Courtney Gavitt, Associate Digital Editor
Asking someone for their favorite album is basically a crime. I have favorite albums by artists and favorite albums by genre, but choosing one overall favorite feels impossible. If I absolutely have to choose, I’d go with “This Is How The Wind Shifts” by Silverstein. It’s definitely for the edgier crowd, but it’s probably the most artistic and well-thought-out album I’ve ever heard. It’s a concept album told in two parts: The first seven songs tell a story of what happened, and the next seven tell an alternate ending about what could have happened. Even cooler, each pair of songs have matching song titles that complete a phrase. The first song on the album is called “Stand Amid The Roar” and the eighth is “In a Place of Solace.”
My favorite song pair is “Massachusetts” and “California.” The first song tells the story of a girl who wants to run away from an abusive relationship and go to California. The latter tells what would have happened had she actually run away and made it there.
The titular tracks “This Is How” and “The Wind Shifts” are probably the coolest. Both sound similar, and if you play them to overlap each other, they make one complete song; the lyrics in each individual song combine to make full lines.
“This Is How The Wind Shifts” is the most creative concept album I’ve ever listened to, and its originality is what sets it apart from other albums as my favorite.
Ashley Anglisano, Associate News Editor
With somewhat of a spooky feel and creepy choruses, “Kids See Ghosts” perfectly combines the often-strange styles Kanye West and Kid Cudi are known for. Released in mid-2018, this album reveals West’s and Cudi’s journey with depression and other mental illnesses, as well as confessions and later hopeful verses about the future.
“4th Dimension” turns Louis Prima’s “What Will Santa Claus Say” into something much more eerie, and West is even able to incorporate some sort of weird cackling in the middle. I would pin this track as my favorite because of the way Ye was able to bring back some of his older rap styles on top of funk choruses, and some verses are just straight up funny (like when he…”was lost”).
The album turns to something much lighter with “Reborn,” where Cudi describes coming full circle and his attempts to “move forward.” West shares his experiences as well, including mentioning his bipolar tendencies and times he was called insane and felt ashamed. This relatively wholesome track brings light to mental health issues and their individual journeys to recovery.
Concluding the album in “Cudi Montage,” Cudi displays his vulnerability as he pledges to keep moving forward on his road to recovery. Ye joins in about halfway through the song and raps about gun violence and mass incarceration.
This album is at the top of my list for its geniously crafted beats and making generally far-out-there messages, noises and lyrics just work so well, which isn’t that what Ye does best?
Alex Houdeshell, Managing Editor
“Lover” by Taylor Swift is without a doubt my favorite album. Taylor Swift has always been my favorite artist, something I take pride in. I can measure my life in Taylor Swift albums and each one of her songs can send me back to a certain place and time. Choosing just one album may be reductive, given that they all slap, but “Lover” is the first album I really explored as an album, not just as a collection of really great songs. “Reputation” was somewhat of a disappointment, and so when I heard she was releasing a new album, I was obviously excited, but nervous that Taylor and I would continue to grow apart. I couldn’t have been more wrong. “Lover” did take a couple run throughs to grow on me, but grow on me it did. From upbeat tracks like “I Think He Knows” and “Paper Rings” to soft soliloquies like “Soon You’ll Get Better” and “It’s Nice to Have a Friend,” this album I think really shows the softer side of Taylor Swift that has always been optimistic and romantic, but became overshadowed by drama and hate. Her country-pop style may have traded in its last pair of cowgirl boots and emerged on the other side as a full practicing member of straight pop, but the sounds and beats of this album are so incredible that it’s not worth complaining about.
This album has been my anthem since it was released, and if anybody has anything to say about it, haters gonna hate.
Kim Nguyen, Digital Editor
My absolute least favorite class was calculus my second year (Shoutout Alex I actually made a parody of Taylor Swizzle’s song “Out of the Woods” for my high school calc class). One album stands out in my mind as the album that made me feel like a boss ass b*tch for finally getting an answer right on WebAssign while still continuing to be an album I’ll listen to while walking around campus (and it’s been almost three years!).
Kehlani, props to you for creating “SweetSexySavage,” specifically the Deluxe version. “Intro” sets the mood as an album of someone who is powerful, yet still trying to navigate all aspects of life, whether it be external or internal struggles, celebrations and losses. One of my personal favorites is “Undercover” because of the instrumental riff at the beginning. I always catch myself taking a pause to let those first 10 seconds wash over me.
We all know “In My Feelings” by Drake. Yeah whatever, go listen to “In My Feelings” by Kehlani. I’m looking at you Kiki and KB because you’re going to unquestionably love this song. The song is perfectly angsty, slightly girly but tells the story of someone who is trying to not think about a person they had a relationship with. Basically, me trying to not think about a calculus exam that I was going to have in a few hours. How much more in my feelings could I possibly get?
Bonus: Since apparently it’s cuffing season, add “Distraction” to your make-out playlist and thank me later.
Melissa Scrivani, Associate Life Editor
Picking a favorite album of all time is a really hard thing to do. Like Courtney, I have too many favorite artists and too many favorite genres. If I need to pick just one, “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” by Kendrick Lamar is definitely one of the first albums that comes to mind when I think about my favorites. It was one of the first albums I ever listened to straight through and I was amazed by Kendrick’s storytelling. By the end of the album, I felt like I knew him personally. I’ve never heard a rapper tell stories through their lyrics the way he does, and it’s something special. Family, faith, crime, love, his childhood: He shares it all. The versatile beats, the narrative, Lamar’s illustrations of society — it’s a masterpiece. It’s an album you can put on at a party, in the car or anywhere else.
