10 iconic alternative albums that deserve to be certified RIAA gold
These iconic records got snubbed.March 16, 2021
We’ve already established that there are some surprises that come with RIAA certifications. That said, there’s nothing more troubling than realizing that some of the most iconic alternative albums have never been certified gold.
It’s not particularly surprising that there are some discrepancies between an album’s generalized reception and its certification standing. After all, the criteria for the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) certifications are based on sales. While streams now factor into the equation, a record must accrue 500,000 sales (or 750,000,000 cumulative plays) to be designated gold.
Needless to say, RIAA gold certification is a significant milestone. Unfortunately, many releases that came at the turn of the streaming era fell through the cracks. They came at a time when direct album sales were dropping, but by the time streaming services took over, they were years past their prime. That said, they’re still totally deserving of the recognition.
Here are 10 albums that should be certified RIAA gold already.
Battle Born – The Killers
Once the Killers hit platinum status with Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town in 2005 and 2006, respectively, we didn’t expect the certifications to stop coming. While Day & Age achieved gold status in 2009, no following album has hit such a milestone. This is particularly surprising for a record such as 2012’s Battle Born, which boasts notable hits such as “Runaways” and “Miss Atomic Bomb.”
Hold On Tight – Hey Monday
This realization actually made our jaws drop. Hey Monday were such a prominent force in the late-2000s Warped Tour scene. We just assumed that they would achieve RIAA gold certification alongside the likes of Boys Like Girls and Mayday Parade. As it stands, though, the band haven’t received that honor. Their first and only full-length, Hold On Tight, certainly deserved better.
I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child – Manchester Orchestra
Even in a scene characterized by heart-wrenching lyrics and melodic instrumentals, Manchester Orchestra managed to hit us in the feels time and time again. So, the fact that they don’t have any RIAA certifications to their name makes us want to cry for a totally different reason. Guess it’s time to go stream I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child a hundred times… As if that wasn’t already on our agenda.
Picture Perfect – Every Avenue
Did you even go through a scene phase circa 2009 if Every Avenue‘s “Tell Me I’m A Wreck” wasn’t one of your top-played tracks? We would have argued that Shh. Just Go With It was worthy enough of gold status, but their refined sophomore album, Picture Perfect? That seemed like a slam dunk. Just another reason that we feel they broke up way too soon. Had they kept it up, they surely would’ve reached an All Time Low level of mainstream success, right?
Whisper War – The Cab
The Cab were a 2000s iPod staple (thanks in part to Pete Wentz). Seriously, we can’t imagine there was a teen at the time who wasn’t downloading their tracks. So how in the hell did their debut album, Whisper War, never hit the threshold for RIAA gold certification? Scene icons Brendon Urie and Patrick Stump even contributed guest vocals to the opening track, “One Of THOSE Nights.”
Light Me Up – The Pretty Reckless
It was a big deal in the scene when actor Taylor Momsen debuted her alternative-rock band the Pretty Reckless via Interscope Records in 2010. We had a born star in our midst. Never did we suspect that she’d only receive her first RIAA gold certification eight years later. While the 2013 track “Heaven Knows” has since gone platinum, we’re still waiting for their debut album, Light Me Up, to earn a designation.
The Papercut Chronicles II – Gym Class Heroes
Gym Class Heroes defied genre boundaries and found significant mainstream success in doing so. Despite their widespread recognition, though, only one of their albums has been RIAA certified gold. 2006’s As Cruel As School Children made the milestone in 2007, just a year after its release. We thought that The Papercut Chronicles II would have followed suit by now, seeing as it boasts significant hits such as “Stereo Hearts” and “Ass Back Home“—both of which are already sitting at platinum status. Seems like singles win out nowadays…
A Twist In My Story – Secondhand Serenade
Nobody was even remotely surprised when Secondhand Serenade‘s “Fall For You” earned platinum status the same year that it dropped. After all, it became an instant 2000s emo staple. What’s shocking, though, is that we’re still waiting on the album it came from, A Twist In My Story, to be certified gold. Not even another track has made the cut. It’s not like the record was lacking in any way. Songs such as “Maybe” and “Stay Close, Don’t Go” hit just as hard as their ever-popular tracklist neighbor.
Leaving Through The Window – Something Corporate
There’s no way that Something Corporate don’t have any certified gold albums or tracks. That has to be some kind of glitch in the matrix, right? It’s not like Leaving Through The Window wasn’t part of every scene kid’s rotation. “I Want To Save You” and “Punk Rock Princess” are more or less embedded in our DNA now. We’re glad that Andrew McMahon has at least received the designations under his other outfits, Jack’s Mannequin and Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, but still…
¡Viva la Cobra! – Cobra Starship
Given that every Myspace profile was blasting “The City Is At War” circa 2007, we expected more for Cobra Starship‘s ¡Viva La Cobra!. In fact, not a single track from the record has received the designation. That’s a pretty significant snub for one of the best albums to come out of the scene—let alone one that features vocals by alternative icons Gabe Saporta, Travie McCoy and Patrick Stump.
Which albums were you most surprised to realize had never been RIAA certified gold? Let us know in the comments below!