40 - Shot Baker - Take Control
equal parts pop-punk and hardcore, but fully awesome. i'm not really sure who to compare these guys to, and if their songs were any longer i'd prolly get bored real fast, but it works superbly the way it is.
39 - Gaslight Anthem - The 59 Sound
well, the hype machine surrounding these guys is unstoppable, and while i liked "Sink Or Swim", i never really got what the big deal was. this was #1 of 08 for lots of people, i don't think that it even deserves top 30 (obviously), and i think they ride the "working class punks" thing a bit too hard. but shit, you can't deny how soulful and epic a couple of these songs are. hell, "Great Expectations" still gives me chills, but my god, the production is awful, made worse because they were TRYING to make it sound like this!
38 - 3OH!3 - Want
yea, i know, there's nothin even remotely serious about these guys or this album. and therein lies the beauty. mindless hip-hop with a strangely pop-punk feel to it all. the best (non-rock/punk) party album of the year. and fuck it, some of the one-liners here are absoluetly hilarious.
37 - Dance Gavin Dance - Dance Gavin Dance
well, this came outta nowhere. at first this sounds chaotic to say the least, but there's a lot goin on after a few listens. incredibly catchy for something so heavy and unrelenting, the guest appearences are top notch too. one of the best heavy albums of 2008. oh, and one of my favorite album covers of the year as well.
36 - Story of The Year - The Black Swan
i wasn't expecting to like this at all, i had no expectations for it being anything more than generic screamo. needless to say, i was shocked by how solid it is, more metal than anything at this point, but with fantastic melodic vocals and lyrics that finally actually have something to say. possibly the biggest surprise of 08.
35 - Millencolin - Machine 15
not as good as "Kingwood", and this was a real grower, but solid all around and there's a few simply great songs scattered around it. even *gasp* a couple that could still pass for skatepunk.
34 - Army of Freshmen - Above the Atmosphere
these guys are getting to be prolific with their frequency of releases. not quite as good as last year's "Under the radar", but who cares, synth-pop-punk really just doesn't get much more fun or good as this. FareWell is the only band that's close right now, and unfairly, i don't think AoF will ever be as popular... that's really a shame, as these guys could (and should) be huge. one of the most fun albums of 2008.
33 - HiFi Hand Grenades - Carry On
another straight up punk band who are that much better for not tryin to be anything more. fast, fun music with pretty good lyrics. overall just something great to cheer you up when you're not having a good day.
32 - The Uprising - Appetite For Deception
holy fuckin shit! i didn't know that skatepunk bands could still kick you in the musical balls as hard as these guys. when i first heard this album, i was obsessed. and even though they play my all time favorite kind of music perfectly, i wish they toned down the anger a little bit here and there and just had some fun. with a little levity, this coulda been top 10.
31 - Mike TV - Mike TV
i don't know why they changed their name (then again, pickled Dick didn't exactly scream "serious band!!!"), but who cares. this is still Lookout! era pop-punk with a great modern spin. of all the albums here that i say are fun, this one is fun in the most unique and silly-yet-somehow-serious way. nothing else releases in 08 can make me sing along (and love it) as much as this.
30 - Valencia - We All Need A Reason To Believe
another one that didn't do anything for me at first. i was really excited for this and it was a huge letdown at first. there's a certain underlying melody to the whole thing though, and slowly but surely the songs revealed themselves. i like it more and more on each listen, just wish i had a bit more energy.
29 - Academy Is... - Fast Times At Barrington High
yea yea, "The Academy Is... fuckin suck", "you're an idiot, Justin", "you must be deaf", etc etc etc. say whatever you want, none of it will change the fact that The Academy Is... made one of the summer albums of 2008 and took a HUGE step back towards making good music after the shitfest that was "Santi".
28 - Kevin Seconds - Rise Up, Insomniacs!
feels like i've been waiting forever for this, and it was well worth it. i was thrown off by the twangy nature of the album at first, but it's lyrically brilliant and really speaks to me. the perfect album for a certain kind of mood.
27 - Kid Down - I Want My Girlfriend Rich
how the shit is Sweden so goddamn good at churning out punk bands? this is seriously the best thing out of Sweden since Millencolin's "Pennybridge Pioneers". such a shame that almost no one in the US will ever hear this.
26 - Anberlin - New Surrender
i feel like i was the only one disappointed by "Cities". don't get me wrong, it was a damn good album, but i just expected so much more from Anberlin. this is a great step back in the right direction, and just as epic, but there's still just something missing here. the something that made "Blueprints..." such a fuckin masterpiece. i hope they can get it back.
