Mike’s Top 20 Favourite 10th Anniversary Albums From 2004

Posted: August 1, 2014 in Music

2004 was a pretty great year for music, especially for emo kids all over the world. The albums which came out that year made it seem like it was ok to feel sad, they made it feel like it was normal to lose friends to stupid things and be sad about it. 2004 wasn’t just about the emo genre however, and it’s surprising how they stuck out over all the other sad music which was coming out. I was 14 in high school and thought my friends hated me so I guess it was perfect for me at the time.  In the end, 2004 was the breakthrough year for the emo genre which eventually made emo “scene”. It hit the mainstream and emos all around were scaring the elderly with their black hair and black clothes and huge amounts of mascara around their eyelids. Even bands like Green Day were hit with the emo and started to wear mascara ( I’m surprised I never wanted to wear mascara). Anywho the next 10 out of 20 albums are about being emo so embrace yourself for the sad.

1.       Death From Above 1979 – You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine

I don’t know how anyone can possibly hate this album. I actually don’t know anyone who hates this album. You either know Death From Above 1979 or you don’t and I know for a fact that the people who love these guys would agree that this is one hell of an album. The fact that it’s a two man band and they have such a full sound is incredible. Plus that instrument that sounds a bit like a guitar? That’s actually a bass. Jesse F. Keeler is just a god on the bass to make it sound that amazing plus Sebastien Grainger adds to it with his drum beats. I remember hearing the song Little Girl and I loved the song so much but I never got around to checking out the whole album. A few years later my buddy Peter kept on pushing me to check out the full album since he loved it so much. The minute I heard the rest of the album I just completely loved it. Every single song is great and it’s hard to pick and choose which song is the best song. If you’re into that dance-funk-punk kind of sound then it’s not too late to finally listen to this album 10 years later. It’s never too late to get into older music; it’ll always be there and it’s just up to you to realize that it’s amazing.

2.       The Killers – Hot Fuss

Anyone who was 13 or 14 when this album came out will agree that it’s one of the best albums of 2004. Among all the other “emo” bands that were coming out in 2004 these guys stuck out the most in the Alt Rock scene. I remember hearing Mr. Brightside and wanting to hear more from them. I’m pretty sure I heard about them back when Much Music still played music videos and they kept on showing music video after music video of all the new Killers songs. The music video I remember liking the most, and I still love it to this day, is All These Things That I’ve Done. Let alone just the song is great. I don’t think I dislike one song off the album and that means they succeeded.

3.       Alexisonfire – Watch Out!

Just this band alone is amazing. Someone just has to say the word Alexisonfire and I’m there in a heartbeat. I remember seeing the music video on Much Music for Counter Parts and Number them from their self titled album and just wondering what the hell was going on. Back then I would call it screamo since I didn’t know any better for what call it: Post-Hardcore. I didn’t even know anything about Hardcore either so the post part about the hardcore confused me a bit. Besides that fact, this whole album is just an incredible album. Every single time I listen to it it’s like the first time that I’ve listened to it. Dallas’ voice, George’s screams, Ratbeard’s bass lines, Dallas’ and Wade’s guitar melodies and Jesse’s drum beats make every single song as a whole completely amazing. There is always something new in a song whenever I listen to it that I didn’t notice the last time I listened to it. Just the opening track is perfect for the first song on an album. I could go on for days describing this album so I will leave it at that. Go on, listen to it, embrace it and try to love it as much as I do.

4.       Atreyu – The Curse

These guys are one of the first bands that got me into the “screamo” genre alongside Alexisonfire. I never wanted to just open up a moshpit wherever I listened to this album so badly. I’m bummed that I never got to see these guys when they released this album because I’m sure the show would’ve been amazing. I find the mix between the screaming and the singing is perfect and what makes it cooler, and what I was impressed by the most back in the day, is that the drummer is also the singer. A lot of local bands tried to take by example and tried to get their drummer to sing as well but they weren’t as successful. I remember the intro to Bleeding Mascara would always impress me every single time I would listen to it. That guitar solo with screams over it would just give chills down my back. The breakdown in the song is also pretty great, it was also the first time I ever heard a breakdown. Nowadays the breakdown I find is overdone and isn’t as special anymore. I would always try to scream like Brandon but I would never succeed. Hopefully they do a 10th anniversary tour for the album so I could re-live those days.

