Sunshine's Top 10 Favorite Junior Albums

The Music Ark continues their series on Best Album releases. We’ve started with best Debuts. We’ve hit best 2nd release, and now we are on to Junior Year! So here is my list of Top 10 3rd studio albums!

10. Life is Not a Waiting Room by Senses Fail


Frontman, Buddy Nielsen, was going through some dark times when it came to dealing with the success and fame of their early years. Their 3rd record proved to be angrier, darker, and musically speaking, much stronger. This album didn’t go over as well with fans and critics as previous outings but it is aggressive, powerful, heartbreaking, and I absolutely love it.

Favorite Tracks: “Lungs Like Gallows”; “Wolves at the Door”; “Chandelier”

9. Mignonette by The Avett Brothers


Beautiful and raw, with it’s roots planted in bluegrass and folk, Mignonette is an incredible example of using instrumentation to it’s fullest. The Avett brothers overlay poppy harmonies on top of strong musicianship and to make things even better, finish everything off with powerful emotions that help secure this album as the strongest in their arsenal.

Favorite Tracks: “Nothing Short of Thankful”; “The New Love Song”; “Swept Away”

8. 2014 Forest Hills Drive  by J. Cole


J. Cole is an excellent storyteller who knows how to put the listener front and center. Many offered up criticisms, specifically the lack of a single; but I would argue that it flows incredibly well from start to finish and this album is a statement that J. Cole is a force to be reckoned with.

Favorite Tracks: “Wet Dreamz”; “G.O.M.D.”; “No Role Modelz”

7. 20/20 Experience (Parts 1 & 2) by Justin Timberlake


JT simultaneously takes a departure from the norm while also sticking to his roots. He finds a way to push the boundaries of what he does well in this experimental symphony. Some love it and some aren’t fans but every track has the ability to resonate with the listener and I would argue that it is the strongest he has ever been musically.

Favorite Tracks: “Pusher Love Girl”; “Spaceship Coupe”, “Murder”

6. The Moon and Antarctica by Modest Mouse


The subject matter is dark but uses a bright musicality that acts as a perfect counterbalance. It’s diverse from track to track but blends perfectly together as it genre hops from one place to another making it seductive and mysterious. If you’re looking to dive into the extensive Modest Mouse catalog, this is the perfect place to start.

Favorite Tracks: “3rd Planet”; “Dark Center of the Universe”; “I Came as a Rat”

5. The Walking Wounded by Bayside


The Emo/Punk scene has some strong punches out there, but this tightly wound album of angst might be the strongest of them all. Fast paced riffs and sing-a-long choruses splatter the walls of this album like the punk rock posters of a scene kid's bedroom. Bayside has proven their lasting power in the genre, still rip, roaring, and shredding. Lyrically the band matures from previous outings but songs don’t lose their kick.

Favorite Tracks: “They’re Not Horses, They’re Unicorns”; “Carry On”; “Landing Feet First”

4. Because of the Times by Kings of Leon


When most people think of Kings of Leon, they immediately jump to Only By the Night, but Because Of the Times is where they truly make their mark; with subtle blends of instrumentation and a strong understanding of balancing quiet tones with kick ass riffs. It gets in your face just enough to keep you engaged but backs off just in time to not become overwhelming and it is, without a doubt, the best they have ever been.

Favorite Tracks: “Charmer”; “On Call”; “The Runner”

3. In Defense of the Genre by Say Anything


Max Bemis steeps his lyrics in metaphors and immaturity, leaving the music world to write him off as that annoying nephew you have to deal with at family gatherings. In Defense of the Genre was proof that Bemis was never to be taken lightly. He puts forth an opus that lays out thought provoking, deeply candid lyrics, while showing creativity and strength as a musician. It is damn near perfect.

Favorite Tracks: “Skinny, Mean Man”; “Girlfriend (Shiksa)”; “About Falling”

2. My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade


When people try to make fun of the emo genre, I always hear My Chemical Romance thrown into the conversation as if they should be placed in an old shoe box with other pieces of memorabilia to be pulled out and mocked like old yearbook photos. What a poor misunderstanding of an incredibly talented band. To this day, the showmanship and musicianship that was presented in The Black Parade creates a new mold of what what this genre should be.

Favorite Tracks: “Welcome to the Black Parade”; “Mama”; “Famous Last Words”

1. Brand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me


This album was an announcement to fans that this band was going to evolve and the pop-punk sound that once existed was no longer a possibility. Dark and thoughtful with and experimental flare, TDAGARIM perfectly created the high-lonesome sound for alternative rock. It’s soaked in agony and despair while proving to be filled with hope. This is the greatest album of all time and I wholeheartedly mean that.

Favorite Tracks: “Sowing Season (Yeah)”; “Degausser”; “Limousine (MS Rebridge)”