25 - The Artist Life - Living
ex-Jersey (the band, not the state) members rock the fuck out on 10 tracks of scream-along straight up punk. if this doesn't put a smile on your face, you're an idiot.
24 - H2O - Nothing To Prove
the first of the "comeback albums" of 2008 appears on my list. a classic in it's own right, and it really makes me feel like i'm back in freshman year of college listening to "Faster Then The World" again. but, even with that being it's greatest stregnth, it also works against the album and they seem to have forgotten completely about some of the better parts of their musical evolution on more recent albums.
23 - Love You Moon - Waxwane
in my head, there were three "big" acoustic solo releases in 2008: this, Kevin Seconds and Joey Cape. i expected the least from this, and goddamn was i wrong. Matt Embree (of the RX Bandits) comes DAMN close to livin up to the potential of his main band. and considering how much i love the Bandits, that's really sayin something. GREAT acoustic rock/punk.
22 - The Briggs - Come All You Madmen
if this was as strong as it's best songs all the way through it'd be one of the best records of the decade. a few strange choices here and there, but mostly really solid street punk that makes you wanna put your fists in the air. the shout-along choruses and all the clapping certainly helps too.
21 - A Skylit Drive - Wires And The Concept Of Breathing
if this were 2003, we'd have called this Screamo and everyone woulda creamed their pants over it. since it's 2008, this is Post-Hardcore, and "only scene kids like it". well, get me a pastel shirt with Back To The Future lettering and a TDWP tattoo, cause this shit is fuckin epic. i feel like it should be higher, but i don't know where i could wedge it in...
20 - The Steal - Bright Grey
i don't think i've ever loved a band that was as incredibly derivative of another band (that i also love) as much i fuckin heart The Steal (who prolly wear Kid Dynamite's underpants, they wanna be them so bad). but it's all well and good in this case, cause it doesn't just work, it rocks the fuck out in every possible way. shit, i can't belive i'm gonna say this, but a few of these songs are BETTER than some KD stuff.
19 - TieFighter - I Could Tell The World
you know what i don't like? generic hardcore. good thing, in that case, that this couldn't possibly be less generic. this album will kick the shit out of your ears and you'll just drag yourself back up and beg for it all over again. hardcore album of the year.
18 - No Use For A Name - The Feel Good Record Of The Year
another one that everyone calls a comeback album. except that "Keep Them Confused" was damn good. still, there's no question that this is even better, and proof that melodic skatepunk is still a force to be reckoned with. a true classic that prolly woulda been much higher on my list if it had come out at a different point in the year, shame that this reminds me of a bad time in my life, though it must be said that it was a huge help in getting me through.
17 - One Light Out - Harder. Faster. That's What She Said
best new skatepunk band i've heard since High Five Drive. unrelentingly fast, refreshingly technical and absolutley addictive. the lyrics might not be all that creative, but they sure are funny (if a tad immature), and shit, how could skatepunk songs like "She Almost Turned You Emo" possibly be bad? sure, it's not original, but they're goddamn good at what they do.
16 - Bayside - Shudder
well, it was bound to happen eventually. i could only hate on Bayside for no reason for so long, and this is the album that finally broke me. i'm really not sure how an album that's so dark and depressing on the surface can make me smile so much when i listen to it, but that's just part of what makes it so good.
15 - Senses Fail - Life Is Not A Waiting Room
i really can't express how much i wanted to hate this. i'm not even sure what made me give it a chance, honestly. but holy shit, as hard as i tried, it was inevitable that i was gonna love this. while every other screamo band is busy tryin to pretend they were always a "true punk (or metal, or hardcore, or pop or whatthefuckever) band deep down", these guys come out with their strongest offering yet while stayin true to what they are. another classic from Jersey in 2008.
14 - Every Avenue - Shh. Just Go With It
well goddamn, if pop-punk could hurt you by being catchy, this album would kill you over and over before the last track ended. call it lame, call it generic, call it whatever the fuck you'd like. you're missing out on 36 minutes of pure joy. (note: some sources say this was released in Dec 07, some say Feb 08... fuck it, it's on my 08 list).
13 - Everybody Out! - Everybody Out!
i don't like the Dropkick Murphy's, i feel like i'm supposed to, but i just don't. people say this sounds like the Murphy's... somehow i doubt that, as this is incredible balls-to-the-wall punk that i just fuckin love. their potential is completely unlimited.