The entire album is great, but my personal favorites are “The Recipe” and “Poetic Justice.” Also, the album broke records as the longest-running hip-hop album on the Billboard 200 after spending 358 weeks on the charts.
Danielle Macuil, Associate Managing Editor
Like Melissa and Courtney, I found this decision nearly impossible to make. The easiest route instead is to state my favorite album of recent times, which may rightfully constitute one of my favorite albums of all time.
My first listen to “A Moment Apart” by Odesza left me fairly disappointed, to say the least. I love their songs “Sun Models” and “Say My Name,” so I was excited to hear their new releases. To be fair, I never gave “A Moment Apart” the treatment it deserved by listening to it all the way through from start to finish. It’s hard to sit through some albums for the first time, but that’s how artists tell their stories and often they need to be listened to in chronological order. It wasn’t until my friend played “A Moment Apart” from start to finish for me that I realized how much it made me feel. “Intro,” the first song lasting a little over a minute and consisting of dialogue smoothly transpires into “A Moment Apart,” which is the perfect beginning to such an intricate composure of music.
Over the summer I had the opportunity to see Odesza perform in concert. Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, the EDM duo, are accompanied by their incredible drumline who never fail to perform in perfect sync. Despite being dialogue, I listen to “Intro” regularly. Among other songs I love are “Higher Ground,” “Line of Sight” and “Boy.” Honestly, I almost just started listing every song so, in summation, I love the entire album.
While my music preferences change weekly, monthly and yearly, “A Moment Apart” has consistently been among my most played music for the past few months. Some of my other favorite albums demonstrate my unpredictable music taste: “Pure Heroine” (Lorde), “808s and Heartbreak” (Kanye), “Graduation” (Kanye), “Beerbongs & Bentleys” (Post Malone), “American Teen” (Khalid) and I’d be disappointing 9th grade me if I didn’t also admit I used to jam hard to “2014 Forest Hills Drive” (J Cole, and a very honest confession).
Anna Zarra Aldrich, Editor-in-Chief
“Hamilton” by the lyrical genius Lin Manuel Miranda is a work of art. Aside from being a groundbreaking show that reinvigorated Broadway, the songs are amazing on their own. The lyrics are clever while also teaching the listener about history in the coolest way possible. The rhymes never feel cliche or forced and the vocabulary is sophisticated (this is absolutely the English major in me coming out, but it’s a valid point). The soundtrack has amazing range going from hype battle songs like “Yorktown,” to fun bops like “What Did I Miss,” to heart-wrenching ballads like “Burn.” The words and score mesh perfectly to evoke emotion and enthusiasm in the listener that make it impossible to not listen to the album on repeat for hours (or days) and soon find yourself singing along to every word and tripping over Lafayette’s raps. It’s hard to pick a favorite song but “Non-Stop” always gets my energy up and motivate me to write like I’m running out of time.
Andrew Morrison, Sports Editor
The only correct answer to this question is “Acid Rap” by Chance the Rapper. The lyricism, the production, the features, the singing that’s kinda good and kinda terrible at the same time; it’s quite simply a masterpiece. I know it’s the most basic song on the mixtape, but “Cocoa Butter Kisses” is perhaps the greatest rap song of all time. “Paranoia” makes me cry, “Juice” makes me smile, “Favorite Song” makes me laugh — it has a song for every emotion.
Although it has its slower, more poignant moments, “Acid Rap” is mostly a fun, chaotic, unique rollercoaster through Chance’s, er, enhanced mental state. Its lyrical acrobatics create high replay value and a rewarding listening experience once you finally master the words. And when Chance does slow the tempo and get in his feels, you’ll just want to give him a hug.
Yes, “The Big Day” was awful, but we can celebrate a simpler time when Chano made quality music. I mean, when he raps on “Smoke Again,” “Lean all on the square, that’s a [bleep] rhombus,” it’s absolute poetry. Honorable mention to Billie Eilish’s “when we all fall asleep, where do we go?”, but it hasn’t aged quite long enough for me to give it the crown. “Acid Rap” is king.
Gabriella DeBenedictis, News Editor
I originally wasn’t going to participate in this because my answer is a Broadway show, and I figured no one wanted to read about that in a roundtable called “favorite album.” But ultimately, I decided I wanted to shout out the soundtrack of the musical “Come From Away” for being one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard.
“Come From Away” is about a small Canadian town that took in thousands of travelers who were stranded after airports throughout the country closed on 9/11. The soundtrack features a combination of traditional Broadway-style songs and more unique, dialogue-heavy songs. It begins with “Welcome to the Rock,” which sets the scene of the musical and introduces many of the characters. Some other highlights are “I Am Here,” sung by a mother who hasn’t heard from her son, a New York City firefighter; and “Me and the Sky,” sung by American Airlines’ first female pilot. In fact, the musical probably has more singing than speaking in it.
When my Spotify Wrapped came out last year, it said I had listened to the “Come From Away” soundtrack for 46 hours — almost two entire days. Though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend playing it that frequently, everyone should check it out at least once.