My Most Influential Albums

My Most Influential Albums

Limp Bizkit – Chocolate Starfish and Hot Dog Flavoured Water (2000)

Don’t judge. Prior to Limp Bizkit, I didn't really listen to a lot of music. After this album, I fell headfirst into rock music and didn’t look back. Fred Durst’s less than poetic lyrics didn’t matter – it was angsty, and approaching my teenage years so was I. Heavy riffs, tight drumming, almost-groovy bass and, of course, DJ Lethal’s turntables became the soundtrack to my misspent youth. 

Recommended Listening: Rollin', Hot Dog, My Generation

Red Hot Chili Peppers - By The Way (2002)

"By The Way" was my first introduction to RHCP, and what an introduction it was. Jumping from introspective ballads to stadium fillers, the entire album is layered with hook upon hook. Rock, pop and funk were thrown into a blender to create an album simultaneously energetic and laid back, complex and simple and above all else, just really, really good.


Recommended Listening: Universally Speaking, Dose, By The Way

Brand New - Deja Entendu (2003)

There is a good chance you've never heard of Brand New. There is a very good chance you've never heard of this album. These guys still sell out tours in minutes, with a fervent fanbase waiting for any suggestion of a follow-up to 2009's "Daisy". Deja Entendu was the album that turned pop-punk newcomers into emo superstars (and not the makeup kind). Jesse Lacey's biting lyricism paints a thousand pictures, and instrumentally the genre shifts from song to song - pop punk roots remain, augmented by sections of borderline post-hardcore flurries of force. A true gem.

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Recommended Listening: Guernica, The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot, Jaws Theme Swimming

Funeral For A Friend - Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation (2003)

As far as debut albums go, welsh quintet FFAF knocked it out of the park with this one. "Casually Dressed.." became a juggernaut of early 2000s post-hardcore. Songs full of technical skill as well as a two vocalist setup allowing for juxtaposition of soft and heavy parts meant that "Casually Dressed..." still holds up incredibly well today.

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Recommended Listening: Your Revolution Is A Joke, Escape Artists Never Die, Red Is The New Black

A Day To Remember - Homesick (2009)

ADTR have carved a career for themselves with their explosive mix of sunny-day pop punk anthems with crushing metalcore beatdowns, sometimes flitting between the two mid-song. If it sounds like that would be a bad idea, thats because in theory, it should be. Homesick was the first of their albums I listened to end to end and to me still stands as the perfect point of balance between the two extremes. The album features some of their most popular singles ("Downfall of Us All", "My Life For Hire"), their most devastating breakdowns ("Mr Highway Is Thinking About The End", "I'm Made of Wax Larry") and their most heartfelt moments ("Homesick", "Have Faith In Me"). Combined with perennial singalong closer "If It Means A Lot To You", Homesick has inspired countless copycats but hasn't been topped.


Recommended Listening: My Life For Hire, Another Song About The Weekend, Have Faith In Me

The Wonder Years - Suburbia I've Given You Everything And Now I Have Nothing (2011)

This was a tough choice. Not to pick a Wonder Years album, but which Wonder Years album to pick. Philadelphia's finest's third LP fulfilled everything promised on "The Upsides" and third act "The Greatest Generation" hits home just as hard. But there is something about the brutal honesty of Dan Campbell's lyrics that makes this feel like the turning point in my experiences of pop-punk. Opener "Came Out Swinging" hits like a punch in the face ("I spent this year as a ghost and i'm not sure what i'm looking for, a voice on a phone that you rarely answer anymore"), and the momentum barely drops throughout.

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Recommended Listening: Coffee Eyes, Woke Up Older, Came Out Swinging

The Hotelier - Home, Like Noplace Is There (2014)

The most recent addition on this list, i'd never heard of The Hotelier when I first heard this album. There had been some buzz online so I thought i'd check it out. At just 9 tracks, I was expecting it's impact to be fleeting at best. How wrong I was. From the drawn out and helpfully titled "An Introduction To The Album", the entire duration of the album is a harrowing, emotional experience. Songs of lost loved ones ("Your Deep Rest") and metaphors galore ("Housebroken") lead to the incredibly cathartic "Dendron" where the last verse left chills down my spine. I still haven't processed all the emotions this album made me feel, and that was two years ago.

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Recommended Listening: The Scope of All This Rebuilding, Your Deep Rest, Dendron