First off, happy new year everyone! I hope you had a fun, but safe new year and I wish you all the best in 2017.
As a way to kickstart my blog, I thought I would begin with a string of posts about my hobbies and interests as a way to allow any readers to get to know me. My first post is all about my taste in music, which has been subject to some scrutiny, but it is what it is. I do acknowledge that my taste can seem a bit chaotic; leaping from genre to genre, but I love that quality and I think that’s what makes me stand out.
So, in no particular order, here is an inconclusive list of my favourite albums, at the moment. My music taste, in all it’s chaos, usually fluctuates quite drastically and quite often. There will be some explicit language used, so be warned. I don’t own any of the below photos, all the copyrights are respected.
1. Live Through This – Hole
Left: ‘Live Through This’ Album Cover; Right: Photo of Hole
Undoubtably one of the best albums I’ve ever listened to. I am obsessed with Hole and Courtney Love. Ever since I first listened to this album in early 2013, I knew it would be a new favourite. Little did I know that Hole and Courtney Love would be some of my all time favourite artists.
For me, this album just embodies the beginning of female non-conformity in society. I just love the grit and the power in every song. There are a wide range of themes covered in this album, including motherhood in songs such as, ‘I Think That I Would Die,’ and drugs, which is a strong theme running throughout. What can I say? I love a strong, female musician who doesn’t care what people think.
My favourite song, undoubtably, is the song, ‘Asking For It.’ The song is so powerful when looked at in the context of Love’s lyrics. She spoke about her inspiration for the song in a 1994 interview where she said, “We had just gotten off tour with Mudhoney, and I decided to stage-dive. I was wearing a dress and I didn’t realize what I was engendering in the audience. It was a huge audience and they were kind of going ape-shit. So I just dove off the stage, and suddenly, it was like my dress was being torn off of me, my underwear was being torn off of me, people were putting their fingers inside of me and grabbing my breasts really hard, screaming things in my ears like “pussy-whore-cunt”. When I got back onstage I was naked. I felt like Karen Finley. But the worst thing of all was that I saw a photograph of it later. Someone took a picture of me right when this was happening, and I had this big smile on my face like I was pretending it wasn’t happening. So later I wrote a song called “Asking For It” based on the whole experience. I can’t compare it to rape because it’s not the same. But in a way it was. I was raped by an audience, figuratively, literally, and yet, was I asking for it?”
Anyone who is interested in the 90’s grunge scene, like me, which includes bands/artists such as Nirvana, Babes In Toyland and Sonic Youth, you’ll love Hole!
2. Electra Heart – Marina and the Diamonds
Left: ‘Electra Heart’ Album Cover; Right: Marina Diamandis Tumblr Post
Marina is one of my favourite artists. In fact she might even be my favourite. I’ve seen her live in concert three times and I can’t wait to see what her next musical venture is.
Marina’s second album, the concept album, ‘Electra Heart,’ is probably her most successful album. The second track of the album, ‘Primadonna,’ was arguably the song that catapulted Marina into the fame she has today.
The whole concept behind the album is what draws me to this album. Marina’s idea of creating a fictional character that embodies her love-life is what makes this album so interesting.
From the upbeat, provocative songs like, ‘Homewrecker’, ‘Primadonna’, ‘Sex Yeah,’ and ‘Power and Control’, to the emotional, borderline ballads such as, ‘Lies’, ‘Hypocrates’, ‘Teen Idle’ and ‘Valley of the Dolls,’ this album really does craft an image of Electra Heart’s experiences in love; the ups and downs; the happy and sad.
This album will forever hold a place in my heart as it got me through a lot of my years of teenage angst. I think this is an album everyone can relate to in little or large ways and I would recommend it to literally everyone. If you haven’t listened to it, give it a go. I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as I do.
3. Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette
Left: ‘Jagged Little Pill’ Album Cover; Right: Alanis Morrisette Twitter Post
Unequivocally one of the biggest names to come from the 90’s music scene is Alanis Morissette. Her third album, ‘Jagged Little Pill’ was such a success and made a lot of people’s 1995. I undoubtably believe that everyone has at least heard some of the singles from the album, such as, ‘Ironic,’ and, ‘You Oughta Know.’ Unfortunately, since I spent the only time I had in the 90’s as a baby, I didn’t discover Alanis until about 8 years ago, but I knew from the first time I heard ‘Ironic’ unplugged that I loved her music.
I think everyone will agree that, ‘Jagged Little Pill’ is as album we’ve all confided in; from feelings of happiness to sadness; love or heartbreak. It will always be a favourite for a lot of people, including myself.
The album and the most popular singles coming from it achieved Morissette seven Grammy awards and launched her an incredible career. Her eighth album, ‘Havoc and Bright Lights’ was released in 2012.
