As we begin to close out the year I wanted to take a look back at the highlights and I am choosing to start with music, purely because I don’t think there’s any releases left.
If you follow this blog, or my Instagram you’ll come to expect something more alternative that what you’re likely to hear on the radio or trending on Youtube. I
It’s been a tremendous year for releases throughout the rock scene. We’ve been treated to heavy hitters like Bring Me the Horizon, Architects, A Day to Remember, Foo Fighters and even some Corey Taylor stuff.
Here’s my roundup of my best bits from the year.
Lets kick of with the best. Vukovi’s Fall Better was their second album that released right at the top of the year. For me it is the best record of 2020 and possibly my favourite ever. It sums up my music taste in 11 records.
Janine was able to pen some beautiful lyrics, whether it’s about her OCD, grief or mental health. At the very start, they promise some heavy fucking riffs and they do deliver. Tracks like White Lies, Play with me cos I can take it and Aura showcase Hemeish’s excellent riffage.
Best Track: Violent Minds
Best Lyric: ‘When I dream of you I always wake with a smile’.
Poppy’s I Disagree and I Disagree (more) were records I welcomed with open arms. As a guilty pleasure the end of last year I was looking forward to see what Poppy would do. The result is a mix of genres, but a heavy crash none the less.
I Disagree is perhaps one of the strangest things you could listen to. Poppy’s high pitched, playful singing is blended with grungy guitars and energetic drumming. It’s like pop mixed with metal with k-pop influences. Bite Your Own Teeth shows she can mix it with the heaviest but Sit/ Stay shows she still has a pop influence.
Best Song: Anything Like Me
Best Lyric: Stop, you’re making a scene, you’re coming at me with blood in your teeth.
Manic is a superbly written, well produced record from Halsey. It doesn’t just feel like another conveyor belt pop record but feels crafted in Halseys own studio.
The lyrics always feel personal and it’s clear they were written by her own hand. The mix of music you experience throughout shows Halsey’s creative but unfenced side.
Tracks like Graveyard or Without Me bring the energy with 929 & Ashley bring the honesty. The use of pop culture references is a great addition along side the features. Halsey has had a great year and this record is just the tip of the iceberg.
Best Song: 3am
Best Lyric: ‘I really was born at 9:29 on 9.29… and I’m a fucking liar’
I think this record was the biggest surprise this year. Not that we weren’t due a record but the style they came at us with.
Post Human: Survival Horror from Bring Me the Horizon is a standout. It features the likes of Babymetal, Amy Lee and Yungblud. I watched a reaction to one of their songs and they said ‘who pissed Oli off?’ That’s the tone of this long EP. Heavy, energetic and so well made it cements my thoughts that BMTH are one of the best at making music around.
Best Song: Kingslayer (Feat. Babymetal)
Best Lyric: ‘God is a shit head and we’re his rejects’
Bloxx – Lie Out Loud. The pop rock album that is such an easy listen was a great addition late in 2020.
Machine Gun Kelly – Tickets to my Downfall. This almost made it to the big ones up top, but alas it just falls short. It’s such a revival for pop punk and I hope Kelly brings more. Forget Me Too ft. Halsey is top 3 songs of the year.
Yours Truly – Self Care. Anyone that tries to be pop rock will always get the Paramore comparisons. Yours Truly feel different and I love their sound. Self Care is another brilliant easy listening record.
Stand Atlantic – Pink Elephant. Another pop punk, female led record. Another banger. Like That is an amazing song but Stand Atlantic are truly great crafts people.
Code Orange – Underneath. If you want metal, look to Code Orange. This is probably the heaviest record I’ve been listening to at the moment, but I just love it. Its full of great riffs and breakdowns but it is well put together to.
In 2021 we’re going to be treated to more Vukovi, Against the Current, Architects, A Day to Remember, Hot Milk, While She Sleeps, Wargasm and I’m sure a whole lot more. It’s going to be a treat and I look forward to see a few of these live, hopefully!
The third album from PVRIS moves them from a pop rock trio to a genre bending duo (with the recent announcement). This album marks a separation from PVRIS’ emo roots to an excellent writer capable from controlling the mood from herself into her songs.
The album as whole feels like the journey through a break up. Gimme A Minute talks about a lot of changes and brings a bit more chaos but is really asking for a moment of clarity.
It feels good to be alive but I hate my life.
Lynn writes about how emotions are constantly swinging from one to another. Stay Gold is about wanting to write a song about someone but not making them that important. Wish You Well is a final moving on piece, about having no bad feelings, sort of a letting go.
These songs all bring a bit more energy and more of a rock sound we are used to. They still however blend in punk, pop, electro beats for a unique sound. With Lynns powerful vocals they have carved out a unique sound.
The albums title song Use Me has hip hop influences throughout and shows the experimentation within PVRIS but fits well into the end of the album.
Overall expect a bit of everything within this album. Lynn’s song writing is excellent and the production is high. It possibly marks the end of PVRIS and the start of Lynn as a powerhouse in the scene.
Hear me out, it’s another album review but this is a banger.
The album is familiar to Stand Atlantics punk rock sound with a bunch of punchy energetic songs to kick us off before mellowing out to more lyric driven pop rock songs.
Stand Atlantic kick us off immediately with ‘Like That’ possibly my favourite from the album, with a catchy melody and heavy on the punkish rock. This showcases the band at their best when they drive up the energy and pop rock influence to deliver an excellent vibe.
The best tracks come when they repeat this formula over in records such as Shh!, Wavelength and Blurry.
Their rise is through the punk rock scene has been steady and this album will give them a little boost but doesn’t stand out from the crowd. That’s not to say that it is anyway bad.
Some of the tracks offer less of what makes Stand Atlantic great such as Soap or DWYW and begin to feel generic. Some of the energy is still there but lack that bit of passion we see with the likes of Wavelength.
Silk & Satin is another song that I really like, although its different but familiar to long time fans. It’s more of a throwback to their earlier Sidewinder EP and feels well written
Overall this is a very good 33 minutes. Its Stand Atlantics best record to date and shows growth both lyrically and musically. I’d love to see it on tour as I reckon it makes for some great gigs.
Neck Deep’s 4th full studio album is an easy listen with some excellent craftsmanship they have clearly gained over their many years.
The album is their punk rock/ pop rock style and stays within their comfort zone. This is what makes it a well made album. If you’re good at something don’t change.
My favourite from the album is Fall, the second track. It’s a bit darker in its tone but I love the melody. It’s about getting wasted because things might not be great but finding hope when doing so.
A thousand miles doesn’t seem so complicated, across the airwaves, with our connection.
Neck Deep have a way of writing that is great. This album is a story and draws on songs from The Peace and the Panic (excellent btw) and uses them to build a bigger story than the smaller ones we’re used to.
At around 45 minutes and 12 tracks it’s well worth a listen.