2000-2015 Favorite Records (In No Particular Order)

I recently made a list of my 20 favorite records released between the years 2000 and 2015. A music website/forum that i spend a lot of time on took a poll of some of the members to try to find the community’s favorite records from this time. Had to make a lot of hard cuts from the list, but i am really proud of what’s on it. Thought I would share my list with you guys to give you a little insight. Note that this list includes my favorite records, not what I deem to be the best records. Think about your own lists and enjoy!

(In No Particular Order)

Brand New – The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me – 2006

Blink 182 – Untitled – 2003

Brand New – Deja Entendu – 2003

Taking Back Sunday – Tell All Your Friends – 2002

Copeland – In Motion – 2005

The 1975 – The 1975 – 2013

Ben Folds – Rockin’ The Suburbs – 2001

Underoath – They’re Only Chasing Safety – 2004

Circa Survive – Blue Sky Noise – 2010

Death Cab For Cutie – Plans – 2005

Fall Out Boy – From Under The Cork Tree – 2005

Jack’s Mannequin – Everything In Transit – 2005

Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American – 2001

The Killers – Day & Age – 2008

La Dispute – Wildlife – 2011

Manchester Orchestra – Cope – 2014

MewithoutYou – Brother, Sister – 2006

New Found Glory – Sticks and Stones – 2002

Say Anything – …Is A Real Boy – 2004

Thrice – Vheissu – 2005

Sad Songs (In No Particular Order)

I feel like shit. I have pretty regularly felt like shit for close to a year. I have been having some pretty rough back and corresponding leg pain, coming with some pretty severe physical limitations. After countless different types of pills, exercises, doctors, and injections, I believe (hopefully) that I am now on what seems to be a pretty long road to recovery after having back surgery a few weeks back. The recovery process has been extremely painful, equal or close to the pre-op pain itself.

This is not a sob story about my pain and how much it sucks, and yes I am aware that a lot of people are dealing with physical ailments that make mine look like a scrape, but this has been a pretty hard thing for me and my wife to deal with. I am not asking for your sympathy, I just wanted to give you a bit of context for this post.

This post is about my favorite sad songs, the first installment in an ongoing series of posts of miscellaneous lists of my favorites that I like to call In No Particular Order.

I have always had a good life: raised in a middle-class family, loving parents, well-liked by peers and friends, no real heartbreak to speak of. I have definitely always been a happy person. Yet, I have always been drawn to and have a strong love of emo music. I suppose it has a lot to do with the energy and passion that is audibly poured into the writing. As much as I love it and can sing along to every word, as hard as I tried I could never quite relate to a lot of what these guys were singing.

Until now.

This period of my life has given me a great reason to delve back into some of my favorite records and just sit around being kinda bummed out, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

Ok, enough sap, let’s get to the list. Sidenote- I know that a lot of these songs may not be classically defined emo songs or emo bands, but they all stem from the original genre in some way. So don’t give me grief that my list isn’t all American Football, Sunny Day Real Estate, or Saves The Day.

(In no particular order)

I’ve Given Up On You – Real Friends

If I had ever gone through a nasty-breakup that ripped my heart out of my chest, this is exactly the type of song I’d want to hear; one dude singing with a single electric guitar with lyrics like “its been a lonely year,” “I write songs about you all the time, I bet I don’t run through your mind,” and my personal favorite “lately my dog is the only one around that listens to my problems.

What Sarah Said – Death Cab For Cutie

Sitting in a hospital waiting room is always a painful experience. It’s uncomfortable, it smells, and everyone is nervous. This song captures that emotion perfectly. The nervous pacing throughout the song leading up to the climax, “Love is watching someone die,” and the following refrain of “Who’s gonna watch you die?” will be sure to have you weeping like a little baby as you ponder the question.

Divorce And The American South – Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties

This record is a concept record about a guy, Aaron West, and the worst year of his life. The whole album is truly devastating, but at this point in the story the title character has taken the car that hasn’t been driven since his dad died and fled New York to get away from his life. He finds himself lost in the south and calling home. He winds up leaving a voicemail to his ex-wife apologizing and begging her forgiveness. The sadness really hits when Aaron recounts a dream that he was in a plane crash and she didn’t come to his funeral while accompanied by a crying trumpet section.

