You just turned on that mix tape you made from all the new music you've been finding on LimeWire while you get ready for the day. You zip up your hoodie over your black band tee, and your dyed black hair just flipped to the side perfectly, lip ring adjusted. Let's go.
The year is 2004 and what a time to be alive. For some of us thinking about it right now, we're wincing at the fact that this is now 20 years ago! I know, I'm feeling it too. Aside from how we feel old now, let's talk about the music. Here are my top 5 albums turning 20 years old this year!
I've got to start here because when I think of 2004 this is the first album I associate with the year. Silence in Black and White by Hawthorne Heights. I remember hearing this for the first time and just blown away by something I had never quite heard before. A fresh, different sort of music.
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I instantly connected to this album, with the girl problems, with the teenage angst in general. The anger you could take out screaming along and at the same time screaming along with your friends could be some of the happiest times. With the unclean vocals matched with the high pretty vocals, the three guitars blended together to bring a new era to the mainstream of music.
Maybe a controversial take, but here it is. This is the year My Chemical Romance released their only great album, their best album, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. I loved this album. Another one that felt different.
For myself, a guy who was strictly drive-thru records and other pop punk, this hit something for me. The first time hearing "I'm Not OK" I had to have more. The record quickly became one of my favorites at the time and I was nonstop listening. I loved everything about this band at the time. The look, the songs, everything they did. The influence this band and album would have on my generation and the next is amazing. In my opinion the best work from this band.
Underoath's They’re Only Chasing Safety. My first concert without my parents and not on a local stage was Underoath and Coheed and Cambria at Pop's. I heard some Underoath at that point but my reason for going was that I was excited to see Coheed and Cambria. When Underoath took the stage, I was amazed.
Seeing them perform songs from this album and the energy of the live show was matched by the record. "Up against the wall, up against the wall..." Man, I couldn't get it out of my head. Much like My Chemical Romance, Underoath didn't make it out of this year too much for me, but this will always be one of my favorites.
Where You Want to Be by Taking Back Sunday. I was not excited about this album when it was set to come out. I was upset about the fact that there was no John Nolan and I did not think they could do it without him. (Side note. John did his thing in Straylight Run and made some beautiful music). I remember this album came out and I couldn't not check it out even though I had no hope for it to be good.
Boy was I wrong, the opening track "Set Phasers to Stun" starts with "say yes say yes say..." and then kicks in hard. I was hooked at the very beginning. I to this day think this is the best work of TBS. This is one of my favorite albums of all time. Put together perfectly with the kickoff then the slow down then the kick up and the ballad type out. So good!
The greatest album of 2004 is Senses Fail's Let It Enfold you. I love the album, I love the name, and I love the inspiration of the name, song, and album. A Charles Bukowski poem that also ranks at the top of my list. I watched the DVD that came with this CD so many times there was a time I could probably recite most of it.
I fell even more in love with the band when this came out and although Senses Fail have moved far from this album as a style and really found their own new way, it has a special place for me. This was violent, it was angry, and so catchy. Another one that just kicks in, and front-to-back bangers. The title track of this album is unmatched. I love the storytelling, the feeling. I think Buddy was the first singer/lyricist to really open me up and make me feel. The way he projected his feelings into his music was amazing and still is.
The earth has existed for who knows how many years now and how lucky are we that we were put here at a time to have access to the best music. Happy 20th birthday to these albums! I can't believe they can almost legally drink.