No, this is not a T-Mobile commercial. A couple of weeks ago I picked out a CD from my collection that I have not listened to in quite a while. Inevitably, I started thinking about all of the music I own and which albums I enjoy the most. But why confine this exercise to myself and my thoughts. Why not get others involved as well. So I thought it might be fun for all of us to play a little game. Let’s call it My Fave 5 Albums. I want you to submit 5 albums that you absolutely cannot stop pumping through your headphones. It doesn’t necessarily mean that these are the 5 best albums in the history of music. It also doesn’t mean that this list won’t change. If you are a music lover like myself, you know it will very soon. I’m already eyeing several new purchases as we speak. This list is simply 5 albums that you find yourself going back to and enjoying through and through. It can be any style or genre. It can be major label or local indie. Heck, it can even be your mom on tape singing Michael Bolton if you are into that sort of thing (confession…my mom loves Michael Bolton).

There is a small catch or stipulation. It’s not enough that you just give us a list of your favorite albums. You need to briefly share with us why they are your favorite 5 and thus why they should not be missing from anyone’s collection. If I get enough submissions, I will compile it into the ultimate Fave 5 based on the most listed albums. So…let me get this party started.

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  1. Blackbird – Alter Bridge
    The reemergence of Creed with a new lead singer. This band is much better than its predecessor. I was a Creed fan (laugh if you want to) mostly because of Mark Tremonti and his amazing guitar work. This album is his best work yet. It has the screaming solos, catchy riffs, and beefy tone while exploring some more artistic elements. It has a more dramatic feel while still retaining the in-your-face rock sound. This is the type of music I always envisioned making during my band days.

  2. Silence – Blindside
    They have a style all their own. No one sounds like Blinside from the guitars to the melodies. Though it is one of their older albums, it is my favorite. It has a unique screamo, rock, alternative sound. It also has the perfect mix of singing and screaming. It is aggressive yet melodic.

  3. The Open Door – Evanescence
    I love dramatic music. So this band is a natural fit for me. This album might be best described as beautifully nasty. Crunchy metal guitars meet angelic vocals. It is the type of music that moves you in many ways (reflective mood and heavy head banging are both appropriate).

  4. Fiends – Chasing Victory
    A very creative album. It is the second and last album for this band (they recently called it quits) which is sad. The biggest attractions for me were the driving guitars, dirty riffs, and surprising falsetto. Chemicals is a fantastic song. The whole album is excellent. I have been listening to it non-stop for months.

  5. End of Silence – Red
    At first listen it might be easy to compare these guys to Linkin Park (prior to Minutes to Midnight). However, this album is not the Christian alternative to Linkin Park. The string section really gives this album not only a epic feel but a big sound. The production is top notch, very creative. Driving guitars and great use of the acoustic on occasion. A great freshman release.

Of course I left out a few bands and albums that I love and listen to regularly. So let me mention them quickly: Ghosts by Sleeping at Last, Vices by Dead Poetic (great thematic album), The Everglow by Mae (great concept album), A Beautiful Lie by 30 Seconds to Mars, and Coldplay Live 2003.

So go out and get these albums. Buy them as Christmas gifts. They make great stocking stuffers (if you have a big stocking). Now it’s your turn. What albums should I be listening to? “Hit me with your best shot, fire away.”

6 Replies to “Who’s In Your Fave 5?

  1. Alrighty… I always love these sorts of things… These are the albums I will always have with me:

    The Normals – Coming To Life
    We’ll kick it off with my personal favorite album of all time. Drawing heavily on U2-like influences, The Normals sophomore release is one of the most lyrically honest and insightful albums I have ever heard – touching on the topics of human depravity, lust, purpose, and grace in a very blunt, profound, and personal way. For what it’s worth, this album is beautifully constructed from a production standpoint – in many ways it musically documents the entire Christian-life experience, and it does so seamlessly in a way that makes sense. Favorite tracks – title track “Coming To Life”, simple acoustic driven song about seeking to find a meaning greater than oneself in life, as well as “The Survivor”, the most compelling lyric on grace I have ever read.

    Sigur Ros – Takk
    Sigur Ros is one of those sleepy bands great for long nighttime drives, quiet evenings of reading, or solo treks across the arctic tundra. The band is from Iceland, and you can just feel the permanent coldness seeping through each of their tracks. Sigur Ros songs are always somewhat methodical, but I think it’s brilliant and beautiful… These are the types of guys who play their electric guitars with violin bows, and sing in this odd high-pitched warble that sounds more like an instrument than a vocal [enthusiasts will know this falsetto based cooing as the Sigur Ros-created language of ‘Hopelandic’]. This is soundtrack music for a movie that hasn’t been made for it yet. Favorite track – definitely “Saeglopur”… no idea what the word means, but 2 minutes into the 7 minute long track and you’re catapulted into an epic cacophony of orchestrated group noise and atmospheric bliss.

