Next year, New Found Glory will celebrate their china anniversary – that’s 20 years of being married to pop punk.
During their career, they’ve released eight albums, one live collection, two EPs and three covers albums and have inspired and influenced the likes of All Time Low, A Day To Remember, The Story So Far and Neck Deep.
We caught up with guitarist and chief songwriter Chad Gilbert, and set him the challenge of ranking their eight studio albums – from worst to best.
“It’s hard to do,” begins Gilbert, “but I’m combining them based on what I like, what goes over well live and the listening quality, because you can’t judge a New Found Glory album based just on the record; there’s also a live element and how the songs have translated over the years.”
Armed with that criteria, here’s how he rates his own back catalogue…
8. Not Without a Fight (2009)
“I think my least favourite New Found Glory record is Not Without a Fight. It’s funny because I do like that record, but you’ve asked me to put them in order and that one would be my least favourite. If Not Without a Fight is your favourite record then that’s awesome, but for me, out of all of them, I think I tried the least on that one. It came after the Coming Home record, which we put a lot into song writing and lyric wise, and there’s a lot of emotion in that record. But when Coming Home first came out it wasn’t that well received, so when we went back into the recording studio for Not Without a Fight I was like, ‘Screw it! I’m just gonna write and record punk songs, and that’s it.’ So I don’t think I pushed myself enough, and musically it was the quickest and easiest album I think we’ve ever done. It was also the one I was the least emotionally attached to, so that’s why I’ve put it at number eight.”
“This is going to make a lot of people mad, but I think I’d put Catalyst at number seven. I think that album is awesome and I like it, but when I listen to it now it doesn’t really make any sense. I think there are some really good songs on there – I think All Downhill from Here and Failure’s Not Flattering are some of the best songs we’ve ever written – but there are also songs on there that I don’t like. So for me personally, Catalyst is all over the place. I think what happened was after the success of Sticks and Stones we were lumped in with a lot of poppy bands and that was weird for us because we came from a hardcore punk rock background, then after we had some commercial success all of a sudden we were ‘poppy’, so we set out to prove otherwise. We had this sort of rebellious feeling that we could write anything, which is why I think it’s all over the place. Like I said, I think some of our best songs are on that record, but the record as a whole is number seven for me.”
6. Radiosurgery (2011)
“Next is Radiosurgery. Again, I love that record. I think the goal with it was to throwback to the older punk stuff like the Ramones and Green Day, and really simplify our sound and write these big anthems. But I think conceptually there was some disagreement within the band, so even though there are elements of that on it I don’t think it’s as over the top as I wanted it to be. There was a lot of fear to commit to that, but I wasn’t scared; I wanted to make a simple, old school punk rock record. I feel like we accomplished that with some of the songs but overall there were some people that went to the safe zone, which is a shame because I feel like when New Found Glory has taken those steps our fans have come with us. That said, I love the songs that we play live when we do them.”
5. Coming Home (2006)
“I think five would have to be Coming Home. I like Coming Home a lot. That record was very ballsy for us. I guess we were one of the biggest pop punk bands of the time, and after the self-titled record, Sticks and Stones and Catalyst I think there was a specific thing that people expected from us, and that album was what they least expected. It had like piano rock and all this other stuff going on, and I loved that. The songs from that record don’t go over that well live, even though it’s the most requested album from our back catalogue, but I’d say it’s more of a band’s record; most people that I meet from other bands say that one is their favourite New Found Glory record. It seems to be the one that bands love, and I like that it’s respected musically, but I think it could have had a little more balls and grit to it in the production department. I think it could’ve bridged a little bit more on the distorted side, but overall I love the songs and it was definitely a record that made us realise we could do anything that we wanted in the sense that no one in the mainstream can be on top forever. And we never thought we’d be a massive band in the first place, so we just needed to keep doing what felt good in our guts, which meant making a record that was a natural reflection of who we were at the time. I think people identify with bands that they perceive to be sincere, and they’ll root for you even if they don’t love the record because they know that it’s real.”