5.       From First To Last – Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Bodycount

Skrillex, I mean Sonny Moore, used to be an emo kid too. Back when Skrillex wasn’t too busy dropping the bass he used to sing about sad things. Sonny Moore even looked like a sad emo kid who then made it “scene” to look that way and every single 14 year old girl had their panties in a bunch for Sonny. Maybe that’s what made him quit and move on to dropping the bass? Any who back to why I like this album. The way they mix in the guitar riffs with the drums is pretty great plus I don’t know why but I like Sonny’s whiny voice especially when he sings about a girl named Emily. He made me want to have a girlfriend named Emily just so I could sing the song to her, cheesy I know. Also what’s up with the random rapper in the hidden track? Alright, moving on. 

6.       In Flames – Soundtrack To Your Escape

I find that this is the last In Flames album that came out before they became more “mainstream” if that even exists in Metal. Although Come Clarity was pretty great this album just puts me into a certain trance and I’m not sure why. The guitars are nice and melodic along with the fast drum beats and Anders screaming tops the cake to it all. There are also random synthesizers throughout the songs which I honestly think sound pretty cool. Throughout some songs you hear the drummer hitting the china symbol (I think that’s what it is?) and it’s just kind of there in the background and not in your face like what August Burns Red does. Nothing against August Burns Red, I love what they do and I like how their drumming is more in your face but it’s nice to not have the drums in your face as well. All in all, everything about this album makes it one of the greatest Melodic Death Metal albums to come out in 2004.

7.       Big D and the Kids Table – How It Goes

I know what you’re thinking, how does a best of 2004 list go from something so dark to something so happy? Big D and the Kids Table were one of the first Ska bands I ever heard and even though I liked me some dark music I also needed some music to pick up the mood a bit too. There are songs like Little Bitch and L.A.X. which are in your face and hard hitting but then they go softer and play stuff like Safe Heaven which is in more of a Reggae style. Big D and the Kids Table can be both soft and heavy and their fans will still love them. I also to this day wonder who Big D is and what the kids table is but I’m sure it’s a good time. These guys are still kicking it in present day and still kick ass live. Ska will never die (hopefully).

8.       Hawthorne Heights – The Silence In Black and White

Can someone yell EMO over here? This album is so good musically and lyrically although the lyrics are so god damn sad. I’m not sure why I like this album so much but I guess I was deep down that sad back in the day. With songs like Ohio Is For Lovers where they’re singing about not falling asleep and slitting their wrists it’s hard to believe some kids didn’t kill themselves over this music. Maybe there are those who killed themselves because they thought it was so bad (I hope not) but most kids went to this music as their way to get away from the cruel world around them. It’s also so whiny (whiny I guess was good in 2004) and the screamer’s screams were just so good. Casey the screamer passed away in 2007 due to drug intoxication which is a shame because their music wasn’t the same after that. Fortunately I got to see them at Warped Tour before he passed away and they were awesome live. R.I.P. buddy.

9.       Incubus – A Crow Left Of Murder

These guys are just so chill I can’t get over it. I remember my sister introducing me to them and I wondered how they were so good. I actually appreciate their music a lot more now than I did back then probably because I was listening to all this whiny emo music. I really hope I wasn’t as depressing as I sound 10 years ago. These guys have the perfect mix of guitar, drums, bass, vocals and even random keyboard sounds which gives them a pretty distinct sound. You have songs like Talk Shows on Mute which is slower and more chill then you have the song Megalomaniac which is straight in your face fast and heavy and just as good as their slower songs. The singer also has a pretty grungy voice, the whole sound of the band is pretty grungy actually so maybe they brought back grunge? Let’s not argue though who brought back grunge or if grunge died after Nirvana but I’m sure we can leave it at that this album is a great one.

