We all have certain albums that we put on when we’re happy or when we need some cheering up. These are albums that you can put on and never hit the skip button. In the age of portable CD players, these were the albums that you had to carry with you at all times. Albums that define you or a major part of your life; we all have them. And I want to share my favorite ten with you. Maybe they show up on your top ten.
- Songs About Jane– Maroon 5
This is the album that started it all for Maroon 5. While I enjoy all of the albums they have released so far, this kicks off the list because every song is a hit. No matter what I am doing, whenever a song comes on from this album I can’t help but sing along. There’s a good mix of up beat and slow songs to please everyone. This is an album everyone can enjoy. With hit songs like “This Love” and “Sunday Morning” what’s not to love about this album?
- Bad-Michael Jackson
This has been my favorite album since I was about five years old. I cannot lie and say it wasn’t based on the cool cover or the awesome video for “Bad,” but even 17 years later this album is still great. Again, every song is a hit and is filled with classic MJ. I also like this album because it precedes the drama that followed him in the 90s and because of this you can hear how happy he is and how he enjoys his music versus his albums in the 90s when you can actually hear the anger in his voice (but can you blame him?). Even the videos for the singles from this album are great. Check out “Leave Me Alone” to see the awesomeness that is Michael Jackson.
- Blink 182-Blink 182
This album represents a turning point in Blink 182’s career. All their previous albums were filled with dick and fart jokes and running around naked. Those jokes were nowhere to be found on this 2003 release, which angered some fans, but I really enjoyed it. The band really brings their A-game to this record to show that they have talent and they can do more than high school boy humor. There are so many songs that pack a punch like “Feeling This” and “Stockholm Syndrome” and there are others still that are bittersweet (“I Miss You” and “Down”). A bonus for me is “More Than This” featuring Robert Smith of The Cure, one of Blink’s favorite bands.
- White Blood Cells-The White Stripes
Though this album features both Jack and Meg White it really is a showcase for Jack. This album shows how talented this man is and why he is a gift from the guitar gods (whoever they are). What I love about his guitar playing is that it can range from simple (“Seven Nation Army”) to holy shit (“Icky Thump”) but no matter what it always sounds good and he proves this on their third album. Not only does he prove to be a excellent guitar player, but he knows how to tickle the ivories as well.
- Disintegration-The Cure
This is the album that got me into The Cure. My brother gave me a copy and I was blown away when I put it on. My favorite song and video from The Cure has to be “Lullaby.” There is such an eeriness that is present in both and that’s impressive for a video made in 1989. I fell in love with all of the songs (and Robert Smith’s unique voice). There is just so much emotion expressed in the music: from happiness to sadness to disappointment. The album got even better with the 2010 remastered edition of this album, which includes Entreat, a live album, which proves how these songs only get better live.
- Dookie-Green Day
Despite the juvenile title, Dookie is a great album. There is so much brattiness and in your face attitude that still holds up to this day. This album expresses what we all feel from one time to another: how sucky people are. Some can argue it definitely shows how young the group was when they recorded this, but that does not mean the album is dated. Just as with Disintegration, these songs have even more energy and attitude when performed live.
- Pretty Hate Machine– Nine Inch Nails
Some people will argue that The Downward Spiral is the better album, but for me it’s NIN’s first album. There’s a great mix of keyboard synth along with hard guitars that make this weird danceable groove. And not only are the songs great, but the music is awesome too. Sometimes, just the beat of the song will get stuck in my head (I am in love with the bass line from “Sanctified”). And even though it is their first album, Trent Reznor still does an impressive job with singing. He carries what the listener is supposed to feel in his voice: loneliness in “Something I Can Never Have,” sensuality in “The Only Time,” and anger in “Head Like a Hole.” This album is a classic to this day.
- In Utero– Nirvana
Critics and most fans will argue that Nevermind is their best album, but personally In Utero is the better of the two. There is more raw energy and emotion on this record that bleeds from all the instruments and Kurt’s voice. This album also shows off Kurt’s vocal ability. He screams until the point of breaking in “Scentless Apprentice” and then is soft and mellow in “Dumb.” This is an under appreciated album, but with more books and articles about how great the record is, I think that is going to change.
- Mechanical Animals– Marilyn Manson
This is the album that divided some Manson fans. Some didn’t like the glam rock influences, but I think it works really well here. This is when Manson was on top of his game. Every song is great and provides great commentary on the superficiality and materialism that America is obsessed with. Here Manson shows he is not just full of agonized screams, outlandish outfits and shock rock. He proves he is a true artist.
- Pornography– The Cure
This album has recently made it to my list of favorites, mostly because at the time when I got the album I did not really appreciate it. It definitely had to grow on me, but it was worth the wait. Every song is filled with unique images that you picture while listening to the album. This record is also filled with heavy emotion and the way it is presented, the music, the singing, the voice, you can really feel what is going on. It’s truly is a dark record filled with songs about sadness, isolation, and loneliness. This is the album that gave The Cure the reputation of a depressing band (though they are not).
Honorable Mention: Marshall Mathers LP– Eminem
I got this album at the age of 12 when it was lame to like Eminem. Sure it is full of profanities, but that does not make the album bad. It tells the story of both Eminem and one of his alter egos Slim Shady. This works so well for the rapper because this is how everyone learns about his life, through his music. The only reason this album did not make the top ten is due to the skits on the record. Some of them are funny but they are unnecessary. I never understood why artists put intros, interludes and outros on records. I think this album would have been better without them.
What albums would make your top 10? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.