As promised, here is Part 2 of my Top 25 Albums list. However, unlike the review happy people on iTunes, these are albums I have listened to over and over again, digesting them, delighting in them, and letting them speak to me before I just give them 5 stars because the album is by an artist I like or because I’m under the influence of a new music high (new music always sounds better at first, but it takes time to see how you feel about the song once that wears off, much like a relationship). Many of these artists I love all their albums and it was hard to pick one. Some of these artists I only felt one album really stuck with me, but it was great enough to be worth listening to hundreds of time. Enjoy and feel free to mention your favorites in the comments. Rock on…
- Infinity on High – Fall Out Boy – Although a lot of people stereotype them as teen music, I think they are a much better rock band than that. The music is catchy, the lyrics are clever, and the ridiculously long song titles make it even better. There’s artistry here, especially in the words, and I love their tongue-in-cheek attitude on certain songs. Still love “Thks Fr Th Mmrs.” Give them credit as father of Panic! At the Disco.
- Awake – Josh Groban – It only took hearing one Josh Groban song, and I was hooked. I would turn on his CDs at home and say, “Mom, Dad, I’d like you to meet your future son in law.” His voice is beyond incredible, he’s versatile at piano or drums or pretty much any romantic language, and he’s fantastic live too. Although hard to pick, this album was my favorite (I think…I still debate between it and Closer), because of the variety of songs, the emotion poured into each one, and how the songs deviate from the usual love ballad form of his first two albums.
- Fallen – Evanescence – This album is tragically beautiful. Amy Lee’s voice carries so much emotion – she can whisper and ache or belt it out. I love how the songs build, coming to a crashing crescendo on the bridge, and how the lyrics make such sadness striking and beautiful. I also love the blend of piano and guitars – the album never gets too heavy or bogged down by overbearing rock/metal guitar riffs.
- American Idiot – Green Day – Many people argue Green Day sold out on this album, exchanging their unique alternative rock sound for something more mainstream, but the messages and songs on this album stuck with me more. With clever lyrics and catchy tunes, Green Day criticizes, praises, and illustrates the soul of America. The songs are carefully placed, and the whole album is an experience, but there are also those standout songs like the title piece and “Holiday” that are fun to jam to whenever. I admire Green Day for their being talented performers and song writers and for being one of the few bands who maintain a certain standard throughout the years.
- Dizzy Up the Girl – Goo Goo Dolls – This album had so many great singles such as “Black Balloon,” “Slide,” Broadway,” and the ever-popular “Iris.” But even the filler songs are great, and I like how on this album the songs don’t blur together as much as their new songs do. Another rock band with a great combination of music, lyrics, instrumentation and singing.
- Funhouse – P!nk – I’ve always liked P!nk for her spunky attitude and her great pop songwriting, but this was the first time her songs spoke so strongly to me that I bought the whole album and not just the hit singles. Definitely influenced by her separation with her husband, P!nk covers many topics from alcoholism to heartache to kicking ass without you, you bastard. The bonus songs on this album are definitely worth checking out on iTunes. P!nk’s voice is so versatile, and I love the combination of gorgeous slow songs and the fast furious ones.
- For Your Entertainment – Adam Lambert – I think not winning American Idol helped his career immensely. But what really fuels his career is his freaking awesome voice. His range in amazing, and, personally, I prefer listening to his live tracks. He is pitch perfect live, but I feel some of the grit and uniqueness of his sound is lost when it’s mixed for the album. This album never fails to jazz me up, feel a bit naughty, and remind me I’m awesome no matter who I am. Adam has great flair, and I love his positive messages about expressing yourself.
- Everything in Transit – Jack’s Mannequin – This alternative rock band hooked me with its beautiful piano riffs. Not a lot of rock bands have the piano at the heart, but Jack’s Mannequin does and it adds to the emotion and beauty of their songs. With their laid back California-feel and Andrew McMahon’s voice, this band makes the ordinary life interesting. A seemingly ordinary album but yet extraordinary in its subtlety, addicting you without you even realizing it.
- Millennium – Backstreet Boys – I’m nostalgic for my 90s/early 2000s music. Although a lot of the songs I no longer care for, but the following 3 albums I still like to pull out and jam to when the mood strikes. Packed with well-ordered rock songs and oh baby girl love ballads, BSB never misses a note. Although not a fan of a couple of the slow songs, I Want the Album That Way. So many great hits here.
10. No Strings Attached – N*Sync – Probably the best of their albums, this one also has a great blend of let’s party jams with girl you know I love ya slow songs. I love busting out “I Just Got Paid” on Friday or belting with passion “It’s Gonna Be Me” or getting cheesy with “Bye Bye Bye.” This was the height of boy band music alongside Millennium.
11. Oops…I Did It Again – Britney Spears – Move over boy bands, because there were also divas in this decade. Although I love Aguilera’s voice better, Britney just knew how to make a catchier than the plague hit. I love the girl power songs like “Stronger” and “What You See Is What You Get.” There’s also the classic title song that we all can relate to and the cheesy boy I only think of you songs that make us of think of crushes past. But then after our boy crushes break our hearts, we’ll go belt it out with Adele.
12. Moulin Rouge soundtrack – I only bought this CD because of “Rhythm of the Night,” which we danced to in class (Yes, this dates me. This was BEFORE you could buy singles on iTunes). However, the rest of the CD is a great mix of artists and a variety of songs from pop to an Argentine tango to a French song sung by Rufus Wainwright. This is definitely a beginning to end CD as it tells a somewhat cliché love story in a fascinating musical fashion.
13. Titanic soundtrack – Not a big fan of the movie, but the soundtrack is so beautiful. Again I listened to the album before my parents deemed me old enough to watch the movie. As a French horn player, I am especially biased towards this album. The horn was the perfect instrument to describe the aching beauty of a tragic event and love story. I agree Celine Dion’s hit is overplayed, but the rest of the album you can’t get enough of.
14. Phantom of the Opera – Selections From Original Cast version – My favorite musical ever. My friend introduced me to the soundtrack and I could NOT GET ENOUGH. I wasn’t even sure of the plot, but the singing was gorgeous, the organ in certain songs so soul-shaking, and each song made me feel something different. A great blend of being a traditional musical with modern twists. Michael Crawford also set the high standard for the role of the Phantom. You’ll love the Phantom as much as I do after Crawford serenades you with the music of the night.