One of the first albums on this list was Twothirtyeight’s Regulate the Chemicals. When I thought this band had written their best album, they followed it up with You Should Be Living. The album sadly ended up being their last album together.
The album starts off with Modern Day Prayer, a song my friend Mike will tell you is one of the best songs ever written (it’s not, but it is a good song none-the-less). The song is exactly what it implies, a prayer each line beginning with ‘God if you are there...’ or ‘God if you can hear...’ The song is often cited as when the band started to step away from being a ‘Christian band’ as the song talks about drunken fights and struggling with their beliefs.
The band also re-recorded Sticks are Woven in the Spokes (the song that first got me into the band). There is very little done differently on this particular recording from the one on Regulate the Chemicals.
The album ends with the weird song The Bathroom is a Creepy Place for Pictures of Your Friends. The song is an acoustic song that doesn’t make much sense, but it did inspire my roommates to buy a shower curtain that held photographs. We decided our bathroom could be creepier.
The best songs however are Romancing the Ghost and Sad Semester. To be fair I like Sad Semester strictly for the beginning of the second verse where Lead vocalist Chris Staples yells ‘Hey! What Am I Doing Here! I Have things to do! There’s life outside! I’m stuck inside this classroom!’
The band can write quality music with deep lyrics and have a clear message (unlike the previously mentioned ‘Bathroom’) such is the case with Romancing the Ghost. The song uses an analogy of playing a show to explain why this was going to be their last album. The song opens with ‘There was no more chemistry/exciting chords or harmonies/infectious riffs or melodies to sing/twas not a single speck of magic there/in that tangled mess of moving air/so we shut off our amps and called it quits’.
As you get to the chorus where Chris Staples screams ‘Was it true? Where we really through? But I just begun what I wanted to?’ I’ve always loved Chris Staples’ songwriting, I can only assume that had they not been forced to move to Christian label Tooth and Nail records, they’d still be making incredible albums.