Weezer-The Red Album (2008)

My Rating: 57% (D+)

Pitchfork Rating: 47%

Rolling Stone Rating: 60%

Metacritic Rating: 64%

Average Rating: 57%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Toublemaker
  2. The Greatest Man That Ever Lived
  3. Pork And Beans
  4. Heart Songs
  5. Everybody Get Dangerous
  6. Dreamin’
  7. Thought I Knew
  8. Cold Dark World
  9. Automatic
  10. The Angel And The One
  11. Miss Sweeney
  12. Pig
  13. The Spider
  14. King

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

I don’t know feeling immature and self abusive.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty friggin’ awful.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

No…

Final Thoughts:

Weezer is notorious for being one of those bands that had a few great albums and then just pretty much flopping the rest of their career. They’ve been picked on enough so I won’t be cruel because at the end of the day I do like this band. But damn this album is just so incredibly bad. It’s as if they went to a frat house and just wrote lyrics with that audience in mind. It’s eye-rollingly corny, immature, and sometimes just plain stupid. Even a few of their slow songs really crap the bed, too. Miss Sweeney may be my all time most hated Weezer song ever created, like honestly what is that song? It’s fun for high school but does not age well at all.

Relient K-Mmhmm (2004)

My Rating: 82% (B+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 82%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. The One I’m Waiting For
  2. Be My Escape
  3. High Of 75
  4. I So Hate Consequences
  5. The Only Thing Worse Than Beating A Dead Horse Is Betting On One
  6. My Girl’s Ex-Boyfriend
  7. More Than Useless
  8. Which To Bury, Us Or The Hatchet?
  9. Let It Out
  10. Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been
  11. Maintain Consciousness
  12. This Week The Trend
  13. Life After Death And Taxes
  14. When I Go Down

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling nostalgic.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s great, really simple and original.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really the Relient K I’d buy if I ever were to get some of their vinyl/

Final Thoughts:

Perhaps I’m a little biased when it comes to this album, but I was raised with these songs, and being raised Christian, it would be impossible to go without hearing a handful of Relient K tracks. Luckily this album ages really well (much better than others of theirs I’m sure) it’s juvenile, it’s simple, it’s dripping with growing pains (both as a band and in the overall themes) and that makes it endearing, who’d a thunk it? If you weren’t raised in a Christian household than I’m sure you’ve never or rarely heard this band, but these songs were anthems at Bible Camp, and because of that they’ve kinda buried their way into my brain and have become a nostalgic trip for me.

Muse-Black Holes and Revelations (2006)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 42%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 75%

Average Rating: 72%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Take a Bow
  2. Starlight
  3. Supermassive Black Hole
  4. Map of the Problematique
  5. Soldier’s Poem
  6. Invincible
  7. Assassin
  8. Exo-Politics
  9. City of Delusion
  10. Hoodoo
  11. Knights of Cydonia

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Ready for a space odyssey.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Awesome, fits the songs super well.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I can’t believe I don’t yet.

Final Thoughts:

Black Holes and Revelations is an album that is very dear to me. It’s one of the first albums I purchased that was not “Christian”. I was blown away, Muse absolutely melted my face and added sugar to my earholes. I blasted this thing almost daily from my absolute shit speaker on my flip phone and thought I was the coolest kid in town (luckily, I was). It’s really big sounding, as if you’re taking part in an epic of the cosmos variety. The songs are diverse, ambitious, and take you to planets far far away. I love how instantly classic the album sounded, right away I knew that this album would truly stand the test of time. 11 years have passed and I’m still melting over this album, and I can’t wait to force my nephews and nieces to listen to it (they’d better like it). Shocked by the critical reception but C’Est la Vie.

Death Cab For Cutie-Narrow Stairs (2008)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 60%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 73%

Average Rating: 78%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Bixby Canyon Bridge
  2. I Will Possess Your Heart
  3. No Sunlight
  4. Cath…
  5. Talking Bird
  6. You Can Do Better Than Me
  7. Grapevine Fires
  8. Your New Twin Sized Bed
  9. Long Division
  10. Pity And Fear
  11. The Ice Is Getting Thinner

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

In the mood for an emotional roller coaster.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Lots of colour, I like it!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

One of the first albums I bought on vinyl!

Final Thoughts:

So this is aging me a bit (more showing how young I am) but Narrow Stairs was the first Death Cab For Cutie album I listened to. My older brother was into The Postal Service and bought this album around the time I first started listening to them. I must’ve listened to this album 1,864 times (rough guesstimate), it’s one of the handful of albums that I can sing to word for word without missing a step. It’s a truly intimate and large sounding album that can hit a wide range of emotions for me. I will always have a soft spot for these tunes and even though many Death Cab fans think this is on their weaker side, it’s one of my favourite work of theirs.

Grouplove-Big Mess (2016)

My Rating: 59% (D+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: 60%

Metacritic Rating: 64%

Average Rating: 61%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Welcome To Your Life
  2. Do You Love Someone
  3. Standing in The Sun
  4. Enlighten Me
  5. Good Morning
  6. Spinning
  7. Cannonball
  8. Traumatized
  9. Heart of Mine
  10. Don’t Stop Making It Happen
  11. Hollywood

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for happy sounding pop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s pretty cool, love the amount of colour

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not in the slightest.