4. Yeezus – Kanye West
Left: ‘Yeezus’ Album Cover; Right: Still from Kanye West’s ‘Bound 2’ Music Video
Probably the most ‘marmite’ artist of this whole post, Kanye West, is known for his love/hate relationship with the public. Whilst the things he does in his own time have come under scrutiny with some members of the public, there is no doubt that he is one of the most talented musicians of today. Whilst many of his earlier albums like his critically acclaimed debut album, ‘The College Dropout,’ have proved to be wildly popular, it’s his seventh studio album, ‘Yeezus,’ that I call one of my favourite albums ever.
The two singles of the album, ‘Bound 2,’ and ‘Black Skinhead,’ are some of my favourite songs of his. I don’t listen to a lot of rap or hip-hop, but I do love Kanye. His whole ‘in your face’ attitude is what I like about him. Every song from, ‘Yeezus,’ is just as good as the last and is full of the attitude that makes Kanye who he is.
When it comes to the hip-hop music scene, Kanye is definitely up there with the greats.
5. Born To Die – Lana Del Rey
Left: ‘Born To Die’ Album Cover; Right : Lana Del Rey in H&M’s international Autumn/Winter 2012 campaign
Up there with my personal music gods is Lana Del Rey. Ever since I heard the single, “Video Games” sometime in 2012, I knew her music was for me. I remember buying, ‘Born To Die’ and then eventually played it from start to finish and I fell in love immediately. I was in shock that I had found music that appealed to me so much. From then on, I became a die-hard Lana fan; I bought the Ultraviolence CD/ Vinyl box set and I have the limited edition lithographs that came with the box set framed and hanging on a wall in my bedroom.
I think what appealed to me most about this album is that it is so flexible. There is a little bit of everything in this album. There are the ‘sadcore’ songs, ‘Video Games,’ ‘Million Dollar Man’ and, ‘Summertime Sadness’; there are the more upbeat songs, ‘National Anthem,’ ‘Diet Mountain Dew,’ and, ‘Lolita’; and then there are the all round perfect pop songs, like, ‘This Is What Makes Us Girls,’ and, ‘Radio.’
In my opinion, it is the juxtaposition of the themes in Lana’s songs in this album that makes her so popular. It’s likeable. It’s relatable. There’s something for everyone.
Her preceding albums, ‘Ultraviolence,’ and, ‘Honeymoon’ may not have been as popular as Born To Die, they are still nevertheless popular and, in my opinion, equally excellent albums. She may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but at least it can be said that there is nobody quite like her or makes music like she makes music. Lana will always be a favourite of mine, and I would advise anyone who hasn’t already listened to, ‘Born To Die,’ to do so. You won’t regret it.
6. Pure Heroine – Lorde
Left: ‘Pure Heroine’ Album Cover; Right: Lorde at the Grammy Awards 2014
What fascinates me most about Lorde is her age. She has achieved so much for someone so young. I mean, she’s pretty much my age and she has a Grammy.
Lorde’s debut album, ‘Pure Heroine’ is nothing that I have ever seen (well, more like heard) before. The whole aesthetic and sound of the album is so extraordinary. Maybe the fact that the main theme of the album was growing up through your teen years is why I like the album so much. I could relate to it. I was still in secondary school when she released the album.
Lorde’s songs are dark, yet optimistic. They talk of the dystopian state of the world, but also of the little fascinations Lorde finds in life which make it worth living. She expresses her relationships and her memories so vividly, especially in songs like, ‘Ribs’ and, ‘A World Alone,’ which are my two favourites from the album.
In addition to Lorde’s insanely creative writing skills, her smooth, smoky voice is incomparable to anyone in the industry.
7. AIM – M.I.A
Left: ‘AIM’ Album Cover; Right: M.I.A at Stella McCartney’s Spring 2016 show
M.I.A’s music is somewhat new to me. The only music I’d previously heard of M.I.A’s was the song, ‘Jimmy,’ which I saw when I caught the music video on T.V. back in 2007. Then, a few years later, I saw her being interviewed on TV and heard, ‘Paper Planes,’ for the first time. I was only young then and my music taste was completely different. Nothing really stood out to me then.
But now, with the release of M.I.A’s fifth and supposed final studio album, ‘AIM,’ I have seen the error of my ways. As I have previously stated, I’m not that much of a hip-hop fan. I love the actual sound of the music, but I abhor the dire, dire lyrics in a lot of popular hip-hop songs. But with M.I.A, she has that hip-hop sound but with lyrics that not only move away from the superficial ‘lyrics’ of her genre, but she also writes politically fueled, gritty lyrics to empower people suffering in poverty or war. She expresses her anger towards a system that oppresses certain religions and ethnicities in a way that a younger generation can get on board with. Albeit she has gotten into trouble many times during her career, especially high-profile legal battles with the likes of NFL and football team PSG, but her message stays strong. If she sees injustice, she will make sure you can see it too, through her music. She shows this in the song, ‘Talk,’ where she clearly stated that she will talk and talk… well, until she pisses ‘them’ off.
My favourite songs off the album include the first track, ‘Borders.’ The only thing I love more than this song is its music video. First there are the powerful lyrics that are stripped so bare, then there are the powerful images in the video; the refugee crisis being shown so poignantly. Another one of my favourites is, ‘Visa’ which satirically conveys her themes relating to immigration, but also cleverly references every single one of her albums in this one song. GENIUS.
