The long awaited Part II has arrived! I had trouble finding one of the albums and it didn't feel right to skip the image for one of them... luckily my wife is typically better at finding things.
5. Matt & Toby – Self-titled
I REALLY like this album, although I skip almost all the songs on their second album, I Quit Church. I feel like the breadth of killer songs put out by Emery has earned them an honorable mention since that’s where Matt and Toby spend most of their time, in terms of music, and it’s how I found Matt & Toby’s solo music. Matt & Toby is beautiful. I don’t hit skip often, if at all. I really enjoy “Oh No” and “The Last One” but the rest of the album is very well-crafted.
4. Perma – Two of a Crime
I got into Eisley when I was attending Olivet Nazarene University. I bought every album, after their early EP’s, as they released them. Being an information nerd… I periodically check Wikipedia along with other sources to see what my favorite musicians and actors are working on. I stumbled upon a side-project Sherri was working on with her husband and bought the CD. Instantly connected with it. I love how well they harmonize together. They complement each other so well despite their being so much contrast in their styles at times. This is one I throw in the CD player and listen to on my way to work every couple of months and don’t bother skipping any songs. I catch myself trying to sing along with Sherri’s parts even though I can’t sing and that’s WAAY out of my God-given range. Perma introduced me to Say Anything and Two Tongues as well. I have purchased several albums because I like Max’s style.
3. Times of Grace – The Hymn of a Broken Man
I think I was around 18 when I discovered Killswitch Engage. I thoroughly enjoyed their music with both singers. I own CD’s from both of their side projects. Howard’s Blood Has Been Shed, Devil You Know, and now Light The Torch. Jesse’s Corrin (which I actually scored a physical copy of on eBay), Seemless, The Empire Shall Fall, and obviously Times of Grace. Jesse and Adam work so well together. This album is amazing. Such a perfect blend of heavy and melodic, and so moving… I love this album. Fight For Life, Hymn of a Broken Man, Hope Remains, and The Forgotten One really impacted me. This came out when I had a little under two years left in my enlistment and resonated with me in many ways as my #2 album, so read on.
2. Everlast – Love, War and the Ghost of Whitey Ford
It was a couple years before I realized the guy was in House of Pain and brought me “Jump Around” but I really got into Everlast when Whitey Ford Sings the Blues came out. I’d play Turok 2 on my Nintendo 64 while it played on repeat… There are certain songs that bring back vivid memories of that game. So, while I was in the Army, I picked up his new album from the PX (Post Exchange). I listened to it on repeat while waiting for formation in the morning… so many songs were the perfect melancholy anthems for where I was at that point, emotionally and spiritually. “Letters Home from the Garden of Stone” …was a perfect depiction of where I was. I had already started to question our involvement in the conflicts to which I would potentially deploy. “Anyone” felt right because I had fallen into depression and wasn’t the greatest husband… I felt like I was a failure to my wife (on the surface) despite the fact that deep down I loved her more than anything and always will. “Tuesday Mornin” felt like a perfect expression of how I would like to see people feel. I’m just like you, you’re just like me. “Stay” was about the same… although the lyrics weren’t 100% perfect for where I was, it was close enough to hit home. “Friend” and “Weakness” were somewhat uplifting in comparison, although with their slightly dark tones. “There’s a darkness in my heart slowly tearing me apart, it’s unbearable. Drop of blood, lake of tears. But baby after all these years, you’re still beautiful.”
If I listen to this album, I can close my eyes and I am instantly transported to sitting in that 2008 Ford Focus in the parking lot waiting for formation for our morning Physical Training. I can feel my shirt, shorts, pants, and jacket that made up the PT uniform. Early enough that it was still pitch black. I was dead tired. Feeling helpless and hopeless. Feeling that I wasn’t alone in those feelings, thanks to music. Honestly, this album and a few others probably did more than I ever realized to drag my ass through a couple years of depression in the Army. God put that album in front of my face a couple years before I really needed it. I bought it and didn’t really listen to it until I needed it…
1. Further Seems Forever – The Moon Is Down
Good old Tooth and Nail DVD introduced me to “Snowbirds and Townies.” I’ve always been a big information nerd. If I find a band, I research who’s been in what other band and what bands came before this band. I find everything I can about them. I had seen Dashboard Confessional Unplugged on MTV, so I immediately found that connection (while realizing the video had their NEW singer which seemed weird). I wasn’t actively listening to Dashboard, but thought Chris’s music was good when I saw the Unplugged performance. This led me to finding Jason’s previous band, Affinity, and finding both Affinity and Further Seems Forever had been on a Weezer Tribute album. I really got into Further Seems Forever and enjoyed all three vocalists (R.I.P. Jon Bunch, loved Sense Field and War Generation as well). At one point, I had a super rare DVD containing bootleg footage of FSF playing Cornerstone 1999 or 2000. Lost it when I lent it to a guy that lived down the hall at Olivet… the same guy that introduced me to Eisley if I remember correctly. That show had nearly the whole The Moon Is Down album. One of only a handful of albums that I can listen to straight through without hitting skip or getting annoyed at certain songs. It really influenced my taste in music to this day. Led me to enjoying bands like Emery and Weezer (plenty of others but those are the standouts).
Penny Black was alright, but they didn’t recapture the magic of The Moon Is Down. The closest Chris has come to that was the Swiss Army Romance.
That's all for this one! I'll start working on another top ten soon... quotable comedy movies, maybe?