12 months, 365 days.
Thousands of records and hundreds of bands, but only a few captured our hearts (for some, again!) during the booming year of music. Now, I can’t speak for everyone, but these are my personal favorites from the music highlights of this year!
*Fall Out Boy- Save Rock And Roll
The legendary pop-punk band managed to record the entirety of this album without public knowledge until PropertyOfZack started dropping hints. Still, the announcement of a completed album and huge tour blew up the scene, and with Save Rock And Roll’s hip hop/pop influenced sound, pop-punk successfully infiltrated the Top 40. The guest appearances, such as Elton John and Courtney Love, make for an interesting- but ever catchy album. The storyline told through music video has yet to unfold in 2013, but fans everywhere still hold their breath for the conclusion.
*Lily Allen- Hard Out Here
After nearly four years of not making music, and making two children, Lily Allen had to make a statement to be reinstated into her position in the pop industry, as a painfully honest, sometimes crude, but always lovable musician. Living up to even her most popular hits, “Hard Out Here” not only reminds us of who Lily Allen is, but it’s modern satirical outlook on the discriminatory scenes of music genres like pop and rap leaves us both contemplating, and laughing. The video makes an even larger statement (yeah, she’s calling you out Thicke!), one that some people may have a hard time swallowing. Whether you love it or hate it, you’ll never forget it or Lily Allen afterwards!
*Avenged Sevenfold- Hail To The King
Nightmare was bittersweet for many fans of Avenged Sevenfold, and for a fleeting moment it was up in the air, a question everyone wanted to know, “Would Avenged Sevenfold continue making music without their friend and drummer known as The Rev?” And the answer is, of course, yes. They picked up a new partner-in-crime, the worthy Arin Ilejay, and began writing again. The result was an album that was a kind of tribute to their origins, the sound of Metallica and Black Sabbath that fueled every metal band since their rise. The sound is different, right down to the purposeful diversion from The Rev’s drumming style, the guitar riffs and vocals. But few could say they were disappointed, for it was a great album.
*Eminem (feat. Rihanna)- The Monster
The “Rap God” is back with his fourth collaboration with Rihanna! Everyone has demons to face, and Eminem comes to terms with his in “The Monster”. It’s everything you could expect from an Eminem song, and Rihanna’s powerful chorus is just too catchy. The inflective verses remind us that the off-the-wall rapper knows who he is, and that includes his faults. You don’t have to read too much into it, though, because the song is phenomenal either way.
*Pentatonix- PTX, Vol. II
The a capella group that started a little over a year ago blew up this spring, and they’ve been rolling uphill ever since. With each cover their vast fanbase gets bigger, and to no one’s credit but their own. This quintet is lovable from all sides, and if you’ve forgotten, PTX Vol. II will remind you why. On this album is their Daft Punk medley and their cover of “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, along with several originals. These innovative musicians have harnessed the power of the voice itself, and their talent shows.
*Justin Timberlake- Mirrors
From the boy band to the solo career, Justin Timberlake has always been at the top of his game in music. And he had kept up that reputation in 2013 with “Mirrors”. The song is smooth and beautiful, but with changes of pace that make it not only pleasing but interesting to listen to. While he puts out single after single, I have to say I loved “Mirrors” the most from this year.
*Pearl Jam- Lightning Bolt
The problem with great bands is you either burn out, or fade away…usually. Pearl Jam is still driving hard, and they haven’t run out of material yet. Lightning Bolt combines new sounds as well as old ones, and you can always rely on Eddie Vedder’s strange lyrics to provoke contemplation. Living up to the original albums that shot them to stardom, you can enjoy every single song on
this record, and each one for different reasons. I can’t wait to see what they do next.
*Twenty-One Pilots- Migraine
I saw these guys a few months ago, and believe me, this duo is up and coming fast and powerful. With a unique sound that is part techno, part rap, and sort of punk, Twenty-One Pilots is one band you have to listen to. A personal favorite from their 2013 career is “Migraine”, with a pretty chorus and infectious verses. The soul that is put into this music is visible with all of their music, and the message in this song is pretty clear.
