Landmarks front man Brad Shea talks about the five albums that helped shaped him so far in his career .
When Shoplifters Union asked me to compile a list of 5 albums that ‘shaped’ me, I was more than up to the challenge. I began to rack my brain and delve into my iTunes library, and beyond, to try and whittle it down to just 5 and this list is the outcome. Some of these albums weren’t made by my favourite bands, some of them aren’t even my favourite albums, hell, one of them I don’t even listen to anymore, but they all played a huge part in my life whether it be inspiring my own song writing with Landmarks or just opening my ears to a whole new world of music. I hope you enjoy my choices, some of them may even surprise you, and find something you might have missed when it was first released. Thanks for reading!
Taking Back Sunday: Tell All Your Friends/Where You Want to Be (Victory Records, 2002/2004)
It’s not surprise to see these albums on this list because Taking Back Sunday are my favourite band of all time. I love all of their albums (yes, even New Again) and I hope they continue to make records as the years go by. The first TBS album I heard was Louder Now in 2006, which I also love, and the songs on that record left me wanting more, so much more. I went back and listened to their two previous releases which floored me. Everything I loved about Louder Now was present but the raw emotion on Tell All Your Friends really added to their sound whereas, in my opinion, Where You Want to Be features Taking Back Sunday’s best written songs, One Eighty By Summer being my all time favourite. I can’t pick which of these two albums I like more as every song on each of them is incredible and so for that reason I have to credit them both.
Fall Out Boy: From Under the Cork Tree (Island Records, 2005)
When Sugar, We’re Going Down was first released, I wasn’t completely sold on Fall Out Boy. I thought the song was catchy but nothing special and so I wasn’t interested in listening to the album. My sister, however, used to play it almost religiously in our house and as I started to hear the songs more I started to realise what the fuss was about. Now, it’s one of my favourite albums of all time which contains absolutely no filler. Every track is a perfectly crafted pop song at it’s core, even my favourite song I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy… which is the albums heaviest moment, and Patrick Stump’s powerhouse voice belting out Pete Wentz fantastic lyrics (which have declined in quality since their comeback) is hard to beat. It’s a must for any fan of pop punk.
The Academy Is…: Almost Here (Fueled by Ramen, 2005)
When I was younger, Fueled by Ramen absolutely killed it with every release. Fall Out Boy’s debut album Take This To Your Grave was released by FBR in 2003, and was equally as brilliant as From Under the Cork Tree, and I could also list Paramore’s All We Know Is Falling and Panic! At The Disco’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out as other albums which influenced me while growing up but instead, I chose to include the debut album from The Academy Is… for one simple reason: they were my favourite FBR band. There, I said it. Almost Here is a fantastic album which was overshadowed by the other FBR releases which also came out in 2005 (see above) and that borders on criminal for me. William Beckett may not have had the power in his vocals that Patrick Stump did or the range of Hayley Williams but he had charm and charisma when he sang on songs such as Seasons and Slow Down. They were a young band who unfortunately never lived up to the promise of this album on their later releases (although I do enjoy both Santi and Fast Times at Barrington High) and I think it’s a shame that many younger people these days may have never heard them. The album is 10 tracks and 32 minutes long. Listen to it at least once and realise what you may have missed back then.
My Chemical Romance: Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (Reprise, 2004)
My Chemical Romance got a lot of hate when they released The Black Parade in 2007 but there was already people shooting them down when they released this gem in 2004. Many thought their songs were controversial, themes of death and even prison rape had people crying out for others to abstain from listening to the band but it was hard to deny the brilliance of Three Cheers. The band had confidence in these 13 tracks and rightly so, each song is a story penned, and brilliantly delivered, by Gerrard Way and they all hold up over 10 years later. I Never Told You What I Do for a Living brings this album to a perfect close, and still stands as my favourite MCR song, as Way delicately sings ‘…they gave us two shots to the back of the head and we’re all, dead now,’ which sums up the emotional weight of the previous 12 tracks perfectly. This album is a masterpiece despite what the naysayers and the bands critics had to say at the time of it’s release.
Evanescence: Fallen (Wind Up/Epic, 2003)
This is a bit of a curveball compared to the other albums on this list. Truth be told, I haven’t listened to this album in a long time but when it was released in 2003 I had it on repeat constantly. I was introduced to Evanescence by the film Daredevil (thankfully erased from my memory by the awesome Netflix TV show) and they were the first rock band I got in to. They took me away from G-Unit (look them up, kids) and rap and set me on a different path. If it wasn’t for this band and this album, I’m not sure I’d even be where I am today in terms of my own attempts to make a career in music. Bring Me to Life was a great first single but the album tracks themselves, such a My Last Breath, were fantastic, atmospheric and almost cinematic in scope. Though the band are no longer a part of my iTunes library, I owe a lot to Evanescence and this album. Say what you will but Amy Lee had a voice that was unrivalled by anyone else in rock at the time and Fallen used that and turned them into one of the biggest bands of the early 2000s. I guess the only thing I can say is thank you, Evanescence, for ensuring that I discovered guitar driven music at a young age and leading me to where I am today.