February 18, 2020

Album Rankings : Silverstein (Part 2)

These next three albums were possibly the most difficult to rank. Someone once said that "Silverstein is a band that ages like fine wine." It's hard to argue against that statement. The addition of guitarist Paul Marc Rousseau definitely seemed to elevate the band's sound while providing a fresh, yet familiar feel to the music. If there could be a three-way tie, we would give these next three albums third place and call it a day, but that wouldn't be fair to the spirit of ranking things.

#5 - I Am Alive In Everything I Touch (2015)
Another concept album, which tells a "story of loneliness despite being surrounded by so much excitement," according to songwriter Shane Told. This album released right about the same time that I was in a long-term relationship that was just beginning to fall apart, and that statement pretty much sums up the feeling at the time.
Favorite Songs: "Face Of The Earth" / "In The Dark" / "Toronto (unabridged)"



#4 - Dead Reflection (2017)
Probably the band's darkest album, which isn't saying a lot, because most of the band's catalog is emotional. Dead Reflection features Shane Told writing some of his most mature material. There is a sad sort of acceptance that resonates throughout the album. Told has a talent for writing songs that are easily relatable, yet deep enough to be interpreted differently by various listeners.
Favorite Songs: "The Afterglow" / "Secret's Safe" / "Mirror Box" / "Wake Up"



#3 - This Is How The Wind Shifts (2013)
The first album with new guitarist Rousseau. This album edges out the previous two simply because of "Massachusetts," which is probably my all-time favorite Silverstein song. Unlike traditional concept albums which feature one running story through the entire album, this album features a collection of songs that pair together. One song will tell a story, and the pairing song will approach the same story from a different perspective, or if one aspect of the story had been different. Most of the song titles pair together to form one sentence, and the album's two title songs "This Is How" and "The Wind Shifts" can even be played in parallel to form a third song. Pretty clever!
Favorite Songs: "Massachusetts" / "In Silent Seas We Drown" / "This Is How The Wind Shifts"



#2 - Discovering The Waterfront (2005)
Sophomore slump, what? Silverstein's second release was anything but a slump. This was the album where the band took a huge step up. "Smile In Your Sleep" and "My Heroine" are still two of the band's biggest hits. Told's voice matured while the band's sound evolved into a beautiful blend of punk and metal influenced hardcore. Perfect for a night of screaming tears into your pillow. It wasn't a concept album, but it almost feels like one due to the cohesive sound of the album, which would become a bit of a Silverstein staple.
Favorite Songs: "Smile In Your Sleep" / "My Heroine" / "Your Sword Versus My Dagger"



#1 - A Shipwreck In The Sand (2009)
This was the album that permanently sold me on Silverstein. This is a concept album about a failed relationship, about betrayal, about a "hero" who surrenders to his dark-side. Possibly the band's heaviest album. The title track is a bit of a spoken word, which somewhat sums up the theme of the album through a story about a ship who's crew revolts against their captain after they feel that they had been misled. The tour in support of this album was the first time that I saw Silverstein perform live, and the only time I ever heard them play this album's title track. I thought it brought a nice thematic element to their set as the first song played during the encore. "The End" is a tearjerker of a duet featuring guest vocalist Lights, who plays the role of the protagonist's former wife, as they both lament a lost relationship, and a realization that neither one of them were angels.
Favorite Songs: "Vices" / "A Shipwreck In The Sand" / "The End (feat. Lights)"



Again, keep in mind that this list is just a personal opinion. Feel free to add your own rankings in the comments below!

February 17, 2020

Album Rankings : Silverstein

In anticipation of A Beautiful Place To Drown, releasing March 6, we are ranking all of Silverstein's prior albums. Keep in mind that this ranking is a matter of personal opinion. Feel free to provide your own rankings in the comments below.