The band that set the foundation to the standards of female fronted pop-punk artists is back and better than ever. With the departure of both Farro brothers, Hayley, Taylor, and Jeremy, had to seek out a new sound. And it was mature, pulling a totally different style out of each of the members. With “Ain’t It Fun”, “Still Into You”, and “Anklebiters”, this album is bound to have you jumping around and dancing.
*Bring Me the Horizon- Sempiternal
This is arguably the best album of 2013. Oliver Sykes took his vocals to a whole new level that many skeptics didn’t think was possible, a level that many artists never reach. The music has matured too, taking it’s time instead of rushing forward like older records of theirs. You don’t have to change a good thing, but you can always make it better. And that’s exactly what Sempiternal
Love or hate the young new pop star, you can hardly deny that her first single that put her on “the map”, “Royals” is catchy. The kind of catchy that you associate with the flu; you can’t help but sing along no matter how much you hate the song. In fact, it’s almost impossible to hate the song itself, because it’s dark sound lulls to us, and the chorus is beautiful. Musicians of all kinds have had their fun covering it (Pentatonix, Halestorm, Paradise Fears, etc), and maybe that’s because it sounds great no matter what genre you associate with.
*Hollywood Undead- Notes From The Underground
The hybrid rock and rap group Hollywood Undead have created a steady following through their fun club anthems, such as “Comin’ In Hot” and “No. 5”, as well as their darker lullabies like “Pour Me” and “Black Dahlia”. Notes From The Underground was no different, with its twisted “Dead Bite”, funny and upbeat “Pigskin” and ballad “Believe” it topped charts immediately. Album after album and so far this group hasn’t slowed down. All around this record was really diverse, allowing each song to take on a life of its own for us to enjoy.
*Panic! At The Disco- Too Weird To Live, Too Rare to Die
Announced just after Fall Out Boy’s Save Rock And Roll, this album envelops a catchy new sound, just like every Panic! At The Disco record before it. It’s a little smoother, with a techno sound laced through pop and the attitude that is solely “Panic!”. The singles “Miss Jackson” and “This Is Gospel” only scratch the surface of the sound that will get stuck in your head for months.
*We The Kings- I Like It
Following both their own style and the movement created by Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco, We The King’s new single “I Like It” has the hip-hop background that anyone can enjoy with the sound of punk-pop that we all love. It’s catchy and fun, and despite the criticisms, I can’t stop listening to it.
* Miscellaneous Artists- Punk Goes Christmas
The Punk Goes… compilations have been every hardcore, punk-pop, and punk kid’s dream for years since its inception…and ‘tis the season! This Fearless Records creation contains both covers and original songs by “punk” bands across the spectrum, all in time for the holidays! The originals are personally better, with New Found Glory’s “Nothing For Christmas” and The Ready Set’s “I Don’t Wanna Spend Another Christmas Without You” being both catchy and beautiful.
Well, that’s my list.
What music from 2013 did you love best?
What are you expecting from 2014?
Let me know! Happy New Year, friends.
The Nearly Deads provide YOU with the necessary tool to overcome the apocalypse.
What’s the best way to breakthrough (again) in the music scene of Nashville?
To release a new EP of course! Back in August, one of the most upcoming bands in Music City, The Nearly Deads, did just that. Survival Guide has songs new and old, including a beautiful “Reanimated” recording of their biggest song thus far, “Never Look Back”.
Previous fans will be familiar with some of the songs on Survival Guide such as the driving anthem and aforementioned most popular song, “Never Look Back” as well as the fighting “Reasons” and powerful “Fact or Friction”. But we are also graced with two songs that haven’t been recorded yet. “Brave” could possibly take the ‘anthem’ position away from “Never Look Back” with it’s huge sound and inspiring lyrics, it invokes the lion-hearted warrior in everyone. “Changeover” is fun and strong, a dancing song with great rhythm. All in all, this EP primes The Nearly Deads for the full length they have planned, their first ever.
For the occasion I asked twitter fans what they wanted to know, and delved a little for myself into what we’ll be expecting.
