When I’m getting to know someone, I need to know what music they listen to.
I believe that knowing what a person listens to can help you understand their way of thinking and their personality. And, if I’m completely honest, I love nerding out about music.
If you’re like me and want to know what makes me tick, I’ve dedicated this post to my five favorite albums of all time in no particular order. (Yes, this was EXTREMELY hard to narrow down! It’s like picking a favorite child.)
Because the Internet - Childish Gambino (2013)
The transition from Gambino’s first album to his sophomore album, Because the Internet, shows his artistry in the field of music. Donald Glover (who goes by Childish Gambino in the music industry) is a multi-talented man, but I admire his music the most. This album is truly unique because it combines many successful elements of various albums and influences. You can hear Kendrick Lamar in the lo-fi recorded bits, Kanye West in the production, and a fusion of rap and pop throughout the album. Although there are a couple songs I could’ve done without, I love the vibe and witty word-play that Gambino brings on with Because the Internet.
Check out: “I. Crawl”, “III. Telegraph Ave.”, “IV. Sweatpants”
Bon Iver, Bon Iver - Bon Iver (2011)
I’ve been in love with this band since their first album, For Emma, was released in 2009. I have an artist crush on Justin Vernon, the lead singer of Bon Iver and frontman of over 6 collaborative bands. His vision has always matched mine through my life and each album that was released would mirror the experience I was having in life. That being said, this self-titled album is my favorite of the many projects of Vernon. There was a drastic change from For Emma to this album, but I believe it was one for the better. Everything about this album is dreamy and melodic. There’s a rural, rustic vibe to it that makes me feel like I’m daydreaming during the summer. I listen to this album when I’m feeling down or uninspired. I recommend checking out all of Bon Iver’s discography, as well as Volcano Choir’s.
Check out: “Holocene”, “Michicant”, “Towers”
Sempiternal - Bring Me the Horizon (2013)
Okay, so I’d like to think that everyone in my age group went through a scene phase. Regardless, I definitely went through one during my first year of high school. Although that phase died out, I still enjoy hardcore music from time to time. One of the bands that I used to listen to, Bring Me the Horizon, changed their aesthetic from hardcore to a more electronic/rock sound. This album isn’t for everyone, which I understand, but I definitely think it’s worth listening to. BMTH talks about important topics, such as suicide, depression, and loneliness. Along with these topics that I believe a lot of people can relate to, the sound underwent a drastic transition from their old music. This album is catchy, produced perfectly, and like Bon Iver’s album, features a dream-like sound to it. The album after this one, That’s the Spirit, still has a similar sound but I feel like it’s too “pop-y” for me. I still recommend checking it out, but this one reigns over the rest for me.
Check out: “Sleepwalking”, “Can You Feel My Heart”, “Seen It All Before”
Blond - Frank Ocean (2016)
It’s hard for me to include newer albums on this list because I haven’t had much time to develop a critical opinion on it, but as soon as Frank Ocean came out of the cave he was hiding in for four years and released Blond, it became a top album for me. Ocean has an incredible way of story telling and, although I don’t understand everything he’s talking about on the album, he sucks you into his world. This album is experimental in its production, with voice altering and autotune, but it sounds beautiful. Ocean collaborated with many of my favorite artists for this release, so I’m not surprised I love it so much. It inspired me to create my senior thesis project, which you can find here on my website.
Check out: “Self Control”, “Skyline To”, “Nights”
Daisy - Brand New (2009)
This may be the most controversial album I have on this list (I was going to include Yeezus by Kanye West, which most people hate, but Daisy beats it out.) This is the most hated album out of all of Brand New’s discography, so much so that people will refuse to go see them live if they play anything from this album. However, it’s my favorite from Brand New. I’m a huge Brand New fan; I even have “Fight Off Your Demons” tattooed on my ribs, which is their mantra. Their lyrics are unlike any other band for me. Much like Frank Ocean, they have a way of describing things and telling a story that is different from others. When it comes to the sound, each Brand New album has a specific tone to it, but this one is loud and chaotic. It’s VERY emotional. This album was there for me when people weren’t, which is why it holds a special place in my heart.
Check out: “Daisy”, “You Stole”, “Noro”