My Favorite Albums (2021 Edition)

+9

A year ago, I made a blog detailing my 100 favorite albums at the time. As I've discovered a lot more music this year and my tastes have changed significantly, I thought I would make an update (one that's hopefully better than last year's). I'd strongly recommend every one of these albums to anyone interested in music, although the list is a bit heavy on country, rock and metal so if you're not a fan of those genres there's probably not a whole lot here you'd be interested in.

50. Gutter Phenomenon by Every Time I Die

Genre: Southern Metalcore

Year: 2006

The first entry in my top 50. One of the finest examples of my favorite genre of music, Gutter Phenomenon completely blew me away the first time I listened to it, and has since grown off me slightly. But it's still an amazing album, combining southern rock and groove melodies seamlessly with more traditional metalcore and mathcore. A must-listen for anyone interested in the genre, but probably not quite digestable enough if you're not already familiar with the style. Recommended to fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, early Memphis May Fire.

Best Tracks: Kill The Music, The New Black, Guitarred And Feathered

49. The Silver Scream by Ice Nine Kills

Genre: Melodic Metalcore

Year: 2018

Metalcore again, but in a completely different lane. The Silver Scream takes the genre to its extreme with radio-friendly choruses and over the top theatricality, while still keeping some of the heaviest breakdowns I've ever heard outside of deathcore. The album follows a loose concept in that all of the songs are based in some way off of famous horror movies (hence the album cover and title). An interesting concept for sure, and when they pull it off well, it's really good. For fans of Motionless In White and Memphis May Fire, though there's really no one out there that sounds like them.

Best Tracks: The American Nightmare, A Grave Mistake, Merry Axe-Mas

48. American Idiot by Green Day

Genre: Punk Rock

Year: 2004

American Idiot. What can I say about this album that hasn't already been said by a dozen other people? One of, if not the greatest album of all time in its style, Green Day's magnum opus rock opera is one of the things I can thank for getting me into punk music in the first place, and I can't think of a better launching off point. The title track and Jesus of Suburbia are all time classics that should have a place on just about everyone's playlist. For fans of anything - if you haven't heard it, I'd recommend this one ahead of pretty much everything else on this list.

Best Tracks: Jesus of Suburbia, American Idiot, Letterbomb

47. Flyleaf by Flyleaf

Genre: Alternative Metal

Year: 2006

This one owes its placement just as much to nostalgia as it does to its quality. All Around Me is one of the first songs I ever remember hearing and enjoying, and remains a favorite to this day. Apart from that, Lucy Sturm is far and away my favorite female metal vocalist ever. Her clean vocals are excellent on their own but when she screams holy shit does it take everything to another level. A lot of explicitly Christian lyrics so if that's not your thing consider yourself warned. For fans of Red, Chevelle, Evanescence.

Best Tracks: I'm So Sick, All Around Me, Fully Alive

46. Gold Chain Cowboy by Parker McCollum

Genre: Contemporary Country, Red Dirt

Year: 2021

The first country entry, as well as the first one from this year. Don't let the (extremely awful) cover art fool you, Parker McCollum is one of the most talented country musicians out there today. I discovered him in March, just before this album cycle started, so I was lucky enough to not have to wait long for new music. Ironically, the most popular song by far, Pretty Heart, is also my least favorite by far. Weird how that works. All in all, great rock-oriented country music, for fans of Flatland Cavalry, Cody Johnson, Aaron Watson.

Best Tracks: Drinkin', Dallas, Why Indiana, Never Loved You At All

45. Garage by Cross Canadian Ragweed

Genre: Red Dirt

Year: 2005

The world's second biggest red dirt band (we'll see #1 later), Cross Canadian Ragweed has an incredibly consistent discography, and if I were to make a top 100 list rather than a top 50, you'd probably see close to half of their discography on the list. However, Garage is really their best album - their most polished and radio friendly, for sure, as well as their most rock-oriented. Definitely the heaviest country record I've ever heard. For fans of Jason Boland, Turnpike Troubadours, Whiskey Myers (although if you know any of those you probably know Ragweed too).

Best Tracks: Late Last Night, After All, Lighthouse Keeper

44. Innocence & Instinct by Red

Genre: Alternative Rock, Hard Rock

Year: 2009

The first of many entries from my favorite band. Red was the band that got me into rock and metal music, and my relative indifference to this album is owed largely to how late I got into it - I don't have as many memories associated with it as the others. And while still an incredible album, I'd say it has lower highlights than most of their other albums (barring the two that don't appear in my top 50, but I like to pretend that those don't exist). Never Be The Same did appear on one of the WOW CD's I played on repeat when I was 11 though, so that's something. For fans of Evans Blue, (later) Thousand Foot Krutch, Disciple.

