February Alternative Album Releases

Staff Writer: Rena Danho

Email: rdanho@umassd.edu

We’re just over two months into 2023, and the music world is already exploding. 

More specifically, the rock and alternative genres were blessed this February with three new albums: “The Jaws of Life” by Pierce The Veil, “This is Why” by Paramore, and “Cracker Island” by Gorillaz.

Pierce The Veil has long been known as an emo band, having gained popularity in 2012 with their album “Collide with the Sky.” Today, they are most known for their song “King for a Day,” which has gained popularity on TikTok

Their new album, “The Jaws of Life,” came out on February 10th, and fans have mixed opinions on it. 

“The Jaws of Life” is Pierce The Veil’s newest music release since 2017 and their first album since “Misadventures” in 2016. 

That leaves a seven-year gap between album releases. 

Fans of any band that was popular during the 2012 “emo phase” are wary of gaps like this because bands are notorious for changing their music after long periods away.

“Their older stuff is better” is a well-known cliche within the 2012 pop-punk genre. 

This is inevitable, as people are usually fond of the original music that draws them into a band. And if you found these bands during their pop-punk height, that’s what you’ll be used to. 

However, bands changing genres over time isn’t something anyone can control. Sometimes it’s for the better, and sometimes it’s for the worse. 

“Pass the Nirvana” and “Emergency Contact” have been the most popular songs off of Pierce The Veil’s new album, but were also the singles released before the album’s release.

Fans agree that these are the best songs, but also feel as though the album isn’t the same as the old Pierce The Veil music. 

As said by a Reddit user, “The album feels so uniform,” noting that most of the songs have a similar tempo and energy. 

I was able to ask two Pierce The Veil fans about their thoughts on “The Jaws of Life.”

“I think that, with this album,  their sound has matured and become a little more subtle, all while still being in line with their old music. The last song on the album features Chloe Moriondo, which is interesting. I feel like that song is a good glimpse into the ‘new’ stuff they’re doing.” says fan Dana Douglas.

“The singles released beforehand (‘Pass the Nirvana,’ ‘Emergency Contact,’ and ‘Even When I’m Not With You’) cover the album pretty well,” Douglas continued. “ They’re collectively a good showing of what the album sounds like as a whole. The lyricism has, in my opinion, stayed similar. It’s the same stuff I was listening to in middle school, I’m just 20 now.” 

Another fan clarified, “I don’t love overanalyzing music because it’s so subjective, but this is the first album from Pierce The Veil since ‘Misadventures’ in 2016, so there’s a lot to be said about their return. ‘The Jaws of Life’ is definitely a lot different than the usual hardcore metal sound that I look for in music, but as a long-time fan of the band, this album gave me a rush of emo nostalgia that really grounded me. It’s a fun and emotional listen that really brought out my inner ‘it’s not a phase’ mentality while also reminding me of the growth and change I’ve gone through since listening to ‘King for a Day’ all those years ago. I think that’s what the album is meant to symbolize: growth, change, and perseverance.”

(Image via piercetheveil.net)

Next is the band Paramore, who released their sixth album, “This is Why,” on February 10th. 

Paramore fans were excited about this album, especially since their last album, “After Laughter,” was released in 2017. 

Although Paramore had more of an emo presence during their early years, “After Laughter” strayed further from that genre and shifted the band into a more indie feel. And when they released the song “This is Why” as a single before the album, fans were eager to see where this indie vibe would take them. 

That being said, some fans were upset, too, just like when Fall Out Boy released “MANIA.” 

However, if you liked “After Laughter” and the transition from pop-punk to indie, you will like “This is Why.” 

Additionally, if you liked the solo work that Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams has done in the past, “This is Why” will sound familiar. 

Many people, myself included, agree that the evolution of Paramore didn’t go in a bad direction – just a different one, and one that sounds just as good. 

I was able to ask a long-time Paramore fan about their thoughts on the album. 

“Personally, I feel as though “This is Why” is the most mature Paramore album. I think it screams ‘I’m in my 30s, and I feel like my songwriting abilities have been utilized to the maximum potential as a band through this album.’” says Ally Fosco. 

Fans love this album and agree with Hayley Williams when she said that this is their best album yet. 

Over time, the band has had a lot of time to experiment with music and sounds, and in “This is Why,” it all comes together. Considering William’s vocals and the instrumentals, many believe that this is Paramore’s best work to date. 

(Image via billboard.com)

Lastly is Gorillaz with their new album “Cracker Island.” 

Many Gorillaz fans have been waiting for this album since the release of the song “Cracker Island” back in June of 2022. Finally, on February 24th of this year, “Cracker Island” was released in full.

Gorillaz is known to have a lot of diversity in their tracks, and this is clear through the featured artists on “Cracker Island.” 

The album’s title song features Thundercat and falls into the R&B and jazz genre, but “Tormenta” features Bad Bunny and can be categorized as Latino Urbano and hip-hop. 

These are only two songs on the album, yet they span across genres. 

Most fans like this album, but it isn’t their favorite, either. 

Lots of fans like Gorillaz’s older music, but they don’t view this new album as the band changing their musical sound. There’s not a lot of love or hate going around for this album; it just sounds like a Gorillaz album. 

Comparing it to older albums such as “Demon Days” and “Plastic Beach,” the visual aspect isn’t as appealing as it has been in the past, either. 

With all of these albums that were released in February, it’s a great start for music in 2023. 

Between the long gaps separating releases, the musical evolution, and the continuation of sounds from previous albums, these albums give fans a lot of content to consume.


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