Hey friends it’s that time again, time for another “list”. Feel free to offer up your big Laugh-Out-Louds and smirks for some “hits” I found appealing 10 years ago. A lot of stuff from that year was enjoyed by me, some I am rediscovering, and others were missed opportunities. Check out my “list” below and feel free to listen to the playlist I created on Spotify for this list found in the article. Remember kids, “some” of these releases may not have the best language so if you get queasy at the thought of dirty words from general market (do we still use the word ‘secular’?) bands, you may want to skip those parts. So check out my faves below and don’t forget to check out “The Best of 1997” list coming at ya soon!
The below listed albums is a rare glimpse into a year that yielded quite a bit of great music. Some you may enjoy and others will be cast aside. Feel free to critique my choices in the comments section below.
The Best of 2007: Favorite Hits From 10 Years Ago
Anberlin – Cities
You can’t mention 2007 and forget to drop the band name, ANBERLIN. This is the definitive 2007 release and one of my faves from this Florida based band. Nearly every song found on this album ranks as a “hit” in my book and there are hardly any filler songs (Except maybe ‘Godspeed’, don’t hate me). This Aaron Sprinkle produced gem is nothing short of extraordinary. As much as I love the complete Anberlin discography there is just something that keeps drawing me back to this one album over and over again. The melodies, the aggressive yet soothing guitars, the smooth bass, and pounding drums, it’s all just fantastic. The driving sound of this record is an awe inspiring take on mid-2000s glory. Listen to this record and you’ll understand why I chose this one as top of the list.
Relient K – 5 Score and Seven Years Ago
A witty collection of songs done only in the style that the band Relient K can deliver. As much as I dug “Mmhmm”, mostly for nostalgia reasons, this album really hit it out of the park for me. The band slowed things down slightly and embraced a well rounded, polished production style this time around. This was a highly commercial sound compared to prior efforts and something I instantly appreciated. It’s as if Matt T. and bandmates incorporated all the best elements of Beach Boys harmonics mixed with a little Weezer and Something Corporate to create a sound all their own. The band really amped things up by this 5th record in their discography and experimented a bit more than what they did in the past. Some people downplay the commercial aspect of bands in the music scene but sometimes those melodies are what really define a band, taking them to the next level. Songs like the single “Must Have Done Something Right”, “The Best Thing”, “Come Right Out and Say It”, and the theatrical 11 minute story of a song, “Deathbed”, are definitive Relient K songs. “Deathbed”, wow, I listen to this song today and I still get chills. I can’t think of another group of Christian guys coming from a punk rock past that created a song of this caliber. I love the story, the redemption of it all. A truly great closer. Another worthy “hit” of 2007.
Jimmy Eat World – Chase This Light
This band post-2000 became somewhat of a commercial rock success, creating one hit after another and with melodies you could sing for days. The one-two-three punch of “Bleed American” (2001), “Futures” (2004), and “Chase This Light” in 2007 rank as some of my all time favorite rock records. Sure, it’s commercial in sound and execution but who’s keeping count, right? These songs were all over radio 10 years ago. As much as “The Middle” became somewhat of a runaway one hit wonder success for the band during the past 16 years or so, we as fans know there are so many more “hits” in their catalog. The band has pushed forward for over 20 years with a diverse catalog of music and you may fight me for saying this but I prefer their more commercial sound over the somber emo classics of the past. As much as I enjoy “Lucky Denver Mint” and the other songs from “Clarity” or even their 1996 debut, it’s songs like the ones found on their 3 post-2000 records. My faves from “Chase This Light” are the singles “Always Be” and “Big Casino”, and then the songs “Carry You”, “Let it Happen”, and the title track “Chase This Light”. The band has experienced somewhat of a comeback in recent years with the releases of “Damage”(2013) and last year’s powerhouse, “Integrity Blues”. Jimmy Eat World should be the biggest rock act of the new millennium so the next time you flip on the radio or turn your digital streaming devices on, remember to check out the sounds of Jimmy Eat World.
