Tuesday, January 31, 2012

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music: 96. Blink 182 - Take Off Your Pants and Jacket

Every Tuesday I Discuss one of the albums that made me love music

96. Blink 182: Take Off Your Pants and Jacket

First things first, I want to state here and now, this is the only Blink album to appear on this list. This isn’t to say anything against Cheshire Cat, Dude Ranch or Enema of the State. They’re all fantastic albums, but in the next few paragraphs I’m going to explain my love of this album.

When I was starting Junior High I saw a music video on MTV. At this point I was already a Punk/Ska kid. I never dressed the part (I only tried dying my hair once and I never have been tattooed or pierced or skateboarded), but all the music I listened too was The Suicide Machines, Goldfinger and Green Day so punk wasn’t something new to me. But when I saw Dammit for the first time, was like hearing a completely new genre of music to me. The people performing looked like they were the same age as my cousins. Unlike all the other music at that time, these guys seemed like they could be friends of mine, sort of how I imagine kids in early 90‘s felt when they first heard Nirvana or Green Day in middle school.

By 8th grade Blink 182 went from a band that a few kids knew and enjoyed to a band that EVERYONE knew. I had become a very asshole-ish christian at this point so ‘inappropriate’ humor like that meant nothing to me (which actually means I thought it was hilarious but didn’t think I was allowed to admit it).

Then 10th grade happened, I was in my 2nd band (but first REAL band). We would practice 3 days a week after school at the local church and while I was still a bit of a ‘full of himself asshole’, I enjoyed hanging with my bandmates Matt and Nick. They were real punk rock kids who would play me stuff like Lagwagon and NoFx. The summer before classes started up Blink had released Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. I remember going to practice one day and Matt showing up with the CD and saying ‘You have to hear this song.’ It was then that he played me Reckless Abandon.

At this point there had been three singles off the album The Rock Show, Stay Together For the Kids and First Date. At the time I thought they were okay but ultimately forgettable songs but Reckless Abandon was undeniable massive to me. Tom and Mark were singing about the same types of crazy shit Matt, Nick and occasionally I would get involved in. I had never heard a song so simply sum up the high school experience for me. I finally gave into the power of Blink and bought the album.

A few of my older friends talk about how this was the ‘last blink album they bought’. It definitely was the point where poop jokes took a back seat to serious song writing (but you still had stuff like Happy Holidays, You Bastard and Shut Up). Tom and Mark at this point where in their late 20’s and there is a distinct nostalgia feel throughout the entire record. Songs like First Date, Roller Coaster and Reckless Abandon all clearly are pulled from high school memories, but you still have songs like Stay Together For the Kids and Story of a Lonely Guy that have a real seriousness to them.

At the end of the day though, I think your favorite Blink 182 is almost directly connected with the album you connected the most to high school. For me it’ll always be this album.

When he's not getting nostalgic on his favorite albums and movies he hosts the Saint Mort Show, Writes for Geekscape.net and tweets all day long. For his guilty pleasure this week he defended The Guyver.

<----- 97. The Leftovers: Eager to Please

95. John Reuben: Hindsight ----->

Thursday, January 26, 2012

100 Movies That Made Me Love Film: 97. Heathers

Every Thursday I list one of the 100 movies that made me love film

97. Heathers

Junior year of high school two things happened at almost the exact same time. I had gotten my first real girlfriend (I had one other girlfriend previously but as that relationship was equal to only a handful of dates over a 2 month period I don’t count it. This would lasted half a year and we hung out quite frequently). Around this same time VH1 began airing shows like I love the 80’s. I was obsessed with the ‘I Love...’ series and that was how I first figured out what Heathers was about. I’d heard of it previously but until then I had no clue it wasn’t an 80’s chick-flick like Pretty in Pink or Sixteen Candles.

Almost every Friday night my girlfriend (Jeanine) and I would rent movies from Blockbuster and mostly just make-out while they were on. There were a select few films that really truly grabbed our attention so much that make-out sessions completely ceased. Heathers was such a film. We weren’t just drawn in to it’s shocking story (although that’s an element) there were insanely funny moments of dark comedy sparkled throughout this horror-ish story.

