At the pace in which music is released, thanks to modern streaming services, it’s no wonder we’ve all grown accustomed (and arguably spoiled) to receiving a new album or collection of music from our favorite artists approximately every two years. While artists such as Taylor Swift, Prince and Ariana Grande have all joined the elite ranks of musicians who have released more than a single album in a one-year span, we have to admit that sometimes the best bodies of work come from those who wait.
While we’ve received outstanding releases back to back and have been regimented to the two-year cycle of album release, album support tour, write and record new music, album release, sometimes two years just isn’t enough time to perfect a record. We’ve rounded up 11 essential albums that came nearly three years or more after a previous release and were well worth the wait we had to endure to hear them.
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All Time Low – Future Hearts
Don’t Panic marked All Time Low’s return to Hopeless Records in 2012 following a brief one-record stint at Interscope. Keeping the momentum of change going, the band worked with producer John Feldmann after two albums with Mike Green. The result was Future Hearts, an expansive work that highlighted their revered pop-punk roots and proved they still got it a decade into their career.
The All-American Rejects – Move Along
The All-American Rejects had quite a strong start with their 2002 self-titled debut, which made the pressure to avoid a sophomore slump all the more real. The alt act successfully avoided it with Move Along, a catchy-as-hell record that gave the scene long-standing favorites such as the title track, “Dirty Little Secret” and “It Ends Tonight.”
Fall Out Boy – Save Rock And Roll
It was a dark time for Fall Out Boy fans when the band initiated a break in 2009 following the rigorous touring of 2008’s polarizing Folie À Deux. The scene favorites returned with 2013’s Save Rock And Roll, delivering a new-level take on their unique blend of pop rock, which was later used as the perfect backdrop for their epic music video-based film, The Young Blood Chronicles.
Good Charlotte – Youth Authority
Pop-punk mainstays Good Charlotte embarked on somewhat of a departure with the dance-pop-tinged 2007 release Good Morning Revival. The follow-up, 2010’s Cardiology, worked more of their origin into the mix, but it was 2016’s Youth Authority that really nailed it. The latter record, which came following a four-year hiatus, was exactly the catchy and brutally honest commentary fans expected.
Kesha – Rainbow
Kesha’s highly publicized legal battle with producer Dr. Luke stalled a follow-up to 2012’s Warrior until the release of the goosebump-inducing “Praying” in July 2017. The singer dropped her moniker’s dollar sign, and with it went the all-encompassing party-pop persona, making way for the genre-bending Rainbow. Embracing rock and more with guest backing from Eagles Of Death Metal, among others, the singer still maintained the type of fiery, tongue-in-cheek lyrics that catapulted her to success in the first place.
LIGHTS – Skin&Earth
Constructing an entire comic book series and concept album is bound to take some time, but it was time well spent for LIGHTS after 2014’s Little Machines. The follow-up, Skin&Earth, is centered on Enaia Jin venturing through a post-apocalyptic word both on paper (written and illustrated by LIGHTS) and through alt-pop jams for one of the singer’s most impressive works to date.
My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys
The Black Parade is quintessential MCR: As one of the most iconic eras of the band’s career, it’s a tough act to follow. They built anticipation over four years before delivering their fourth and final LP that took fans on a journey, chronicling the post-apocalyptic gang the Killjoys against a soundtrack of wild guitars and percolating synthesizers.
Panic! At The Disco – Death Of A Bachelor
Panic! At The Disco have mastered the art of building upon the successes of their previous albums, with each one seemingly better than the last. The Grammy-nominated fifth record, Death Of A Bachelor, was the first released with only Brendon Urie listed as an official member, giving way to a jazzy alternative sound that expertly meshed with the singer’s powerhouse vocals.
Paramore – Paramore
Co-founders Josh and Zac Farro left Paramore following the group’s 2009 release, Brand New Eyes, making the 2013 self-titled LP the first without the brothers. The change didn’t shake the band, however, as they created (alongside producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen) an impressive, genre-melding record that incorporates the unexpected (hello, gospel choir) while still staying true to their trademark alt-rock sound.
Say Anything – In Defense Of The Genre
Say Anything went all in when they followed up the scene staple …Is A Real Boy by delivering the epic 27-track In Defense Of The Genre. The record is packed with guest vocalists (Hayley Williams, Gerard Way, Adam Lazzara and Matt Skiba, among many others) supporting Max Bemis’ emotion-fueled performances across a vast array of new sounds, ranging from an upbeat show tune to synth-tinged beats.
5 Seconds Of Summer – Youngblood
After finding massive commercial success with their debut self-titled album in 2014 and their sophomore LP, Sounds Good Feels Good, in 2015, it was obvious that the 5SOS fandom craved more from the four-piece. Along with their new single “Want You Back” in February 2018, the group announced their highly anticipated third studio album, Youngblood, set to release in June 2018. In addition to the arrival of their new body of work, the band also released On The Record: 5 Seconds Of Summer – Youngblood, a short documentary through Apple Music detailing their creative process and their return. Youngblood ultimately changed the group’s sound for the better and debuted at No. 1 across multiple charts after its release.
This 11 Essentials originally appeared in issue 360 featuring cover stars 5 Seconds Of Summer.