If you haven’t read my “Which Decade Has The Best Music” thing yet, go for it. It’s great.
Anyways my name is Braden Dose and I’m your friendly neighborhood head music journalist. I’ve been involved in music all my life, having been raised on The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Metallica, ACDC, and The Doors. Nowadays I’m a recording studio producer, session multi-instrumentalist, guitarist, and music journalist. That being said, I like to think I know what I’m talking about.
What’s the point of knowing about me? Well, if you’re going to be keeping tabs on my articles, you’ll need to know what my background in music, as well as preferred kinds of music are.
That having been said, here’s my list of my 25 favorite albums.
Damon Albarn’s “virtual band” project hit mainstream success with 2005’s Demon Days, an experimental hip-hop/ alt- rock album that defies the meaning of what is considered both rap and alternative.
Highlights- “Feel Good Inc.” “Kids With Guns” “Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey’s Head”
24: Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
No, actually, it’s not just a cool mountain range that hipsters have on a shirt. It’s an album, and it’s my 24th favorite album. Unknown Pleasures is the flagship of post-punk pre-emo whining about life and it’s mysteries, conveyed fittingly by singer Ian Curtis’s melancholy and ofttimes monotone vocals.
Hightlights- “Shadowplay” “Disorder”
23: The Killers- Hot Fuss
2004 saw the release of contemporary alternative legends The Killers’ debut release, Hot Fuss. Influenced heavily by 80s synth-rock and 60s garage rock, Hot Fuss is a hot mess of love and relationships, trust and forgiveness, grudges and moving on.
Hightlights- “Mr. Brightside” “All These Things That I’ve Done” “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine”
Just to be completely honest, there’s a bit of bias here. Actually there’s a ton of bias. They’re my favorite band, and their freshman album expresses the raw, punky, energetic power that Cage The Elephant has in both their studio albums and their live performances (if you’ve never been to one of their concerts, you need to go. They’re insane.)
Highlights- “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” “Lotus” “Tiny Little Robots”
1999 was the year of two completely awesome things. 1- I was born. 2- Blink 182 put out the album of my entire childhood. Crude, vulgar, excitable antics of toddlers-in-the-bodies-of-grown-men Mark Hoppus, Tom Delonge, and Travis Barker color this album as a staple in the lives of anyone who was raised in a coastal city in the 2000s.
Highlights- “All The Small Things” “Aliens Exist” “What’s My Age Again?”
The most recent release of 90s noise rock darlings Dinosaur Jr. revives the organized, fuzzy, dreamy chaos of their early work in glorious 5.1 surround sound, with melodic chord progressions and vocals that could lull a serial killer to sleep.
Highlights- “Be A Part” ‘I Walk For Miles” “Goin Down”
Another album released this year is Wilco’s Schmilco, an acoustic anti-folk collection of mournful ballads and subliminally political rantings. Plus, who doesn’t love an album with a cover designed by Joan Cornella?
Highlights- “Normal American Kids” “If I Ever Was A Child” “Shrug And Destroy”
A glorious symphony of experimental soundscapes and crafty, poetic, pop-culture-influenced lyrics, An Awesome Wave is essentially the millenial generation’s equivalent to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon (see #1). Just make sure that you listen to it with headphones.
Highlights- “Breezeblocks” “Ms” “Dissolve Me”
The two-hour long album that solidified even further SP’s placement on the charts, Mellon Collie is an exploration of emotion, love, loss, longing, and anger. Fuelled by the angst of Billy Corgan’s nasal and occasionally annoying vocals, It’s an album that should be listened to all the way at least once.
Highlights- “Tonight, Tonight” “Here Is No Why” “1979” “Thirty- Three”
A perfect example of what a successful sophomore album looks like, Radiohead uses the power of layered guitar parts, acoustic experimentation, pain, and guilt to create my dog’s favorite album of all time. I’ll spin it on my turntable and she’ll instantly come upstairs to listen to it.
Highlights- “Fake Plastic Trees” “My Iron Lung” “The Bends”
You thought Parks and Rec made this band up, didn’t you? Jokes on you, you hipster. They’re real, and they’re great. Despite only ever putting out 2 albums in the duration of their bandship, Neutral Milk crafts what paved the path for bands such as Arcade Fire, Bright Eyes, and many more through their second and last album.
Highlights- “King Of Carrot Flowers Pts. 2 & 3” “Two-Headed Boy” “Oh Comely”
You’re going to learn very quickly that one of my three favorite bands of all time is Pink Floyd, and the faster you learn that, the better. 1975’s release of Wish You Were Here is a 5-song (yet still 45 minutes long) album dedicated to Syd Barrett, the former lead singer and guitarist, who fried his brain with LSD (don’t mix schizophrenia with acid, kids. Actually, don’t mix anything with acid). The result is an emotive, heartfelt album that you can send to both people you used to date as well as people that you currently care for. Either way.
Highlights- “Wish You Were Here” “Have A Cigar” “Shine On You Crazy Diamond Pts. 1-5
I’m a fan of synthesizers, as seen by my deep infatuation with Pink Floyd, Foster The People, and various other acts that revolve their sound around the glorious instrument. That being said, it’s hard to beat an album like Oracular Spectacular in terms of good use of synths and keyboards. The trippy, psychedelic journey that is MGMT’s first album is a must-have in any vinyl collection.
