As we start to inch towards a new year — and a new decade, for that matter — it’s time to take a look back on what 2019 had to offer. It was a year full of stellar releases, countless festivals, and triumphant returns the world was anxiously anticipating. With so much excitement happening in the industry this year, it’s hard to narrow down our favorite moments. Ultimately, we were able to garner our top 10. In no particular order, below are some of our favorite moments happening from Ernie Ball artists in 2019…
1. The return of TOOL
Arguably one of the most highly anticipated returns of 2019, TOOL ushered in their fifth studio album this year with the title track “Fear Inoculum.” The 10-minute ballad left fans in a flurry of emotions upon release, unsure of the new direction but eagerly waiting for more. Both the album and lengthy track “7emptest” secured a GRAMMY nomination, and we’re almost certain the group will walk away with one of the golden gramophones — if not both.
Can’t get enough of TOOL? Listen to our podcast with bassist Justin Chancellor here.
2. Cage The Elephant releases Social Cues
This is Cage The Elephant’s world and we’re just living in it. Over the years, the band has consistently released hit after hit, being a firm staple within the alternative rock genre. Their previous record, Tell Me I’m Pretty, took home the GRAMMY for Best Rock Album in 2016 and the Kentucky natives are looking to defend their honor with their 2019 record, Social Cues.
3. Dookie celebrates 25 years
This year, Bay Area rockers Green Day celebrated 25 years of their studio debut release, Dookie, on Reprise Records. The 15-track record went on to sell 20 million copies worldwide and helped propel Green Day into commercial stardom. Dookie’s hit ballads including “When I Come Around” and “Welcome to Paradise” became teenage anthems across America, and helped set the stage for the new wave of punk music roaring through the nation.
4. Billie Eilish reimagines pop
If 2019 was the year of anything, it was the year of Billie Eilish. Los Angeles based sibling duo Billie and Finneas O’Connell have taken the globe by storm, racking hundreds of millions of streams before even releasing a proper record. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go finally arrived in late March and is still continuing to dominate the charts today. Eilish has broken all of the rules when it comes to being a traditional “pop star” — if anything, she’s showed us that there are no more rules. At just 17-years-old, her six GRAMMY nominations make her the youngest artist to achieve nominations in all of the Grammy Awards’ top four categories. Finneas didn’t fall far behind, tallying five nominations of his own.
5. Vampire Weekend release Father of the Bride After 6 Year Hiatus
The world was unsure about the future of Vampire Weekend. After three highly successful records, the New York natives went silent for several years. It had been six years since we heard any new material, but 2019 finally welcomed Father of the Bride. The new record nominated for Album Of The Year boasts melodies surrounding world peace and environmental justice, showing the trio’s evolution since releasing its self-titled debut over a decade ago.
6. Farewell, Warped Tour
It’s officially the end of an era. Van’s Warped Tour had been hosting its “punk rock summer camp” filled with sweaty mosh pits, angsty lyrics, and eclectic-colored for the past 25 years. The festival — which had been making cross-country treks with some of the most notable names in punk, metal, emo, hip-hop, and ska each summer — announced its 2019 shows would ultimately be their last.
Throughout the decades, we saw artists get their start on the Ernie Ball Battle of Bands stage, teenage garage bands turn into full-blown punk legends, and lifelong relationships form within the niche community the festival was able to create. As bands took to the stage in Mountain View, CA, we finally had to say goodbye to the festival that encapsulated our youth.
7. Enema Of State Turns 20
Southern California rockers blink-182 officially released their fast-paced, pop-punk driven record Enema of State 20 years ago. The album went on to sell 15 million copies worldwide and helped encapsulate the band’s reign as one of the most recognizable pop-punk outfits at the turn of the millennium.
The 1999 release had an extensive impact on contemporary pop-punk, reinventing the rules of the genre while also defying modern pop culture. Its autobiographical lyrics detailing adolescent frustration, relationships, and suburban parties became cult anthems for teenagers across the world. “Adam’s Song” shed light on mental health awareness, “What’s My Age Again?” celebrated immaturity, and “Going Away To College” made us face the unavoidable demise of growing up.
8. Hella Mega Tour shakes up rock
Rumors circulated for weeks around a tour compiled of pop-rock’s frontrunners, leaving fans following breadcrumbs and anxiously waiting for an official announcement. The announcement finally came and did it come with a bang. Not only did Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong announce the band’s upcoming record, Father Of All, but they unveiled the upcoming Hella Mega Tour — an arena tour alongside Fall Out Boy, Weezer, and The Interrupters.
The Hella Mega Tour will begin early next spring and run through late summer. Find full tour dates and further ticket info here.
9. Tom Delonge releases new music with Angels & Airwaves
After announcing his departure from blink-182 in 2015, the music industry wasn’t sure of the next time we’d see guitarist Tom DeLonge on stage shredding his signature riffs. Much to the surprise of many, DeLonge had been working on material during his time off — just not with blink. In late April we met “Rebel Girl,” the first track off Angels & Airwaves forthcoming record. Along with the track came the announcement of a 20-show Fall tour.
10. Rage Against The Machine Announces Coachella Headlining Slot
The Instagram account with the handle “rageagainstthemachine” sat firmly below ten followers for a long time. With no other promotion, a singular post on the account dropped like a bomb. Featuring Susana Hidalgo’s photography of the protests in Chile, the post provided nothing more than five tour dates: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and two in Indio — better known as the setting for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Less than 24 hours later, the account had skyrocketed to 100,000 followers, and Rage Against The Machine officially confirmed their return. It’s safe to say we’re already planning our trip to the desert.
What were some of your favorite moments in music from this year?