Favorite Albums of 2016

Over the course of 2016, I discovered many new artists whose albums I fell in love with, fell back in love with old artists because of a new record and followed my favorite artist’s newest records. Each one of these showed of that new music flourished this year, many albums I listened to were a huge hit. Although others, were not. But this is my favorite records of 2016 so that is what I will be discussing. *Albums are in no particular order*

  1. Better Weather-With Confidence

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Aussie pop rockers, With Confidence were never a band that was in my sights until I saw them on a recommended video while watching State Champ’s newest music video for
“Secrets.” I heard With Con’s two EPs, fell in love, and when Better Weather was released, fell even more in love with that album. It’s truly a wonderful album, there are simple lyrics surrounded by deeper ones on many of their songs. Each one is extremely catchy as well, with choruses that can be learned after only a couple listens. That may make the record sound more simplistic, and with some songs it is, but that’s not the whole thing. With Con explores themes of avoiding normality and prides themselves with being different while pursuing their musical dreams. This is a special record and extremely easy to get into.

Stand Out Tracks: “Long Night,” “Waterfall” and “Archers.”

Rating: 9/10

2. Death of a Bachelor-Panic! At The Disco

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Panic! At The Disco is a well-established group with four other albums under their belt. With each one and different line-up changes, the sound has been changed in each record to suit the band when creating their music. Now that Brendon Urie is the last original Panic! member standing, he mixed up this record from where they began with A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. But this new sound is still as good as their original. The songwriting still shows of Urie’s talent and his vocals are fantastic, especially in the title track. It sounds more pop than the unique sound of their previous works but it works. Panic! are known for this sound changing act so don’t be disappointed yet. It really is an amazing work that deserves to be appreciated.

Stand Out Tracks: “House Of Memories,” “LA Devotee’ and “Crazy=Genius.”

Rating: 9/10

3. Double Dare-Waterparks

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Discovering Waterparks was one of the best musical things that has happened to me all year. I was familiar with them from their Cluster EP and when their debut released, I shrugged it aside. After listening to their lead single, “Stupid For You,” I finally listened to the whole thing. Thank goodness that I did, this is clearly one of my favorite records of the year and it may even be my favorite. Each song hooked me instantly; Waterparks’ pop punk sound combined with electronic elements created a unique sound and feeling that is rare to hear. I honestly have nothing bad to say about this record; you need to listen to it because it is phenomenal.

Stand Out Tracks: “21 Questions,” “Plum Island” and “Powerless.”

Rating: 9.5/10

4. Headspace-Issues

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Electronic, rock, metal and rap wouldn’t seem like genres that would blend together, but Issues makes them all work in their newest release, Headspace. Around the time this record came out, there was nothing but buzz about how amazing it was. I strayed away from them because of their metalcore elements, but kept an open-mind about this release. And I’m glad I did. Each song is truly unique from each other but is still able to create a cohesive unit as the album wraps up nicely when listened to from start to finish. The metal elements are toned down to make more room for the blending of the electronic and rock ones with sprinkles of metal and even rap. It’s an album that won’t be easily forgotten and for good reason. Issues showed off how great of a band they can be with this record and I hope they continue is this direction.

Stand Out Tracks: “Coma,” “Slow Me Down” and “Lost and Found.”

Rating: 8/10

5. The Human Condition-Jon Bellion

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Every record on this list, except this one, falls in the rock genre. And I don’t call myself a fan of rap, but The Human Condition is a pop record with electronic and rap elements on it that I instantly fell in love with. It’s fantastic and each song has a different feel to it. “80’s Films” has a nostalgic vibe to it while “Morning In America” takes a point on social issues and the world we know today. Every element Bellion experimented with works and nothing is forced. Everything is cohesive and creates a three dimensional record that can be enjoyed for years to come.

Stand Out Tracks: “Morning In America,” “Hand of God” and “Maybe IDK.”

