It’s been a wild year for all of us at The Garden Statement. We began the year under a completely different name, a different show time, and seemingly as a completely different entity altogether. Through the rebranding, however, we were able to enjoy another year of fine releases throughout all of the divisions of the emo genre, making our year-end lists nearly impossible to make. We were, however, finally able to come together and make a list that we’re proud to be sharing with you today. Below, you will find our composite Top 20 albums of the year, which was comprised for our final radio appearance on 91.3FM WTSR of the year. It is important to highlight that this is not the unanimous view of all of us, but rather a combination of what we all enjoyed throughout the year. Our individual lists will be coming out later this year, so keep and eye out for those, and in the meantime, take a look at The Garden Statement’s Top 20 Albums of 2014!
20. Bayside – Cult (Click here for Donald’s review!)
Bayside’s sixth studio full-length shows that though the band are getting up there in the age department, they’ve still got a whole lot of tricks left up their sleeves.
19. Dikembe – Mediumship
If you’re one of those people who are still patiently waiting for Brand New to release their next album (if that day ever comes at this point), it would be in your best interests to give Mediumship a listen. Dikembe’s admiration for the Emo Hall of Famers bleeds out of each track, and will draw back memories of The Devil and God, which is never a bad thing.
18. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness – Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (Check out Craig’s review!)
The mastermind behind Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin has finally felt comfortable putting his own name behind his work. The result is a pop-infused rock album that sounds as good as any of McMahon’s work throughout the years.
17. Modern Baseball – You’re Gonna Miss It All (Check out Madison’s review!)
The emo/pop-punk darlings who released Sports have grown immensely in a very short period of time, and their new sophomore effort took the band to new heights. One listen to “Your Graduation,” and you’ll know exactly why.
16. Tides of Man – Young and Courageous (Check out Craig’s review!)
The band that was once fronted by Tillian Pearson (a list that continues to grow)has returned as an instrumental post-rock four-piece, and their new album is as ambitious as any album to come out this year.
15. Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties – We Don’t Have Each Other (Check out Craig’s review!)
Dan “Soupy” Campbell’s side project is a far departure from his full-time gig as pop-punk’s superhero as vocalist of The Wonder Years, but Campbell’s songwriting is just as hard-hitting and honest, despite the fact that he’s writing from the perspective of a fictional character.
13. From Indian Lakes – Absent Sounds (Check out Donald’s review!)
The sophomore album from this promising young band has even more pleasant vocal melodies, expert instrumentation, and is one of the most enjoyable records of the year. If he keeps this up, Joey Vannucchi will be a household name in no time.
12. La Dispute – Rooms of the House (Check out Madison’s review!)
After a very quiet 2013, La Dispute returned with Rooms of the House,arguably their most ambitious and complete work to date. Jordan Dreyer’s vocal experimentation complements his storytelling lyrics so well, and the band’s expansion of their sound will only help them continue to grow.
11. The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt (Check out Donald’s review!)
The new album from The Gaslight Anthem was swirling with questions about the future of the band, but Get Hurt shows that the band still have the talent, ambition, and anthems to stay around for a very, very long time.
10. Fireworks – Oh, Common Life (Check out Craig’s review!)
Seemingly doomed to be the most underrated band in pop-punk, Fireworks put out another quality album that will inevitably overlooked despite the fact that they’re leagues better than most of their peers. Unless you do something about it, that is.
9. Manchester Orchestra – Cope and Hope (Check out Donald’s review of Cope and Craig’s review of Hope!)
It’s one thing to release another great album (which is what Cope is), but to rework all of those songs for a stripped-down version of the album, and have some of the stripped-down songs be even better? There’s no way Manchester Orchestra were going to miss the countdown this year.
8. Anberlin – Lowborn (Check out Craig’s review!)
Long regarded as one of the best bands to ever come out of the scene, Anberlin decided to call it a career in 2014, but because they knew we’d miss them so much, they decided to say good bye with Lowborn, one of their best albums. So long, Anberlin. You’ll live forever.
7. Gates – Bloom and Breathe (Check out Craig’s review!)
If you’re anything like us, you really miss bands like Thrice and Moving Mountains, whose post-rock/post-hardcore sound was unique and invigorating. If you miss those bands, you need to listen to Bloom and Breathe as soon as possible, because they might just become your new favorite band.
t-5. PVRIS – White Noise (Check out Craig’s review!)
By far the most promising newcomers of 2014, PVRIS combine the energy of Paramore’s RIOT! with the production of VersaEmerge’s Fixed at Zero, sprinkle in the electronic/industrial elements of Anberlin, and you’ve got White Noise, the behemoth of a debut from PVRIS. This band is going to be huge.
t-5. Circa Survive – Descensus (Check out Madison’s review!)
Overcoming personal anguish, label uncertainty, and nearly hanging it up for good, Circa Survive have refreshed their career, putting themselves back on the path they continue to blaze themselves.
4. The Menzingers – Rented World (Check out Craig’s review!)
Coming off the heels of the instant-classic On the Impossible Past, the Menzingers did the unthinkable: made an album that was even better.
3. Have Mercy – A Place of Our Own (Check out Donald’s review!)
A year ago, a lot of people found out too late about Have Mercy’s fantastic debut The Earth Pushed Back. This year, there was no chance of that happening, because A Place of Our Own is too good to be ignored. Have Mercy are going to be very special, if they aren’t already.
2. Pianos Become the Teeth – Keep You (Check out Craig’s review!)
Abandoning the aggressive emo/hardcore sound they championed on The Lack Long After, Pianos Become the Teeth opted for a more melodic sound, and the result is the same: really, really sad songs that are really, really good.
1. The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace is There (Check out Craig’s review!)
A development that should be a surprise to no one, The Hotelier’s full-length embodies everything the emo genre should be, everything it is capable of, and everything that draws fans to the genre. It will undoubtedly be revered as one of the genre’s highest achievements.
There it is, folks: The top albums of 2014, according to three emo kids from New Jersey. To remind you once more, this is the composite list of all three of the show’s hosts, and our individual lists (which will look drastically different) will be up later this month. Check back for those to see even more of the albums that rocked in 2014!