Believe it or not, this is not a trick of the eye, I am actually sliding in with one last blog post of 2017, but before you grab your pitch-forks just know that I am also trying to balance a law firm job and full-time school, so bear with me ok? For once though, I am bringing something lighthearted and not whiney, I am going to talk about some of the most banging albums that were dropped throughout this shitty year, which will hopefully allow us to reflect that the entirety of 2017 hadn’t been a nightmare and that there were some moments that were tolerable. Going through my record collection and Spotify I was able to conclude that despite the political turmoil, music, once again and as per usual, is the reason that many of us are still have a glimmer hope in the scary world out there. I truly do believe that for a good majority of the hardcore music fans, whether you’re a fan of pop music, rock music, metal, etc, if it wasn’t for music we wouldn’t be able to cope with life, at least that’s how I feel a majority of the time. So let us turn off our political brains for a second and take a moment to appreciate the year in music and nothing else. Not to anyone’s surprise, my short list consists of purely rock/hard rock music, but this year’s list may be very different than any other’s due to the fact that I have really moved away from my alt-indie-urban-outfitters-soundtrack bullshit (not that it’s bad if you like that, I am just salty towards that genre due to bad experiences). Anyways, as a rock music fan I was blessed with a multitude of kickass albums this year, so I actually had a pretty tough time editing it down to four, and before you ask why I chose four and why not five or more, it’s because the more albums I added I felt as though I was repeating myself, I just kept writing “IT’S SO GOOD GO LISTEN”, which isn’t the most convincing thing. Furthermore, I am the laziest blogger out there and I just really want to share this list before I keep putting it off because I can’t find different ways to explain my love for an album.
Before I jump in though, I feel it’s important to add the disclaimer that this list is solely for music that was dropped this year, because apparently, I did it incorrectly last year by adding albums that were not released in 2016, just albums that I was enjoying, sOOO this year I’m restricting it to releases of 2017 blah blah blah, and if you are interested in finding more music I have been listening throughout the year and still am: follow me on Spotify, but without further ado- here are my favourite albums from 2017:
Heaven Upside Down – Marilyn Manson
YOU SAY GOD, I SAY SATAN. A mood for 2017, a vibe, a motto. This was my most anticipated release of 2017, since Marilyn announced the original concept for “SAY10” at the APMAs in 2016 with the release date of Valentines 2017, so since then, I was buckled in with the excitement of new Manson music, preparing it for to be the highlight of my 2017. SADLY, many months went by with no new news of the album, some whisper of rumours that he was in the studio, but still no sign of a pre-order link or that he would drop a single, but I waited ever-so-patiently and let him work his magic. January came, it was finally 2017, I started to google his name every day checking if there was any news for the release of “SAY10”, but there was still nothing, no link to purchase, no preparation of a single, nothing. Fast forward to February 14 2017, which at this point feels like a lifetime ago, I remember the excitement within the Manson fandom up all night on twitter tweeting and retweeting like madmen waiting while waiting for the album, we thought maybe he was pulling a Beyonce and just going to drop a link without singles and without advertising, but alas there was nothing. Marilyn Manson was the Valentine date that never showed up. When SAY10 was first announced and the only piece of information that was shared was that it would be produced by Tyler Bates, who produced and co-wrote what I find to be the album of the decade, “Pale Emperor”, I had super high hopes because I knew that together they are unstoppable, Bates was the missing piece that Manson needed to get back to killing the music scene, so you could understand why I was so antsy for this album to drop. Anyways, heartache and annoyance aside, Manson finally rolled out a single and the excitement came in…well, waves. Not going to lie, despite being a die hard manson fan, I didn’t necessarily enjoy “We Know Where You Fucking Live” (WKWYFL) right off the bat, I mean I did understand that he was trying to prove that the “old Manson” still exists, since a lot of other “macho dudes” didn’t vibe with the Pale Emperor as it was more raw/bluesy, he was showing them and other people who ripped that album up, claiming that he was getting ‘old’ (like duh, he is, he can’t scream the way he used to, doesn’t mean he’s getting bad) that he still had the “contreversial side in him”. Manson & Bates clearly decided that they wanted the first taste of the album to be a punch in the face — especially with the SAY10 Trump decapitating video. I GET IT, I respect it, but I was mentally prepared for more of that rawness that he gave us with “Third Day of A Seven Day Binge” and “Warship My Wreck”, etc on “Pale Emperor”. After WKWYFL, we got SAY10 and then we got the full album, and when the entirety of “Heaven Upside Down” dropped my wary feeling for this album disappeared, because my god, I was blown away. I still am to this day, bias aside, it’s a fucking great album, because it has a well-balanced mix of “Old Manson” and “Mature-middle-aged-man” Manson which was obviously tactically done so both sides of the fandom could shut the hell up. My favourite songs on the album are “Blood Honey”, “Saturnalia” and “Tattooed in Reverse” those 3 songs, according to my iTunes are all played over 200 times. From the drop of the album in October to now, I listen to them on repeat for hours, they are heart wrenching and so well crafted. Those songs were what I had been anticipating for over a year, and boy did he not disappoint, especially “Blood Honey”. Blood Honey is an amazing combination of heart-wrenching lyrics with a sultry-melodic vibe, and the agonized scream and grow from 2:49….CHILLS EVERYWHERE. THAT IS WHAT I WAS WAITING FOR!! As for the songs like “JE$U$ CRI$IS”, “Revelation #12”, “SAY10”, those are classic Manson that I can even’t knock, despite cheesy lyrics like “I write songs to fight and to fuck to”, had that been any artists saying that I would be like “……….k”, but that’s just classic “God of Fuck” and “Antichrist Superstar” Manson aesthetic, I don’t love it but I don’t hate it, especially when I’m looking for fun party songs, I’m good with them. “JE$U$ CRI$IS” is one of those songs that you know had been written with a live performance in mind, after the 2 minute mark when the “beat drops” with the chanting and him screaming “I’m like a Jesus Crisis”, there’s no doubt that would be amazing to hear live and would definitely pump up a crowd. Overall, I get Manson and “Heaven Upside Down” as a package, it was definitely worth the wait. The songs flow well together, as mentioned previously Bates did a stellar job producing the album, you can hear the story that Manson anticipated on putting together and it’s overall a solid fucking album and I hope I can experience Manson live in 2018.
Concrete and Gold – Foo Fighters
Dave Fucking Grohl, the legendary man himself. Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett, Nate Mendel & Rami Jaffee, hats off to you amazing people. Despite the criticism from hard rocks fans who wanted more “heavy” music and demanded for them to be more “grunge”, I applaud the Foo Fighters for sticking to a bigger production as opposed to louder guitar and heavier vocals because instead of Concrete & Gold being another rock album on the shelves, it sends you to an auditory-heaven (is that a thing? Now it is). Just like Dave said, Concrete and Gold is BIG, it’s everything a rock music fan could want, without it being over the top. Every time you listen to it you catch something different in all of the songs, especially when you experience the record in every format: Live, MP3, CD, Vinyl, CASSETTE, because they thought of virtually everything to give us rock fans a truly pleasurable listening experience. From the layers in the vocal, to the melodic bass lines, to Taylor giving us hard fucking drum beats. I love it. I Simply love it and I can’t roll my eyes harder at the 40-year-old men on facebook complaining that it’s too “pop” or “soft”, because every song on it doesn’t go as hard as “Run”, which by the way, was my Summer 2017 anthem. My favourites on this album would have to be “Run”, “Dirty Water” and “The Sky is A Neighborhood” (pains me to remove the ‘u’ in nbhrd, Americans smh). A lot of people call the Foo Fighters overrated and say that they wouldn’t be successful if Kurt was still alive, but then again a lot of people voted for Donald Trump and a lot of people like Coldplay, so, there’s that. For me, the Foo Fighters are not only just fucking great people with amazing attitude, I find that they’re always fresh, which is why they are talked about so much, they always outdo themselves, so they deserve to be mentioned on every rock station and magazine be. For me, my favourite thing about this album and even the band, in general, is that, yes, they take the craft seriously but they don’t take themselves too seriously, and don’t constrict their sound to having to be a “serious rock band” with “serious” meanings. Take the songs “The Sky is A Neighborhood” & “La Dee Da” as an example (both on the Concrete and Gold), are they lyrically masterpieces? No, but do you find yourself singing the lyrics at the top of your lungs while bopping your head spastically, Yes. They’re bops, they’re catchy without being too poppy, they’re fun. Something that lacks in 2017, something that rock music snobs are scared of, and the foo fighters don’t give any fucks which ultimately has my up-most respect. If you’ve been here for more than a minute, you would already know that I am a dramatic person, I like my music so depressing that it triggers an existential crisis, but sometimes a hoe’s gotta bop AND I CANNOT WAIT TO DANCE MY ASS OFF AND SCREAM MY LUNGS OUT WHEN I SEE THEM IN 2018!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO FUCK YOU MUSIC SNOBS.
