5. Dropkick Murphys - Do or Die - Before Al Barr's grungy vocals entered the picture, DKM was fronted by now Street Dogs front man Mike McColgan. Do or Die was an animal all its own compared to the Murphys of today, riding waves of in-your-face street punk with a regular twinge of the Celtic punk so adamantly displayed in more recent Murphys albums. DKM might have turned out a very different band today had Mike McColgan not joined the Boston Fire Department. Then again, Street Dogs might be a decent representation of a very different DKM.
4. Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends - You haven't heard a record that more desperately requires a sing-along than TBS' Tell All Your Friends. Following the departure of Brand New's Jesse Lacey and preceeding the departure of Straylight Run's John Nolan, TBS was a complete unit, cranking out emo masterpieces filled with a new kind of teenage angst. Unlike today's TBS, Nolan's vocals seemed to stand out just as well as Adam Lazarra's had, creating the most potent and emotional combination I've heard to this day.
3. Further Seems Forever - The Moon Is Down - Hey, remember how Chris Carraba formed Dashboard Confessional and made a bajillion dollars? Yeah, he was in Further Seems Forever before that ever happened. And they were incredible. The Moon Is Down is still one of the most powerful collections of songs I've ever heard, showcasing Carraba's vocals amidst spectacular drums and sentimental melodies. If you've never heard these guys, you better check 'em out. Just don't listen to any of their other albums, because this is the only one worthwhile.
2. Saves the Day - Can't Slow Down - They did slow down. But damn it all if they weren't lightning fast back then, cranking out tune after tune of sexually-frustrated emo-core with Lifetime-esque prowess. Three phrases to describe this album: short, fast, to the point. Much the opposite of my blog posts. Efficient punk rock with honest and violent, yet attractive lyrics that somehow felt comforting amidst the chaos and catchiness of the music. Still one of my favorite spins on my iTunes.
1. Alkaline Trio - Goddamnit - What is there to say about Goddamnit that I haven't already written in detail? Not only is this the greatest debut album of all time -- it's simply the greatest album of all time. Disagree? Feel free to put your favorite album up against mine in the comments. As a warning -- I will argue Goddamnit's rightful place in punk history to the death.