My top 5 albums of all time

If you read this blog regularly, you probably are a huge fan of music. Music can alter your mood, change your way of thinking, bring back forgotten memories and fill you with nostalgia, hell, it can even make or break a party. It can help you through heartbreak and give your life a soundtrack. Hell, it even alters our goals and plans.

Everyone wants to be in a band one day and make music people will love. We grow up with music in our lives. It’s everywhere: on the radio, in the movies, in the games we play, at the stadiums where we watch sport, in the wind, in toys or in your lover’s voice. Most of the time we don’t even notice it but it’s there. We love music so much that we become criminals by pirating music, yet pay R1000 to go watch the artist’s shows. We spend hours on the internet searching for new music and if you find a great new band, it’s like Christmas.

Music even connects people with similar tastes. I have people in my life who have become my best friends all because we liked the same shit and could sit for hours talking about a band and play each other songs. Music isn’t just an art form or a form of entertainment. Music is actually a religion (if you ask me)

To show respect to our favourite thing in the whole world, I will be naming my top 5 albums of all time (in no particular order of importance). I believe every person should own and listen to these gems at least once.

Eminem – Marshall Mathers

The first ever album I owned. I still remember the first time I heard Eminem. I was about 11 or something and I was sitting outside my brother’s door listening to his Nirvana record that was playing. After the record was finished, I stood up to go get some milk or something and I remember half way down the hall stopping dead in my tracks. He was playing something so catchy that I couldn’t help but nod my head to the beat. It was rap music. I have known rap music before this like Tupac, Ice Cube and Puff Daddy, but this was new. He was playing “My Name Is…” from the Slim Shady LP and I was immediately hooked.

The Marshall Mathers LP

A year or so later the Marshall Mathers was released and I remember begging my mom for weeks to get me the album. Eventually she caved and she brought me my first ever album. It was like heroin. The music and the lyrics and all the swear words was amazing. Half of the jokes on the album I didn’t get but I didn’t care.

I listened to that album religiously. I would play it the morning while getting ready for school, play it again when I got back from school and then play it once again when I went to bed. And my mom would sometimes sit and listen to it with me and laugh at me when I cringed every time he swore. This album is also the reason I started writing. All I wanted to do was write lyrics after this album. It taught me a lot of things, including: to say what you want no matter how much that pisses people off. This is one of my favorite songs off the album, “Criminal”:

Every Time I die – The Big Dirty

In 2007 I went to the UK to go and work in a hotel while learning a few things about the world and experiencing different cultures. It was a shitty 2 star hotel on the promenade on Isle of Man. It was mind blowing, because I met great people, learned a ton of shit and made great memories with my buddy Collin. I would go back in a heartbeat. Anyway, every Friday we would get our salary from our boss, walk around the block and spend almost all of it.

We would usually first hit KFC and order a zinger box meal (with zinger burgers that are actually edible and won’t cause anal leakage), we would then go to the book store and pick up any music magazines like Mojo, Total Guitar, Metal Hammer, Kerrang! then we would go to our holy grail (the record store) and pick up anything that looked interesting or what we read about in the album review section of our magazines.

Every Time I Die - The Big Dirty

After that we would hit the pub and then return to our room and listen to our albums. Well, on one Friday I saw an album at the record store that caught my eye a week or so before in the Metal Hammer. I have never heard of the band before but Metal Hammer gave it 8/10. So I thought, fuck it, let’s do this. At home I put it into our little CD player that we bought with change we had left after buying toothpaste and shampoo and instantly my mind was blown. Just before this I bought From Autumn To Ashes’ “Holding A Wolf By Its Ears” and I fell in love with it. This album gave me that same feeling except, it was more, you know, dirty.

I loved the Southern flavour that it had and the booklet containing the lyrics of Keith Buckley became my Bible. Every album from Every Time I die is great, but this is the Holy Grail if you ask me and I got to see them live at Arcade Empire last year in April, it was one of the best nights of my life. This is “No Son Of Mine” from the album:

Blink 182 – Blink 182

I know most of you wouldn’t agree with this album, claiming that “Take off your pants and jacket”, or “Dude Ranch”, or “Enema of the state” was the real deal. But to me, none of them came close to the brilliance of this album. It was missing that “Let’s fuck around” sense of humour the other albums had. It was more serious and more experimental and that is what made this album so great for me, because they nailed it.