8. I’m Not Dead – P!nk
Left: ‘I’m Not Dead’ Album Cover; Right: P!nk
P!nk has been an artist I have loved all my life. I couldn’t even tell you the first time I heard her music. I grew up with her music and no matter how many new musicians and albums I’d discovered, nothing ever connected with me as much as this album.
What I do know is that when I was properly going through the track list of this album, I was young. Around ten years old. I was hearing these songs, like, ‘Stupid Girls’ where P!nk would call out some superficial celebrity and say well, why don’t you hear about girls dreaming of being a female president? Why is this ‘stupid girl’ stereotype so popular and viewed as good? Whilst society may have changed since I was ten, P!nk still made me and a lot of other people at the time have these questions too.
What I love about this album is that it is so pure. Every lyric has been crafted around P!nk’s experiences in life. The songs, ‘Conversations With My 13 Year Old Self,’ ‘Runaway,’ and, ‘I Have Seen The Rain’ are so spectacularly personal, that it’s inspiring to listen to. The teenage troubles of a young Alecia Moore are explored so poignantly in the songs, ‘Conversations With My 13 Year Old Self,’ and, ‘Runaway’ and it really gives the listeners an insight into P!nk’s world that goes beyond the glamour of a pop star. Finally, the hidden track, ‘I Have Seen The Rain’ which is a duet with her father, is a tale about her father’s time fighting in the Vietnam War. There is personal, then there is this song. P!nk says about how she and her father spent a day at the recording studio to show how hard musicians work and the song itself is so tragically amazing to listen to. Even if you’re not a P!nk fan, at least give this song a listen to.
9. Crybaby – Melanie Martinez
Left: ‘Crybaby’ Album Cover; Right: Melanie Martinez
Melanie’s music is relatively new to me. I was led to her music by a close friend of mine who showed me the song, ‘Dollhouse.’ I loved it from the first listen and I had to know who this was. I didn’t listen to the full Crybaby album for a few weeks later, but when I did I was shocked. I heard the first track, the title track, and loved it just as much as, ‘Dollhouse.’ Then I listened to the next track, ‘Sippy Cup,’ and I loved it just as much as the previous song. You can see where I’m going with this.
Every track is just as good as the last. You don’t get that very often.
Each track is so similar yet so unique to the others. They share the same themes in the lyrics but yet each song feels like a new story; a new attitude. This leads us onto the aesthetic side of Melanie’s music. Her success, in my opinion, is also down to the visuals she projects as well as her musical talent, which can be hard to do when you think about it. She is one of those rare people who literally lives the aesthetic and a stroll down her social media posts can prove that.
From the vocals, lyrics and general sound to the aesthetic, Melanie is undoubtably talented and an amazing artist.
10. Night Time, My Time – Sky Ferreira
Left: ‘Night Time, My Time’ Album Cover; Right: Sky Ferreira
Last but certainly not least is the debut album of synth-pop, indie rock artist, Sky Ferreira, titled, ‘Night Time, My Time.’
I first discovered Sky’s music about three years ago. I saw posts from people on social media who had similar music interests with me, talking about this singer, Sky Ferreira. So I thought, if they like her music, I probably will. And God I was right. This album is another one of those albums you’ve never quite heard anything like before, but you also know you are obsessed with it.
I’m drawn to the darkness in this album, both literally and metaphorically. The whole ‘night time’ aesthetic which connotes physical darkness, a sense of blindness in the dark, but also the implied shards of light that could be a sign of optimism; like stars in the vast blackness of the night.
The heavy, yet dull drum beats in the title track is dark and engaging, especially with Ferreira’s equally dark, raspy vocals. The sound is similar in the song, ‘Omanko.’ Then we have some of the highest moments in the album in terms of pure quality. The songs, ‘You’re Not The One,’ and, ‘Heavy Metal Heart’ are without a doubt the best, and my personal favourite, songs from the album. These songs really profile the more upbeat qualities of Sky’s music, which, I think, describes well the ambivalence Sky has towards the experiences she writes about in this album; the relationships, more specifically, men in general. She discussed this topic in the first track of the album, ‘Boys.’
Since hearing this album, I’ve gone back in Sky’s discography and found an EP called, ‘Ghost’ which was released before her debut album. In it are without a doubt some of my favourite songs of her’s. The song, ‘Everything Is Embarassing’ is by far my favourite song of Sky’s. Accompanying this song are the songs, ‘Red Lips’ and, ‘Lost In My Bedroom.’ All of these songs are, in my opinion, Sky’s best songs. In this EP, a younger Sky dabbles with a much more raw sound in songs such as the title track, ‘Ghost,’ and also, ‘Sad Dream,’ which consists of her strong vocals and some relaxed guitar melodies in the background.
Sky is now one of my favourite artists and this list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of her work.
And that just about completes my list. I hope you enjoyed reading my post and I will probably do a follow-up to this post with another list in a few months time to document more of my favourite albums.
Thanks for reading!