Highlights- “Kids” “The Youth” “Of Moons, Birds, & Monsters”
Concept albums are hard to come by nowadays, especially considering the only other two in the last 16 years have been My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade and Green Day’s American Idiot. The Monitor, however, is a fictional biography of a civil war soldier that’s tired of fighting for nothing, leaving him to anger and frustration expressed by angry guitars and out of tune yelling.
Highlights- “A More Perfect Union” “No Future Part III” “Four Score And Seven”
One of the two biggest influences for Nirvana, Sonic Youth proves their notoriously chaotic tendencies in Goo. Not much else can be said about it, because it’s just one of those things you have to experience yourself.
Highlights- “Kool Thing” “Mote” “Disappearer”
1991’s shoegaze masterpiece Loveless is essentially the music that your brain plays to itself while you’re dreaming. Get a few devoted people with guitars and a lot of echoey, distorted effect pedals, and you’ve got yourself the album that put shoegaze on the map of music genres.
Highlights- “When You Sleep” “Sometimes” “Only Shallow”
Pretty much anyone you ask will tell you “I love that loser song by him” whenever you bring up Beck. That’s not even his best song. Modern Guilt, however, is a monument to his ever-changing anti-folk greatness, as well as his ability to make anything sound poetic.
Highlights- “Gamma Ray” “Orphans” “Modern Guilt”
A monolith of modern orchestrated alt-pop-rock, Arcade Fire brings back the ambition of Funeral in their Junior album. Invoking nostalgia, sentimentality, loss, and peace, The Suburbs is an essential indie album in any music lover’s collection.
Highlights- “The Suburbs” “Ready To Start” “Sprawl II”
Named after the fact that during recording sessions, an alarming number of the band’s relatives died, Funeral expresses exactly what we feel when we endure through loss, love, heartbreak, and redemption in gloriously symphonic construction.
Highlights- “Wake Up” “Neighborhood #3” “Neighborhood #1”
David Bowie produced this album, and that’s all you need as a testament to its greatness. What? That’s not enough? Fine. The ex- Velvet Revolver singer’s solo album is a psychosexual acoustic piece of art that explores themes such as sin, desire, love, and gambling. Chances are, if your parents listened to it, they were a punk in the 70s or an emo kid in the 90s.
Highlights- “Perfect Day” “Vicious” “Walk On The Wild Side”
Fun fact, I named my pet leopard gecko after this album. The late 80s was a great time for surf-rock inspired noise, with bands such as R.E.M., The Cure, and, of course, Pixies, releasing legends like Doolittle. With themes such as biblical stories, psychotic roommates, and avant garde French film, this album can’t be easily ignored.
Highlights- “Wave Of Mutilation” “Monkey Gone To Heaven” “Gouge Away”
After bassist/vocalist Roger Waters took over the band in 1978, he decided the first album released under his rule would be an autobiographical representation of his insecurities, past, present, and fears. The Wall itself represents the fortress of solitude, desolation, fear, anger, distrust, and insecurity that Waters felt throughout the touring of Dark Side Of The Moon earlier that decade, as well as through his entire life.
Highlights- “Comfortably Numb” “Another Brick In The Wall, Pt. 2” “Vera/ Bring The Boys Back Home”
My favorite album by another one of my 3 favoritest bands of all time is Siamese Dream, a shoegaze- influenced, grungy, art-school angst album recorded almost entirely by guitarist/ vocalist Billy Corgan.
Highlights- “Cherub Rock” “Mayonaise” “Geek USA”
The last recorded album by arguably the greatest rock band of all time, Abbey Road is well-earned in the list of my favorite albums. The first half of the album is a bright, optimistic collection of melodies reminiscent of early Beatles songs. The second half is essentially a multi-part cathartic release of emotion for bassist/vocalist Paul McCartney, having lost his wife less than a year prior. The result is the perfect finale to a legendary band.
Highlights- “Here Comes The Sun” “Come Together” “Golden Slumbers/ Carry That Weight/ The End”
Goodness, where do I start with this one? This is one of two albums I remember vividly listening to on a regular basis as a toddler/ child, along with The Beatles’ With The Beatles. This album has proven to be the primary influence for my own personal musical endeavors, as well as an experience that is different every time you listen to it. The first time you listen, you probably won’t recognize that there’s a heartbeat throughout the entire album, or that the sound not only goes left and right, but at times even up and down. I saw Pink Floyd live two years ago and I will never forget the moment when the guitar solo hit while they were playing “Time” and I closed my eyes and I became spiritually enlightened, as if I had just seen Heaven itself (which is another theme explored in the album, represented beautifully in “The Great Gig In The Sky”). The piece de resistance- the magnum opus of music, if you will, that is Dark Side Of The Moon is an unforgettable and eternal album that will continue to stand the test of time for generations to come.
Highlights- “Time” “Money” “Us And Them” “Brain Damage/Eclipse”
You can listen to a complete playlist of this list by clicking the link below