Thrice – The Alchemy Index I & II: Fire & Water
After the experimental sounds of “Vehissu” in 2005 the band further embarked down a path of experimentation and pure wonder, leaving most of their more punk/emo sounds of albums like “Identity Crisis”, “Illusion of Safety”, “Artist in the Ambulance” cemented as tombstones of a past life. Some fans hated them for departing the early sound they had became well known for but many fans, (some of which were discovering them for the first time), fully embraced this turn of direction. Me being a fan since the beginning, really grew into enjoying this post-hardcore direction the band took. It’s like we were all growing with the band through these changes and letting the tides of time sweep us into a whole new world of influence. “The Alchemy Index” project of 4 separate eps, the first 2 of which released in year 2007 through Vagrant Records, was a powerful set of songs. Fire & Water were a back and forth pull of power and melodies. The aggression found on “Fire” was complemented with the more somber take of “Water”. Beauty mixed with Danger, walking the edge of a dagger while balancing over a sea of clouds, that’s how I see it. Thrice were smart for mixing it up the way they did with these 4 Eps being perfectly arranged the way they were. Thrice created a highly memorable listening experience that you had to enjoy all at once, in a single take. Some of my faves here are “Firebreather”, “The Arsonist”, “Burn the Fleet”, “Digital Sea”, “Open Water”, and “The Whaler”. Listening to this now, I can totally see the sounds of “Vehissu” shine through and this a rightful continuation of those sounds. The production is flawless and shows a band at their prime creating music to be enjoyed for generations. I didn’t enjoy “Beggars” or “Major/Minor” quite as much BUT the new one “TBEITBN” (2016) is the most powerful comeback release of our generation.
Demon Hunter – Storm The Gates of Hell
Demon Hunter carefully balances between the fire pit of aggression and the heavenly melodies of their more radio friendly hits for a sound only they can make. At what first seemed like a gimmick (not my words but some imply that) has grown into this incredible heavy metal band that has withstood time and industry changes, continuing to build upon the legacy they’ve created. Ryan Clark’s vocals are definitive and truly captivate listeners with his menacing growl mixed with an equal dose of melody. As much as people toss the words Slipknot, HIM, Disturbed, and any other metal band people “think” they’ve been influenced by, it’s without a doubt that they have a sound all their own. “Storm The Gates of Hell” found the band exploring their heavy metal roots and aggression while still clinging to those inescapable melodies. “Sixteen” is a perfect example of heavy vs. melodic. Songs like the afformentioned track along with “Lead Us Home”, “Carry Me Down”, “Fading Away”, “A Thread of Light”, and “I Am You” rank as some of my faves from this record.
Coheed and Cambria – No World For Tomorrow
This band is just weird but a good kind of weird. There is not a single other vocalist in the underground music scene with a voice like Claudio, that hits the higher register of melodies while still grasping aggression. His voice hits all those high notes and aggressive snarls with the most well executed placement of guitars that I can’t help but feel captivated. Their 4 records starting with one of my faves “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” all the way up until “Year of the Black Rainbow”, are my favorites in their catalog. I enjoyed their last 4 records and gladly embraced the band’s non-theatrical/episode focused 2015 album “The Color Before the Sun” which I believe was a rightful comeback by an standard (even though the band never went anywhere, just my personal preference). Sure, we have the band Rush who has a similar vocalist in Geddy Lee but these two bands exist in totally different music scenes and sound. People always lump Claudio and band into that same prog-rock category and it gets frustrating because Coheed has always come from a post-hardcore/punk and emo background than what their more progressive contemporaries continue to play. “No World For Tomorrow” is a great 4th record and even though I sometimes skip over some songs, others really carry this album into something very respectable. The title track “No World For Tomorrow”, “Feathers”, “The Running Free”, “Mother Superior”, and “The Hound (Of Blood and Rank)” rank as my favorites.
Fall Out Boy – Infinity on High
Holy crap, this band created a whole genre of pop-punk all on their own. Mixing in hardcore (without the yelling), pop-punk, and commercial melodies. While we had Green Day, Offspring, Unwritten Law, Blink-182, Sum 41, Rancid, etc. from the 90’s till early part of 00’s, this band took it to the next level. Countless bands have come along in the past decade and a half embracing the FOB sound and I’m not going to name names but I’m a sucker for it so I don’t mind :) FOB were not afraid to embrace their punk roots while leaning in on commercial success and with a big radio embrace. The band even mixed things up on this release while incorporating things like piano, strings, horns, hip hop, and letting Patrick’s unmistakable voice do it’s thing. What the band created from “Take This To Your Grave” through “From Under the Cork Tree”, “Infinity on High”, and “Folie a Deux” is pure new millennium nostalgic bliss. We just wont talk about what the band is doing these days, although my kids do enjoy their more recent videos and “Big Hero 6” song placement. Some of my faves from this record are “Thriller”, “The Take Over The Breaks Over”, “I’m Like a Lawyer With The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You), “Hum Hallelujah”, “Thnks fr th Mmrs”, “The Carpal Tunnel of Love”, and “Golden”. The first single “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s An Arms Race” is alright although I always leaned on the other tracks more (probably for the certain ‘God D*&mned’ part that I didn’t like singing along with).