10.   My Chemical Romance – Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge

Can we get another EMO in here? Not sure what was up in 2004 but there were a lot of sad people lurking around. Maybe they were best friends with Hawthorne Heights and they were both in on being sad or it’s just a coincidence. Coincidence or not with songs like I’m Not Okay you got to give them credit since they probably also prevented a lot of kids from attempting suicide. I remember the scene kids just loving these guys, with mascara plastered onto their eyelids and wearing all black and claiming that My Chemical Romance saved their lives. They seemed like scary kids but deep down they were actually pretty cool. My Chemical Romance as well wore a lot of Mascara so who’s not to follow a band that makes it seem like mascara is cool to wear even if you’re not a girl? I mean look at Billie Joe Armstrong, he was punk and went emo too. Emo was the thing to be in 2004….oddly. Along with the fast songs they also had slower songs like Ghost of You which also had its fast parts. Bottom line is if you’re feeling sad and need some cheering up listen to this album and I’m sure you’ll feel better….or just more sad and if you feel more sad well good luck and stop listening to My Chemical Romance. I hear Big D and the Kids Table can cheer you up just as well.

11.   Underoath – They’re Only Chasing Safety

I don’t even know where to start with this album. They’re another one of those “Screamo” bands that I got into and didn’t understand what was going on but I loved every second of it. The fact that they were a death metal band before this album also impresses me. They also changed every single member besides the drummer so that could be it as well but then again going from Death Metal to Post-Hardcore is kind of weird, just kind of. Along with Atreyu, Underoath’s drummer did the singing as well and then the frontman was the screamer (see a pattern here?) so another reason for local bands to have a reason to have a drummer who sings as well. I also just wanted to mosh every single time I heard this album which I’m pretty sure a lot of people can agree with. The songs were also just very catchy and fun to sing/scream to.

12.   Lamb of God – Ashes Of The Wake

Let’s get a little heavy in here now shall we? This album along with their previous one As The Palaces burn is what got me into heavy music. Songs like Hourglass and Laid To Rest makes you want to do more than just moshing, it makes you want to do a wall of death and destroy everything. Maybe it’s not a good thing that this music wants me to be violent but I’m still not in jail so I guess that’s a good thing. Since I ever laid ears on these guys I wanted to always be able to scream like the singer, Randy. He’s just so good at it and even live he does a great job. The guitar parts on the album are also just so groovy along with the bass and drum parts. If you like something nice and heavy then this is the album for you.

13.   Chromeo – She’s In Control

Hailing from Montreal these guys know how to get an 80’s dance party going. I’m not sure if they were sent from the past because they were told all the music coming out was too sad but these guys know how to bring back a dance party. With songs like Needy Girl with bass lines that just make you want to get up and dance (unless you’re too emo for that) you have to wonder how they do it. What makes Chromeo cooler is that it’s just two guys who are Arab and Jewish. I don’t have much else to say about this album besides that it’s A DANCE PARTY.

14.   Amon Amarth – Fate of Norms

Amon Amarth was the first band I ever listened to of this genre. Melodic Folk Death Metal. How are the Folk you ask? Amon Amarth hail from Tumba Sweden and they get their name from the Sindarin name of Mount Doom, a volcano in J. R. R. Tolkien′s Middle-earth. How can they possibly get any more awesome than that? Their lyrics also deal mostly with the Vikings, their mythology and their history. So besides their lyrics and the name of their band being ridiculously awesome, their guitar riffs are also pretty great. Melodic and great. They also sometimes have a Viking boat up on stage which makes their live performances that more awesome. The very first time I heard the song The Pursuit of Vikings I had no clue what I was getting myself into but I liked it. Viking Metal can either be a hit or miss (I find anyway) and with these guys they hit it hard especially with this album. So if you like listening to a Metal band that sings about Vikings then head to your nearest record store (who am I kidding, download the damn thing) and embrace the VIKINGS!!!!!

15.   Senses Fail – Let It Enfold You

Alright back to being emo now. I remember seeing the album cover for this album and just wondering what it sounded like. It’s basically a guy looking at himself in the mirror and his reflection is of himself screaming with burning trees in the background. You can’t get anymore weird than that. If you’re into that sad sounding music with whiny vocals and the occasional screams (that’s like almost every band on this top 20 list) then this album is ALSO for you. Seriously, all the bands 2004 knew what was up with the 14 year old angst teenager and I guess they all wanted to help. Like the other emo bands they have slow songs on the record and faster songs. Like a lot of the other emo sounding bands (I find anyway) this was their first and best album and all the others after that were alright. Don’t get me wrong their other albums are great but this is the album that did it for me with these guys. So like I keep saying, if you want the emo then this album is also for you….and the next one.

