We here at AP know you internet denizens love lists. And we know that folks in bands have other interests beyond cranking out decibels. So here’s Friday Fives, a column that solicits a list of five subjects from a number of various rockers.
This week, NEON TREES frontman, Tyler Glenn picks his five favorite albums that he discovered, courtesy of AP.
Ten years ago, when I was 19 years old, I began serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or what everyone calls the Mormons). It was nothing like the Broadway version. (Although I’ve heard The Book Of Mormon is funny, and I want to see it sometime.) I really loved those two years. I cherish the things I learned and the people I met. I am the person I am today because of it.
I was pretty obedient when it came to the rules of living for Mormon missionaries, but there was one rule that was difficult for me: No popular/secular rock music rule while on your mission. I believe, like most should, that none of us are perfect, and if one of the flaws I admit to is that I listened to rock music every now and then while on a Mormon mission, then as the scriptures say, “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.”
Rock music was what made me spiritual. It’s what made me passionate. Excited. Fevered, if you will. I was in a duo (at the time) called Neon Trees, and it was such an outlet for me. The summer before I left on my mission, I had a spiritual awakening (I kid you not) while listening to Bruce Springsteen’s early albums. I felt like I needed to connect with another place and another type of people other than what my suburban Californian upbringing afforded me.
Flash-forward to 2003. While on my mission, I caved a little, and every now and then would sneak an issue of AP magazine to make sure I wasn’t missing out on stuff that meant so much to me. 2003 to 2005 was a weird time for music. From the time before I left to the time I came home, there was such a shocking change in the music world—even in AP itself. But I’m grateful for AP and remaining the relevant, ahead-of-its-time magazine during those years. It lead me to some of my favorite rock albums of those two years.
5. ARMOR FOR SLEEP – What To Do When You Are Dead
This was actually the last record I bought before returning home, and I didn’t really delve deep into it until after I got home, but it’s truly an under-appreciated album, both sonically and structurally. I felt the idea behind it was kind of heart-wrenching; the panic and urgency in all the songs were potent, and Ben Jorgensen’s vocals were honest and imperfect.
4. THE MARS VOLTA – De-Loused In The Comatorium
This was one of the first records I bought after I caved and broke the no-music rule. Thanks to AP, I was able to keep up on Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodríguez-López post At The Drive-In and De Facto. (Side note: I saw De-Facto play in 2002 at the Showcase Theatre in Corona, California, and everyone was yelling at them to play ATDI songs, and Cedric yelled back, “Stop crying, you emo kids.”) The Mars Volta’s first record, while obviously more complicated than a Blink-182 record, was easy listening compared to their latter releases. I eventually adored this album.
3. TAKING BACK SUNDAY – Where You Want To Be
I missed jumping on the TBS train in 2002 because I was desperately trying to graduate and listening to a lot of Echo & The Bunnymen. Then, I discovered Bruce Springsteen’s catalog and everything else became nonexistent. When TBS were on the cover of AP in 2004, I grabbed this second release. I’m a big TBS fan (even though Adam Lazzara hates me).
2. BRAND NEW – Deja Entendu
This record introduced me to Brand New, so I had no idea what they sounded like before they released this. I thought it was one of the most breathtaking, honest and unique pop-rock albums I’d ever heard. So many different influences, so many different moods. This album has gone on to become one of my favorites of all time, and Brand New are one of my favorite bands. There are two different kinds of people in this world: ones that love Brand New and ones that don’t.
1. GLASSJAW – Worship And Tribute
A lot of people have typecast me or my band as a pop thing obsessed with the ’80s. To a point, absolutely. If you expect me to say I was influenced by Brandon Flowers and Julian Casablancas, you’d be surprised to learn I’m 80 times more influenced by Daryl Palumbo than either of the first two artists. Glassjaw were an incredibly important band to me. Worship And Tribute was masterfully recorded—almost frightening at times—while also absolutely brilliant in its “you will not point your finger at me and tell me what I am” punk nature. This record does not follow the rules; Palumbo seems to never follow rules. It may be impossible to hear the correlation, but I try all I can to implore that mindset in the music Neon Trees write.
After you check out Tyler Glenn’s favorite albums, be sure to pick up Neon Trees latest album, Picture Show.