Chicago punks Alkaline Trio have covered a lot of ground since their inception in 1996, but they’ve undoubtedly made their mark on the horror genre. As the band ready the release of their highly anticipated new album, Blood, Hair, and Eyeballs, next week, we asked our readers to name the best Alkaline Trio albums of all time. We got a lot of different answers, as Alkaline Trio have never really put out a weak record and cultivated a ghoulish legacy that makes playing their songs feel like October.
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From Goddamnit to Crimson, find the top fan picks ranked below.
5. Maybe I’ll Catch Fire
Alkaline Trio made pop punk gloomier with their debut. On the follow-up, Maybe I’ll Catch Fire, the Chicago outfit doubled down on that sentiment and lost the buoyancy. Paired with morbid lyrics, they leaned into somber atmospherics across the record, save for the opening track. In short, Maybe I’ll Catch Fire is a painfully underrated album that still holds up, even if most people only know “Radio.”
Alkaline Trio’s 1998 debut album will always sound nostalgic. While it’s not as produced as Good Mourning or as occult as their later material, its dark, heart-on-sleeve lyrics and expressive instrumentals made an impression. The band were clearly indebted to Misfits and Ramones but tweaked the formula. One of its defining songs is “Nose Over Tail,” where Matt Skiba opens with the image of him cracking his head open on the kitchen floor to prove he has brains.
Crimson featured the band’s most polished production yet. Producer Jerry Finn (Green Day, blink-182) struck a delicate balance between smoothness and retaining enough edge to appeal to their older fans. The result is an album filled with great tracks that proved they had depth, both emotionally and musically, like “Prevent This Tragedy,” “Dethbed,” and “Burn.” The material was also darker than what their contemporaries were writing. Case in point: They penned a song about one of the Manson Family cult members, Susan Atkins, aptly titled “Sadie.”
2. From Here to Infirmary
Alkaline Trio reached new fans with their third studio album, From Here to Infirmary. That year, blink-182 were riding the high of Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, while Sum 41 were making their debut with All Killer No Filler, so their move toward a poppier sound made total sense. They contrasted their tighter focus on melodies with bleaker lyricism, addressing themes of alcohol misuse, isolation, and heartbreak throughout the songs, like “Private Eye,” “You’re Dead,” and “Stupid Kid.”
1. Good Mourning
Readers determined that Good Mourning — the release that saw them crack the mainstream — is their greatest album of all time. Skiba revealed that he hated making the album, citing issues with his throat that made recording long and arduous. “It was the most frustrating, borderline heartbreaking time I’ve ever had,” he said, admitting that he punched holes in the walls while in the studio. The band pushed through, though, resulting in a record that remains a fan favorite more than two decades later.