KINKER KORNER’S TOP 35 ALBUMS OF 2003 NSFW

2003 was the year I took a trip America to work on a summer camp in California and travel a bit. I met some of the greatest people and made amazing friends and discovered all kinds of music. Of course the music is what we’ll be focusing on here as we take a trip in the Kinker time machine to 2003.

 

35.Brand New-Deja Entendu

Ok this will be a huge shock to my friends. Brand New were one of the most popular bands in the genre that killed my scene so I was incredibly bitter at the time and refused to acknowledge their music as anything but pretentious shite. Now in fairnes it is incredibly po faced and pretentious but damn if it isn’t pretty bloody good. It’s single heavy with the two singles are clearly the best tracks on the album but it is a very well put together album that I have reluctantly come to appreciate in my old age.

Highlights-“Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades” “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows”

 

34.Mushroomhead-XIII

Unfairly maligned as a Slipknot knock off, Mushroomhead are far more than that. They have an avant garde arthouse horror feel to their music with extensive use of piano and industrial style drum sounds. The horror mask gimmick was already being done by the band before Slipknot broke out big into the mainstream so that’s also an unfair accusation. You know how fans are though….they’ll fight and argue over anything.

Highlights-“Sun Doesn’t Shine” “Kill Tomorrow”

 

33.MXPX-Before Everything & After

Although MXPX were always super melodic and on the poppy side of the punk genre but they were always playing at a blistering skate punk pace. On this album they were clearing aiming for radio play which is fine as long is the music is good. Thankfully they’ve always had a great ear for melody and tune so it’s not too disturbing a departure. In fact it’s a great pop punk album with lots of great choruses.

Highlights-“Brokenhearted” “First Day Of The Rest Of Our Lives”

 

32.Type O Negative-Life Is Killing Me

Pete Steele and his band of Goth misfits are back with another melodic metal album filled with dark humour and existential musings. A mixture of tongue in cheek bleakness and genuine internal struggle with substances and depression lead to a melancholic album with the usual amount of melody and slow paced heavy riffs.

Highlights-“Todd’s Ship Goods (Above All Things)” “How Could She”

 

31.”Weird Al” Yankovic-Poodle Hat

Ahhh loveable Al. He could have been on several of these lists but finally makes an appearance. His immaturity and light hearted humour actually gets better the older you get which is probably quite an odd thing considering how silly his parodies are. I just understand his talent and intelligence a lot more these days and along with his excellent original songs he parodies early 00s culture brillaintly here.

Highlights-“Ode To A superhero” “Angry White Boy Polka”

 

30.Fabolous-Street Dreams

Another for the “not usually my kind of thing” pile but the laid back RnB album actually has a real soulful and tuneful vibe that is really nice to listen to. It has really nice production and plenty of great backing vocals. A standout in a pretty terrible era for RnB.

Highlights-“So Into You” “Damn”

 

29.Fountains Of Wayne-Welcome Interstate Managers

Mostly known for the huge hit “Stacy’s Mom” Fountains Of Wayne are an incredibly likeable power pop group that produce very easy listening pop songs about nostalgia and relationships. There’s a real 80s and even 90s throwback to a lot of their music with influences like The Cars and They Might Be Giants. Music in the geek rock vein, songs for outsiders by outsiders.

Highlights-“Hey Julie” “Mexican Wine”

 

28.Lamb Of God-As The Palaces Burn

Lamb Of God became one of the most popular metal bands of the 00s and it mainly began with this album. A brutal mix of pounding drums, groove riffs and even some death metal style guitar pieces. The band produced the album along with the legendary Devin Townsend and the wall of noise he usually produces is present here. Crushing metal.

Highlights-“Purified” “11th Hour”

 

27.The Suicide Machines-A Match And Some Gasoline

After the backlash from their last album’s ill advised change of direction they went back to basics with this one. Lot’s more ska punk that echos their first couple of albums. There’s also a marked change in attitude too with their lyrics focusing on anti war sentiments and distrust of the government rather than the usual musings on relationships and teen angst.

