#tbt: 10 noughties albums you need in your life

I’m sure everybody reading this post remembers the noughties fondly – for me, it was when I first got interested in alternative music, and where my love of fashion started to develop.  The 2000s were truly an amazing time for rock and alternative music, with bands like Kings Of Leon, Pierce The Veil, My Chemical Romance and Arctic Monkeys forming during the decade.

For this throwback Thursday, I have decided to take on the momentous task of revisiting my favourite albums released from 2000 to 2009 – if you spot any albums in this list that you don’t already have in your album collection, consider making room for them, as they are absolutely amazing.

10: Wheatus – Wheatus

I have my Mum to thank for my love of this album – she was the person who first introduced me to Wheatus, and for that I am forever grateful.  I think everybody with common sense loves Teenage Dirtbag – whilst waiting for Green Day to take to the stage at Reading Festival in 2013, Teenage Dirtbag started playing and I swear, the entire crowd started singing along.  It was awesome.  As well as that, Hump’em And Dump’em and Love Is A Mutt From Hell are brilliant songs which still make me want to get up and dance.

9: Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge – My Chemical Romance

My Chem have this album to thank for their sudden popularity and fame, and it’s still well loved today – watch Kerrang! TV for any length of time, and chances are you’ll come across the video for I’m Not Okay (I Promise) or Helena soon enough.  Plus, The Ghost Of You is a really thought-proving song that still evokes some pretty strong emotions.

8: All Killer No Filler – Sum 41

Sum 41s debut album is a brilliant, feel-good album – Heart Attack and Summer are awesome album tracks, which are unfortunately overlooked due to the popularity of singles In Too Deep and Fat Lip.  All Killer No Filler was truly a sign of great things to come for the Canadian rock band.

7: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not – Arctic Monkeys

Now, in my opinion the Arctic Monkeys have a little bit of a chequered past – Suck It And See, for instance, was an instantly forgettable album – however, their debut LP is truly brilliant.  I’ve lived in the Midlands for the past 9 years, so hearing Alex Turner’s Sheffield accent throughout the album is kind of comforting amongst all of the American artists on my iPod.  Plus, I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor still sounds just as good 8 years on, as do Fake Tales Of San Francisco, When The Sun Goes Down and Mardy Bum.

6: One X – Three Days Grace

Canadian rockers Three Days Grace are one of my favourite bands of all time.  Their second album, One X, is a polished yet still emotive album, inspired by lead singer Adam Gontiers stint in rehab due to an addiction to OxyContin.  Lead single Animal I Have Become reminds me of my pre-teen angst-filled years, and Never Too Late is just as poignant today as it was when the album was released in 2006.

5: Mezmerize/Hypnotize – System Of A Down

I know that technically these are two albums, however I simply couldn’t bring myself to separate them.  The slow-burning introduction to Mezmerize, Soldier Side (Intro) gets you tingling with anticipation at the amazing things to come, before B.Y.O.B. kicks you in the gut with its heavy riffs and punchy lyrics.  In my eyes, System Of A Down can do no wrong – that’s why they came top of the chart of my favourite 90s albums, which you can take a look at here.

4: Puzzle – Biffy Clyro

This album represented a turning point for Biffy Clyro, because it marks their emergence into mainstream popularity.  The opening track, Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies, is a real anthem, as are Who’s Got A Match? and The Conversation Is…  Machines is the beautifully emotive penultimate track, and the entire album as a whole turned out to be an indicator of the great success to come for Biffy Clyro.

3: In Your Honor – Foo Fighters

The Foo Fighters’ fifth double album covers a multitude of stories, emotions and memories for front man Dave Grohl – the most poignant of these is probably Friend Of A Friend, which was inspired by his former Nirvana band mate Kurt Cobain.  In Your Honor has songs for every mood, split between the heavier first disc and quieter more acoustic second disc, which is what makes it so perfect.

