My Top Ten Favorite Albums

A lot of thought goes into making a top ten list. Questions are asked and sometimes tears are shed. What makes a favorite album? Does it resonate on a very deep an emotional level? Does the album stand out as a major shift in thinking? Does the album challenge you to be better? Some of these questions were asked and answered and after consideration it became clear that these 10 albums may not be the best albums of all time but, they are definitely my favorite albums.

#10 ‘The Beautiful Unknown’ by Foreverinmotion

Of all the albums on this list — I will ultimately be surprised if you have heard of them. This isn’t in a hipster way; but for real. You’ve probably never heard of them. Foreverinmotion is the brain child of Brendon Thomas (better known for his band The End of America.)

Foreverinmotion is a solo project that has gone from simple man and a guitar songs to sprawling soundscapes. The lyrical content is grandiose, terrestrial, and relate-able. Brendon touches on issues dealing with relationships, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the questions of religion, faith, science, the relation between man and his location.

‘The Beautiful Unknown’ is just that — something that stretches through your heart and guides you into something new. ‘The Rain’, ‘Hot Air Balloon’, ‘Avalanche’, ‘The Clothes We Walk In’, and ‘Flight 268’ are all different types of songs each touching on so many thought provoking images, clever metaphors, wordplay, and the soft melodies of Brendon’s voice. It’s an album that needs to be witnessed from beginning to end and this album along with album #5 changed the direction of my music tastes forever.

#9 ‘The Black Parade’ by My Chemical Romance

From ‘The End.’ to the sputtering end of the hidden track ‘Blood’ — this album is an undeniable classic. It informs and begets a whole subsection of my music taste. I know ninety percent of these songs by heart, and I’ve lost my voice to ‘Famous Last Words,’ ‘Dead!’, and ‘Mama’ so many times I might as well be a member of the band. I’ve seen the smattering of new acts pandering for attention or cementing their place with covers of ‘Cancer’, ‘Teenagers’, and “Welcome to the Black Parade.’ This is all because without ‘The Black Parade’ a whole generation of bands, a whole generation of fans, and everything would not be the same.

This album is such a road trip. It’s got highs and lows all over the place. It’s like the dying moments as your life flashes before your eyes. There is not a single track out of place. This is as perfect an album as possible in my honest opinion. Gerard Way, Frank Iero, Mikey Way, Ray Toro, and Bob Bryar crafted a seminal album, the defining moment of their career and ultimately what they will be remembered for until the end of their lives and even beyond it.

I’ll never forget that call to join the black parade.

#8 ‘X&Y’ by Coldplay

In 2005 Coldplay released an album that has gone platinum in 17 different countries. It built upon their already rabid fan-base, expanded on their sonic pallet, and refused to leave the conscious. I didn’t get into this album until a few years later when I got a copy through happenstance. I had heard ‘Talk’, ‘Speed of Sound’ and ‘The Hardest Part’ (The latter of which through Rock Band).

This album is indebted to the U2 and their bassist Adam Clayton. This album couldn’t exist without their musical stylings and I can’t help but scream at the top of my lungs how happy this album makes me.

‘Fix You’ is actually one of my favorite songs of all time (a list that may come at some other time). If it weren’t for ‘Speed of Sound’ I wouldn’t have been open to Coldplay — I remember singing it on a karaoke game in the mid 2000’s. While critics consider it an inferior album to its predecessors its cemented itself at #8 on my list of top 10 favorite albums.

#7 ‘American Idiot’ by Green Day

Green Day went through hell and back again writing this album. Having almost completed a record when all of their masters were stolen. The band scrapped that project and fueled with rage they wrote their magnum opus a “soda pop and adrenaline” soaked, and politically charged album. From criticizing the bush administration to talking about sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, parodying the pop culture of the day. This album crushes the competition of the time.

Until ‘American Idiot’ songs that were longer than 4 minutes were left to my dad’s generation (Which yes, I know. Billie Joe and company are Gen Xer’s — sue me.) With ‘Homecoming’ and ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ my views on music changed and truly this album prepared me for ‘The Black Parade’, it prepared me for ‘Underclass Hero’ and it really paid tribute to my love for musical theatre.

I love this album so much cemented in their controversy and encapsulating an entire generation post 9/11, there are no real ways to make this list without ‘American Idiot’.