Best Tracks: Never Be The Same, Fight Inside, Death of Me, Confession (What's Inside My Head)

43. The Turnpike Troubadours by Turnpike Troubadours

Genre: Red Dirt

Year: 2015

...and this was the red dirt band I was talking about a few entries above. Turnpike Troubadours are the single most consistently incredible band I've discovered - this is my second least favorite of their 5 albums (their worst is literally #52) and it's still an all-time favorite. After going on an indefinite hiatus in 2019, they returned last month and I have tickets to their first official show back at Red Rocks in May (two days after my birthday! what an amazing present). Anyway I could go on forever about how much I like this band. Thanks to FlabberBapper for introducing me to them last year. For fans of Cross Canadian Ragweed, Flatland Cavalry, Zach Bryan.

Best Tracks: The Mercury, Fall out of Love, Time of Day

42. Corners by Dalton Domino

Genre: Alt Country

Year: 2017

This is a really interesting album. Combining americana/alt country with aspects of rock, gospel, gothic, and some brass instrumentation, this is an eclectic mix of styles that fuse together really well to make one of the most sonically interesting country albums I've ever heard. More Than You in particular is a highlight not only of the album, but of country music in general. Definitely a good starting album if you're a bit skeptical of the genre. For fans of Flatland Cavalry, Shane Smith & the Saints, Read Southall Band.

Best Tracks: More Than You, The River, July

41. Iowa by Slipknot

Genre: Nu Metal

Year: 2001

One of the few remnants of my short-lived nu metal phase, Slipknot is one band that I'll still admit has some amazing music. Pretty much their whole discography is worth checking out, but Iowa is my top choice just because of the vitriolic anger it has. Whenever I'm really upset about something, playing People = Shit on repeat at max volume will invariably make me feel better about whatever's happening. Probably the best album in that vein out there. For fans of (do I really need to do this for Slipknot?) Mudvayne, Korn, Linkin Park.

Best Tracks: People = Shit, Everything Ends, My Plague

40. End of Silence by Red

Genre: Alternative Metal

Year: 2006

Red's first album, End of Silence takes on a more nu metal inspired edge than the rest of their discography, and contains their biggest hit, Breathe Into Me. Red are the all-time masters of orchestral metal, and this album is one of their best examples of that. It also has a lot of really excellent ballads, particularly Lost which is one of my favorite Red songs in general. For fans of Breaking Benjamin, Skillet, Starset.

Best Tracks: Breathe Into Me, Lost, Break Me Down, Let Go

39. Underneath by Code Orange

Genre: Industrial Metalcore

Year: 2020

I discovered this album after seeing it had been nominated for a Grammy last year, and I can definitely see why. Underneath manages one of the best atmospheres I've heard on a metalcore album, rivaling the best of Converge. The industrial glitchy sound works insanely well, and I was so blown away when I first heard it that I listened to it straight through three times in a row. A must hear for all fans of metal. For fans of Norma Jean, Converge, Motionless In White.

Best Tracks: Swallowing the Rabbit Whole, Sulfur Surrounding, Cold.Metal.Place

38. The Used by The Used

Genre: Post Hardcore, Emo

Year: 2002

God I love emo music. The "whiny" vocals that are a staple of the genre and turn so many people away are one of my favorite aspects of any kind of music. I value a highly emotive performance above almost all else - if an album can make me tear up, it's probably really really great. And that's exactly how I feel about The Used's self-titled debut. Bert McCracken is one of the most talented vocalists of all time, but he really shines on this album like no other. He manages to be ultimately sad, catchy, and angry at the same time, a talent I haven't seen replicated in the same way anywhere else. For fans of Taking Back Sunday, Thrice, My Chemical Romance.

Best Tracks: The Taste of Ink, Bulimic, Maybe Memories, A Box Full of Sharp Objects

37. There Is A Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let's Keep It A Secret by Bring Me the Horizon

Genre: Metalcore, Post Hardcore

Year: 2010

Bring Me the Horizon, my second favorite band and the kings of unnecessarily long album titles - and probably the most influential rock band of the last decade. Expanding from their traditional deathcore and metalcore roots, There Is A Hell sees them experimenting a lot - particularly with electronic and post rock elements that make this a lot more interesting than their earlier releases. It also sees better songwriting (although not by much - see Fuck) than on a lot of their other music, dealing with issues like drug abuse and the afterlife. For fans of blessthefall, Alexisonfire, Thrice.

