Best of 2022

Photo of Elliott, in Detroit in September, by me. See a full gallery and all my concert photography here.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have either listened to tons of Christmas music or listened to music released this year. I have an iTunes/Apple Music "smart" playlist with only songs from 2022 that I listen to on shuffle often while I'm driving. For one, this reminds me of all that was put out this year, but also it puts songs into context and comparison with each other. This is one of the most helpful ways for me to rank albums. 

This 2022 shuffle also leads to some albums climbing my list, or vice versa. The two biggest climbers go to Madison Cunningham and The Smile. I had never even heard of Madison Cunningham before November, and her album immediately grabbed me last month. And then The Smile I didn't spend much time with, which is my own fault. Had Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood simply called it a Radiohead album, I probably would have preordered it. Midnights wound up lower than I had hoped, and Havasu also didn't grab me like most Pedro the Lion albums. And then Tegan and Sara, who I love, released an album that I couldn't place on this list anywhere; more on that album below.

Here are my two primary playlists I made, one on BNDCMPR (all songs from Bandcamp, no account needed--may work better if you follow this link), and then Apple Music. The BNDCMPR playlist begins with melodic indie rock and then transitions into the harder stuff. The Apple Music playlist leans more mainstream, also begins with melodic indie rock, and transitions into folky and quiet.


Top 25 albums of 2022:

1. The Beths- Expert In A Dying Field
Auckland, New Zealand
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

This dominated my fall listening as it was released a few weeks after I saw The Beths in concert in August. They were so tight live, with four-part harmonies, and all their songs sounding better than the studio versions. Thankful The Beths got a lotta love this year, they deserve it!

2. Momma- Household Name
Los Angeles, California
See the record on my Instagram (I also constructed this album cover out of LEGO)
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I listed "Medicine" as one of my favorite singles of 2021, but it could not have prepared me for how much I would love this album. I listened to pretty much nothing but this album all summer. The 90's influence is huge and transports me back to high school (in the good ways!).
3. Caracara- New Preoccupations
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Was a nominal Caracara fan the last couple years, as I discovered them with the "Better" EP, which I ranked as one of my fav EPs that year. This LP is on a completely different plane--the songwriting is so intelligent and profound.
4. Spoon- Lucifer On the Sofa
Austin, Texas
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I want to call this the return of Spoon, but they never went anywhere. I love pretty much all that the band does, but the energy here is the highest from the band in quite some time. I read they wanted to make a "guitar record", and they did!

5. Death Cab for Cutie- Asphalt Meadows
Seattle, Washington
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp       

When Chris Walla left Death Cab for Cutie in 2014, I wasn't convinced the band would ever be the same. Death Cab is Ben Gibbard's band of course, but he has released tons of solo music, and Death Cab, with Walla's contributions, was always so much better. My feeling was validated with 2018's Thank You For Today (the first Death Cab album without Walla), as I find it incredibly bland and boring. I had barely thought about Death Cab since, and even after the first single "Roman Candles" dropped early this year, I though, "blah". So when I heard Asphalt Meadows in full, I was shocked. It is all over the map musically and an incredible return to form. "Wheat Like Waves" has perhaps jumped into my top 10 Death Cab songs of all time.

6. Brutus- Unison Life

Leuven, Belgium
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I had heard a little Brutus maybe as early as 2017, but it wasn't until 2019 that I became a huge fan. I decided to listen to Nest for the first time in full while walking around Washington, DC in December of 2019. It immediately grabbed me and I made an emotional connection. Unison Life is the next step in the band's progression, and I can't wait to see them live. They seem like a perfect fit for Furnace Fest so hoping they are announced for 2023.