Final Thoughts:

If there was ever a front heavy album it would be Grouplove’s Big Mess. It’s just so easy to take shots at this album, but I’ll refrain because I like these guys. The A-Side is pretty catchy, but it falls apart half way through, the voice gets grating, the lyrics get juvenile, the music becomes so repetitive it just makes me feel like I’m stuck in a mall. Grouplove has made some solid tunes, but they can’t really make a solid album, I feel like if they just spent more time putting together a concept album we could really have something to write home about, but for now we can snag the catchy pop tracks and leave the annoying mall music behind.

Beck-Sea Change (2002)

Record Review Recommended By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 69%

Rolling Stone Rating: 100%

Metacritic Rating: 79%

Average Rating: 87%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. The Golden Age
  2. Paper Tiger
  3. Guess I’m Doing Fine
  4. Lonesome Tears
  5. Lost Cause
  6. End Of The Day
  7. It’s All In Your Mind
  8. Round The Bend
  9. Already Dead
  10. Sunday Sun
  11. Little One
  12. Side Of The Road

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Going through a breakup.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s a beautiful cover.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Richard does and it sounds great, but I want my own.

Final Thoughts:

I’m really selective when it comes to Beck, I’ve had stuff like Loser, E-Pro, and Where It’s At in my library for years now, but that’s about it. When Richard challenged me to sit down and listen to a whole album of his, I was skeptical, seeing as I only had a select few songs by him I thought he’d have lots of dead space on his albums, not the case with Sea Change. The most pleasing part of the experience was hearing Lost Cause and recognizing the tune without knowing where I heard it, turns out Ellen Page sings it on the game Between Two Souls (what a time we live in). The album flows well from track to track while keeping it engaging, sad, and diverse. I can’t see another one of his albums topping this but I’m excited to challenge that. Also WTF is up with the critics disagreement on this album?

Elbow-Little Fictions (2017)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 71%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 80%

Average Rating: 84%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Magnificent (She Says)
  2. Gentle Storm
  3. Trust the Sun
  4. All Disco
  5. Head for Supplies
  6. Firebrand & Angel
  7. K2
  8. Montparnasse
  9. Little Fictions
  10. Kindling

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for big sound out of a typically quiet indie band.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I REALLY LOVE THIS ALBUM COVER!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly.

Final Thoughts:

There’s a scene on Peep Show, a famous UK comedy, where one of the main characters is failing at charades and thinks to himself something along the lines as “I don’t want to know these bands! I don’t want to listen to shitty bands like Elbow.” It’s a really funny quote, and at the risk of sounding like a typical millennial dirt bag, I love Elbow. I love how they offer such diversity with each album all while staying true to some familiar vibe (ugh I used the word vibe). With Little Fictions were given the big band treatment and it sounds so epic and beautiful. This is a serious contender for best album of the year.

Blonde Redhead-23 (2007)

Record Review Recommended By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 100%

Pitchfork Rating: 70%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 83%

Average Rating: 84%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. 23
  2. Dr. Strangeluv
  3. The Dress
  4. SW
  5. Spring and by Summer Fall
  6. Silently
  7. Publisher
  8. Heroine
  9. Top Ranking
  10. My Impure Hair
  11. Signs Along the Path
  12. (We are a Real Team) Harry and I

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a happy poppy dream like album to fade out to.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s really awesome, I’m a big fan.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Well my roommate already does but if/when he moves out I’ll want it.

Final Thoughts:

I can imagine that this was a highly influential band for some of my favourite pop bands (The Drums and Bombay Bicycle Club to name a couple). It’s a really chill album with a lot of cool soundscapes to keep everyone entertained. I like to think that this is what Bon Iver would sound like if they went pop, but maybe my brain’s way off the mark on that one, I don’t know that’s where it wandered to, sue me. Blonde Redhead’s 23 offers a lot of fun tracks, and a lot for newbies (like me) to sink their teeth into.

The Grates-Teeth Lost, Hearts Won (2008)

My Rating: 77% (B)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 77%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Burn Bridges
  2. Carve Your Name
  3. The Fun in Every Start
  4. Two Kinds Of Right
  5. Aw Yeah
  6. Milk Eyes
  7. The Sum of Every Part
  8. Storms and Fevers
  9. Earthquake
  10. Not Today
  11. When You’re Scared Of Dogs
  12. Let It Die
  13. The Biggest and Longest Adventure Ever

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for some fun pop punk with a female lead.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I absolutely love this album cover, there’s so much going on, it’s really rad.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really.

Final Thoughts:

The Grates caught my attention with their song Turn Me On back in 2011; I wanted to check out their older stuff so I added this album to my library. The thing with The Grates is that if everything is working as it should be, the music sounds absolutely amazing, but so often on this album they make a simple misstep and something just sounds off. Whether it be the vocals being a little strained, or a drum loop that just doesn’t get there, the album as a whole could’ve used a little more time in the studio. But the few songs that hit their mark are really fun!

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