Rating: 9/10

6. Low Tides-This Wild Life

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Acoustic duo, This Wild Life’s sophomore album, Low Tides, takes what they have created with their debut, Clouded, and  expands upon it. From the songwriting to instrumentals, each have improved and shows off what they are capable of. Many songs on this record expose true emotional reactions from the listener. This shows how powerful the songwriting is that it evokes those emotions from someone who may not even be going through the situation being sung about. Kevin Jordan’s vocals are soft and can serenade any listener. They pair perfectly with the seriousness of the topics and his emotion is reflected in the same way. This record is an easy one to listen to and a hard one not to enjoy.

Stand Out Tracks: “Hit The Reset,” “Red Room” and “Let Go.”

Rating: 8/10

7. Misadventures-Pierce The Veil

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After waiting four years for a new Pierce the Veil release, this record doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. Being such a huge fan of Selfish Machines and Collide With The Sky, I was nervous that this record wouldn’t be able to compare to either of those. But that is not the case at all, fortunately. These songs are crafted beautifully and intensely; from the personal lyrics to all the band’s talents on their respective instruments. This is another band that have established themselves as a powerhouse in their genre and they still have a lot of musical fight left in them. “Song For Isabelle” is one where vocalist Victor Fuentes  shows off his personal lyricism and lets his emotions through. Meanwhile, “Texas Is Forever” shows off wonderful instrumental work. Although those respective elements shine in those two songs, they are shown in every song. This record is Pierce The Veil that we all know and love with extras that show that they are developing with every release.

Stand Out Tracks: “Floral and Fading,” “Bedless” and “Texas Is Forever.”

Rating: 8.5/10

8. In Our Bones-Against The Current

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Pop rockers, Against The Current have finally released their debut record. After listening to their two EPs front to back, multiple times, a new record was long due. And In Our Bones doesn’t disappoint one bit. The songs are catchy and evolve into a more pop rock sound that takes one step further than their previous EPs. All the songs are unique and have something about them that make them special, but the band truly shines with “Blood Like Gasoline” and “Wasteland.”

Stand Out Tracks: “Blood Like Gasoline,” “Wasteland” and “One More Weekend.”

 

 

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Concert Experience: Warped Tour 2016

Now that school is starting back up, it’s the official end to summer. The weather is still warm, (it’s going to be 90 degrees at my school this week), but it doesn’t have that summer feel when we’re sitting at desks copying notes, writing essays and much more. I want to reflect on one of my favorite parts of summer, Warped Tour. There’s nothing like an all day music festival, despite the oppressive heat, sweat rolling down from everywhere and the fact that everything is expensive, there’s nothing much better than being able to see a plethora of bands all in one day. It really is the ultimate concert experience.

This was the second year that I’ve been to Warped and although last year was incredible, this year surpassed it. I got to see all the bands I came in wanting to see, which was an accomplishment in itself. Plus, I met four different bands, which was probably the best part. Here’s a breakdown of who I saw:

With Confidence:

If you’re a fan of pop punk then you probably know who these boys are. They are one of my favorite bands that I saw this year and are so good live. I was a bit nervous about how they were going to sound but I have to say I was blown away. Everything about their performance was great, they had so much energy even with playing on the smallest stage. Afterwards, I met them and they are the sweetest and really genuine guys. They are going to hit it big time, I have a feeling. If you haven’t heard of them, listen to their newest record, Better Weather, I adore it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Champs:

If you read my first ever entry on my blog then you know how much I love State Champs. They are one of my favorite bands and I love everything they’ve ever released. So when I found out they were going to be on Warped Tour, that was it. I would have went just for them if I had to. Their live show lived up to every expectation I had and then surpassed them. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing they were, so I’ll put a link of their live set underneath. After their set, I wanted to go find their signing but since there were other bands I wanted to see, I didn’t go. Later in the day, one of my friends wanted to get one of their shirts so I just went with her even though I already bought one. To my surprise, the vocalists, Derek DiScanio, was standing at their tent with hardly any people around so I got a picture with him.