7. Hatchie- Giving The World Away

Brisbane, Australia
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Hatchie makes great dream pop, and this was a huge progression for her instrumentally. I had a ticket to see her in Washington, DC in May but sadly missed the show as I was given free tickets to a professional soccer match the same night. It was a tough call ultimately picked based on location (soccer game right next to my Airbnb while the Hatchie show on the other side of the city).
8. Plains- I Walked with You a Ways

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

It's no secret I am an obsessive fan of Katie Crutchfield, primarily through her work as Waxahatchee. This new project is a collaboration with Jess Williamson, who I was previously unfamiliar with. While I prefer the five Crutchfield tunes, all the songs are all terrific--and the most pure country album I have liked ages.
9. Neighbor Lady- For The Birds

Atlanta, Georgia
See the record on my Instagram 
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Neighbor Lady is the project of Emily Braden, who is a former student of mine. She has been musical and creative since I knew her in high school, but I lost track of her for quite a while. But this album is stunning and caught be by surprise when it was released this past summer.
10. Madison Cunningham- Revealer

San Diego, California
Record ordered, awaiting delivery
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

As I mentioned in the intro, I had never heard of Madison Cunningham until I was reading year-end lists last month. This album immediately grabbed me with it's song-writing and intricate guitar work. And Cunningham has a significant back catalog that I am now working my way into.

11. Arcade Fire- WE

Montreal, Quebec, Canada
See the record on my Instagram

Really conflicted about the inclusion of this Arcade Fire record. I do like it, and listened to it a ton the first half of 2022. But recent news has made it difficult to listen to and unsure what that means long-term. One of my favorite bands ever, and this was a nice return to form. And I even wrote my Arcade Fire top 25 list early this year. But, future listening...
12. Drug Church- Hygiene

Albany, New York
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Drug Church was new to me this year, a Furnace Fest discovery. They are a terrific hardcore band with fairly unique vocals for the genre. Super-high energy and amazing live.
13. Taylor Swift- Midnights

West Reading, Pennsylvania
See the record on my Instagram

I love Taylor Swift, but this album was underwhelming. There are a few highlight tracks, but I will rarely ever listen to it straight through again. This SputnikMusic review caught a ton of flak, but I find it spot on. And then of course there was this mess:

14. Phoenix- Alpha Zulu

Versailles, France

I had rarely listened to Phoenix in the last decade. Like most, I discovered the band with Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix in 2009, but then was underwhelmed by both their 2013 and 2017 albums. Alpha Zulu is  and fun and energetic.
15. Stars- From Capelton Hill

Montreal, Quebec, Canada
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I once wrote something to the effect, "Stars writes great songs, but not great albums." That was an immature thing for me to say, but does describe my fandom. I listen to all their releases at times, but the only one I return to frequently is 2010's The Five Ghosts. This is my fav full Stars album since that time.
16. Astronoid- Radiant Bloom

Groveland, Massachusetts
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Astronoid was the discovery of Furnace Fest 2021, as their blend of post-metal with soaring, melodic vocals is one-of-a-kind. This, their third album, continues the trend of complex and intricate guitar work.
17. Wild Pink- ILYSM
New York, New York
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I discovered Wild Pink in 2017 as I had an annual subscription to the record label Tiny Engines on Bandcamp and downloaded their debut. I've always enjoyed them, but my fandom has remained nominal. ILYSM grabbed me in a completely different way and am trying to track down this beautiful vinyl variant.
18. Ethel Cain- Preacher’s Daughter

Tallahassee, Florida

This album is oh, so dark and a testament of what it's like to be scarred by the church. I hope it's stories aren't true, but I am guessing they are.
Also, bizarrely, this album is not available in any physical format-- no vinyl and no CDs.
19. Jump Little Children- Foundering

Charleston, South Carolina

In October I was sitting in a school parking lot waiting to pick up one of my kids when a Jump, Little Children song came up on shuffle. I forgot how much I loved them and over the next few days listened to three of their older albums in full while on a road trip. I think Googled them and was shocked to find that they are back! They had broken up originally in 2006, which I knew, but then they returned to performing live and dropped the album Sparrow in 2018.
20. Horsegirl- Versions of Modern Performance

Chicago, Illinois
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I still need to listen to this more and learn the songs, but I love the sound: noisy, grungy, and tons of interesting guitar tones.

