Tuesday, September 9, 2014

RetroActive Book Review: Animorphs #2 - The Visitor

Animorphs Book #2: The Visitor

As I said previously I am really excited to be revisiting this series having loved it so much as a kid. Book 2 is narrated by Rachel who for some reason I remember her being my least favorite narrator. About 15 years later I can see why I felt this way, her narration is very awkward and reminds me of all the female Goosebumps narrators that I can’t stand. There’s always a competitiveness in those characters that makes the narration seem painfully forced.

It’s a decent enough story. At the end of the first book they discovered that the Principal of the school was a controller. Rachel’s best friend was the principals daughter so they decide she should morph into her cat in order to spy on the Yeerks.

Not a ton happens as far as action scenes but I was shocked by the emotional notes of this book. It examines a broken home as well as parents who will do ANYTHING for their child and an intense way.

But this particular book does not push the storyline anywhere so there’s not much more to say about it. 

I recall the next book “The Encounter” being my favorite book. I used to love Tobais’ narration. Let’s see how it holds up!
Matt Kelly is the host of the popular podcast The Saint Mort Show, a frequent contributor to Geekscape.net, the founder of Chords for Cures and the co-writer/co-director of the upcoming comedy Describing the Moon. He also loves it when people surprise him with purchases from his Amazon Wishlist… just saying.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

10 Horror Movie VHS Covers Forever Etched Into My Brain

I've talked about this multiple times on my blog but there are few memories I hold as dearly as visiting the video store. I would walk through the horror section every time (even when I was too much of a pussy to watch horror movies I'd still love just looking at the covers).

When I finally became brave enough to rent the videos I would be in my local mom and pops store for 40-50 minutes looking at every cover and considering "should I rent this?" I will say this in advance, 7 of these movies I didn't rent back the and four of them I still have yet to see. Regardless I will always remember these box covers.

10. Monkey Shines
This cover terrified me. TERRIFIED ME. Look at that fucking monkey! This movie would have scared me if the entire thing was just that monkey clashing it's cymbals while staring into my soul. I put this movie off until it was available on Instant watch a few years ago. I thought it was strictly okay (although I know many who love it). 

9. House IV
Don't get me wrong the VHS covers of House and House 2 also captivated my brain but this was the one I remember really freaking me out. The previous covers had an element of comedy that I always felt this one lacked. I've yet to see this one for a pretty ridiculous reason. Despite having multiple chances to watch it I kept putting it off until I had a chance to see House 3: The Horror Show even though I knew it wasn't a legit House sequel. Thanks to FearNet a few years back I finally did get to watch that so House IV you best not disappoint!

8. Bloody New Year
Until about two years ago when I saw this cover on VHSPS' website I thought I was going insane because NO ONE knew what I was talking about. This cover always captivated me (but never scared me). I've yet to see this one but I'll probably order it off VHSPS very soon.

7. Society
I saw this movie for the first time this summer but I've remembered the cover for years. It was one of those covers that looked so bizarre that it captivated me but I wasn't sure if I actually wanted to watch it. Years later I heard nothing but praise for it and decided to grab it off VHSPS. It is nothing short of a horror masterpiece. If you haven't seen this one you owe it to yourself as a horror fan to track a copy down!

6. Halloween 2
This might be one of my all-time favorite posters. This specific image, I've seen other versions that have been changed for DVDs but it's the simplicity of this one that I adore and will always remember. This is the only movie on this list that I saw the movie before I ever saw the cover. I caught Halloween II on television right around the point I was just beginning to get brave enough to watch horror movies. That has nothing to do with the cover, just a fun fact.

5. Elves
When I became a horror movie fan I started taking it seriously immediately. It was right in the beginning of the internet's popularity and I discovered a site called Video Graveyard which was (for about two years) my horror bible. If they praised a movie then I'd see it, if they hated it… I'd avoid it. They were not impressed with Elves so despite how much this cover intrigued me I never rented it. Now I regret it since it's a hard movie to find. That being said I've discovered it's also available on VHSPS so maybe I'll pick it up along with Bloody New Year to prepare for X-mas 2014 and New Years 2015.