Best Tracks: Crucify Me, Don't Go, It Never Ends, Blessed With A Curse

36. fishmonger by underscores

Genre: Hyperpop, Indie Rock

Year: 2021

Usually I'm not too big on hyperpop. I don't dislike it, and I will admit I really enjoy some gecs every once in awhile. But I've never really loved an album in the genre until I heard fishmonger. But here, the blending of hyperpop with more traditional emo and indie rock just works really well. Really the only (relatively) weak points on the whole album are the first track and the 4 minute midwest emo instrumental at the end of Dry land 2001, otherwise this would probably be top 20 at least. For fans of ??? I don't even know with this one I don't listen to anything else that sounds like it but there's probably stuff out there.

Best Tracks: Bozo bozo bozo, Kinko's field trip 2006, Second hand embarrassment, Where did you fall

35. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel

Genre: Indie Folk

Year: 1998

ITAOTS was my first venture into the world of so-called forumcore - music worshipped to an insane degree in music communities on the internet (particularly Rate Your Music) but generally unknown to the world at large. I'm not a fan of most of that music, but for some reason this album really clicked with me. Seems to be a very divisive album too, everyone either loves it or thinks it is painfully mediocre, and I can definitely see why. It's a pretty weird album. For fans of Car Seat Headrest, ajj, Elliott Smith.

Best Tracks: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Holland 1945, Two-Headed Boy

34. Until We Have Faces by Red

Genre: Alternative Rock

Year: 2011

If I had to pick a favorite album of all time, Until We Have Faces would probably be it. My #1 until 2019, I have at least 10,000 plays on it and my Dad giving me the CD when I was in the 7th grade was the thing that originally got me into rock and metal. It's grown off me a bit in recent years, but it will probably always have a place in my top 50. There's not a single weak track on the album, and in fact four of them have been my favorite song at some point (Faceless, Let It Burn, Buried Beneath, Not Alone). Also I didn't realize until recently but Let It Burn has some of the most solid drumming in any song I've heard. About as close as you can get to a perfect mainstream rock album. For fans of any rock music - Until We Have Faces is fantastic.

Best Tracks: Faceless, Let It Burn, Feed The Machine, Watch You Crawl

33. Hail Mary by Shane Smith & The Saints

Genre: Red Dirt

Year: 2019

I like red dirt a lot, if you haven't figured that out by now. Hail Mary is yet another example showing that the genre provides (pretty much all of) the best country music has to offer. Not too much to day about this, it's an amazing album that mixes country with americana and rock, and Shane's vocals are some of the best I've ever heard (and they don't sound like traditional country vocals either). For fans of Cross Canadian Ragweed, Read Southall Band, Tyler Childers.

Best Tracks: Hail Mary, Oklahoma City, Parliament Smoke, Last Train to Heaven

32. Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park

Genre: Nu Metal

Year: 2000

Hybrid Theory is, for my money, the greatest rock album of the 21st century so far. Not my favorite (although obviously I do love it), but by far the most influential and innovative - just about every rock band of the past 10 years cites Linkin Park, and specifically this album as an influence. It's really one of a kind (or perhaps two of a kind?), there's nothing that sounds quite like it out there. Chester is one of my top 3 favorite vocalists of all time. RIP. This is another album I'd recommend to just about anyone - if you somehow haven't heard it, go check it out.

Best Tracks: Papercut, Points of Authority, A Place for My Head, With You

31. The Limestone Kid by Parker McCollum

Genre: Americana, Red Dirt

Year: 2015

Parker's best, but also least popular, work. This album takes on a much less polished mainstream country sound in favor of alt country and americana, and it works insanely well. I've found people tend to find his voice very hit or miss, but goddamn does it hit hard for me - Silhouette has got to be one of my favorite vocal performances of all time. New Orleans is another amazing song, and is one of only 10 that has stayed constantly in my top 50 favorites since April. For fans of Flatland Cavalry, William Clark Green, Randall King.

