The 30 Best Albums of the Decade: 11-20

You can view part one of our Best Albums of the Decade feature here.

20. Panic! at the Disco – Vices and Virtues

Vices & Virtues is arguably the greatest comeback story in the history of music. After the departure of half the band (including the main songwriter), Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith resurrected Panic! at The Disco to heights that no one could have ever imagined. Urie mastered the art of playing multiple instruments and writing lyrics, while Smith layered each song with hypnotizing percussion. Vices & Virtues reunited the band with the glamorized pop sound that initially made them famous while forging a sound unique to the two albums that came before it. Without Vices & Virtues, it’s hard to see how Panic! At The Disco would have ever found the footing to absolutely dominate the radio in a time when the medium seems almost defunct. – Kyle Schultz

19. CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe

One can argue the true genesis of the decade’s indie synthpop revival, but there is no denying that The Bones of What You Believe served as the movement’s North Star. While the previous decade was overrun with egrieged boys spewing venom over distorted guitars, vocalist Lauren Mayberry flipped the script for the 2010s, with a buzzsaw of dark, emotive (and catchy) hooks over shimmering synthesizers. The 12 tracks of CHVRCHES’ debut worm their way into your brain from the first listen and set a startlingly high bar for a sound that defined the decade. – Kiel Hauck

18. Twenty One Pilots – Blurryface

After two years of silence following their Fueled By Ramen debut, Vessel, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun released 2015’s Blurryface. The album is arguably their most popular, and put them on the front of every major music publication. Their catchy refrains and energetic live shows continue to fill up stadiums worldwide, and their outspokenness about mental health awareness has kept the band on the tip of everyone’s tongue throughout the back half of the 2010s. – Nadia Paiva

17. My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

The greatest sin committed by Danger Days is that it faced the monumental task of meeting unprecedented expectations. Taking a massive swing, My Chemical Romance wrote an epic rock fantasy that firmly planted its own distinct sound in the band’s catalog. It doesn’t always stick the landing, such as truly explaining the story concepts that make such a prominent role in the songs and their titles. However, what does work is ambitious, driving, and as catchy as anything the band has ever written. For a band celebrated for music about depression and vampires, Danger Days took us on the adventure the band had always wanted to explore in the first place. – KS

16. letlive. – The Blackest Beautiful

Punk music needed a voice like Jason Aalon Butler’s in the 2010s, and it may have gotten more than it bargained for. The Blackest Beautiful was one of the most ferocious albums of the decade and solidified letlive.’s place among the post-hardcore elite. Across the album’s 11 tracks, we see the promise of a raw, unbridled band coalesce before our very eyes, harnessing an urgency that had been missing in a genre that demands it. That The Blackest Beautiful pushes all if its chips toward its passionate social and political message only solidifies its place as one of the decade’s only punk classics. In hindsight, letlive. may have flown too close to the sun, but this moment of fire was worth it. – KH

15. Paramore – Paramore

The self-titled album was a big comeback for Paramore. Having gone through a rocky cycle with 2009’s Brand New Eyes, the band regrouped and rebranded themselves as a bonafide pop band in 2013.  “Ain’t It Fun” won Best Rock Song at the 57th Grammys, making it the band’s first Grammy award. The album has all of the great things we loved in Paramore’s previous work, but it also paved the way for their 80s-influenced After Laughter. – NP

14. Hellogoodbye – Would it Kill You?

Would It Kill You? subverted all expectations placed on it at release, seamlessly blending modern pop, pop rock and classic pop into a sound unlike anything else in music. Hellogoodbye singer Forrest Kline sounds completely energized, having turned the focus of the music from electronic rock to folk-pop. The songs pulse with energy and sweet emotion, letting the band take chances and push their own boundaries to great effect. The deftly crafted layers of pop music and the blending of genres make this album sound like a true work of art, breathing new life into a band some had already blown off as a one hit wonder. – KS

13. Frank Ocean – Blonde

Four years after the release of his jaw-dropping debut album, Channel Orange, Frank Ocean fans had begun to resign themselves to the idea that there may never be a follow-up. But Blonde came suddenly, and excitement quickly transitioned to awe. Blonde is complicated, mesmerizing and intense – the work of an introverted artist meandering through the halls of his past, dangling answers before quickly replacing them with more questions. Psychedelic and smooth, Ocean explores sexuality, social constructs, and inner truth in equal measure, crafting one of the most immersive and ambiguously beautiful records of the decade. – KH

