Another month has passed us by. That can only mean one thing – Well, one thing with regard to ranking and all of us here at Mind Equals Blown (and of course, all of you lovely readers). We are at the end of July and by my calculation, we are in the heavy-hitting year that is 2002. If you have missed out so far, we have currently plugged our top-spots for 2000 and 2001. I highly encourage you to check those out before you embark on this journey. So, enjoy the ride and let us know what you think of our top choices from this extremely impressive year.
Jarrod Church’s #1 Album – The Used by The Used
An abundance of unique sound and power exploding through your speakers. When stacked up with the hip-hop heavyweights (Eminem, Jay-Z and Bone Thugz N’Harmony), as well as alternative-metal superstars (Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin, Chevelle), the debut full-length mixing post-hardcore and emo elements definitely stood up to the tough task. Bert McCracken is no slouch as a front-man and fast-forwarding ahead ten years, now, dissimilar and similar acts only hope to compare themselves to Bert and company. The lovely blend of musicianship created within this record is simply stunning. Screams and harmonies invade your soul, but it is the balance of each song that is masterfully blended. From the undeniably beautiful “Blue and Yellow” to the blistering “Say Days Ago” and all the way back to the overly harmonious “Noise and Kisses”, the album is, in a word – complete. Since 2002, The Used has only increased their level of impressiveness, but nothing out-performed the debut these Utah-ians created.
Jacob Testa’s #1 Album – Lifted…Or, The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground by Bright Eyes
About five years ago, I listened to this record on a long bus ride, and everything clicked. This is a grand gesture of an album, with plenty of long-form songs and a wide variety of instruments featured throughout, all vehicles for the fantastic lyricism of mastermind Conor Oberst. In his discussions of life and all of the things that accompany it, there’s a bleak sense of understanding and glimmers of hope amid all of the pessimism and insecurity. It’s heavy stuff, but that’s what the best art is. The album’s only mistakes are the ones that were built-in with purpose. I’d point out particular songs, but I don’t think that there are any standouts. Every single track is fantastic. This is the best record I’ve heard. Ever. It has a certain atmosphere and tone that at once sets itself in a specific moment and is timeless. Ten years out, its word still hit hard, just as hard as they were when i first fell in love half a decade ago, maybe even harder. Very few things have stuck with me like this record has. It’s certainly something special, and you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice if you don’t give this album at least one complete listen with your full attention. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Megan Ammer’s #1 Album – Leaving Through The Window by Something Corporate
Although Something Corporate would eventually hit hiatus, and need a boost to sort of get the band back together, they did accomplish something substantial. Leaving Through the Window, their major label debut, is truly outstanding. It’s ability to stay honest and focused, with slight hints of romantics and mystery, allows for something quirky and real. It’s full of energy and very personal. Each song has a determined theme ranging from self-help, to security for others, to enlightenment. Nothing is untouched or forgotten. The singles that came off this album, “Punk Rock Princess” and “I Woke Up in a Car” propelled SoCo further and created their respective places in their scene. This album gets the blood flowing, your feet tapping, and your mind racing. It’s the perfect mix of emotions and stability, all wrapped into one.
Nick Moffitt’s #1 Album – Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips are one of the strangest bands to grace the earth. Acid punkers to enthusiastic pop magicians to bizarrely experimental and twisted; The Flaming Lips have created their own scope of weirdness. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots came out in the middle of their “enthusiasm of life” phase and is considered their big mainstream breakthrough. Yoshimi is a semi-concept album telling the story of battling giant robots and overcoming adversary. The Flaming Lips use psychedelic powers and electronic rock to ponder life’s mysteries on songs like “Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell” “In the Morning of the Magicians” and “All We Have Is Now.” The hit “Do You Realize??” has become an anthem of a meditation on life and death. The Flaming Lips may be weird but they have a deep understanding of how the world works and they share it with excitement.
Sebastian Fonseca’s #1 Album – Geogaddi by Boards Of Canada
By the time Boards Of Canada released their second full-length Geogaddi, they had already been making music as a duo for almost two decades. It’s really no surprise considering the amount of thought that was put into the sounds found on this record could have only been created by a group of musicians with a vast amount of experience in electronic music. The record evokes dark vibes with their once semi-playful melodies becoming enshrouded in vague and brooding samples and sounds. Geogaddi’s vastness of sounds has lead listeners to create several interpretations and even Illuminati-related conspiracy theories. Ideas of Satanism, hypnotism, back-masking, and occultism are said to be scattered throughout. Whether all of these ideas where placed there on purpose may never be confirmed, but it could very well serve as a testament to the amount of work,thought, and creativity that went into making this album.
Landon Defever’s #1 Album – A Rush Of Blood To The Head by Coldplay
How could anybody deny you? Nearly a decade ago, Coldplay vocalist Chris Martin wrote these words in reference to a girl with eyes of green. However, after re-examining the group’s second studio album A Rush of Blood to the Head, I’ve begun to ask this question to another level: the band itself. How could anybody deny Coldplay of instant fandom, especially after putting out AROBTTH, the best album released in 2002? The album is the band’s magnum opus: an album that will forever remain as the best they’ve ever released. From the mesmerizing repetition of “Clocks”, to the duo of Martin’s falsetto and a bare bones piano on “The Scientist”, the album is a consistently fantastic listen for anyone that thinks a “sophmore slump” is standard.
Tim Dodderidge’s #1 Album – Tell All Your Friends by Taking Back Sunday
Where emotional purging was the main motivation behind the emo/punk movement of the 90s-early 2000s, no other album is as definitive and fulfilling as Taking Back Sunday’s Tell All Your Friends. This is an album where every song sticks out like a sore thumb, begging for your attention like an open wound, and just asking for the salt to be poured in. Tell All Your Friends meshes moodiness with edginess, grit, and even a bit of polish, with sorrow-filled lyrics and angsty lines of love and loss to be found on each song. The dueling vocals of Adam Lazzara and John Nolan make for a most memorable performance, and the instrumentation backs their gutsy brooding with heavy-duty, yet poppy melodies. Taking Back Sunday’s freshman effort is the pinnacle of modern emo, crossing genre lines and clinging to the hearts that the band wears on their sleeves – and not since I ran into this album have I found youthful, nostalgic catharsis at levels this high.
Jason Gardner’s #1 Album – What It Is To Burn by Finch
While there is no doubt that Tell All Your Friends has been a huge influence since its release in 2002, another release should also be considered in opening the doors for listeners to not only latch on to this band, but other bands as well. Finch‘s What It Is To Burn propelled the band to underground notoriety, combining post-hardcore, pop-punk and hard rock into one colossal record. The extended cut “Ender” and its closing titular follower barely scratch the surface here, but the energy, emotions and spot-on songwriting only remind of one thing – this band faded away far too soon.
Corey Hoffmeyer’s #1 Album – The End of All Things To Come by Mudvayne
Say what you will about anything the band released after this fantastic album, but Mudvayne’s The End Of All Things To Come is an album that helped shape my musical tastes. “World So Cold,” one of my favorite songs of all time, is the main draw of the album, with a powerful theme and an intense breakdown worthy of many repeats. The album did mark a significant “mainstream” transition for the band (much like Metallica’s The Black Album) but tracks like “Silenced,” “(Per)Version Of a Truth,” and “A Key To Nothing” proved that the band still valued their fans more than fame, maintaining that “nu metal” sound the band had become known for. Overall, TEOATTC is a versatile and brilliant album that features everything that you love about Mudvayne while throwing in some new, radio-friendly elements to draw in the larger crowd.