Highlights-“Did You Ever Get A Feeling Of Dread?” “High Anxiety”

 

26.Swollen Members-Heavy

This album received major heat from the Canadian horrorcore rap group’s fans due to it’s more mainstream sound and less focus on horror. Not being a hardcore fan of the band I don’t really care about all that but I do enjoy the MC skills on display here and it’s a lot of fun. It’s trashy and dirty and they definitely have a different sound to most groups out there.

Highlights-“Bottom Line” “Ambush”

 

25.Alicia Keys-The Diary Of Alicia Keys

Second album of award winning songs in and she’s still only 22. An incredibly talented woman with passion and soul like a modern day Nina Simone. The songs here are slightly less melancholic for the most part, mainly due to her venturing away from A Minor but they still have that touch of sadness and loss that has them connecting with music fans.

Highlights-“Diary” “If I Ain’t Got You”

 

24.Children Of Bodom-Hate Crew Deathtoll

Not being entrenched in the scene of death/black/doom metal I have absolutely no idea what to categorize this album as. Melodic….classical metal? Who knows? and it really doesn’t matter what it’s labelled as because what it is is amazing. It’s comically dramatic and over the top with piercing synths and fast riffs. Once the shock and temptation to laugh wears off there’s actually a hell of a lot of depth here and surprisingly epic melody. A nice change of pace for the list.

Highlights-” Needled 24/7″ “Angels Don’t Kill”

 

23.Barenaked Ladies-Everything To Eeveryone

Likeable, cheesy and poppy has always been the order of the day for Barenaked Ladies and it’s more of the same here. It’s college rock without any pretense. Humorous lyrics and great harmonies.

Highlights-“Testing 1, 2, 3” “Maybe Katie”

 

22.Fear Factory-Hatefiles

A collection of outtakes, remixes and rarities from the cyberpunk metal band. I love that they always have a conceptual theme to the albums and although that’s missing on here due to it being a compilation, So the conceptual theme is gone but the great music is still here.

Highlights-“Demolition Racer” “Cyberdyne”

 

21.Misfits-Project 1950

Singer Michael Graves had left by this point so Leaping Jerry Only took over on the singing department for this album of 50s covers. Only is a goofball and totally overdoes the creepy horror voice but thankfully the songs they chose to cover are excellent and really suit being punked up. In fact Only was the…..only member of the reunion era Misfits to appear on this album with Dez Cadena and Marky Ramone coming in with a unch of other guests. A lot of fans just see this as a Jerry Only album rather than a Misfits one but whatever the politics behind it there’s a lot of fun to be had here.

Highlights-“Diana” “Dream Lover”

 

20.Rancid-Indestructable

A beautiful tribute to friendship and the family of punk rock fans from the modern legends. There was huge backlash from many fans for this album as they signed a distribution deal with major label Warner Bros and of course that’s a big no no for bands like Rancid….apparently. Anyway, all of that aside it’s a great album produced by Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz that evokes memories of …And Out Come The Wolves.

Highlights-“Out Of Control” “Born Frustrated”

 

19.Eels-Shootenanny

Mr E is back with more painfully introspective song about life and all it’s many issues. It’s always a double edged sword listening to Eels as you wouldn’t really switch them on to enjoy yourself…..it’s more about having a cry and feeling sorry for yourself so while it’s cathartic and helpful to have a soundtrack to your pain it’s not the most enjoyable if that makes sense. Great songwriting as always.

Highlights-“Rock Hard Times” “The Good Old Days”

 

18.Machine Head-Through The Ashes Of Empires

Thankfully moving away from the nu metal leanings of their previous couple of albums, here we have a return to the sound that made their first two albums so great. More groove metal mixed with thrash and hardcore and it’s results are face crushing in it’s brutality.

