Four Year Strong is a band that has been thrown into several genres from pop-punk to hardcore and even easycore, which is an easy combination of the two genres with a very bouncy vibe to them. While Four Year Strong has been compared to bands such as New Found Glory or Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, and others, but the similarity between the three bands ultimately became easycore elements. Overall, the band has evolved their sound, at least the slightest bit, per record and below we’ve ranked each album Four Year Strong have released and showcased the growth on each one.
6. In Some Way Shape or Form
“In Some Way Shape or Form” was the first full-length from Four Year Strong to not feature the band’s longtime keyboardist, as the band stated they wanted to take synthesizers out of their music, which left no room for the musician. From the removal of the band, Josh Lyford formed the hardcore band Foxfires. Overall, with the departure of synthesizers and Lyford, Four Year Strong appeared to be in an entirely new headspace as “In Some Way Shape or Form” was certainly the outlier of Four Year Strong’s career, which earned its placement as last on our Four Year Strong albums ranked list.
5. Brain Pain
“Brain Pain” was not only the newest full-length release from Four Year Strong but even more recently the album was given a pretty interesting deluxe reissue loaded with remixes, acoustic renditions, and other bonus tracks including a cover. Overall, “Brain Pain” showed an increase in original form for Four Year Strong but also reflected major growth in the band. While Four Year Strong has always evolved to some extent with each album cycle, the band always appeared to have some small trouble with finding a more solidified sound but “Brain Pain” followed a similar style to “Four Year Strong”, the band’s self-titled album.
4. Explains It All
“Explains It All” was the covers album of 90’s songs from Four Year Strong that featured a variety of hits from the stated decade and provided inspiration for the band themselves when they grew up, and while it contained most of the band’s covers it didn’t cover all of them or even the best. The earliest recording of a Four Year Strong cover was their cover of the Blink-182 song, “Dumpweed”, from a Pacific Ridge Records compilation. While Four Year Strong’s debut full-length was the only full-length that the band released before this covers album, you’d never know it with how well the band put this covers effort together.
3. Four Year Strong
“Four Year Strong” was the band’s self-titled record, which was properly titled so as it was the closest return to form that the band had released since the departure of Lyford as keyboardist. While “Four Year Strong” didn’t carry any sort of sound familiar to any effort from the band with Lyford on keys, it showed the first time since the member was released that the band could hold an overall consistency from one album directly to the next. Overall, “Four Year Strong” may have included “Go Down in History” from the EP of the same name that the band released before this full-length but that EP stood out so well and positively that the band was clearly inspired to write “Four Year Strong” in a similar form.
2. Enemy of the World
“Enemy of the World” may be the album from Four Year Strong that dominated their setlists for quite some time and are among the most popular songs from the band, over any other record. However, as mentioned above, Four Year Strong removed their keyboardist and this was the last album to feature the musician. Overall, “Enemy of the World” may have been one of the most impactful and memorable albums from Four Year Strong, however, upon further listening to the dynamic of changing from a 5-piece band to 4-piece shows on all efforts post-“Enemy of the World” as it also shows some departure from experimentation and heavily melodic choruses and chords in general. A departure from those elements entirely shouldn’t be counted on as no matter what era the band may be in with their career, those elements have been shown on all full-length records from the band, covers included.
1. Rise or Die Trying
“Rise or Die Trying” simply earned its placement as number one on our Four Year Strong ranked albums list due to how incredible the effort was and the impact that the record had on the rest of the band’s career. When first listening to “Rise or Die Trying”, the synthesizers stand out almost over all else, except possibly the unique vocal style presented on the debut full length. Overall, “Rise or Die Trying” was without a doubt Four Year Strong’s most interesting release with its use of the synth sounds throughout the record almost made everything else in comparison make Four Year Strong sound like a different band entirely. Four Year Strong also released a 10th-anniversary edition of “Rise or Die Trying” that featured additional tracks that were previously unreleased on streaming platforms.