2: Minutes To Midnight – Linkin Park

Minutes To Midnight was a little bit of a change of direction for Linkin Park – they switched focus from more electronic elements and ended up creating a true rock ‘n’ roll experience.  Throughout the album there’s a great contrast of heavier tracks such as Given Up, and slower ballads like Leave Out All The Rest.

1: Avenged Sevenfold – Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold’s fourth LP, also known as the White Album due to its album cover, is truly brilliant, and a real summary of what makes the Californian band great.  If I was going to introduce somebody to Avenged Sevenfold for the first time, I’d tell them to listen to this album first, as it is definitely one of their best.  It’s difficult for me to quantify how much I adore this album – from Gunslinger to A Little Piece Of Heaven to Dear God, this album really does have it all.

So, that concludes my Top 10 noughties albums!  Do you agree with my line-up?  Let me know what you think on Twitter or in the comments below.

Currently listening to: SssnakepitEnter Shikari

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#tbt: The first albums I ever bought

Today I want to step back into the past, rummage through my CD collection, and blow the dust off the first albums I ever bought with my own hard-earned pocket money.  These albums are truly brilliant, and the main reason I ended up getting into rock and alternative music, so you have them to thank that this blog exists.

Honestly, I cannot see myself ever getting rid of these albums.  Over the years I have thrown away numerous albums; whether they were an ill-informed purchase or they became age damaged over the years.  These ones, however, will never leave my ever-growing CD collection.

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Fall Out Boy – From Under The Cork Tree

This album is truly magical, and the singles Dance, Dance and Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down still evoke memories of school discos in the assembly hall.  Plus, Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part To Save The Scene And Stop Going To Shows) is one of my favourite ever Fall Out Boy songs.

Panic! At The Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out

A lot of albums released in the early to mid 2000s aged pretty badly, but not this one.  Its lyrics form an interesting social commentary about mental illness and the sanctity of marriage, which are still relevant today.  This album is truly a cornerstone of the emo movement from the early noughties – all you have to do is watch the music videos for I Write Sins Not Tragedies for evidence of that.

Linkin Park – Minutes to Midnight

Minutes to Midnight was a turning point for Linkin Park, and a change of direction from their earlier albums Hybrid Theory and Meteora.  Their use of electronic elements reduced considerably, making the album all about the instruments, booming drums and guitar-shredding riffs.  This is probably one of Linkin Park’s heaviest albums – the 18 second long scream before the final chorus of Given Up makes that hard to deny.  Add that to the gritty lyrics of Bleed It Out and Hands Held High and you end up with a truly anthemic alternative rock album that still sounds fresh seven years on.

That’s all from me for now, but I want to know what the first album you ever bought was!  Let me know in the comments below, or send me a tweet.

Currently listening to: Fool’s GoldPure Love

#tbt : top 9 albums from the 90s you need in your life

Hey everyone!  Looks like it’s time for another throwback Thursday, and today I want to look at my favourite 90s albums.  The 90s were an amazing time for the punk, rock and metal world, with bands such as Foo Fighters, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, Biffy Clyro, Blink-182, and Linkin Park forming during the decade.

A lot of the albums released during the 90s have gone on to become cornerstones of modern punk, rock and metal; if you’ve never listened to Nevermind, for example, most people would look at you like your head was on backwards.

Plus, even if you only listen to music from the noughties onwards, chances are that your favourite artists were influenced by, or grew up listening to some of the albums I’m gonna list today.  So, let’s start the countdown!

9: The Razor’s Edge – AC/DC

Honestly, the members of this band probably sweat pure rock and roll.  Whilst not their best album, The Razor’s Edge produced a whole host of anthems which could easily fill stadiums.  Plus, the slow-burning opening to Thunderstruck is enough to send shivers down my spine.

8: Dookie – Green Day

From start to finish, this album is an explosion of angry pop-punk.  What’s not to love about that?  In fact, I don’t think I even need to say any more about Dookie.  Go listen to it, and let it speak for itself.

7: Enema of the State – Blink-182

This album is pure, unadulterated awesome.  Plus, the singles it produced – Adam’s Song, What’s My Age Again? and All The Small Things – have become anthems even hermits that never listen to the radio are probably well aware of.