21. The Smile- A Light for Attracting Attention
Oxford, UK
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

It's Radiohead! Sort of. ;)
22. Anxious- Little Green House
Fairfield, Connecticut
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

The first pop-punk album I have purchased since the mid-90's, but because it's more diverse than that. This is my favorite album COVER of 2022. 
23. Metric-
Toronto, Ontario

While loving Metric, I honestly haven't spent much time digging into this one. Listing it now as a reminder to spend more time listening.

24. Pedro the Lion- Havasu
Seattle, Washington
See the record on my Instagram
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I feel a deep connection to David Bazan and own all his music. That said, I don't like this as much as most of his work. I do love the autobiographical story-telling, but as he moves forward on the project of recording albums about the places he has lived, I hope for some more aggression and energy- I find this album kind-of a downer.
25. Holy Fawn- Dimensional Bleed
Phoenix, Arizona
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

See my comment about Metric and needing to listen more. The difference here is that Holy Fawn is new to me, and I am just getting started. Love the sound and need to dig into it more.

Top 5 EP's of 2022

1. Stay Inside-
New York, New York
Record pre-ordered and awaiting shipment soon.
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Had this been a full-length, would have been in my top 5 LPs of the year. I adore Stay Inside and they would be a perfect new band for Furnace Fest.

2. Rosie Thomas- Lullabies for Parents, Vol. 1

Record pre-ordered but doesn't ship until July 2023.
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

I am so excited Rosie Thomas is writing and releasing music again. She took about a decade off while growing her family, and now she is back with songs about being a parent. Vol. 1of Lullabies for Parents dropped this year and Vol. 2 is coming in 2023.

3. football, etc.- Vision

Houston, Texas
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Football, etc. is the master of EPs. 2015's Disappear is the most beautiful 7" I own, and so glad they are back after what was maybe a 5 year break?

4. Manchester Orchestra- No Rule (single)

Atlanta, Georgia
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

There weren't that many EPs in 2022 for me, so cheating with these last couple. Manchester Orchestra though is constantly putting out music and did throughout 2022. While No Rule was the only new original song of the year, they also are monthly dropping numerous covers, in-studio live albums, demos, etc. mostly through their Patreon. I don't support many Patreon's, but based on my experience no artist is doing a better job of putting out content than Manchester Orchestra. Even this week while working on this post they shared a private video and studio live show, Christmas Songs, vol. 3.

5. Thrice- Open Your Eyes and Dream and Dead Wake (singles)
Listen/buy on Bandcamp

Also not really an EP, but Thrice released these two fantastic singles in 2022, both songs left over yet unfinished from the Horizons-East sessions. They are both amazing and are better than half the songs on that album (which I love). As we await Horizons-West, Thrice also put out some great acoustic renditions this year of 2021 songs.

My favorite song of 2022

Frank Turner- "A Wave Across A Bay"

In 2018 Scott Hutchison, frontman of Frightened Rabbit, committed suicide. Despite not knowing Scott personally, it rattled and changed me. Frank Turner was good friends with Scott, and wrote this song about him. Hutchison's death led me to write the most vulnerable and honest essay I have ever published--about suicide, faith, community, and eternity. You can read it here: Thank God I’m Full of Holes;
What Scott Hutchison taught me about brokenness, love, God, and community.

Most disappointing album of 2022:

Tegan: "Hey sis, remember when we wrote that fun song for The Lego Movie?"
Sara: "Well, it was a little repetitive and irritating, but the kids loved that song didn't they?"
Tegan: "Ya well I was thinking, what if we recorded a whole album of songs like that?"
Sara: "Ooh, I like that idea. Considering we are in our 40's and most of our friends have children, that could work--the kids would love it!"
Tegan: "Yeah, I've been working on some really, catchy, poppy stuff."
Sara: "Me too! Do you have a lead single in mind?"
Tegan: "Oh yeah, it's called 'Fucking Up What Matters'."
Sara: "Um..."
Tegan: "And two more in the works are 'Pretty Shitty Time' and 'Smoking Weed Alone'."
Sara: "Um... what about the kids?"