#6 ‘Meteora’ by Linkin Park

Nothing screams teen angst like Linkin Park’s second record ‘Meteora’. My jr. high years and into my sophomore year of high-school were defined by this record. Lost in the words screamed by Chester Bennington and rhymed by Mike Shinoda, I found myself among the rage and the frustration.

My love for this album informed my tastes. It was a gateway drug to System of a Down, A Day To Remember, Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, and many more. I love and adore this album. It defined an era of my childhood and there’s nothing else that I can do but just remember all the heartbreak, the first kisses, the loneliness, the growth, and how eventually I moved past these angsty feelings.

But, I can still headbang and sing like it is 2003–2009.

#5 ‘I-Empire’ by Angels & Airwaves

Tom Delonge ruined my childhood. This isn’t the first time he ruined my childhood (More on that later on for #3.) Linkin Park opened the flood gates for that point in my life where all I listened to was angry music. Yeah, I dabbled in a little bit of everything — but my music tastes didn’t begin to shift until the Myspace Age. I loved Blink-182 and I remember their Greatest Hits album so vividly that when I was on MySpace I began hunting to see if there was more Blink-182 songs. Unfortunately this was post Hiatus (2006–2007) and Tom Delonge was higher than a kite on pain meds putting out an album that was the second coming of Jesus.

This album spoke hope and life into my soul. I was looking for something more and in the confines of ‘We Don’t Need to Whisper’ and ultimately ‘I-Empire’ — I finally discovered the true power of music. I had always loved music, but in the words of hope sang in ‘Secret Crowds’ — “Spread hope like fire,” hope began secretly burning in my soul.

(Not to mention, the album artwork is done by Drew Struzan. Yeah. That Struzan.)

#4 ‘Lucky Street’ by Go Radio

Jason Lancaster, you have one of the most beautifully insane minds. Your music has made me so happy. You and the Go Radio Family changed the way I related to music. It changed the way that I felt about concerts. (I saw you guys 4 to 5 times in just a year and a half) and ultimately I wouldn’t have known who you were if it wasn’t for #1, but this album speaks for itself. There’s so much power in this album. Nothing I can say will ever do this album justice. So go listen to ‘Lucky Street’.

#3 ‘Blink-182’ by Blink-182

Tom Delonge ruined my childhood. So did Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus — and while building this list so often I put down albums because they were ultimately informed by my obsession for Blink-182. Truthfully, even this album here is ultimately a lie. My favorite album by Blink-182 is actually their greatest hits album. The Album I found as the band died, and I never knew that they were dying.

Blink-182 though is their truest album. They didn’t pull back any punches. ‘Go’, ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, and so many songs here would spark fire and energy in +44 and Angels and Airwaves. There are so many bands that are shaped by the void that was left by the death of Blink-182 and the ultimate mediocrity that +44 and Angels and Airwaves were. They are two pieces separated that began here in the last breath of ‘Blink-182’.

#2 ‘Life Left to Go’ by Safetysuit

The year is 2008 and 2 things happened to me that I didn’t expect. One of them surprising, and the other one honestly… just gonna happen. A friend of mine who never liked music like this found it, liked it, and immediately though “Devin would like this.”

Second, this girl I really liked broke up with me and went to college, and this album got me through that time. This song has gotten me through 3 stages of my life. I learned more about myself, love, and relationship through the power of this record. It’s aged with me, and to be honest. These guys are my favorite band. Doug and company craft songs like no other and they are just honest and powerful. This album though. This one is my favorite.

And finally.

#1 ‘A Lesson in Romantics’ by Mayday Parade

‘A Lesson in Romantics’ — it was all leading up to here. My love for this album is informed partially by so many of the others. Though, this album changed so much of my music tastes. It opened my door to one of my favorite concerts. To one of my other favorite bands of all time. There is power, innocence, love, and a million other emotions bottled up in this album.

I wanted to be in a band and write songs like them. Screaming at the top of my lungs, travelling the world and wearing my heart on my sleeve. ‘Jersey’, ‘You be the Anchor’, ‘Jamie All Over’, these songs are mainstays. If I need jam. They’re there for me.

My poetry began taking on a very Derek Sanders and Jason Lancaster twist, my titles mirrored their styling. I wasn’t afraid of trying things, repeating things, and changing things. This album changed me.

‘A Lesson in Romantics’ may not be the best album ever written, but its my favorite album of all time.

What about you?

Doesn’t matter your reasons. What are your favorite albums? Any of these that you like? Send me a response.

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