6: Showbiz – Muse

This album is quirky as hell, and that’s why I like it.  Showbiz turned out to be a pretty good indication of what direction Muse would be going in; that direction being completely throwing out the rule-book and creating completely original music with every album.

5: Parklife – Blur

This list wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of Britpop.  Parklife and Girls and Boys are instantly recognisable even 20 years on, and the whole album in general is infectiously good.

4: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel

When I decided I was going to write this post, ITAOTS was one of the first albums I considered for it.  It’s weird, yes, and the lyrics are pretty difficult to get your head around on the first listen, but gems like Holland, 1945 and King of Carrot Flowers Part 2 & 3 combined with the weirdness is what makes this album great.

3: Nevermind – Nirvana

I bet you saw this one coming, didn’t you?  To be honest, I’m not a massive fan of the rest of Nirvana’s discography, but Nevermind is legendary and pretty damn difficult to fault.

2: The Colour And The Shape – Foo Fighters

Quite frankly, this album has it all, and is probably one of the Foo’s best albums.  If you can listen to this album without singing along, or at least tapping your foot to bangers like Monkey Wrench and Everlong then you have more willpower than I do.

1: System of a Down – System of a Down

This album just goes to show that System of a Down were at the top of their game from the very beginning.  I saw SOAD at Reading Festival last year: they closed the set with Sugar, and it was one of the highlights of the day.  If you don’t have this album on your iPod, then I’m seriously judging you.

Currently listening to: I RememberA Day To Remember

#tbt : My first gig went a little like this…

First off, I’d like to apologise for the punny title.  I’m one of those people who speaks in song lyrics rather than actual fully-formed sentences half of the time; something my friends really enjoy.

Anyway, today I’m gonna start up a feature I like to call #tbt, or throwback Thursday.  Before anyone starts, I’m already well aware that #tbt has been floating around Twitter and Instagram for a long time.  Can you blame me for wanting to piggy-back off that success?  Basically, every Thursday I’m gonna travel back in time and talk about something a bit old school.  Hopefully this’ll result in a lot of nostalgia for everyone involved.

Ever since I started this blog I’ve wanted to talk about my origin story.  It might not be as exciting as Wolverine’s, but when I attended my first ever gig in 2010 I was probably adrenaline-fuelled enough to demonstrate one of Hugh Jackman’s trademark angsty, despair-filled cries to the moon.  Kinda like these.

On that fateful evening of the 19th of June, 2010, I made my way to Wembley Arena where I watched the incredible Green Day, supported by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Frank Turner.  This gig was the catalyst that got me interested in rock, alternative and punk music, so for that Green Day will always hold a special place in my heart.

I even still have my ticket, stuck up on my bedroom wall back at home, as well as the t-shirt I bought at the gig, which I brought to university with me even though it’s far too small.  Sentimental is my middle name, you know.

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(I also had the good fortune of seeing them headline Friday of Reading 2013, and their performance was just as mind-blowing three years on.)

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Frank Turner were excellent choices for support acts.  Joan Jett got the stadium buzzing with Bad Reputation, and Frank Turner’s The Road was a real anthemic, sing-along moment.  However, as much as I enjoyed the support acts, nothing could have topped the main act for me.

Billy Joe, Mike and Tré performed like a well-oiled machine with limitless enthusiasm.  I could tell that they still love and enjoy performing, even 25 years after the band’s inception in 1987.

Highlights of the gig were East Jesus Nowhere, Are We The Waiting, and their mash-up of Iron Man, Sweet Child o’ Mine and Highway to Hell.  

Now, I’m aware that this blog post, in itself, is nothing new: everybody knows that Green Day are an establishment of pop punk, and put on an amazing show.  For years after this gig I was worried that no other band would ever be able to top their performance.

Even so, I think I’ve made it clear that if I could turn back time and experience that gig again, I would without a second thought.

Currently listening to: Need To BeMemphis May Fire