This playlist has gone through many iterations. When I set off, I really wanted to make a list that highlighted artists whose entire discographies were void of a singular bad song. Soon enough that became albums with only bangers and finally rested here at albums without a bad song. Albums where start to finish your finger never inches toward the skip button. These albums may not have your head whipping back and forth on every note, but taken together they are absolute monsters, forces to be reckoned with.
Modest Mouse, the creators of We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank were the single reason I actually wanted to create this playlist. Their discography is devoid of bad songs, partially because of their style. They are a lovably weird and interesting band to listen to.
One song on the album Building Nothing out of Something is primarily composed of the sound of traffic for a staggering six minutes. It’s because of this weirdness that even their most eccentric songs still have a lovable vibe. Just a month or so back I committed to listening to their entire collection of works without skipping once, start to finish. We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank itself is simply a masterpiece. It perfectly adheres sea-sprayed and funky feeling of the entire album, making the album, while varied, feel like a cohesive unit. As for highlights of the album, both “Education” and “Little Motel” are tied as my personal favorites. “Education” is an amazingly raw and intense song, carried heavily by the the earthy vocals, while “Little Motel” is less technically impressive yet is a beautiful and haunting song, the simplicity of it only exemplifying every beat and lyric.
As a Vampire Weekend fan myself, I was a bit disappointed scrolling through their albums. Many contained amazing songs from the artists yet were drowning in boring and forgettable songs. Vampire Weekend however, the artist’s self-titled album breaks that trend beautifully. While not every song on the album is an absolute banger, it’s album chock-full of incredibly solid songs. When scrolling through the album, both “Oxford Comma” and “A-Punk” jump out at me as highlights of the album. “Oxford Comma” is a youthful and simply fun song, joyfully self aware of its catchy and clever lyrics. Back in my first playlist, I spoke to the wonders of “A-Punk,” bringing up the fact that deep, locked away in my mother’s facebook account, is a video of an exceptionally young me playing this song on Guitar Hero, with the microphone strung up in my shirt as to allow me to both sing and strum at the same time. I love it.
I seriously considered cutting American Teen from the list. While good, the songs can come off as seriously formulaic and even a bit shallow. The Problem? Khalid’s formula is freaking good, and somehow he has managed to create an album that encapsulates high school summer vacation perfectly. When I speak to the quality of this album, I am speaking less of the quality of individual songs, but more to the bohemian vibe that the entire album carries throughout it. Maybe it isn’t the first thing that I’ll recommend to a friend, but it is a strong contender for the aux on a summer afternoon.
I feel bad for this album. “Mr. Brightside” was such an impossibly big hit that it cast an irreversible shadow over the rest of Hot Fuss and even the Killer’s own discography. The album that hosts a seriously strong showing of titles has simply become “The Mr. Brightside Album.” The album itself is composed of more of “The Killer’s” expertise, emotional and vocal heavy music with a synth/rock backdrop. Yet the important thing to note is that those true and emotional vocals are just as strong as they are in “Mr. Brightside,” if not stronger. The prime example of this is “Andy, You’re a Star.” If you are a victim of the “Mr. Brightside Album” viewpoint, I recommend you give the rest of the album a good listen.
Doolittle is the Pixies through and through. Composed of earthy and unconventional rock, accompanied by some of the strongest and most interesting vocals in the genre, Doolittle is wonderfully not for everyone. If you have yet to, give the Pixies a chance, listen to their hits, and if they aren’t for you, that’s perfectly alright. But if they are, find a nice pair of headphones and cut out an hour for this album. You won’t regret it. In Doolittle, my favorite song is most definitely “No. 13 Baby.” It’s a gritty and slightly eerie song, with slow and well timed lyrics that keep building and building to an exceptionally satisfying chorus.
A friend of mine vouches for this album like nothing else. I’m not a big enough Adele fan to write on her music.
Sublime Greatest Hits
I really considered adding this. but I felt that a greatest hits album would be cheating.
Ixnay On The Hombre
This album definitely fits the bill. The Offspring hit it out of the park with this one. The playlist was just too Rock/Punk heavy to have this added on top.
Is This It
I absolutely adore this album. But I can’t vouch that every song is worth listening to, mainly because of inexperience with it. The album itself though? Wonderful.
To be totally honest, I can only name one song off of this album, which is partially because the song’s insanely long and wordy names and partially because of my experience with this album. This album is something I came to love without even knowing the name. It was an album that my dad would play over my family’s speakers while cleaning the house. It is an album that managed to make an appearance in my life at many points without ever being a focal point. That’s because the album doesn’t set out to be the main attraction. The album is strange and beautiful, folksy and personal, interesting and varied. It’s not every album that shifts from an acoustic guitar and quiet vocals to a full choir alongside an arrangement of brass instruments to an array of synth and chimes. It’s an album that has a special place in my heart. Of its songs, “John Wayne Gacy, Jr” is the one that sticks out the most prominently, its vocals both reserved and haunting, however, the album shouldn’t be taken at the value of a single song, it is something best listened to start to finish.
Ten is a 53 kick butt rock and roll classic. Featuring impressive electric guitar riffs, strong bass lines, punchy drum beats and exemplary vocals, there is nothing more a classic rock fan could want from an album. Personally, I have countless memories of driving too and from recreational soccer practice, trying to hide my embarrassment as my dad shamelessly jammed out to “Even Flow.”
I absolutely adore Bowling for Soup, a late 90s/early 2000s pop-punk band in the same vein as Blink 182. There is something super warm and inviting about their music. While much of the album is a bit forgettable, the songs are incredibly fun and the lyrics bring a smile to my face regardless. “1985” is most definitely my favorite song on the album. It’s just so fun to sing along to, I can’t help but love it. I have countless memories of losing my voice, screaming the lyrics in the car.
NOFX is pure punk rock, and I love it. Personally, the band the source of my “pre-cross-country” hype up music, and this album is by far their best. Funny enough, the reason that I found NOFX is because of my dad, who was a roommate of a brother of one of the band members. The album is beautifully politically charged and pulls off what it attempts to perfectly. Of the album, my favorite song is most definitely “Linoleum,” it’s short, catchy and sweet, something every song should aspire to be.
Torches is that album. The “Pumped Up Kicks” album. The album with a song about a school shooter. Opinions on said song aside, the rest of the album sports some fantastic indie/alt rock songs. Songs that are, contrary to “Pumped Up Kicks,” energetic and high spirited. Sadly, however, many of the rest of the songs on the album lacks the political and social nuance in the lyrics, a fair trade for some of the most iconic indie rock songs out there.
This one is kind of cheating, Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies are a slightly unconventional cover band, one to takes famous songs to the tune of punk rock. This album is solely comprised of absolute classics set to thrashing electric guitar and intense, headbanging vocals. While maybe not the most cohesive album ever, if you want to headbang to “Karma Chameleon” and “I Will Always Love You,” this album delivers. More than just the beauty of punk rock covers, this song has a special meaning to me. One of my childhood friends, whom I have slowly drifted away from over time, shared a common middle school interest with me. It was punk rock. After finding this band in my junior year, this artist gave me a chance to reconnect with him and rekindle a floundering friendship.
Jack is a senior and videographer for Southside Media with a dream of moving to a big city. He enjoys competing with the eSports team and his friends, trying and critiquing new foods, and getting lost in r/cozyplaces.