*click album title to open the spotify link*
Narrated for You – Alec Benjamin
The voice of an angel and songs that tell ethereal, and often, devastatingly beautiful stories. I’ve been lucky enough to — literally — bump into Alec on Hollywood Blvd. I had just interviewed him a few months prior and recognized him on on the street. I approached him and we walked a bit, chatting. He’s a grounded guy with an old soul. I’ve been waiting for him to drop a full-length album for years and it did not disappoint. It includes a good number of songs he’s released over the years and some newer ones that are equally as powerful. Like I mentioned before, each of his songs tells a different account, and as a good story should, they pull you in both lyrically and melodically.
Kids in the Night – Weathers
There’s nothing I’ve been so smitten with as songs that take me back to cities I’ve loved. This album does just that. It has me dreaming of sitting in the passenger’s seat of a newly refurbished 1960 Porsche convertible touring the Southern California coast. In my opinion, every single track is a work of alt-rock art; atmospheric 80s nostalgia at its finest (see the appropriately titled “1983”). It’s frustrating to me that it was slept on by both radios and critics.
Pray for the Wicked – Panic! at the Disco
These past few years have been the Panic renaissance. As much as I love the older stuff, ever since 2013’s Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!, things have been, albeit a bit more mainstream, absolutely fantastic. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every song on every album. Not only has Brendon’s voice improved immensely over the years, but I’d also go as far as to say he’s one of the best vocalists of our generation.
YOUNG&DANGEROUS – The Struts
I fell in love with The Struts, what seems like, many moons ago. They had just released their debut single “Could Have Been Me” and were working on their first album. I pre-ordered the signed copy from their website and spun it on repeat for weeks. They dropped their sophomore album back in October, and it undeniably lives up to its predecessor. Clearly influenced by the likes of Queen and Def Leppard; vocalist Luke Spiller’s range allows for infinite possibilities song-wise. Unfortunately, the band remains vastly underrated despite being endorsed by rock big shots like Metallica, Foo Fighters, and Guns ‘n’ Roses.
Voicenotes – Charlie Puth
I’m an absolute sucker for Charlie Puth’s voice. I could listen to him for hours upon hours. His debut album, Nine Track Mind, was one of my top played albums of 2016, and dare I say it, this one is even better. Even though he’s considered to be incredibly mainstream and his lyrics can be generic, his songwriting skills are still undeniable. Plus, he absolutely knows his shit. He’s one of my favourite Top 40 artists and I’m really excited to see what he creates in the future.
Youngblood – 5 Seconds of Summer
By far the best album 5SOS has ever produced. The titular track may have been overplayed in shopping malls since its release, but it’s one of those songs that when you hear it again in a few months you’ll love it just the same as the first time. Not only has their sound evolved over the last few albums, but it’s evident they’ve grown as songwriters. Moving on from sappy and generic (and catchy!) love songs that could have pigeonholed them in the boy band category; they’ve created an edgier pop-rock sound with more mature lyrics. I love finding new wave infused gems on these kinds of albums, and “Talk Fast” is no exception; it could have just as easily been recorded by The Bangles or Pet Shop Boys.
Blue Madonna – Børns
Following up his last album was a major feat, but somehow he made the new one even better. Børns is one of my go-to artists for writing inspiration, especially if I’m working on something within the realms of horror and fantasy. His voice gives me chills, and a perfect example of that is “I Don’t Want U Back” which is equally as haunting as it is heartbreaking. I was lucky enough to catch him on tour promoting this album and it was almost like a religious experience; seeing this somewhat androgynous man up on stage swaying back and forth while serenading an audience full of admirers.
Make Your Bed – King Princess
There aren’t many albums — or in this case, EPs — where you can feel the artist’s confidence through their lyrics without it coming off as arrogant. Her song “Upper West Side” gives me visions of being dressed as Holly Golightly and decorating my very own brownstone in New York City. The dream. But that’s not even the best on the album. In fact, out of 5, it doesn’t even crack my top 3. My favourite song is “Holy”, which is the epitome of the confidence I referred to earlier. It’s both haunting and divine. Plus, she’s adored by Harry Styles, and I trust Harry Styles with my life.