Candlebox’s new album Wolves dropped in September, and it’s had a full season to reach fans and new listeners alike, which makes this the perfect time to take a look back at all their excellent studio albums. From the moment Candlebox first got together back in 1990, this band was headed for success. Their 1993 debut album instantly caught the attention of new fans, radio stations, and studio heads, and in the thirty-two years since the music has remained consistently great because it comes from an incredibly talented group. We’re ranking all the Candlebox studio albums and taking a tour through more than three decades of outstanding music.
7. Disappearing In Airports
Disappearing In Airports was released in April of 2016. Out of the band’s original lineup, the only remaining member on this album is Kevin Martin. It is also the first Candlebox album without its original guitarist Peter Klett. The feel of the music on this album is not-so-subtly different. There is a more pop-rock sound and feel to Disappearing In Airports than the previous alt-rock, post-grunge offerings from Candlebox. Although Disappearing In Airports is a good album, it’s not quite the version of the band many fans came to love, so we’re giving this album last place.
6. Happy Pills
In 1997 Candlebox drummer Scott Mercado was replaced by former Pearl Jam drummer Dave Krusen. The resulting album was not as successful as the albums that came before. Some critics and fans complained that it was unoriginal, while others hailed Happy Pills as a return to the band’s musical roots. The split reception plants this album somewhere in the middle, neither their best nor worst. In fact, Happy Pills, which was released in 1998, was the last studio album before Candlebox split up. Although they would tour and work together for two more years, in 2000, the breakup seemed like the end for this brilliant 90s rock band. Happy Pills wasn’t a bad album, but it would undoubtedly have been a rather unimpressive end for a band that started with a truly meteoric rise to fame. Fortunately, Candlebox wasn’t through yet.
5. Love Stories and Other Musings
Love Stories and Other Musings was Candlebox’s fifth studio album, and it came out in 2012. The band reminded fans of everything they love about Candlebox. Love Stories hit number seven on the US Hard Rock Billboard and charted in the top twenty for the alternative and independent charts. The majority, nine of the songs, were new, but five additional songs, including the band’s most beloved hit Far Away, were re-recorded. The combination of fan favorites and some excellent new and different songs like Youth In Revolt offered a glimpse into the band’s versatility without straying so far from the soul and sound that made them as to be unrecognizable.
4. Into The Sun
Into The Sun was released in 2008, leaving an entire decade without a new studio album between this and its predecessor, Happy Pills. After the band’s initial split, fans weren’t confident there would be any more music from them. Happily, the group reunited in 2006 and spent the next two years recording this album. Into The Sun was everything fans could ask for musically when it finally dropped. This album is a reminder of where Candlebox came from, but just as importantly, it proved their sound had evolved. If you’d never heard Candlebox play before hearing this album, you’d still be impressed by their talent. Fifteen years after the original album, there was no doubt they still had what it takes.
We’re giving third place to Candlebox’s most recent release, Wolves. It’s no surprise that a musically varied and thoroughly enjoyable album like this would come out of time in quarantine. Candlebox always had a soulful and sorrowful tone that suits this era, and Wolves is no exception. Sidestage Magazine called Wolves, “…a modern rock album that’s rife with brutal lyrical honesty and songs that run the gamut from dirty rock stompers to timeless, radio-ready pop-rock tunes.”
Lucy released two years after Candlebox’s debut album, was their second-ever studio album. Although this album wasn’t as well-received as the original, self-titled work, it went gold. Moreover, it was a good sophomore effort from a great band and made a fitting follow-up. Lucy is by far the most overlooked and underrated Candlebox album. As Swapacd puts it, “…Lucy was discarded by everybody as soon as it was released. And it was their finest work… Musically, Lucy is defined by the standouts: Simple Lessons, Understanding, and Butterfly. Not the radio-friendly music the self-titled release contained, musically lucy is more “in your face” and raw. Combined with Martin’s emotional yet simple lyrics, lucy is a powerful album.”
The original and still the best, Candlebox’s self-titled 1993 debut album immediately got the media’s attention and hordes of new fans. Since then, it has gone quadruple platinum. Few bands do so well right out the gate, but this album, which stayed on the Billboard 200 charts for a hundred and four weeks, is special. You have to listen to the self-titled album Candlebox from end to end to appreciate its impact on listeners. The 1990s was a great time to be a rock musician in Seattle, but only a few bands made the Billboard charts, and even fewer have lasted decades. Candlebox’s biggest hit to date, the unforgettable Far Behind, comes from this first album. In addition to that spectacular and instantly recognizable song, this album had three other hit singles. Change, Cover Me, and You all came out of this superb album.
If you grew up in the 80s or 90s, then Candlebox was part of the soundtrack of your youth. Their popularity on the radio and in concert venues has cemented them in the minds and hearts of millions of fans worldwide. They even had the honor of being the first band Madonna signed to Maverick Records. Every one of these seven albums is worth listening to from end to end, and we hope to see at least many more in the future.