Best Tracks: New Orleans, Silhouette, High Above The Water, All Day, Happy New Year

30. Songs for the Deaf by Queens of the Stone Age

Genre: Stoner Rock

Year: 2002

This was the first new album I heard in 2021, and man what a way to kick off the year. I had seen a Youtube video talking about its loose concept as a "road trip album" - mimicking the drive from Los Angeles to Joshua tree, and tuning into different radio stations along the way. This, combined with intermissions made from talk radio broadcasts, allow the album to cover a wide variety of genres and styles without it feeling disjointed at all (though it does sound decisively like Queens of the Stone Age at all times). It's really an album you have to listen to all the way through, preferably while outside or driving alone to get the full effect. For fans of Audioslave, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, it's not a grunge or post grunge record but it does have similar vibes to those.

Best Tracks: No One Knows, Gonna Leave You, First It Giveth, Hanging Tree

29. Siren Song of the Counter Culture by Rise Against

Genre: Melodic Hardcore

Year: 2004

Arguably the heaviest Rise Against album, and in my opinion their second best. I went through a big Rise Against phase at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, and although they're no longer my favorite band (still 4th), Siren Song is easily one of the greatest punk records ever. Every time I hear it I'm reminded of how incredible it is - in fact, listening to it now I'm tempted to move it up in the rankings. Banger after banger, and not a single weak song on the album. For fans of Bad Religion, AFI, Billy Talent, although it has a completely different feel than those mostly due to Tim McIlrath's vocals being some of the most distinct in all of punk.

Best Tracks: Paper Wings, Blood To Bleed, Give It All, State Of The Union, Anywhere But Here

28. Blurryface by Twenty One Pilots

Genre: Alternative Pop

Year: 2015

As you may have guessed from the previous entries on this list, I'm don't love most pop music. For some reason though, Twenty One Pilots has always been a weakness of mine in that area, and no album of theirs is better than Blurryface. This is the one most people know as it contains their two biggest hits, but it is so much more than that. Jumping between an almost too large number of genres, from pop to alternative hip hop to piano rock and even dabbling in some post hardcore on Goner, Blurryface has just about everything I'd look for in a pop record, and I'd consider it by far the best one out there. For fans of any kind of emo or scene music, or pop, give it a chance beyond the hits.

Best Tracks: Stressed Out, Lane Boy, Ride, Heavydirtysoul, We Don't Believe What's on TV

27. TRAUMA by I Prevail

Genre: Melodic Metalcore

Year: 2019

The first time I heard this album, I didn't like it. I had heard Gasoline and Bow Down and loved them, so I decided to listen to the whole album and was really disappointed - it felt really disjointed and half-baked at times, and the rapping parts were a bit awkward (particularly Goodbye, which still kind of sucks). But then, on a whim, I decided to listen to it while I was riding my bike 10 miles to go on a hike with some friends (it's a long story). Holy shit I don't think I've ever had that fast of an opinion change on an album. I think the events happening at the time may have skewed my opinion of it (as the two months I was listening to Trauma on repeat were probably the best two months of my life), but goddamn this is an incredible album. And I think 2:00-2:15 of DOA are my favorite 15 seconds of any song ever. For fans of Bring Me the Horizon, Wage War, The Amity Affliction.

Best Tracks: Gasoline (my #7 track of 2021), Bow Down, Every Time You Leave, Breaking Down, DOA, Paranoid

26. Horizons by Parkway Drive

Genre: Melodic Metalcore

Year: 2009

Usually I'm not too big on metalcore that doesn't have clean vocals, but this is a huge exception. Horizons manages to be both heavy and insanely catchy, more than pretty much any other album I've ever heard. Both the guitar and drumming on here are top notch, and Winston McCall is one of the few vocalists I can listen to unclean vocals from for an extended period of time without getting a headache. And it's non-generic enough that I've had two (2!!) metalcore haters I've shown it to give it a 7/10 or above, so that's got to count for something. For fans of Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, August Burns Red - basically it's your standard 2000s melodic metalcore, but really good.

Best Tracks: Carrion, The Siren's Song, Boneyards

25. Diamonds & Gasoline by Turnpike Troubadours

Genre: Red Dirt, Folk Rock

Year: 2010

Turnpike's most popular album, and I can see why. It's their most straightforward, mainstream country sounding one, and it contains some of their best songwriting. Perhaps more than in any of their other albums, there's a strong sense of disappointment and self-loathing in Diamonds & Gasoline that makes it seem so real. From The Funeral, a song about a man going to his father's funeral and feeling singled out, to the almost mundane 7& 7 that describes the shame of seeing an ex move on without you, there are moments and lyrics in every song that manage to be both intimate and specific and relatable to anyone listening. For fans of Jason Boland, Jason Isbell, Tyler Childers.

