Back again, kiddos! While everyone was recently obsessed with posting their Spotify year-end reviews (me included), I was busy taking notes and making hard decisions with regard to what I would include on my top 5 lists this year (the fourth year in a row that I’ve done it!). This first paragraph is merely the boilerplate preface to inform the reader that this is a three-part series where I follow in the footsteps of my favorite music blogs and present my favorite music of the year. As per usual, it will be broken down into three parts: 5 Favorite New Releases of 2021, 5 Favorite NOT New Releases That I Rocked Hard in 2021 and 5 Songs I Made My Ears Bleed With — Both New and Old — in 2021. With a few close calls worth mentioning, I’ve chosen to provide a few honorable mentions at the end of each post as well.
All three sets are in no particular order unless otherwise noted.
This is Part 2 of 3.
TOP 5 OLD RELEASES OF 2021
Green Day – Dookie
Release Date: February 1, 1994
My Favorite Tracks: Longview; Sassafras Roots; F.O.D.
One of the projects I took on in 2021 was playing more guitar. To be even more specific, I decided to learn an entire Green Day album front-to-back. While it isn’t my favorite GD album, I decided to go with Dookie. This is a great album in how diverse it is — “true” punks love it, pop-punk fans love it and your average pop-music fan knows more of it than they realize. At just a little more than half-an-hour long for a whopping 15 tracks, this was a fun record to practice every single day.
The Misfits – Static Age
Release Date: February 27, 1996
My Favorite Tracks: Hybrid Moments; Bullet; She
If I’ve done this list four years now, that means Static Age has been on this list four years. Favorite album by my favorite band. According to Spotify, the Misfits were the band I binged listened to the most in 2021, racking up nearly 800-listening minutes (that’s over 13 hours!) of Misfits, putting me in the top 1% of their fans on Spotify. Something I love about this album is that while my favorite tracks don’t ever change, what I enjoyed more changes every year. This year I was more into Hollywood Babylon, Some Kind of Hate and Angelfuck more than usual. I guess check back next year to see what changes!
Frost Like Ashes – Tophet
Release Date: December, 2005
My Favorite Tracks: A Terrible Visitation;Desecrator;Of Spirit and Power
My workout jams this year consisted of a wide variety of genres from punk and hip-hop to thrash, death metal and spoken word. Probably more than anything else, though, the hardest workouts were accompanied by a genre so rare that the two entities that make up its name hate it — Christian Black Metal. The Black Metal scene hates it because their elite think a pro-Christian message is counter to everything Black Metal stands for while the Christian rock community hates it because of Black Metal’s association with Devil worship and the burning of churches. It’s unfortunate that both sides in this argument are so small-minded because the small handful of bands playing Christian Black Metal are incredible, not least of which is Frost Like Ashes. Their sound and content check all the boxes required to fit into this genre and if you need further proof, I present this lyric from A Cruel Verse:
He’ll smear the offal from your feasts on your face
Your sacred pillars will be filled with human waste
Your desolation, so cruel and complete
The flesh of your children you’ll hoard and eat
Dark? Check. Biblically based Christian doctrine? Also check. A Christian band using an otherwise Satanic style of music to praise the Creator while simultaneously upsetting Christians and the Black Metal elite is easily the most punk rock thing I’ve ever heard.
Idles – Brutalism
Release Date: March 10, 2017
My Favorite Tracks: Well Done;Mother;Stendhal Syndrome
Idles came to us in the form of a recommendation from a former client of mine. It’s funny that so many people recommend bands to me and I usually hate them … but sometimes it’s a total hit and in the case of Idles, it’s a big one. Idles is a British punk band that sounds like a modern version of old-school Stooges from the drums and melodies to the vocal stylings of lead singer Joe Talbot. The attitude is total snot complete with social commentary that doesn’t even attempt to jam a tongue into the cheek. It’s simple, it’s dirty but it’s effective and exactly what you want out of a good punk record.
Sum 41 – Does This Look Infected?
Release Date: November 26, 2002
My Favorite Tracks: The Hell Song; Over My Head (Better Off Dead); Still Waiting
When I was going through my 10 High School Records this year, I was reminded of just how much I love Sum 41. Already a huge fan of Half Hour of Power and the followup All Killer, No Filler, I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t listen to Does This Look Infected? when it came out in 2002. I didn’t appreciate just how “metal” Sum 41 was as a punk band until this year after listening to select tracks from this record and the followup Chuck. I was originally disappointed by this fact (in myself) but I try to look at it in the same way that I look at the fact that I didn’t read any classic literature when I was growing up but I get to enjoy it as an adult now. Is Sum 41 classic literature? Hardly, but it still rocks.