1. What kind of sound can we be expecting from this new album?
“It will be a little more on the pop-punk side. We’re getting away from the darker more heavy sounds and just having fun. There will still be tons of grit and a lot of grunge influences, but the whole vibe is a lot more punk. We’re really excited about it.”
2. So, for the fans, it is a full length album this time, right?
“Yes. We were originally opposed to a second EP, but it was something our label convinced us we had to do. We feel like we disappointed a few fans by only releasing two new songs after such a long wait. That won’t happen again!”
3. The infamous question; “Why the name ‘The Nearly Deads'”?
“It’s a little surreal! Just seeing where we’ve come from and having so many fans follow us over the years feels amazing. There are people who were around when we had 500 likes that still support us and share our music. Honestly it feels like we’re not stopping anytime soon, that this music is bigger than just us, that there are people out there who care and who want to see us succeed. And the best part is that we’ve earned it all by staying true to ourselves. One day we will reach success and we will know its because we were genuine and honest and we have always respected the fact that our fans keep us going. We’d be nothing without our zombies!”
With influences from all ranges on the genre spectrum, The Nearly Deads have developed a sound too mature to fit in with the generic pop-punk bands of the 21st century, a sound they’ve deigned “polished grunge”. And now that they’ve maneuvered their first national tour and a deal with Standby Records, they’re ready to take over the world. Watch out, the zombies are coming!
In the music industry as it stands today, there are two ways to make a popular music video: you entertain, or you send a message. Matt Nathanson and Goldthwait, the director of this video, blend the two purposes in a video that is cute, refreshing, and might still be a little ahead of its time.
The song itself if catchy and fun, but the video is what captures the attention. It shows a sequence of events- walking in a park, eating breakfast- between Matt and a girl, the seriousness of the relationship hinted at by the small wrapped box sitting on an end table. It’s all really normal, albeit amusing, until the last half of the video. We see the girl is a dancer at a club, and Nathanson is sitting supportively in the audience. The peak of the video is when the props are pulled away, most would be surprised to see that she’s transgendered.
Perhaps the most moving, powerful part is that the entire club, including the other males and Nathanson himself, seems happy. No one treats it like it’s out of the ordinary, and they are all clapping proudly.
It’s a small message of equality, but it’s great nonetheless.
And seriously, watch it more than once and it will get stuck in your head.
Divided By Friday is one of the most up and coming bands from Hopeless Records, and while the record label is known for their pop-punk artists such as All Time Low, Divided By Friday is definitely more pop than punk and it’s amazing. They cite influences such as Frank Sinatra and Justin Timberlake, but this new EP definitely feels like Maroon 5, Panic! At The Disco and something extremely new.
There’s a lot of power in these songs, I think they’re catchy and surprising. They’re all diverse, but they still fit together like puzzle pieces to the album.
The first single, “You Fooled Me” reminds me of Panic!’s album Of Vices and Virtues with the interesting instrumentals; including keys and violins, and driving pace. “Free Tonight” starts with a great string accompaniment, verses that show the Timberlake influence and has a unique prechorus that I love. “Relapse” is softer but not slower, with a heavier piano presence and more pronounced lyrics. “Rhythm Of The Room” is probably the most unique song from this album, with synth and radio pop vocal stylizations that is perfect for dancing and singing too. “Better Off” almost has a jazz feeling to it, very upbeat and strong. “Longer Than Forever” is a great ending to the EP, a great ballad-like tune.
It’s hard to find music that sounds like what you like without sounding exactly like it, and it’s so interesting to hear a sound like this come out of Hopeless. I wasn’t familiar with Divided By Friday before, but I love this album and cant wait to hear more.
Mayday Parade recently released their newest album, Monsters In The Closet, and along with it the lyric video for their single “12 Through 15”. Mayday Parade has been known within it’s fan base for being able to pull strong emotional responses in their songs, like “Oh Well, Oh Well”, “Terrible Things”, and “Miserable At Best”.
I think this song is just as good as any of Mayday Parade’s singles, smooth like a lullaby but with powerfully emotional vocals. The lyrics go through the motions of a breakup; the loneliness, the anger, all the excuses made and the pain felt. At the same time, there’s a sense of understanding in the lyrics.
Hope you enjoy the single, the album review is coming up soon!
