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Between the months of March and August, I have spent a lot of time getting to know myself by discovering new hobbies, reading books that have been on my to-be-read pile for too long, and listening to new music. Though I am constantly finding new music to listen to every day, there are some albums and songs that I cannot get out of my head. Here are the top five albums I have blasted on repeat during my time in quarantine:

Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves

I feel like I am the only one who hadn’t listened to Golden Hour until this year. Nevertheless, I was in awe of how incredible this album is because I don’t consider myself as a heavy country listener. Back in April, I decided to give in to the Kacey Musgraves hype and I don’t regret it one bit! Every lyric in Golden Hour feels a little more personal than Musgraves’ other albums, and the catchy and soothing melodies enhance the beauty of Musgraves’ craftsmanship. Whether you are cruising down the highway with your best friends or watching the sunset by yourself, Golden Hour is the perfect album to listen to.

Favorite songs: “Butterflies,” “Oh, What a World,” “Love is a Wild Thing”
 

the masquerade by mxmtoon

This summer was also the first time I listened to mxmtoon, also known as Maia. One of my best friends is a huge fan of hers, so I decided to listen to her music, and I found myself playing the masquerade at least twice a day. The lyrics within every song of the masquerade parallels the thoughts inside of one’s head that cannot be kept in any longer, which is why I resonate with the album so much. mxmtoon pours all of her soul into delivering every emotion and situation that teenagers deal with, and this album is justification that there is hope for everyone, even if the world may be a little fuzzled sometimes.

Favorite songs: “suffice,” “blame game,” “seasonal depression”
 

The Good and the Bad by Anthony Ramos

This album was a recent listen for me, but words cannot describe how much it means to me. If Anthony Ramos sounds a little familiar to you, you may know him from originating the roles of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton in the smash-hit Broadway musical Hamilton. His debut album The Good and the Bad was released in October of last year, and it is an utter masterpiece. I highly recommend listening to this album in order and not on shuffle; Ramos describes this album as a story about a guy who leaves home to chase his dreams and to live the life he wants. With each passing song, the guy goes through ups and downs, which perfectly reflects the title of the album. Because I’m in a stage where I’m still trying to find myself by exploring the world outside of my home and treasuring the ones who mean a lot to me, this album speaks volumes to me, and will have a special place in my heart for a long time.

Favorite songs: “One More Hour,” “The Good and the Bad,” “Come Back Home”
 

The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles is my all-time favorite singer, and I’ve looked up to her and admired her musicianship since I was really young. This summer I decided to revisit an old-favorite: The Blessed Unrest, which was released back in 2013. The Blessed Unrest has its fair share of high-energy bops and deep emotional ballads, and every track on this album is special and heartfelt in their own way. With the piano and her voice serving as her primary instruments, Sara Bareilles is beyond talented with her incredibly poetic lyrics and ability to tug at the heartstrings—she is truly a gift to the music world, and The Blessed Unrest is a manifestation of pure bliss.

Favorite songs: “Chasing the Sun,” “Satellite Call,” “Cassiopeia”
 

Ungodly Hour by Chloe x Halle

I am so happy to add Chloe x Halle to my list of favorite artists, and I regret not listening to them sooner. Ungodly Hour is everything you could ever want in an album, and every track is unique in their own way. Chloe and Halle’s voices compliment each other so well, and you can feel their natural and deep chemistry on every song they sing. They evoke a sense of sisterly solidarity that is inspiring to many, not to mention their sheer talent as songwriters on many of the tracks on the album. Ungodly Hour encompasses the perfect mix of happy bops and chill vibes, and this entire album is absolute perfection.

Favorite songs: “Tipsy,” “Ungodly Hour,” “Wonder What She Thinks of Me”
 

Marieska Luzada is a sophomore at Emerson College at Boston, MA majoring in journalism and minoring in publishing. Besides writing for HerCampus, you can find her drafting an a capella arrangement, drinking an iced matcha latte, reading a young adult contemporary, or listening to Studio Ghibli movie soundtracks.
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