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Alternative Music for Those Who Hate the Radio

Victoria Colwell, Journalist

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While 2017 is thankfully turning out to be a much better year for popular music than previous years, it is still true that the majority of what is played on the radio is dull and vapid. For those of us with a taste that favors rock music, mainstream music is a disappointment, and it’s hard to know where to go to find relatable rock music that is of quality. That is precisely why I am back with 10 more of the best modern rock albums, with albums ranging from all different sub-genres to hopefully give everyone a chance to find something to connect with.

Radio-haters for the win!

(“Modern” indicates having come out in the past 5 years)

Youth by Citizen (2013)

This album is incredibly easy to listen to. The chill, atmospheric element of the music mixed with the wonderful and emotional vocal melodies on this album will leave you wanting to come back to it over and over again. Personally, I have listened to this album from beginning to end three times in one day before. True story. The unfiltered emotion and anger often present in the vocals are incredibly relatable and relaxing to listen to. With a sound that merges emo, alternative, and a bit of grunge and post-hardcore, Citizen truly has a masterpiece with Youth. My personal favorites on this record are “The Summer,” “How Does It Feel?” and “Sick and Impatient.”

 

Sempiternal by Bring Me the Horizon (2013)

I would like to retract a statement from my previous article when I said that That’s the Spirit was a better album than Sempiternal, because they are both truly incredible. This album saw a massive shift in sound for Bring Me the Horizon, as they became much more melodic and employed a significant amount of electronic elements to their music. This album was written while frontman Oli Sykes was dealing with and being treated for drug addiction, and that struggle definitely comes through. This album has themes of religion, politics, death, anger at one’s self, and discontent with life– things that many can relate to. Literally every song on this album is a contender for being my favorite, it’s that good, but my top four favorites would be “Can You Feel My Heart?” “Sleepwalking,” “Shadow Moses,” and “And the Snakes Start to Sing.”

 

Blurryface by twenty one pilots (2015)

This is one of the best albums to achieve pop success in the past 15 years, no question. The duo explores themes of insecurity, God, love, and fear of death in this record. While publicly stated by the band to not be a concept album, the album has a central theme. Blurryface is somewhat of an alter ego of Tyler Joseph, the human embodiment of his insecurities, and interactions with this character and his ultimate defeat are the main themes of this album. My favorite tracks on this album– wow, this is tough. I recommend listening to this album all the way through because the songs are so different from each other, and each one will appeal to someone with a different taste. My personal favorites, however, are “Heavydirtysoul” with its incredible passion, compelling rapping, and an amazing chord progression, “Doubt,” due to its great production and catchy vocal melody that contrasts with the deep subject matter, and “Goner,” a simple but incredibly powerful song that starts off gentle only to explode with breathtaking drums.

 

Peripheral Vision by Turnover (2015)

This album is often described as “dream pop,” for reasons that will be made clear once you listen to it. The style of this record will appeal to fans of indie rock. This album is incredibly relaxing and soothing to listen to; it has often put me to sleep, but I also often listen to it while awake and it holds my full attention. My favorite songs from this album are “Cutting My Fingers Off” and “Like Slow Disappearing.” This band is so underrated and this record is unlike anything else being made. Definitely check it out.

 

 

 

Save Rock and Roll by Fall Out Boy (2013)

This album saw the long-awaited return of Fall Out Boy, who had been on hiatus for roughly 4 years by the time they began work on this project. This album saw a significant change in their sound, as they employed elements of pop and soul while also sticking to their rock and pop punk roots. The entire theme of the album involves effort to preserve true rock and roll in modern day society, a theme that I can personally relate to. My favorites off of this record are “The Phoenix,” “My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark,” “Where Did the Party Go,” and “Death Valley.”

 

 

 

Colourmeinkindness by Basement (2012)

I severely understated the brilliance of this album in my last article. While I do prefer Promise Everything, this album is still an incredible piece of art. With its calming elements of alternative and grunge, you will easily find yourself listening to this album from beginning to end. My personal favorite songs off of this album are “Whole,” “Black,” and “Covet,” with a hook that will get stuck in your head and have you singing along to the emotional lyrics.

 

 

 

 

Life’s Not Out to Get You by Neck Deep (2015)

This album gives me hope that true, authentic, passionate pop punk is not impossible to find in the 2010’s, after all. This entire album is compelling, and you will be engaged throughout every song, many of which will make you want to jump around and scream the lyrics. My favorite songs off of this album are “Citizens of Earth,” “Can’t Kick Up the Roots,” “Serpents,” “Gold Steps,” “I Hope This Comes Back to Haunt You,” and “Lime St.” Yes, you read that correctly, literally half of the songs on this record are my favorites; I strongly recommend this album.

 

 

 

Double Dare by Waterparks (2016)

This is one of the most genuinely fun albums I have heard in my entire life. Waterparks has an incredibly unique sound, as they mix pop punk with electronic elements, using unique chord structures and hilarious lyrical motifs. This album assures me that modern pop punk can still be fun to listen to, and it stands in stark contrast to the dull and overly sad music currently dominating the alternative scene. Listening to just a few seconds of most of these songs will cause it to be stuck in your head for days on end. My personal favorites off of this record are “Stupid For You,” “Little Violence,” “Royal,” and “Plum Island.” This band does not receive nearly enough attention, and you should definitely give this album a listen.

 

 

Drive North by SWMRS (2016)

This album has a sound that practically no other band has explored recently, especially not in 2016– unadulterated surf punk. Fun fact, the drummer of this band is Joey Armstrong, son of Billie Joe Armstrong (lead singer and guitarist of Green Day). The carefree, California-esque attitude of this album is infectious and will leave you vibing with every song on here. Generally, the lyrics of this album are pretty simplistic, leaving room for the character in the singer’s voice and the killer instrumentation to shine through. My personal favorites off of this record are “BRB,” “Miss Yer Kiss,” and “Palm Trees.”

 

 

 

No Closer to Heaven by The Wonder Years (2015)
This is one of my favorite album covers and albums of all time. This album is full of personal, heartfelt songs with gritty and infectious instrumentation. The producers occasionally include these children gang vocals, and it adds a really beautiful, other-worldly element to this album. Again, half of the songs on this album are my favorites. My favorite songs on this album are “Brothers &,” “Cardinals,” “The Bluest Things on Earth,” “Thanks for the Ride,” “No Closer to Heaven,” and “Palm Reader,” the last of which stands out just that extra bit above all the rest.

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Alternative Music for Those Who Hate the Radio