Picture Window – Ben Folds

Ben Folds is a professional at writing songs that will make you choke up: Fred Jones Pt 2, Bruised, and Still Fighting It just to name a few. Yet in some ways, this one takes the cake. Just listen to the chorus. “You know what hope is/Hope is a bastard/Hope is a liar/A cheat and a tease/Hope comes near you/Kick its backside/Got no place in days like these”

Let Me Go – All Get Out

A heartbreaking ballad about a family dealing with the father’s crippling alcoholism. The structure of the song is stunning, the imagery is tragic, it truly is one you just have to hear for yourself.

So there you have it. I don’t really cry very much (unless I’m watching The Lion King), but if I did these would be the songs I would cry to.

A Present From The Past (To An Addicting Future): My Journey Into Vinyl

I have always been a bit of skeptic at heart. Not to the point that I think we faked the moon landing, or that Stevie Wonder isn’t actually blind, but I always seem to question peoples thoughts and opinions. For years I mocked the fools who claimed that music sounded better on vinyl and scorned those who celebrated the monotonous process of buying and playing physical music. What could possibly be the appeal? Listening to music should not be a task; it should be convenient and relaxing.

For Christmas this past year, my wife gave me a three-part gift: an entry-level record player, my favorite record of all time, and my favorite record of the year. I had recently mentioned how I’d like to have a music collection to pass down to my children one day, not a flash drive or a Spotify login. I hesitated for a while because I knew that once I started I would not be able to stop, it’s just the way I am.

Boy, was I right.

Since that equal parts thoughtful and fateful Christmas gift 6 months ago, I have spent close to $400 on a new record player, amplifier, and speakers. I have expanded my record collection from 2 to 23 with a list of 92 ‘wants’. I waited in line for 4 hours on Record Store Day to purchase a few exclusive releases. Every time I go to a new city I immediately start looking for the cool record stores. I post new purchases to Instagram with the #nowspinning. I even spend time on Reddit, for goodness sake. (reddit.com/r/vinyl).

I have been thinking a lot about this transition and how it so rapidly turned into what it is. I have loved music so passionately for about as long as I can remember. I actually remember what sparked my love of music and got me away from just listening to whatever is on the radio and into the alternative music scene. My brother’s friend gave me a burned copy of Five Iron Frenzy’s live record Proof That The Youth Are Revolting. It was burned on a white cd with the title written in red sharpie. From there it was MxPx, Relient K, and every other Christian band that was trying to sound like blink-182. A few years later while driving me home one night said ‘Hey check out my friend’s band’, and put in Showbread’s No Sir, Nihilism is Not Practical. As New Found Glory would put it in a music video I remember watching for the first time in my friend’s attic, it was all downhill from here.

I listen to music, I talk about music, I write about music, people come to me for music suggestions, my job involves music; but I can’t play. I have tried countless times and countless instruments, and I just don’t have it. So as a person so passionate about music, I had no physical expression of it. Sure, I go to shows and my body has a physical reaction to music, but I had nothing physical to represent my love of music and to pour my passion into,.

Now I do, and I am loving it. I have so much fun just hanging out in a record store, casually flipping through the bins for something that catches my eye. There is nothing quite like the rush of stumbling upon an album that you love in a stack of LPs at a store. I love the feeling of sitting down with a record and looking over the album insert. I love delicately taking it out of its sleeve and setting it gently on the turntable. I love lifting the tonearm and setting the needle on the wax as it spins. I love flipping the record over midway through (or ¼ of the way through if it’s a 2X LP) for the second half. There is something so soothing about the whole process, something I never understood before.

I remember telling someone once “Saying music sounds better on vinyl is like saying movies look better on VHS.” I literally could not have been more wrong. It actually does just sound different. The sounds are more pure, more distinct. I have been listening to songs I’ve heard countless times and hearing things I’ve never heard before: guitar parts, harmonies, ambience. It really is inspiring to hear music like this, in its purest recorded form.

I never thought I would say this, but I guess the first step is admitting. Well, here it goes:

My name is Tim Sheehan, and I am a vinylholic.