12. Lana Del Rey – Born to Die

This is definitely more of a personal choice for me, because other than the single “Video Games”, this album was underrated when it was released in 2012. I feel like it has become a gateway for a lot of people (and artists who would later claim the term) to a more self aware, grittier side of music that they might not have been drawn to if it wasn’t for tracks like “Off to the Races” or “Summertime Sadness”. This album is also a prime example of perseverance, because even though it’s not Lana Del Rey’s most critically acclaimed album, it didn’t stop her from releasing incredible music later in the decade. – NP

11. Taylor Swift – Red

Taylor Swift was a phenom before the release of Red, but this album opened her up to an entirely new audience. Combining modern pop songs with country proved to be a bridge between genres that fans could easily grasp onto. While Red prepped Swift for her foray into pop music, it also pulled new fans into the genre of country music even if they would have never been interested before. The album captures the feeling of past loves, with all of the happiness and anger that comes with them, and attempts to find meaning between the two. Hiding between genres, Red harnesses the strengths of country, pop, and rock to unite anyone willing with the same emotions. – KS

Posted by Kiel Hauck

letlive. Release New Song “Good Mourning, America”

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letlive. have released a brand new track titled “Good Mourning, America” from their upcoming album If I’m the Devil… The song is a blistering number aimed at police brutality and showcases an exciting sonic progression for the band. You can hear the new track below:

If I’m the Devil… drops on June 10 via Epitaph Records and pre-orders are now available. What are your thoughts on the new song? Let us know in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

The Wonder Years Stream “Stained Glass Ceilings” Music Video

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It’s hard to believe that six months have passed since The Wonder Years released No Closer to Heaven, their stellar fourth full-length album. To honor the occasion, the band has released the music video for one of the strongest tracks on the record: “Stained Glass Ceilings”, featuring Jason Aalon Butler of letlive. Take a look at the sweet new video below:

If you like what you hear, you can but No Closer to Heaven on iTunes.

Did you like the video? Share in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

letlive. release rendition of “27 Club” featuring Keith Buckley

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If you’re like us and couldn’t get enough of letlive.’s stellar 2013 release The Blackest Beautiful, you’re in luck. The band is giving the songs from their album an overhaul as part of their Renditions series, in which they give guest vocalists an opportunity to sing over a part of one of their songs. Lead vocalist Jason Aalon Butler explained:

We presented them one song off of our latest album and asked them what they would do with a certain section if I (Jason Aalon) never sang in said section. We asked them to explore with free reign utilizing their particular style and prose. The point of this was not only to share our gratitude and adoration for other bands/artists, but to work with other artists we appreciate in new methods of collaboration and provide listeners with an exciting approach. In doing this you will hear the same song with different artists providing their artistic signature in the same section. The contrast, we believe, will not negate any single performance, but enhance all of them.

The first rendition features Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die singing over the bridge of “27 Club” – check it out below:

You can buy The Blackest Beautiful on iTunes.

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Every Time I Die and letlive. keep hope alive on current tour

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Within these drab walls, above these grimy floors, under these dim stage lights, the music still lives. Entering the Emerson Theater in Indianapolis is like traveling back in time. If these walls could talk, they would tell stories of some of the most intimate, raucous and noteworthy punk rock shows to come through the Midwest over the past few decades.

On this night, it gains another story to tell. Every Time I Die, letlive. and Code Orange Kids have arrived amidst the cold and snow to unleash a night of pummeling music that breathes hope and life into the crowd, but also speaks to the creativity and power that is still churning within the genre.

It’s amazing watching this lineup – truly spanning a generation, yet speaking to listeners of any age. At one point during Every Time I Die’s set, singer Keith Buckley notes that their next song was written when the members of Code Orange Kids were six years old. Don’t let their youth fool you. The Pittsburgh hardcore act is a powerhouse of hardcore punk and metal, fronted by Reba Meyers’ growl and furious guitar.

It’s refreshing to see such a young band hold their own on a tour like this – one that is anchored by one of the most storied and notorious metalcore acts and topped off by a band that has taken the post-hardcore world by storm in a matter of only a few years. Make no mistake – letlive. and Every Time I Die are the main draws tonight, but Code Orange Kids have certainly staked their claim to the rights of hardcore’s future.

Enter letlive. The Los Angeles post-hardcore act has been growing at a slow burn for the past two years since the release of Fake History, an album that introduced them to a larger audience through its 2011 re-release on Epitaph Records. This year, the band dropped one of the best albums of the year in The Blackest Beautiful.

