30. Full Collapse (2001) – Thursday
Another band helming from New Jersey, this is Thursday’s second studio album and their debut on Victory Records. This is my favorite album from these post-hardcore rockers because of the surplus of stand-out tracks. Starting with their first single “Understanding in a Car Crash” through to their rock-ballad “Standing on the Edge of Summer”, Thursday puts their foot on the acceleration pedal and doesn’t stop. Their personal lyrics strike a chord along with the heavy sounding riffs. This is an album I can listen to straight through, and one I like to select when I want to get my blood pumping.
Favorite track: “Cross Out the Eyes”
29. Cassadaga (2007) – Bright Eyes
Conor Oberst is a man that has shown incredible potential throughout his years as a singer-songwriter. This is his seventh studio album with Bright Eyes and this one is quite different from his previous works. He combines his indie-folk sound with his powerful voice to relay messages of love, life, and lessons learned through Cassadaga. His first single off the album “Four Winds” is greatly thick with imagery and symbolism, enough to make your head spin. The way he uses double meanings in songs like “If the Brakeman Turns My Way” and how he remains ambiguous in “I Must Belong Somewhere” is why Oberst has made a name for himself for being a premiere lyricist.
Favorite track: “Four Winds”
28. Stay What You Are (2001) – Saves the Day
These emo/pop-rockers from New Jersey has been around since 1994 and have plenty of albums to show for it. One of my favorite albums is their third studio album, Stay What You Are. Although it’s not as good as Through Being Cool, this is still a very catchy and fun album that you and your friends will have no trouble singing along to. Featuring singles like “At Your Funeral” and “Freakish”, Saves the Day remains their same cynically emotional selves. This is a pop-punk album with an edge at its finest.
Favorite track: “Firefly”
27. So Impossible (2001) – Dashboard Confessional
I’ve contemplated whether or not to include an EP on this list of my favorite albums from the past decade, but this four-song EP is one of the most memorable albums and I doubt I’ll ever forget it. When I was introduced to Chris Carrabba and his super-emo music, I was in my prime high school years full of awkwardness and relationships. There wasn’t a person who hit it right on the nose of how kids felt than Dashboard Confessional. The So Impossible EP takes us on a four-song journey of the protagonist (whom I can only assume is Carrabba himself) as he attempts to impress and win over a girl he loves. Spoil alert, it ends happily.
Favorite track: “So Impossible”
26. Worship and Tribute (2002) – Glassjaw
With only two studio albums since forming the post-hardcore band in 1993, this is Glassjaw’s second album and the better of the two. These Long Island natives blend a unique mixture of hardcore and metal with some jazz and funk along with very aggressive lyrics from frontman Daryl Palumbo. Beginning the album with arguably their heaviest song to date, “Tip Your Bartender” is three minutes of screaming intensity. The hardcore sound of the band continues during tracks like “Mu Empire”, “Pink Roses”, and “Stuck Pig” while “Ape Dos Mil” is a stand-out track for being melodic and displaying Daryl’s vocal range. All in all, I love this album and I love this band to death.
Favorite track: “Tip Your Bartender”
25. Your Favorite Weapon (2001) – Brand New
This is the debut studio album from Long Island rockers Brand New and is by far their poppiest. That’s not always a bad thing, especially when the pop-punk sounds really flooded the high school hallways during my early 2000’s. Needless to say, Your Favorite Weapon put Brand New on the map that began their journey to bigger and greater things. But that doesn’t take away from the pop-punk awesomeness Your Favorite Weapon was. With toe-tapping beats and emotionally-charged lyrics, the album was full of potential singles.
Favorite track: “Seventy Times 7”
24. Leaving Through the Window (2002) – Something Corporate
Continuing the pop-punk sounds of the early 2000’s that I loved, this Californian piano-rock band’s second studio album (first major label album) really impressed me. Frontman Andrew McMahon and the rest of Something Corporate were able to compose an entire album of pop-punk ear candy to make anyone bob their head along in a crowd. SoCo blended upbeat tracks like “I Want to Save You” and “I Woke Up in a Car” with ballads “Cavanaugh Park” and “Globes and Maps” seemlessly. And they even showed a little bit of edge in “If You C Jordan” and “Drunk Girl.” Overall, this is a classic pop-punk album.
Favorite track: “Hurricane”
23. Tell All Your Friends (2002) – Taking Back Sunday
A few spots above Brand New’s Your Favorite Weapon is Taking Back Sunday’s first studio album, Tell All Your Friends. In my opinion, this album is superior to their fellow Long Island rockers. There’s more depth and essence to the songs on Tell All Your Friends than Your Favorite Weapon. And there’s certainly an edge that John Nolan brought to the table that separated this first album to TBS’s second album Where You Want to Be. Tracks like “There’s No ‘I’ in Team” and “Timberwolves at New Jersey” explore an aggressive side to these emo-rockers. But Tell All Your Friends put Taking Back Sunday on the map with countless number of one-liners during their sing-a-long songs. Fan favorites include “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team)” and “You’re So Last Summer.”
Favorite track: “Ghost Man on Third”
22. Daisy (2009) – Brand New
Brand New strikes again on my list (and trust me, this isn’t the last I’m going to write about them here). With their most recent release, Daisy is a lot richer in meaning than their debut Your Favorite Weapon. Daisy consists of a more aggressive side to Brand New than their previous three records. Songs like their opener “Vices”, “Gasoline”, and “Sink” are very heavy and louder than the rest of their complete discography. But Brand New were still able to include some melodic and lyric-heavy tracks that stand out such as “At the Bottom”, “Daisy”, and “Noro.” Debuting at #6 on the Billboard Charts, is there anything that can stop Brand New?
Favorite track: “Noro”
21. The Crane Wife (2006) – The Decemberists
The Decemberists are a rare breed of musicians. Their blend of indie-folk-rock and their story-telling lyrics is such an experience to listen to. There aren’t many bands that can take you through a fictional adventure like that of The Decemberists. I got lost in the story of The Crane Wife. As their first studio album off of Capitol Records, it’s easy for me to argue that it’s one of their best.
Favorite track: “The Island”