Heathers tells the story of Veronica Sawyer who is part of the Heathers, the most powerful cliche in Westerburg High School. Veronica also happens to be the only one in the group not named Heather. They run the school newspaper and create all the newest trends, they’re lead but the evil Heather Chandler.

Veronica meets the rebellious outcast J.D. one day and falls madly in love. He convinces her to get revenge on Heather Chandler but pulling a prank on her. In doing so they “accidentally” kill her, but to cover their tracks they write a fake suicide note. Much like everything else Heather Chandler does, Suicide becomes a trendy thing to do.

J.D. continues his fake suicide killing spree to get back at all the ‘evil’ popular kids in the school. Veronica tries to stop him when she realizes his magnum opus is blowing up the school during a pep rally as a giant group suicide.

One of the best things about this movie is how it could NEVER get made today. The closest we’ve come is Mean Girls which can only be described as Heathers light. In 2009 Wionna Ryder discussed wanting to do a sequel meanwhile Lakeshore Entertainment announced plans to turn the movie into a TV show, Thankfully 3 years later neither of these terrible ideas have actually occurred.

Heathers is a film that represents it’s time, while remaining ageless. Despite it’s poor box office the movie was a festival favorite and cult classic that has stood the test the time better than most films of the 90’s and early 2000’s.

When Matt's not blogging he's writing for Geekscape.net, Tweeting and Producing his podcast The Saint Mort Show. He also recently wrote an article at WragsInk about how to get your blogs noticed.

<---- 98. Re-Animator

96. Ghostbusters ----->

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music: 97. The Leftovers - Eager to Please

Every Tuesday I'll be counting down the 100 albums that make me love music

97. The Leftovers: Eager to Please

In the summer of 2010 I flew out to California for the first time and attended San Diego Comic Con with my friends from Geekscape.net. At the end of the week I sat in the car as Jonathan London drove us back to Los Angeles. He only had two CDs for us to listen to in the car, one was Steel Train ‘s self titled album and the other was The Leftovers: Eager to Please.

Instantly upon hearing this I fell in love, although at first I thought it was the Dickies. The best way to describe this tragically short-lived pop punk band is to imagine if the Elvis Costello sang for the Ramones. Lead Vocalist and Bassist Kurt Baker has his own unique style of songwriting and singing, however the unique is more retro than anything else. His throw-back style fits perfectly on all 14 tracks which quickly made this album one of my favorite albums.

Songs like “Telephone Operator”, “Don’t Stop” and “Untouchable” are those kind of songs so catchy that after you hear them once, you know every word to the chorus. It’s unfair to call out just those 3 songs though because catchy hooks is a consist aspect of every track on this album.

Much like Elvis Costello and the Pop Punk groups of the 90’s he’s inspired Kurt Baker is heart-broke, confused and a hopeless romantic. At one point wishing his girlfriend wasn’t his girlfriend anymore (Girlfriend), then wanting her back (I Want You Back) and working up the courage to ask the girl of his dreams to join him on the dance floor (Dance With Me).

The album ends with an 80’s hair metal meets pop punk song “Party ‘til We Die” in which the band exclaims that they will always party until their last day on earth. This however was a promise they couldn’t keep.

The band broke up shortly after the release of this album which was a huge disappointment to me and Jonathan (of Geekscape) however Kurt’s Solo album released in 2010 continues the toe tapping perfection of Eager to Please.

If you find yourself missing the catchy hooks that used to be a standard in pop punk and a unique singing style do yourself a favor and pick up this record today. You’ll thank me for it.

When Matt Kelly isn't counting down his favorite albums he's tweeting, writing for Geekscape (this week's Guilty Pleasure is defending Insane Clown Posse) and hosting his podcast (check out this week's episode featuring guests Sean Dunne, John Stewart Muller and Nerdcore Rapper Misfit)

<---- 98. Relient K: Two Lefts Don't Make a Right... But Three Do

96. Blink 182: Take Off Your Pants and Jacket ----->

Thursday, January 19, 2012

100 Movies That Made Me Love Film: 98 - Re-Animator

Every Thursday I'm Counting Down the 100 Movies that Make me Love Film

98. Re-Animator

Around 1989-1990 I was flipping through the channels one afternoon after pre-school. I came to something horrifying. It was a man talking to a head in a tray while a headless body attacked him. It terrified me. There are very few memories that I have from that age but that one will always stand out.

