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Every Plain White T’s Album Ranked Worst To Best

Sometimes a telling benchmark for a band’s mainstream success is whether or not moms rock out to said act in their SUVs that drain gas while they pick up their loser kids, or if one of their songs is repeatedly played at supermarkets like Ralph’s every hour on the hour. Spoiler alert: This can certainly be said for the Plain White T’s grindcore classic “Hey There Delilah,” which is so catchy that it appeared on two PWT LPs and one EP. Also, how many bands do we cover here other than Botch that get nominated for one Grammy, let alone two? Don’t answer that, read on for sterling takes on all NINE, yes, nine, of Plain White T’s full-length albums, and just love, love, love, love, love, love this piece as much as we think that you will:

9. Come On Over (2000)

Plain White T’s’ debut LP “Come On Over” is a youthful, endearing, infectious, but uneven listen front to back, and totally would’ve worked better as an EP with a lot fewer songs. We surmise that the band agrees with our not-so-hot take because “Come On Over” is not on DSPs, with the exception of a YouTube playlist with not THAT many plays; we’re looking at YOU, Chris89, you freaking schmohawk. In addition, vocalist/chief songwriter Tom Higgenson is the only original remaining member on this, as the second longest-tenured member Dave Tirio quit after the also uneven and next to be listed “Parallel Universe” came out. Still, let’s shout out current bandmates Tim Lopez, Mike Retondo, and De’Mar Hamilton anyway!

Play it again: “Kitty Kat Shirt”
Skip it: About ½ of it

8. Parallel Universe (2018)

Resigning to Fearless Records, a label that picked up a lot of steam after “Hey There Delilah” came out with signings Ice Nine Kills, Pierce the Veil, Motionless in White, and Joe Exotic, Plain White T’s released their most unabashedly pop record “Parallel Universe,” but it ultimately failed at mainstream acclaim, and sadly sounded quite, dare we say it, pandering. Low? Nah. Burn? Sure. It’s not the end of the world, gents, and the band proved such with its FAR better self-titled follow-up that we will wax poetic about later than you likely predicted here. However, the record sounds incredible as it literally lit up a dark room thanks to producer Matt Squire who previously sat behind the boards for mega successful records from Boys Like Girls, Panic! at the Disco, The Maine, and Da New Hampshire.

Play it again: “Top Of The World”
Skip it: Just under ½ of it

7. American Nights (2015)

“American Nights” is Plain White T’s’ seventh full-length and first since their debut to not be on Hollywood Records or Fearless Records, instead being a one-off for Megaforce Records. The fact that this one didn’t come out via Hollywood Records is still confusing here, as their prior EP for the label “Should’ve Gone to Bed” is flawless pop front to back. We guess whatever the band did at that time wouldn’t have worked in heavy rotation with the suits, so it was time to pause, not stay, and move on. If you disagree, tell Rosie what you want, as the first round is on Tom after auditing his publishing royalties from that jam about the steeplechase and cross-country athlete to the stars! While “American Nights” is good, and much better than the two listed earlier, it is still inconsistent and thus the not so lucky seven slot here.

Play it again: “American Nights”
Skip it: About ⅓ of it

6. Big Bad World (2008)

Plain White T’s fifth studio album and second for Hollywood Records, had two handicaps prior to its release: 1) Any song or album that came after “Hey There Delilah” was born doomed just like any after Fall Out Boy’s “The Middle” from “Enema of the State”. 2) This album sounds lo-fi in a bad way, and would have benefited from better production, and because of such, “Big Bad World” could have been in the fifth slot here, just missing a gold, silver, or bronze medal by two, had it been recorded differently… But what do we know, as single #2, “1, 2, 3, 4,” remains one of their biggest hits. You goons may think that we’re making a serious mistake here, but you also like Germs, so your opinions can never be facts. In closing, the only natural disasters that matter are Typhoon the Shockmaster and Earthquake.

