Not that I feel the need to explain myself, but I’ll do it anyway. Keep in mind this is my list of personal favorites for the year. I’m sure other people’s opinions will differ quite a bit from my own, and that’s cool. Feel free to post a comment and voice your opinion. Think my list is great? Tell me! Think my list sucks ass? Well, tell me that too. Hell, post your own personal list. I think that would be great. Seriously. The writers here at Baloola Palooza put a lot of time, effort, and a lot of times emotion into their columns. Comments are welcome and greatly appreciated. Anyway, on with the list. Here are my ten favorite albums of 2003.
10.) Anti-Flag – The Terror State: Anti-Flag comes out swinging on their latest effort. The album begins with a lyrical attack on Mr. President, that being their single, Turncoat. Anti-Flag albums have always varied in their sounds. Die For Your Government carried more of a street-punk sound. A New Kind Of Army ventured into some melodies, while Underground Network carried the catchy, melodic punk rock sound often associated with Fat Wreck. This album carries that tradition, and ventures into different sounds. While it’s still a fierce, angry punk rock album, there are some songs which sound a bit too radio friendly for Anti-Flag. Subject matter considered, however, I wouldn’t worry too much about seeing them on TRL.
Recommended – Rank-N-File, Post-War Breakout
9.) Mest – Mest: 2003 must’ve been the year for pop-punk bands to get serious and try different things. Mest’s follow-up to Destination Unknown slows down the tempo and darkens up the lyrics. While some songs still feature the same bouncy, pop-punk sound as found on previous efforts, other songs are toned down and almost sad. Rooftops takes a trip back in time and revisits growing up, while Until I Met You talks of being in a relationship with someone you just can’t get along with. Their single, the acoustic driven Jaded(These Years), which features Benji Madden of Good Charlotte, helped cast Mest further into the mainstream this year.
Recommended – Burning Bridges, Chance Of A Lifetime
8.) NOFX – The War on Errorism: With this album, NOFX cover a wide varieties of topics. From the current state of Punk music(Seperation of Church and Skate), politics(Idiots Are Taking Over), and even a love song(Two Jealous Agains). Of course, it wouldn’t be a NOFX album without some humor tossed in(She’s Nubs). While some topics have changed, most of it is still the same great NOFX sound of fast melodic punk, and mixing in a bit of ska here and there.
Recommended – Mattersville, Seperation of Church and Skate
Click here for a full review.
7.) The All-American Rejects – Self-titled: Okay, so it was originally released in 2002, but it was re-released in 2003 so it made my list. When I first heard the song, Swing, Swing, I wasn’t too impressed. However, upon hearing the song several times, it grew on me and I couldn’t seem to get it’s catchy tune out of my head. While the lyrics can be overly sappy at times, Tyson’s voice and the overall greatness of each song more than makes up for it.
Recommended – My Paper Heart, One More Sad Song
6.) Blink 182 – Blink 182: I never thought it could happen, but Mark, Tom, and Travis got serious. Not only that, but it works well for them! I’m still a big fan of their previous work, but this album took them to a whole new level in my book. I’m all for trying new things and experimenting, and that’s what this album is all about. They’ve added pianos, thrown in some acoustic guitars, programmed drum beats, and cover more serious topics. A lot of people compare this album to that of Box Car Racer, which is Tom & Travis’s side project. While I too am guilty of this, I really feel this album can stand all on it’s own.
Recommended – I Miss You, Stockholm Syndrome
5.) Thrice – The Artist in the Ambulance: If I could sum this album up with just one word, I’d say amazing. The band definitely came out strong on their major label debut, proving that signing to a major isn’t always a bad thing. If anything, the band improved compared to their previous efforts. This album is a brilliant blend of hardcore vocals, melodies, and metal riffs.
Recommended – Silhouette, Under A Killing Moon
4.) Rancid – Indestructible: Amidst all of the talk of deals with Warner Bros. and selling out, their arose a great album, which punched all the nay-sayers right in their mouth. The Rancid boys took all of the pain, heartache, anger, and aggression from the past few years, put it all into these songs and created a masterpiece. In my opinion, the only way you’d find a better Rancid album would be to pick up …And Out Come The Wolves.
Recommended – Red Hot Moon, Indestructable
Click here for a full review.
3.) Rise Against – Revolutions Per Minute: Take some melodic punk rock, add in some hardcore, a hell of a lot of emotion, and a Journey cover. What do you end up with? Thirty-seven minutes of pure bliss called Revolutions Per Minutes. This album is perfect for fans of Bad Religion and Thrice.
Recommended – Black Masks & Gasoline, Like The Angel
Click here for a full review.
2.) AFI – Sing The Sorrow: 2003 was the breakout year for this band, if that’s what you want to call it. Having already a huge fan following, the release of their major label debut threw them right into the mainstream. While STS has quite a different sound from their previous offerings, it’s still AFI, and at their best no less. AFI has some of the best lyrics I’ve ever heard, and Davey delivers each line with great emotion. It definitely makes every song on the album a must-hear.
Recommended – Dancing Through Sunday, Paper Airplanes(makeshift wings)
1.) Avenged Sevenfold – Waking the Fallen: Before purchasing this album, I had never listened to this band. After listening to this masterpiece, they’re now one of my favorite bands. This album is truly metalcore at it’s finest. From the screaming vocals to the Iron Maiden-like guitar riffs, this album hits you hard and fast leaving you wanting more. The eight minute and 58 second long epic, I Won’t See You Tonight Part 1, might just make power-ballads cool again. The song is, dare I say, beautiful. I would recommend checking this album out if you’re a fan of Killswitch Engage, Poison the Well, or old-school metal.
Recommended – Unholy Confessions, Clairvoyant Disease, Second Heartbeat
Thursday – War All The Time
Death By Stereo – Into the Valley of Death
The Ataris – So Long, Astoria
From Autumn To Ashes – The Fiction We Live
Thanks for reading. Until next year, I’m out. Happy New Year.