Hydrograd – Stone Sour
Growing up, I’ve always been more of a Classic Rock and alt-indie rock fan, I liked the melodic rock and leather jacket kinda vibe, but as every year passes I have been starting to realize that alt-rock is getting a little too repetitive for me, nor is it any longer a genre that is of interest to me. I think ever since I got out of my love-sick-puppy phase, I was in search of something that went with my aggressive-will to live mood, I wanted loud, angry, passionate. So, I started to get into Metal. I started with classics like Sabbath and then dabbled in every sub-genre of metal: Metalcore, Death Metal, Black Metal, etc. One night I started watching slipknot videos (the way I find bands is by watching their live performances first) and I was really into it, so I started to google the band and then connected that Corey Taylor is the lead singer, who I have always respected but never knew much of — other than watching some interviews of his. I spent a solid couple of months watching Corey taylor interviews, slipknot videos, etc and then all of a sudden I came across stone sour, and the way that happened was because I for some reason felt the need to google “slipknot acoustic” (I couldn’t tell you why). So then, I found Corey’s cover of “Wicked Games” and woooooooow, waterworks, I also instantly became a fan of Corey’s more “soft side”, not that Stone Sour is soft, but it’s not too similar to slipknot yaknow? So, yes, I am a new fan, so some may disregard my opinion on this album, but if there’s one thing I do know it’s a good rock album, no matter the subgenre. Anyways, from what i’ve recently discovered Stone Sour is the more sentimental side of slipknot, it has the passionate-geniusness that Corey offers in Slipknot but with a catchy hard rock perspective, which is something I really enjoy. Hydrograd hits it out of the park with the songs “Taipei/ Allah Tea” , “Knievel Has Landed” and “Fabuless”, these are the kinda songs that if i’m listening to on the train to campus or just in public, I have to try really hard to not belt the lyrics out while headbanging, especially Fubuless “IT’S ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE MOTHERFUCKERRR”, ah man. As for the more ballad-y, lighters in the air songs like “The Witness Tree”, it hits the fucking feels man. That’s the thing I love about Stone Sour, one minute you’re aggressively headbanging, trying to figure out if that’s why Corey’s neck is so large, and then next thing you know you’re crying over an old break up because Corey’s ripping your heart out with intense emotions. New fan or not, I can officially say that I love Stone Sour, especially this album, and it is something that I recommend without hesitation. Hydrograd has everything you need: Anger, Emotional Vulnerability, Bops (catchy tunes with no sentimental value), and then they package it in a way that doesn’t become try hard. Stone Sour really nails that, which is why I understand that pretentious metalheads dislike Stone Sour, to them it’s blasphemous that someone like Corey Taylor of Slipknot can curate bops and ballads, but power to ya Corey, I truly appreciate it. ANDDD if it couldn’t get any better I’ll be catching them live at the end of January so make sure you’re subscribed to my youtube channel because I will be Vlogging my first-ever metal concert (RIP).
The Stories We Tell Ourselves – Nothing More
If you’ve never heard of nothing more then, *cracks fingers*, you’re welcome. First and foremost, I want to congratulate them on their Grammy Nominations, because holy shit so well deserved! Normally I don’t give a shit about Grammy nominations since they clearly are in favour of popularity/album sales, as opposed to genuine talent, but it’s cool to see a band that has actually worked really hard and has an abundance of talent be appreciated. Secondly, I am so glad I stumbled across them in July, they are the kind of band that I was in dire need of in my life. As mentioned previously, I really did a 180 flip in my taste in music this year, and I was struggling to find good alternative metal bands that weren’t so……warp tour circa 2006. Some bands had good production but the vocals were a huge no for me, some bands had amazing vocals but the production and music itself was meh, and then like a sign from the devil itself, I heard “Let ‘Em Burn”, which is on this album, giving me some NEW music from a NEW band that was actually GOOD. It’s been so long since I heard a song that makes me want to literally get up and throw a chair at the window, especially since 2017 has been a year of political restlessness, anger and hunger for taking back our rights, which Nothing More channels perfectly. I remember that there were times in the summer I would read something stupid Trump said, and then I would get super pissed because HOW COULD SOMEONE ACTUALLY VOTE FOR HIM? leaving me feeling really disappointed with the American population, but I would listen to “Let ‘Em Burn” and “Go To War” (another amazing song on this album) and the songs would just get me, making me realize that there is some hope left. Dramatic? yes, but I would literally go through this cycle of emotions. Ignoring my unbalanced emotions, Nothing More aren’t just a bog standard Alternative Metal band, they really challenge themselves in production value, as they add a really interesting spin of electronic beats (again, I don’t know technical terms. A lot of their songs have that metal vibe, but they also incorporate a literal beat drop that I feel pulls the rug out from under your feet because it’s so unexpected but so good???? NOT ONLY THAT, but they switch it up from time to time by starting off more “electronic” than “rock”, and the switching to a more rock sound in the chorus. A good example of this is in “Don’t Stop” which I think was actually the second single for this album (not that it matters), it starts off with a more electronic vibe and then the beat drop is actually a dirty guitar, and when I first heard it I literally did a “:O !!!!!!” (a full Macaulay Culkin shocked reaction). Nothing More is a league of their own, it’s metal but metal for everyone? especially noobs like me since it’s so catchy and just …. good. I’ve played it to my friends who have never given hard rock/alternative metal a chance and even they got really into it. Anyways, I am really excited to see what else they bring in 2018 because I feel like now that they have gained more exposure from the Grammy nominations, they will be unstoppable in the Rock world, headling tours? festivals? more kick-ass music? sign me the fuck up.
