Not just alive, but thriving -- that's the Aussie rockers' vibe on Underworld, their emotive hurricane of a fourth LP and first outside the major label ecosystem. Leading up to it, Tonight Alive lost a founding member, guitarist/co-songwriter Whakaio Taahi, and frontwoman Jenna McDougall had grappled with chronic illness -- mental and physical -- while striving to shake the crushing conventions often heaped upon teenage women entering the music biz. “If my body is a temple, why does it hurt like hell?” blasts McDougall, now 26, exercising her demons through an eye-of-the-storm chorus. "Temple" rocks like Riot!-era Paramore, swapping the misery for all of the business. -- C.P.
6. 5 Seconds of Summer, "Youngblood"
Imagine bursting onto the pop scene, as 5 Seconds of Summer did, with a daunting, unfairly catchy top 40 hit whose hook hinges on the words "American Apparel underwear." Two, three years later, it appears inevitable that'll go down as your song, the first track that's on the average person's mind when they hear your band's name. Four years later, on your third album, with a decidedly more grown-up sound no less, you manage to replace the "American Apparel underwear song." And you really replace it: not only is this new one the first that people think of, it blows the old one out of the water on the charts.
That's the story of "Youngblood," one of 2018's biggest rock songs. It opens unassumingly enough, with lonesome guitar strokes and Luke Hemmings' lovesick vocals lingering in the atmosphere like falling feathers. Then - boom - it's that irresistible beat, the bleacher-rattling rhythm, and shout-along chorus, the band members yelling in unison how badly they need it, need it, all of the time, regardless of what corner of the globe their flame is at in the given moment. You know what they're feeling, at least with the travel radius a bit closer. At least you know this chorus is sticking around. -- C.P.
5. Dominic Fike, "3 Nights"