Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Top 5 recent albums

There's been a great number of albums I've fallen in love with over the last few years, so I thought I'd make a list of my top 5. These are the albums I've not only enjoyed blasting in my car and dancing like a freak to, but the ones that have meant the most to me during a difficult time.

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Brody Dalle - Diploid Love (2014)


Confession: I have a major girl crush on Brody Dalle. Mostly, I love her songs and her voice, but she's also just an all around badass. As I mentioned in a previous post, I adore all of her music, whether it's with The Distillers, Spinnerette or as a solo artist, but for now, I'm going to focus on her recent solo album Diploid Love. This album is an electro-punk rock manifesto that's catchy as hell and full of heart. Aesthetically, it feels both futuristic and like it was pulled from a time capsule planted in 1996. Lyrically, it moves from defiant to joyful to reflective and back and is always empowering. Also, it's the album I've listened to most over the last 2 years (according to my iTunes play count).

Favourite songs: I can honestly say every song has been my favourite at some point, but the singles (Rat Race, Don't Mess With Me, Meet The Foetus / Oh The Joy) are as good a place to start as any. Nothing makes me wanna get up and dance like the second half of Meet The Foetus / Oh The Joy. I could listen to those 2 minutes over and over all day and not get sick of it.

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Ghost - Meliora (2015)


Ghost is a Swedish metal band I discovered quite randomly in 2013, right before they released their major label debut Infestissumam. I was intrigued not only by their sound, but by their overall mystique, their sense of humour and their unholy ability to combine darkness with pop sensibilities. I've long been obsessed with this particular juxtaposition in music and Ghost are masters at it. They've managed to create a world all their own and it's one I thoroughly enjoy inhabiting (I've seen them live 5 times now). While I love all 3 of their albums, Meliora is my favourite thus far. It's the perfect combination of the 2 that came before it and is near flawless in its execution.

FS: Once again, every song has been my favourite at some point, but From The Pinnacle To The Pit hits me the hardest (more specifically, the second half of From The Pinnacle To The Pit, when the song shifts and a new chorus comes out of nowhere and takes my breath away - I enjoy this moment now as much as when I first heard it.) Also, what other modern metal band has released a song like He Is? That's why Ghost is Ghost and not just another flash in the pan or gimmick.

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Marina And The Diamonds - Froot (2015)


So, this is my favourite pop album this decade. No big deal.

Honestly, I've always enjoyed pop for what it is, but it's rare that a pop album becomes one of my Favourite Albums. To be fair, though, this isn't strictly pop music. It's alternative, electronic, pop, rock and singer-songwriter all in one, illuminated by Marina's gorgeous voice. The songs here are well written and chock full of catchy hooks, so much so that it feels effortless. Every song is single-worthy and every song's melody is distinct, but still undeniably Marina-esque (a sign to me of a truly talented songwriter). Lyrically, she covers a wide range of topics, from depression to love to murder and war, all without sacrificing her charm, sincerity or wit. Basically, I love this album and can't wait to see what she does next.

FS - If I had to choose, Blue is probably my favourite to sing along to and Forget is my favourite overall.

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Queens Of The Stone Age - ... Like Clockwork (2013)


I'm not sure where to begin with this one. This album has meant more to me than just about any other work of art, ever. If anyone reading this has never listened to Queens Of The Stone Age, I command you to. Stop reading this blog and go listen to Queens. All of their albums are phenomenal, but ... Like Clockwork holds a special place in my heart. It was written after Josh Homme died briefly on an operating room table during surgery and the depression he experienced afterwards. In his words, this album is about coming out of a black hole. In my words, it's powerful as fuck. Having discovered it during what happened to be the worst period in my own life, this album was nothing less than an epiphany to me. The way in which Josh was able to take so much darkness and transform it into something beautiful and hopeful is as good a testament as any as to what art has the potential to do (both for the artist and the listener). It may seem cheesy to love an album this much, but I don't care. I'm forever grateful for this masterpiece. (Also, everyone in Queens is amazing.)

FS - Every single song. Just go listen to it.

~

Tribulation - The Children Of The Night (2015)


Tribulation is another Swedish metal band I discovered quite randomly, this time in 2015. I've seen them live twice now (once as an opener for Ghost and once as a headliner) and they put on an amazing show. The Children Of The Night is a wonderfully dark, intricate album that takes me to another place completely - some Gothic cathedral in the middle of the night lit up only by candles. The music is as primal as it is romantic and feels almost primordial, like it's haunted by some long forgotten spirit chained to the ancient world. (Also, guitarist Jonathan Hulten, who drew their album cover, is a very talented artist. You can view some of his work here.)

FS - This album is like a painting in that, when I think about the album, I think of every song at once, because they all embody the same aesthetic and overall image so well. That being said, Strange Gateways Beckon is absolutely stunning, The Motherhood Of God haunts me and Cauda Pavonis is the best horror film theme song yet to be used in a horror film.