2002, the western world was still reeling from the fallout of the 9/11 attacks. in the music world mourned the loss of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of TLC and in my world of punk we lost Dee Dee Ramone, the bassist and founding member of Ramones. The world cup was held in Japan and South Korea and is still one of my favourites ever which I know is an outlandish call but it was a real underdog cup. On a personal front I finished high school in 2002 and was about to head out into the big scary world. Anyway enough of that, we’re here to talk music so let’s do it.
I remember first seeing these guys and thinking they sounded and looked an awful lot like a band I listened to in the mid 90s called Dub War. Turns out it was members of that band who formed Skindred and their fusion of ragga, metal and punk is a brilliant and unique sonic boom.
Highlights-“Pressure” “We Want”
34.Avril Lavigne-Let Go
I really should hate this album as it was clear that this manufactured, pretty teenager had been dressed up to bite off of the popularity of different parts of the success of punk at the time. She was a cosplayer that had been sent out to be the mainstream voice of the movement and it was incredibly annoying as she was discovered at a Shania Twain contest a couple of years previous. That said, credit where it’s due there were a lot of super catchy pop songs on there that would jammed in secret.
Highlights-“I’m With You” “Tomorrow”
33. No Use For A Name-Hard Rock Bottom
More emotional, poetic punk rock songs written by the tragically departed Tony Sly. I’ve said every time they’ve made the list that you know what you’re getting from a NUFAN album and it holds water here too. That’s not a bad thing though as they always deliver quality and heart felt, genuine music.
Highlights-“Dumb Reminders” “Nailed Shut”
32.They Might Be Giants-NO!
The first of five children’s albums recorded by the band, NO! is full of their trademark humour and clever song composition but this time it’s songs about balloons and educational stories. For the big kids who want to give their little kids music that they can both listen to. Lots of fun.
Highlights-“The House At The Top Of The Tree” “I Am Not Your Broom”
31.Bowling For Soup-Drunk Enough To Dance
When their last album made the list I talked about seeing them supporting the popular English ska band (Spunge) which I found very odd as I thought they were much bigger than that. They debuted their video for the song “Girl All The Bad Guys Want” which a couple of months later went on to be a massive hit and the band blew up into the mainstream. Although this album was a lot of fun I still prefer the one previous but there were three excellent songs that came from this and I was very happy to see the likeable Texans get the success they deserved.
Highlights-“Punk Rock 101” “Life After Lisa”
30. Dag Nasty-Minority Of One
Ten years since their previous record, Dag Nasty released this banger that didn’t sound like a band who had their heyday in the 80s. It sounded contemporary and fresh and easily slotted in with the post hardcore bands of the time that ironically they had heavily influenced years prior. Post hardcore is a genre I don’t care for much which shows how good this album is as I love it with it’s melodic harmonies and beautiful guitar tones.
Highlights-“Ghosts” “Wasting Away”
29. Sean Paul-Dutty Rock
The second album from the Jamaican pop-dancehall artist Sean Paul was his massive breakthrough and it spawned several hit singles. It was a unique style for the stale RnB market at the time and had a great, sexy, party feel to it that brought sexy, grinding West-Indian dancing to white University Unions around the world……what a legacy to leave….eesh.
Highlights-“Get Busy” “Like Glue”
28.Less Than Jake-Goodbye Blue And White
A collection of B-Sides and covers of bands like The Jam and Twisted Sister. Oh and you haven’t lived until you’ve heard a Slayer cover with a brass section in it. It’s a fun collection of short blasts of ska punk and keeps the long tradition of non punk songs being covered and punked up.
Highlights-“Teenager In Love” “Scott Farcas Takes It On The Chin”
27.Allister-Last Stop Suburbia
After their micro budget debut from 1999 had made something of a splash in the pop punk scene and so their second, much more polished album came out on Drive-Thru Records. It made waves and achieved moderate success, firmly establishing in that scene. I made friends for ife on the old Allister message board just as they were recording this album, back when I cared enough about these things and before life took all of my passion away from me like some sort of succubus…..ok went off the deep end there.
