1. 30 Seconds To Mars – Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams
I can’t think of a word to describe this album other than “sexy.” So I’m a girl – sue me – but when Jared told everybody who interviewed the band that they were making an album that was very personal and very sexy, he was right. LLF+D speaks to its listeners on a very intimate level about life and relationships, and does so remarkably well. 30 Seconds did a great job of hanging onto its cult-like fanbase with this most recent release of theirs. I had the pleasure of seeing them live this fall, and new hits from this album like Up In The Air got the crowd going just as crazy as older favorites like Closer To The Edge. Remarkable.
Standout song: End of All Days. Something about the words “all we need is faith” is both resonating and haunting, and I love it.
2. Relient K – Collapsible Lung
Collapsible Lung was a different record for Relient K. Frontman Matthew Thiessen had co-writers on a lot of its songs, so the lyrics were different from what we’re used to. It was certainly quite a shock, coming right after the raw and emotionally charged Forget And Not Slow Down. But, was it still a fantastic release? Absolutely. Collapsible Lung was full of poppy energy that I remember from the Relient K of my childhood, before they took a turn for being more serious. Dancing around my room to tracks like Boomerang made me feel just like a kid again. (I was lucky enough to see them live, too, and there’s just about nothing more fun than getting to share that dancing around with a room full of people. If you ever get the chance to see these guys in concert, do it.)
Standout song: Don’t Blink. I was introduced to this song by somebody I used to date, and at the time, of course I applied it to that particular relationship. It was very relevant to me in that sense. Now, I realize that it can actually be about anybody or anything that’s important to you – and how important it is to appreciate them. J
3. Silverstein – This Is How The Wind Shifts
I almost forgot about this album when I was trying to think of my top 3. It came out at the beginning of the year and quickly established itself as one of my favorites, and I feel like I’ve known these songs forever, so it feels like it’s been longer than ten months since it’s release. Wow.
This Is How The Wind Shifts is set up to tell two different sides of the same story, juxtaposing the twists and turns it might take if just one or two little things change. The album is organized with a “side A” and a “side B,” and each track corresponds to one on the other side, like “Massachusetts” and “California,” or “This Is How” and “The Wind Shifts.” It’s an album you have to listen to a few times over to take everything in, but it’s worth listening to for those three times… and several times after that.
Standout song: I totally can’t pick just one.
“This is How” and “The Wind Shifts” are written in such a way that if you play both of them over top of each other at the same time, the chords and lyrics match up to create an entirely new song, which is possibly one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen in music. “Arrivals” and “Departures” are very obviously written to oppose each other – the lyrics directly contrast each other, and they both create brilliant conclusions to their respective “sides” of the album.
Please just do yourself a favor and listen to this. It is a work of art.