Probably a year or two later I went to my uncle’s deli. He had a little VHS rental section with mostly horror movies and I remember walking past the display and seeing a very familiar looking VHS cover. I couldn’t even look at it, I had to run leave the deli.

It wasn’t for a few more years before I became a horror fan that I started to hear about how amazing the movie was. Every single horror review site I went to gave it 3 or 4 star ratings, many calling it a classic for the genre. I finally decided to see it, sadly I couldn’t find a copy anywhere.

Finally in 2004 after high school I went into the local video store and purchased the recently released double disc DVD of it. It was everything I had wanted it to be.

The film follows the bizarre Herbert West (Jeffery Combs), a medical student who recently has rented a room with class-mate Dan Cain. He keeps to himself, mostly experimenting late at night in his bedroom and in the basement. One night Dan finds his dead cat in West’s freezer, freaked out by it West shows him an experiment he was working on which would re-animate the dead cat.

Herbert explains to him that he’s created a serum which can revive the brain. They go to the campus morgue and test it out on a corpse. It goes ary and kills the Dean Halsey (father to Dan’s girlfriend Barbara). West quickly uses his serum to revive his body.

The evil Dr. Hill quickly figures out what West is up to and ambushes him to steal his discover. West in an act of self defense kills and decapitates Dr. Hill. It suddenly gives him an idea for a new experiment, see if he can re-animate a head and a body when they’re seperated. While West is interviewing Hill’s head for his research his body attacks him and knocks him unconscious, stealing his notes and reagent and taking his head with him.

Dan finds Herbert knocked out in the basement and they go after Dr. Hill. Meanwhile Dr. Hill has kidnapped and plans to, well, rape I suppose, Barbara. Dan and Herbert arrive and save Barbara.

Re-Animator is a dark horror-comedy in the same vein as Evil Dead 2 (though pre-Evil Dead 2). Stuart Gordon’s Lovecraft adaptation in filled with great one-liners and intense cinematic moments including over the top gore, innovative special effects and a scene in which a decapitated head attempts to have oral sex with a naked girl tied to a table. Needless to say it’s incredibly memorable. I forgive it for the hours of nightmares it provided 5 year old me.

When Matt's not blogging he's writing for Geekscape.net, tweeting and hosting his own podcast The Saint Mort Show. Also check out his musical comedy project and his non-profit Chords For Cures. Also read his Guilty Pleasure this week "Dirty Work"

<----99. A Goofy Movie

97. Heathers ---->

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music: 98. Relient K - Two Lefts Don't Make a Right... But Three Do

Every Tuesday I'll be posting the 100 Albums that made me love music

98. Relient K: Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right, But Three Do

Last week I made a brief mention to being a Jesus Freak which in High School. This actually started back in Junior High. When I was in 7th/8th grade I used to listen to a Saturday night radio station that played only christian punk, metal and ska for about 2 hours. One night they played a song called Marilyn Manson Ate My Girlfriend by a new group Relient K, I instantly fell in love with their quirky pop punk lyrics. I found out later that they would be the opening act at the Five Iron Frenzy show I was going to that month.

At that show Relient K played a short but memorable set. At the time their full length hadn’t even come out, instead they were selling cassingles for the first 3 songs on their upcoming full length, everyone that went to that show left with those cassingles.

Over the years the band become more well known, their second album The Anatomy of Tongue in Cheek had the pop sounds of Blink 182’s Enema of the State with songs like Pressing On and Sadie Hawkins Dance. Now the goofiness of Relient K is almost entirely gone, but 2003’s Two Left’s Don’t Make a Right... But Three Do is a perfect blend of what their old sounds were and what their new sounds would be.

Matthew Thesian is one of the most intelligent song writers in pop punk. Much like Reese Roper of Five Iron Frenzy he’s general geekiness comes out in every song. However while Reese Roper was a scientist geek Thesian is a literary geek. When he drops lyrics like “so I may understand the complex infrastructures known as the female mind” (Mood Rings) I know that I certainly don’t want to play him in a game of Words with Friends.