Best Tracks: Every Girl, Kansas City Southern, The Funeral, 7 & 7, 1968

24. Homeland Insecurity by Flatland Cavalry

Genre: Americana, Red Dirt

Year: 2019

The best album of 2019, and one of my favorite album covers ever. All the songwriting comments I made on the previous entry apply here too, but this edges out Turnpike on sheer musicality. Homeland Insecurity is one of the most understated albums I know - I really forget how amazing it is until I listen to it, and none of the songs ever really get stuck in my head. Living by Moonlight is a top 10 country song of all time, if not top 5. For fans of Morgan Wade, Tyler Childers, Read Southall Band.

Best Tracks: Living by Moonlight, Sleeping Alone, Lonely Then, Come Back Down

23. The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance

Genre: Pop Punk, Punk Rock

Year: 2006

Probably the most genuinely fun album on this list. I can't help but sing along any time any of the songs come on, and the over-the-top theatricality adds so much to the music. Not much else I can say other than that. My only problem with it is that Teenagers, while good, doesn't quite fit in with or live up to the rest of the album. If not for that one song it would easily be a 10/10. For fans of anything, I guess. Is there anyone out there who hasn't heard it already though?

Best Tracks: Welcome to the Black Parade, The Sharpest Lives, This Is How I Disappear, Dead!, Famous Last Words

22. The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails

Genre: Industrial Rock

Year: 1994

The greatest true concept album of all time, The Downward Spiral follows the story of a man in the throes of depression as he slowly, well, spirals downward until he reaches the point of suicide in (the second best rock ballad of all time) Hurt. I don't return to this album nearly as often as I should, but it's something you really have to listen to all the way through (and preferably while you're not doing anything else) if you're going to listen to it, and at over an hour long it can be tough to get the full effect if you're not in the mood for it. For fans of Marilyn Manson I guess? I'm not huge into industrial music.

Best Tracks: Hurt, Heresy, The Becoming, Closer

21. Dirt by Alice In Chains

Genre: Grunge, Alternative Metal

Year: 1992

The best grunge album of all time, and it's not even close. AIC's combination of grunge with alt, sludge, and stoner metal works insanely well here, and it has some of the best and most instantly recognizable riffs of all time. This was the album that got me into grunge in the first place, and I've yet to find a better example of the genre. Crazy how good this is. For fans of Soundgarden just as much as fans of Black Sabbath - an all around great rock/metal album.

Best Tracks: Them Bones, Rain When I Die, Junkhead, Rooster, Would?

20. POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR by Bring Me the Horizon

Genre: Alternative Metal

Year: 2020

Bring Me the Horizon, what a band. Ever since the release of There Is A Hell, they've been pushing the envelope of rock music, and it seems like whatever they do becomes the most popular trend 6 months later. Post Human is no different. Jumping from some of their heaviest music in over a decade to clean electronic pop hooks (sometimes in the same song - see Kingslayer) in a way that manages to avoid feeling disjointed, this is possibly their most innovative and crowd-pleasing effort to date. I'm convinced that Dear Diary to Obey is the strongest four song run of any album ever made. For fans of Linkin Park, Asking Alexandria, Architects, or pretty much any alternative rock or metal.

Best Tracks: Teardrops, Dear Diary, Obey, Parasite Eve, Ludens

19. I Disagree by Poppy

Genre: Alternative Metal

Year: 2020

This is another album I found through its Grammy nomination. I'll be honest, I didn't love it the first time I heard it, but every time I listen to it it gets better. One of the strangest album experiences though, it jumps seemingly at random between pop and metal - not pop-infused metal, pop and metal distinctly. I can't really describe it, but it's one of the most odd albums I've ever heard. In a good way, of course. If you listen to just the opening track you'll see what I mean. For fans of or those open to anything avant-garde (and perhaps give it more than one listen before writing it off).

Best Tracks: BLOODMONEY, I Disagree, Fill the Crown, Sit / Stay, Don't Go Outside

18. Homesick by A Day To Remember

Genre: Easycore

Year: 2009

The only album here that could give The Black Parade a run for its money in terms of fun. The Downfall Of Us All is definitely the best song of any album on this list in that regard. Just all around really catchy pop punk with metalcore riffs and breakdowns - the best, and really the only great easycore I've been able to find. For fans of We Came As Romans, Silverstein, newer Bring Me the Horizon.

