So we come to music, always a tricky one since people’s tastes vary so much, but think of this list as the Top 5 ‘Alternative’ albums of the year (again in no particular order), so if you’re expecting the Hollywood special edition of Crazy Love to come up you’ll be left wanting…
Jimmy Eat World – Invented
A band whose rise to fame catalysed the ’emo’ movement return with another classic album. Despite the album’s title, the band haven’t done anything out of the ordinary with this latest release – the sound is similar to 2007’s Chase This Light – but it is consistent, something very important in an increasingly changeable industry.
This is a band who deserve to be UK chart-toppers, but the foolish mentality of the single-buying public denies them, instead the enlightened can be reassured that albums like this continue to get made to provide a perfect mix of relaxing melodies and punk-charged pop classics.
Stand-out Tracks: My Best Theory, Coffee and Cigarettes, Littlething.
The Audition – Great Danger
Another year, another great album. The Chicago four-piece have released an album every year since 2008’s Champion and though it might not have the disco feel of that release or the pop/punk glory of the Self-Titled follow-up, Great Danger has pace. Apart from the customary slow song – a sublime track about teenage heartbreak – the album thumps along with every song a killer.
The speed of the album makes it a great driving CD, or something to kick up the tempo at the crucial transition stage at a house party, but at its heart Great Danger just makes good, uncomplicated and addictive listening.
Stand-out Tracks: You Ruined This, Ms. Crumby, Run Away
Bad Religion – The Dissent of Man
The kings of punk rock return in fabulous style with their fifteenth studio album. If you’ve heard of Bad Religion and are a fan already then this is musical genius. Nay-sayers would have you believe all their songs sound the same and they are over the hill but in fact this release has more energy than any album since The Process of Belief. A whopping 15 tracks filled with oozin-ahhs, political satire and guitar hooks you can’t ignore, Dissent of Man is the apex of the band’s talent, with only their own live shows surpassing it.
As ever the tracks are as strong alone as they are in thundering unison and the dual vocal and recording talents of Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz are on full display as the band celebrates its 30th anniversary.
Stand-out Tracks: The Day That The Earth Stalled, The Resist Stance, The Devil in Stitches.
Motion City Soundtrack – My Dinosaur Life
A band competing with Weezer and NOFX to put the fun back into music, Motion City Soundtrack have all the swagger of both those bands combined, and it shows with this latest release. It takes something special to pull off swearing in music without sounding crass or unnecessary, but Motion City manage it superbly throughout My Dinosaur Life, culminating in the frankly titled @!#?@!.
Blink 182 bassist Mark Hoppus produced the album, which may explain some of its cheekiness, but it’s leading man and vocalist Justin Pierre who really puts the passion across with a selection of pop punk with pleasantly varying levels of teenage angst.
Stand-out Tracks: A Life Less Ordinary (Need a Little Help), Her Words Destroyed My Planet, Skin and Bones.
Story of the Year – The Constant
A much underrated band reach a new peak with a release that lives up to its name. From the chilling beginnings as a children’s chorus ushers in the opening track to the final suitably distorted chord. The band manage a great balance between melody and hardcore to challenge even genre heavyweights Rise Against for their title. The strength of the album is anthemic choruses backed up with memorable guitar rifts and tight musicianship throughout.
The songs share a downbeat theme but the energy keeps things from becoming drab and depressing, the emotion invested in the songs show and help give the album a more personal touch.