There’s nothing like pop-culture anniversaries to remind you that time is just flying by. Realizing one of your favorite albums has been around for 10 years can be a bit shocking, but it also provides a good opportunity to look back and see how far you’ve come since your very first listen.
Here are a few classic albums that are celebrating big anniversaries this year:
10 Years Ago:
Sufjan Stevens: Come on Feel the Illinoise
A hushed meditation on God, life, death and familiar relationships. In addition to being a master class in concept albums (sadly, Stevens never did go through with his promise to record opuses for all 50 states), it was a also a banjo-driven album before Mumford & Sons drug the trope kicking and screaming into the mainstream.
Death Cab For Cutie: Plans
Death Cab For Cutie’s fifth album and first major label release. Full of thinking man’s anthems, songs like “I Will Follow You into the Dark” and “When Soul Meets Body” split the difference between big-time ambition and indie band charm.
Switchfoot: Nothing is Sound
Eight years into their career, Switchfoot finally had their “overnight success” with Nothing is Sound. Despite often being a bleak meditation on greed, the album managed to be an upbeat, guitar and poetry driven collection of tunes, and a perfect “kick off” to the Sand Diego band’s careeer.
15 Years Ago:
Do we remember a time before “it was all yellow?” Would we have Zach Braff if we didn’t have Chris Martin? Reflecting on Coldplay’s debut ultimately raises more questions than it answers. They would grow on to be one of Britan’s most bombastic pop exports since the Fab Four—but for one brief moment, Coldplay were the perfect boys next door.
Dashboard Confessional: Swiss Army Romance
Prepare for millennial nostalgia. Fifteen years ago, Chris Carrabba gave voice to our nostalgia with his Dashboard Confessional debut. From first kisses to dramatic breakups, no teenage cases of puppy love would have been the same without “Screaming Infidelities.”
Pedro the Lion: Winners Never Quit
Back when he was still known as Pedro the Lion, David Bazan made an album called Winners Never Quit. More about morality in the margins than an outright Sunday school lesson for the folk set, the eight-song mini-album concentrated on ambiguity, melancholy and all the spaces in-between.
20 Years Ago:
Green Day: Insomniac
Look under any teenager’s bed in the mid-’90s, and more likely than not, you’d find a hidden Green Day album. Abrasive, often profane, but ultimately quite catchy, the punk trio perfectly captured the ecstasy and agony of teenage existence.
MxPx: Teenage Politics
Q: How do you even teenage without MxPx? A: You don’t. Perhaps the gold standard in safe rebellion, MxPx’s second album was loud, punchy and Christian label Tooth & Nail approved.
Jewel: Pieces of You
On the strength of Jewel’s homespun wisdom and guitar ballads, her debut album Pieces of You would go on to become one of the best-selling albums of all time, going 15 times platinum. But we’ll always remember her as the plainspoken Alaskan singer-songwriter that made us rethink the meaning of crazy. (Apparently, it’s taking your coat off and standing in the rain. Who knew?)
Laura Studarus is a staff writer at RELEVANT. She likes catsup and pie. Now there's nothing left to discuss on the second date. Follow her on Twitter @Laura_Studarus.