First things first I have not made any updates for a few days as things have not been terribly well in the world of Jessica L so todays and tomorrows post will be a two part countdown of my top ten favorite albums of all time. I wanted something happy for me to write, something that might take my mind off of things.
10. Lordi-The Monsterican Dream
Release date: 2004
Genre: Hard rock/shock rock
I was first planning on placing this album higher on the list as it is an album I listen to quite frequently and I enjoy it immensely but sadly I am trying to not only share with you a few stories about why they mean so much to me but also to give a slight critical evaluation. Looking at the other albums on this list I felt that as fun as this album is the musicianship just isn’t as good as the others nor is the music as original. Lordi are a band that follows in roughly the same tradition as Kiss and Alice Cooper but with more of a modern edge and heavy metal stylings, image wise they also have monster costumes that gets them compared to GWAR *unfairly in my opinion* This is there second album and is lyrically darker to what came before and has come since, song titles such as “Blood Red Sandman” and “Children of the Night” should give you an idea of what you are in for. The music is much heavier and quite similar to Rob Zombie’s debut album “Hellbilly Deluxe” the guitars are tuned down low and all the songs have guitar solos set to an industrial-esque drumbeat.
This album does however have some flaws, Mr Lordi is not exactly the best or strongest singer and I feel a few of the songs are lyrically quite weak and could have been taken off to make the album stronger if fairly short. But I have fond memories of this album, when I went down to my GFs house for the first time I listened to this album on repeat so for me this album represents that wonderous day.
9. Five Iron Frenzy-Our Newest Album Ever
Release date: 1997
Genre: Christian Ska
There is often a certain stigma attached to a band when they label themselves as being “Christian” but in my opinion this band are so good and lyrically quite fantastic that I have read a lot of comments from fans saying they do not feel the need to be Christian to enjoy the bands music. Musically they set themselves apart from other “third wave ska bands” by incorporating other musical elements *to varying degrees of success* lyrically they often address problems and contradictions within the Christian religion, the plight of Native Americans, life in an underground band warts and all, and oddly a song about how great it is living in Canada *they make it sound so brilliant* being a somewhat Christian *I am transgender after all* the lyrics speak to me, how unafraid they are to point out faults and flaws within their own faith and that each of their albums have a handful of non-religious songs that are just damn good ska. Doug TenNapel *created Earthworm Jim and wrote and drew the comic mini series Gear* did the artwork for many of the bands albums including this one.
8. Black Grape-Its Great When Your Straight….. Yeah!
Release date: 1995
Genre: Experimental dance/Britpop
What can really be said about a band who names themselves after their favorite flavor of fizzy pop? Formed by Shaun William Ryder after his previous band The Happy Mondays pretty much imploded in on themselves Black Grape was a duo with himself and British rapper Kermit performing cutting edge dance music infused with Britpop and acid house stylings. Lyrics that were often written freestyle in the studio and taking a tongue in cheek look at their drug use and career lows, this was an album that didn’t even have a British company backing them due to their reputations at the time, an album that everyone expected to fail and then took them back to the top of the charts the moment it was released. There is very little I can say about this album, it’s the perfect party record, manic, full of energy and is in the humble writers opinion the type of music people should still be sweating on the dance floor in clubs. Put it on at any boring party and it will be lively in no time.
7. Oingo Boingo-Dark At The End Of The Tunnel
Release date: 1990
Genre: alternative rock/new wave
Fronted by Danny Elfman who is now known as a film composer, primarily for Tim Burton, Oingo Boingo burst on to the scene in the 70s as an avante garde musical theatre troupe playing… Anything they felt like at the time, before trimming down its 20-strong member list and switching gears to performing manic new wave music with heavy political and socially conscious lyrics as well as singing about how great it is to die and other equally cheerful lyrics all sang with such gusto and enthusiasm by Elfman who is such an amazing singer with great range its sad that he barely ever sings at all anymore. Who doesn’t melt when they watch Nightmare Before Christmas and hear Jack sing? Over their career Elfman’s lofty ambitions were becoming apparent as the music became more subdued and orchestral, the horns were fazed out and Elfman started singing in a lower register addressing much more personal themes such as his divorce and this album contains a beautiful, haunting song about suicide “Out of Control” that I challenge anyone who has been low not to tear up at it. Its not totally recognizable as the group that brought you “Dead Mans Party” or the theme to Weird Science but all great bands change over time and whenever I am low or feel I’m the only one awake at 3am I stick this on.
Release date: 1999
Genre: post grunge/rockSadly breaking up after making only two albums Joydrop were a band that has been all but forgotten except for known as “ the band that made that Beautiful song that plays over the end credits of Ginger Snaps” a sad fate considering those two albums are perfect slices of post-grunge, angsty, achingly melodic and sometimes quite beautiful music. Fronted by Tara Strong who made a fairly decent solo album after Joydrop broke up, her voice isn’t the strongest in rock but it is more than capable for what is required here and she veers away from the trappings of most female rock singers by keeping her voice in lower registers and not shrieking like a banshee when proclaiming to be sad and hopeless *I’m looking at you female fronted metal bands* Most people even at its time of release brought this purely for “Beautiful” but its not even my favourite song on the album, with such cuts as “Over and Under” a hard rock track that shows off how competent the band were at playing their instruments without slipping in to pretend metal mode and makes feel great sadness that they didn’t make a third album as they would probably have done some fantastic blues infused rock music *I.E. LA Woman era Doors* or the psychedelic tinged “Strawberry Marigold* a beautiful ode to a relationship with heartbreaking lyrics. I recently got a friend of mine in to Joydrop a few days ago and when looking on YouTube for more songs to recommend to her by them was in disbelief that so few of their songs are even there. For a band with a small back catalogue that is to me a crime. Their Wikipedia page is bare and their albums for those of us outside of America are hard to come by but for anyone who does they will find a brilliant rock band. Nothing more, nothing less just damn good rock music with superb and original lyrics. Maybe I love them so much because in my younger teens I discovered this band and was only ever able to find a few songs by them and played them endlessly wondering if their albums were just as good, it was only last year that my parents surprised me with both of them, it was such a wonderful, happy moment for me to say I at long last own Joydrop’s two albums on CD, I couldn’t even find them for download on the internet so that Christmas I finally got to find out that yes, they are just as good as the singles.