Album Rankings: The Ataris

The Ataris are an incredibly under-rated band. Blending emo and pop-punk with alternative influence. They've been around since the late nineties, but only have about five or six full-length albums. They do however have a deep selection of EPs and split albums. For the sake of this review, we are only focusing on full-length albums.

#6 - Silver Turns To Rust (2017)
Silver Turns To Rust is actually a compilation album. It has one of my favorite Ataris singles in "All Souls Day," which is a song about feeling trapped, perhaps by some kind of mystical spell called love, in a relationship that isn't right. It also includes a longer version of "Fast Times At Dropout High."
Favorite Songs: "All Souls Day" / "Beauty, Eh?" / "Fast Times At Dropout High"

#5 - Welcome To The Night (2007)
Welcome To The Night sounds a bit like an alternative rock album, with a dash of goth sprinkled in. Easily the band's most unique album. The big knock against it is that the experimental nature makes it sounds a little bit more like a side project than an actual Ataris album.
Favorite Songs: "Not Capable of Love" / "Act Five, Part IV: and So It Ends Like It Began." / The Cheyenne Line"

#4 - End Is Forever (2001)
The "pop" album, still kinda emo though. There are a handful of songs that could have easily fit with Blue Skies..., but it also has some upbeat pop-punk tunes like "Teenage Riot" or "A Song for a Mixtape."
Favorite Songs: "I.O.U One Galaxy" / "Summer Wind Was Always Our Song" / "You Need A Hug"

#3 - Anywhere But Here (1997/2002)
The debut album is The Ataris at their most "punk," with songs like "Ray" or the cover of Jawbreaker's "Boxcar." The music can be probably be described as a pop-punk dominant hybrid of emo and love songs. Lyrically this isn't their deepest, but it is possibly the most "fun" and upbeat album in their catalog. A catchy debut before they fully embraced the emo side. The album was originally released in 1997, but was completely re-recorded in 2002. The 2002 version does have a bit more polish, but the original release still has that raw punk feel that suits the songs well. Pick either version depending on your mood.
Favorite Songs: "Hey Kid" / "Lately" / "Take Me Back" / "Alone In Santa Cruz"

#2 - So Long, Astoria (2003)
Probably the most polished Ataris album, due to it's major label release. It also features the highest charting Ataris single, a cover of The Eagles "Boys Of Summer." It's a shame that a cover song is one of the only Ataris songs to reach mainstream airwaves, because the band has a handful of great tunes in their catalog. "Radio #2" is a solid hit that always brings to mind the menu screen of EA Sports NHL video games. Good times!
Favorite Songs: "In This Diary" / "Radio #2" / "The Hero Dies In This One" / "Looking Back On Today"

#1 - Blue Skies, Broken Hearts...Next 12 Exits (1999)
The "emo" album. A solid listen from start to finish. Most of these songs are about heartbreak, go figure, but the sadness is often balanced with optimism. "1*15*96" is a song about the birth of Roe's daughter; seeing her for the first time, as well as leaving her and his first wife behind to move to California. The lyrics of the song are pretty depressing, but they're sung in such a beautiful tone that makes you feel like things were for the best. The rest of the album fits that vibe.
Favorite Songs: "Losing Streak" / "My Hotel Year" / "In Spite of The World"

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