Best Tracks: The Downfall Of Us All, If It Means A Lot To You, I'm Made Of Wax Larry What Are You Made Of?, Mr. Highway's Thinking About The End

17. Sink or Swim by The Gaslight Anthem

Genre: Heartland Rock, Punk Rock

Year: 2007

The Gaslight Anthem has a unique talent of making songs that aren't great on their own, but when put together in an album become near perfect. Their unique blend of punk rock and more traditional classic rock works way better than it should. It's really a shame they strayed away from this sound in their later albums. For fans of Against Me! but also those of Springsteen, a cool mix of styles here.

Best Tracks: Red At Night, I Coul'da Been A Contender, 1930, We're Getting A Divorce You Keep The Diner, We Came To Dance

16. Goodbye Normal Street by Turnpike Troubadours

Genre: Red Dirt, Folk Rock

Year: 2012

From a songwriting perspective, Turnpike's, and possibly country in general's best album. This was my least favorite of theirs for a long time until pretty recently, but sometime in October a flip switched and I fell in love with it. Southeastern Son is the second best country song of all time, only behind another song from this band (which you'll hear about later). Good Lord Lorrie possibly has my favorite lyrics of any song ever. Just all around an amazing album. For fans of Reckless Kelly, Eric Church, Chris Knight.

Best Tracks: Southeastern Son, Good Lord Lorrie, Gin Smoke Lies, Wrecked, Empty As A Drum, Blue Star


Everything below this point I would consider to be a perfect 10/10, meaning there aren't really any weak parts and it accomplishes whatever it is trying to do in pretty much the best way it can. Basically these are my absolute favorite albums.

15. The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd

Genre: Progressive Rock, Art Rock

Year: 1973

This is both the oldest and the most popular album on my list. Pink Floyd is probably the best pre-90s band out there, and Dark Side of the Moon is one of the best things they've made - in fact I think there's a solid argument to be made that it's the greatest piece of music ever created. There isn't much else I can say other than that it's absolutely phenomenal. If somehow you haven't heard this, set aside 45 minutes later today to sit down with some headphones and listen to it. It'll be worth it.

Best Tracks: Time, Us and Them, Brain Damage, The Great Gig in the Sky, Breathe (In the Air)

14. The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood by Ice Nine Kills

Genre: Melodic Metalcore

Year: 2021

My pick for album of the year. This is everything I love about the original Silver Scream, turned up to 10 - over the top theatricality, melodic hooks, and insanely heavy breakdowns bordering on deathcore. Continuing the whole horror movie gimmick, this album takes it even further, with songs like Hip To Be Scared (based on American Psycho which features an interlude that recreates one of the most famous scenes from that movie) and Funeral Derangements being highlights of the album. I can't think of any other band that's doing anything like this. For fans of Get Scared, Motionless In White, Bring Me the Horizon - although heavier than all of these.

Best Tracks: Funeral Derangements, The Shower Scene, Ex-Mortis, Take Your Pick, Farewell II Flesh, The Box

13. Holy Hell by Architects

Genre: Metalcore

Year: 2018

The second best metalcore album of all time, made by the second best metalcore band of all time. There's a lot of people who dislike this because it really kicked off the newest wave of djentcore that is mostly really derivative and mediocre. However, judging it based on artistic merit alone, this is easily one of the greatest things to ever come out of the genre. It feels like what Architects' whole career to that point had been building toward, and is by far their best release (although I really enjoy a lot of their other stuff). Doomsday is the best metalcore song ever made, and probably top 10 in general. For fans of The Devil Wears Prada, ERRA, Wage War (though this is another one where if you know any similar artists, you probably know this).

Best Tracks: Doomsday, Hereafter, Holy Hell, Royal Beggars, A Wasted Hymn

12. To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere by Thrice

Genre: Alternative Rock

Year: 2016

Remember when I said that Until We Have Faces was an almost perfect mainstream rock record? Well this is the actual perfect one. There's not a single song on here that could see any improvement. I'm convinced that as far as traditional rock music goes, this is the peak. Nothing in the genre has been or will be able to match its quality. A flawless record that is only held back from a higher rating by virtue of mainstream alternative rock not being my favorite genre. For fans of any rock music at all.

Best Tracks: Literally all of them, except Seneca which is an interlude. Death From Above, Blood on the Sand, and Black Honey are probably the ones I come back to most, though.