    U2 – The Joshua Tree
    While rock anthems certainly existed before U2, I submit that they were the ones who popularized the genre of anthemic rock. With arenas jam packed with fans shouting out the words to “Where The Streets Have No Name” while Edge blew away on an electric guitar heavily layered in delay and reverb, and Bono belting out his poetic lyrics in a not-quite-rock, not-quite-crooner style. Love ’em or hate ’em, you can’t deny that U2 has been a major force in the world of rock and roll for over 25 years, and they continue to push forward. Joshua Tree represents U2 at their most pure – an iconic album in the history of music. Favorite track – oh who am i kidding, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.

    Embrace – Out Of Nothing
    There is something very driving and purposeful about this album that really draws me in. Not unlike Coldplay in some respects, Embrace aims for a large sound and delivers – heavy on the guitar reverb and and an underpinning of piano. They’re friends with the Coldplay guys and Chris Martin actually wrote a song that appears on this record (“Gravity”). I think what I like is that this album just really keeps moving – every track grabs my attention, and the progression of the album as a whole just really draws me in. Favorite track – I really like “Someday”… it ends with this gospel choir belting out the chorus at the end of the song over the top of the band.

    Radiohead – The Bends
    A lot of people go directly for OK Computer when choosing their Radiohead poison, citing it as the pinnacle of recorded music history… but I like this one. It’s sweeping and epic, and they accomplish this with a guy who is overly obsessed with his falsetto. Rarely is guitar-rock so layered with depth and character, but Radiohead have, over 14 years, effectively taken the genre of anthemic rock, turned it upside down, and presented it in an entirely new way. As my friend said the other day, The Bends is like Radiohead’s apology for Pablo Honey… “Hey guys, we’re really sorry about the last album… we were just getting started, and the label was telling us what we could and couldn’t do and it all turned out crap, so here you go.” And then it proceeds to smack you in the face with Track 1 “Planet Telex”, and then a left hook with “The Bends”, and then continues to beat the cheese out of you through “High And Dry”, “Fake Plastic Trees”, “Bones”, on and on, until you are musically exhausted and wearily give yourself over to the way of Radiohead. Favorite track – while most songs build, climax, then fade, the title track “The Bends” builds, builds, builds and then rails you over with 60 seconds of screaming guitars riffs and immediately ends only to kick you in the head with the next track.

  2. Great choices Burns. I agree, Coming to Life is an amazing album. If I would’ve done a Top Ten, it would’ve been on there. I also agree that you have to start with The Bends when you talk about great Radiohead albums. For me, I dig the rawness of that album. It was definitely ahead of its time. Edgy and falsetto hadn’t hit the market quite yet. Now it is the big fad in music.

    Most everyone mentions Joshua Tree. I would say the best U2 album but if I’m honest (prepare yourself), I’m not a huge U2 fan. I don’t know why but I’ve just never gotten into their music too much other than a song here and there. I’ve never heard of Embrace so I’ll have to check them out. Kudos on a good list.

  3. Yeah… U2. I used to be much more devout than I am now. I still do love the “Joshua Tree” album though, and I do continue to go back to it… so it fits the bill.

    I know you’re more of a hard rock guy than the Brit pop thing… but if you appreciate Radiohead and Snow Patrol / Coldplay / Keane is up your alley, you should check out the “somewhat recent” Travis album, “Boy With No Name”. It hasn’t been out long enough for me to put on this list, but it’s good. But Ryan Adams “Cold Roses” has been… dang it – that should be on the list.

  4. Share The Well – Caedmon’s Call – Every lyric to every song is beautiful. This band is a band of storytellers. Each song is completely captivating. Caedmon’s is minus D. Webb on this album, but their performance lacks nothing. Songs from African villagers are present as well. Completely breathtaking.

    Nothing is Sound – Switchfoot – I could listen to this CD for the rest of my life and be completely happy. I am all about the lyrics…not just a good beat. But, this album has both. Their songs are perfect whether driving in the car or working out at the gym.

    Twice the Speed of Life – Sugarland – I am a country girl to the core (and proud of it I must say). I think I can relate w/almost every song on this album on some level or another. Jennifer Nettles has a gorgeous twang that is fun to sing along with after a crazy day. Nothing is better than singing the tracks on this one with volume up and windows down

    If I left the Zoo – Jars of clay – How can I NOT put one of theirs on here?? This is their best cd, by far. Songs such as River Constantine and No one loves me like you put this cd on top on my collection. It is perfect after a day when I just need to unwind. And dan’s voice…perfection!

    I’m alright – Jo dee messina – Again, not ashamed to say that I loves me some country music. Jo dee messina has the perfect alto voice for my sing alonger personality. The best song on here “silver thunderbird” is so nostalgic. It makes me tear up and think of my dad everytime I hear it.

  5. Ok here’s my top five.
    1. ATREYU – Lead Sails Paper Anchor
    2. DREAM THEATER – Systematic Chaos
    3. SAOSIN – Saosin
    4. STORY OF THE YEAR – In the Wake of Determination
    5. VAN CANTO – A Storm to Come

    I’ve found myself able to acess more music than ever before in my life through using my Napster subscription. I’ve been able to listen to almost anything that someone recommends and found some of my favorites by doing so. These are my current favs, and I’ll give some honorable mention to my all-time favs of Skillet, Disciple, Pillar, Chevelle, and Third Day.

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