drama, fame, and girls who like both. You hate them, but you love them. I just love them.
Key Track: Of all the Gin Joints in All the World
13. Modest Mouse - Good News for People Who Love Bad News (2004) - I did not listen to this album until the summer of 2008, but learned pretty quickly why it is an indie classic. Isaac Brock's voice is unique, the lyrics are creative, and the musicianship on this selection creates an up and down flow of an album like you've never experienced. "Float On" is my favorite track and will be the one that everyone knows, but the album pumps out plenty of memorable tracks ("Ocean Breathes Salty", "The World at Large", "Bury Me With It"). My favorite memory is listening to this album constantly when visiting the home state of Modest Mouse in Seattle, WA.
Key Track: Float On
12. Death Cab for Cutie - Plans (2005) - The first of two entries from Death Cab is their most popular (certified Platinum). Plans is a great collection of well-written songs that will remain on indie radio stations for years. Ben Gibbard solidified his status as a new legend in songwriting with tracks like "Marching Bands of Manhattan" and "Soul Meets Body". Narrow Stairs got me into Death Cab, but Plans kept me coming back for more.
Key Track: I Will Follow You into the Dark
11. The Format - Interventions and Lullabies (2003) - Another late arrival to my music collection is the debut from The Format. This power-pop group from Arizona only put out a couple of albums before going their separate ways, but they influenced a lot of people my age who are now creating music. Nate Reuss' lyrics were honest and enjoyable, combined with some of the most upbeat musicianship you'll encounter. Any twentysomething with an acoustic guitar in their hand needs this album in their arsenal.
Key Track: The First Single (Cause a Scene)