Welcome to the Collection!

I'm Hebby! I'm a snake! This page is for me to catalogue some of my all time favorite albums and explain why you should love them too! If you wanna give something a listen, just click on the album cover! There's a new album added every week, so be sure to check back in!

WORRY. - Jeff Rosenstock

For the first album in my collection, I knew I had to go to an all time fav! Jeff Rosenstock's WORRY holds a special place in my heart for sure, but it also just objectively kicks ass. Showing his full punk influence on this record, Rosenstock delves into the overt political themes that would go on to define his following albums. That's not to say this album is all punk, though. The theatrics in Rosenstock's writing are bold throughout, especially in the latter half of the album where he creates what is essentially a stylistic recap of all of his influences in one cohesive suite. Musically, WORRY is the whole Rosenstock package and you really get the whole spectrum of his talent.

In terms of lyrical content, while some songs reflect the purely personal elements that populate his previous two records, the bulk of the album communicates prominent 21st century anxieties around gentrification, corporatization, climate change, and the consistent struggle against hopelessness in our modern day. Festival Song and Blast Damage Days are the obvious highlights of this. However, WORRY presents listeners with a tinge of optimism. There's a persistent theme regarding the individual's necessity in the capitalist scheme. Both Festival Song and To Be a Ghost... allude to this in their chorus, that all these malicious structures cannot function without the presence and compliance of the people they harm. This all comes to its climax at the end of the penultimate track, ...While You're Alive with the lyrics "and its not like the love that they show us on TV, it's home that can burn, it's a limb to freeze; it's worry, love is worry". After diving into all the horrors of the modern age, Rosenstock leaves us with the notion that we still hold power. If you love the world and want to see it get better, then you cannot give up on it. You gotta stay mad, stay loud, stay worried.

Definitely give this one a listen! WORRY easily earns its spot in my collection.

The Coroner's Gambit - The Mountain Goats

While it's far from my number one Goats album, The Coroner's Gambit doesn't get nearly as much attention as it should. This somber collection of songs written in memory of frontman John Darnielle's friend who only a couple years earlier had taken his own life. Released in the year 2000, this album finds itself as the penultimate record in The Mountain Goats's "Tape Era", meaning it was entirely recorded on lo-fi equipment. The buzz of Darnielle's favourite Panasonic boombox (most well utilized on the following album, All Hail West Texas) is a comforting sound present on this record, though a number of songs were also recorded on a 4-track recording device which gives a few tracks a distinct crispness. Musically, this album is like a calm spring day: familiar and warm, with a bittersweet end to the seasons past and a welcoming of those to come.

Darnielle would go on to tackle many other heavy subjects in his following albums, most notably his autobigraphical explorations of domestic abuse and addiction in The Sunset Tree and We Shall All Be Healed respectively. However, the haunting themes of this album resonate on a level of somber misery that you don't quite find on other albums. The tracks that more explicitly touch on Rozz Williams's death, these being The Coroner's Gambit, Bluejays and Cardinals, and Shadow Song are tinged with such geniune sadness and loss in their lyricism that make them truly unforgettable. The line from Bluejays and Cardinals "The world couldn't hold you, you slipped free" will always stick with me. Onions too is just such a beautiful track. While later albums would perfect on the sound and content that really makes the Mountain Goats what they are, The Coroner's Gambit will always hold a special place for me and has earned its place in this collection not only for its unjust overlooking but on its own merit as well. Definitely listen to this one when you get a chance!

American Idiot - Green Day

What can I say that hasn't already been said about this record? The sound is Green Day at their best, and the lyricism weaves one of the greatest concept albums of all time. Every track hits its mark. The story of a young activist falling to his own vices, destroying his relationships, and eventually buckling to the demands of a capitalist society resonates today as strong as it did when the album released. While it lacks the optimistic conclusion of Rosenstock's WORRY, American Idiot is arguably Green Day's most powerful protest album, sharing not only the cruel realities of 21st century capitalism but also a revolutionary call to action.

As resonant as its protests are, the narrative behind the album always strikes a much more emotional chord with me. Seeing what's wrong with the world and wanting to change it for the better, our protagonist (the Jesus of Suburbia) leaves his small town to go join the protests in the big city. However, his life quickly falls apart as his voice falls on deaf ears, he spirals into drug abuse, and loses the one person left who loves him. He can't even remember her name by the end of the album. After the triumphant conclusion of Homecoming, the album leaves off on a somber memory of Jesus's lost love, ending in that lull of reminscing we so often find ourselves indulging in our own lives.

The Youtube channel Polyphonic does a much better examination of this album than I have and inspired much of my interpretation. I highly recommend checking him out! After all the nights I've spent with friends, new and old, blasting this album and singing along to its iconic tracks, Green Day's American Idiot earns its place in the collection without a doubt. Give it a listen if you haven't already!

Black Magic Radio Static - Kick the Robot

One of the most slept on bands I've ever discovered, Kick the Robot, delivers banger after banger on this album. While I've found little about them on the net, I did find a summary grabbed from their official website (though I cannot find this website anywhere!). The band appears to have formed while its members were teenagers, grown up on rock music from the 60s and 70s and finding a disconnect between what they liked and what they were hearing on the radio. There was a raw quality missing, as they saw it, and they sought to return it. Hence the name, kicking the soulless robotic trend in modern music.

And boy do they deliver! The classic rock influences are all over the place and that rawness they were talking about gives this album a really compelling edge. It's a summertime spin for sure. Top tracks: Give Up Give In, Always the Killer, Electric Friends

Do yourself a favour and check this one out this summer!