In the first of my regular blogs I will be posting to this site, I thought I'd give an idea of my music identity by sharing my personal top 10 list of albums from the 21st century, most of which I am still currently listening to everyday. From Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon to Nirvanas Nevermind, we all know the classics; the legendary riffs and licks that have ascended to stardom and became cemented in rock history. I thought it would be interesting to look at the masterpieces of this century; the albums that in 50 years’ time will become the classics.
10. Get Hurt (2014) – The Gaslight Anthem
I was late to discover this album (and this band) but I regret that I hadn’t heard it earlier. The ‘southern rock’ album, deriving from Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi, is an emotional ride with it being written just after front man Brian Fallon’s divorce and sobriety. The hard-hitting lyrics are accompanied by memorable rock riffs that make it all-round a solid album.
Favourite songs: Halloween, 1,000 Years, Get Hurt
9. El Camino (2011) – The Black Keys
The Black Keys had a pretty great track record leading up to El Camino, but it was this album and their lead singles Gold on the Ceiling and Lonely Boy that knocked the blues duo into the ‘mainstream’ spotlight. Personally, their rock ballad Little Black Submarines is what sold this album for me as being one of the best this century.
Favourite songs: Little Black Submarines, Lonely Boy, Gold on the Ceiling.
8. Royal Blood (2014) – Royal Blood
Royal Blood for most people came out of nowhere and quickly became an overnight. The two-piece band formed in Brighton, England shocked the rock world when their debut album skyrocketed up charts around the world. Their massive modern rock/blues sound reassured fans of the genre that in a world dominated by electronic pop music, headbanging rock music still had a presence.
Favourite songs: Out of the Black, Ten Tonne Skeleton
7. Permission to Land (2003) – The Darkness
Permission to Land is the stuck-in-the-80s rock band The Darkness’ debut album and it is arguably their best. Justin Hawkins’ falsetto vocals and the over the top guitar riffs show that these guys don’t take themselves too seriously- and that’s the best part about them.
Favourite songs: Love is Only a Feeling, Get Your Hands Off My Woman, I Believe in a Thing Called Love
6. Because of the Times (2007) – Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon’s final album before slipping into mainstream media with Only by the Night features their last true foray into grunge rock. Caleb Followill’s croaking vocals perfectly resonate with the themes on this album of drunken nights and no-good women. The biting guitar, heavy bassline and squealing vocals of Charmer make it easily my favourite song on the album. Edgy is an understatement for this one.
Favourite songs: Charmer, Knocked Up, True Love Way
5. The Balcony (2014) – Catfish and the Bottlemen
Catfish and the Bottlemen have quickly become one of my favourite bands in recent years. The Balcony is really a masterpiece of good modern British rock. Drawing inspiration from fellow Brit acts like The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys, Catfish provide an album packed with fresh, catchy rock tunes.
Favourite songs: Kathleen, Tyrants, Pacifier, 26
4. Shadows Collide with People (2004) – John Frusciante
I knew I had to include a Frusciante solo album on this list, and picking exactly which one I considered the best was difficult. However, I think Shadows Collide with People shows off everything I love about John Frusciante as a writer, guitarist and producer. The themes of belief, pain, addiction and death meld perfectly with the variety of creative and experimental instrumentals on this this album.
Favourite songs: Carvel, This Cold, Song to Sing When I’m Lonely
3. In Rainbows (2007) – Radiohead
In addition to being an incredible album, In Rainbows also has a nostalgic and sentimental effect on me so it would be criminal for me to put it any lower on the list. In Rainbows is a masterpiece of an experimental, artistic rock album full of emotional musical sections and lyrics.
Favourite songs: All I Need, Reckoner, Jigsaw Falling into Place
2. Arctic Monkeys (2013) – AM
AM was a pretty significant deviation from Arctic Monkeys’ previous works but it was in no means a step in the wrong direction. This album represents a maturation of the band and their style. Stepping away from the garage British pop-rock style of their previous works, ‘Monkeys’ developed a calculated and sophisticated psychedelic rock album that rivals some of the greatest albums in rock history.
Favourite songs: Do I Wanna Know?, R U Mine?, Knee Socks
1. Stadium Arcadium (2006) – Red Hot Chili Peppers
The ninth studio album of funk rock legends Red Hot Chili Peppers is undoubtedly in my opinion the greatest rock albums of this century. The two-disc behemoth of a record features some of my favourite tracks of all time. The songs on this album are catchy, memorable tracks and there isn’t a single one on there I dislike.
Favourite songs: Dani California, Strip My Mind, Make You Feel Better, Turn It Again, Torture Me