Honestly, this is the only album by Blink 182 that I can listen from start to finish without wanting to skip a song. Don’t get me wrong, the other albums were great, but they also missed something to make the whole album gel together to make it a masterpiece. There was always a weak link on the album and every song on this album could have easily been released as a single.

Blink 182

The first time I heard it was in 2003 at my friend Christiaan’s old house. It was half a block from our high school and he wanted to show me the music video for “Feeling this” and I loved it. It had that old Blink 182 feel to it but with a slight mature edge to it. Last year, Mark Hoppus said that “Feeling this” was probably his favourite Blink song and you can tell by listening to it that they had a blast putting it together. This is “All Of This”, one of my favorite tracks off the album:

Queens of the Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf

“Song for the Deaf” was released in 2002 but I can’t exactly remember the first time I heard it. The first song I ever heard was “No one knows” but I can’t remember when. My friend Collin downloaded some of their songs after seeing the “No one knows” music video on Superock or something on MTV, I think.

Songs for the Deaf

Anyway, he played “No one knows” and I recognized it. I listened to a few other songs that he downloaded off of Limewire and I loved it. We went up to the PC connected to the internet and started downloading this album. This will forever be in my top 5 no matter what. Before this song we almost only listened to metal so this was a breath of fresh air. Because of this album I fell in love with bands like The White Stripes, Taxi Violence and a few others.

This is where my love for dirty sounding music started and eventually led me to Every Time I die. In 2007 in the UK, this was the first ever album I bought with my own pay. Great record, great songs and great band. My favorite song off this album is definitely “A Song for the Dead”. In 2009 while returning from the square me and Ralph listened to this song, headbanging our faces off and eventually we hit a tree, definitely a song for the dead indeed.

Brand New – The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me

If I had made this list in a particular order, this would be number one. In my opinion, this is possibly the greatest album ever put together. The first time I heard of Brand New was in 2008. My friends Erich and Marco played me their song “Okay, I believe you but my Tommy Gun don’t”. I liked it but what really caught my attention was the bass riff. As a bassist (and not a very good one) this stood out for me.

But Erich and Marco started singing the lyrics and told me about how cocky the singer Jesse’ lyrics were, that’s what got me: the lyrics. I think this was the first time where lyrics stood out above the instruments for me. Keith Buckley from Every Time I die has great lyrics but it worked with the music. This was almost as if it were floating above the instruments. First I listened to their “Deja Entendu” album because I knew a few songs on it by that time. As soon as I considered myself a fan of them I moved on to the next album which was “The Devil and God Raging Inside Me”.

The Devil and God Raging inside Me

Where “Deja Entendu” was a little more Pop rock-ish in some songs, Devil and God wasn’t, not even a bit. It was so much darker and it had so much emotion. I could relate to almost all of the lyrics. It was also dirty sounding with a wall of noise hitting you at times. I sat and listened to it with headphones on so that I could hear every lyric, every guitar string, every snare. I wanted to immerse myself in that wall of sound. I wanted to be in their head space at that time and I wanted to be them on that record.

As someone who suffers from depression, this album helped me through a lot of tough times. The only regret I have is that I haven’t found it sooner. I owe Erich and Marco everything for introducing me to this band. This is “Degausser” from the album:

In my opinion other albums on my list that you should take a look at are Titus Andronicus – The Monitor, Slipknot – The Subliminal Verses, The Naked and Famous – Passive me, Aggressive you, La Dispute – Somewhere at the bottom between Vega and Altair and Band Of Skulls – Baby Darling Doll Face Honey.

What do you think of my list? Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Feedback is appreciated and welcome here. If you’ve enjoyed reading my article, feel free to share this with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Watch this space for regular updates in the Opinion and Movies category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Gareth Davies

Gareth Davies

Pretorian. Wordsmith. Curious Creature.
Gareth Davies

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