Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jamen's All Time Most Influential Albums: Part 2

Here is top 5 portion of my All-Time Most Influential Albums. This is part of my personal list of the top 10 albums that has shaped my music taste and changed the way I listen to music in one way or another. Below you will find numbers 5 through 1 accompanied by a short review and reasoning as to why I selected the albums. You can also find out more about the album by clicking on the name or album cover art. Let me know what you guys think about my album selections in the comments!

To view other posts in the series, select one of the articles below:
  1. Music Sourced All-Time Most Influential Albums: Introduction
  2. Jamen's All Time Most Influential Albums: Part 1


Something Corporate

Release Date: May 21, 2002

For those of you that don't know, Something Corporate is my favorite band. The sounds of Something Corporate first hit my ears during my freshman year of college. I was living in a dorm at Purdue University and everyone on my floor was on the same Internet network. So we all decided to share our music to anyone connected to the network by using iTunes. That is when I discovered a handful of Something Corporate songs from the guy a few doors down. This was my first taste of piano rock and I ended up scouring the rest of our floor for more Something Corporate tunes. I eventually compiled a solid playlist of songs and it became the only thing I played for quite some time.

Something Corporate plays rock music without a doubt but nearly every song is built around Andrew McMahon's piano play. This may seem out of place for a typical rock band, but if I told you that McMahon abuses his keys like Jerry Lee Lewis then you might start getting the picture. McMahon's piano ballads and his rock stage presence are infectious. Something Corporate was born out of a garage by a bunch of high school friends with just the goal of winning their school's battle of the bands. It was a battle for bragging rights, a battle to impress the girls, it's the ultimate rock band story.

I never purchased their album "Leaving Through the Window" until much later when I discovered that most of the songs that I had gotten from my college friends that originally attracted me to Something Corporate were from this album.

Jason Mraz

Release Date: September 29, 2009
This album selection was an absolute tossup. I knew I was going to select a live album from Jason Mraz, but I had trouble selecting either "Selections for Friends", or "Jason Mraz - Live & Acoustic".

The fact of the matter is though, Jason Mraz is a unique talent. It is now well documented that I am a fan of live acoustic music, but Jason Mraz does it unlike any other. The reason he is so different when he plays acoustically is because this guy really doesn't need a backup band. He is so vocally gifted that he can re-create most of backup instruments using his unique singing style (If you are a fan, you know what I mean). To be honest, to hear him with a full band sometimes takes the focus away from what's great about him because it gets drowned out. All the deedle dee skibbity bee bop sounds is what makes him great.

Also, I think Jason Mraz and Toca Rivera together acoustically provide the purest form of musical entertainment for my musical taste. If you pair Jason Mraz's talent with the harmony and soft percussion of Toca Rivera, you can't do much better. Check out this YouTube video to see what I mean.

Jason Mraz - You and I Both

The Damnwells

Release Date: February 9, 2009
The Dawnwells are rapidly becoming my favorite band. Within the course of a year I have completely consumed all things Damnwells. It was about a year ago when I heard several songs from the band featured in the movie Chaos Theory. Throughout the duration of the movie I tagged one of their songs, discovered who they were, sampled their music, scoured through their sites, and purchased every item they had for sale on Amazon. Two weeks later I attended a solo concert performed by Alex Dezen, lead singer of the Damnwells.

I'm not trying to say it's the greatest music anyone has ever made, but if my personal music taste culminated into the form of one band, it would be The Damnwells. If I had the musical talent, I would be making this type of music.

The main reason why this album is on here though, is not for my love of The Damnwells sound surprisingly. The main reason why this album gets such high marks is because this album is what started the inspiration for this site. I kept telling everyone I downloaded this amazing album from The Damnwells for FREE and no one had even heard of their band. I figured it was time to start sharing some great free music from some lesser known artists. Since the start of this site, we have covered The Damnwells a leading 9 TIMES for free music releases. Go get ya some!

Release Date: July 22, 2003
I believe I have mentioned before on this site that this album represents my senior year of high school. This is also when the group was at its height of popularity with major billboard hits "Way Away", "Only One", and "Ocean Avenue". So inevitably I heard plenty of this group from the radio, loved it, and bought their album.

I was initially digging their high energy rock sound but then what really made this group stand out was how they integrated Sean Mackin's violin into a full on rock delivery. I have always taken a liking to rock groups that are doing something different. I mean, who else out there is rocking a violin? And trust me, Sean Mackin rocks it! If I were to make my best guess, I would say that I have listened to this album more than any other in my lifetime.

It struck a strong chord with me in high school because this album represents freedom, it represents summer, and it represents the start of a new beginning. Those emotions and attitudes were something that I was just on the verge of myself as I was graduating high school and entering college.
Mayday Parade

Release Date: July 10, 2007
Here we are at  #1 and I can picture a lot of you reading and asking yourselves "Who the..?", What is...?", "Huh?" I am guessing many of you probably haven't heard of this band so why would they be at #1? Let me not waste anymore time...

This album in my opinion is the greatest, most complete, and enjoyably addictive album from start to finish that I have heard to date. This album is the best representation of modern rock for my personal taste. Since it was released in 2007 it has always been a part of my active playlists. If I'm having a good day, I will have my windows down and I will be blaring one of these songs on high.

Mayday Parade in its original form packed a tremendous amount of talent in to one group. The lead vocal roles were shared on nearly every song by the clear ranging voice of Derek Sanders and the raw power and emotion of Jason Lancaster. You rarely if ever see a rock group that shares the lead vocals on an album, let alone the same song. These guys got it right and I can't imagine it being done any better (Listen to "Miserable at Best" for example).

Also I really enjoy the writing on this album. It is extremely relatable and there are some lyrics on this album that you will never forget. My favorite lines come from the 1:35 mark of the long titled song "If You Wanted A Song Written About You, All You Had To Do Was Ask" where it metaphorically relates the ending of a relationship to a failed composition of a song. And lastly of course, like any good rock group you could say that the guitar play is excellent.

The album defines the highs and lows of a struggling personal relationship. On this album you have the rock, you have the ballads, you have the vocals, with massive choruses and massive sound packaged into one complete storyline. From start to finish I think it is excellent and something that anyone would enjoy that appreciates our era of modern rock.

Unfortunately, after the release of this album Jason Lancaster left Mayday Parade and eventually started another group called Go Radio. His departure took away a huge element of this group's success. Both groups are successfully making music today, but not at this level in my opinion. But it can almost be considered fitting in my eyes because I couldn't imagine this one being topped in my rock category.


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