Two Lefts will also represent a specific slice of my high school life. Much like Blink 182’s Take Your Pants Off and Jacket the album reminds me of the people talked to and hung out with. While the Blink CD reminds me of my friends in high school, Relient K will always remind me of my friends at work and through church. Songs like Chap Stick, Chapped Lips and Things Like Chemistry make me think of summer days and field trips. Mood Rings will always remind me of my friend Erika who I worked with at Lima Estates, when this album came out we discussed this song constantly, the same goes with In Love With The 80’s which Erika and I continually sang while driving to Purple Door one year.

Thesian and Hoopes have continues to be incredible songwriters and vocalists and while I’ve loved their records Mmhmm and Five Score and Seven Years Ago. But Two Lefts will always remind me of how incredible this band was for a lonely high schooler who just needed a band that made him laugh (Gibberish), gave him songs to sing-along to (Forward Motion) or let him know that he’s not alone after all (Getting Into You).

When he's not writing a blog Matt is running his own podcast The Saint Mort Show, tweeting and writing for Geekscape.net

<---- 99. TwoThirtyEight: Regulate The Chemicals

97. The Leftovers: Eager to Please ---->

Thursday, January 12, 2012

100 Movies That Made Me Love Film: 99 - A Goofy Movie

For the next 2 years, every Thursday I will be counting down the 100 Movies that changed my life.

At the time that I’m writing this I’ve just had a very stressful phone conversation with an operator about my student loans. After a very stressful and anger fueled conversation I wanted to simply put on something that would calm me down and make me happy, so I was happy to be reminded that A Goofy Movie was the next movie to cover on my list.

A Goofy Movie is a very strange film. If you’re between the ages of 18-25 this is your favorite Disney movie, but if you’re older or younger than that age... you don’t even know this movie exists it seems. What’s strange about this is that this movie really set the standard for how we as a generation know Goofy. I honestly don’t remember if Goofy Troop came out before or after this movie, or if it was part of a tie in with the film. Regardless this movie completely changed the dynamic between Goofy and Pete who started off as arch-enemies and instead turned into friends (though Pete still takes advantage of Goofy)

A Goofy Movie tells the story of Max, Goofy’s son. He’s an unpopular high school student who plans an elaborate stunt with his friends P.J. and Bobby in order to get the attention of his crush Roxanne. He gets caught by the principal who calls Goofy and tells him that Max is a deliquient.

Goofy begins to question how good of a father he is and decided to take Max fishing that summer. These plans couldn’t come at a worse time as Max finally gets asked out by Roxanne and is forced to decline. However so he doesn’t sound like a geek he lies and says he’s actually attending the Powerline concert and going backstage. Goofy and Max have an emotional road trip, filled with tourist traps, angry fights and near death experiences but in the end learn to love each other for their differences.

A Goofy Movie received mostly mixed and negative reviews from critics and did an average box office. Regardless of this the film has developed a cult following. People love the movie, know it word for word, sing the songs and even tape elaborate recreations of scenes from the movie!

For me the film will always be that cartoon that I loved while I was an age where you weren’t supposed to like cartoons. I kept it as a dirty little secret for years. Then one day in college I over heard a friend singing After Today and finally felt okay with openly talking about my love of this film. Since then I’ve found more and more people who were closeted fans.

While it’s not as important as The Jungle Book or Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, it will always be my most loved Disney cartoon.

When he's not blogging you can find Mort either tweeting, recording hispodcast, writing for Geekscape or playing acoustic comedy punk.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music: 99. Twothirtyeight - Regulate the Chemicals

For the next 2 years, every Tuesday I will be counting down the 100 Albums that changed my life.

99. TwoThirtyEight: Regulate the Chemicals

In the late 90’s and early 2000’s I was a bit of a Jesus Freak (this is something which will come up frequently on this list). My favorite of the christian music festivals (possibly because it was the closest festival) was Purple Door. Purple Door was a one day music festival in the Pocono mountains in mid-August, it was there where i first saw some of my favorite bands like Five Iron Frenzy, Relient K, Supertones and Danielson Familie. Almost all the christian bands that I loved then (and still love now) were on Tooth and Nail Records. The label had a merch booth at Purple Door where they did a 5 Albums for $20 sale.

