Adam Grundy’s Top Albums of 2022

Best of 2022

This past year brought a ton of exciting music styles and a plethora of great releases from so many talented artists. I found myself extremely motivated to continue to write, and thus my list is hyperlinked to a lot of my past work from 2022. I hope you find something new that you’ll enjoy, in not only my list, but in also all of the other talented contributors’ lists. I wish everyone a very happy New Year, and I can’t wait to start talking about our Most Anticipated Albums list in a few more weeks!

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Adam Grundy’s Top Albums of 2021

Best of 2021

This year was overwhelming in a lot of ways, right? Overwhelming with the possibility of another full year of dealing with a never-ending pandemic, and the overwhelming amount of content (in all mediums) that came out this year that helped us get through another crazy year. The music was fantastic, the TV shows that were being released were equally thrilling on various streaming platforms (as the networks quickly caught on to everyone “cutting the cord” of cable), the movies coming out were being simultaneously released at home as they were hitting theaters while they re-captured our imaginations, as well as several great books were released rekindling my love for the glory days of our scene. This year really had a lot of everything to it, and since this year was so unique, I expanded my year-end blog this year to cover a lot of those mediums that I don’t usually have enough time to talk about (besides a quick plug in the Chorus.FM forums). 

On top of my favorite 30 albums from this year, I’ve also dedicated key sections of this blog to an “honorable mention” category, my Top 10 EPs, my Top 10 Interviews I conducted, as well as my Top 5 Books, TV Shows, and Movies I really enjoyed during this year. Thanks again for all of the kind words you have shared about my writing, and I hope I have helped you discover new bands, and/or revisit records from a past life, as it makes contributing to this site such a labor of love. I wish everyone a very Happy New Year as we look ahead to more great content ahead.

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Adam Grundy’s Top Albums of 2020

Best of 2020

What a year, huh? Luckily for us, the music that came out of this hellish year was nothing short of remarkable. From the exponential growth of female artists taking the lead in 2020, to some interesting emo and pop-punk bands making their landmark artistic statements with their latest albums, this year had a little bit of everything. Also, being the shameless self-promoter, I hyperlinked to the reviews I contributed to this site this year. These are the 30 albums that I enjoyed the most over the course of this year.

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The Most Successful “Scene” Records Over the Past Three Decades

The commercial appeal of emo and punk records is undeniable. In this article, I dove into the most commercially successful albums of the past three decades in our scene. First, I wanted to provide a couple of quick notes about how I pulled this data. I took a look at the most popular pop-punk and emo albums from a Wikipedia article and cross-referenced it with other bands that I knew would be in the vicinity of receiving a Gold (500,000 albums sold) or Platinum (1 million albums sold) RIAA certification. From there, I used the Wikipedia articles on the individual album pages to see if they mentioned any certifications of Gold or above. I then confirmed those totals on the extremely helpful RIAA website. In some cases, I either rounded up or down on the number of albums sold to make the organizing of this list a little bit easier to follow, and these totals are for US sales only. I have organized this list into the three different decades of the 90’s, 00’s and 10’s, and I found it interesting that the vast number of eligible albums occurred during the 00’s era. I hope that you will find this information as enlightening as I did, and there are plenty of surprises to be found in these lists as well.

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Adam Grundy’s Top Albums of 2020 (So Far)

Best of 2020 (So Far)

2020 has been a rough year to get through given all of the outside factors going on in the world around us. Luckily, the music that has come shining through the speakers has been nothing short of fantastic at the mid-way point on the year. Much like the full contributor mid-year list, my personal list was dominated by female artists. From the deeply personal Petals for Armor by Hayley Williams, the pure-pop bliss of Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa, to the aptly titled Manic by Halsey, there are some incredible works of art all over the spectrum here. These are the 30 albums I have loved listening to the most at the halfway point of 2020.

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Adam Grundy’s Top Albums of 2019

2019 was a year that gave us outstanding debut records, tremendous follow-ups from several established bands, as well as some surprise albums that I never would have thought to make my list at the beginning of the year. My list and listening taste are as eclectic as it’s ever been and I’m perfectly happy with that.  Here are 30 albums I felt are worthy of your attention and ears delight.

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Does the Seasonal Timing of an Album Release Have a Direct Impact on Its Eventual Success/Failure?


One of the things I have been pondering about over the past few weeks is why record labels would want and/or prefer to release a Summer-themed record in the Fall.  Maybe they would like for an album to be considered for year-end awards such as the Grammy’s, or for an artist to fulfill a contractual obligation during a calendar year? Taking a quick look at some of the noteworthy Fall releases this year, we can see several high-profile and established artists such as: Thrice, The 1975, Coheed & Cambria, Saves the Day, and Twenty One Pilots.

Judging by the singles released from these artists during the Summer, The 1975, Saves the Day and Twenty One Pilots’ albums may have been more thematically poised for immediate success if they were released in June or July. Other artists such as Thrice and Coheed seem to “fit” with the Fall themes, judging solely on what I have heard from the released music. I still expect the Twenty One Pilots and The 1975 albums to be hugely successful regardless of when they were released, however, these albums will genuinely marinate and sink into our consciousness throughout the rest of 2018 and bleed into the Winter of 2019. The question I am posing is, what makes an album with a clear thematic season attached to it get the album release date that eventually helps or hinders its eventual success?

For starters, let’s use the example of a well-received Fall-themed record in AFI’s, Sing the Sorrow. Any guesses on what date this album hit the streets? March 11, 2003. For a record so synonymous with autumn and the “Silver and Grey” that goes along with the changing of seasons, the timing of this release seemed a little odd. Yes, AFI became a major household name after the success of Sing the Sorrow, but if the record label had strongly considered the themes found throughout the album, many of us might have had an easier time digesting this classic LP.  The first single released from that album was “Girl’s Not Grey,” which sounded like a solid punk rock Summer jam, but again, why release that single back in the dead of Winter before the album’s eventual release in March?

It only gets stranger when you look at AFI’s subsequent release, Decemberunderground, that had a release date of June 6, 2006. Really? You have yet another chance to own the Winter and all the snowy packaging surrounding AFI’s second major-label effort, and you ship it off to the stores in the Spring. Sure, the first single of “Miss Murder” was hitting the airwaves towards the end of Winter in March or so, but this seemed like another missed opportunity to take full advantage of the themes surrounding the album.

On the other side of the coin, what happens when a bonafide Summer record drops in the Winter? Look no further than what happened to Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness on their sophomore release Zombies on Broadway. A February 10th release date, in my opinion, truly detracted away from the hype and buzz surrounding this Summer-themed album. Even my colleague, Craig Manning, made these points in his album review by explaining how so many of these songs are built for a long Summer drive, similar to the Everything in Transit album. I can’t exactly blast “Island Radio” with the windows down if I have to scrape the ice off of my car first.

Lastly, what happens when the label gets it right? Yellowcard’s Southern Air hit the record shelves on August 13, 2012, and it went on to be one of their most well-received records from both critics and fans alike. Whether or not the timing of the release had a lot to do with its success can continue to be debated for years to come. I’d like to think that labels such as Hopeless Records honestly get what their artists are trying to accomplish and can continue to market their bands in meaningful ways.

Most labels have been relying for far too long on their algorithms and other formulas of what makes an album a success or failure. If the labels would stop to consider the art they are helping release to the masses before they set a release date in stone, they may be surprised by the short-term (and long-term) reaction each LP gets. Or, maybe they would be better served to include the artists in their decision-making processes so that everything “clicks” at just the right time. For argument’s sake, let’s try and bring some of the creativity back to the art of the album release date and its associated packaging.