#9 - Short Songs (2012)
A clever album full of songs that are mostly under one minute in length. The first half contains a handful of Silverstein originals, while the second half contains a selection of short cover songs. It's ranking is largely because the short length of the album makes it feel a bit like an EP.
Favorite Songs: "Brookfield" / "It's My Job To Keep Punk Rock Elite (NOFX)"



#8 - When Broken Is Easily Fixed (2003)
Silverstein is a band that grew on me over the course of a few albums. I still remember picking up a free copy of a sampler CD at a local Bionic Records which contained the songs "Smashed Into Pieces" and "Bleeds No More." The songs resonated immediately. This was my first experience with screamo music, and it spoke directly to the depressed teenage soul within. However, these were far and away the better two songs of the album. This was Silverstein's debut, and they showed a metric shit-ton of promise. But it would take at least another album for the band to flesh out their sound.
Favorite Songs: "Smashed Into Pieces" / "Bleeds No More" / "Giving Up"



#7 - Arrivals and Departures (2007)
Silverstein's third release is possibly the band's poppiest, lacking the cohesive sound that most of the other albums posses. It does have some good tunes on it though. Including one of Silverstein's few love songs that doesn't end in heartbreak; "Still Dreaming"
Favorite Songs: "Still Dreaming: / "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" / "If You Could See Into My Soul"



#6 - Rescue (2011)
The first album after the band left Victory Records. Sometimes I wonder if the album title, and lead single "Sacrifice" might be references to the band's former label, which has left a sour taste in the mouths of some of the bands that used to be on the label's roster. Most notably, Streetlight Manifesto, who had a public legal dispute that was later resolved (we think?). The album has some stand out singles, but like Arrivals and Departures, lacks an overall cohesive album sound. According to vocalist Shane Told, who recently did an album ranking of his own, both albums were produced as more of a collection of songs rather than the typical full-album approach that the songwriter prefers.
Favorite Songs: "Replace You" / "Forget Your Heart"



Check back tomorrow for Part 2!

February 16, 2020

"Bottles & Stairs" - The Misadventures of Little Rudger

I remember the day that Bottles died.

Independence Day is a funny holiday. For one evening, once a year, this great country celebrates it's freedom by recreating the sights and sounds of the war fought to earn such freedom. Traumatizing animals and war veterans with PTSD alike. As an adult, it's a holiday one could probably do without. As a teenage boy, however, it's a great time to run wild in the streets on a skateboard.

February 15, 2020

"That's How It Works" : A Crazy Lady Poem - The Misadventures of Little Rudger

"Why'd you knock my head off?"

"Why'd you knock my head off?"

"Why'd you knock my head off?"

"Why'd you knock my head off?"

...

...

"Why'd you knock my head off?"
"Why'd you knock my head off?"
"Why'd you knock my head off?"
"Why'd you knock my head off?"
"Why'd you knock my head off?"

...

...

...

"If you knock my head off, I get to knock your head off.

That's how it works."



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February 14, 2020

Who Did It Better? - "Total Bummer" by NOFX / Silverstein

A song about loneliness for Valentine's Day. NOFX did the original version, but Silverstein's acoustic rendition is solid.


NOFX


Silverstein

February 11, 2020

"The Apricot Lady" - The Misadventures of Little Rudger

The first time Little Rudger took acid was at the local shopping mall. Where else would a group of five teenage rookies decide to go for a debut psychedelic experience? Anyone who has experience with hallucinogens would likely recommend a secluded area away from other people, but what did Little Rudger or his friends know? This was their first taste of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

"All Syrup Super Squisy" Scene from The Simpsons


February 10, 2020

"Survivor" : The Misadventures of Little Rudger

Little Rudger is a survivor

Little Rudger is a survivor of abandonment

Little Rudger is a survivor of bullying

Little Rudger is a survivor of domestic abuse

Little Rudger is a survivor.

Little Rudger has some stories

Little Rudger hopes that by sharing his stories,

Others may benefit in some way

Little Rudger is a survivor.

*Disclaimer: The Misadventures of Little Rudger is a work of literary fiction.