Highlights-“Scratch” “Somewhere Down On Fullerton”
26.Cannibal Corpse-Gore Obsessed
More over the top, tongue in cheek horror based death metal from the fun New Yorkers. The difference between these guys and bands like Death who are popular in the genre is the sarcastic and gimmicky nature of Cannibal Corpse who know it’s all over the top nonsense and just have fun with it. They clearly take their musicianship seriously but not their content. It’s like horror-core rap, it’s a fun gimmick.
Highlights-“Hatchet To The Head” “Drowning In Viscera”
25.Home Grown-Kings Of Pop
Bit of a strange one this. Home Grown had been on the punk scene for a while without making too many waves and then when this album was released through Drive-Thru records it gained them huge recognition with it’s mix of adolescent humour and emotional storytelling. This would be their last album though so they never capitilsed on their new found success which is a real shame as they were maturing into quite an impressive band. The humorous songs didn’t quite hit with me but the more serious songs were definitely impressive and hit the mark big time.
Highlights-“I’ll Nevr Fall In Love” “You’re Not Alone”
24.NOFX-45 Or 46 Songs That Weren’t Good Enough To Go On Our Other Records
Great title for an album. Obviously it’s a collection of B-Sides, outtakes and e.p tracks that didn’t make it onto the studio rerleases. For the most part there’s a reason for that as there isn’t many standout tracks but as always with NOFX there’s a lot of fun to be had here with rapid skate punk and plenty of humour. Many of the songs or very short which is a common thing in punk rock.
Highlights-“Whoa On The Whoas” “Three On Speed”
23.Nerf Herder-American Cheese
Nerd rock at it’s finest with sarcastic songs about being bullied, anxiety and love for all things pop culture. It’s almost impossible not to smile when you listen to their light hearted songs with hilarious lyrics. Fans of pop rock, pop punk and early emo will no doubt get a kick out of these guys. Oh and if you’re a geek that likes fun songs then this is right up your street.
Highlights-“Jacket” “New Wave Girl”
22.New Found Glory-Sticks And Stones
The follow up to their excellent self titled album has some excellent song son it but in my opinion it fails to live up to the same quality of the previous album overall. I’m in the minority here as a lot of fans see this as their best album but their insistence that they are a melodic hardcore band saw them trying too hard to prove that with heavier songs that just didn’t work. Their more melodic pop punk songs are where they absolutely nail it and are one of the best bands in the genre when they stick to it. All in my opinion of course. Some excellent songs and I saw them live on this tour, they’re an excellent live band.
Highlights-“Understatement” “It’s Been A Summer”
21.(Spunge)-The Story So Far
Man I was backing these guys hard back in the early 00s. Incredibly nice guys that played insanely catchy ska punk. They were achieving huge popularity in the underground UK scene and had crowds skanking up and down the country. Then all of a sudden people turned on them and I never understood it. It was when the emo scene got big and happy dance ska songs were not the in thing any more. It was infuriating and sad to see as they had just started to get major label attention but by the time they released their bigger budget albums the fickle fans didn’t buy in bulk. The label then spat them out and they hit the underground again. It was all so sad to see. They were great and so much fun.
Highlights-“Change Of Scene” “Jump On Demand”
Probably the most aggressive and heavy album about peace and racial equality. Max Cavalera smashes his way through thunderous vocals and crushing guitars with tribal drums and native instruments. Downtuned guitars and heavy as hell riffs mix the groove nu metal sound with raging thrash punk. There’s a minute silence on the album for the victims of the 9/11 attacks. A crushing, punishing album with some of Cavalera’s best lyrics and song writing.
Highlights-“Brasil” “Call To Arms”
19.Bruce Springsteen-The Rising
The Boss was back with a bang as he delivered his awesome brand of introspective stadium anthems backed by The E Street Band for the first time in 18 years. They work so well together that it’s a real shame they took so long to get back together. Although his solo stuff throughout the years was solid there’s just something special about his work with the band. The album is often thought to be inspired by the 9/11 terrorist attacks but whatever the inspiration was he produced his best album in years.