Play it again: “1, 2, 3, 4”
Skip it: “I Really Want You”

5. Self-Titled (2023)

This may or may not get you fired up, but regardless, you may be surprised to learn that nearly two decades after “Hey There Delilah” took over the world in the late-aughts, Plain White T’s released their ninth and self-titled record. In regards to this list itself, “Plain White T’s” is the first consistent studio effort to be listed here and we’d be a little less alone if you all took the time to appreciate this record and all thirteen tracks but “L-O-V-E,” which is a red flag of a tune; regarding love, “Love Keeps Growing” is a far superior song featuring the word without hyphens, and also highlights sometimes lead vocalist Tim’s sweet and complementary vocals. Life is ups and downs, and this record is the solid ground underneath our boots. Plus, this album’s cover is literal and literally their coolest; we could see it in a hipster museum.

Play it again: “Young Tonight”
Skip it: “L-O-V-E”

4. Stop (2002)

“Stop,” Plain White T’s’ third LP/first for Fearless Records is a solid record that sounds great to this day, but could definitely benefit from a twenty-plus years re-recording and/or re-imagining right about now, the funk soul brother. Not only is “Stop” fun, but it works as a much, much, much better intro to the band than their actual debut, “Come On Over.” It also came out at the perfect time, as 2002 was a great year for the with flawless albums from scene stalwarts New Found Glory, The Used, Box Car Racer, and Tommy Tutone, and this particular record’s unintentional timing likely ensured, unless it sucked, which it didn’t by a longshot, that their silver medal follow-up third album that came out three years later, “All That We Needed,” would elevate them to headliners.

Play it again: “A Lonely September”
Skip it: “Penny (Perfect For You)”

3. Every Second Counts (2006)

A major label debut for the label that brought you both teen sensations, Atreyu, and metalcore icon amongst icons, Hannah Montana, Hollywood Records, and certainly sounds like such in the best way ever. To quote WWE’s The Brawling Brutes, consisting of Sheamus, Ridge Holland, and Butch, it’s “banger after banger after banger…”. Not only did it eventually go Gold, but the record itself also debuted “Hey There Delilah” to a mega mainstream audience that wouldn’t normally be, dare we say, fearless. “Hey There Delilah” also ranked ninety-seven on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts for the DECADE; how many second-stage Warped Tour bands can say that? Basically, it’s difficult to keep track of the accolades from this track that closed this record/its predecessor that we are mentioning next. So damn clever?

Play it again: “Come Back To Me”
Skip it: “Gimme A Chance”

2. All That We Needed (2005)

“All That We Needed” is the first of two “no skip” efforts to be listed here, and our favorite may depend on the morning’s mood, but today is more of a day for youngsters than needs, so here we are. Please write your own piece if you don’t agree. Anyway, “All That We Needed” is a perfect pop-rock record and it is NOT pop-punk, morons. Produced by Ariel Rechtshaid, the singer of The Hippos and producer for HAIM, and Loren Israel, former A&R executive, “All That We Needed” went gold, yes, GOLD, like its major label follow-up “Every Second Counts,” and such stat is extra impressive because it was an independent release. This record’s success is likely what got Fearless Records to resign the band after “American Nights,” but we digress. Revenge?

Play it again: “My Only One”
Skip it: Even if you skip only one, you are done, hun

1. Wonders of the Younger (2010)

How the hell did everyone on earth miss this one? After the inconsistent misfire “Big Bad World,” many in the scene and beyond wrote the PWTs off, and all you have to do is look at this album’s Billboard peak at one-hundred-and-forty-nine, which is a modern tragedy, but they were wrong, oh yes, they were wrong… “Wonders of the Younger” is Plain White T’s’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” for crying out loud! Yes, the record had a hit in “Rhythm of Love,” but many casual and non-casual listeners didn’t even know that it was a Plain White T’s song due to its different singer! Why are we yelling? We don’t know!

Play it again: 0:00-49:45
Skip it: Wandering towards what is older