Podcast: Ranking the Albums of Katy Perry

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There was a moment in time, not so long ago, when Katy Perry was not only the biggest pop star on the planet, but one of the biggest pop stars of all time. Kiel Hauck is joined by Nadia Alves as they look back on the illustrious and unexpected career of Katy Perry – from unknown Christian artist to everyone’s favorite “bad” girl. The duo discuss the impact of Teenage Dream on pop music at large and debate whether the album is actually her best (spoiler alert: it’s not). They also rank every Katy Perry studio album and list their top 10 Katy Perry songs. Listen in!

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Posted by Kiel Hauck

Podcast: “If we’re gonna date, you have to listen to my seven favorite albums”

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Remember that time where Scott Pilgrim wanted to date Ramona Flowers, but first he had to defeat her seven deadly exes? Wild stuff. Anyway, we decided to come up with the seven albums you would have to listen to in order to date us. Kiel Hauck is joined by Kyle Schultz and Nadia Alves as they list the seven albums that define their journey, showcase their taste, and tell their story. It’s an admittedly weird exercise, but it sure was fun! Listen in.

Special thanks to alissaaamay for the inspiration!

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Posted by Kiel Hauck

Underoath Hits the Road with Spiritbox, Bad Omens, and Stray from the Path

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Near the end of their set at The Andrew J. Brady Music Center in downtown Cincinnati last week, Stray from the Path vocalist Andrew Dijorio shared a personal and moving story about his struggle as an isolated artist during the pandemic. Dijorio described being unable to take the stage and perform as resulting in a feeling of having lost his purpose. It’s a sentiment that resonates for all of us in one way or another. But here we were, together again in the kind of setting that can melt those feelings away.

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Stray from the Path

It had been over two years since I last attended an indoor concert like this, and I got the feeling that it was the same case for many others in attendance. It led to an elevated kind of energy that you could feel throughout the night. I actually had butterflies in the photo pit before shooting the sets – something that was a relatively mundane event prior to the pandemic. 

It had actually been so long since this tour was announced that one of the original bands on the lineup no longer exists (R.I.P. Every Time I Die). Nevertheless, the night is a celebration of Underoath’s new album, Voyeurist, along with being a showcase for a few bands on the rise. 

After Stray from the Path, it was Bad Omens turn to take the stage. The band has made a name for themselves in recent years by threading the needle between metalcore and hard rock, concocting something melodic enough for radio but heavy enough to get the pit moving. Vocalist Noah Sebastian is a true showman in the best way. His confidence on stage was a sight to behold, but his vocal performance is what stole the show, especially when the band plays “Never Know” and “Limits” – two tracks that highlight the band’s stellar songwriting and Sebastian’s soaring vocals.

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Spiritbox

Speaking of bands on the rise, in the time since the tour’s announcement, Spiritbox have simply exploded onto the metal scene thanks to the success of their debut, Eternal Blue. No longer the opener, the band could likely be their own headliner very soon. Given that this is their first long trek on the road as a unit, it’s amazing how tight their set is. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think they were a veteran band (vocalist Courtney LaPlante and guitarist Michael Stringer previously toured with iwrestledabearonce). 

LaPlante dominated the night with her powerful vocal performance, rising to the occasion with massive screams on tracks like “Holly Roller” and “Hurt You” while delivering powerhouse cleans on “Blessed Be” and “Constance”. With a setlist only seven tracks deep, it wasn’t hard to be left wanting more. On the band’s final song of the night, “Eternal Blue”, Stringer’s haunting guitar solo at the end of the track capped off a perfect set. 

The night would mark my 10th time seeing Underoath live. What’s left to say at this point? I’ve stated for years that Underoath is one of the best live bands on the planet, and the Voyeurist Tour only adds to the legacy. The band’s catalog is deeper than ever at this point, even with the continued admission of tracks from 2010’s Ø (Disambiguation). Somewhat surprisingly, though, the band’s 15-song set only includes four tracks from the new album. However, Voyeurist opening track “Damn Excuses” allows the band to explode onto the stage, followed by regular show-opener “Breathing in a New Mentality”.

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Underoath

The night is a solid mix of new tracks, fan favorites, and a few rarely performed songs like “A Fault Line, A Fault of Mine” from Lost in the Sound of Separation and “There Could Be Nothing After This” from Define the Great Line. In the end, it’s hits like “Reinventing Your Exit” and “Writing on the Walls” that get the crowd going, even if the band’s performance of Voyeurist-closer “Pneumonia” is utterly jaw-dropping to experience in person.

By the time you’re reading this, the tour will be completed with two final shows in Underoath’s hometown of Tampa, Florida. In the end, one thing is for certain: both bands and fans felt overjoyed to be back in this setting. The promise of more to come from all involved instills a kind of hope that we can all cling to.

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.

Podcast: Our Favorite Springtime Music

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Ah yes. The sun is shining. The flowers are blooming. The birds are chirping. Time to roll down the windows and blast some of our favorite music to celebrate the season. On this episode of Long Live the Music, Kiel Hauck is joined by Kyle Schultz and Nadia Alves to discuss the traits that make for the perfect spring album. They then break down their favorite albums to celebrate springtime and talk about why those albums resonate so well this time of year. They also discuss some great new releases, including the new album from Dashboard Confessional. Listen in!