Highlights-“Lonesome Road” “Mary’s Place”
18.Midtown-Living Well Is The Best Revenge
Ugh, what happened to this band? When this came out it sat in my discman for weeks wherever I went I was playing this. Walking my old dog up the Kirrie road listening to Midtown gives me good memories. Even met a girl who asked me what I was listening to on a bus and we bonded over this album. See, music is a great way of meeting like minded people. After this excellent pop rock album Midtown turned into one of the most boring bands of all time. It was horrible to see and I couldn’t believe it. The first two albums were full of energy and great song writing and then they went in a horrible direction. Whatever, we’ll always have this great album to remember them by.
Highlights-“Still Trying” “Like A Movie”
17.Flogging Molly-Drunken Lullabies
The affable Cltic folk punk band led by Irishman Dave King hit it big with this album and were heavily embraced by the punk scene. Rousing pub songs that send crowds crazy and beautiful, soulful Celtic ballads. The fiddles, penny whistles and accordions really add to the fast paced, distortion filled punk and give it something different for the genre. Like The Pogues for the next generation.
Highlights-“What’s Left Of The Flag” “Drunken Lullabies”
16.Sum 41-Does This Look Infected?
A much darker and heavier album than their previous smash hit. Dave “Brown Sound” Baksh delivered fantastic heavy riffs for Deryck Whibley’s snotty voice to yell over. There’s a maturity to the album’s song writing and structure that shows the band gelling together better than ever even if there’s not as many standout songs as their previous effort. A really thrashing retort to the backlash against them for “not being punk enough”.
Highlights-“The Hell Song” “No Brains”
15.Hot Rod Circuit-Sorry About Tomorrow
As emo was drastically changing from a more geeky, intellectual form of punk rock to a terrible goth rip off filled with screaming and yelling, Hot Rod Circuit kept the 90s emo style alive with an amazing album. Emotional, catchy and filled with intelligent lyrics and structure. The whiny vocals actually fit in very well with the busy and noisy instruments. Some beautiful songs on here.
Highlights-“The Pharmacist” Cool For One Night”
14.The Vandals-Internet Dating Superstuds
The Vandals are always all about fun and it’s no different here with their hilarious and self deprecating brand of lyrics and upbeat punk music. They’ll never grow up and I’m totally ok with that because they do what they like and they like to have fun. That really shines through on this album.
Highlights-“I Can’t Wait” “43210-1”
13.Bouncing Souls/Anti Flag-BYO Split Series V4
Well it just wouldn’t be a Kinker Korner music list without a bit of Bouncing Souls right?. Two excellent bands delivering excellent songs on one e.p. This was a great wee series from BYO records that always had two bands teaming up and delivering. These two toured together in support of the album. Would have loved to have seen that.
Highlights-Punks In Vegas” by Bouncing Souls and “Smash It To Pieces” by Anti-Flag
12.Goldfinger-Open Your Eyes
I bought this in the airport to add to my collection I was taking to America when I spent a few months in the U.S working at a summer camp and traveling. On the 8 hour flight it barely left my discman and it would often end up being played a lot throughout that summer. Goldfinger have always been a good band but I feel this was their peak as their writing had a maturity to it that had perhaps been missing before. It’s lyrically strong too with left wing protest style songs and general musings about life.
11.The Mighty Mighty Bosstones-A Jackknife To A Swan
The band’s journey on the major labels ended and they returned to the indies to release this cracker of an album. A very laid back ska album that often delves into the reggae area. Super melodic with excellent backing vocals over Dicky Barrett’s gruff voice. The ace brass section are on form as well. Some of the band’s best songs appear on this album which is amazing seeing as they were nearly 20 years into their career at this point. No signs of apathy here.
Highlights-“Everybody’s Better” “Sugar Free”
10.The Exploited-Fuck The System
Scotland’s greatest punk export upped their production values for this effort (that doesn’t mean selling out for you idiots out there) but that didn’t take any of the aggression or anti authority anger away from Wattie and the guys. Brutal, crushing riffs and thrahing drums keep the rip roaring pace throughout the album and every song is like a punch in the face from angry Scottish working class street punks.
Highlights-“Chaos Is My Life” “Why Are You Doing This To Me”
9.Dillinger Four-Situationist Comedy
One of the most underrated punk bands ever. Intelligent, powerful and melodic, they blend hardcore, noise rock and upbeat punk in a wonderful mishmash of styles with unique vocals from Patrick Costello. I wasn’t sure of them when I first heard their stuff but after a little investment and time listening to the album I absolutely got it. I’m sure I’ve said all this in a previous list but hey ho, it serves as a reminder.