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4. Sticks and Stones (2002)
“Four would be Sticks and Stones. I think it’s our biggest selling record and My Friend’s Over You is still an anthem today; I feel like that song is even larger than our band and it will live on forever even after the band is done. We were coming off the success of our self-titled record at the time, and we did a tour of the US with Blink-182 where we had to close with Hit or Miss every night because that was the song, and we were wondering if we could ever write another song to live up to that. My Friend’s Over You was actually the last song we wrote for the album, and now that’s our song and we have to close all our shows with that one. Another thing that’s crazy about that record is all the bands that have been named after it; All Time Low are named after Head On Collision and The Story So Far got their name from the last song on the record. So that one is a very important record to me, even though it’s not my all time favourite. It probably is number one to a lot of our fans though.”
3. New Found Glory (2000)
“I’m going to give number three to the self-titled record. That was our first major label record and I think we were at a place where we could’ve sold out. We knew they wanted us to be on the radio and so we could’ve totally sold out, but we didn’t. We knew that what got us to where we were was the energy and dynamic of the band with the crazy live shows and crowd interaction. I remember we recorded the album and they liked Hit or Miss, but I don’t think they thought the rest of the record was a big single type release. But we grew up in punk and hardcore so we were already way more successful than we thought we would ever be. That’s why we opened the record with Better Off Dead, which is like a super fast punk rock song, and I really think the record combined what we were trying to do at the time; we wanted the rhythm and chunkiness of New York hardcore mixed with an element of the West Coast punk rock that was going on at the time, and nothing really sounded like that back then. So I’m really proud of us for seeing a record contract and not being like, ‘Now we’ve got to do what they want.’ Instead we said, ‘You signed us for what we do and this is what we do.’ I think that said a lot, and it was a gold album so it sold really well. It’s crazy to think that we sold a gold album when we were teenagers.”
2. Resurrection (2014)
“Number two is Resurrection. That was our first record as a four piece and I’m putting it in second place because it was our easiest record to make; there was no egos or insecurities involved whatsoever. I feel like it fits who we are better than a lot of our albums, too. It spoke truth about a lot of the things that we were going through and I think it did it in a way that was fresh for our fans, and they really cling to that album because it’s such an honest record. We really wanted to make a record that people would hear and feel connected to, like when we first started and there were stories that people really latched on to. I think Resurrection did that again, and I’ve seen people getting lyric tattoos because they really stand by them and they feel like they have a voice again, which the last couple of records didn’t have. There’s a catchy song, and then there’s a catchy song where you really feel the lyrics, and that’s the difference - do you know what I mean? I also love the fact that it’s four members playing four parts, and we didn’t layer a bunch of guitars or anything like that. And everywhere we play in the world, whether it’s Australia, Japan, England or the US, when we play the new songs it’s awesome and everyone sings along.”
1. Nothing Gold Can Stay (1999)
“Last but not least, I have to give the top spot to Nothing Gold Can Stay. I didn’t expect to put this record at number one, but sitting here I think that it’s there for the personal reason that we were all still in high school when we made it. I worked in a movie theatre and I took $300 that I’d saved from working there, and the rest of the guys all took the $300 they’d saved from their jobs and we all got together and made Nothing Gold Can Stay with our own money. We had no idea where it would take us, we were just doing it because we loved it, and it’s just crazy to see how things turned out. Sticks and Stones is obviously the one that took us all over the world, but when we released Nothing Gold Can Stay on our own with a local label it got picked up by Drive-Thru and the wave that went over the States was really cool; we weren’t promoted by a record label, we were promoted purely by our fans and word of mouth. It was insane. We were living in Florida and going to places like Boston and New York and playing in front of 400 kids, then getting back into our illegally rented Enterprise van and driving back to Florida, then going back to school and sitting in class the next day. That’s crazy to think about now. I have to give credit to Saves The Day too, because they were another band that was doing the same thing around the same time. I remember going up to them at a show in Indianapolis one night and saying, ‘Dude, I’m in a band from Florida and we’re doing exactly the same thing – playing this pop punk music on hardcore bills.’ Months later we ended up touring together and it was cool because we didn’t know or hear each other, it was just this weird natural evolution that was happening. And that’s it, man. That’s my list.”