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Posted by Kiel Hauck

Podcast: Sam Manzella on the 10th Anniversary of Fun’s “Some Nights”

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It’s been 10 years since fun. released Some Nights, which vaulted the band into stardom when hit single “We Are Young” took over the charts in 2012. On this episode of Long Live the Music, Kiel Hauck is joined by MTV News writer Sam Manzella to look back on the album, the impact it made during a transitional moment in popular music, and the quasi-fallout of the band that resulted in very divergent paths for both Jack Antonoff and Nate Ruess. The two also discuss Antonoff’s impact on pop music in the years since the album’s release and the chances of a fun. reunion ever taking place. Take a listen!

You can read Sam’s MTV News retrospective on Some Nights here.

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Posted by Kiel Hauck

Podcast: What Makes a Great Visual Album with Evan Sawdey

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On this episode of Long Live the Music, Kiel Hauck is joined by fellow music journalist Evan Sawdey of PopMatters and Yardbarker to discuss a recent article titled, “The Definitive Ranking of Every Visual Album.” Sawdey shares the genesis of the piece and the qualifications used to define what a visual album actually is. Evan also breaks down the key elements of a great visual album and what it looked like to consume and then rank each piece of work. Kiel and Evan also dive into several visual albums on the list, including those from Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Fall Out Boy, Kanye West, Halsey and much more. Take a listen!

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Posted by Kiel Hauck

Podcast: When We Were Young – Full Festival Breakdown

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Last week, we were gifted with the festival lineup of every scene kid’s dreams. When We Were Young Festival, taking place over two days in October at the Los Vegas Festival Grounds, features a lineup so stacked that it’s hard to comprehend (My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Avril Lavigne, Jimmy Eat World, Taking Back Sunday, AND SO MANY MORE). Kyle Schultz and Nadia Alves join Kiel Hauck to breakdown the full lineup and talk through the logistics of what will undeniably be an insane weekend. They also share their short list of “must see bands,” discuss some acts that got left off the bill, and debate the potential drawbacks of the weekend. Take a listen!

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Posted by Kiel Hauck

Most Anticipated of 2022: Dashboard Confessional Moves On

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I truly wouldn’t have imagined myself including Dashboard Confessional on a most anticipated feature like this in the year 2022. And nothing against Chris Carrabba – his music has meant the world to me since he joined Further Seems Forever for The Moon is Down all the way back in 2001. But I guess that’s the point. He’s delivered so much that’s felt so meaningful over the years. There really isn’t anything else I could imagine touching me quite so deeply at this point.

But then he released first single “Here’s to Moving On” from his upcoming album All the Truth that I Can’t Tell. Before my first play of the song was even finished, I reached out to It’s All Dead senior editor Kyle Schultz to tell him to drop everything and listen. It’s the kind of nostalgic throwback that hits every note perfectly without feeling forced. It took me back to those college nights listening to Swiss Army Romance and all of the emotions that only Carrabba can invoke with the strum of an acoustic guitar.

So here we are. It’s 2022 and I’m more ready than I realized to shed some tears to the sounds of Dashboard Confessional.

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 pop culture outlets and was previously an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife, daughter, and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Most Anticipated of 2022: The Weeknd Breaks the Dawn

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Okay, so this is kind of a cop out. Dawn FM, the latest album from The Weeknd, dropped last Friday. But I did anticipate it in the week between its announcement and release, so there’s that!

Honestly, my first reaction upon hearing the news was to think, “Didn’t he just drop After Hours?” But then I had the sad realization that it had been almost two years and that this pandemic has now lasted a full album cycle.

But nevertheless, Dawn FM is another stroke of genius from Abel Tesfaye, an artist who continues to paint an unexpected narrative and blur the lines between The Weeknd as a character and Abel as a real human being. Created as a radio broadcast of music and existential ponderings after the events of After Hours, Dawn FM is oddly reflective and pensive as it explores the idea that, just maybe, there is peace to be found in this life, which feels like a completely new note for The Weeknd.

Here in this new context, recent single “Take My Breath” feels alive in new and unexpected ways. Tracks like “How Do I Make You Love Me?”, “”Best Friends”, and “Don’t Break My Heart” carry the kind of longing and questioning we’re used to but inject each track with a stroke of humor. It’s another masterclass in pop excellence, and what I anticipate most at this point is playing it again and again throughout 2022.

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 pop culture outlets and was previously an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife, daughter, and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Podcast: Our Most Anticipated Music of 2022

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A new year is here, which means that another 12 months of new music is on its way. Kiel Hauck is joined by Kyle Schultz and Nadia Alves as they look forward to some of their most anticipated albums and events of 2022. But before diving into what’s on their wish list, they look back on 2021, discussing some of their favorite albums, along with a few albums and artists that may have been overlooked. Listen in – and then tell us your most anticipated albums of 2022!

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Posted by Kiel Hauck