It’s not just that letlive. is making great music and breathing fire back into the post-hardcore scene, it’s that they’re doing it with such furor and passion, marked by the cutting lyrics of Jason Aalon Butler. While they certainly have gained attention for their wild live performance, there’s a method to the madness. The Blackest Beautiful is a furious ride through the heart of Butler, and certainly fans the flame of their on-stage antics.

Butler takes the stage this night with an arm in a sling from a recent injury. No matter. He’ll soon be atop a stack of speakers, flying through the air and writhing on the ground. For Butler, this isn’t just for show, it’s because his passion runs deep as he sings and screams of race, inner demons, family disarray and political failings. The Blackest Beautiful winds back and forth between Butler’s own frustrations with self and his dismay at the world around him before crashing in on itself during the breathtaking “27 Club”, a song that sets the Emerson ablaze.

It’s certainly a sight to behold, seeing the crowd react and move with letlive.’s music – not only because they’re worthy of such an affirmative response, but because the words hold meaning and create a connection between artist and band in a way that runs much deeper than surface level. Letlive. is a force to be reckoned with and with any luck, will be sharing the experience with an even larger audience in years to come.

Yet before the night ends, the bookends of post-hardcore are capped off with the always-manic performance of Every Time I Die. The Buffalo, N.Y., rockers have stood the test of time, outlasting many of their peers while showing no signs of slowing down. Last year’s Ex Lives added to the storied history of the band and has solidified their stay atop the scene.

While their long-standing presence is certainly due to their musical abilities (the band absolutely shreds – still), there’s always been a quirkiness and humor that set the band apart. Buckley is the definition of a frontman, commanding the crowd, demanding your attention and performing the band’s catalogue with such ease that it almost seems too simple.

No one would blame Every Time I Die for wearing down. Instead, the band looks as solid, passionate and tight as ever, performing tracks from 2003’s Hot Damn! as if they had just written them days before. It’s clear that the chemistry amidst this band’s members has aided their longevity and spurred the band to remain as energetic, witty and poignant as ever.

The beauty of this night lies within the acceptance and support of those in attendance and the bands themselves. There’s nothing to prove here, no pissing contests and no room for division. The night is marked by a mutual respect between the bands, regardless of age and seniority, that speaks volumes to the solidity of the core of this scene.

Inside the Emerson, bands still come to play, people still come to listen and there is still hope alive in this underground music scene. We would all be wise to listen, support and keep sharing excellent music. If we’re lucky, these bands and many others following in their footsteps will still be rocking these storied walls for years to come.

-by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

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The top 10 songs of 2013

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There was certainly no shortage of awesome songs this year to sing along in the car to, cry alone in your bedroom to, or reflect on the meaning of life to. That’s a good thing. The curious and awesome part about this year’s plethora of great songs is how many played a role in making the album they appeared on complete. It’s one thing to write a great song and a completely different thing to make that song tell part of a greater story.

Many of the songs on our end-of-the-year list are songs that told a chapter of their album’s story or helped tie it all together. They dug deep and spoke to something greater. Check out our list, take a listen to the songs and share your own favorite songs of 2013 with us in the replies!

10. The Super Happy Fun Club – “Okay Okay”

Super Happy Fun Club is the newest project from the singer of Lucky Boys Confusion and includes some of Chicago’s best. “Okay Okay” is one of the band’s finest, surging forward with gritty melodic punk and featuring extremely prominent gang vocals and shouting lyrics while providing choir-like backing. Stuby Pandav’s singing pushes the vocalist to his limits with a graveled undertone that bites through the chorus. The strength of the guitar chords propels the song’s pop with slight hints towards ska in the breakdowns. – Kyle Schultz

9. Eisley – “Currents”

Eisley has been known for some time to toe the line between indie pop and rock with dreamlike sounds and ambiguous lyrics, and this year’s Currents is a return to form, kicked off by the title track. Stacey King takes the lead vocals on this opener, and sets off the course of the album, which gives an underwater, oceanic feel. Her opening lines of “I would part the waters if you said so / I would shift the currents if you had to row” blend into the fluid backdrop, creating a perfect combination. The song is melodic and light, but forceful when it needs to be, driven by Sherri DuPree-Bemis’ guitar. “Currents” is a refreshing kick-off to one of the year’s most unsung albums. – Kiel Hauck