Highlights-“Imperium” “Left Unfinished”

 

17.Michelle Branch-Hotel Paper

I bought this album during my time in America and it spent a lot of time in my discman when I was in relaxation or contemplative mode. There’s a lot less processed beats like in the last album and it feels more natural and live which is a good thing as it plays to her strengths. Her bonnie voice shines in this  album and she seemed to be going from strength to strength. It was a huge success but she seemed to fall off after this though which is incredibly sad as I was a big fan of her stuff. “It’s You” is a beautiful song.

Highlights-“It’s You” “Tuesday Morning”

 

16.Marilyn Manson-The Golden Age Of Grotesqe

I love the production of this album. It’s a return to his more industrial roots with electronic beats and super heavy guitars with a great tone. It touches on the usual taboo topics that Manson always loves to exploit and the riffs are real headbangers. Manson intended for this to be his final album before he went into acting and other artistic ventures but he would return to music not long after.

Highlights-“Use Your Fist And Not Your Mouth” “Saint”

 

15.RZA-The World According To RZA

What an interesting project this was. The brilliant Wu Tang mastermind RZA flew around the world meeting with emcees from around the globe and produced tracks for them to collaborate on. It’s great to get a taste of different rappers from all around the world spitting their skills over RZA’s excellent and dark production skills.

Highlights-“Black Star Line Up” “The North Sea”

 

14.NOFX-The War On Errorism

The band’s furious protest against George W Bush and the war against terrorism (obviously). Many would call it preachy but it’s punk rock for social change and it’s serving a purpose. It was desperately trying to get kids to become involved in politics as the threat of a right wing theocracy and pointless wars were a real threat. Sometimes political punk rock is preachy but I would argue it needs to be. At least they keep their trademark immature sense of humour.

Highlights-“13 Stitches” “Franco Un-American”

 

13.Zwan-Mary Star Of The Sea

When Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins announced he had a new band with Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlain it was quite exciting to see what he’d come up with. Of course this would be their only album as they split up almost immediately due to arguments and in-fighting which should come as no shock as this is Corgan we’re talking about. The album itself is a far more upbeat effort than hhis Pumpkins work which is a deliberate step and his excellent songwriting skills and musicianship shines with Chamberlain’s drumming being as skilled as ever.

Highlights-“Lyric” “Honestly”

 

12.Devildriver-Devildriver

Dez Fafara, the former singer of Coal Chamber brought his new band to the music scene with a bang. Me and my buddy Rick used to have a good laugh at Coal Chamber as we just found them silly in their sincerity and by the numbers nu metal sound but holy crap when Devildriver came out it sure was a hell of a lot different. Brutally heavy with Fafara’s distinctive voice bellowing and cackling to create an atmospheric and far superior sound than his previous band.

Highlights-“i Dreamed I Died” “Swinging The Dead”

 

 

11.Various Artists-We’re A Happy Family:A Tribute To Ramones

A loving tribute to one of the most influential bands of all time from a great collection of artists and groups. Johnny Ramone oversaw the project and helped choose the bands for the album. A lot of the songs are pretty straight forward covers from fellow punk bands and others make the songs their own. It’s a fitting and caring celebration of the band’s legacy with Rob Zombie doing the artwork.

Highlights-“Pete Yorn-I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” “Rob Zombie-Blitzkrieg Bop”

 

10.Aphex Twin-26 Remixes For Cash

As you can probably tell this is a bunch of remixes Aphex Twin did for various different groups. His darker than black style permeates the album and he more often than brings something wholly new to the original songs he is tweaking. He’s well respected and known as one of the best underground  electronica artists out there despite having a hit with “Windowlicker”.

Highlights-“Heroes by David Bowie/Philip Glass” “Flow Coma by 808 State”

 

9.Superjoint Ritual-A Lethal Dose Of American Hatred

It’s unfortunate what has become of Phil Anselmo, the former frontman of Pantera. Years of heroin abuse has turned him from one of the best frontmen in the history of metal, a charsmatic, good looking and thoughtful spokesperoson for metal into a confused mess bloated and rambling while making Nazi salutes to crowds. He leads this band in an incredible show of hardcore thrash and sludge metal that is blistering and ferocious. It’s an incredibly violent album that must send mosh pits into absolute bedlam. Powerful stuff that hits very hard.