4. Blood Beach
This was another notoriously bad movie that captivated me. I almost rented this movie more times than I can remember and constantly wanted to know why this woman was being pulled into the sand. I did eventually see it through VHSPS and while I didn't hate it it's definitely not a masterpiece. Despite all that it's tag-line "Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water - You Can't Get To It" is one of the best of all-time.

3. The Funhouse
I was mesmerized by this cover for years, I saw it on Video Graveyard and thought it looked awesome but my local video store never had it. One night I was spending the night with my grandparents and my grandmother and I went out to rent a videotape. As I walked around her video store I saw that they had a copy of The Funhouse and immediately had her rent it for me. After everyone went to sleep I watched the movie and honestly I struggled to stay awake. I was beyond bored by it. Years later I kept hearing praise about it and rewatched it thanks to Netflix, it quickly became one of my all-time favorite horror films. I hate the new cover out there which is just a close up for the clowns face (with added drool), I'll always prefer this killer jack-in-the-box cover.

2. The Mutilator
I've yet to see this movie but based on the horror podcasts I listen to I'm not missing too much. But much like Blood Beach this was a VHS cover I would pick up and look at during every visit to the video store. One day I do hope to finally see this but I'm prepared to be let down after all these years.

1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
This is (and has always been) my favorite cover to Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Before I was a horror fan I had an uncle who was. This uncle was the best uncle a geek like I could want. He was rich and owned hundreds of movies, toys and arcade games. I would frequently look at his horror movie covers and I was obsessed with this weird cartoon drawing (I was also obsessed with the cover to Groove Tube). I was so young that I didn't know the title to this movie so when I started seeing the more popular VHS cover for Texas Chainsaw Massacre in video stores I became convinced this was a different movie. It wasn't until google that I was able to look it up and confirm it was in fact an old VHS cover for arguably the greatest horror film ever put to celluloid.

Matt Kelly is the host of the popular podcast The Saint Mort Show, a frequent contributor to Geekscape.net, the founder of Chords for Cures and the co-writer/co-director of the upcoming comedy Describing the Moon. He also loves it when people surprise him with purchases from his Amazon Wishlist… just saying.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Second Spinning (Round 3)

I've been buying albums like crazy ever since I was in 3rd grade. There's been albums I've loved and albums I've hated. Some from local bands, some from big names and even more from my 8 year Christian Music age. I've decided to take a stack of 20 albums that I disliked in my collection each month and give them another listen to see if over the years my opinion has changed.

Here's my breakdowns and reasons why

My Opinion Didn't Change On

KJ-52: 7th Avenue - In the world of Christian Hip-Hop KJ-52 provided the industry with an artist they could finally compare to Eminem. While I genuinely enjoy his later records even when I first bought his debut I was kinda let-down. Later albums showed a nice blend of funny songs, serious topics and great beats. However on his debut he was so focused on sounding "tough" that his decent flow suffers in a general lack of authenticity.

"Weird Al" Yankovic: Alapalooza - This has always been my least favorite Weird Al album. Something just always feels off with it. I think at the end of the day it feels super rushed and in a weird way… a bit of a sell out record. Every song feels like it was written for a different purpose than simply being a genuine idea (we know that Bedrock Anthem was for the Flintstones movie and Talk Soup was a rejected attempt at writing a theme song for the TV show for example). The only songs I truly love on the record are Frank's 2000" TV and Bohemian Polka (however this listen I enjoyed the prince style parody Traffic Jam).

All Star United - I honestly don't know why I bought two All Star United albums since they were far from a band I ever loved. I always really enjoyed their sophomore album International Superstars... however the self titled album never did anything for me. What's disappointing is that the only song La La Land is an INCREDIBLE song. It's definitely worth checking out if you've never heard it before.

Green Jelly: Cereal Killer Soundtrack - This is a tough one to discuss. It's not like Green Jelly was meant to be taken seriously… but they can write good songs! I know that they are capable of it, there's at least four really entertaining songs on this album. But just like when I first bought it the rest of the album just isn't enjoyable. I don't mind so-bad it's good… but usually that involves being more entertaining than this. 

