2008 was a huge year for rock ... and 2009 looks like it could be even bigger. So all this week, we're taking stock of the things guaranteed to rock this year. From the triumphant returns of some of the biggest bands on the planet to a handful of up-and-coming acts that we're expecting big things from in '09, we've got it all covered. This is Rock Week, on MTVNews.com.
Once upon a time, even the hugest bands on the planet were bands no one had ever heard of. They had yet to rock arenas or unite the globe or even ride on a tour bus with a working toilet, for that matter. They were just a bunch of kids with a single press photo (usually taken against a brick wall) and a whole lot of possibility. It didn't matter that the odds were stacked impossibly high against them. It was almost better that way.
These days, things are different. Thanks to the vast frontier of the Internet, practically every band has been heard by somebody, which makes the concept of them "rocketing to success" seem rather antiquated. And, perhaps dulled by nearly three decades of "Next Big Thing" articles, we tend to roll our eyes further back into our heads with each "can't miss" contender foisted on us by the music industry.
That said, please allow us to do the very same thing. Because, really, the Next Big Things have to come from somewhere, right? So while we're going to refrain from the hyperbole ("This band will change your life!"), we are going to go out on a limb and say that you'll be hearing a whole lot from these guys in 2009. From [artist id="510062"]Lil Wayne[/artist]-approved rock stars to much-buzzed blog acts to, um, barely pubescent head-bangers, these are our top picks for 2009's Rock Rookies.
(Check out our first two rookies, Kevin Rudolf and Chester French.)
[artist id="3098838"]Hey Monday[/artist]
Who: An effervescent Florida pop-punk act fronted by 19-year-old firecracker Cassadee Pope. Formed out of the ashes of a group called Blake, Hey Monday drew major-label attention and caught the ear of a certain A&R guy by the name of [artist id="1235716"]Pete Wentz[/artist], who brokered a deal between Columbia Records and his own Decaydance label. Their debut album, the hooky and melodramatic Hold on Tight, was released late last year. And, yes, they remind everyone of another fairly successful, female-fronted pop-punk band.
Getting Deep: Their debut single, "Homecoming," was co-written by the Academy Is ... heartthrob William Beckett, but Pope is no slouch when it comes to penning a tune or two. After all, she's had years of practice. "I wrote my first song when I was 7 or 8. It was about a flower," Pope laughed. "You know, about how they grow from seeds to flowers. It's kind of funny now, but I thought it was really deep back then."
On Pete and [artist id="1968732"]Paramore[/artist]: Ever since Wentz took them under his wing ("My aunt reads People and sees him in there. She's amazed I know him. But to me, he's just an awesome guy," Pope said), Hey Monday have had to deal with plenty of detractors who say they're nothing more than pretenders to Paramore's throne, an accusation Pope finds oddly complimentary: "It comes up in pretty much every interview we do and every night we play, but it doesn't bother me," she explained. "[Paramore frontwoman] Hayley [Williams] is amazing, and I look up to them. I think we're totally different bands, but I'd rather be compared to them than a lot of other people."
The Friday Night Boys
Who: Four power-pop party-starters from Fairfax, Virginia, who landed a gig on "TRL" before they even had a recording contract, thanks to a self-released EP and a massive MySpace presence. They impressed All Time Low frontman Alex Gaskarth, who took their demos to Fueled by Ramen, who inked the Boys to a deal. They've hit the road with various FBR bands and are currently working on their full-length debut with pop producer Eman Kiriakou, who's worked with [artist id="3080429"]David Archuleta[/artist], [artist id="2807016"]Jordin Sparks[/artist] and, uh, the [artist id="1254"]New Kids on the Block[/artist].
The Song Isn't Named After a Marginally Popular CBS Sitcom?: Like their name suggests, FNB live every day like it's Friday night, which sometimes leads to some rather, uh, interesting situations: "We have a song called 'How I Met Your Mother' that's about this one situation, where a girl called me over and I went into her house," frontman Andrew Goldstein laughed. "She's like, 'All right, you have to go in through the back door and come up to my bed,' and so I go, and I walk into the bedroom, I get into the bed, and I realize it's not the girl's bedroom, it's her mom's. ... I'm not in contact with the girl anymore, but I do talk to the mom."
A Day in the Life: It's kind of difficult to rage for 24 hours straight, but the guys in FNB are determined to try. All the time. Here's what a typical 24 hours looks like for them: "OK, first we kind of wake up and look around, confused as to where we are, and then we'll go to a bar and then try pathetically to get with a girl, and then not remember the rest of the night," Goldstein said. "And then [bassist] Robby [Dallas Reider] pi--es on the floor at some point. It's fun. And pathetic too. But I know that we can out-drink any band. I promise you that."
Check back for more Thursday, as Rock Week continues on MTVNews.com.