DJ Valentino's Best of 2019Date: January 22, 2020
Valentino Petrarca’s Best Music Releases of 2019: A Year in Review
Trauma by I Prevail
Sudden Sky by Crown The Empire
How it Feels To Be Lost by Sleeping with Sirens
Earth and Sky by Of Mice and Men
LP3 by American Football
Love is Dead and We Killed Her by Dollskin
Gold & Grey- Baroness
Problems- Get up Kids
Gigantic Sike- Mean Jeans
22.) Age of Unreason- Bad Relgion (Punk)
After being around for well over 30 years, few artists have consistently release good music like Bad Religion. This is some of the best punk music of the decade, not even the year. The songs are well mastered and produced, but still have that signature raw and fun Bad Religion sound. Especially in this political climate, the band really did capture the emotional state of the country for the decade.
21.) Barriers- Frank Iero (Punk/Alternative Rock)
Before the historic return of My Chemical Romance in October, Frank Iero released his third solo project in May. This album feels extremely reminiscent of his last two records but with more whit and spunk. Frank really isn't afraid to expose personal sides of himself in beautiful ways on this album. This record really did feel like the culmination of all his side projects together. As thrilled as I am about My Chemical romance finally reuniting, I truly do hope Frank continues releasing solo albums like this.
20.) Breath- Tiny Moving Parts (Emo/Pop-Punk)
Midwestern Emo has officially come back in the best possible way. Tiny Moving Parts prove that the Emo genre is alive and well. The lyrics are emotional and clever. The guitars alternate between sounding airy and crunchy. The drums help flesh out the ideas and make a phenomenal release. These songs sound very original and I cannot wait to see how they translate live.
19.) OK I’m Sick- Badflower (Alternative)
OK I'm Sick is a fantastic album that fuses the core rock sound with new unique alternative sounds and structures. Everything feels very distinct and fresh on this record. All song ideas were fully fleshed out and explored. There is not a single moment on this album that feels incomplete. If this is the future of alternative music, I am very excited to see what the genre has in store.
18.) Human Target- Thy Art Is Murder (Deathcore)
If you want to hear more of my thoughts on this record, check out my more in depth review on the WSOU website. This album is an amazing deathcore album. It has structure, beautiful coarse vocals, and instrumental power behind every song. This is exactly what a deathcore album should sound like in 2019. It hits all the right beats and sounds extremely uniform in a flawless way. They deliver powerful political statements while coming across as deeply genuine and absolutely fed up. This is yet another fantastic album on top of their already incredible discography.
17.) The Silver Scream Final Cut Edition- Ice Nine Kills (Metalcore)
This is not a new album for 2019, the original Silver Scream was released in 2018. However, this deluxe edition adds enough substance to the record that it does qualify as a new release. The new song is metalcore perfection, the Michael Jackson cover song is an absolute blast, and the reworked acoustic tracks shed a fascinating new light on already beloved songs. The Silver Scream Final Cut Edition does not feel like a cash grab, but more of a musical extension of the original album. This is exactly how deluxe editions for albums should be done.
16.) Midnight- Set It Off (Alternative Rock/Pop-Punk)
Set It Off’s last record, Upside down, was a train-wreck in every sense of the word. Personally, I felt that album had no soul or personality. I am more than happy to say, they have corrected every gripe and flaw I had with that album on their newest endeavor, Midnight. Midnight has so much personality it’s incredible. Every song feels like lead vocalist, Cody Carson, is directly singing to you, frantic to get his message out. There are so many highlights on this album that it is impossible to say a favorite. That core theatrical angry Set It Off sound is amplified on this album to deliver their most captivating record in years.
15.) NINE- Blink 182 (Pop-Punk)
This is probably the album on the list that will cause the most disagreement. Despite this album being so divisive, I personally adore this record. Blink 182 had been writing stereotypical bland pop-punk songs for years. Their last two albums were stale and unoriginal songs about their teenage years with a lot of “na na na” incorporated in. That is NOT the case with this record. Blink 182 actually dives into deep substance with their lyrics and tries to play to each band members strengths. The band isn’t trying to be something they’re not anymore. With the exception of the horrible single, Blame it on My Youth, the band really made their most cohesive album in years.
14.) Atonement- Killswitch Engage (Metalcore)
If you wanted a more in depth recollection of my thoughts, there is a review of this album I’ve posted. This album is a near-perfect Killswitch record. The heavy moments are gritty and cutting edge, and the band really has a lot of enthusiasm. This album feels like a return to form in the best possible way. Killswitch Engage have yet again re-captured their sound.
13.) From Depths To Dreams (Ep and Re-recorded)- Senses Fail (Post-Hardcore)
Despite this also not being a new album in 2019, it is deeply revised to the point where it does qualify as a new release. This EP is everything the original needed. It has a more polished sound, more clear vocals, and appropriate lyric changes. Every issue a Senses Fail may have with the original EP has been corrected. This is a fantastic release added to an already fantastic discography.
12.) Nella Vita- Grayscale (Pop-Punk/Alternative/Indie)
This is an album that grew on me more than I ever thought possible. I originally wasn’t sure what to make of the record, because of the intense tonal shift. However, all of these songs have aged better than I ever thought. This LP truly feels like instant classics and staples of the band. Seeing the songs live really displayed how perfectly this new material fits into the band’s discography. Nella Vita opens an exciting and new chapter for Grayscale.
