One More Chapter
A twenty two year-old's view on life, death,
and Taylor Swift conspiracy theories
and Taylor Swift conspiracy theories
Welcome to my third annual "Album of the Year" blog post.
First off, I'm sorry to those who enjoy reading my blog (it is very possible I'm speaking to no one here) for not having posted at all this year. I thought several times about writing a post, even started writing, then lost my inspiration. Not sure why, it's just what happened.
So, this is my first post of 2018 - just in time for the new year! (I wrote this line in 2018, not realizing it would actually be the first post of 2019).
This year, my list of the top albums will be done differently, listing my selection by genre rather than just a top ten list. I think it will help ensure a more varied list, help you find new music, and allow me to put more of what I want into the list. So...here we go:
Pop: bloom // troye sivan
In my opinion, this was the year of pop music. So many albums have come out this year that have really blown me away, presenting sophistication in writing, production, and vocals while also just bringing us straight jams.
With "Bloom," Sivan lets you know what you're in for right off the bat. In the album's first track, "Seventeen," Sivan sings, I went out looking for love when I was seventeen / Maybe a little too young, but it was real to me. This album is a classic coming-of-age story that shows us how Sivan has grown up since he first hit the spotlight via YouTube back in 2013.
The album has everything you'd want from a pop album in 2018. Its upbeat tracks are perfect for a night of dancing with their strong beats and feathery vocals, but these classic pop tunes are interspersed with just the right number of slow ballads you can cry to in the car. Ballads like "The Good Side" and "Postcard."
This album's sound is delicate but confident and full of a young energy you can't help but connect with.
Sivan shows his vulnerable side in songs like "Bloom" and "My, My, My," as he loses his virginity, experiences the ups and downs of relationships, and begins to take ownership of his sexuality. He takes us with him through one of the most intimate and awkward stages of a person's life, and he seriously nails it. It's honest, realistic, but musically fantastic
It's a real badass album with a lot to unpack. I hope you take some time to explore it.
OTHER POP ALBUMS I LOVED THIS YEAR:
The Pains of Growing by Allesia Cara
Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe
Isolation by Kali Uchis
Indie Rock/folk: Free Yourself Up // lake Street Dive
I can't not put Lake Street Dive on here. I mean, come on. Racheal Price is one of the greatest voices of our generation. Her deep bluesy sound can be sharp and poppy or tender and vulnerable, but is always a powerhouse. There's no denying that this girl's got some pipes.
The song that hooked me on the band's 2018 album was "I Can Change." A slow and heartbreaking ballad that is just vague enough to connect with any listener.
But fear not, not all the songs are tearjerkers. "Good Kisser" is everything that you would expect from LSD. It's fun and fresh and just clever enough. This may be one of my favorite albums to have come out this year.
If you're looking for a firecracker album that intertwines folk and blues sounds with a peppering of pop, you've found it here. It's the perfect length and great for a summer road trip. I hope you enjoy it.
OTHER INDIE ROCK ALBUMS I LOVED THIS YEAR:
Staying at Tamara's by George Ezra
Nina Cried Power by Hozier (EP)
Politics of Living by Kodaline
Alternative: Ultraviolet // Kelly Moran
I was introduced to this album through NPR's All Songs Considered and I'm glad I was. It is entirely improvised by Moran. She sat at her prepared piano and let the music flow out of her in an unscripted and joyous way. The result is something truly unique and enjoyable: Ultraviolet.
The album, which came out this November, underwent a brief phase of editing and post-production after her improvised recording sessions to fine tune each song and smooth out any rough edges, but without altering that spontaneous feeling that comes from this script-less approach.
What results is avant-garde (and rather John Cage-esque) piano music that is anything but classic. Take a break from your usual musical selection and pop this into the cassette player. You won't regret it.
OTHER ALTERNATIVE ALBUMS I LOVED THIS YEAR:
Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt by Moby
This is My Dinner by Sun Kil Moon
Simulation Theory by Muse
Country: Golden Hour // kacey musgraves
I've long loved the way Kacey Musgraves plays with language and presents country songs that are rather nontraditional. I was a huge country fan in high school, but have since distanced quite a bit from the genre. These days, I listen almost exclusively to female country artists (for a variety of reasons), and very few at that.
But while a lot of country music it difficult for many people to connect with, I feel as though Kacey Musgraves is accessible to almost anyone. I have a hard time even classifying her as country with this new album. It has a feel more like that of a folk or indie album and, as its title suggests, is pure gold.
This album shows us that Kacey is as masterful with the pen as ever, but that there's a more sensitive side to her we have yet to see. In this album we see a stripped down version of the country singer in a way that stays with you after the first listen. Musgraves gets into your head with her smooth melodies and clever lyrics.
The first track, "Slow Burn," does well to set the scene of a girl growing up in a small town. It bears traditional tropes of country music with the sound of a modern folk singer. This seems to be the year of coming-of-age albums, because this record bears the mark of maturation and its beautiful. Definitely worth a listen.
OTHER COUNTRY ALBUMS I LOVED THIS YEAR:
Interstate Gospel by the Pistol Annies
Cry Pretty by Carrie Underwood
Rap/R&B: Invasion of privacy // Cardi b
Yes, I'm on the Cardi B bandwagon. I didn't think I would be but...damn, it's a great album. There's just no denying that Cardi knows how to please the masses. She writes songs that make you want to turn the volume all the way up.
"I Like It" is a down right jam. "Bartier Cardi" will make any woman feel like a badass. "Bodak Yellow" has become a classic.
The album also has a killer opener with "Get Up 10," a ballad-like rap about Cardi's life journey and how it projected her into the limelight as one of the most famous rappers in the world currently. It's an empowering song with a killer hook and the perfect way to kick off the record.
I'm not sure if Cardi will keep up this momentum, but it would have been simply wrong to not include her 2018 release on this list when it made such an impact on the year's music scene. If you haven't done so yet, listen to this album.
OTHER RAP ALBUMS I LOVED THIS YEAR:
Oxnard by Anderson .Paak
Room 25 by Noname
soundtracks/scores: A Star is born // lady gaga & bradley cooper
There's no way that this wouldn't be on the list. I may not be sure how I feel about all the Oscar buzz surrounding this movie, but the music is undeniably awesome. When Lady Gaga stepped out on that stage and began to sing "Shallows" I knew I'd be playing this soundtrack on repeat.
I've been a Gaga fan since day one. She is an under appreciated powerhouse and a true rock star in an age of subdued pop musicians. And she's doing more than most in Hollywood. Producing music, performing, acting - she's nonstop (*cough* Hamilton reference *cough*)
And Bradley Cooper...holy shit. Who knew? I certainly didn't. This man has got an incredible voice and he knows just how to use it. Like a modern day Johnny Cash, Cooper brings in a charcoal voice that's both country and rock to develop a soundtrack that any generation could feel drawn to.
OTHER SOUNDTRACKS I'VE LOVED THIS YEAR:
Black Panther Soundtrack by Various Artists
Hereditary Score by Colin Stetson
Crazy Rich Asians Soundtrack by Various Artists
Love, Simon Soundtrack by Various Artists
Bohemian Rhapsody Soundtrack by Queen
Annihilation Score by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow
So that's all for now, folks! I'll be back soon (hopefully).
Thank you for reading,
About This Blog:
I started this blog as a way to challenge myself to write more over the 2014 year, but it has blossomed into so much more than that. I use it to let people in on what's happening in my life, talk about things I find important and to spread the news about amazing people, places and art.