Pearl Jam: Ten - Controversially for people who know me, I never really liked Pearl Jam that much. Of all the 90's grunge groups they were always my least favorite. They wrote some great singles but I always struggled to get into a full album of theirs. I decided to give their massive debut a second spin but in the end I still found myself only really enjoying the singles (specifically Black which might be the best song they ever wrote).

Albums I Appreciated More But Still Don't Love

Audioslave - When Audioslave came out I couldn't have been more let down. I loved Rage and Soundgarden and wanted something incredible. Instead I felt like the album was just bland radio rock. While that assessment isn't necessarily incorrect but they did a really awesome job with radio rock (including some pretty cool guitar solos). I still don't think it's a great album but I could see myself listening to it again sometime.

The Get Up Kids: Four Minute Mile - I have a friend who thinks this is the best Get Up Kids album. Don't get me wrong there's at least three songs on this album that are strong contenders for best song the band ever wrote. However when you hear this album after Something to Write Home About it's already up against the impossible. The biggest issue with this album is simply that it's terribly mixed.

Guns N Roses: Lies - I actually don't mind this album too much. I think it's better than either Use Your Illusion album but I'm also not the world's biggest GNR fan. I definitely prefer the second half of studio recorded acoustic songs (including one of my all time favorites Patience) over the (fake) live songs. In general it's just an uneven album that has both the best and the worst of this legendary band.

Creed: My Own Prison - I used to love Creed than I hated Creed. Now I just kinda like Creed. My Own Prison is half of a great album. Songs like Torn, One, What's this Life For and the Title Track are great songs, however there's a lot of forgettable songs on there as well. Maybe next time I'll revisit Human Clay.

Huey Lewis & The News: Sports - The first time I bought this CD it was because I was obsessed with the song If This Is It. I loved the song still but didn't like the other songs (excluding the other two singles of course). This time around though I found I enjoyed 75% of the album. That being said If This Is It is still the best song.

Albums I Really Enjoyed More Than I Thought Was Possible

Joy Electric: ChristianSongs -  I always loved seeing Joy Electric live. They put on a great show and were always a favorite for me at christian music festivals but I never really dug their sound on CD. However now that I haven't seen them live in almost a decade that doesn't seems as much of a hindrance to the album. The albums simply has good catchy songs on it and what more can I ask for?

Classic Disney Volume 1 - I bought this on my senior class trip to Disney as a souvenir. At the time I wasn't into musicals or a huge fan of those Disney films from my past. Now at 28 when I have that overwhelming love of both showtunes and the nostalgia of classic Disney films I regret not relistening to this sooner.

Last Tuesday: Distractions & Convictions - I don't remember how I found Last Tuesday but they were the first band I ever booked that I wasn't friends with. The put on a great live set despite there being like 15 people at the show. I picked up their album Dear Jessica (which will be on a future second spinning) and enjoyed it for the most part. I then picked up every album they released after that and never totally loved the records until their last album. Revisiting this CD this week however I found it packed with awesome, fast and raw punk songs.

Shorthanded: Forever Yours -  The issue with Shorthanded's album was that I fell in love with the band  based on demos from various Tooth & Nail comps. I preferred the songs in their demo versions and wrote off this album for not sounding close enough to the demos. This might have been the first time I actually listened to at least half the songs. The band isn't anything special but they could write a good catchy song when they wanted to.

Tim Blane: In the Meantime - Like some artists on previous Second Spinning articles I discovered Tim Blane via free live music at my college. I bought it strictly for the catchy title track. This was an extremely fun listen and I can't wait to revisit it again soon.

Slick Shoes - There's really nothing to say about this album except it's as good as previous Slick Shoes albums. I don't know why I didn't like it but loved their previous albums. Also the song Alone is one of the best songs the band ever wrote. If you like Slick Shoes and don't already own this then you're doing something wrong. 

