Ranking Emery’s Discography

Without Devin, This Image Is Sad

Just because I’ve heard these albums dozens of times each doesn’t mean I didn’t use this as an excuse to go back over every album a couple more times in succession to convince myself that I was right in how I already thought I would rate them, which I rightly did. Below I have listed from bottom to top how I rank each of Emery’s full length albums and why I correctly did so.

#4 – The Weak’s End: The band’s debut burst out of the gate with hits that would lead them to be a key band in the Tooth & Nail band lineup and there are still a lot of people who look back to this album longingly, pretending somehow that it is their best album, despite ample evidence that simply is not even close to being the case.  Yes, the opening track, “Walls” still holds up as possibly their best track that both helps define them and distract their fans from all that they have to offer and it just happens to be the one that convince Brandon Ebel (owner, T&N Records) to take a look into the band.  The next two tracks, “The Ponytail Parades” and “Disguising Mistakes With Goodbyes” show their diverse talent and incredible potential that they would indeed come to realize, but after that the album does trail off a bit with only hints and pieces of excitement, but generally too slow and melding together a bit much.

#3 – I’m Only A Man:  This album is about as polarizing as can be, with many critics (kids with keyboards) scoffing at what a complete pile of ashes this mess of an album is, while others accepted that Emery was trying something a little bit different that they were into and took it for the greatness that was contained within.  Along with being a great record to blast and sing along with, the lyrics in this album seem to be even darker and cutting than the rest of the bunch, which is really saying something for a band that isn’t afraid to pull any punches in regards to dealing with some of society’s worst sins and crimes and how they think those topics are approached opposed to how they might be better handled.

#2 – In Shallow Seas We Sail:  With the much maligned I’m Only A Man in the past, the band released a prelude EP aptly named “While Broken Hearts Prevail” that gave hope to both the jaded fans and the ones who gladly pushed through the cynical wall and found freedom in good music despite what the angry ones had in mind.  That EP seemed to serve as a push back in more than one ways, saying that they were hurt by the reaction to I’m Only A Man, but realizing that they also wanted to serve their fans with the kind of music that they pay to hear.  Two of those songs made the final cut on In Shallow Seas We Sail that sounded more like a mixture of The Weak’s End and The Question.  The production on this album is what really stands out as the band clearly had matured their sound and ability to what was nothing less than a professionally done record that included everything from the screams that old fans longed for and an epic two-part closing.  Here’s a Paul Blart fun fact for ya, I have a copy of a track when Dear Death Part 1 and Dear Death Part 2 were one song titled “The Ghost of You”.

#1 – The Question: If I were Chris Farley interviewing Emery today it would go something like this:

Me:  Remember…that one time…when you made that album…The Question?

Toby Morrell:  Um…yep…yea…I remember that.

Me: That was awesome.

Devin Shelton:  Thanks?

Me:  Stupid.  I’m so stupid.  Idiot. *Face Palm*

Josh Head: *Screams”

Everyone:  *Awkward looks*

Me:  Well, thanks for coming on the show you guys.

Anyway, back to what I really think of The Question, which if you don’t agree is the band’s best album, then you’re basically wrong.  I don’t know what else to tell you, but you should really work on that being wrong thing because it is less fun than being right.  Speaking of being right, everything went right on this album, with song after song of hits that bring the emotion to fits of bursting like a Supernova from my insides.  There aren’t and duds in the bunch, but the run of “Studying Politics” to “Left With Alibies and Lying Eyes” to “Listening To Freddie Mercury” is about as good as it gets.  If that were a baseball lineup, count on a few 3 run homers.

Of course, quantifying exactly how much you like music is often hard to do, but when it comes to the best you can usually just go with your gut in how much it affects you when you even think about listening to it.  The further down the list, the further my gut wants to explode from joy, so there you go.

How would you rank these albums and why?


24 responses to “Ranking Emery’s Discography

  1. Anthotony February 19, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I would say:
    #1: The Question, #2: I’m only a man, #3: In shallow seas we sail, 4: The weaks end. Only because I got into Emery right before I’m only a man but adored The question regardless.

  2. Matthew C. Alexander February 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I have to agree with EVERYTHING you have written here. All four albums are amazing, but The Question outshines them all. Although I will say In Shallow Seas We Sail is very close.

  3. Patrick Ray February 19, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Without The Question’ Emery would be a one hit wonder (so to speak). Meaning that people (and by people I mean my personal opinions that I project onto people) would get into The Weak’s End solely for Walls and Ponytail Parades, completely disregarded I’m Only A Man, and In Shallow Seas We Sail (though a solid release and extremely catchy) would not be enough to bring them back. The Question is probably one of my top five releases of all time! That being said, I’m really excited about the direction of We Do What We Want and I feel it could In Shallow Seas… a running for a number 2 spot.

