Entering your twenties, the decade where you’re supposed to find a job, a house, a life partner and yourself all at once can feel daunting and confusing.
If, like me, you’re feel a big mixture of emotions and are looking for other women who can articulate your feelings in rhyme and melody, then you might be looking for the perfect albums to get you through this transient decade. Music can provide representation for your emotions, a comforting reminder that you’re not alone and can uplift you when life becomes overwhelming. Whether you’re struggling with self-esteem, going through a break-up or trying to land on your feet in your career, the following albums will be there for you through it all.
Carole King – Tapestry
- I couldn’t resist beginning this list with my all-time favourite album. A break-up album done right, Tapestry combines lyrics packed with emotion with King’s expertise on piano and more. Moving away from home, co-dependency and finding your place in the world are all key themes, interspersed with tender declarations of both platonic and romantic love. It is an album for a life about to begin and is the perfect record for an amicable break-up – a sure marker of adulthood.
- Must-listen: Will You Love Me Tomorrow?
Alanis Morrisette – Jagged Little Pill
- If you’re not feeling so grown-up and placid about a break-up, then JLP is for you. Morrisette’s bitter anger is audible in each spat-out syllable, as she curses the man who wronged her and mankind by extension. Teenage tears may be a thing of the past, but there is nothing more cleansing than screaming along to a woman’s songs who knows exactly what you’re going through. If you want to combine the sad of Carole King and angry of Alanis Morrisette and don’t want to leave high school entirely behind, there is a Glee episode that combines the two albums!
- Must listen: You Oughta Know
Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
- This album hasn’t even been released yet, but I already know that it will be a vital record for women in their twenties. Its title alone points to the honesty and sincerity of its subject matter, and its lead single ‘Introvert’ is candid about internal battles, ego and finding your voice. Little Simz masterfully employs intelligent wordplay to discuss womanhood, race, politics and more over orchestral strings and beats. I am sure that this album will delight hip-hop aficionados and haters alike.
- Must-listen: Woman
Biig Piig – Big Fan Of The Sesh, Vol. I
- Although its EP format doesn’t technically qualify it for this list, I believe that the beauty of this record lies in its brevity. The title is as relatable as Biig Piig’s lyrics, as she depicts themes of stasis, perspective and casual relationships. The record is punctuated by vulnerable Spanish verses that represent her childhood spent in Spain, and assertions of the mundanity of her later life in Ireland, creating a deeply personal address. If you don’t know Biig Piig, now is your chance to catch her before she truly hits the mainstream.
- Must-listen: Perdida
SZA – Ctrl
- An R&B album for the ages, SZA’s song writing is intimate, authentic and truthful. Not only a true no-skip record, it has also received critical acclaim for its perfectly pitched blend of genres and its dreamy vocals. The lyrics deal with romance in the modern age, the way we navigate strong feelings for someone whilst holding onto our sense of self, and my selected track perfectly encapsulates the feeling of entering your twenties without a clear pathway.
- Must-listen: 20 Something
Arlo Parks – Collapsed In Sunbeams
- Recent BRIT Award winner Arlo Parks has captured the hearts and ears of music-lovers everywhere with her debut effort. Colloquial yet complex, her lyrics tell stories of heartbreak, desire and loneliness observed from an empathetic point of view. Parks lets the listener into a small part of larger stories, creating a holistic picture of the inevitability of life moving on with soft, yet powerful vocals. This is an album that holds an equally compelling effect whether it drifts through the background of a dinner party or permeates the soul of the lonely listener. It’s not all sadness though – ‘Hope’ reminds us that we’re not alone, though we think we are.
- Must-listen: Caroline
Hopefully this collection of albums can help guide you through your twenties and remind you who you are! Who better to gain inspiration from than inspirational women? Take the records with you wherever you go with this accompanying Spotify playlist (sorry Apple Music users):