90lb Wuss: Where the Meager Die of Self Hate - When I was kid I didn't know what to think about this band or this album… now in my late 20's I sell don't know what to make of them, but I like them a lot more. In a strange blend of Indie rock, Post-Hardcore and Old School Punk this album is bizarre, angry and completely chaotic in the way it shifts between genres.

Now I Love This Album

Jeff Buckley: Grace - When the only song you know by Buckley is his beautiful rendition of Hallelujah going into this album is tough. There's really nothing that sounds quite like that song (arguably the best cover of all time) and that turned me off right away. Relistening to it though I found it the be an insanely powerful album and much like Blind Melon was in the past I can't help but wish we could hear what more Jeff Buckley had in him.

Saves the Day: Stay what You Are - This album committed the cardinal sin of not sounding like the old albums. There's something about when a band changes their sound that makes you refuse to give them a fair chance. I'm glad I got my head out of my ass to finally give this album the listen it deserved. It's a great and catchy record. Certain Tragedy is my new favorite song Saves The Day ever recorded.

The Beastie Boys: To The 5 Boroughs - I have absolutely no answer to why I disliked this album to begin with. I must have been angry or distracted or something. While this isn't their greatest album it's full of everything that made that Beastie Boys great. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Triggered Memory - "Loser"

This week my roommate and best friend got a girlfriend. This was a major blow to my self esteem as this means I am the final "single" friend in my circle of best friends. Last night while he and his girlfriend were out for the night I picked up a DVD that best described how I felt, also it proved the strangest feeling of comfort for me for many years. Last night was no different.

I'm just going to be straight forward here. I didn't have a ton of friends growing up. From Elementary School on up until High School I can maybe think of 2-3 people that I still talk to on a semi-regular basis. I spent many weekends with my family. 

Our friday nights basically involved one of two things. We'd either watch TGIF together or if it was rerun season we'd go to Blockbuster and rent two or three movies to watch as a family. At the time I thought this was completely normal but now at 28 I realized I was quite blessed to have such an insanely close and loving family.  It was on one of those Friday nights that I saw Loser.

The first time I watched it, I didn't really think much of it. I thought the scene featuring David Spade was funny but never thought much more about it. That didn't stop me from buying the VHS tape. I could come up with a million excuses for why I bought a movie but it basically boils down to one thing… I was in love.

Dora Diamond (Mena Suvari) has for 14 years remained one of my three biggest fictional film character crushes (also on the list Kat from Casper and Sam from Garden State…more about them in the future I'm sure). I bought the VHS because of that character. All I wanted in Junior High on into High School was that punky weird girl with a heart of gold. It was in this "love" that I connected so strongly with Jason Biggs' character Paul.

Jason Biggs' early career was basically him playing characters that I could see myself in. I saw myself in Jim when I saw American Pie and I saw myself in Paul.

What started off as a movie that I bought because of a crush turned into a movie I watched once a week because it gave me home. I remember my lonely summers. It wasn't uncommon for me to order a cheesesteak from the steak shop behind my house and eat while watching this movie. I memorized this movie, every line, every musical queue, everything. The soundtrack truly is amazing and introduced me to at least five songs that are among my all-time favorites. 

So why? Why would I watch something that much? Because every time I watched it… it'd give me hope of my happy ending. Despite my loneliness, despite the lack of girls that showed an attraction to me… every time I watched the movie it made me believe that one day I'd find my Dora Diamond. I still do.

Monday, July 28, 2014

10 Songs From the 90's You Probably Forgot Existed

I absolutely love the 90's. It's my favorite decade by a long-shot. I've said multiple times on various places that what impresses me the most about the 90's is the fact that the most popular music and films also were (most of the time) the most critically adored. Think about the most popular things of the 70s and 80s and you'll see how rare this is. However for every amazing song and artist that has stood the test of time and remains popular 20-25 years later there's plenty of great songs and artists that we completely forgot about. Here's ten of my favorites.

10. Dog's Eye View Everything Falls Apart

For a brief period of time this was my favorite song. What's most impressive about that I had no clue who the artist was for at least a month, all I knew was that I heard the song on the radio once and for 20+ years haven't been able to get the chorus out of my head.