In all seriousness, I actually have no problems with Tegan and Sara's use of profanity on their new album Crybaby. In fact, I even created a playlist this year called "E is for Everyone", in which every song on it contains the F-word. The difference in my playlist though is that I used songs that contain the F-word in discreet, sometimes surprise ways. I used to listen to Tegan and Sara with my kids quite a bit, specifically my fav album of theirs Heartthrob. I won't be playing this one for them, but not just because of lyrical content. Even if there was a "clean" version of Crybaby available, it's just not good.

The central problem(s) I have with Crybaby is that I just find it terrible musically. Eight of the first nine songs on the album are upbeat, electro-pop--I sadly find them goofy and mostly unlistenable. I am a HUGE Tegan and Sara fan, have almost all their albums on vinyl. This is easily my least favorite thing they have ever done. I saw them in concert in 2004 and 2007, both shows were fantastic. For the majority of this album I am just completely shocked this is what Tegan and Sara have progressed to. 

There are some great songs here which are all down-tempo and more somber-- "Faded by a Feeling", and then the final songs on the album: "This Ain't Going Well", "Sometimes I See Stars", and "Whatever That Was." Those are the only four songs on this album I plan to revisit--I'll stick to the rest of Tegan & Sara's back catalog.

Top 10 shows of 2022:

If 2021 was the return of live music, both for me and the industry, then in 2022 it reached the next level of awesomeness. I saw around 30 bands at Furnace Fest, but then went to a dozen other club shows. All that said, some incredible live music this year! Video links below are my footage.

1. Sunny Day Real Estate (Saw twice: in Detroit at Saint Andrews Hall, and Furnace Fest) "Pillars"
2. Elliott (Saw twice: in Detroit at The Fillmore and at Furnace Fest) "Calm Americans"
3. The Beths (took my kids to see them at the Magic Bag in Detroit)
4. Thrice (at Furnace Fest playing the album The Illusion of Safety)
5. Sleigh Bells (In Detroit at The Magic Stick)
6. mewithoutYou (In Detroit in January playing the album Brother, Sister)
7. Laura Stevenson (In Detroit at The Loving Touch)
8. Stretch Arm Strong (Furnace Fest)
9. Blindside (Furnace Fest)
10. Idle Threat (Furnace Fest)

See my video compilation of Furnace Fest here.

And here is a compilation of clips from other shows I saw in Detroit:

Top 9 vinyl reissues of 2022:


Furnace Fest 2022

Furnace Fest 2022

Furnace Fest was spectacular again! My video recap and photo album explain it better than I can do in words. But as I am addicted to ranking everything, here are all the artists I saw at least three songs from and how much I enjoyed the sets. This is but skewed because I saw SDRE and Elliott last week, and if I hadn’t, they would have almost certainly been #1 and #2. But Thrice’s "Illusion of Safety" set was perfect!

1. Thrice
2. Elliott
3. Sunny Day Real Estate
4. Stretch Arm strong
5. Blindside
6. Idle Threat
7. Slow Crush
8. Drug Church
9. Capra
10. Roadside Monument
Five Iron Frenzy
The Appleseed Cast
The Joy Formidable
The Descendents
The Darling Fire
As Friends Rust
Mom Jeans
Maylene and the Sons of Disaster
The Spill Canvas
New Found Glory


Top 25 Brandtson songs

Photo by me in perhaps 2001. This was a club (or room, ha!) in Nashville, TN. Anyone know the name of it? 

With Brandtson's vinyl discography now complete and available (see my Instagram below), I definitely have the band on the brain. Brandtson was one of my favorite bands for a long time (still are; and sure wish they were playing at Furnace Fest where they belong!). Between 1998 and 2003 I saw them at least a dozen, if not 15 times. I mostly saw them in many small, sweaty, hole-in-the wall clubs in Birmingham, Nashville, and Atlanta and went out of the way to go to as many of their high-energy shows as I could. I also saw them at a few festivals, from Cornerstone in Illinois to OneFest in Memphis.

