Albums of sandbox cover image - sandbox logo atop a record

The Albums of Team Sandbox

With the industry madness that is June rapidly approaching we asked the Sandbox team to talk about their favorite ga—wait not games! Albums. Let’s escape from games before the June rush and chill out with the favorite albums of team Sandbox.

Akinola: My favorite album is probably Strong Bad Sings and Other Type Hits from the creators of the popular early 2000s webtoon, Homestar Runner. Even though Adobe Flash is dead, the toon (and all of its episodes) live on through their official YouTube channel. Memes and gags from Strong Bad’s weekly email series become fully-fleshed out musical productions, complete with instruments and the finest synths. I’m so glad that The Cheat is not dead.

Bobz: There are a few albums that are just so perfect I can go back and listen anytime. Hard to name just the top one, so going to rattle off a few based on different genres.

Michael Jackson – Thriller. As classic an album as there is, I spent so much time listening to this LP growing up it still amazed me. Cat Stevens Greatest Hits. I know, lame to put a greatest hits album on the list but by the time I caught up with Cat in the 90’s this was my go-to. Every song a gem. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mother’s Milk. Amazing song after amazing song. Supersuckers, Must’ve Been High. While I don’t smoke or drink, I absolutely love their country take on things and give this a listen every few months. The Insteps, Eleven Steps to Power. Nearly impossible to find anywhere, this NYC ska band’s 1996 album is so, so good. Wish I could have seen them but for now I settle on listening this whenever I can.

Dan: I’ve delayed responding to this prompt because of how difficult this question is for me to answer! But in the days when I had a car, Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run was the one album that never came out of the CD changer. It has such a full sound, tells a clear story, and every song is strong. To me, it’s everything a rock-and-roll album should be. 
I have too many honorable mentions to list, but some other top albums include Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street, OutKast’s Aquemini, and Bob Marley’s Legend.

Elena: I hesitate to recommend it, because they don’t make much music anymore, but Ready for You by Hunter Hunted has been my go-to for over a decade. In college, I wrote a screenplay which incorporated the entire album, Across the Universe-style. Every song finds me at a different time, and my favorite track still shifts and changes year by year. #SupportSmallBands. I’m also obsessed with the Spiritfarer soundtrack, but I can’t listen to it often because it makes me cry.

Kim: Definitely not an easy one to answer, but I would have to go with Kanye West’s Graduation album from 2007. Brings back the greatest memories with some lifelong friends I am lucky enough to consider family now. Listing off some honorable mentions though! Illmatic by Nas. Take Care by Drake. Collision Course by Jay-Z & Linkin Park. Believe by Justin Bieber (shoutout to my fellow Beliebers!)

Marisa: I have too many to list but I’m going to focus on the ones that hold very vivid memories. Ten by Pearl Jam and Rumours by Fleetwood Mac! Both vastly different sounding albums of course, but they remind me of one of my favorite summers back in England. 2008 was the year I was taking a lot of road trips around Cornwall and Devon to go surfing and simply relax by the beach with friends.

Another callout would probably be Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water by Limp Bizkit. It was my very first album that I went out and purchased myself as soon as it came out. Of course, my parents were not too pleased with the explicit warning on the cover, but I successfully convinced them into thinking there were only a couple of swear words throughout the entire album. Sorry, mum & dad! But with only naming a few, those albums did influence me in ways that made me continue to love and appreciate music of all genres. One final callout will be Bear McCreary’s work on Battlestar Galacticare, not necessarily an album, but the entire score is phenomenal!

Tim: Really hard to top Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon for me. What can I say that hasn’t been said 100 times already? It’s a fantastic journey of an album that demands to be heard from start to finish while surrounded by several throw pillows. Incredibly structured and paced, emotional highs and lows… Kirk Hamilton did an episode of his podcast Strong Songs about Dark Side that’s a great deep dive, and yeah, I did the Wizard of Oz thing in high school.

Some other go-to picks for me: Fantasies by Metric, Ceremonials by Florence and the Machine, Morning View by Incubus, In Rainbows by Radiohead, Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, Turn On The Bright Lights by Interpol and Californication by the RHCP.

Tony: I truly do not have a favorite album. I do really enjoy Animal Crossing music so I am going to say that here. I’d listen to Animal Crossing New Leaf’s 11:00 song the most. I wouldn’t get home from work until then and would play – all the stores were closed :(.  Animal Crossing New Horizons was the theme song to early Covid lockdowns. When I listen to it, I get such nostalgic reactions and I’m teleported right back. It was horrifying, but I survived. Video games.

Tyler: Starting with some ones I really like – I think Childish Gambino’s Because the Internet is a real classic. Midnights is recent but by far my favorite Taylor album, and Vulfpeck’s My First Car is short and sweet. I also have to throw in a mention of Maroon 5’s Songs About Jane. For a band whose output for like 15+ years has been utter garbage – that album is top to bottom a really solid coffee shop rock album. 

Saying a Beatles album feels so cliche, but I really can’t not say it. Each album brings something to the table that is so distinct. It entirely depends on my mood what I’d say my favorite is. I guess I have to go with The Beatles (1968)/The White Album. Back in the USSR, Dear Prudence, Julia, While My Guitar Gently Weeps – so many great ones. Abbey Road is close behind but – come on – Rocky Raccoon, checked into his room…🎶

Val: I love the albums I discovered in college, when I was making some of the best friends I still have today. If I had to choose my favorite album, it has to be Two Door Cinema Club’s first album, Tourist History. Though a special shout out goes to the single “Something Good Can Work” that was released beforehand. That short little album means so much to me because it brings me right back to late nights spent with friends playing cards and exploring LA.

We hope this list provided you with some fresh tunes to inspire you! To help with that, we even put together the above playlist with a song from each album! (Listener’s discretion is advised)

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