It’s always been astounding to me the way that songs, albums, lyrics, melodies, instrumental lines—even album titles or cover art—can become more than the sum of their parts when they collide with the right listener at the right time. In a world full of critical acclaim, “best of the year” lists, and verbose Pitchfork reviews, it seems that we have stumbled into an age of relative consensus. How many publications ranked Frank Ocean’s Channel ORANGE or Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D.City at number one last December? Or went with Bon Iver the year before? Or Kanye West in 2010? Few collective outlets, at least within the inner circle of the big critical players, venture too far beyond the same five or six favorite records at the end of any given year. Sure, those same publications review hundreds and hundreds of albums and hand out great scores to a lot of up-and-coming obscurities, but from looking at the top ten lists scattered across the web each year, it seems like the idea of an objective “best album of the year” is becoming more and more corporeal.
Frontman Jim Adkins discusses Jimmy Eat World’s new album Damage, his approach to writing adult breakup songs, being a band for nearly 20 years, and when it becomes necessary to throw all cares out the window.
Michael Shepard chats about his new Boys on the Radio project, writing poppier music, the future of Lovedrug, and whether he regrets never making it big.
Drummer Matt Frazier talks about graduating to arenas as openers for Kings of Leon, the importance of percussion and melodies in crafting the Local Natives sound, and the next step in following up Hummingbird.
Frontwoman Ritzy Bryan talks about the science vs. nature concept behind The Joy Formidable’s sophomore album Wolf’s Law, recording in Maine during the dead of winter, and the balancing act between the live show and studio recordings.
Guitarist Christian McAlhaney discusses Anberlin’s latest album Vital, major label troubles, reuniting with producer Aaron Sprinkle, and the past and future of Acceptance.
Guitarist Jack Antonoff talks about fun.’s big Grammy night and performance, transitioning to a larger scale, staying in Some Nights mode, and what’s next for the band.
Well, 2012 was an interesting year.
But now it’s come to a close and I have to figure out how to rank everything from the past year and get a list together. I’ve been procrastinating on this one for a while, but, alas – here we go … in reverse order.
Composer Nathan Johnson talks about creating the score for Looper, his nontraditional approach to recording and arranging instruments, his musical background, and working with his cousin, director Rian Johnson.
Lead singer Dan Reynolds talks about assembling Imagine Dragons’ first full-length Night Visions, how much Imagine Dragons has progressed in its short life span so far, and finding inspiration in dreams and personal demons.
Stephen Christian talks about the fragmented process of making The Quiet Life, getting back to a family vibe with Anchor & Braille, the instability of being a musician, and what to expect on Anberlin’s upcoming album, Vital.
Mike Shinoda discusses the detailed process behind Living Things, building songs out of Legos, and bridging the gap between the old and new styles of Linkin Park.
Frontman Tim Skipper discusses why House of Heroes’ record Cold Hard Want comes from a desperate place, going after massive-sounding moments, and the legacy of staying true to who you are.
Frontman Justin Pierre discusses the different ideas Motion City Soundtrack pursued when writing Go, being obsessed with mortality, and how his dark past continues to play a role in his lyrics.
Guitarist Eli Maiman chats about recording Walk the Moon’s major label debut, the success of “Anna Sun,” the magic of happy mistakes, and what it was like doing the band’s first record independently.
On May 5th, 2012, I had the chance to talk with Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem about the band’s album, Handwritten. We also touch on a variety of other topics as well.
Vocalist Aaron Weiss explains the unique concept behind Ten Stories, the influence of faith on his lyrics, letting go of the desire to control, and mewithoutYou’s past/future.
Guitarist Mike Kennerty chats about the different cohesion behind The All-American Rejects’ fourth record Kids in the Street, having to restart things with every release, and maintaining passion for music.
Keyboardist Joe Lester talks about the new direction Silversun Pickups took on Neck of the Woods, its psychological underpinnings, writing longer songs, and why there’s no bonus to being on a major label anymore.
Greg Laswell discusses his latest album Landline, the desire to break away from writing sad songs, marriage with Ingrid Michelson, and not having a career backup plan.