The Top 100, June 2005 edition
In an effort to keep my Top 100 Albums list going and to make use of the “The Top 100” category, I’ll periodically be adding new albums that I think would make my Top 100 (at the expense of some other albums) if I redid them today. For the most part it will be used to allow for reviewing of new CD’s that I think are really good, but I’ll just keep the guise of the Top 100 until I redo it again five years down the line.
With that said, I was pleased to discover two incredibly good albums in the past few weeks — the new Alkaline Trio, which has become my favorite one in just a short amount of time, and the new Coldplay, a very brilliant album with a final song that was written for Johnny Cash (he died before he could record it.)
It’s been a long time since two great CD’s have burst thier way into my collection at the same time, so you’ll get a single post – double review.
I was tired of the darkness that Alkaline Trio had dealt me by the time I had reached the end of Good Mourning, their last album. I thought it was a silly little ploy to change their sound without alienating their fans, and while it had some great songs and was a decent album, it was nothing like the Alkaline Trio I had grown to love over the past four years. I listened to it a bit, but I never really accepted it as a good album. Crimson is more of the same, but for some reason – maybe I’m older, or wiser, or maybe I’m just more open for change – I’m really into this album. In fact, in the past few weeks it has become without a doubt my favorite Alkaline Trio album – beating out Maybe I’ll Catch Fire. This doesn’t seem like an act anymore. Good Mourning was really a true change in their sound, and Crimson completes the transformation, pushing the pop-punk elements to the back burner and turning up the darkness. I appreciate the macabre way the lyrics are spelled out more, and I appreciate the fact that their sound is so clean and crisp. I especially appreciate “Back to Hell,” where Dan and Matt trade lines in one of my favorite choruses yet. Crimson has re-awoken my interest in Alkaline Trio the same way Caution did for Hot Water Music.
I’m not quite sure if this album is destined to be Coldplay’s greatest – it is, after all, tough for many of us to let go of the quiet wonder that is Parachute – but the media and reviewers are lumping Coldplay and U2 together, either by comparing the two as contenders for the biggest band in the world or by slagging on Coldplay for not being enough like U2. First of all, they’re not U2 at all. There’s no ego in their music – they’re not playing as if they are the best thing since the Beatles. They’re playing like they are, well, just a really good British rock band. Their songs are about nothing, and simply put, there’s a reason that Coldplay’s big sound is all about nothing – it’s the “emo” of the top 40: quiet, brooding, self-centered and masochistic, and ultimately personal. X&Y takes over where …Rush of Blood to the Head left off, though I’ve found that in the past five days since it’s come out I like it much better. In fact, it’s approaching Parachutes status on my “best brit-rock albums” list, with the first eight songs being next to perfect. The end of the album drags, but anything would drag after the first 35 minutes.