Fun fact...it's not Winter yet. But, the season of absolute miser, uh, pure glacial glory is fast approaching. Soooo, we here at Team PO HQ decided to take a look back at some Autumn albums that celebrated their 10th birthday recently. Take a gander...
Against Me! – Searching For A Former Clarity – September 6, 2005
It seems to me that many fans see this as the album when Against Me! became a mainstream act. Maybe some see it as their last good release. To me, it’s one of their strongest, and it was also the first album to pull me into their sound, which I must admit I was about five years late for, as I didn’t really discover this album until around 2010. The lyrical shift of Laura Jane Grace seemed to become more introspective, while maintaining the political and social commentaries they had been screaming for years. If you’ve never listened to the catchy masterpiece that is Don’t Lose Touch, please do so, and get your punk groove back.
Nightmare of You – Nightmare of You – September 13, 2005
I was never a super huge fan of The Movielife, so when they announced their split and the members formed both I am the Avalanche and Nightmare of You, I have to admit, I wasn’t super intrigued. However, after hearing My Name Is Trouble for the first time, I was hooked. It was whimsical, almost eerie. I immediately downloaded the record expecting a slew of hauntingly beautiful love songs, but was pleasantly surprised to find it was full of substance. It was ahead of its time, housing some hipster-y qualities we see in albums coming out ten years later. Its lyrics were solid. It was tongue-in-cheek. It was everything I never really came to grasp when listening to The Movielife. I may go out on a limb and say it’s some of Brandon Reilly’s best work.
I Am the Avalanche – I Am the Avalanche – September 27, 2005
When The Movielife broke up in 2003, different reasons were thrown around. One of which, was creative difference. This seemed obvious when members Vinnie Caruana and Brandon Reilly started new bands, both of which released their debut albums in September of 2005. Caruana’s new project, I Am The Avalanche, sounded most similar to The Movielife. It was pop-punk greatness, with a more street-smart edge and a knack for well-formed songwriting. It stood out among its contemporaries, and was carried by the downtrodden lyrics of a man who went from touring with one of the biggest names in the scene to working New York City construction. This record set the tone of Caruana’s post-Movielife career, though it would be nearly seven years until they released a follow-up.
Panic! At the Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out – September 27, 2005
For the record, I absolutely despise most gimmicky records, and A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out might be the most gimmicky record I can recall from my high school years. But there’s just something about it that transcends my sincere hatred for nonsense. It’s repetitious, bubbly, and filled with lyrics that 15 year old me could just barely grasp, yet something about it is just so perfect. It manages to tiptoe its way into a slew of genres, including mild tastes of electronica and burlesque tunes, while maintaining a saccharine pop-punk quality to it that’s appealing at 15 or 25. The only thing that bugs me more than the fact that I still can’t get "Time to Dance" out of my head ten years later is the fact that there hasn’t been a ten year tour announcement for this bad boy.
Straylight Run – Prepare To Be Wrong EP – October 4, 2005
This might be the first EP to be featured in our tenth anniversary series. Honestly, if I were to make a nerdy, High Fideltiy-esque list of my favoite EPs of all time, this one would be a quick choice. Straylight Run is still an underrated band. Many people didn’t seem to make it past "Existentialism On Prom Night" or the rest of their debut, but this follow-up EP was what set them aside from their label, their past projects (Taking Back Sunday included), and most other bands in their genre. The piano-heavy melodies, male/female vocal harmonies, and exploration of styles began to grow here. It’s melodic, emotional, and something all their own. The lyrics of Later That Year during the months the U.S. invaded Iraq spoke of something unusual: political commentary in emo music. The cover of Bob Dylan’s "With God On Our Side," and the altered lyrics to also reflect the feeling of the youth during a time of global war was something I identified with greatly, as a youth entering my later years of high school, and the legal age to be drafted for service. And for those scene historians, the song, "A Slow Decent," is clearly about John Nolan’s decision to leave Taking Back Sunday, right?
Alicia Keys – Unplugged – October 7, 2005
There is no way that I would ever forget this album! I had just come out the year previous and was getting ready for my first “real date.” (Side note: I still feel like I have not been on a real date, yet.) I had met this guy who I was really into and we had talked about how much I loved Alicia Keys at the time. As time went on I ended up getting this album as a gift for our one-month anniversary (yes, I was one of those.) He said, “Our love will be unbreakable just how Alicia describes it on this album.” Little did he know this album would also describe our break up.
Unplugged was just enough old/new that I needed at that time. Neo-Soul generally has an unplugged feel; it’s raw and rugged, smooth and steady all at the same time. Alicia manages to mix just enough Neo-Soul with her traditional R&B and created this album that sounded no different than her live studio performance on MTV’s resurrected Unplugged series. The album features songs off Keys’ multi-platinum albums Songs in A Minor and The Diary of Alicia Keys, as well as seven previously unrecorded songs.
It starts of pretty slow opening up with "Karma" (that should have been a sign) and awkward conversations with the audience. The album gradually gets better with some of my personal favorite tracks like "Fallin," “If I Was Your Woman,” and “Wild Horses,” her duet with Adam Levine from Maroon 5. Personally, it was a good for her first live album. From one singer to another I definitely felt that she could have taken more risks. Unplugged was very straightforward and lacked any storytelling, just like my sad relationship at that moment in time. I guess it did its job and got this then 15 year old, newly discovered queer through some heartache.
Thrice – Vheissu – October 17, 2005
It was Warped Tour, 2005. My friends and I, all dire Thrice fans, found a good spot in the middle of the crowd for what would be the last band of the day. They opened with "Betrayal Is A Symptom," and after that heavy drum and bass intro, the single guitar chords, and the explosion of sound, we basically lost our shit. I still take credit for the fact that we started the mosh pit for that set. When the melodic chorus took things down a half a notch, we looked around to realize we were all standing next to each other again.
That was the first time I had seen Thrice, and also the first night I had heard a track from their upcoming album, Vheissu. The song was, "Image Of The Invisible," and I still can’t help but sing along to the refrain they taught the crowd. Thrice’s sound began to shift at this point, and Vheissu was a perfect transition between their faster, punk-influenced post-hardcore sound, into something layered and soaring. I think this was the moment when Thrice went from musicians to artists. It took me some time to look back and revisit the album over the years to truly appreciate it, but songs like, "The Earth Will Shake," still blow me away.
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