It’s the time of year for bloggers to do two things – help spread Christmas cheer and reflect on the past twelve months of living. I have graced my page with a series of festive film reviews, but have sorely neglected New Year’s charms. We begin again, embracing a fresh start to the next chapter. But before I go, I wanted to share a little part of my musical world with you. In light of this, I’m sat on my desk with a necessary Yorkshire tea this noon, conjuring a list of favourite albums. The criteria for these picks is that I must have listened to them continuously throughout 2015 without feeling annoyed if they pop up on Shuffle. I tend to know if a certain artist or their work will stick with me for longer periods, so today I’ll do just that… Throw them at you like a soggy noodle, hoping they’d stick.
Let’s start this jamboree off with a chilled, electronic vibe, shall we? My first choice is Purity Ring’s “Another Eternity”, which was released back in February. Upon closer inspection of their Wikipedia page, it has become evident to me the Canadian duo is classified as “witch house”. Admittedly, I was blissfully unaware of that genre until ten minutes ago, so here we are, living and learning. In all honesty, the word combination seems fitting enough, so I’ll roll with it instead of attempting a better stylistic explanation! Megan James’s high, smooth vocals are complimented through Corin Roddick’s rhythmic, industrial mixing. If a singer/songwriter clashed with a mellow, new age club, their baby would result in this band.
Twenty One Pilots is perhaps my favourite rapping duo of all time and space. Much like Purity Ring, there’s one vocalist – Tyler Joseph, and a trusty drummer – Josh Dun. What’s so amazing about their album “Blurryface”, which received a summer release in May, are the tracks’ lyrics. Blunt honesty and fast tempos snap at you like a harsh, winter blizzard. The piece is a mixture between hip-hop, rock and house music, which ticks all the right boxes for me as an avid sound experimenter. Easily my best rap album of 2015. Sorry, Drake! You used to call me on my cell phone… But you stopped, so…
We’ve had a speedy, techno trip and now it’s time to tone everything down. My third pick in this list is Of Monsters & Men’s June baby – “Beneath the Skin”. It marks the perfect first step of a summer adventure, but is also versatile enough to be a winter party backdrop. They’re charmingly indie folk, with some streaks of pop influence buried here and there. Hauling all the way from Iceland is Nanna‘s rustic and throaty voice, which enchants you seemingly without effort. Ragnar is her co-singer, whose soft tones merge together in a perfect medley. This can be best heard in their single “Human”, one of my top tracks on the album.
Chances are you’ve either heard this next one personally or endured a friend’s constant rumble about it. I’m tossing Florence + The Machine’s “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” into the bowl. Their highly anticipated second album dropped in late May to an instantly overwhelming reception from critics. The best words to describe the album for me are sensual indie rock. Florence Welch‘s voice is famously spiritual, especially during live performances. “The Rolling Stone” magazine even went so far as to name the band one of the best live acts of all time. They manage to fulfil the perfect mixture of commercialism and uniqueness, creating timeless records in the process.
This band has been on my all of my playlists since the dawn of 2011, when close to nobody knew their name. Nowadays, they’re a pillar in the underground community and recently-released album “Wiped Out!” proves that. The Neighbourhood choose black and white, they wear Chanel on top of extensive tattoos and define the word extravagance in the most classic sense. If Hollywood’s Golden Age got drunk on whiskey and clashed with the twenty-first century, this is what their bang would sound like. Slow instrumentals, grinding together with Jesse Rutherford’s stylishly reluctant voice, that’s what you get from “Wiped Out!”.
“Badlands” – American singer Halsey’s debut album came out on my birthday, which made for a perfect party soundtrack. I’ve been stuck on it ever since. It’s dark, sensual, provocative and pop, more than enough of the right ingredients I’d want in a playlist. It struck success with the sequel of “The Hunstman”, which features the track “Castle” – one of my absolute favourites. Halsey is that grunge throwback, the quirky artist, who’s young enough to stupidly experiment, but do it successfully.
The last pick I have of you from the 2015 season is Mumford & Sons’s “Wilder Mind”. Strings fill the air, a gentle drum bring us into a steady beat, traces of keyboard echo and all of this is topped by Marcus Mumford’s firm and raspy voice. What more could you ask for in an alternative indie jam session? The power of their lyrics seeps through the notes, making each song matter in its own right.
Well, here we go! That felt so nice and nostalgic, I remember the very first times I heard all of these albums. I’m more than certain they’ll remain by my side in the years to come, but 2015 will always mark a start. Hopefully you’ll like them and give some a listen. I promise it’ll be worth it.
Hope you had an amazing twelve-months. Let’s get ready for the next set!