Here’s this week’s Playlist:
1) The Age of Adz by Sufjan Stevens. This album is not like the Sufjan many have come to know and love. It’s a totally (and I do mean totally) different sound. I am not sure how I ultimately feel about it musically. Artistically it does speak to Sufjan’s originality and experimentalism, and for that I want to support him. Drew Dixon over at Christ and Pop Culture has given an inviting review of the album here.
2) Narrow Stairs by Death Cab for Cutie. Despite their success among the pop-music crowd DCD has remained true to their artistic form with their melodic sound and earnest lyrics. This 2008 represents, in my opinion, their best work. Top songs include: “I Will Possess Your Heart,” and “Your New Twin Sized Bed”.
3) American Idiot by Green Day. This album is arguably GD’s best work to date. While the sound is not dissimilar to their other work (think Dookie with years of more practice). Lyrically, however, the album represents a cogent worldview with thoughtful lyrics. While I don’t personally agree with all that Billy-Joe sings about, I find the album presents lots to think about and reflect on. Top songs include: “American Idiot,” “Jesus of Suburbia,” “Holiday,” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends.”
4) Nevermind by Nirvana. This album embodies the best that grunge-rock ever produced with its combination of spooky melodic and bold aggressive sounds. Cobain’s lyrical guns are pointed at both society at large and himself throughout the album making for personally and culturally reflective songs. 1991 was the year of Nirvana and this album remains one of the best of the decade. That latter point being supported by anthem-like quality of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Top songs include: “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Bloom,” and “Come as You Are.”
5) Sound The Alarm by Saves the Day. This 2008 album returned the band to their roots after their 2003 release shocked loyal fans and earned their disapproval. The album is dark and rather disturbing in its lyrical content, true to STD form, and the sound is of a fast-paced emo/pop-punk quality. Chris Conley’s vocals are as distinct as ever with that slightly annoying tone to them. Driving guitars dominate the tracks and while they songs seem to all blend together after awhile it has its moments of fun. Tops songs include: “Head for the Hills,” “Shattered,” and “34.”
6) Mean Everything To Nothing by Manchester Orchestra. The band’s second album, released in 2009, deserves its place as a prominent work in the evolution of the band. The dramatic contrast of hard, aggressive, and punchy choruses and the melodic, inviting bridges makes this a musical roller coaster ride. Just when you get use to the impressive driving sounds of the verses and choruses they break into a soft and slow bleeding confession, only to turn around and hit you in the face again. The changing rhythms make this album a wild ride and they thoughtful lyrics make it compelling overall album. Top songs include: “I’ve Got Friends,” “Shake It Out,” and “In My Teeth.”
7) No Sir, Nihilism Is Not Practical by Showbread. They refer to their style and sound as “Raw Rock” and it indeed is raw. This album represents the best of their work in my opinion. It is alterna-rock with a solid and clear screamo addition. Their lyrics focus on more artistic and Christian themes which are disseminated through consistently aggressive and even “jerky” sound. It’s fast and furious and thoughtful, a fun combination. Top songs include: “Mouth Like A Magazine,” “Dead by Dawn,” “Stabbing Art To Death,” and “The Dissonance of Discontent.”