Live Set: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B88s68yQzJY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROAM:

I featured this band in my Up and Coming bands for August and seeing them live reaffirmed that decision. They had some of the most energy out of all the bands I saw at Warped. They sound similar live as they do on their record, and like the record they are a bit difficult to understand at times because of their thick English accents. But these boys know how to jam and work the stage. After their set I also met them and they were so appreciative of everyone who came. They are definitely worth checking out, so I would take a listen to their newest record, Backbone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayday Parade:

This band is one of the first that got me into the rock/alternative scene and being able to see them live was one of the best part of my day. I’ve been listening to their music for at least three years now and they caused me to keep looking up new bands and discovering the music I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for them. I don’t think I even have to say how great they were live, just listen to them if you’re not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those were the main bands I went to see, I also saw:

  • Issues
  • Sum 41
  • Emarosa
  • Set It Off
  • Tonight Alive
  • Real Friends
  • The Color Morale

 

With Confidence-Better Weather reivew

If you’re a fan of pop punk and have not heard of Aussie pop-rocker’s, With Confidence you need to look them up right now. Well, maybe you can spare some time to read this review of their debut album, Better Weather, first. They created their own unique sound during a time where pop punk is thriving and they created music that stands out and holds its own with bands like State Champs and Neck Deep.

The album contains multiple allusions to weather through many of their lyrics with alludes to the title, Better Weather. Like in song “We’ll Be Okay:” “I could be fire, I could be rain,” “Long Night:” “Oh how it’s raining” and in “Higher:” I’ll be the sun.” It was a fun idea to put those kind of lyrics in their songs to create a more cohesive album.

Better Weather is full of true catchy, simple pop punk tunes like “Voldemort,” “Keeper,” “We’ll Be Okay,” and “Higher.”

“Voldemort” is the perfect choice for the song to introduce their music and allow listeners to understand their sound. “Keeper” is similar to “Voldemort” because it is not complex lyrically or instrumentally but that is not bad at all.

Delving deeper, however; the album seems to increase in complexity as the album continues, which is something I can appreciate. Songs like “Archers” and “Gravity” hold ideas like not following the status quo and keeping away from normality. These kind of songs describe the band since this is their debut and they are being introduced to their career and what they have been working so hard towards. When the album hits song six, the ideas of the songs change to that of heartbreak. “Keys,” “Long Night,” “Dinner Bell” and “Waterfall” follow this theme.

“Archers” is my favorite song, it highlights choosing your own path and following your passions rather than doing what makes the most money or what everyone else wants you to do. The band knows what it is like to follow a path where no one seems to believe in you or in what you’re doing. This is a theme that sticks with me since I have been told that my career path gets you no where. Lyrics like, “We wanted more than a normal structure so live it up for the ones who told us to lead a live that we never wanted,” portray this song perfectly.

“Gravity” takes this further by vocalist, Jayden Seeley explaining that instead of following what his father did and was successful with, he wanted to forge his own path for himself. “Could’ve been a tradesman, I’d work a 6 till 3, follow my father’s footsteps,” are lyrics that vividly shows what he has most likely been told to do his whole life.

Then the songs change gears to the theme of heartbreak, another concept that many people at my age can relate to at least one point in their lives. “Long Night” is the perfect song on Better Weather that describes exactly how heartbreak feels. The song is beautiful, the piano is lovely and the previous song, “Keys ” is a successful transition into this one. The lyrics, “but now it’s just me and I lie awake and I toss and I turn and I see your face when I wake from a dream it won’t go away,” describes what it’s like to have someone on your mind and not being able to shake those memories, not even to fall asleep. It’s a real song that hits home.

“Waterfall” is the most unique song on this record, I can’t describe what makes it that way but I know it’s a special song .The lyrics are incredibly vivid and as someone who really enjoys that kind of thing, I appreciate it greatly. However, the coolest part of the song is the ending. It ends with an automated voice saying , “You may now hang up to send your message…” and then the click of a phone turning off. Since “Waterfall” is the last song, the band is trying to get across that the whole album is representative of the thing they want to say to someone but cannot. That’s such a powerful way to end this record and it shows With Confidence’s talent in creatively as well.

Better Weather is formatted surprisingly well for the band’s debut and it shows off that the boys have a lot of special music and talent to be offered to those who want to listen to it. This song is not only a perfect record for the summer, but any season and any weather.

Stay Connected:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/withconfidence

Twitter: https://twitter.com/withconfidence_

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/jaaaayden

You can also find them on Hopeless Records: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCToUNe4i9j_SlKGFl8MrQHg