Panic! At The Disco has released their new album Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die on YouTube!
I felt this would be relevant to my viewers, enjoy!
Right after punk-pop band Fall Out Boy released their newest album, Save Rock And Roll, they are back again before their tour is even over with the album PAX AM Days, a punk/hardcore based album.
Both Fall Out Boy and their counterparts Panic! At The Disco received wide criticism for their seemingly drastic sound changes, but the release of “Love, Sex, Death”, the first single off of PAX AM Days proves that Fall Out Boy will never conform to one sound. Moreover, this single proves that Fall Out Boy- including vocalist Patrick Stump- is capable of playing any genre.
The other half of the Fall Out Boy fanbase- the people who turned their noses up at Save Rock and Roll- will definitely love this single for it’s punk influences. The off-timing, the rough vocals that Patrick Stump brings and the driving beat pulls away from their recent pop rock sound and pulls them into uncharted territory, only barely tapped into in From Under The Cork Tree.
So, what is the verdict? Does Fall Out Boy have the chance of winning over more hearts or was this a sour move on their part?
Miss Jackson, are you nasty?
Have you ever heard the phrase “this song sounds better played live”? Well, some songs just don’t catch your attention until you hear them played live, and “Miss Jackson” by Panic! At The Disco was definitely one of those songs.
The first time I heard this song, I think I was so wrapped up in the difference between it and, say, Pretty. Odd. that I didn’t let it register in my head as catchy and fun. Then Panic! played it live on Friday at the Mud Island Amphitheater. Honestly, the most embarrassing thing about going to a concert is when you don’t know the words to a song. So when they played “Miss Jackson”, I listened close so I could at least catch onto the chorus.
Guess what song was stuck in my head on the way home? That’s right, “Miss Jackson”.
One of the signature things about Panic! At The Disco has been that each of their albums were really diverse, and the new album is still different from the ones before. While some claim it sounds like the recent Fall Out Boy album- and hey, is that bad even if you think it’s true?- Panic! is still going strong.
The only question I have is: does this video have any actual plot or moral? If there is, I totally would like to be enlightened.
The end story is that I love this song- I should have loved it earlier but people make mistakes, okay?!- and I think that if you’ve got stipulations about what Panic! should sound like you might be disappointed but if you take the song for more than face value (not saying anything bad about Brendon’s face) then I believe you will really enjoy it.
WARNING: I’m not liable in case of the event of this song getting stuck in your head. Sorry.
I know, I know. This is the mother of all strange band names, but hear them out.
I found this band on StereoMood, a website where you enter how you are feeling and it gives you a playlist that falls under that “mood”. I was using it out of pure boredom, when I fell upon a song that just captured my attention.
“Mother” is laidback; soft, low instrumentals with Lynden Segura’s gravelly blues-esque voice, that continues to build in power and then falls back down for a fading ending. It’s the kind of song that is soothing and powerful without being overwhelming or distracting.
This four-piece blues rock band is from Louisiana, and they released their first EP, Meet The Monkey Tangs last summer, and have a unfairly small fanbase. All their music is really diverse, but still maintaining their basic influences and style. These days, it’s normal for music to be overpowered in it’s guitar and their drums, or have virtually nothing but vocals, and so it’s amazing to see a great blend of all members in this band.
Just having released their last EP, Celebrity, last year, Boston pop trio Call Me Anything are already back to work on their next EP, The Best Damn Time, which comes out in 9 days! Recently they posted a lyric video for the first single, “Good Thing”.
As a group, their sound has definitely been refined over the years they’ve been together. What started out as simple acoustic sounding tunes, now is upbeat powerful pop songs. However, I can’t help but have mixed feelings about this new song. Songs like “100 American Town” are forgotten in this sound of repetitive choruses and short verses.
That having been said, this song is still catchy, and I have to say the addition of Dylan Ronan really added to the sound they’re leaning towards. It’s for driving with the radio blasting, or hanging out with friends. Call Me Anything is still a young band, and it’s good that they discover what they want to sound like now, because it will definitely be harder to do when they have a fanbase that’s used to one kind of sound.
So, what do you think?