By: Gemma Mastroianni
In all honesty, I think I felt the most uninspired I have in awhile by new music this year. I had a difficult time compiling this list, hence why I’m going to let you all know right now that it’s in no particular order. This is simply a collection of the new albums I enjoyed the most this year and why. I wanted to do the typical “Top 20 albums of the year” sort of thing, but it just wasn’t sitting right with me, so here it is:
1.)Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino – Arctic Monkeys
The band took a really different approach for this one. What makes this a top album of the year is the new dark and psychedelic atmospheric sound they took on. This sounded extremely different from the rest of their albums, which was a huge risk to take considering their last album got them mainstream radio-play. Not only di they change their sound with the risk of the new fans not liking it, but they did it right.
2.) Black Panther – The Soundtrack
Personalized movie soundtracks are becoming increasingly popular. This soundtrack totally hit the nail on the head. Kendrick Lamar was a big part in production of the album, and I actually liked it a lot better than DAMN. Collaberations include SZA, Schoolboy Q, 2 Chainz, Travis Scott, and so much more. The 14 track soundtrack is up-beat, intense, and passionate, with a perfect flow.
3.) Astroworld – Travis Scott
This one took a bit longer to grow on me, but I’d say it’s the best out of Scott’s albums thus far. Some would say that this album is crap based off of Scotts lack of technicality within his style, but that’s biased in a sense. You need to go into this album listening to it with the understanding that THAT is his style. You can’t escape the constant “yeah” and “it’s lit!” So with that being said, this is one of his best albums thus far. It’s spacey and atmospheric, and it takes you somewhere else.
4.)Little Dark Age - MGMT
This one was worth the wait. As soon as you hit play, it feels like you’re sent straight back to the 80’s. Sound quality is turned back a knotch, but not in a way that’s compromising but rather just matching the era that the album is going for. Lyrics tend to be shocking and explicit, something like Ariel Pink would write- but it works. The whole album is very 80’s Psychedelic Pop.
5.) 7 – Beach House
Beach House did a great job of re-defining their sound through this album. They keep their shoegaze Indie sound their known for, while incorporating more of a dream pop sound.
6.)Marauder - Interpol
This was as more upbeat release in comparison to other Interpol albums, but they really hit the nail on the head with this one. They stay true to their moody rock roots, while still kicking it up a notch.
7.)Twin Fantasy – Car Seat Headrest
This re-working of his album from 2011 is a reflection of singer Will Toledo’s adolescence. It talks about drug experimentation and abuse, sexual identity, and a realm of emotions, giving every listener something to connect with. It’s not entirely different, stylistically speaking, than the prior album- I actually see it as more of a continuation. The interludes are great, production is on point, and its epic.
8.)Saturation III – Brockhampton
Part 3 of the Saturation album series is potentially one of the best. The collection of tracks is up-beat and intense. Although subject matter of psychological distress continues into this album, this isn’t something that brings weakness to the collection of albums, as just about every song on this album is strong. The highlight of the album is definitely SISTER/NATION due to the variation of tempo and vocal intensity.
9.) Stone Woman – Charlotte Day Wilson
Calm, cool, and collected is the effect this EP has on listener’s ears. It touches on some personal topics and includes elements of Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Psychedelica. Her vocal capabilities have been further demonstrated in other tracks, but her range utilized goes perfectly with the vibe of this EP
10.) Swimming – Mac Miller
This is one of the darker Miller albums. There are a few up-beat tracks such as “What’s the Use?” but most take a slower pace. The beats in this collection contain sounds of R&B, groove, and even a bit psychedelic, sometimes sounding similar to Tyler, the Creator. It features themes of grief, heartbreak, hopelessness, and vulnerability. There is definitely less rapping in comparison to his past albums, but he pulls it off. Rest in Peace, Mac.
11.) Be The Cowboy – Mitski
I love the emotional rawness of this album – the ups and the downs. The draw she has to her husband while also coping with feelings of loneliness and vulnerability. The instrumentals are exciting, big, they draw feeling.