MxPx – Secret Weapon
This is a band who has consistently produced albums that spark interest from fans and get people singing along since their start in 1994 on CD (Pokinatcha). This release is further proof of the band’s staying power and legacy. After jumping labels several times in their past they came back to Tooth & Nail in a surprising turn of events in 2006 with the re-release of “Let it Happen” by recording 3 brand new songs with Aaron Sprinkle, songs that blew everyone away. Polished, commercial, and still waving the MxPx banner proudly. With the “Secret Weapon” album the band found their own comfortable niche and it suited them well. This 16 track album doesn’t have a single filler track unlike so many other bands from this time period. I’d been fan of this band dating back to 1994 and saw them so many times from their first tours down to Orange County, CA. all the way through the “Life In General” tour cycle. Seeing them in 2015 at the “Left Coast Live” show stop inspired a huge flood of nostalgia for me and it was clearly evident to everyone in the crowd that time certainly can’t slow these gentlemen down. They’ve gotten more refined and dare I say “Better” with the passing of years. As much as I loved “Panic” in 2005 (Side One Dummy Records) there was just something special about “Secret Weapon” that put the band in a whole new league of their own. With “Plans Within Plans” released in 2012 and countless shows in between, the band certainly hasn’t slowed down with live show offerings although their recorded music could use some “new” lovin’ ;) Songs like the title track, “Angels”, “Top of The Charts”, “Punk Rawk Celebrity”, “Here’s To The Life”, “You’re On Fire” and “Biting the Bullet (is bad for business)” this album is anything but boring or lacking in quality content. This is a band that should always be at the “Top of The Charts”, at least in our hearts and minds. Here’s to the future!
Yellowcard – Paper Walls
I’m sorry but after “Lights & Sounds” I was eagerly anticipating this album. I revisit the band’s 2006 release “Lights & Sounds” which a lot of people hated (including myself) and it’s not all that bad. I think that prior release suffered from weird production. Anyway, this new release “Paper Walls” which came out in 2007 finds the band at the height of their influence and is a highly memorable album with one hit after another. While the scene was flooded with EMO (whatever people called that whole list of bands riding airwaves post 2003 with sing/scream delivery), there was still a rightful place for Yellowcard. After the release of this album the band took a short break and switched labels/band members before coming back strong with “When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes” in 2011. Yellowcard who sadly called it quits this year will long be remembered for their catchy choruses, violin playing pop-punk and thick bass lines. No other pop-punk band will ever feature a violin and captivate audiences the way these guys have. Can you imagine the looks on people’s faces when this band took the stage playing fast paced commercial sounding pop-punk with a violin player hitting those strings? Somehow this band overcame negative feelings from punk rockers and became fully embraced by the scene at large to become a beloved act worthy of praise. I’ll forever miss these guys and it’s a shame I missed out on their final shows :( Songs like “Light Up the Sky”, “Shrink the World”, “Cut Me, Mick”, “Fighting”, “Five Becomes One”, and the ballad “Shadows and Regrets”, are all powerful tracks and some of my faves from this album.
Life In Your Way – Waking Giants
There hasn’t been another melodic hardcore band since maybe Strongarm that has had this much power, grace, and explosive aggression. When this Life In Your Way album released I was without a doubt BLOWN AWAY. Listening to these tracks now it’s clearly evident why this band meant so much to so many people. Strongarm were heading in this direction on “Advent of a Miracle” but didn’t quite achieve it due to the production restraints of that time period. It’s a surprise to me why this band didn’t blow up HUGE in 2007 following this “Waking Giants” album. The band broke up shortly after the release but came back strong with the triple ep release of “Kingdoms” in 2011. I’ve heard this band is working on new material and only time will tell if it gets released. They deserve heaps of praise and every positive word coming their way. This album had flawless production. Perfectly placed melodies and singing parts, aggressive screams with a great tone, and perfect balance of melodic guitars, heavy bass, and fast paced drum section. “Salty Grave” is the perfect “worship” worthy spirit-filled hardcore song done on a grand scale that any band of the 90’s would have salivated over had they heard it back then. Songs like “Reach The End”, “We Don’t Believe”, and “Making Waves” are some of my faves from this record. I love this band, their message, and the hope inspired lyrical delivery.
20 Honorable Mentions:
One Republic – Dreaming Out Loud
Foo Fighters – Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
Paramore – Riot!
Maylene & The Sons of Disaster – II
Sum 41 – Underclass Hero
Blaqk Audio – CexCells
Angels & Airwaves – I-Empire
New Found Glory – From The Screen To Your Stereo II
The Almost – Southern Weather
Funeral For A Friend – Tales Don’t Tell Themselves
Mae – Singularity
Amber Pacific – Truth In Sincerity
Spoken – Spoken
Emery – I’m Only A Man
Haste the Day – Pressure the Hinges
The Used – Lies For Liars
Armor For Sleep – Smile For Them
Chuck Ragan – Feast Or Famine
Sleeping Giant – Dread Champions of the Last Days
The Ataris – Welcome The Night