11.) Order In Decline- Sum 41 (Hard Rock/ Punk)
Sum 41 has been considered a classic in the Pop-Punk scene for years. Over the course of the last decade, they have slowly shed their roots and moved towards a more hard rock direction. In 2019 they showed the world that they were a force to be reckoned with. They set out to make their heaviest album yet, and did not disappoint. The hooks are crunching and the verses are trashy. Almost every song has a flawless guitar solo that feels energetic and fluent. The lyrics are extremely punk and reflect some political issues facing the last decade. It is a near flawless album and will be looked to as an example of how to slowly change genres.
10.) Strength in Numb333rs- Fever 333 (Metal/Alternative)
This album is more than just punk elements mixed with metal and rap. This album sets out to deliver a powerful message about how society operates and the issues plaguing America. The Fever 333 does it better than most bands when it comes to sending a message. The songs are catchy and political. In terms in Alternative Metal, it would be near impossible to find a better, more cohesive, and more flawless record than Strenegth in Numb33rs in 2019.
9.) Death is a Warm Blanket- Microwave (Post Hardcore)
Microwave went in a completely darker and more powerful musical tone in their newest album Death Is A Warm Blanket. Everything about this album feels like an attempted grasp reaching out, trying to escape of the helplessness of pain. This record works in everything it attempts and works well. This is one of the most raw albums I’ve ever heard. Everything feels like it’s coming from the screams of an agonized human desperately trying to find comfort. Truly a fanatic release in 2019 that will not be forgotten.
8.) High Crimes- The Damned Things (Rock)
Many fans were almost positive The Damned Things has become extinct and were never returning. Their reunion was beyond thrilling and I personally was so excited to hear what the band had in store. I’m happy to say it did not disappoint. Every aspect in which the band faltered on their first album they succeeded in this one. They had much catchier choruses, more distinguished instrumentation, and really crafted a sound for themselves. It’s so refreshing to hear a wonderful classic rock release in 2019. I am excited to see what the band procured next.
7.) Hello Exile- The Menzingers (Punk)
Hello Exile is exactly what I expected from The Menzingers, yet was not disappointed in the slightest. They focus in on all their strengths as a band and amplify them to make yet another cohesive record. After their last record, After The Party, I was unsure how the band would top such a fantastic and powerful record. Hello Exile is punk, it’s melodic, it’s powerful, and most importantly, it’s so much fun. Even the more emotional moments feel like a blast to listen to. The light hearted tracks compliment the deep ones in such a wonderful manor. This is exactly what I wanted from the band in 2019.
6.) Panorama- La Dispute (Emo/Post-Hardcore)
Lyrics have always been crucial for a La Dispute album. The band has become a symbol for powerful and emotional lyrics that shake you to your core. They definitely do not disappoint on their latest release Panorama. There were so many amazing heartfelt moments with deep insightful lyrics that deal with familiar themes in a new light. Songs like Footsteps at the Pond and Fulton Street Parts I and II are the reason this band has cemented themselves in the emo scene. This is not a release you want to miss.
5.) We are Not Your Kind- Slipknot (Metal)
No matter how many times a band proves themselves, I always get nervous when long gaps between albums are taken. It causes people to get rusty and unfocused. That is clearly not the case with Slipknot. That being said, this new album, We Are Not Your Kind, is exactly how you take your time with an album. Cory’s screams are the most visceral they’ve been in years and the songwriting is absolutely incredible. The song structures are intricate and long, but always engaging. It’s hard to make a 6 minute song entertaining and interesting every second, but somehow Slipknot is able to do it. Any fan of heavy metal must check out this release.
4.) Interrobang- Bayside (Punk/Pop-Punk)
As previously reviewed, the new Bayside record is everything I wanted and more. It was a significant step up from their 2016 release Vacancy and delivered on exactly what the fans wanted, an outright heavy Bayside record. There isn’t a single song on this album that doesn’t exude grit and raw emotion. The guitars and drums are the fastest and most aggressive they've ever been. Even the vocals are superb. Every Anthony Raneri sings, feels like its coming from the deepest part of his soul. This is truly a staple of the year and of the band.
3.) You are OK- The Maine (Indie/Emo)
The Maine is a band that have never made an outright bad album, and You Are OK proves to be their most mature effort to date. It deals with deep and profound issues regarding mental illness with respect and class, while also touching upon lighthearted topics as well. The Maine has displayed yet again they are not going to be a passing trend, and that they still have what it takes to evolve their music naturally and organically. Despite everything they experiment with, they never loose their signature genuine sound.
2.) Morbid Stuff- PUP (Punk/Pop-Punk)
PUP is one of those few bands that somehow keeps getting better with every album. This album not only delivers everything I want from a PUP record, but everything I look for in a rock record. It has punchy guitars, incredible choruses, witty lyrics, and flows so cohesively. All the members truly feel at their peak on this release. Morbid Stuff feels like pure rock music in it's highest form. It is the most fun I’ve had with an album in a very long time.
1.) Routine Maintenance- Aaron West and the Roaring 20’s (Singer-Songwriter/Emo)
Routine Maintenance was a complete surprise. Soupy’s first 2014 record, We Don’t Have Each Other, was absolutely incredible, and this album picks off immediately where the story left off. This album will give you chills, make you so happy you can scream, and so sad you want to burst into a million tears. It truly has the entire spectrum of emotions and delivers on all of them. Lyrically it’s one of the best records I’ve ever heard, and musically it’s also a masterpiece. There are so many new instruments thrown into the mix that enhance the sound and make this the most enjoyable and powerful listening experiences I've heard in 2019.
Valetino Petrarca is the Music Assistant for WSOU, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.