The Monitor - Titus Andronicus
I have come across few albums as passionate and honest as The Monitor, and none of them are as genuinely fun to listen to. As a concept album, it draws parallels between the American Civil War and present day New Jersey to discuss alcoholism, depression, and the loss of agency in the modern world. Punk at heart, it protests capitalist systems and societal expectations of a good life with a bitter, resentful tone. Throughout the course of the album the protagonist wavers between surrendering under the weight of despair, and fighting back despite it all. Musically, it is energetic, bombastic, and anthemic, often crashing through solos and riffs that ring like military marches. Because of its depressive themes, unapologetically angry lyrics, and heroic tone, The Monitor is able to salvage even the worst of days.
It’s 1861, one year into the American Civil War and Richard is a soldier in the union army. Wounded in a skirmish, he is separated from his troop and left to wander through the wilderness of Arkansas alone. Battling starvation and despair, Richard finds that there is no greater force than the will to survive. But he must beware, for the enemy is everywhere.