8. AFI – “The Conductor”

“The Conductor” is a force of rock that defines the sound of Burials. Davy Havok sings the illustration of love through electricity and shows off the force of his singing ability, but the real beauty at work here is Jade Puget’s guitar. The simple melody that plays throughout the song feels effortless, as though it just slides off of the guitar. But as soon as the chords kick in for the chorus, they’re hard and vicious, standing strong against anything the band has put out amidst a wall of bass. “The Conductor” is a song that slows down the sound AFI is known for and presents it on their own terms. – KS

7. Deafheaven – “Dream House”

Deafheaven’s “Dream House” is nine breathtaking minutes – an introductory ride into their fantastic record, Sunbather. The song is simultaneously furious and light, transitioning through multiple phases, capturing the emotion of a man fighting for meaning amidst the monotony and triviality of the American dream. Sunbather excels because of its painful beauty, perhaps displayed best by this swirling and wandering track. In what are perhaps the most haunting lines of 2013, George Clark wails, “’I’m dying’ / ‘Is it blissful?’ / ‘It’s like a dream’ / ‘I want to dream’”. – KH

6. letlive. – “White America’s Beautiful Black Market”

Picking a favorite song from The Blackest Beautiful isn’t an easy task, but “White America’s Beautiful Black Market” is the song that really stood out to me. Letlive. are a viciously bitter band, based in hardcore but wreathed in tempo changes and an almost bipolar switch in sound and tone at a moment’s notice. This band is taking a stand against what they feel is unjust in the purest way possible, and “White America’s Beautiful Black Market” tackles the healthcare system of America. For most bands, this would be an impossible task, but letlive. attack the issue head on, calling out the parties they find responsible and tearing away at the issue with a hauntingly bouncy melody and vicious chorus. – KS

5. CHVRCHES – “Gun”

If you’re attracted to the bouncy, melodic vocals of Lauren Mayberry, don’t be caught off guard when you listen closer. Not only is “Gun” one of the poppiest and catchiest songs from CHVRCHES’ debut The Bones of What You Believe, but it’s also a look into the fierceness of Mayberry. Her lines of “You had better run from me / with everything you own / Cause I am gonna come for you / With all that I have” and “I will be a gun, and it’s you I’ll come for” speak of deep scars that propel the singer throughout much of this debut. What makes The Bones of What You Believe so brilliant is its ability to juxtapose the electronic pop of it’s music against the often-edgy and pointed lyrics of its frontwoman. “Gun” will make you dance, even when it hurts. – KH

4. Saves The Day – “In the In Between”

Saves The Day’s self-titled album was a return to form for the band and includes one of the best songs of the group’s career. “In the In Between” is a classic sounding STD song with an incredibly catchy melody and chorus that continuously builds to a powerful guitar solo that demands your attention. Saves The Day may be the face of emo pop, but the fact of the matter is that simply no one can write a pop song like this band. They have an established sound and style, and if you need a song to represent it, “In the In Between” does it beautifully. With lyrics curiously weaving the idea of love with a detailed car crash, this is a song that boasts the experience of one of the most respected bands in the scene. – KS

3. Paramore – “Ain’t It Fun”

On Paramore’s self-titled album, the band appeared to throw out the rulebook that had defined their previous pop-punk output and opened a new chapter for the band. Nowhere else is this more obvious than on their explosive single, “Ain’t it Fun”. The song is a kitchen sink of sorts, a building rock number complete with smooth guitars, a fantastic chorus and a backing church choir. Whether the song is directed at the Farro brothers or is more generalized is up to interpretation, but the song is certainly driven by a feisty Hayley Williams, who sings, “You’re not the big fish in the pond no more / You are what they’re feeding on”. At any rate, Paramore has become a force to be reckoned with in the pop world and has outdone themselves with this instant classic. – KH

2. The Wonder Years – “Passing Through a Screen Door”

The Greatest Generation is easily one of the best records this year and filled with songs that qualify for this list, but it’s their first single, “Passing Through a Screen Door” that makes it. This is currently the magnum opus of the band’s career: absolutely perfect song writing that is both catchy and biting with incredibly intrusive and personal lyrics that stand vibrantly illustrated with a clear story of loneliness, regret and hope. This is not only the definition of The Wonder Years as a whole throughout their discography, it’s the essence of punk, emo and pop, as well as the anthem for anyone in their twenties who isn’t sure about the road they’re on. “Jesus Christ, I’m 26 / All the people I graduated with / All have kids, all have wives/ All have people who care if they come home at night / Well Jesus Christ, did I fuck up?” “Passing Through a Screen Door” is the reason we listen to music in the first place. – KS