9. Coolio C U When You Get There

This was Coolio's last pseudo-hit single. It's actually one of his best songs but sadly it's one of the only decent songs on an otherwise lackluster (and more unforgivably… long) album. This also predates Vitamin C's sampling of Panchelbel's Canon in D by three years. That's gonna count for something right?

8. Lisa Loeb & the Nine Stories Do You Sleep?

I might be the only person who heard this song before Stay (I Miss You). I have a bizarrely specific memory of this song. When I was kid and my parents first got MTV I'd wake up super early on Saturday mornings and end up watching Oddities: The Head, The Brothers Grunt and the MTV Top 20 Countdown. This song is one of the only songs that I distinctly remember being on the countdown. I'm sure there's a few that I could simply guess were on the countdown by thinking of hit songs from 1995 but this is the only video I 100% remember on that list.

7. The Rentals Waiting

I remember the first time I heard Friends of P I couldn't wrap my head around the song or the video. I always thought Waiting was far more marketable but at this point the closest thing to a claim to fame it has is being in Joe's Apartment (yea I know… that's one hell of a stretch). It wasn't until years later with the help of the internet I found out this was a side-project of Matt Sharp (formerly) of Weezer fame.

6. Semisonic Singin in My Sleep

In my last Second Spinning article I mentioned that this was the song that got me really into SemiSonic.  I still think this is the better single but obviously the world remembers Closing Time and this catchy track has just disappeared from the memory banks of everyone except a singular weirdo in PA.

5. The Space Monkeys Sugar Cane

I fucking LOVED this song when it came out. I asked for the Space Monkeys album for my birthday and my parents got it and dear god did I hate that CD. There was one other song I dug (Acid House Killed Rock N Roll) but hated the rest of the album. Eventually I sold it to a used CD store, over the years I still think about Sugar Cane and how much I love the song. It appeared a decent handful of teen flicks from the late 90's and it really is a catchy little track. I just checked Amazon and the albums is available used for a penny, maybe it's time to buy it and give it another chance.

4. Better Than Ezra At The Stars

This was one of the last Better Than Ezra hits (it might actually be their last hit… there's a good chance I'm the only one who remembers the song Extra-Ordinary from their following album and just assume it was a hit). Better than Ezra was a weird group, I loved their singles and then bought their albums and was almost ALWAYS disappointed. When I think of this song I always think of this cassette tape I had (I probably still have it) of songs recorded off of y100 (the local alt-rock station at the time). All these years later this song still makes me feel something in my heart when the chorus hits. I'm not sure what that feeling is, probably just nostalgia, but it hits me every damn time.

3. 1000 Clowns (Not The) Greatest Rapper

The only reason I know this song was because of the Box, and even then it wasn't that popular of a song. I don't know who the two or three people were who ordered this song were but I'm eternally thankful towards them. As far as I know there was never an official 1000 Clowns album (god knows I looked) and the song only existed on the Good Burger soundtrack. I still try to force this song down people's throats by randomly playing it at parties just to watch the looks on their faces as they all slowly remember that this song existed.

I just checked out the 1000 Clowns wikipedia page (yes they have one), turns out not only did they have one album but they're originally from Philadelphia. So that's pseudo-cool.

2. Marvelous 3 Freak of the Week

This is the strangest story I have for any song. In the late 90's I had a friend who would make me burnt CDs. He was the only person I knew who (a) knew about things like Napster and (b) had a CD burner (those were simpler times). MTV used to do a thing about "BuzzWorthy" songs where they would play a 10 second clip of a video that they thought would be a huge hit. This was a BuzzWorthy song… but I don't remember them ever playing the fucking video! I loved the 10 seconds I heard in the clip so when I was making a list of songs for my friend to burn on my next CD I put this on the list. I ended up loving the song. I need to actually pick up the full album one day and see if the rest of it is as good as this song. If you've never heard the song before listen to the song and tell me it's not completely and totally infectious.