11. OK Computer by Radiohead

Genre: Alternative Rock, Art Rock

Year: 1997

I really liked this album the first time I heard it. And the second, and third times. But then I decided on a whim to go on a run at 1am while listening to it. My life has not been the same since. My vote for the greatest (not my favorite, but the greatest) album of all time. Exit Music is the song I listened to after saying goodbye to my best friend for the last time before she moved across the country. Nothing else can make you feel both so hopeless, and so euphoric at the same time. Very, very highly recommended.

Best Tracks: Exit Music (For a Film), Paranoid Android, Karma Police, No Surprises, Let Down

10. Animals by Pink Floyd

Genre: Progressive Rock, Art Rock

Year: 1977

The best Pink Floyd album, I don't care what anyone else says.

Best Tracks: Pigs, Dogs, Sheep

9. Appeal to Reason by Rise Against

Genre: Melodic Hardcore, Punk Rock

Year: 2008

Probably the best "real" punk record ever. This was my second most listened to album of 2021, and that's also probably the reason this isn't in my top 5. But even with overplaying every song on it to the extreme, I still think it's fantastic which is a true sign it deserves its spot. Rise Against is able to craft radio-ready hooks infused with heaviness and more traditional punk energy in a way that no other band can, and Tim's vocals shine on this album in a way he hasn't been able to replicate since. And in my opinion Hero of War is easily the greatest rock ballad of all time, as well as the greatest anti-war song of all time that should be regarded on the level of Fortunate Son. Recommended for fans of any rock or punk music that are open to a more mainstream, radio friendly sound.

Best Tracks: All of them, but especially Hero of War, Audience Of One, Savior, Kotov Syndrome, From Heads Unworthy, The Dirt Whispered.

8. Randall King by Randall King

Genre: Contemporary Country, Red Dirt

Year: 2018

To give a little perspective, I discovered this album through the best Youtube channel during April of this year, and since then I've listened to every single song on it over 50 times. Based on the pure strength of its songs and nothing else, this is the best album of all time (but it lacks some continuity that prevents it from being too much more than the sum of its parts, which is why it gets this spot). Randall King is far and away my favorite vocalist of all time, and getting to see him live in August was one of the highlights of my year. Unfortunately this is the only full album he's released (yet! there's a new one on the way soon) but if I was ranking EPs his two would both be in the top 5. For fans of any country music, although I doubt it would sway any skeptics.

Best Tracks: Once again, all of them. If I had to choose my absolute favorites I'd go with Break It, Reason to Quit, Dent in It, Takin' Me a Heartbreak, One More Won't Hurt.

7. Declaration by Red

Genre: Alternative Metal, Nu Metal

Year: 2020

This is the best album of the 2020s so far. Red's last four albums have been weird, as they've contained both their two best and two worst. But this most recent one, without the pressure of a major label directing their sound, is one of their best efforts to date as well as their heaviest by far. It might just be the fact that I've only been listening to this for 20 months instead of 5 years like the rest of their music, but it still hasn't gotten old for me at all, even though they aren't actually doing a whole lot that's new or unique. It's just done really, really really well. For fans of Breaking Benjamin, Disciple, Chevelle.

Best Tracks: Pretty much every album at this point is flawless all the way through (including this one) but probably Cauterize, The War We Made, Float, The Victim, Only Fight, From the Ashes

6. A Long Way From Your Heart by Turnpike Troubadours

Genre: Americana, Red Dirt, Folk Rock

Year: 2019

And here we have it, the best country album of all time. Mere months before they went on hiatus, Turnpike released the best thing they've ever made. Leaning a lot more heavily into folk and americana than traditional country compared to their other albums, this is about as close to perfect as a country record can possibly be. I firmly believe that Something to Hold on To is the best country song ever, and every track on here adds something different to the album. This (and particularly The Winding Stair Mountain Blues) was what got me into country music in the first place, and what a way to get into the genre. Strongly recommended for anyone. I haven't seen a single person dislike this record, and if you haven't been a fan of country before, this is the place to start.

Best Tracks: All of them. But Something to Hold on To, A Tornado Warning, The Hard Way, Pipe Bomb Dream, Oklahoma Stars, Pay No Rent are vey marginally better.

5. Meteora by Linkin Park

Genre: Nu Metal

Year: 2003

Although not a popular opinion, this is the superior version of Hybrid Theory. Every song here is a 10/10, barring Session which is an instrumental interlude that still works perfectly within the context of the album. I'm not entirely sure why I like this so much more than their debut, but it's not even close. Maybe the production is a little less harsh. Either way, it's an absolutely fucking incredible album, without even a single weak moment, much less a whole song. I just love this, probably more than I should. But I don't care, it's perfect. Really not much else I can say. Tempted to move it up to #4 as I'm writing this...

