10 albums that defined my teenage years (in no particular order.)
.Radiohead - OK Computer .Modest Mouse - The Moon and Antarctica .My Chemical Romance - Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge .Jimmy Eat World - Clarity/Bleed American (it’s impossible to pick just one) .Say Anything - …Is a Real Boy .Brand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me .Saves the Day - Stay What You Are .Nirvana - In Utero .Thursday - A City By the Light Divided .Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Honorable mentions: .The Arcade Fire - Funeral .The Smiths - The Sound of the Smiths .Radiohead - In Rainbows .Green Day - American Idiot .The Get Up Kids - Something to Right Home About .Modest Mouse - Good News for People Who Love Bad News .The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow .Mineral - The Power of Failing .Sunny Day Real Estate - Diary .The Cure - Disintegration .The White Stripes - Elephant
Finally, here’s that big drawing I worked on in the past months. Some of you may have seen the sketches I posted and I want to thank everyone for the feedback about the typography. I tried some new things on this illustration and I hope to make some more music related artworks in the future. I want to make some posters for my favorite music albums. And of course it would be great to make some gig posters for bands, so if you play in a band or know someone who’s looking for someone to illustrate a band poster, let me know ;-) I’ll post some close ups and sketches for this one tomorow.
I’m leaving off obvious classics (anything pre-2000) and also all of Radiohead because duh.
Funeral – Arcade Fire: I was a few years late to the Arcade Fire party, but I don’t think I would’ve been able to fully appreciate a modern classic like this in 2004. How can someone say so much about mortality in 10 tracks? Funeral will make you cry, but it’s empowering, it’s hopeful, and it’s euphoric.
Be He Me – Annuals: Be He Me is unconcerned with projecting an image of coolness. It’s simply raw creativity pouring out of 20-year-old Adam Baker, who is bursting at the seams with energy and spazzy, astonishing arrangements. 9 years later, opening track “Brother” is still one of my all-time favorite songs.
All We Know is Falling – Paramore: Here’s one for sentimental value. The year was 2006, I was 13 at my first Warped Tour (lol), and I met these guys for the first time. They brought me so many other firsts – my first favorite band, first celebrity crush, and my first exposure to other artists on the scene. Ten years later, their talent is still apparent in these songs which are impressive not because of their lyrics, musicianship, or originality – all of which are lacking – but because they were the heartfelt product of a bunch of wide-eyed teenagers averaging sixteen years old. Also, that voice.
Kala – M.I.A.: If Paramore was the band that got me into the pop punk (and eventually post-hardcore) scene, M.I.A. was the artist that began to transition my tastes to indie and electronic music several years later. Kala is M.I.A.’s best work, packed with ingenious samples, clever slogans, unexpected hooks, and plenty of bangers. It’s her most accessible album, yet she still sounds remarkably ahead of her time and basically unstoppable. And of course, I’m sure many other brown people can relate to feeling proudly represented for once by the image of someone so cool.
Absolution – Muse: I can’t think of many other albums that sound this huge. Absolution plays like thetriumphant culmination of some earth-shattering undertaking, and its choruses make you feel invincible.
XX – The xx: Pretty much the polar opposite of Absolution. Artfully minimal and practically whispered, this was my soundtrack to many, many solitary night-time drives. Few bands reach this level of perfection in their entire careers, let alone in a debut.
An Awesome Wave – Alt-j: Another stunning album by a band that hasn’t yet matched their debut. When I first came across “Breezeblocks” I was put off by just how strange it was. The album as a whole is no less peculiar, but its lovely melodies and eclectic influences layer together to create something special.
Strange Mercy – St. Vincent Stunningly crafted and performed, Strange Mercy somehow feels surgically precise and radically unhinged at the same time. Annie Clark is an astounding guitarist with chops for miles, but that’s not the point – I’ve never heard a guitar sound so textured with emotion. Clark’s lyrics are clever and complex, her songs sexy, mournful, twisted, and jarringly violent – sometimes all at once – and when her voice can’t bear to convey her emotion, her instrument takes over.
Merriweather Post Pavilion – Animal Collective: Sure, “My Girls” is one of the best songs of our generation, but there isn’t a single track on this album that’s anything less than extraordinary. Nine albums into the band’s career, Merriweather Post Pavilion is a joyful exploration of devotion and domestic duty in the form of down-to-Earth, dizzying psychedelic-pop.