1. Letlive. – “27 Club”

The Blackest Beautiful hits the height of its crescendo with this album closer, a raucous and passionate affair fueled by the collision of fast-paced punk rock and furious hardcore. Jason Aalon Butler shrieks and shouts, caught in a whirlwind of emotion. While the album itself fitfully storms through a barrage of socially-relevant topics, “27 Club” collapses under the weight, as Butler focuses in on his own shortcomings and his search for hope. His repeated refrain of “He talks like a Christian but walks like an atheist” becomes intelligible as emotion overtakes his voice. The song finds Butler wresting with faith and self-doubt before the final spoken words of the strength found in unity, despite our flaws. “27 Club” is a conglomeration of everything that makes letlive. so special and is arguably the best track of the year. – KH

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

The top 10 albums of 2013

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It’s that wonderful time of year, where every blog on the internet tries to out hipster the others by sharing their uber-subjective end-of-the-year lists that are much more reactionary and attention seeking than they are honest. Well, we’re throwing our hat in the ring by slamming together the ideas of Kiel and Kyle to hash out what the best sounds of 2013 were.

There was fighting, clawing, hair pulling and mean words said aloud. They then had a good laugh and decided it wasn’t all that big of a deal and threw together their own extremely subjective list. Make no mistake – these albums are all fantastic and worthy of praise, but their ranking is up for debate.

We hope you enjoy our list and then chime in with your own lists and albums that impacted you in 2013. Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.35.05 PMAFI – Burials

Burials is a brooding beast of an album that just didn’t get the recognition it deserved. AFI are known to reinvent their sound with each consecutive album, but Burials is the result of combining the lessons of the last decade into one distinct sound. The guitar licks (“The Conductor”, “Greater Than 84”) are the things that most bands hope to one day write and manages to blend the goth-punk of Sing The Sorrow into the expert pop of Crash Love in a sinister romance that only AFI are capable of crafting. Burials is a testament to not only how relevant AFI are to the scene as it stands, but why bands should strive to push themselves with each release. – Kyle Schultz 

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.34.41 PMBring Me the Horizon – Sempiternal 

Who would have thought just a few years ago that Bring Me the Horizon would transform from a generic scene band and an example of what was wrong with the metalcore genre into a band breaking new post-hardcore ground? That’s indeed what has happened with the release of Sempiternal. Like them or not, Bring Me the Horizon is worthy of your attention and has stepped up their game in every way imaginable. Sempiternal picks up where Underoath left off with Disambiguation and forges ahead with ferocity. These sounds are anything but cookie cutter – lead vocalist Oli Sykes sounds like a man on the brink as his voice croons, cries, cracks and shouts. Nearly gone are the boring breakdowns and in their place lie much more thoughtful parts, creating a heavy soundscape without as much of the “chugga-chugga” tuning to deter your attention. Let’s hope that this is just the beginning of a new era for the band. – Kiel Hauck

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.34.21 PMChildish Gambino – Because the Internet

While Camp was surely a fine debut effort, it lacked in cohesiveness and purpose. How seriously are we supposed to take Donald Glover? The answer is clear with Because the Internet – very seriously. This new album is an absolute force, shifting gears relentlessly as Glover taps into a multitude of styles and deliveries, each custom fitted to the topic at hand. Where Camp excelled in its immaturity, Because the Internet grows in all of the right places and shows an incredible amount of growth for Glover as a songwriter. Childish Gambino has surprised us all and dropped one of the most unexpectedly great hip hop albums of the year. – KH

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.34.02 PMSaves the Day – Saves the Day

Saves The Day’s self-titled album is an instant classic to any fan of STD. After the incredibly dark and dreary Sound The Alarm trilogy, Saves The Day is not only refreshingly warm and poppy, but throws several nods to the style of music from Stay What You Are. Although Saves The Day have always been known for darker lyrics, the warmth of these lyrics play as a counter balance to most everything the band has put out while retaining the charm that has earned the band praise for over a decade. With some of the best songs written since the band’s inception (I’m looking at you, “In the In Between”), Saves The Day not only partially reinvents the band in the most positive light they’ve ever been in, but proves that there’s just nothing quite as amazing as a new release from one of the classic bands in the scene. – KS 

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.33.46 PMTouché Amoré – Is Survived By