16.   Sum 41 – Chuck

Some people say that Chuck was their last good album. I have to somewhat agree since it was their last album with Dave Brownsound who brought the heavier guitar riffs to the table. Following this album, Dave left the band and in 2007 they released Underclass Hero which was more emo sounding, I guess they got the emo memo a few years late. Underclass wasn’t that bad but if you want heavier stuff like in Chuck or even from their Does This Look Infected? album they you’d agree that Chuck is their last best album. It’s nice a fast and great guitar riffs and I guess Deryck Whibley didn’t want to write love songs about Avril Lavigne yet (which he definitely did in Underclass Hero). It was that or they saw what Green Day was doing and wanted to be emo like them too. Either way, listen to Chuck, embrace Chuck and don’t move on to Underclass Hero if you don’t want to feel sad like all these other bands on this list.


17.   Taking Back Sunday – Where You Want To Be

These guys are the definition of emo. They definitely knew what was up before 2004 since they came out with an album which was just as sad about breakups and betraying your friends, or being betrayed by friends, in the smash hit Tell All Your Friends. With songs like A Decade Under the Influence which has a lyric like “to hell with you and all you friends” you have to wonder how sucky their friends really are especially with their feud back in the day with Brand New. A band member slept with another band meber’s sister and it was just a messy situation. This band sang about that and Brand New was formed because of that so you probably get the idea by now that if Taking Back Sunday’s album is still singing about hating old friends then they’re really not over the betrayal. Again if you like the whiny voice singing about being betrayed by friends or just about breakups then this is THE album. It definitely brings out the angst 14 year old in me.

18.   Rise Against – Siren Song of the Counter Culture

Some people probably argue that this was Rise Against last good album before they became more “commercial” but I would disagree. Bands go through a phase where their music matures and Rise Against does just that. You get the heavy stuff like their song State of the Union then you get the slower and a bit more sappy stuff but still awesome like Swing Life Away. Everyone wanted to live on front porches and swing life away after they heard that song. That was THE song that made Rise Against popular, I’m sure…I think? Anyway this whole album is just so great, even the bassist has some say with some bass solos at the beginning of songs here and there and holy hell does the singer have a great voice. Tim McIlrath (I have never known how to pronounce that) has the greatest singing voice and screaming voice which I find is hard to come by. This album has a good mix of hard hitting punk songs along with the softer punk song. Who’s to say every Punk Rock song has to be in your face? Rise Against made Punk Rock a little more melodic and that’s never a bad thing to do.

19.   Haste The Day – Burning Bridges

The fact that this the first album released by this band just amazes me. I just love the singer, Jimmy Ryan’s, vocals on this whole album. I find he sounds kind of like a vampire which I oddly enough love. His singing voice is also pretty great. It’s too bad that Metalcore didn’t continue to sound like the sound they have off this record. Metalcore later became more reliant on breakdowns and there are breakdowns in this album but they’re not overused and I guess that’s why I like this album so much. Also along with the melodic parts of the guitars then going into breakdowns then coming out of the breakdowns at the right moments of time. Nothing is over done on this album which is a reason to love it. I find this album to be pretty underrated and more people need to listen to it.

20.   Killswitch Engage – The End of Heartache

I remember hearing this album for the first time and just getting such a cool feeling from it. I honestly can’t describe this feeling and I don’t get it anymore from listening to the album which is a shame because the feeling was just so great. I find the mix between the singing and screaming parts are just so perfect. Also between when everything is super soft and then the song goes into a breakdown. Howard Jones’ voice is also just so soothing; I wish he could sing me to sleep sometimes (no homo). Adam Dutkiewicz is also just an excellent screamer and guitarist and is hilarious on stage at live shows which makes Killswitch Engage all that much better. This album has that old school style of Metalcore and Killswitch Engage has stayed true to that style to present day. Even though they’ve switched between singers twice now, nothing has ever changed and I don’t think they’ll ever change. 


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