1. Black Lab Time Ago

This is my 90's nostalgia song. There is no song from this decade that reminds me of the summers in the 90's quite like this Black Lab song. Shit it's basically the inspiration for me doing this list. There's a good chance I would have forgotten this song years ago if it wasn't for the cassette tape with that Better Than Ezra song. When I first got my license in 2004 I had an old Buick LaSabre that only had a tape-player. Thankfully I had stacks of old cassette tapes. I remember the first time this song came on in my car. I was overwhelmed with nostalgia. I shit you not… I might have cried a little bit. Not like a full out sobbing but this song brought back wave after wave of positive memories that I missed the simple times.

In the summer my family basically lived at my cousin's pool house. They had this gorgeous outdoor pool, with a big deck and a huge grill and outdoor sound system. Y100 was always on and this song was on CONSTANTLY. I simply can't hear this song and not think of a long time ago (hehe) when I believed anything was possible. I've heard one other song by this band (Tell me what to say on the Can't Hardly Wait soundtrack) and I have no interest in tracking down their other songs. Regardless if this is their best song or their worst song… no song of theirs will ever hold the level of importance to me that this song manages to.

Matt Kelly is the host of the popular podcast The Saint Mort Show, a frequent contributor to Geekscape.net, the founder of Chords for Cures and the co-writer/co-director of the upcoming comedy Describing the Moon.

Friday, July 25, 2014

RetroActive Book Review: Animorphs #1 - The Invasion

Animorphs Book #1: The Invasion

If I’m going to be completely honest I was disappointed that the Goosebumps books didn’t hold up better. I had such a genuine love for those books that I wanted them to be as good as I always remembered. Perhaps it was that disappointment that lead me to go into Animorphs with low expectations.

Most of my childhood was made up of Goosebumps and Animorphs books, I was expecting that reading this series would somehow destroy my memory of the series (which I never finished). I was very much wrong. 

K. A. Applegate never speaks down to her readers and goes out of her way to make the stakes actually matter. In this day and age when most children’s entertainment centers around the dangers of ‘not being popular’ or ‘the guy you like not liking you back’ it’s great to be remembered that some children’s authors chose to write hero stories.

In the first installment we have the origin story of the Animorphs. A group of 5 friends (Marco, Tobias, Rachel, Cassie and our narrator Jake) encounter a dying animal when cutting through an abandoned construction site to get home from the mall. The alien (called an Andalite) warns the children of an alien invasion in their town. Slug like creatures called Yeerks have landed, they enter through your ear and take over your body turning you into a ‘controller’. You know longer have any free will or thought. He knows that he will be killed shortly by the evil Vissar Three (the only yeerk to control an Andalite body) and gives the children his power to morph into any animal. The only rule is don’t remain in a morph for longer than 2 hours or you will be trapped in that body forever.

The Yeerks witness the children running away (but luckily don’t see their faces). It’s at this time that they start to realize that their own family members, teachers and police department are under Yeerk control. While reluctant at first they decide they must fight or Earth will lose this war. Their first goal is to save Jake’s brother Tom who is a controller. While trying to save Tom they discover (a) that the local organization The Sharing is ran by Yeerks as a means of finding more people to control and (b) that the Yeerks must soak in a Yeerk pool every three days. The Yeerk pool is located under the school. 

With the plan of saving Tom while his Yeerk is in the Yeerk pool the 5 sneak in and attack. A bloody battle ensues and the animorphs save one woman and kill a controlled Police Officer who knew their true identity but fail to rescue Tom. While hiding Tobias overstays the 2 hour limit and remains trapped as a Red-Tailed Hawk. 

The group make a pledge to fight until more Andalite’s come and help them. 

I’m genuinely excited to re-read the other 54 books (yes you read correctly, it’s a long fucking series). 

Matt Kelly is the host of the popular podcast The Saint Mort Show, a frequent contributor to Geekscape.net, the founder of Chords for Cures and the co-writer/co-director of the upcoming comedy Describing the Moon.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Second Spinning (Round 2)

I've been buying albums like crazy ever since I was in 3rd grade. There's been albums I've loved and albums I've hated. Some from local bands, some from big names and even more from my 8 year Christian Music age. I've decided to take a stack of 20 albums that I disliked in my collection each month and give them another listen to see if over the years my opinion has changed.

