Before you scabs post something derivative on your social media pages with a four person outreach, just know this: Hawthorne Heights are bigger than all of your stupid, stupid bands combined, and “Saying Sorry” is catchier than any song you have ever, ever written. Dayton, Ohio’s pride and joy yelling/humming/growling/falsetto band Hawthorne Heights formed as a classic Beatles song in 2001, renamed themselves, and twenty-two years later have their own multi-state festival wherein they selflessly let other larger bands headline, seven original studio albums not including acoustic albums covering/modifying their own material, several EPs/compilations/B-sides, and various receipts showcasing that they saved a bundle on insurance by switching to Geico. As always, we expect you to ask something epically brilliant and original like, “They have more than one album/song?” but y’all should put the silence in black and white!
7. Zero (2013)
More ambitious than the literal derivative of zero? Still, one record had to be listed at the dreaded number seven slot here, and said numbered record named after a Smashing Pumpkins t-shirt takes the poorly cooked, yet surprisingly nutrient dense, low calorie, vegan, cake. But hollow hawthorne heart heights unite, this record isn’t bad per se, it’s just inconsistent, and maybe would’ve worked better as an EP called “ZE,” “RO,” or “Zero-Sum Game of Thrones.” The then-five piece bared their metaphorical souls with Grammy-nominated (not for this album) producer Brian Virtue, who also sat behind the boards for your favorite bands Chevrolet Chevelle and Jared “My So-Called Requiem For A Joker’s Dream Buyers Club” Leto’s popular U2 cover band.
Play it again: “Memories of Misery”
Skip it: “Strangers”
6. The Rain Just Follows Me (2021)
Like their former Victory Records labelmates, and we’re not going to make any Tony Brummel lawsuit low hanging fruit jokes here, Silverstein did with their more than solid tenth LP “A Beautiful Place to Drown,” Hawthorne Heights’ most recent Pure Noise Records studio album “The Rain Just Follows Me” looks like a hip-hop record from afar because of its various features which include prolific vocalists from Yellowcard, Counterparts, and Bayside. Also, its title is emo as fuck, and we are still crying about it every hour on the hour after reading it two years ago. Anyway, while this album shines much brighter than “Zero” despite its dull headlights, the following five just flow better.
Play it again: “Spray Paint It Black,” a non-Rolling Stones original HH tune featuring Anthony Raneri of Bayside
Skip it: “Words Can’t Hurt”
5. Fragile Future (2008)
3-2-1 and four become one: This particular ranking position for 2008’s “Fragile Future” may surprise you, but the fact that this LP, the band’s final effort for the aforementioned Winning Albums Chi-Town Conglomerate, is their first full-length without the band’s late guitarist/screamer Casey Calvert. Basically, you should let go of everything you know, and revisit all twelve tracks right now. Overall, it’s hard to talk smack on this non-disaster of record, even if your story and/or narrative changes on its impact, so we won’t, and we want to further highlight our opinion that it is much better than you think it is. Thus, we’re battered and broken, these words are and were spoken in despair, and it will be the only ranking without a “skip it” section… That’s all we have to say about that!
Play it again: “Until the Judgment Day”
Skip it: Pass
4. Bad Frequencies (2018)
It’s been so long, it’s been so long: 2018’s “Bad Frequencies” is the Hawthorne Heights record with the longest gap between said band’s releases, as its predecessor full-length was released in 2013, and it shows in its songs in the best possible way. Basically, this is the group’s finest/utterly return to form album to be released after 2010, and was actually recorded in the band’s home state of Ohio, in the litterbox cornfield fuckeye town that surprisingly had a BD’s Mongolian Grill known as Columbus; go blue. Fun! Although it is not technically an original music studio album, as it has reworked songs and various covers of songs from such bands as Weezer and Bush, and even renditions of solo small-time acts Billie Eilish and Kacey Musgraves, 2019’s follow-up release “Lost Frequencies” deserves some love as well, especially for old school hardcore HH fans.
Play it again: “Pink Hearts”
Skip it: “Straight Down the Line”
3. Skeletons (2010)
Speaking of hardcore, ardent Hawthorne Heights fans likely know about the gospel of “Skeletons,” and/or believe this already, but here is our HHo(hio)t take: This album would’ve been listed at number two or, gasp, even number one here if it had two or three less songs. 2010’s “Skeletons” is likely an album you slept on like, uh, a skeleton, but it is easily the band’s most lush and musically dense record. The band released this LP, which was their fourth, on Wind-Up Records, and such label apparently went on a scene binge around this time, picking up bands like Hawthorne Heights, the aforementioned Bayside, and catchy catchy catchy Cartel, perhaps in an attempt to overcome hearing the word “creed” ad Nauseum. Whatever the label’s motivations for signing HH, we wish that “Skeletons” had a larger audience, raised the band’s stock, and became your gateway gateway drug.
Play it again: “Abandoned Driveways”
Skip it: “Hollywood & Vine”
2. The Silence in Black and White (2004)
Wake up call without a true need to screen-write an apology: This album is truly great and all, but it isn’t the band’s best. Agree? Probably not, but you’re always wrong, so please be kind to us for that opinion as our sad little Hawthorne hearts can’t take any meanness from thou or anyone else in Idaho. Seriously. We can’t and won’t! Anyway, Hawthorne Heights’ calling card single “Ohio Is for Lovers,” which isn’t called “My Heart Is In Ohio” or “My Heart Will Go On,” is easily one of the biggest/best songs in its genre, which may be called many different things depending on the listener, the age of said listener, and where the listener was at at the time. Yeah. In closing, as evidenced by our handy dandy, objectively sound, and never incorrect “Play it again” section, “Niki Fm” freaking rips too. Cut. To. Black.
Play it again: “Niki FM”
Skip it: 2nd pass
1. If Only You Were Lonely (2006)
Bigger. Better. Bendeth. Bodacious. The band and its then-label may have pissed Ne-Yo off with “If Only You Were Lonely,” and how things went down during its release week, but after a long discussion with the popular singer, wherein he kept saying, “Go on girl,” Ne-Yo conceded that HH should’ve debuted at number one on the Billboard charts for this studio album, their sophomore LP. Ne-Yo then said that he’s sorry, and he didn’t want to see the band cry anymore. The band subsequently stopped. Anyway, if you were lucky enough to catch Hawthorne Heights’ 2006 tour with October Fall (or The Hush Sound depending upon the date), From First To Last, The All-American Rejects, and Fall Out Boy on the larger than you think run for this one, you caught a show that some people here would’ve loved to see, despite their cred or lack thereof.
Play it again: “This Is Who We Are”
Skip it: 3rd pass