Motherblood – Grave Pleasures
Another sub-genre that I’ve recently been exploring is the 80s-esque (and actual 80s) goth pop/rock scene, nu-wave music, so that includes: Joy Division, The Smiths, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cure, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees,etc, and on top of that I fell back down in my middle school rabbit hole of HIM. Sadly though there was no new music from any of these bands — for more than one obvious reason, but I luckily came across this amazing Finnish band called “Grave Pleasures” who perfectly capture that classic 80s nu-wave goth essence in 2017. The first song I listened to by them was “Joy Through Death” which was recommended to me at the end of my “goth gorl” playlist. I immediately got into them thinking they were an 80s band that I have yet to listen to, so when I clicked the bands’ name and saw that it was released in 2017 my heart began to swell with excitement, alas a goth band that hasn’t disbanded or died. Aesthetic and themes aside, it’s also nice to find a goth band that produces quality music that isn’t overtly…uh.. Cringe. I find that a lot of bands who try to pull off the “effortless” cool goth theme, just end up the complete opposite of effortless, but for some reason there’s something about Scandinavian people that can actually pull it off (From what i’ve noticed).As for the album “Motherblood” in specific, I can’t even sit here and say one song is better than the other, the album is super clean, you could play it from start to end and not feel the need to change a song. Normally, after the first few listens I’ll put the album on shuffle, but with “ Motherblood” I press play and let it run through in order, and it’s like a 36-minute stellar song. It all flows so well and you don’t even realize that you just let the entire album run through because it’s just such a good listen. Grave Pleasures, like Nothing More, is a band that I would say is a band to “watch for” in the upcoming year, I see big tours and expansion in fanbase happening, I also feel like they are a band that will only get better with time, as opposed to not being able to beat their “freshmen album”, and it’s clearly not only me who thinks that as I’ve seen that they are already breaking the rock scene (Motherblood has also been recommended in metal hammer). Which I really do hope happens because they deserve the attention, they’re fresh and talented, and I hope to catch a gig sometime soon, consider me obsessed.
Before I leave, I am going to drop a few more albums that were dropped this year that I think you guys should check out:
- Personae Ingratae/ Proselytes – Rope Sect
- The Phoenix – CKY
- Wired – Mallory Knox
- Rest, Repose – Rest, Repose
That’s not even half, but we’ll be here all day if I list all the other albums & artists that I recently discovered and have fallen in love with (who also haven’t released new music in a few years sighhh), so if you’re interested in checking those out as well check out my spotify! Also, I am always digging for new bands, with interesting sounds so if you know any and think I would dig them feel free to comment their name below, so I can check it out, as I literally went out of my way this year to buy a 128GB iPhone so I can load it with music and nothing but music, heh. Before I say my farewell, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the fallen heroes of this year, especially my beloved Chris Cornell, we lost so many talented people that I don’t think my heart can even recover from the pain, despite it being a great year for new music, it sucks to know that we’ll never get new tunes from those fallen music heroes, so Rest in Peace:
- Chris Cornell
- Tom Petty
- Chester Bennington
- Chuck Berry
- Malcolm Young
- Fats Domino
- Gregg Allman
and all the other talent that we lost. I hope you’re all resting easy and continuing to rock the fuck on in the afterlife.
With that being said, this is my last post of this year, not that I have been the most consistent blogger, but I have tried my hardest. Thank you all for your support this year , especially from the shift from therealcrybaby to here, the support for my crazy ass means the wORLD to me and I can’t thank you all enough.
I wish you all nothing but the best for the rest of the year and I will be back in 2018.
Lots of Love,
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org