Sadly, the last time I saw them was in Frankfurt, Germany in August of 2003. That was before Brandtson really came into their own with their phenomenal 2004 album Send Us a Signal, my #1 album of 2004. So many of the best Brandtson songs are from that album, and I never saw them performed. And then, Hello, Control, I admittedly never got that into, and the lack of seeing Brandtson live around its release definitely contributed. As I mention at length in my recent Instagram post, I am just now really getting into and loving Hello, Control.

As far as I am concerned, Brandtson is just as good as and could have been as big as Jimmy Eat World (seems silly, but it's all about opportunity). While "The Middle" sent Jimmy Eat World soaring into popularity, Brandtson never had that one hit song. (And arguably half the songs on Brandtson's Trying to Figure Each Other Out EP are better than "The Middle".) Prior to Bleed American, the bands were easy for me to compare, but now it's hard to as Jimmy Eat World has stayed active and productive for 25+ years, while Brandtson existed less than half that time and never had the budgets and promotion to share their music.

This is the best Brandtson video I have found online, except sadly one can't see the crowd at all. But this perfectly represents the Brandtson I knew and loved at all those shows. Brandtson was the perfect sing-a-long band. Perhaps my favorite band ever for singing along loudly in the car to. And I can't help but sing a long as I sit here writing this post.


Before we dive into the songs, here is the Brandtson releases ranked in my order of preference. I don't usually rank EP's along with LP's, but in Brandtson's discography they are essential.

1. Send Us A Signal 

2. Trying to Figure Each Other Out EP

3. Fallen Star Collection

4. Dial In Sounds

5. Hello, Control

6. Death & Taxes EP

7. Letterbox

Top 25 Brandtson Songs:


 1. "Boys Lie" from the 2000 Trying To Figure Each Other Out EP
While Brandtson released two full-lengths prior to this EP, this was honestly the first time they captured their high-energy live show in a recording. Summer of 2000 I probably listened to this EP in full daily. For the long time it was my favorite Brandtson "album" even though it is only six songs.

2. "Summer In St. Claire" from the 1999 Fallen Star Collection LP
The first time I saw Brandtson was at Slacker 66 in Birmingham (a venue run by Chad Johnson of Takehold Records and Furnace Fest). At the time of the show I had only heard the two songs on the first Deep Elm sampler, and their live show was SO MUCH BETTER than the quality of the Letterbox recording. Myk and Jared's dualing vocals were so unique and perfect. That show was a year before Fallen Star Collection dropped, and led to it being so highly anticipated from me.

3. "Guest List" from the 2002 Dial In Sounds LP
If I saw Brandtson 15 times, 10 of those times were prior to this album dropping. In 2000 and 2001 I practically followed Brandtson around the Southeast. One of the most memorable parts of those shows were hearing this song written and played live. It became the highlight of Brandtson shows before it was ever recorded and released.

4. "Throwing Rocks Tonight" from the 2004 Send Us A Signal LP
This is going to be the first of so many songs from Brandtson's uniquivocal best album, Send Us a Signal. Like I said, the last time I saw Brandtson play was August 2003 in Frankfurt, Germany. Before the show I sat at the bar and talked with Jared quite a bit. The band had finally fulfilled their Deep Elm contract and were being courted by new labels. I remember vividly Jared talking about the appeal of The Militia Group, especially the sales numbers from the debut album from The Beautiful Mistake. A year later this album dropped, and my jaw dropped to the floor. As Brandtson later revealed in interviews, this album was the first time Brandtson had a bigger budget and more time to write and experiment in the studio, and the results are glorious.

5. "Earthquakes And Sharks" from the 2006 Hello, Control LP
Probably the most unique and quirky Brandtson song, but my family absolutely loves it, and finds it hysterical.

6. "Sic Transit Gloria (Glory Fades)" from the 2000 Trying To Figure Each Other Out EP
Brandtson's best album opener, and also a song the band used to open shows frequently. Impossible not to sing along to!

7. "Just Breathe" from the 2004 Send Us A Signal LP
One of the heaviest Brandtson songs, but this one is mainly defined by all its different segments. Changing time signatures and instrumentation; full of surprises.