12 - Less Than Jake - GNV FLA
most people would call this a comeback album. i, however, happened to love "In With the Out Crowd" and "Anthem", so hey, what do i know. still, this is easily their best album since "Hello Rockview" and an absolute ska-punk classic. my secondary soundtrack to the summer of 2008; only Crash Romeo got more listens in June/July/August.
11 - Dillinger Four - C I V I L W A R
we waited six years for this... and, well, it was ALMOST worth it. i didn't like it much when i first heard it, but it proved to be a hell of a grower. still, i think i just expected more somehow. which isn't to say this isn't a classic, cause it truly is. "C I V I L W A R" is a 9 for sure... i just thought the current Kings Of Punk woulda made an album that was truly a 10...
10 - Hit The Lights - Skip School, Start FIghts
this might have been the best album of the year if only it wasn't so lyrically mindless. still, the single most smile-inducing record i've heard in a long time and the ultimate "jam out in your car and scream along with the windows down" shit i've had the pleasure of listening to this year.
9 - Shorebirds - It's Gonna Get Ugly
when Latterman broke up last year, i was really fuckin sad. no one will ever do what they did, at least not in quite the same way. this, however, is close enough. not exactly the same style as the almighty Latterman, but damn close, and they sure know how to rock the fuck out anyway. gruff-as-sandpaper-pop-punk here, and overall, just a fantastic debut.
8 - Pennywise - Reason To Believe
there are returns-to-form, there are comebacks, and then there's this. i didn't think PW had anything even remotely close to as good as this left in their system. when i first heard this back in May, i honestly (and literally) didn't believe it was new, i figured it had to be written around the same time as "Straight Ahead". this is the second best album they've ever made, and an instant punk classic.
7 - The Years Gone By - Forever Comes Too Soon
apparently there's something in the water in Jersey, as a few of the best pop-punk albums of the year came from everyone's least favorite state (of course, most people are morons). i hadn't fallen in love with a pop-punk album as hard as i did with this since "Take This To Your Grave". if it was just slightly more imaginative, it coulda gone top 3. still, absolute perfection for what it is.
6 - The Riot Before - Fists Buried In Pockets
hey look, it's another band with an Against Me! influence that AM! themselves WISH they could be a fraction as good as. i'd call this the folk-punk album of the year, but they transcend folk-punk. incredible lyrical performance here; like they based it on my life. plus, they tied with the Crosstown Rivalry's "Greetings From The Garden State/You Wish You Were Here" for the best intro song since Bombs Over Providence's masterpiece "The Grand Preamble".
5 - Banner Pilot - Resignation Day
one of two bands who managed to out-Dillinger-Four Dillinger Four... this one has a twist of Larry Arms thrown in for good measure. i don't think i heard a single album all year as catchy as this fucker, yet it's as angry as it is fun. i have extremely high hopes for these guys. who knew songs about getting shitfaced and wanting to die could be so much fun?
4 - Zebrahead - Phoenix
yea, it sounds the same as "Broadcast to the World", which sounded like "MFZB"... and you know what? if it didn't, i'd be fuckin pissed. no one is better at what they do than these guys, and this easily goes down as the most energetic album since... well, since the last Zebrahead effort. plus, only Crash Romeo delived better "i fuckin hate bitches" songs this year.
3 - Off With Their Heads - From The Bottom
the (ever-so-slightly) better of two bands who managed to out-Dillinger-Four Dillinger Four this year. gruff, angry, fast, ugly and fun as hell. being a miserable cunt is rarely this much fun. the best pure punk album of 2008
2 - Atmosphere - When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold
this prolly shoulda been number one, but it's just a tad too gloomy. course, it's still a fuckin masterpiece in every sense. easily their best album ever, which is really saying something. also, this is the best lyrical album of 2008 in any genre, hands down. if all hip-hop was this good... well, there'd be a hell of a lot more of it on my list.
1 - Crash Romeo - Gave Me The Clap
music this great can only come from North Jersey... it's been at least four years since i've heard a pop-punk album this perfect. no bullshit ballads, no gimmicks, no whining. just some of the most heartfelt, upbeat songs ever. i dare you to listen to "Lady Luck" without smiling. driving guitars, unique drums, clever wordplay; there's something for everyone here.
"and when we're drivin in my car tonight, we'll scream this anthem out..."