Highlights-“Waiting For A Tunring Point” “Sickness”

 

8.Gang Starr-The Ownerz

Been a while since we’ve seen these lads on the list but they make yet another appearance here with a superb return to the amazing form they showed in years previous. Their MC skills are as tight as ever and the beats are excellent and reminiscent of the early to mid 90s style of hip hop rather than the jilted beats of the time from more contemporary artists.

Highlights-“The Ownerz” “Skills”

 

7.Joe Budden-Joe Budden

One of the only new artists from this time that I actually enjoyed. Budden came onto the scene with his self titled debut from Def Jam and had a hit single with Pump It Up. The charismatic, good looking youngster didn’t look like the new rappers of the time. He went for the baggy sportswear rather than the blinging sparkles of Diddy and the like and it brought more of a realness to his presentation. A likeable dude who many people not overly into the rap scene may know from the Def Jam video games in which he was a playable character…..man those games were ace. Budden sadly wouldn’t make an album for another 5 years.

Highlights-“Pump It Up” “Walk With Me”

 

6.Prince Paul-Politics Of The Business

The DJ/producer/Gravediggaz meber from New York is known for his humour and extrordinary production skills. His albums are seen as conceptual records and he mockingly says the them of this album is about an album that follows up a failed record due to the poor sales of his previous album. The guests on her are a who’s who of hip hop like Guru, Chuck D, Ice T, The Pharcyde and even Dave Chappelle makes a couple of appearances.

Highlights-“Not Tryin’ To Hear That” “Chubb Rock Please Pay Paul His $2200 You Owe Him (People, Places And Things)”

 

5.Swingin’ Utters-Dead Flowers, Bottles, Bluegrass And Bones

Bringing more of a folk tinged punk sound than their usual straight forward OI style, the Utters bring a singalong barroom sound and a feelgood vibe with this album.They’ve always been a very underrated…..actually underrated is maybe the wrong word but they’ve certainly been underappreciated over the years. One of those sad realities of life.

Highlights-“Glad” “Poor Me”

 

4.Anti-Flag-Terror State

I remember reading a magazine around 2000, it might have been Kerrang or Metal Hammer but whoever was being interviewed said that the only good thing about the impending presidential run of George W Bush would be that we’d get a lot of good punk and protest albums out of it. That stuck with me and now seems even more relevant actually. This is one of the best protest albums from a band who pretty much only do protest albums.

Highlights-“Turncoat” “Mind The G.A.T.T”

 

3.Alkaline Trio-Good Mourning

The goth punk band are back with a slightly more raw sounding album than their previous album but it’s still the same kind of thing at heart. Melodic punk rock with the melancholic songwriting in the style of The Cure. Essentially dark poetry put to up tempo punk rock. They are such a great band when they are on form and this here is some of their finest form.

Highlights-“This Could Be Love” “If We Never Go Inside”

 

2.Inspectah Deck-The Movement

The most underrated and probably my favourite member of the Wu Tang Clan released his second album which was an incredible, upbeat rap album that really shows off Deck’s skills. He carries his own album superbly well and barely even has any guests which is rare for a rap album, particularly a member of the clan. Such a damn good piece of work.

Highlights-“City High” “That Nigga”

 

1.Bouncing Souls-Anchors Aweigh

My name is Kinker Korner and I have a Bouncing Souls problem. I’ll tell you when I’ve had too much ok?!. The New Jersey punks just keep on delivering with album after album of passion filled melodic punk rock and that’s just right up my alley. One of the best bands in the world and the continue to dominate the lists.

Highlights-“The Day I Turned My Back On You ” “Kids And Heroes”

 

Well this decade  hasn’t been nearly as bad as I thought it would be….oh we’re only 3 years in….I have a feeling it’s gonna be hard from here on out. We’ll see though and if you have any ideas for lists gimme a shout @swing_kinker and I’ll see you back here soon. Byeeeee x

 

 

 

 

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