Is Survived By essentially encompasses everything that we all knew Touché Amoré was capable of. The spacey, off-kilter post-hardcore sound, accompanied by the desperate vocals of Jeremy Bolm create the most unique and genuine sound the scene has heard since mewithoutYou. The band’s previous album, Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me hinted at what was to come, but Is Survived By is much more patient in its movements and builds as a crescendo. There’s breathing room within these 12 frantic tracks, giving the listener time to digest what Bolm is saying, even if the reaction is a painful one. Touché Amoré has truly made their mark on the post-hardcore scene. – KH 

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.33.26 PMFall Out Boy – Save Rock and Roll

Save Rock and Roll is perhaps the biggest surprise of 2013. One of the year’s biggest singles, “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” was released on the day the album was announced – not to mention that the band announced that they were back together on the same day. This record sees Fall Out Boy reinvent their sound to be poppier than ever and nixes the pop punk sound the band has been known for almost entirely. Despite this, the group sound like they’re not only having fun together again, but it launched their careers to heights that they’d never known before. This is hands-down one of the most beautifully crafted records of the year, and a highlight for a band known for putting out near perfect records. Save Rock and Roll is Fall Out Boy at the top of their game with an album that sounds like every song should be a lead single. – KS 

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.33.09 PMCHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe 

The great thing about Scottish synthpop newcomers CHVRCHES, is how much fun they’re having. Sure, they’ve managed to flip pop music on its head with their fresh debut album The Bones of What You Believe, but they’ve done it with wit and intelligence all while having a good time. Their debut is full of bounce and meaning, thanks in part to lead singer Lauren Mayberry, whose innocent and darling delivery is marked by words of anger, hope and wonder. Whether it’s the dance-worthy pop tracks like “The Mother We Share” and “Gun” or the more dreamy “Night Sky”, The Bones of What You Believe delivers on every front and is a sure sign of great things to come. – KH 

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.32.49 PMParamore – Paramore

After the loss of founding members Josh and Zac Farro in 2010, there may have been some suspicion of the remaining members’ ability to not only move forward, but to deliver another classic album. Not only did Paramore return to the scene in 2013, they unleashed the best album the band has created thus far. Their self-titled release departs from the innocent pop-punk of past endeavors and delves into new territory, combining a plethora of sounds and genres into a project that flows effortlessly. Whether it’s the stripped down interludes, the powerful ballad “Ain’t it Fun” or the frenzied pop sound of “Still Into You”, Paramore has shown themselves to be far more than a one trick pony. Hayley Williams sounds better than ever, officially transforming from pop star to near-diva status with her powerful vocal work.  – KH

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.32.25 PMThe Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation

The Greatest Generation is arguably one of the most in depth and telling albums released in decades. The record is filled with songs with the right hooks and lyrics to stay with you for years to come, the way that any legendary pop punk song of yesteryear will. The Greatest Generation is a battle cry against using excuses to not succeed and a call to believe and trust in yourself, no matter what. Like any Wonder Years record, this is heavy, loud music with a drive, a story and an anthem that spans three records, only to tie everything together in one of the best closing songs of all time. The Greatest Generation will be remembered for years as one of the pinnacle moments for the genre as a whole. – KS

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.31.55 PMletlive. – The Blackest Beautiful

The Blackest Beautiful is the album that post hardcore – hell, rock and roll needed. From “Banshee (Ghost Fame)” to “27 Club”, the album never relents, never compromises its purpose. Not only is The Blackest Beautiful an ambitious sonic endeavor, with all of its twists and turns, unique guitar riffs and the most controlled form of chaos you can imagine, but it has a point. Whether Jason Aalon Butler is taking on topics like race, faith or the American healthcare system, the album itself is a document dedicated to bringing issues to light while taking a moment to reflect on our own self-worth and purpose. It’s furious, it’s fragile, it’s focal and it’s just the wake-up call that rock music needed. – KH

Honorable Mention:

Haim – Days are Gone

Eisley – Currents

Hands Like Houses – Unimagine

Blessthefall – Hollow Bodies

Deafheaven – Sunbather 

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

It’s All Dead Podcast Episode: 002

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On the second episode of the official It’s All Dead podcast, Kiel Hauck and Kyle Schultz chat about some of the best albums of 2013 and why they made such an impact. Included in the discussion are releases by letlive., Paramore, Fall Out Boy, Saves the Day, The Wonder Years, CHVRCHES and much, much more.

Subscribe to our podcast here.