8. "Mark It At Zero" from the 2002 Dial In Sounds LP
Another song I probably heard performed live 5-6 times before it was ever recorded.

9. "Mexico" from the 2004 Send Us A Signal LP
If Brandtson ever had a radio hit, this would have been it. A mid-tempoed rocker that I frequently put on mixes for friends. Brandtson had developed so much as songwriters; "Mexico" would have not been possible earlier in their career.

10. "Little Birds And Spiders" originally from the 2004 Take Action! Vol. 4 compilation, where it was mislabeled "Little Birds and Sparrows". Later appeared in its proper place on the 2010 vinyl reissue for Send Us A Signal as track 2 and with its correct title.
As I recently tweeted, one of the biggest compliments I can give Brandtson is their ability to finish songs well. No matter how good the first 2/3 of a Brandtson song is, the final 1/3 is going to shift into another gear and completely kick ass. This track starts like a punk rock song, but then completely shifts. "And your flying gracefully!" Gives me chills.

Cornerstone Festival 2001, photo by me

11. "Blindspot" from the 1997 Letterbox LP. Was later rerecorded for the 2004 Send Us A Signal LP
This is Brandtson's "Deadbolt". This is easily the best song on Brandtson's first album, and the only one they continued to play throughout their career. Often the final song of a show.

12. "Leaving Ohio" from the 2000 Trying To Figure Each Other Out EP
I always liked how Brandtson wrote geography into their songs; so many mention places, cities, and states. You could learn a lot about where they were from just by listening. I guess this is inevitable if you are out on the road as much a they were.

13. "Escapist" from the 2004 Send Us A Signal LP
This is my wife's favorite Brandtson song, and until "Earthquakes and Sharks", the one that was the most different and distinct in their catalog. The chorus has Myk and Jared singing different lines simultaneously and its fantastic. It's got a more electronic beat and hinted at the direction Brandtson would go next.

14. "Drawing A Line In The Sand" from the 2004 Send Us A Signal LP
Because Send Us a Signal is so deep and good, this song maybe slips between the cracks. But 5 years earlier it could have been the band's best song.

15. "Shannon Said" from the 1999 Fallen Star Collection LP
I don't remember any song specifically from the first Brandtson show I saw in 1998, but "Shannon Said" reminds me the most of what that show sounded like.

16. "Cherokee Red" from the 2002 Dial In Sounds LP
John Sayre's bass playing often was fairly nondescript and sometimes buried in the mix. But on this song and album it moved into the forefront and this song especially displays the bass playing.

17. "Parallels" from the 2006 Hello, Control LP
This is one of those songs I mention in my recent Instagram post as Hello, Control has taken on a new life. Really strong songwriting and a fantastic hook--"Let it rain for now!"

18. "Ain't No Trip To Cleveland" from the 2003 Death & Taxes EP
I'm fairly certain I saw this song performed at that Frankfurt show, and really is the perfect live track, both musically and lyrically: "...We wrote this song, it's four chords long, we hope you sing along, so sing along..."

19. "As You Wish" from the 1999 Fallen Star Collection LP (A second remixed version appears on the Trying To Figure Each Other Out EP)
When the 2000 EP came out, I would usually listen to it in full, and as it wrapped up, then put on Fallen Star Collection. Listening to the remix before the original made "As You Wish" seem so epic.

20. "Goodnight Sweet Prince" from the 2006 Hello, Control LP

21. "With Friends Like You" from the 2002 Dial In Sounds LP

22. "Lie To Me" from the 2006 Hello, Control LP

23. "Dead Animals" originally from the 2003 Brandtson/Camber/Seven Storey Split EP. Later appeared in its proper place on the 2021 vinyl reissue for the Death & Taxes EP

24. "On Three" from the 2003 Death & Taxes EP

25. "Waking Up To Yellow" from the 1999 Fallen Star Collection LP

Frankfurt 2003, photo by me


Top 25 Arcade Fire songs

Spurred on by the release of WE, a conversation with my son, and Consequence of Sound's "Every Arcade Fire Song Ranked from Worst to Best" post, I decided it was time to work on my own Arcade Fire list. I am thankful to my friend John handing me Funeral back in 2004, and have been a huge fan ever since. In fact, they are one of the few bands who I love and own a full discography without ever seeing them live--hopefully will remedy that one day.

