Ever sit back and look at your record collection of a favorite artist and consider which albums are the best? So do we! Rank & File is our way of telling you which albums are great and which ones are garbage (at least in our opinion). There are really no correct answers here, it’s all just a matter of taste, but inevitably, there will be parts of the list that you will completely disagree with, so make sure to let us know how you would rank the albums. Of course, when compiling a ranking system such as this, there have to be some guidelines in place. For Rank & File, they are:
- No E.P.’s (with rare exception)
- No Singles
- No live albums
- No remix albums
- If an artists discography is huge (i.e. Rolling Stones, Prince) only the top 5 will make the cut.
2012 was kind of a let down for me with new music. There were definitely some solid albums that came out, but overall I felt just kind of “meh” about most new records. I’m really hoping that 2013 can reverse that trend for me. One of the records I’m counting on to do that is the new Filter album coming out sometime this year (hopefully spring/summer). In my experience, Filter is a band that many people don’t really know much about. In the past, when I’ve talked about Filter with people, the most they know about the band is their song “Take A Picture”, and that’s only because you couldn’t escape that goddamn song for a while. That song, and to a lesser known degree the song “Hey Man, Nice Shot” are arguably (and in my opinion unfairly) used as snapshots of the band’s career. What is often overlooked is the sheer quality of each successive Filter release. In my opinion, they really are one of those rare bands that gets better and better as time goes on. In spite of the fact that many of you may not be too familiar with Filter, I decided to undertake an album ranking for them. For me, this was really, really hard. Filter is and always has been one of my favorite bands. Honestly, I would probably just give em all a tie for number 1, but that wouldn’t really work out then would it?
5. Anthems For The Damned (2007):
Like I’ve said before, this album could’ve easily taken the number 1 spot in this list. The only real reason it’s so low on my list is because, frankly, I really wasn’t in a Filter mood when the album came out. Because of that, I never really developed a relationship with the album like I did the others. Listening back on it now though, there are definitely some great tracks on the record. (Side note: When this record came out and the band went on tour, I bought a ticket for the show. I was hesitant, due to the fact that they had cancelled the two previous shows I had a ticket for, but decided I would check it out. Much to my surprise, they showed up and more so, made up for all the shows I missed. They were amazing live! I’ve seen them twice since and would highly recommend them to anyone looking to see a great rock show)
4. Short Bus (1995):
I used to hang out with this dude named Derek in High School. He was really, really fucking quiet and probably scared the shit out of most of the people around him. You know the kind of guy I’m talking about. Creepy. The cool thing about Derek though was that he always knew about great music before anyone else. He introduced me to more great bands than anyone else. Filter was one of those bands. I knew about Rich through Nine Inch Nails, but didn’t really give a shit about his new band. Derek persuaded me to check them out and I’m really glad he did. My only real beef with this album is that it just doesn’t “sound” as good as the others. I would love it if this was remastered and re-released (hint hint). Also, the jab at Trent at the end of “Gerbil” is fucking awesome!
3. Title Of Record (1999):
When Title Of Record was released, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Honestly, kind of forgot about Filter after Short Bus. When I heard that they were releasing a new record, I didn’t think they would do anything special. I guess I just assumed that they would be a “one and done” type of band. Boy, was I wrong! I remember hearing “Welcome To The Fold” for the first time and my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe that such a simple riff could sound so….fucking….big. It’s like a wall of guitars hits you in the face and doesn’t let up for over 5 minutes! The entire record has a very similar feel to it as well. Everything on it is cranked to 11 and it works incredibly well. The only exception is the song “I Will Lead You” which for some reason sounds weaker than the rest. Not sure what that’s all about. Maybe I’m just making shit up.
2. The Trouble With Angels (2010):
This record absolutely blew my mind when it was released! There really isn’t a bad song on the entire album. The only reason that this album didn’t end up in the top spot for me is because it is crushing from beginning to end. There is a short break from the onslaught in the track “No Re-Entry”, but by the time you get to the end of the album (and the first real “soft” song) you are too fucking tired and worn out for the song to really take effect. Seriously, this album is a fucking heavy slab of riffs. Whatever shortcomings Patrick and the rest of Filter may have had in songwriting for this record are more than made up for in sheer brutality of the disc.
1. The Amalgamut (2002):
Holy shit that was a hard decision! One of my favorite things about Filter is that they write songs that can absolutely crush and then follow it up with an acoustic track. What makes this unique to them is that it never sounds forced or contrived. The transition between styles that aren’t normally found together is seamless on Filter albums. No better example of that can be found than on The Amalgamut. The record opens up with the absolutely bruising track “You Walk Away” (which has the coolest drum beat in the opening sequence. Seriously, Steven Gillis. How the fuck did you do that?) and doesn’t relent for the next 5 songs. Later in the album, the (mostly) acoustic track “God Damn Me” achieves a level of honesty and poignancy that most “singer-songwriter” types would kill for. The only downside of this album for me had nothing to do with the album. Richard Patrick was struggling with boozing (as I understand) pretty hard during this time. As a result, tours were cancelled and that was it. I had tickets to see Filter a few years earlier too and that show was cancelled too. For the longest time, my friends and I joked that Filter and Richard Patrick weren’t real people because they never managed to show up for concerts. I thought they were like the Milli Vanilli of Industrial Rock.
What do you think? How would you rate the Filter albums? Let us know in the comment section below and make sure to follow Gutter Bubbles on Facebook and Twitter!