“Life’s Not Out to Get You”:
After a beloved debut album, fans were itching for new material from Neck Deep; however, no one was ready for the musical masterpiece that came to life in 2015 when “Life’s Not Out to Get You” was released. This album takes listeners on a roller coaster of emotions, which amplifies the album artwork as well as the title of the record. Each track on this album gives the audience a pop punk staple with a slight twist or turn to help standout in such a competitive music scene, especially in 2015. Throughout the album, audience members can pick out clear musical nuances that Neck Deep holds throughout the record to keep their musical picture as cohesive as possible while stretching their boundaries as far as they can. One of the main instrumental techniques that pops almost immediately is the use of heavy articulations to allow the lyrical lines to shine overtop the instrumentals. This relationship meshes well together, for it allows the instrumentalists to dig into their own part while giving the audience overly memorable melodic lines that connect with the background musical motives perfectly. With this, it is no surprise that the symmetry of this album is almost perfect, for the band is able to give their audience a variety of tempos and approaches to the different tracks on the album to supply a heavy dose of contrast when moving from front to back. This is strong for the album because it gives the band that creative freedom to pull their audience members to different genre influences while giving them an overly prominent pop punk sound. Overall, I would give this album a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I landed on this score because there is not one bad selection on this record; also, when going through this record you are taken on that roller coaster of emotions that life will put you through, which makes their album overly relatable when looking at it as a whole.
Top Tracks: “Gold Steps”, “Citizens of Earth”, and “Serpents”
“The Peace and the Panic”:
After the hard-hitting release that put Neck Deep on the map, fans were apprehensive but more than excited for new music presented by the band. In 2017, Neck Deep decided to give the pop punk world another cranking album, “The Peace and the Panic”, that will startle audience members across all fronts, and let me tell you, this record does give “Life’s Not Out to Get You” a run for its money. When listeners first dive into “The Peace and the Panic”, they may be struck slightly, for Neck Deep gives their audience a more aggressive approach to their characteristic sound. Now, don’t be too frightened, the band still gives audience members musical selections that pull on the heart strings, especially when they hit them with the softer tracks, but throughout the album, the band utilizes heavier attacks across all instrumental fronts, which will provide a darker timbre to surround the album. Looking at the album in more depth, the band shifts gears conceptually to take the audience on an emotional roller coaster that focuses on the unpredictable nature of the world, and how one chooses to handle the hurdles that are thrown their way. As they do so, it is heavily apparent that the band is pulling from personal events, one being the heart attack of the lead singer’s father, and when this moment hits the table, I can guarantee not a dry eye in the place. When looking at the album from a more direct musical standpoint, it is heard that Neck Deep uses very similar techniques when comparing the album to their previous releases. Some of these tactics include: over the top contrast, lyrical to instrumental symmetry, overly catchy and memorable lyrical and instrumental riffs, and strategic silence to add dimension throughout the record. Additionally, this album gives listeners a dash of the metal, alternative music scene when the band features Sam Carter of Architects on a breathing taking track that takes the audience through a whole new idea of what Neck Deep can sound like. Overall, I would give this album a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I am giving this album such a score because not one track on the album resonates the same, which provides for an overly dynamic album that takes the audience on a varying journey that can’t truthfully be described: just felt.
Top Tracks: “Don’t Wait”, “Happy Judgement Day”, and “19 Seventy Sumthin’”
So, Which One is THE One???
A tough decision must be made, a very very tough decision, but if anyone can crack the code on these two albums: I believe it could very well be me. After allowing each album to re-sink in, I would say that “Life’s Not Out to Get You” ranks slightly over “The Peace and the Panic”. I landed on this album to be the winner, for when looking at each album as a whole it is hard to knock either piece of work because they are both packed full of bangers; however, when looking at “Life’s Not Out to Get You”, Neck Deep took the pop punk world by storm by giving the scene an album where not one song isn’t enjoyable, which is very hard to achieve. Not only is every song presented on the album absolutely fantastic; also, they each present emotional situations that everyone can relate to, which will enhance its likability. Looking at both of these albums has been a thrill, but the best thing about both of these albums is that they can help listeners throughout different times of their lives because each album enforces a whole different set of emotions and situations that one may encounter as they move through life. So, moral of the story is, do yourself a favor and check out both of these albums because they are both that good.