Jacqueline´s Album Recommendations IV


*album recommended to me by my sister, Jasmine

A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, Panic! At the Disco (2005)*

Not only was this album released in my birth year, but I actually find it very enjoyable to listen to. Wherever I’m listening to the earlier Panic! stuff it makes me upset that I was barely alive at the peak of their good music.

I found this era of Panic! At the Disco, cute to say the least. They try to look intense in their stage presence, but because they’re in their late-teens, early-twenties, it’s hilarious. Nonetheless, they give strong messages through their music. It’s very religion-oriented, most, if not all, of the songs have mentions of God in some form. I thought that was interesting because it almost seems like the lyricist, Ryan Ross, has this complicated relationship with the Church and things of that nature. I’m not exactly sure why he went in that musical direction, but I thought that was a fun element to a pop album.

This album is more straightforward than their second album, but they’re still interesting artistic decisions that made the listening experience amusing. For instance, their song titles are so lengthy. It’s an odd approach. Ross mentioned that it was a way of telling a story through the song title and that’s one of my favorite artistic elements of the album. Something that caught my attention was when they morphed the tune of I Write Sins Not Tragedies with the song before: But It’s Better If You Do. This little detail has a way of getting me excited to hear I Write Sins Not Tragedies.

Instrumentally, I always enjoy what this band does. They frequently add instrumental sections of orchestra-like sounds; there are many easter eggs in their songs that I keep finding.

The Live in Denver version of this album is also something else I’d like to praise, it’s so theatrical! They had all of these circus performers and things, it certainly made me want to be there. When I watch their live performances of this album, it gets my adrenaline going and makes me want to break things.

My only complaint about this album is that Ryan Ross doesn’t sing, what’s up with that? I get the feeling that Ross was afraid to say what he wanted to and was hiding his lyrics behind Brendon Urie’s powerful voice.

You can really see their creative juices flowing throughout this debut album. It’s difficult to pick my top songs off this album, but if you decide to listen, I recommend you listen to: There’s a Good Reason These Tables are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven’t Thought of It Yet, Time to Dance, and Build God, Then We’ll Talk.

The Black Parade, My Chemical Romance (2006)*

Concept albums are my favorites to listen to, they have a hugely orchestrated format to them that allows listeners to think and feel the stories deeply. Having planned intention in music is key in creating a more personalized listening experience. In concept albums, every song is perfectly planned out and there’s a purpose to everything, this album did that wonderfully.

To the most basic extent, The Black Parade is about someone who has cancer and the album goes through that person’s life. Being someone who wasn’t a major fan at first listen, when I think about the story line it brings out these emotions that are difficult to explain.

Gerard Way has a really well-rounded vocal range. He can sing soft, beautiful, ballad-like songs, but he also has an aggressive, booming voice. Way has a pretty recognizable voice, but because he has a lot of variety in the way that he performs his songs, it doesn’t leave the listening experience dull. Throughout the album, I get angsty-teen energy and it just makes me want to scream the lyrics. As someone who isn’t fully head-over-heels for this band (at least to the level my sister is), after listening to this album, I would gladly listen to this while I die.

In addition, they are full of extremism. That’s part of the reason parents hate their music and their kids love it. They have this vocal, lyrical and instrumental intensity that moves the adolescent soul and helps it cope. By the way, lyrics should never be taken seriously. That’s where parents tend to dislike MCR, they take their lyrics as fact; as if they’re telling people to do things, but that’s not at all what’s happening. Yes, the lyrics are extreme, but you need to take them with a grain of salt because they very likely aren’t intended to be viewed in a literal manner.

Some of my favorite tracks off this album are House of Wolves, Dead!, and Disenchanted. I cannot fully express how much emotion I felt while listening to this album, I see why my sister loves it so much. I hope it brings the same powerful emotion out of you as it did with me.

Violent Things, The Brobecks (2009)*

This album is probably the most indie thing I’ve ever heard in my life, but it’s fabulous either way.

First of all, Dallon Weekes’ voice is awesome. It’s like a cross between someone who sings very softly and someone who scream-sings (he’s really good at yelling), it’s a combination I knew I needed, and finally found. Weekes has a very compelling voice that gives me Gerard Way vibes. That’s one of the reasons I loved this album when my sister showed it to me: it reminded me of songs that would be in The Black Parade. This album has a lot of whimsical, fantastical instrumentals that contributed to the My Chemical Romance resemblance too.

Another thing I loved about this album was that they didn’t have a title track, but instead used a phrase said within the album. In Love At First Sight, he sings:

Darken nights and violent things
Vaudevillian girls and violin strings.
All of these are the prettiest things when I’m in love

I find that when musicians do this, it makes it more brain-stimulating rather than just naming the album after a song or vice versa. It creates this anticipation and makes you wonder why the musicians decided on that line from the song, I love that. On the theme of title: the cover. When I first looked at the cover, I wasn’t too excited, but again it’s better than nothing. It looks like the progressive drawing of a house being ripped out of the ground. I have no idea what that means, but it gets interesting if you stare at it long enough.

There are numerous songs I loved from this album, but I particularly liked Small Cuts, Visitation of the Ghost, and Goodnight Socialite.

Harry’s House, Harry Styles (2022)
Over the past five years, since his debut album came out, my musical tastes have developed further away from mainstream pop. That’s not saying that the music I listen to is so underground, but it’s different from what he has made. But I found that I actually liked the very upbeat tone that overtakes most of the album.

The cover was a huge turn off for me. When I first saw it I thought, of course this is the album cover, and I didn’t want to have the sense that his work was predictable (the song titles are so Harry too), but I did, and that was a little sad. Another thing that made me a little annoyed was how similar the songs sounded to each other. When I first heard it, it was hard to differentiate one song from another. It’s gotten a little better since then, but I still have a bit of trouble.

Enough of that, here’s what I loved about Harry´s House: the songs are so entertaining! The fact that every song is pretty much a hit reinforces that entertainment; there’s probably not a single song on this album that someone hasn’t already heard. Because Styles’ has become so popular, even since his debut album, it felt crowded, but then again good for him!

“My” song was the seventh track, Matilda. That song is probably my least favorite off this album because it was very softly sung and not very loud. Typically, I lean toward songs that are louder, I wish there were less quiet songs on this album. It’s obviously a good album, but his singing abilities shine most when he uses his voice to its loudest potential. There’re a lot of really good screams he does in many songs that I appreciate, so it isn’t too bad.

With that being said, I truly believe that Styles is going to be talked about for centuries to come. Even if you’ve never found yourself willingly listening to Styles´ work, this album will make you break into an awkward dance session in your kitchen.

I particularly loved the songs: Grapejuice, Cinema, and Music For a Sushi Restaurant.