By 2002-2003 I was familiar with only one song by Two Thirty Eight called The Sticks are Woven in the Spokes. It was one of 3 songs I really enjoyed on a comp called What On Earth that Tooth and Nail had just released so I picked up Regulate the Chemicals as one of my 5 albums at their booth.

The next day I put the album on my CD player and could not wrap my head around the album. This sounded unlike anything I had heard at this point in my life. My life had mostly been filled with Punk and Ska but this, was something else. It sounded gritty and rough, the vocals weren’t always sang and when they were there was a crackiness in the vocals as if he was straining. Furthermore the lyrics didn’t make a lot of sense to me, “Indian in your eyes?” “Coin-Laundry Loser?” What did these phrases mean?

Despite my confusion I was hooked. A year later I started going to college and met the people who would continue to be the best friends I know. One day I got into my friend Anthony’s car and he was listening “There is no Dana” and I got excited to find someone else who knew of this strange band. Anthony turned me onto their previous and later albums, while I enjoyed their future releases even more there’s always a special place in my heart for Regulate the Chemicals.

I love how some songs will forever imprint themselves in your brain with certain moments. I listened to this album so much in college that now every time I hear Les Wirth (my favorite twothirtyeight song) I immediately think of the train-tracks I used to drive across on my drive home after class everyday.

This album completely changed my perception of what I wanted a band to sound like. In high school, I wanted to form a band that sounded like Blink 182. Throughout most of college I wanted to be in a band that sounded like Two Thirty Eight. I still can’t play guitar or write lyrics as abstract as Chris Staples, but he certainly inspired me to try.

When he's not blogging you can find Mort either tweeting, recording his podcast, writing for Geekscape or playing acoustic comedy punk. This week on Geekscape he wrote a Guilty Pleasure article defending Friday the 13th Part IV: Jason Lives.

<---- 100. Linkin Park: A Thousand Suns

98. Relient K: Two Lefts Don't Make a Right But Three Do ---->

Friday, January 6, 2012

Top Movies of 2001

All I can say about this movie is that I love romantic comedies and John Cusack. The film's not perfect but the all star cast is enjoyable. It's worth watching just to see Christopher Walken and Billy Crystal absolutely steal the show.

Before he was Jack Sparrow and adored by everyone Johnny Depp was known for his more darker and atmospheric film choices (many of them being directed by friend Tim Burton). From Hell is equal parts horror, murder mystery and love story. It follows the investigation of Jack the Ripper, one of the few serial killers to have never been caught. The movie tells you who they (and many others) believe Jack the Ripper was, but even with that added aspect the film is intense and all round delightful

Peter Jackson's adaptation of the Lord of the Rings is one of the most impressive films franchises of all time. From start to finish Jackson remained loyal to the source material and created one of the most impressive fantasy worlds even filmed. While I think Fellowship of the Ring is the weakest of the three films, it's still a masterpiece in it's own right.

Richard Kelly is a one hit wonder, and if you watch the director's cut he's actually a no hit wonder. Regardless of that, Richard Kelly's editor helped create an intriguing science fiction film that intelligently discusses time travel and uses it to tell a touching story of self-sacrifice. It's usage of Gary Jules' cover of Mad World is beautifully used to end the film

Moulin Rouge is one of the strangest but most whimsical movies of the 21st Century. Over the last decade there has yet to be a movie to have this level of bizarre casting, scenery and musical numbers. The film uses modern classics to express love and emotion throughout this delightful film that will stick with you for years to come.
It's generally stated that sequels suck. This is mostly true but sometimes, it's false, such is the case with American Pie 2. In many ways I find American Pie 2 more enjoyable. It makes a statement that most teen flicks don't have the guts to say, Sometimes people peak at High School. It's an adorable love story mixed in with gross out comedy that leads to an overly enjoyable hour and 40 minutes.

I absolutely love this movie, I even wrote a Guilty Pleasures column on it. This movie is funnier and wittier than it had any right of being. It's full of winks and nods at the music industry specifically in the year 2001. It's a must see.

I never had a desire to watch this movie until I read Chuck Klosterman's Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs. Klosterman raved about this film that was otherwise despised by critics and fans alike. I didn't understand the hatred, admittedly it's not as good as the original spanish film but Cameron Crowe but his own unique twist onto this film.