Highlights-“Noble Stabbings” “D4=Putting The “F Back In Art”
8.Reel Big Fish-Cheer Up
A lot less ska than in their previous efforts and instead heading in a more rock orientated style (aparently under instructions from the meddling major label) so there’s a lot less brass section as well. Nonetheless it’s a very good album with Aaron Barrett continuing his ability to nail amazing choruses. Incredibly catchy stuff as always from a fantastic band.
Highlights-“Good Thing” “Suckers”
7. The Bouncing Souls-The Bad, The Worse And The Out Of Print
A collection of rarities, B-Sides and covers (there’s a trend of this on this list) from one of the greatest bands in the world. I think they’ve made more appearances on these lists than anyone. This is like a wee treat for fans and it’s definitely not for veryone with rough demos and songs from their early days but for hardcore fans of the band this is a lovely little present.
Highlights-“St Jude’s Day” “The Ballad Of Johnny X”
6.The X-Ecutioners-Built From Scratch
A group of expert turntable masters from New York performing their skills while guest MCs do their thing over it. This will be remembered for the hit “It’s Goin’ Down” featuring Linkin Park and Static X but almost every song is an absolute banger on this. Again this is not for everyone but if you can appreciate turntable skills and scratching prowess then this is an absolute must.
Highlights-“XL” “Let It Bang”
A group of 8 new studio tracks and 8 live songs of political punk. Hyper left wing anti fascist anthems from Justin Sane and his band of rebels. They really know how to stir up the blood for those of us with similar political beliefs. Great protest songs.
Highlights-“911 For Peace” “Mumia’s Song”
4.Tech N9ne-Absolute Power
An unofficial part of the juggalo world, Tech N9ne is an insanely talented rapper with other worldly vocal technique. His rapid fire tongue twisters are things of jaw dropping beauty and more effective than other chopper style rapper like Twista. It’s dark horrorcore rap that tells stories with incredible vocal gymnastics.
Highlights-“Trapped In A Psycho’s Body” “Imma Tell”
3.Lemon Jelly-Lost Horizons
An absolutely beautiful work of laid back electronic genius from the English duo. A mix of trip hop, dance, breakbeats and acoustic guitars make for an incredibly relaxing, mellow dance album. There’s humour in there and a real ear for melody that sets them apart from many other electronica acts who seem to be all bleeps and blips without any focus or tune. A remarkable and trippy, feel good album and it’s good to see something different in the high part of the list. Not much electronica on these lists.
Highlights-“Nice Weather For Ducks” “Space Walk”
2.The Queers-Pleasant Screams
It’s sad to see frontman Joe Queer ruining his legacy these days with his bizarre political spewing that seems completely at odds with his earlier days but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they have been one of my favourite bands for quite some time and this album is one of their best. They really upped their harmonies and backing vocals, often times layering several vocal parts over one another to create a wall of vocal sounds that just sounds delightful. 50s 60s nostalgia mixed with punk has always been a great mix for me and they really embraced it perfectly.
Highlights-“Tic Tic Toc” “I Never Got The Girl”
1.Bad Religion-The Process Of Belief
Well I’m nothing if not consistent. When Bad Religion stop releasing amazing albums I’ll stop putting them so high on my lists. Guitarist Brett Gurewitz returned to the band after several years out dealing with his label Epitaph records and recovering from his substance addiction. It shows that he’s back because it’s a real throwback to their heyday with rapid punk songs often at a blistering pace but vocalist Greg Graffin’s unique voice brings that meloncholic folk sound to it. His voice sounds amazing being harmonized with too and this album may be one of my favourites in their extensive and tremendous catalogue. A work of art.
Well so far the 00s haven’t been as painful as I thought but we’ve a long way to go and we’re about to head into out of my comfort zone. Put on a crash helmet because we’re venturing into the unknown. Wish me luck and stay tuned. Any ideas for lists? Gimme a shout @swing_kinker cheers folks. Byeeee.