Cast your mind back a few months when Emma and I put together our favourite albums and I teased a further instalment. Well, here it is! (I know, you’ve been excited for a while).
Basically, using our ten favourite albums we put together one ultimate album only taking songs from those ten. Our first song would be our favourite of the ten opening songs and so on and so forth.
We started by putting the ten choices for each section into individual playlists and worked from there. There were no rules regarding how many songs could come from particular albums or stuff – although I believe we have picked at least one song from every record.
You may recall we offered download choices from each of our albums and to highlight how difficult certain numbers were for me I’ve included the list here (with the track listing next to it in brackets)
- Clearest Blue – Every Open Eye (5th)
- Tuxedos – Dear Miss Lonelyhearts (5th)
- Bliss – Origin of Symmetry (2nd)
- You’re Not Alone – We’ll Live & Die In These Towns (6th)
- Auf Achse – Franz Ferdinand (5th)
- What You Know – Tourist History (8th)
- Warmth – Wild World (4th)
- Feel – So Long, See You Tomorrow (8th)
- Holiday – American Idiot (3rd)
- Ruled By Secrecy – Absolution (14th)
What I’ll do now is offer my selection as well as my thoughts as to why. Overall, I’m pretty proud of this selection of 14 songs (+2 bonus tracks because what good album doesn’t offer a deluxe version?!) and think even my second and third choices would make a damn good listening.
From now on I’ll have a number followed by a list of songs. The number is the album position, the songs are the options. The order of the options is always American Idiot, Every Open Eye, Origin of Symmetry, Absolution, Wild World, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, Tourist History, Franz Ferdinand, So Long, See You Tomorrow and We’ll Live & Die In These Towns, until one or more run out of songs! My first place is in bold, my second in italics and my third underlined.
- American Idiot, Never Ending Circles, New Born, Intro, Good Grief, Miracle Mile, Cigarettes in the Theatre, Jacqueline, Overdone, Aggro.
After immediately removing Intro, I was left with nine songs I could hardly distinguish between. I narrowed it down to five (the top three + Miracle Mile and Good Grief) before deciding on my top three. It was only when I put the three with other tracks that it dawned on me just how good an album opener Overdone is. From that moment on, it was simple.
- Jesus of Suburbia, Leave A Trace, Bliss, Apocalypse Please, The Currents, Lost That Easy, Come Back Home, Tell Her Tonight, It’s Alright Now, Away From Here.
I remember when Chvrches released Leave A Trace. Having absolutely loved their first album, I was nervous regarding their second. LAT removed all of those concerns from the moment I heard it. I was belting out “take care to bury all you can, take care to leave a trace of a man!” whenever I could, including faking tiredness to stay in my Mum’s car and listen to it while she went shopping (I know, I’m awful and it wasn’t me who had driven from Manchester to Taunton).
- Holiday, Keep You On My Side, Space Dementia, Time Is Running Out, An Act of Kindness, Loner Phase, Do You Want It All?, Take Me Out, Carry Me, Pressure.
I love my riffs. Take Me Out has one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time (and if you listen closely an incredibly catchy bass one too). Unfortunately for me, TIRO also ticks similar boxes. I couldn’t separate those two but went for Take Me Out, if for no other reason than what was to follow in this album.
- Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Make Them Gold, Hyper Music, Sing For Absolution, Warmth, Fear & Trembling, This Is The Life, The Dark of the Matinée, Home By Now, Had Enough
I dismissed track four at first glance. My three “go-to” albums had fairly weak (by Chvrches, Muse and CWK standards) entries and I expected to go for Boulevard. But then I remembered my gigging experiences and how much I had belted Had Enough out for days after seeing The Enemy.
And then there was Warmth. A song I described as average upon my first few listens to Wild World, and continued that way until we saw the album live. After that gig in Birmingham, I genuinely haven’t stopped listening to it. A worthy entry.
- Are We The Waiting, Clearest Blue, Plug In Baby, Stockholm Syndrome, Glory, Tuxedos, Something Good Can Work, Auf Achse, Whenever, Wherever, We’ll Live & Die In These Towns
How? Just how? Nine bloody fantastic songs on there, easily some of the best the respective artists have come up with! My first step when narrowing these choices down was to decide which of the Muse songs I preferred. Which worked great for the first four, and then five presented me with a choice between Plug in Baby and Stockholm Syndrome! Controversially perhaps, I plumped for SS.
But it still couldn’t win. Choosing one of Tuxedos or Clearest Blue is like choosing which child you would prefer to kill. Clearest Blue is catchy and rises to the greatest crescendo in modern pop music history (I’ll stick with that ridiculous statement) BUT Tuxedos is one of my favourite songs of all time. Powerful (Willet’s vocals are haunting and crucially, not perfect) does not do the song justice, it’s just perfect. Looking back at it, Tuxedos just had to win.
