October feels like a long time ago, mostly just because of how much music-related stuff went down in November. We lost Leonard Cohen, who just put out an album that easily made this list. We lost Sharon Jones, a beloved, heroic late-bloomer who reminded us all what a live performance really meant. We elected a new president, to surprise and confusion. We got a new Tribe Called Quest album, something some people thought would never happen.
But despite all that, October really wasn’t that long ago! And there were a bunch of incredible records that came out that month and got lost in the political onslaught. So this space is reserved today for celebrating them, check out our picks below for the 25 best new releases that month.
25. Green Day, Revolution Radio
Green Day revealed their punk streak is alive and well when they burst into the unexpected — and unplanned — chant denouncing Trump at this year’s AMAs. It’s rare for a band to maintain a sense of rebellion when they’re already massive stars, but that didn’t stop the punk rock trio, who haven’t shied away from being political in the past (See: American Idiot). Similarly, Revolution Radio is a recommitment to the kind of riff-heavy, shouty punk that made this band beloved to an entire generation of angsty teens. This album and stunts like that AMAs chant, just might win them the hearts of the next generation to boot.
24. Tove Lo, Lady Wood
I could probably write 500 words strictly on the balls it took for Tove Lo to name her album Lady Wood and juxtapose it with a cover image of a crotch shot where she’s pulling down her pants — that’s the artwork equivalent of an unsolicited dick pic. Her subversion of gender roles and fluid sexuality is the driving force behind the Swedish songwriter’s second full-length album, Lady Wood. Tove Lo breaks the mold of female pop star sexualization by grasping firmly on the reigns of her own desires and galloping away into the wind on songs that play with irony, desire, and flat out f*cking over silky, synthy production kicked into high gear by her lucid, lascivious voice. Sure “Cool Girl” is a great banger, but if you dig in, you’ll find the slow-paced duet with Joe Janiak “Vibes” proves Tove Lo can write a great sex jam of any speed.
23. Kings Of Leon, WALLS
Aside from the co-sign from their superstar fan Taylor Swift, Kings Of Leon have been fighting an uphill battle for their new album WALLS. After a critical and commercial peak with 2008’s Only By The Night, one of my personal all-time favorite records, the band has faced a bit of a slump trying to get back to that mountaintop. Sure, the follow-up Come Around Sundown in 2010 technically charted better, but it didn’t have the same impact, and 2013’s Mechanical Bull did even worse. There’s plenty of factors at work here, dropping albums sales, the deescalation of rock as the most popular genre, a refocus on more diverse voices in music, but the primary force at work is that people only really like rock bands when they’re undiscovered, when they don’t have big names like Taylor Swift on their side. Most fans of Kings Of Leon consider Only By The Night to be the moment they started selling out, instead of the moment they perfected their version of moonlit-darkness howling rock jams. Anyway, if you like moonlit-darkness howling rock jams, this album is for you.