2017 Mid-Year Check In: Music

We’re already at the mid-point of the year already, which means a ton of music has already been released. The following is my own personal Top 10 for the year at this point, which has been quite kind to music fans. Although albums from names like August Burns Red, PVRIS, Wage War, and G-Eazy haven’t dropped yet, this is what my list currently looks like in July.

  1. John Mayer — The Search For Everything (Columbia)

John Mayer has a really uncanny ability to write a record that always meets me where I’m at, in some way, shape, or form. This album is no exception — this time, Mayer has written another collection of emotionally bludgeoning tracks such as: “Helpless”, “Still Feel Like Your Man”, and “In The Blood”. In fact, it’s the latter track that provides one of the clearest snapshots of this record, as he reflects: “I can feel the love I want, I can feel the love I need, but it’s never gonna come the way I am.”

If his seventh full-length studio album doesn’t already solidify him as one of this generations musical legends, I don’t know what will.

2. Silverstein — Dead Reflection (Rise)

Yes, I’m fully aware this record officially comes out in July. However, I’ve had it for quite awhile, courtesy of the team at Rise (thanks!), so it’s on the list. Point blank, Dead Reflection is another record to add to the argument that Silverstein are not only the elders of the post-hardcore genre, they’re one of the greatest of all time. Speaking on the concept of the record, vocalist Shane Told recently hopped on my podcast, in which he explained: “I had a rough year. I went through a bad break up, and being alone for the first time in my life taught me a lot about myself, and I came through on the other side…”.

It’s a lyrically dark and aggressive album, but as always, it’s Told at his most honest. In addition, massive hooks have always been a strength of the band, showing up in tracks such as: “Retrograde”, “Aquamarine”, and “Whiplash”. This is a must listen for anyone who considers themselves a fan of the Warped Tour scene.

3. Grayscale — Adornment (Fearless)

What a great surprise of an album. I was first exposed to lead single “Atlantic” via Spotify’s pop-punk playlist, “Pop Punk’s Not Dead” — you know the one, it’s the equivalent to wildly-popular “Rap Caviar”. As I mentioned with my podcast episode with vocalist Collin Walsh, this album not only brilliant, but it also leads a new fan to stumble onto their equally brilliant 2016 debut album, What We’re Missing. If you’re looking for a breath of fresh air in the rock/pop-punk genre, Adornment is it — honest lyricism, diverse instrumentation, and huge hooks.

4. Miss May I — Shadows Inside (Sharptone)

Miss May I are an excellent example of a band that continually gets better and better with each new release. Shadows Inside not only showcases a clear amount of growth, but it also sounds radically different than their contemporaries in the metalcore genre. Co-producers Drew Fulk and Andrew Wade did a great job of having the band double down on their strengths (intricate/engaging guitar parts, etc), but also venturing into new territories (new dynamics, etc.) With this release, Miss May I continue to be torch bearers of a genre that can be at times stagnant.

5. New Found Glory — Makes Me Sick (Hopeless)

Released just in time for everyone to roll the windows down and go 90mph on the freeway, New Found Glory’s 9th full-length record serves as just another reason why they’re one of the greatest pop-punk bands to exist. They’re 20 years old and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. With subtle 80s vibes and straight-forward hooks, this record will land well with anyone, young or old. Also, it also doesn’t hurt that guitarist Chad Gilbert wrote a lot of awesome licks that’ll be stuck in your head for months (“Short and Sweet”, “Your Jokes Aren’t Funny”, etc.)

6. Palisades — Palisades (Rise)

7. Lower Than Atlantis — Safe In Sound (Easy Sound/Sony RED)

8. Obey The Brave — Mad Season (Epitaph)

9. Falling In Reverse — Coming Home (Epitaph)

10. Heavy Things — Goner (InVogue)

Others I’ve had for a very limited amount of time or haven’t listened to as much as I’d hoped to yet [Which may break Top 10 at end of year]:

The Gospel Youth — Always Lose (Rise) [NOTE: Out July 14th]

Gideon — Cold (Equal Vision)

The Classic Crime — How To Be Human (BC Music)

Papa Roach — Crooked Teeth (Eleven Seven)

Broadside — Paradise (Victory)

The Maine — Lovely, Little, Lonely (8123)

Volumes — Different Animals (Fearless)

Dangerkids — Blacklist (Paid Vacation)

blackbear — Digital Druglord (Beartrap)

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