Here's my breakdowns and reasons why

My Opinion Didn't Change On:

Green Day: American Idiot Green Day was the first band I ever loved and they have remained one of my top 10 favorite bands ever. Despite this I could never get into American Idiot (an album many call their masterpiece). What's weird about this is I'm not a hater of new Green Day. I loved Uno, Dos, Tre (I might be the only person who did) as well as 21st Century Breakdown. I thought that maybe American Idiot took me off guard and that going back I'd like it more, but that was not the case. My opinion remains the same it's too stylized and the concept too heavy handed. The song American Idiot is still my least favorite Green Day single, the rest of the singles are great as is Jesus Of Suburbia but I think the rest of the album is just forgettable.

R.E.M.: Automatic For the People I'm a big R.E.M. fan when it comes to their singles, however every album I've purchased by them I disliked (excluding Document). The band is capable of writing great singles but in general their music ends up boring me more than anything. This will not be the only time they pop up on one of these lists as I have about 4 other albums by them to revisit.

Primus: Pork Soda Much like Green Day Primus is one of my all time favorite bands. Pork Soda is one of their most popular albums yet it's always been my least favorite album by them. It's mostly an issue of being too long with not enough catchy material to carry the album. I love stuff like Welcome to This World and My Name Is Mud but the album hits a drawn out part midway through.

Albums I Appreciated More But Still Don't Love

Mae: Destination Beautiful This was the last Mae album I purchased and I think that had a helping hand in me not loving it the first time around. This is a perfectly fine album and all things considered a great debut. It's unfair of me to have compared it to their masterpiece The Everglow, if I heard this album before The Everglow I probably would have loved it. Regardless of my opinion the song Sun is a masterpiece.

Collective Soul: Dosage I always had a love hate relationship with Collective Soul. I adored their self-titled album and felt "meh" towards everything else they ever released. With Dosage I remember only liking two or three songs but I actually found myself enjoying this album when listening to it. Afterwards though I couldn't remember any songs I liked beyond the two or three I've always loved as a kid. However I will be giving this album another spin sooner rather than later.

Bright Eyes: Fevers & Mirrors I find myself frequently getting bored with Bright Eyes midway through his albums.  Regardless if it's an album I love or an album I hate there's always a song or two that just goes too long or gets too weird or is too stripped down. I remembered Fevers & Mirrors being all songs like that (with the exception of The Calendar Hung Itself which is why I bought the album) but actually the whole albums is filled with someone interesting stuff. The issue is mostly that the opening and closing songs are what I was remembering. As the end caps of the album it makes it feel like the whole album was like that.

Ace Troubleshooter: Madness of the Crowd The biggest issue with Ace Troubleshooter is that while every song is great, 90% of them are completely forgettable. I loved listening to this CD and by the time it was over all I remember was 2:00 Your Time

Audio Adrenaline: Some Kind of Zombie The last Round Audio Adrenaline's Bloom fell into this exact same category. That being said I enjoyed revisiting this a little more than Bloom. I remember loving the album as a kid, then as I got older hating the album and now I like it more than I used to… but I don't love it as much as I used to (if that makes sense at all). I will say that I forgot how weird the background noises were or how People Like Me is arguably the best song The Rentals never wrote.

Busta Rhymes: When Disaster Strikes Busta Rhymes is an awesome rapper (or was before Pussycat Dolls came into his life) but his CDs always felt too long. I remembered liking two songs (outside of the two singles) when I got this album but in retrospect there's a ton of great material here. The album suffers from the same thing many rap albums of the 90's suffer from, terrible skits that run too long. That being said So Hardcore is the best song Busta ever recorded.

Albums I Really Enjoyed More Than I Remember Being Possible

The Offspring: Conspiracy of One I always loved The Offspring but for some reason this album and it's follow up Splinter never sat well with me. Not sure why though, beyond the fact that it has Want You Bad (one of the best songs the band ever wrote) on it, the album is every Americana was. I will definitely be listening to this album again in the near future.