- St.Jimmy, High Enough To Carry You Over, Citizen Erased, Falling Away With You, Power, Bottled Affection, I Can Talk, Cheating On You, Luna, You’re Not Alone
I’ve made no secret on this blog of how hard I found growing up. This feels like the perfect time to go further and admit I’ve self-harmed in the past. I don’t have the space to go into why I’ve never considered self-harm a bad thing but at some point I’ll talk about it more. It’s certainly a subject we shouldn’t be afraid to discuss. For now, let’s discuss the relevance to my album. Sometimes song lyrics strike a chord, and resonate within your brain. They cling on, and dig their way into your very make up. You’re Not Alone, especially the line “there’s just too many dreams in this wasteland for you to leave us all behind” contained just the right words in the right places to stop me ever taking my self-harm any further. It’s for that reason that I can rarely hear it these days and not cry.
While deciding this, I kept listening to Citizen Erased and being struck by pangs of guilt for not including it. But at the end of the day, CE just doesn’t have the same affect on me and therefore I had to go with YNA.
- Give Me Novacaine, Empty Threat, Micro Cuts, Interlude, Two Evils, Jailbirds, Undercover Martyn, This Fire, Eyes Off You, It’s Not OK.
Google Micro Cuts. Just watch how epic it is live. Bellamy’s falsetto, the lyrics you can’t work out until at least the third listen, the guitar riff at the end. This is just genius, absolute genius and had to be included even without its big brother Citizen Erased preceding it.
Side Note: Citizen Erased into Micro Cuts, following Plug In Baby, Hyper Music and Space Dementia and preceding Screenager into Dark Shines is the main reason OoS works so well as an album even if the songs don’t necessarily stand out on their own.
- She’s A Rebel, Down Side of Me, Screenager, Hysteria, Send Them Off!, Water & Power, What You Know, Darts of Pleasure, Feel, Technodanceaphobic.
This is harking back to my love of riffs right?
When I started this I thought I’d decide between What You Know, Hysteria and Feel, dismissing the rest. But then Down Side of Me crept up on me and before I knew it I was genuinely considering including it. When choosing between music of this quality, it’s not always about the overall song but the little moments within them. DSoM’s bridge into the ending set of choruses is one of those moments that send shivers down my spine. But it still lost (sorry!).
- Extraordinary Girl, Playing Dead, Dark Shines, Blackout, Lethargy, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, Eat That Up, It’s Good For You, Michael, Come To, 40 Days and 40 Nights.
Blackout. Probably Muse’s finest moment. Enough Said.
- Letterbomb, Bury It, Feeling Good, Butterflies & Hurricanes, Four Walls (The Ballard of Perry Smith), Bitter Poem, You Are Not Stubborn, Come To, So Long, See You Tomorrow, This Song.
Butterflies & Hurricanes is not only a legendary song in Muse’s impressive arsenal; it’s also the perfect tonic after listening to Blackout. The lyrics share similar themes and as a result the songs have always fitted well together. Butterflies was my first pick of this album, there was no way it wasn’t going to make it!
- Wake Me Up When September Ends, Afterglow, Megalomania, The Small Print, Blame, 40’, Happy Birthday Jane
A Green Day pick! Even if I had a full compliment of 10 songs to choose between here, I doubt any would beat Wake Me Up. That being said, Megalomania did push it close on two counts – a) it’s a perfect ending song (although this isn’t my final track) and b) I felt I didn’t have enough OoS songs on here. Despite this, OoS is still one of my favourite albums. Why? Just because it doesn’t necessarily have the best individual songs on it doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the best albums. (See my side note)
- Homecoming, Endlessly, Fake It
This was tougher than it looks. Fake It is one of Bastille’s catchiest tunes, Homecoming is a nine minute epic (and perhaps controversially a song I’ve always preferred to Jesus of Suburbia) while Endlessly contains some of Matt Bellamy’s more gentle (and heart-warming) lyrics. Fake It won it on the basis that it’s the one I find myself humming for longer afterwards.
- Whatsername, Thoughts of a Dying Atheist, Snakes
I have a lot of time for Whatsername, I think it’s one of Green Day’s most underrated songs. It’s one of the reasons American Idiot was included on my list.
- Ruled By Secrecy, Winter Of Our Youth
It’s of great sadness to me that I have yet to see Ruled By Secrecy live. I live in sort of hope that one day I will. Until then, I have the many recordings online to keep me happy. Muse’s most underrated song by a country mile, the lyrics are thought-provoking, the piano work sensational and the song just clicks. The only possible choice to end my ultimate album.
Bonus Tracks: Costume Party (TDCC), Follow You (Chvrches)
Costume Party was an automatic pick for me – for a start, it’s the only bonus track I’ve seen live. Follow You was more difficult. I wanted more Chvrches in this album, but also desperately wanted to include Fury (Absolution’s bonus). In the end, Follow You won due to being better to listen to while stuck in traffic.
So there you have it! An album consisting of 14 songs and two bonus tracks. And if you couldn’t be bothered to read it, below lies it all in the form of a Spotify playlist (I know, I’ve sold my soul).