Phew, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. You can check out part 1, 2 and 3 listed here if you’re curious. Now let’s see what other great talents need to be recognized.
“Common Courtesy” (2013) by A Day To Remember
Genre: Metal, Hardcore, Pop Punk, Screamo, Progressive
A Day To Remember have always been okay to me, with the exception of one of their albums. They had a rocky start for sure, struggling to find a consistent, flowing sound. But their incredibly catchy clean vocals always made them fun and easy to listen to. It wasn’t until this album came out that they really showed what they could do. This is the album that everyone was waiting for, using the perfect blend of hardcore and pop punk that they have been searching for for years. Every song is creative, unique, emotional and just awesome. The music is the best they’ve ever done and there isn’t one dull moment on the album. After fans had to be kept waiting for years due to a legal battle with Victory Records, we weren’t left disappointed. For an album debuting their own, brand new record label, it couldn’t have been more perfect.
“Still Searching” (2007) by Senses Fail
Genre: Post-Hardcore, Punk/Pop
I can still remember the first time I listened to this album, and I still get amazed every time I hear a song off or it 10 years later. Their debut album was a decent, enjoyable album, nothing too special, but good. And I loved it anyway. Then Senses Fail took us by surprise with Still Searching. It was like listening to a completely new and redefined band, yet still having their original central sound mixed in there. Every song is nothing short of amazing. The worst song to me is “Can’t Be Saved” and that is like one of their biggest singles. So take that into consideration to figure out how good the rest of the songs are. The album isn’t over done. It’s straight and simple, with catchy music with nice hardcore and metal riffs blended in…in short, it’s post-hardcore at it’s finest. They aren’t the most talented band out there, but they do the best they could, and the effect was something most bands can ever only hope to achieve.
And while we are talking about Senses Fail, let’s take it further. When Still Searching came out, I was actually kind of sad. I knew nothing could top it. They would only decline from there. The album was just too perfect. But no, Senses Fail proved me wrong.
“Life Is Not A Waiting Room” (2008) by Senses Fail
Genre: Post-Hardcore, Punk/Pop
Not even two years after one masterpiece, they release another. I loved this album before I even opened up the case. I mean, look at that awesome cover. I was excited right from there. I went into this album wondering how far it would fall short from it’s predecessor, but was pleased to find out that it took it one step beyond. It was basically the same exact style of song writing and performance, just only done better. Their talents all improved and this album shows it. The lyrics and vocals are so emotional and personal, and fit and blend so well with the music. I could listen to this album every day. Life Is Not A Waiting Room and Still Searching are easily in my top 5 favorite albums. Sadly, the decline I so feared happened after this album. They are now so bad I won’t ever likely buy another album from them again.
“An Ocean Between Us” (2007) by As I Lay Dying
As I Lay Dying’s first album was decent for a debut. Their second was worse, using so much uninspired, typical stock metal for music. It wasn’t until their third that they showed the world what they could do.
An Ocean Between Us can only be described as perfect. It starts off with a nice clean instrumental that builds into harmonizing, distorted guitars. This 1 minute long instrumental sets the tone for the whole album. It just builds up and gets better and better. Right after the intro song, it immediately jumps into track 2, and right away you notice an energy and ability the band has never come close to showing before. The guitars, the drums, heck, even the screams are all vastly improved. Each song is intense, never slowing down, just melting your face with some of the best metal riffs and break downs you will ever hear.
The band has come together to perfect a sound we could only dream of. They even threw in a lot more clean vocals that fit in perfect to the high energy mash of metal. It’s just a perfect, wonderful, wonderful album. And they didn’t slow down after this, either. They released two more albums with just as much high, non stop energy and amazing musicianship. All three albums are something that every metal fan needs to here.
“Recovery” (2010) by Eminem
Genre: Rap/Hip Hop
I am not exactly a fan of rap, but Eminem has always blown me away. His unique take on the genre has enticed me to follow him ever since he exploded onto the scene in the late 90’s. His first three major release albums are nothing short of incredible. He is a truly gifted writer and presents his lyrics in humorous, clever, unmatched ways. Whether he is yelling like a maniac or doing something more personal and serious, you can’t help but be drawn in by it. His fourth and fifth albums were not as good, but still had some memorable songs.
But I didn’t truly start to see just how gifted he is until Recovery. This album was a few steps up from anything he’s ever done before. Everything about it seemed more mature. He wasn’t talking about drugs and killing people, Kim and his mom all the time anymore. It was more down to earth and personal. He’s still got some goofy songs, but they are all so good. He also brings in a lot of guest vocalists to enhance his choruses. Even his beats were infinitely better, mostly consisting of real instruments and actual song structure instead of just the typical 2 measures of a computer created beat repeated over and over for 5 minutes. The way he uses this music and reacts and emotes his voice to match it makes everything that much more interesting. Sometimes I almost forget I am listening to a rap album, instead hearing a band with a fast talking vocalist, which is probably why someone like me who is not a particular fan of rap loves this so much.
This album set the tone for the new Eminem, and he has done nothing but get better and better ever since.