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Every mewithoutYou Album Ranked Worst to Best

mewithoutYou called it quits officially in 2022, but for over twenty years they were one of the more unique bands out there in whatever scene they were in. Rock? Post-hardcore? Indie? Their sound was sometimes heavy, sometimes quiet, and sometimes almost psychedelic, but always their own. They even have an album that some have described as “campfire songs”. With unique vocals and lyrics from frontman Aaron Weiss that run the gamut from struggles with faith, to the end of the world, to a deer on the side of the highway looking into your soul and handing out life lessons, mewithoutYou put out seven solid albums in their two decades as a band. So let’s take their creativity, art, and hard work and put a value and number to it, as is the American way.

7. [Untitled] (2018)

It can be hard to rank the albums of a band that’s never put out a bad one. Inevitably a good or even great album has to be ranked last. And that can feel harsh, because “[Untitled]” is a solid album. There’s nothing wrong with it, and given more time, it’ll probably move up this list a little further. It also would’ve been fascinating to see where the band would’ve gone after this. Like all mwY albums, it starts great. But the album’s high mark is the second track “Julia (or, ‘Holy to the LORD’ on the Bells of Horses).” A heavy, mid-tempo banger that features mostly singing, but hits an emotional peak at the end with Aaron’s signature scream. The song also had a great “Back to the Future”-themed music video, showing the band’s humorous side. And age. The rest of the album is still killer, but it never feels like it hits the high point of this track again.

Play it again: “Julia (or, ‘Holy to the LORD’ on the Bells of Horses),” “[dormouse sighs],” “9:27 a.m., 7/29”
Skip it: mwY doesn’t have a lot of skippable tracks, but “2,459 Miles” never really reaches the epic peak that it feels like it should, so just kinda drags.

6. Ten Stories (2012)

mewithoutYou’s triumphant (for some) return to their more classic tried and true style following a dabble with a lighter sound, “Ten Stories” is a concept album about a train of circus animals that crashes. You know, that old chestnut. Along the way, screamy Aaron shows up after a (sort of) absence on the previous “It’s All Crazy…” blending that album’s fable-like lyrics with more personal ones. Not to mention a few guest spots by Hayley Williams of Paramore. This album also marks the official entry of new guitarist Brandon Beaver of the immensely underrated Philly band Buried Beds, which seemed to breathe new life into the rock elements of mwY’s sound. A solid album, but when you’re a band that has no misses, this one falls behind a few of their stronger efforts.

Play it again: “Fox’s Dream of the Log Flume,” “Fiji Mermaid,” “All Circles”
Skip it: “Aubergine” has a poor placement in the track listing, and slows everything down, right as things are taking off, so often gets a skip.

5. Pale Horses (2015)

Albums about the apocalypse can kinda go either way. Thankfully this one fucks. Aaron certainly has some yelps and screams in their prior album “Ten Stories,” but nothing gets to the vocal cord-shredding level of “Red Cow.” This album sort of feels like “Brother Sister’s” grim sibling, as they are both best listened to in their entirety. Where “Brother Sister” seemed to find some semblance of hope in the waning Bush years, “Pale Horses” showed up during the rise of Trumpism, and essentially abandons all hope (at least as much as mwY is willing to). And like any album that should be experienced as a whole, this album ends on a hell of a song. “Rainbow Signs” starts slow and dreamy, but halfway it switches to a doomy fist-pumper about the world ending. Always fun to watch artists you love give up on humanity. And I defy any other band to make the lyrics “two pounds of barley, six pounds of buckwheat” seem as hopelessly grim as mewithoutYou.

Play it again: “Rainbow Signs,” “Red Cow,” “Magic Lantern Days”
Skip it: “Watermelon Ascot” just doesn’t hit the way other songs on this album do. Do better, “Watermelon Ascot.”

