Anne Erickson

(Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images)

It’s not hyperbole to say that all of my favorite albums are turning 20 this year, and I’m overcome with the kind of emotion and nostalgia that one would only expect from close, deeply personal relationships.

One could say that I’ve had a real relationship with these songs and records. These albums got me through the toughest of times in my early life. These albums inspired me to start my own band, Upon Wings. These albums shaped who I am and the kind of music that I would be drawn to for the rest of my life.

I’m a bundle of emotions about these releases. I’ve got the feels. It’s all weird, because I’m not a super emotional person. But, I think it’s easier to put love and heart into something that you know will never fail you – as in, music – than anything else.

Read on for a few of my favorite albums that are turning 20 in 2023. Find more here. Also, read my personal feature on AFI’s “Sing the Sorrow” here.

  • AFI - 'Sing the Sorrow'

    Hard stop. If you’ve never listened to this record, you need to drop everything and do it right now. This is my No. 1 favorite album of all time. It’s epic, gothic, beautiful, but still heavy and very post-hardcore. Thank you, AFI, for a lifetime of memories and music from “Sing the Sorrow.” I wrote an entire feature about what this album means to me here.

  • Linkin Park - 'Meteora'

    This is one of the first albums that I ever played on the radio. In fact, “Somewhere I Belong” was a song that I played my first night on the radio. This, in my opinion, is Linkin Park’s strongest album, even over “Hybrid Theory.” The best. Rest in peace, Chester.

  • Shinedown - ‘Leave A Whisper’

    This is the album that started it all for Shinedown. I loved all the songs on this record, and back when it came out in 2003, Brent Smith was the very first “rock star” that I ever met while I was starting radio.

  • Three Days Grace - Self-Titled

    I took my mom to see Disturbed and Three Days Grace a few summers ago, and she loved the latter because she said that she knew all the song! Why? Because my early years in active rock radio, Three Days Grace had tons of its, so she would listen to me and hear all of their songs. Cute story, right?

  • A Perfect Circle - 'Thirteenth Step'

    Last but not least, A Perfect Circle’s “Thirteenth Step” is my second favorite album of all time, just behind AFI’s “Sing the Sorrow.” Again, it’s one of the first records I ever played on the radio. It’s tortuous, beautiful hard rock music, with Maynard James Keenan’s unmistakable vocals and genius. Check out my recent interview with Howerdel here.

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