There has been few films that confused and amazed me as much as Memento. I was in 10th grade and my girlfriend at the time gave me her copy to watch. Within the first five minutes I was completely amazed by what I was watching. After we break up I recommended the movie to another friend who made the mistake of trying to watch it while she had a fever. I had to re-explain most of the movie to her.

Wes Anderson has one of the most impressive starting track-records of any director. Bottle Rocket is a delightful indie film, Rushmore is one of the funniest films of the 90's and then he kicked off the 2000's with his most impressive and stylistic film. Royal Tenenbaums is a nice blend of humor and drama leading to Anderson's masterpiece. While I still love his films many believe that since Royal Tenenbaums he's continued to repeat the same style since. I think he's doing just fine.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

100 Movies That Make Me Love Movies: 100 - Shock Treatment

For the next 2 years, every Thursday I will be counting down the 100 Movies that changed my life.

I first discovered Rocky Horror Picture Show one October on VH1. They used to play the movie constantly in honor of Halloween and even had a behind the music and where are they now episodes made specifically about the film. It was on the Behind the Music episode that I first heard of Shock Treatment. In the BTM the film is barely mentioned except that it was a sequel and it was unsuccessful.

College is when I really started to love Rocky Horror and thus searched out this “awful sequel”. It came out on DVD while I was working at a video store, I jumped at the chance to be the first person to rent it out. Perhaps that it was my low expectations from the start but I was blown away by how much I enjoyed this ‘sequel’.

It’s important to put quotes around the word sequel. While it’s from the same writing team and contains the continuation of Brad and Janet’s life there is very little to do with Rocky Horror in this movie. While Rocky Horror played on the notes of old horror films and sexual freedom, Shock Treatment is a post-apoclyptic tale of America’s obsession with television.

The movie begins in an empty TV studio where people eagerly run in to sit in the audience of the hit game show Marriage Maze. Brad and Janet are the first contestants. Host Bert Schnick declares Brad an emotional cripple and sends him to Dentonville, a ‘hospital soap opera’. Dr. Cosmo and his sister Nation run Dentonville and immediately has Brad drugged, bound, gagged and placed into a padded cell.

Meanwhile Janet finds herself a new TV sensation adored by the audience in just a few days. Even the owner of the Denton TV station Farley Flavors’ has taken a liking to Janet. Will Brad be able to save Janet before Farley steals her from him? Well you’ll have to watch to find out.

Shock Treatment is even more interesting now that it probably was in 1981. It feels like a film attacking Reality Television years before Reality TV ever existed. The town is basically a TV station where everyone is either an actor or an audience member. It makes statements about how obsession with celebrity and most importantly it’s got a shit ton of catchy songs.

In many ways I find this film better than RHPS but at the end of the day you can’t beat Rocky Horror. Regardless whether you’re a fan or not of Rocky Horror, you should check this film out. It’s not as bad as you’ve been lead to believe.

Saint Mort also writes articles for Geekscape.net. Check out his Top 10Albums and Movies of 2011 lists. You should also follow him on twitter and listen to his podcast The Saint Mort Show.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Top Albums of 2001

10. Alkaline Trio: From Here to Infirmary
I just recently discovered Alkaline Trio. Well that's not true, I always knew of them but I never started listening to them until a year or two ago. I enjoyed everything that I heard but From Here to Infirmary grabbed my attention in a way that Goddammit and Maybe I'll Catch Fire didn't. It also introduced me to my favorite song by them, Private Eye.

Much like Alkaline Trio, Regina Spektor I was late to the party of. In fact this year was the first year I really gave her a listen. I was instantly a fan of her debut album 11:11. It's simplistic bass and piano combination mixed with abstract time structures lead to some of the most enjoyable minimalistic albums of all time.

Blink 182 was the band that made pop punk popular in my high school. While everyone seemed to know their songs, you could tell the hardcore fans from just the mainstream fans. Take your Pants off and Jacket came out when I formed a band with two of my friends. This album became our album, songs like Reckless Abandon became anthems for us. Every time I hear this album, it instantly brings up good memories.

I've always enjoyed Rancid but it wasn't until recently that I checked out Lars' solo album and I was blown away to discover that it was equal in quality to Rancid's masterpiece ...And Out Come the Wolves. If you want to enjoy a good ska/punk style check it out!

