The albums I chose for this list are the albums that I find myself gravitating towards throughout 2021. I have different connections to these albums, but I find the mixture of them as a solid essence of where my music taste sits right now, and ultimately the records that bring me the most comfort.
#5: “Hadestown (Original Broadway Cast)”- Original Broadway Cast
- Yes, we are finally talking about our love for Broadway on this post. As a classical musician, who grew up loving musical theatre, I find myself attaching to the same musicals ever since I could remember. However, when my partner introduced me to the “Hadestown” soundtrack about a year ago- my life was changed. This record is a solid mixture of the quasi-approach to musical theatre music with the dramatics and extravagant accent to contrast with the influence of Jazz music. Musically speaking, it doesn’t sound as if the musical pit houses much more instrumentalists than a standard Jazz Combo, but mixing that with the vocalists and the storyline of “Hadestown” it is simply perfect.
#4: “Razzmatazz”- idkHOW
- If you haven’t listened to this Alternative-Pop record, for starters- you definitely should. This album is another example of a record that I can spin at any time and it automatically has be jamming out to it. idkHOW does a fantastic job of mixing a progressive and nostalgic aesthetic throughout this release. Additionally, their take on Alternative-Pop music is unique and innovative for the genre, which makes it exciting to listen to. I have become more attached to Alternative music recently, and this record is a big reason for that, The intricacies with the instrumental lines, the witty, powerful lyrical lines, all grouped together to create a catchy boppy experience is something that can’t not be liked. I also have found each time that I listen to this record, there is something new that I discover that I absolutely love, which keeps me going back.
#3: “Future Nostalgia”- Dua Lipa
- From my review of this back in 2020, it is not surprising that this record resonated with me; however, I didn’t expect it to stick with as it has. Any time I need music to act as “feel good” music, this is the record I often turn to. Also, if I am driving and I am tired with the music that is coming on my recommendations or release radar, and I’m not quite sure what to listen to: I often choose this record to fill the void. The album itself is so strong and intelligent as a pop album. The more that I listen to this record and experience it, the more I stand by the points I made in my initial review. The way that Dua mixes pop music with influences from the 80s creates this record that is hard to not enjoy. Everyone needs a “feel good” album, as I said, right now, this is mine.
#2: “Life in Your Glass World”- Citizen
- As this record was released in 2021, I had a feeling that I was going to have a strong connection to it as I had with previous Citizen releases, but this one was different. At the point when this album was released, I wasn’t impressed, personally, with the records that were being released in 2021. None of them really connected with me on the long term- until I heard this one. Once this album was released, I listened to it non-stop, practically, for weeks. It partnered with my number one album right now to remind me of that love for music that I knew would always be there. It also gave me that sense of progressive Pop Punk music that still felt like it did back in the genre’s prime. That was a big point for me because I found myself in a slump of not loving the new approach to the genre, but being a tad worn out of the older tunes. This record gave me both all in one.
#1: “No Good Left to Give” – Movements
- Is it surprising that there is a Movements album on this list? Not in the slightest, but the fact that it is NGLTG and not “Feel Something” will likely shock people. “Feel Something” will always hold a special place in my heart, but as this record came out, I felt as if it matched the evolution I was experiencing in my own life. Almost as if I was evolving with the music from Movements. As Movements music does for many, when I listen to this record, I feel as if I am transported to my place of zen. This is a place where I can relax, focus, and recenter. It also provides musical nuances that remind me why I love music as much as I do. This record was released when I needed that reminder. Not being to experience music live has also struck me more than I expected it would. With the overall jaded feeling I had at one point, this record is what I thank, for reconnecting me to the music I cherish.
I will say, it was somewhat difficult to put this list together because throughout the past year, with my divergence from music, I found myself listening to playlists more than albums (I know, very not on brand for me). However, these records helped me to stay connected and find my way back to the genres I love and discover new artists and musical styles that I never knew I would enjoy so much.
Thank you everyone for the support over the last 4 years. “What’s So Special About Music Anyways?” has always held a special place in my heart, and I cannot believe that it has been 4 years since this journey began. When this project started, I didn’t think anyone would read my reviews, but I decided to start this platform because I wanted to talk about the music and experiences that I loved. Since then, I have hosted guest reviews, participated in other guest reviews (outside WSSAMA?), previewed music before it was released (which is one of my dreams with this platform), and shared music experiences with many new and amazing people. None of this would’ve been possible without your support. Whether you liked, shared, retweeted, talked to me, bought merch, listened to my podcast, showed a friend- whatever it may be- “What’s So Special About Music Anyways?” is here because of you, so again, thank you.
As always, if you would like me to review your music, please contact me on here or on my social media @wssama_ on Twitter and Instagram. Here’s to the past 4 years and many more!
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