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     My personal opinion, but if you haven’t listened to these albums before, you are doing something seriously wrong. If you want a moment in your feels, or feel like you need a quick pick-me-up, place one of these on shuffle, and you won’t skip a single song. These are in no particular order and don’t follow a certain genre, but they are all near and dear to my heart. 

1. Unorthodox Jukebox- Bruno Mars

     Bruno Mars is a favorite of mine… I promise it’s not just because he is from Hawai’i (just like me) and my aunty actually went to the same high school as him. I especially remember the thrill of experiencing him perform when I snuck onto the beach to catch a glimpse of a concert I didn’t pay for. I soaked in the bright lights and his stage presence and swagger. He is talented and a phenomenal songwriter, especially showcased through Unorthodox Jukebox. This album had me crying to If I Knew but then dancing and singing two minutes later to Locked Out of Heaven. I especially enjoyed his ad libs in Locked Out of Heaven, adding a certain personal flare and excitement to the song. Arguably, my top three songs from this album are the most gut-wrenching… I admit, I do love a good cry. While listening to When I Was Your Man, I hoped that any dude that ever wronged me would relate to those lyrics. 

Top 3 Songs: When I Was Your Man, Young Girls, If I Knew

 

2. ANTI- Rihanna

     You can never go wrong with something by Rihanna. This woman had me unknowingly singing about chains and whips when I was a child, and she could still do no wrong in my eyes (maybe not my parents’ eyes).  I was drawn to ANTI, although at first slightly off-put since it is so different than her previous releases, with more slow-paced beats. ANTI showcased a more emotional side to her music, as well as a more varied vocal range. I’m happy she is very successful with Fenty and her other business endeavors, but I’m waiting very very very patiently for her to release something new. 

Top 3 Songs: Consideration, Love on the Brain, Higher

 

3. Golden Hour- Kacey Musgraves

     I originally stumbled across Kacey Musgraves while trying to diversify my music taste by listening to country prior to coming to Texas for the first time ever, which was when I arrived at Baylor. I’m not sure if Kacey classifies as truly country according to die-hard country fans, but I loved listening to her sweet and clear voice sing about love and sadness. Her voice blends well with the guitar and instrumentals, creating very relaxing music, perfect to listen to while cleaning your room or on a long drive with the windows down. Happy & Sad was especially one of my favorites from the album, since the lyrics are relatable and describe feelings that are sometimes hard to put into words. 

Top 3 Songs: Rainbow, Happy & Sad, Butterflies

 

4. Melodrama- Lorde

     Lorde took the world by a storm when she dropped Pure Heroine. She has a unique voice and I especially liked the style of this album. I soaked in this album from start to finish, and enjoyed the variety of the songs, including the Reprise of Liability. I also liked the transition of two songs blended into one in Hard Feelings/Loveless. Hard Feelings/Loveless is seemingly two separate songs, but are better enjoyed together even though they are comprised of entirely different melodies. 

Top 3 Songs: Liability, Hard Feelings/Loveless, Perfect Places

 

5. 19- Adele

     Again, I do love a good album with a mix of sad and upbeat. Nothing beats the smooth soul of Adele’s voice, and she is definitely one of the top artists I would love to see in concert because you can sit and soak in her voice alone, without necessarily needing added theatrics. In her debut album, Adele introduces herself to the world with her signature vocals. 

Top 3 Songs: Make You Feel My Love, First Love, Daydreamer

 

6. Ctrl-SZA

     The dynamics of SZA’s voice tie in really well with her songs of heartbreak and wanting to be good enough in an insecure relationship. The album first reeled me in with Love Galore, with a feature from Travis Scott, because it was broadcasted all over the radio. Normal Girl unlocks an especially vulnerable side to SZA, singing lyrics of wanting to be like someone else, a “normal girl,” which we can sometimes relate to during our lowest moments. 

Top 3 Songs: Drew Barrymore, Normal Girl, Prom

 

7. Red- Taylor Swift

     I originally fell in love with Taylor Swift listening to this CD in my room. Ever since the release of this album, I’ve been a diehard fan, through the masterful Easter eggs in her music videos, and her amazing theatrics. Red was in the middle of her transition between country and pop music, and I think we all respect this woman for carrying her music through many different genres. To be honest, I think we can all agree that most of Taylor’s albums are no-skips, but I think there is a certain level of rawness and vulnerability that Red brings to the table that truly makes the album as a whole a work of art. 

Top 3 Songs: All Too Well, Begin Again, 22

 

8. Nation of Two- Vance Joy

     Vance Joy, known originally for Riptide with its simple ‘ukulele strum, brought forth the beautifully woven Nation of Two. The mostly guitar background fit his signature vibe and told a story of two lovers, illustrated through the cover art with a simple line drawing of two people lying next to each other. The album title perfectly encapsulates its entirety, perpetuating an us vs the world in most of its songs.

Top 3 Songs: One of These Days, Saturday Sun, Like Gold

 

     Whether you’re having a good day or bad, music can elevate your mood or heal it. If you’re stuck in a rut and feel like you’ve run out of good music… check these out and listen (or relisten)!

Michelle Tasaki is a sophomore at Baylor University and grew up in Maui, Hawai'i-- bringing her island lifestyle to the middle of Texas. She has a passion for social justice issues, loves exploring the outdoors, and curling up to read a good psychological thriller once in a while. She has a love for all things fashion and thrifting, and is pursuing a degree in Public Health within Baylor's Honors Program with aspirations to attend law school post-grad.
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