10. Blink-182 “Dude Ranch” (MCA, 1997)
Featured track: Waggy
Warped Tour ’97. I bought Dude Ranch from Mark Hoppus at Blink’s merch table. Two months later they were a household name. Dude Ranch had its own unique sound which made them stand out in a huge, crowded pop punk movement.
9. The Get Up Kids “Something To Write Home About” (Vagrant, 1999)
Featured track: Close To Home
September of 1999, teased by the Red Letter Day EP, Something To Write Home About was released. With all of the anticipation, I made a midnight Cheapo run to pick it up on the eve of its release. Unlike most albums or movies that I tend to over-anticipate, this one didn’t disappoint.
8. The Queers “Move Back Home” (Lookout!, 1995)
Featured track: Definitely
Out of the hundreds of bands who did the Ramones-y pop punk thing, The Queers are my favorite. And Move Back Home is my favorite record from that genre. Joe Queer’s melodies are perfect, the harmonies are sugary sweet, and the production is raw and tinny.
7. The Exit “New Beat” (Some, 2002)
Featured track: Scream and Shout
While I’ll say that Idlewild is the most underrated band of all time, New Beat by The Exit is the most underrated album of all time. This full length is flawless and it garnered zero attention. How does this happen?
6. The National “High Violet” (4AD, 2010)
Featured track: England
The attention to detail on High Violet is fascinating. The musicianship and arrangements are so complex yet The National makes it sound so easy. This album is dark and brooding and perfectly executed. “England” is probably my favorite song in the last decade or so.
5. Rancid “…And Out Come The Wolves” (Epitaph, 1995)
Featured track: Ruby Soho
What a classic. And Out Come The Wolves has to be considered as one of the best punk records of all time, not just by my standards. Though this album enjoyed mainstream success, the rawness and energy is there. Timeless, timeless, timeless.
4. Jimmy Eat World “Clarity” (Capitol, 1999)
Featured track: For Me This Is Heaven
I heard Jimmy Eat World’s debut Static Prevails from a friend of mine and had to own it. The next day, I went to the record store but they were out. They did, however, have a new JEW record that happened to come out that week. It was called Clarity. I took a chance figuring it just had to be good…
3. Alkaline Trio “Goddamnit” (Asian Man, 1998)
Featured track: San Francisco
The debut of Alkaline Trio has a cult following for good reason. There is tons of energy, it’s raw, and while it had its influences, it was different and darker than any pop punk record out at the time. The Trio was one of those bands who started their own sub-genre where hundreds of bands would follow. Alk3 played into the punk and emo scene beautifully, not fully committing to either genre, but drawing a devout fanbase from both places.
2. The Weakerthans “Left and Leaving” (G7 Welcoming Committee, 2000)
Featured track: Left and Leaving
Perfect production. Perfect lyrics. Perfect musicianship. 12 great songs sequenced perfectly. Left and Leaving really is perfection.
1. Green Day “Dookie” (Reprise, 1994)
Featured track: When I Come Around
How can this not be my #1? It’s the album that made me pick up a guitar. It was the album that was my gateway drug to everything I have listened to since and listen to today. I remember seeing the video for “Longview” in 1994 when Dookie came out and being hooked. The rest is my history.