Atmosphere is one of the most consistently great hip-hop artists/groups. This all began with 2001's Lucy Ford album (we can just ignore Overcast) featuring tracks like Guns and Cigarettes and like today that showed Slug's ability to openly talk about his life and relationships without fear or restraint.

The second I heard Clint Eastwood by the Gorillaz it completely blew my mind. In high school my cover band Mad Cow quickly learned the song the same week it came out and won the school talent show. While many of my fellow classmates were disappointed that none of the other tracks sounded like Clint Eastwood I quickly fell in love with it's variety of sounds and style. Gorillaz have continued to put out perfect and different albums every couple years.

Before Dashboard Confessional Chris Carraba was the front man of this Tooth and Nail Indie Rock band. This album is a game changer in the world of Emo comparable only to Weezer: Pinkerton and Get Up Kids: Something to Write Home About featuring some of Carraba's best lyrics and vocals. A must listen for fans of Emo and Indie.

In 2001 Garage music started to make a comeback. One of the originators of this return to rock roots was The Strokes. I'll always remember the first time I saw the video for Last Nite. The 'don't give a fuck' attitude of the band left an instant impression on me. While that was their biggest single, I still think the follow up single Someday was the best song in the band's career.

Along with the Strokes, The White Stripes helped bring back the garage band sounds of the early 2000's. Fell in Love With a Girl's all lego music video became an instant hit and even people who hated the song were mesmerized by the video. As much as I dug that video and song it was hearing Hotel Yorba that made me go out and buy the album. The song continues to be my favorite song in Jack White's catalogue

My cousin Dave came back from OzzFest one year with System of A Down's self-titled album and told me 'this band is going to be huge.' I didn't believe him, but man was he right. System of a Down seemed to come out of nowhere with their sophomore album Toxicity, it was definitely Metal... but it was metal in almost undefinable ways. Songs like Bounce and Prison Song still sound nothing like the music coming out today. It was one of the finest records of all time and must have for any music lover, even if you can't stand heavy metal.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music: 100. Linkin Park - A Thousand Suns

For the next 2 years, every Tuesday I will be counting down the 100 Albums that changed my life.

100. Linkin Park: A Thousand Suns

When I was in 9th grade Linkin Park released their massive debut album Hybrid Theory. Every kid in my grade owned that record and everyone knew the rap to In the End. Linkin Park is a band that people don’t fully appreciate, they have their die-hard fans but a large mass of people don’t even really know most of their music outside of Hybrid Theory. I was one of those people.

When I previously stated that everyone owned that record, I was sorta lying. I didn’t. I enjoyed a song here and there by Linkin Park but I never considered myself a fan. In 2009, Chris Hardwick launched the Nerdist Podcast and one of his earliest guests were Mike and Chester of Linkin Park. In that interview Mike said he predicted this album was going to be a mixed bag to a bunch of their long time fans. It struck my curiosity. So When this album came out in late September 2010, I bought it without hearing any songs or previously owning any Linkin Park albums, and I loved it.

The record is a concept album about human fears (specifically with nuclear war). It begins with a techno-y track containing clips of “someone” making announcements about our mistakes and the upcoming war which leads perfectly into Burning in the Skies. Chester is the main vocalist in this laidback track about setting the mood of this album, it’s hopeful but sad.

It’s a stark contrast to the next song Mike’s anti-establishment rap song When they come for me. The song puts you in a paranoid state with the music setting the mood of someone on the run.

Pulling their influences from Pink Floyd and Public Enemy Linkin Park managed to compose a record that is both their must experimental and their most lyrically impressive, questioning authority and setting a tone of fear mixed in a post apocalyptic world. While the film received mixed reviews from critics but for me it was one of the best albums of 2010.

After all the craziness and darkness the album concludes with the song Messenger which sends the message “When life leaves us blind, Love Keeps Us Kind”. This is the message of this album, throughout the insanity and the darkness our love is the one thing that will save us. It’s a powerful message and for me it came from an extremely unlikely source, Linkin Park.

Saint Mort also writes articles for Geekscape.net. Check out his Top 10 Albums and Movies of 2011 lists. You should also follow him on twitter and listen to his podcast The Saint Mort Show.

99. TwoThirtyEight: Regulate the Chemicals --->