4. [A-B] Life (2002)

Sometimes debut albums are an embarrassing glimpse at the past. Other times they are an early high water mark that is impossible to reach again. Luckily “[A-B] Life” is neither. It’s a solid post-hardcore record with raw energy, emotional (albeit sometimes too emotional) lyrics, and a sound that, at the time, felt both unique and familiar. This album came out the same year as Norma Jean’s “Bless the Martyr, Kiss the Child,” and for many, their introduction to Aaron Weiss was his guest part at the end of “Memphis Will Be Laid to Waste” otherwise known as “the cool part at the end of that one Norma Jean song (it really is the best part). So much of this album could come off as pretentious. But it just doesn’t. Instead, it’s a genuinely emotional album by an (at the time) young band, who seemingly didn’t even know they’d struck gold.

Play it again: “Silencer,” “Gentlemen,” “The Ghost”
Skip it: As far as interludes go, both “(A)” and “(B)” are interesting. But they’re still just interludes. And we don’t have time for that.

3. It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright (2009)

From what we can tell most punks have some sort of hippy phase. Whether you rebrand it as living in a vegan commune, taking part in environmental direct action, or dabbling in “folk-punk,” it’s really just a hippie phase, and there’s nothing wrong with it. mewithoutYou’s hippy phase was “It’s All Crazy.” And like a genuinely good hippy phase, it was both a surprise and also not at all a surprise. Folky jams with lyrics filled with symbolic lyrics about vegetables and gardens, along with Aaron’s typical questioning of.. everything. At the time some fans were not very stoked about the somewhat quieter and sing-songier version of the band. But as time has passed, much of this album became indispensable to the live show, and this album is now looked back upon as a successful dabble in new directions.

Play it again: “Cattail Down,” “The Fox, The Crow and The Cookie,” “Allah, Allah, Allah”
Skip it: People love it, but “The King Beetle on A Coconut Estate” really drags until the last minute or so. And we got shit to do.

2. Catch For Us the Foxes (2004)

For those of us who saw the brilliance in “[A-B] Life,” this album was vindication. This album put them on the map, and it totally makes sense. Taking the raw energy of their first album, mwY brought an arguably new element to their sound: an undeniable rhythm section. While the drum and bass were hugely important on their first effort, they are what makes this album. And that’s saying something because this album has a vocal performance that made anyone skeptical of Aaron’s styling an instant fan. The instrumentation on the album threads all the needles perfectly. There’s what’s essentially a 16th note breakdown at the end of “Paper Hanger” and it is so simple, that it shouldn’t work. But it goes harder than any pig-squeal, downtuned, deathcore breakdown you’ve ever heard. It’s kinda messed up how good this album is. Nobody sounds like mewithoutYou. And this is the album that solidified that sound.

Play it again: “The Soviet,” “Paper Hanger,” “Torches Together,” “January 1979”
Skip it: none

1. Brother, Sister (2006)

Many would say “Catch For Us the Foxes” is the band’s best album. But we’re feeling sassy today, so it’s “Brother, Sister” for us. There are a few songs on this album, that on their own, don’t necessarily deliver. And yet, as a complete album, this is the high point for the band. Front to back this album is an experience. Taking the instrumentation and musicality to the next level, the band expanded on the rhythmic buildup of “Catch For Us the Foxes” by adding more melody and overall catchiness to their formula without sacrificing any of the power of their earlier work. Much of this is due to Ricky Mazzotta, the band’s drummer. He had been integral to the band’s sound on their first two full-length albums, but on “Brother, Sister” his simple but engaging drumming is a feature that makes you return again and again to songs. And a couple of very well-placed guest spots from Sunny Day Real Estate’s Jeremy Enigk bring two of the album’s strongest songs to a legendary level. The vibe is just right for this album. It isn’t necessarily hopeful per se, but it has elements of hope. But there’s also anger, fear, sadness. All the things. If you don’t “get” mewithoutYou after listening to this album, you never will.

Play it again: “Messes of Men,” “The Dryness and the Rain,” “A Glass Can Only Spill What it Contains,” “O Porcupine”
Skip it: Listening all the way through? No skips. But the “Spider” songs don’t do much on their own.