  4. Robert February 20, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Can’t find The Ghost of You track. I’m pretty bummed.

  5. Tyler Hess February 20, 2011 at 1:37 am

    anthony…i think we got into them about the same time then

    Matthew…thats because I’m always right about everything…jk

    Patrick…your projections on other people are not that far from the general critical opinion, except that i think that the while broken hearts prevail ep really helped issws bring them back together…i also think that when all is said and done that WDWWW will end up in the number two spot, which is solid

    Robert…as I attemped to explain…the Ghost of You track was on an early review copy I received, they changed it into the two “Dear Death” part 1 and part 2 songs…so it’s still there, just different

  6. Zsoty27 February 20, 2011 at 4:36 am

    It’s a funny thing because my favorite album from them is the “I’m only a man” although it’s their most divisive album. And the reason is that i can relate to this cd a lot and it brings back so many memories. And “The party song” is our official new years eve song. :D After then the ” In Shallow Seas We Sail” , “The Question” and “The Weak’s End”. Yes, i know something is wrong with me :D

  7. jthejust February 20, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I agree with your list, accept I like The Weak’s End a bit more than I’m Only A Man. In reality, The Question and … In Shallow Seas We Sail are the two Emery albums that I adore and can never get enough of. To me, they contain the very best of what Emery has to offer.

    So, you think that We Do What We Want will take over second place from ISSWS? In that case, it must be amazing! :D What I’m nervous about, though, is Devin leaving. Is he on the album? If not, does his singing feel missed at all?

  8. Tyler Hess February 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    those are the two that are by far most played by me as well…and i answered your other q on the other post

  9. Mike Denison February 21, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    I agree with your rankings. The Question is in my top 3 albums of ALL TIME, and I never really expect Emery to top it (though We Do What We Want excites me). In Shallow Seas We Sail is probably in my top 20. I’m Only a Man and The Weak’s End don’t even make the list.
    I wish they’d kept Dear Death as one track; that would be the best song they ever wrote.
    Speaking of which…how about a top Emery songs list? My vote is personally for “Listening to Freddie Mercury” or “So Cold I Could See My Breath.”

  10. Tyler Hess February 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    what are your top two all time? i could see the question being in my top 10…i havent thought that through in a few years…that gives me an idea for an article haha!

    a top songs list? uf. give me some time on that cus i want WDWWW to sink in for a few months :) i do love listening to freddie mercury too…off the top of my head…i also really like…walls…ponytail parades…story about a man with a bad heart…inside our skin…butchers mouth…edge of the world…dear death part 2…studying politics…playing with fire…(narrowing down the question is hard work)…and now from wdwww i really like the curse of perfect days and i never got to see the west coast

    that was exhausting. give me six months to a year and i might write that article happily haha

  11. Kyle February 26, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    #4- The Question: The Question is actually my least favorite emery album. not that i dont enjoy it but, it feels like they might have been a little pressured to outdo TWE, so to me it comes across as more appealing to the mass audience. favorite track: Listening to Freddie Mercury

    #3- The Weak’s End: this album has so many good songs. when they released this album it was exactly what i wanted to hear at the time. and i enjoyed but was slightly let down when the more polished Question came out. favorite track: As Your Voice Fades

    #2- I’m Only A Man: to me IOAM was Emery letting go of expectations and writing what they really wanted. i didnt really understand the negative reviews of this album. i think its a solid record of great music all the way through, particularly the chills i got the first time i ever heard “Story about a man with a bad heart”. favorite track: Story About a Man With a Bad Heart

    #1- In Shallow Seas We Sail: The first time i heard this album i was just in awe. i dont think it left my cars cd player for a month. i hadnt heard anything about it before i listened to it so the opening scream totally caught me off guard and blew me away when the music came in. i am a fan of emerys heavier songs so this album stood out to me. favorite track : The Smile, The Face

  12. Tyler Hess February 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    if youre a fan of emery’s heavier songs…then you should move all of those albums down a notch when you hear wdwww. just sayin. i like polished emery haha

  13. Jonathan March 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    4. The Weak’s End – Aside from Walls, never understood what made this album great.
    3. The Question – Better production (because it is Aaron Sprinkle) but aside from a few great singles, album wasnt there.
    2. I’m Only A Man – Really enjoyed this album and didnt understand the negative reviews, yes the band screamed less but that is what they wanted to do and the when meshed with their two previous records to form ISSWS, then this step was a step in the write direction.
    1. In Shallow Sear We Sail – One of my Top 5 favorite albums ever! the screams, the singing, the productions, the lyrics, everything is top notch and perfectly placed in the album, to have one complete album.