My Arcade Fire listening is closely related to my family. I got married the year Funeral was released, and did not yet have kids when Neon Bible dropped, so we listened to both of those a lot as a couple on road trips.

When The Suburbs was released two of my children had been born, all three of my kids have grown up listening to that album, and it is a family favorite. One of my favorite vinyl listening experiences is when The Suburbs vinyl came in the mail, my wife and I sat down in my office after our babies were asleep and listened to the album in full with the lyrics in hand. We were both hooked immediately.

Reflektor and Everything Now are far less family friendly. I love Reflektor, but most of my listening has been solo. And Everything Now is by far my least favorite Arcade Fire album, and I have only really played three of the songs for my family. We all absolutely love "Put Your Money on Me".

I am thankful WE is another family friendly album, and we have already played it a few times in the car. "Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)" immediately became my wife's favorite Arcade Fire song, and jumped into my top-5. As a parent, these lyrics resonate deeply:

"Lookout kid, trust your heart
You don't have to play the part they wrote for you
Just be true
There are things that you could do
That no one else on earth could ever do
But I can't teach you, I can't teach it to you
Lookout kid, trust your mind
But you can't trust it every time
You know it plays tricks on you
And it don't give a damn if you are happy or you're sad
But if you've lost it, don't feel bad
'Cause it's alright to be sad
Lookout kid, trust your body
You can dance, and you can shake
Things will break, you make mistakes
You lose your friends, again and again
'Cause nothing is ever perfect
No one's perfect
Let me say it again, no one's perfect
A lifetime of skinned knees
And heartbreak comes so easy
But a life without pain would be boring
And if you feel it, it's fine
I give you everything that's mine
I give you my heart and my precious time
Lookout kid, trust your soul
It ain't hard to rock n' roll
You know how to move your hips
And you know God is cool with it
But some people want the rock without the roll
But we all know, there's no God without soul
A lifetime of skinned knees
And heartbreak comes so easily
But a life without you
Would be boring for someone like me
And if you feel it, it's fine
I give you everything that's mine
I give you my heart and my precious time
(Precious time)
(Give you everything)
I give you my heart and my precious time
It's unconditional
It's unconditional
No matter what you do
It's unconditional"

After a couple of days I narrowed Arcade Fire's 79-song catalog to 25, but putting them "in order" has proven impossible. With that in mind, I ranked my top 5, and then otherwise I grouped the songs in the order I rank the albums.

Top 25 Arcade Fire Songs:

1. "City With No Children" (3:12)

2. "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" (5:26)

3. "Wake Up" (5:35)

4. "Put Your Money On Me" (5:53)

5. "Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)" (4:34)

The next 20 songs are ordered by my album ranking preference and not how I prefer each individual song:


The Suburbs
"The Suburbs" (5:15)
"Ready to Start" (4:16)
"Modern Man" (4:40)
"We Used to Wait" (5:01)


"Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" (4:48)
"Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" (5:13)
"Crown Of Love" (4:42)
"Rebellion (Lies)" (5:11)


"The Lightning I" + "The Lightning II" (3:02 + 2:34) (Note: While most of Arcade Fire's "numbered songs" stand alone, these two are inseparable and the same, continued work.)
"Unconditional II (Race and Religion)" (4:21)


Neon Bible
"Keep The Car Running" (3:29)
"Intervention" (4:19)
"Black Wave/Bad Vibrations" (3:58)
"No Cars Go" (5:44)


"It's Never Over (Hey Orpheus)" (6:43)
"Reflektor" (7:34)
"We Exist" (5:44)
"Here Comes the Night Time" (6:31)


Everything Now
"Creature Comfort" (4:44)
"We Don't Deserve Love (6:29)