Jason LeVasseur: Driver is the DJ Since I was such a big fan of LeVasseur's Watching the Girls Go By last time I decided to revisit its follow-up. This album is more polished and packed with even more catchy songs. The only crime is that it didn't have Steps of Saint Patricks on it. Seriously if you haven't yet look that song up. It's a masterpiece.

Semisonic: Feeling Strangely Fine I'm sure you're familiar with SemiSonic for their lone hit Closing Time but that's not why I bought this album back in the day. Don't get me wrong, it's a great song but I was a bigger fan of their less popular follow-up single Singing In My Sleep.For a while the two singles were the only songs I liked off the album but looking back on it there's a ton of really great catchy songs. It's not a perfect album but it's definitely a good one.

Barenaked Ladies: Maroon It's weird to me that the reason I disliked this album was that it didn't sound enough like Barenaked Ladies. The fact of the matter is that BNL never had a specific sound, it evolved every couple albums. This album actually was part of my favorite sound so I'm not sure why I walked away from my first listening thinking it had two good singles and a bunch of forgetful tracks. This album is all great tracks minus one or two forgetful songs.

Cat Stevens: Mona Bone Jakon I wrote about this album a few days ago so I'll keep it short. Beyond the person connection it's a great album. I still dislike Lady D'Arbanville but the rest of the album is pretty great. The best part is that at least half the album was written for my all time favorite movie Harold & Maude. That alone is enough to baffle me on why I didn't like this album from the start.

Nerf Herder: My E.P. This one I understand. This was my first ever Nerf Herder album and they are a band that takes some time to grow on you. Plain and simple. I heard the song High School, I liked it, I bought the album. You also have to factor that I bought this when I was still pretty religious and why I don't remember being offended… I'm sure there's a chance I was by the vulgarity of the songs. Now I love them all.

Ben Folds: Songs for Silverman I loved this album from it's first track, then I hated the rest of the album. Not sure why that was because now I listen to it and of all of his solo albums this is the one that sounds the most like a Ben Folds Five album. While nothing on this album could be considered Ben's best, none of them are his worst either. That being said Bastard and Landed are the stand out tracks for sure.

David Gray: White Ladder This is another one of those CDs that my general childhood attention span made me miss out on. I picked up this album because I loved the song Please Forgive Me but was bored by the slower songs and never listened to it again. This is a beautiful album plain and simple, it's only crime is a song or two that overstays its welcome, but otherwise I need to track down more David Gray albums.

Now I Love This Album

Arrested Development: 3 Years, 5 months and 2 Days in the life of… For years I told people this album was boring and that Tennessee was the only good song. I have no clue what the fuck I was thinking of (maybe I confused this album with the PM Dawn album I bought around the same time). This CD is everything I love about 90's hip-hop. It's the perfect laid-back summer album for a long car ride. Maybe that was my issue? The first time I listened to this was in a basement while playing a video game. This is 100% a driving album.

Katie Todd: Changing Faces Just like Jason LeVasseur I heard Katie Todd through my college concert series. There's a song on this album called Unreachable that is beautiful. I bought the CD because I loved that particular song. Much like Steps of Saint Patricks by Jason LeVasseur that song was so good that it set a high standard for the rest of the album that was impossible to reach. Revisiting the album though I found the whole CD to be a  beautiful album. If you're a fan of Regina Spektor and early Fiona Apple you should definitely check out Katie Todd.

The Cars: Heartbeat City There isn't even a doubt in my mind that this was the best album of the 20 this time around. I bought this CD for one reason You Might Think and I think that was the only song I listened to. That's the only way to justify how this hasn't been one of my favorite albums of all time. The saddest thing is knowing that for years I've not been obsessing over how perfect the song Magic is. Seriously, that song should have been on every MixTape I ever made for a girl who had no interest in me.

Matt Kelly is the host of the popular podcast The Saint Mort Show, a frequent contributor to Geekscape.net, the founder of Chords for Cures and the co-writer/co-director of the upcoming comedy Describing the Moon.