  14. Bryan Patton March 17, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    4. Weaks End – It showed the potential of what Emery would be but I don’t think it’s solid from start to finish.

    3. In Shallow Seas We Sail – I love this album but after I’m Only a Man, I was a little disappointed.

    2. The Question – Great album! Picked it up on a whim and have loved Emery ever since.

    1. I’m Only a Man – I thought this was by far Emery’s greatest accomplishment musically. Yes it was toned down and didn’t have the screaming but the songs are incredible.

  15. Cara Fisher March 22, 2011 at 7:40 am

    I love their first three, especially I’m Only A Man. In Shallow Seas was okay. I still need to listen to their new one a few more times, but right now I think it’s just okay.

  16. Andy K March 24, 2011 at 6:39 am

    I am really surprised at all the love for I’m Only A Man and all the the dislike for The Weak’s End. Oh well, here my list…

    1. The Weak’s End
    2. The Question
    3. In Shallow Seas We Sail
    4. I’m Only A Man

  17. Lucas March 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    I wanted to wait until the new album released before I gave my ranking so if this post doesn’t get read then oh well. But after listening to the new record I decided that ranking Emery’s discography is almost as hard as comparing ACB’s records. Needless to say I did my best, but I had trouble ranking the top four:

    5. The Weak’s End
    This was the only easy one. While it is arguably one of the better debuts to come out of T&N it still comes just a few hairs shy of their other stuff. However I do love the lyrics on many songs and yes “Walls” is amazing. :)

    4. I’m Only A Man
    While I like this record a lot (I said it was REALLY tough to decide) I just don’t see this as Emery’s best record. I love the new direction they had and a couple of their best songs are on it, but after a second glance (with my ears) I realized it doesn’t quite live up to their other stuff.

    3. The Question
    Yes I know it’s #3, not #1, and honestly as a cohesive project this is definitely their most well rounded. Also Studying Politics and Returning the Smile are still two of my favorite Emery tracks. Still I think Emery had plenty of room to grow and they certainly did. It was hard for me to put this one so low, but I do think they’ve had slightly better work.

    2. In Shallow Seas We Sail
    From a strictly musical standpoint, I believe this to be Emery’s strongest album. I mean seriously the production was top notch and the band was in the zone here basically from start to finish (at the very least see Cutthroat Collapse or Butcher’s Mouth). However, the lyrics for the most part I wasn’t huge on (we know guys relationships suck sometimes) and I felt it could have ended better.

    1. We Do What We Want
    It’s true. After less than ten listens I have decided that this is my favorite Emery record. The newfound intensity and deep spiritual lyrics (something I’ve always found lacking with Emery) are just amazing. The less polished production and interesting song structures took a while to get used to, but it was worth the extra listens. All in all this easily Emery’s most powerful record (and perhaps their most beautiful) and my personal favorite. :)

  18. Lucas March 29, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Sorry about the long post (again). I just get carried away with these things. :)

  19. Tyler Hess March 29, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    wait, you dont like dear death? boo that.

  20. Lucas March 30, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Can’t explain it….actually to be honest it just doesn’t make any sense.

  21. Lucas March 30, 2011 at 9:15 am

    By the way Tyler, you think you’ll do a Switchfoot discography ranking? I’d like to see how that turns out. :)

  22. Tyler Hess March 30, 2011 at 10:22 am

    i thiiiiiiinnnnnkk someone is working on a switchfoot one, not me

  23. Joe Mieden April 6, 2011 at 9:12 am

    My list is…
    1) …in Shallow Seas We Sail – This one blew my mind. I actually went to my best friend’s wedding the Wed and Thursday following this release (14 hour drive each way) and yeah, didn’t listen to anything else. This is solidified as one of my favorite albums all time (#2 on my personal list). Perfect Perfect Perfect IMO.
    2) The Question- I LOVE this album. I like ISSWS just a tiny bit more. Amazing album.
    3) We Do What We Want
    4) I’m Only A Man
    5) The Weak’s End

    That’s my list. I love each and every one of these albums, but this is how I’d sort them on a scale of favoriteness.

  24. jthejust April 7, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Personally, I like Dear Death alot, but it ends a little too abruptly, with screeching feedback, and low vocals. Might have been better if they ended with high, soaring vocals, like at the end of The Question. Maybe the abrupt ending is supposed to represent the suddenness of death or something, but it diminishes the song for me.

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