My Top Three Albums This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     If I had to choose only three albums to listen to while stranded on a desert island, the first I would pick is “American Idiot” by Green Day, my favorite band. “American Idiot” is one of their longest albums and has a story to it; it’s a lot like going to an opera, only with better music. I can listen to it as a whole and almost get the feeling of having read a book or watched a movie.

Another aspect of this album that keeps my interest is the production. For many parts of the album, the band recorded a heavily distorted guitar with an acoustic guitar underneath, which gives the guitar a very thick and full sound. I have actually started using this trick in my home recording studio, and this technique really improves the sound.

The band also experiments with writing in unusual key signatures. Three of the songs are all in G# which is a strange key for guitar since it limits the open strings/chords. Another starts in C# but then changes throughout. Since there is piano in the song, and there is a G# harmonic, I can tell the guitars are in standard tuning, and therefore played in a strange key. Along with having many key and time changes, this song is a 10-minute epic with everything I would want in both its production and writing.

The second album I would take is “Final Straw” by Snow Patrol. I’ll need a change of pace from Green Day, and this is the perfect choice. Almost all the songs are slow, but not boring. Pacing aside, the reason I really like this album is the writing. The songs feel like poems turned into music and not just lyrics. I can only hope eventually to write like Snow Patrol.

The production is also great. I love the sound that comes from their guitars. I have no idea what they did, but they have a very clean, mid-driven sound. Along with the production, the guitar playing is great. This band has two guitarists and actually uses both, playing harmonies on the separate guitars throughout the album. Very often, one guitarist plays chords while the other plays octaves at the third of the chord, which comes out sounding perfect for ballads.

The drums also sound perfect. The snare drum comes in clear and doesn’t ring out at all. It sounds like they not only tuned it just right, but also found just the correct spot for the microphone and put just enough reverb to get a great sound. The band also adds orchestrations to some songs. During slower songs, violins add just enough to make the songs even better.

The third album I would take is “City of Evil” by Avenged Sevenfold. When I first heard this band, I knew it had a mix of everything I like. They have guitar solos, but the songs are also good. This band sounds like Yngwie Malmsteen meets Green Day, which is perfect for me.

“City of Evil” has a very classic sound of both the chord progressions and the guitar solos, which have a lot of harmonies. They often play thirds during the heavily distorted guitar solos. Since it is going so fast, the guitar has to be dead on to make it good, which it is. The production on this album is great, but there aren’t many things that jump out as amazing in the production.

Although the guitarist from Avenged Sevenfold can play like a neo-classical virtuoso, the songs would still be good rock songs even without them. Avenged Sevenfold has both good songs and the musicianship of virtuoso players.

If I were stranded on a desert island and only allowed to bring three albums, these would be good enough for a while ... or at least a few days.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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sleepy916 said...
Oct. 19, 2011 at 12:04 pm

The book cover looks grose

 

 
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