Malcolm’s Top Ten

Malcolms Top Ten

Photo by Stampede

Malcolm Contreras, Staff Writer

  1. Life’s Not Out to Get You

Neck Deep

Life’s Not Out To Get You by Neck Deep, released in 2013, is a quintessential pop punk album, especially for the modern era of pop punk. Unless you have extreme music views, it’s hard  not to like at least one song on the album, even if you’re not a fan of the genre. “December,” the ninth track on the album, is one of Neck Deep’s most popular songs;  even my mom loves it (minus the slight usage of swear words).December” tells of a young person going through a break up and finally being able to turn the corner and realise that what they want isn’t best for their ex-significant other.  

The whole album is packed with great jams that you’ll want to headbang to until your neck hurts. When listening to the opening track, “Citizens of Earth” it’s hard to not feel like wanting to overthrow the universe with your buds. “Threat Level Midnight”,the second track, owes its title to the U.S. version of The Office and feeds off of the energy of the opening track but changes the lyrical tone from an anti-trust of government, to dealing with loneliness. This album’s artwork ties the whole album together, adding a very child-like, rebellious vibe to the already existing teenage angst. The album start to finish is strong lyrically and musically with songs ranging from break up tunes to “hey man let’s take over the world together”.


Notable Tracks: Serpents, Rock Bottom, Smooth Seas Don’t Make Good Sailors


  1. Far

Regina Spektor

          Regina Spektor is without a doubt one of the most playful artists in pop music and it shows on her 2009 album, Far. The album features many quirky traits that Spektor presents, including some odd impromptu dolphin noises. However, some of the songs on here take a more sad turn. Songs like Eet” and “Blue Lips” show that Spektor can be serious too. A lot of the album is led by Spektor’s voice and some piano keys and backgrounded with drums and cutesy little rhythm is a track that will get stuck in your head and rightfully so. It has a staccatoed piano rhythm with the vocals following with it. The album is very easy listening and most people will find it hard to not like a single track on this album.


Notable tracks: Blue Lips, Dance Anthem of the ‘80s, One More Time With Feeling.  


  1. Forced Witness

Alex Cameron

Saxophone hit a peak when it was featured on Alex Cameron’s Forced Witness. The album is a throwback to mid-80s pop rock and makes observations on relationships Cameron has dealt with, especially in the modern world with the use of social media and the Internet. “Candy May” tells of a break up and features Cameron reminiscing about it in a very confident and vulnerable way,guided by ‘80s synth and fantastic drum fills. The whole album is without a doubt worth a listen and you might even find yourself singing to these songs on late night drives.


Notable tracks : The Chihuahua, Candy May, Running Out of Luck


  1. Sluff

Naked Giants

Naked Giants spawned in Seattle Washington in the mid 2010s. Their sound is very reminiscent of ‘90s grunge and makes you want to kick back and drink a surge with the homies. The first track, “Dead Or Alien” leads in with a heavily distorted riff slowly building up and setting the tone for the whole album. Other tracks like “Slow Dance II have beautiful lead guitar with swing rhythms that push the album forward. Songs like “Everybody Thinks They Know But Nobody Really Knows” provide an anthem that, even at the live shows, really get the audience pumped. Naked Giants created an album that is feel-good in nature and rebellious in sound.


Notable Tracks: We’re Alone, TV, Slow Dance II.

  1. Tapestry

Carole King

Carole King is without a doubt one of the most influential musicians of the late 20th century. She wrote so many hit songs you don’t know she wrote. She does not sell herself short in the slightest with her album Tapestry. Tapestry is everything anyone could love about King. It has sad tunes and some incredibly uplifting tunes and even a tune or two to slow dance to. “So Far Away is my favorite track on the album and probably one of the best songs ever. If you are a fan of anything with an Elton John, 70’s/60’s feel, this is an essential album to own and listen to.


Notable Tracks: So Far Away, It’s Too Late, Beautiful


  1. Disgusting


Although metal may not be for everyone’s cup of tea, this album is without a doubt one of the greatest metal albums of all time. This is a project from ex Attack Attack frontman, Caleb Shomo. Shomo illustrates all his mental illness issues and his frustration with life through this album, and beautifully so. “In Between(the lead single from the album) is one of the more melodic songs on the album and although it has some cheesy lyrics, it feels great to jam out to and provides a strict anthem for the album to build off of. This album gains it’s attitude with its rough vocals, raw guitar tones, and deep bass tones. It is all rounded out together with tough subject matter like substance abuse, domestic violence, and depression but later contrasting with songs like “Keep Your American Dream”.  


Notable Tracks: In Between, Keep Your American Dream, Sick and Disgusting.


  1. Twin Fantasy

Car Seat Headrest

Though long in runtime, it’s worth the listen. Originally released in 2011 on bandcamp, frontman Will Toledo has since re-mastered and re-released it under Matador records in 2018. The first track on this album starts off quiet with an echoing kick drum to pace the album. Going through the album, it’s hard not to like every single song. “Bodys” is the main single and provides a pop anthem for the album to lean on. The themes in this song are eventually brought full circle on the last track. There are many themes throughout the album that are all brought back either lyrically or melodically and brilliantly too. The start of the “The ocean washed over your grave, the ocean washed open your grave” originates in “Beach Life-in-Death” and circles back to the track “Famous Prophets”. This whole album is an indie rock masterpiece and is a brilliant storytelling device of youth.


Notable Tracks: Beach Life-In-Death, Bodys, Famous Prophets.


  1. Revolver

The Beatles

          Even if you’re not a fan of the Beatles, you’re bound to have heard a song off of this album. Regarded among many as the Beatles finest work, Revolver lives up to its hype and provides a snapshot into the band, showing its maturity within musical themes and lyrics.Yellow Submarine” and “Eleanor Rigby” tell stories that stick with you for a long time and songs like “Taxman” and “Here There and Everywhere” will leave you with the melodies that the tracks provide. On this album there’s also some awesome sitar solos with vocals like on “Love You To” and “Tomorrow Never Knows”.  This album is one of the greatest albums of all time and is a definite shining point for the Beatles.


Notable Tracks: Eleanor Rigby, She said She Said, Got To Get You Into My Life


  1. Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust

David Bowie

Ziggy Stardust has a special place in my heart and will always hold that place. Released in ‘72, this album helped propel the Ziggy Stardust character and added a narrative to it. A lot of the tracks on this album are fun to play on blast and drive around town during the summer and feel like a rebel during the 70’s, wearing leather jackets and protesting vietnam. Starman is a fantastic track, talking of Ziggy and him wanting to come down to earth but knowing he can’t. The song starts with acoustic guitar and eventually introduces very straight drums that all build up into the chorus, summing the whole album together and the character of Ziggy Stardust.


Notable Tracks: Moonage Daydream, Ziggy Stardust, Rock’N’Roll Suicide.


  1. The Antlers

Hospice focuses on the theme of death and illness through most of the album, alluding to an emotionally abusive/unhealthy relationship. The story painted with the album is a Hospice worker who falls in love with one of his patients. This album is probably one of the first (and only) album to make me tear up. “Kettering” is the second track of the album starts with some rough synth eventually building up to a large break through and tells about this hospice worker and his doubt that he will be able to save his patient from the state she is in and if you’ve ever had anyone in hospice, it hits home. “Bear” alludes to his girlfriend being pregnant and them both being worried about what will happen to the child. “Epilogue”, by far one of the most impactful tracks on the album, talks about how he wish he would have passed with her and how in a way, he mentally was buried with her body. This album is one of the best albums in history and deserves every person’s ear.


Notable Tracks: Kettering, Bear, Two, Epilogue.