Best Tracks: Everything except Session which doesn't really work on its own. Probably Don't Stay, Somewhere I Belong, Hit the Floor, Faint, From the Inside, Numb.

4. Sempiternal by Bring Me the Horizon

Genre: Metalcore

Year: 2013

This was very briefly my #1 album about a month ago before I came to my senses. However, it's still one of the best albums ever. Mixing metalcore with electronic elements was one of the things Bring Me the Horizon pioneered and is one of the things I love the most about them, and the best example of this is on Sempiternal. Not to mention this might be Oli's best album vocally, too. And The Snakes Start To Sing is my favorite vocal performance of any song ever, and Go To Hell, For Heaven's Sake and Hospital For Souls aren't too far behind. My only complaint is that compared to everything else, Join The Club and Antivist aren't quite on the same level, although still amazing. Such a great album.

Best Tracks: Everything here is an easy 10/10, but Go To Hell For Heaven's Sake, Can You Feel My Heart, The House Of Wolves, And The Snakes Start to Sing, Seen It all Before, Crooked Young, Deathbeds.

3. of Beauty and Rage by Red

Genre: Alternative Metal

Year: 2015

This was my favorite album for about 2 years, but it's grown off me a little bit recently. This one is really weird because it does have quite a few "weak" moments - or at least songs that I almost never listen to on their own when I'm not listening to the full album. But when they come together they create one of the greatest, most cinematic albums ever. This is probably Red's peak, but it's a damn high one. They have literally perfected the genre of orchestral metal. It can't get any better than this. The first truly flawless album on this list.

Best Tracks: I can actually do this finally! Darkest Part (by a lot), Impostor, Shadow and Soul, Fight To Forget, Falling Sky, Yours Again, Gravity Lies

2. The Alchemy Index (Vols. I-IV) by Thrice

Genre: Alternative Rock, Post Hardcore, Art Rock, Post Rock, Folk Rock, Alt Country

Year: 2007-2008

Okay so this is kind of cheating but it doesn't matter. The Alchemy Index was a quadruple-concept-album released by Thrice in two parts. Each disc is based on a different one of the classical elements, with an entirely different sound from the others. I heard this for the first time just a few days ago and it completely blew me away - one of the greatest collections of music ever. I don't know why it's taken me so long to get into this band with how much I've liked everything I've heard from them. But yeah, this is an insane release. I wasn't even planning on including it on this list considering how recently I heard it (and I'm not having Vheissu, Major / Minor, or Beggars for that reason), but I couldn't resist seeing how ridiculously good it is - I could see myself raising it to the #1 spot with time. And despite being so different, the parts of this compliment each other so well, from the more traditional post hardcore of Water to the acoustic/folk cuts of Earth (which work way better than they should considering Thrice was originally a hardcore punk/emo band). Just wow. That's all I can say.

Best Tracks: Too many to list, but I think Moving Mountains might be my new favorite song in general. Come All You Weary, Daedalus, Digging My Own Grave, Broken Lungs, Firebreather, Burn the Fleet, Digital Sea, The Whaler, Night Diving are all really, really, really good too.

1. The '59 Sound by The Gaslight Anthem

Genre: Heartland Rock, Punk Rock

Year: 2009

It's funny that my top two albums I both heard for the first time within the past month, especially considering that I'd kept my previous #1 album for over two years. I'd known and really liked their song "45" for awhile, so upon seeing that this album got a lot of praise I decided to give it a listen. For the first few tracks I thought it was good but I wasn't too blown away by it, but then somewhere around the 5th track my opinion completely turned and it became the best thing I've ever heard. By far. I then listened to it three more times in a row. I don't even know what it is about it, and nothing else I've heard from this band has even come close (although their debut is still great). It definitely won't be for everyone, but it's definitely for me. Incredible album.

Best Tracks: Honestly I don't know, everything here is so good I can't even pick a single favorite, much less multiple.

Well that was way longer than I expected it to be. A fun project though, I'll probably do it again next year. Let me know if you decide to listen to any of these, or if you have listened to any of them what your opinions are. It'll be interesting to see. Feel free to share your own favorites too, I'm always looking for recommendations. :)

+1
Level 42
Dec 18, 2021
I couldn’t do my Top 5, and you did you’re Top 50 lol! Probably spent a lot of time lol
+1
Level 47
Dec 19, 2021
CringeDragon is that you