My Favorite Albums of All Time Even Though Nobody Asked

I really, really love music. And not just one genre—in fact, I’m kind of all over the place. However, an artist really has to pique my interest in order to get me to listen to an entire album because I typically enjoy playlists with a wide variety of artists. So, I’ve made this list.

Every MARINA Album

photo of MARINA concert details at Roxy theatre Jenna Ward

Family Jewels, Electra Heart, Froot, Love + Fear—I couldn’t choose one if you asked me to! Each album is so different and for me represents a different stage in my life, which I suppose is the plus side to her only coming out with an album every few years. I feel like I grew up with Marina. I really resonate with her musical journey because she went from the angst of “Teen Idle” to a song that is literally called “Enjoy Your Life.” The range! Also, speaking from experience, every song is even better live.

Joanne by Lady Gaga (2016)

Before this album, I wasn’t even really a huge Lady Gaga fan (I believe she calls them “Little Monsters.”) But after hearing the first song on the album, “Diamond Heart,” I had to listen to the whole thing. Let me tell you, she did not disappoint with this one. As someone who grew up listening to country music with her dad, the slight southern sound of this album made me feel so at home and nostalgic. It’s also just a really uplifting soundtrack! This was on repeat my entire senior year of high school.

Lemonade by Beyoncé (2016)

Beyoncé is always gifting us with amazing music, but the variety of sounds on this album absolutely astonished me. This album made me feel every emotion. I’ve never been cheated on, but some of the songs on Lemonade truly made me feel rage and sadness like I had. She really showed that she can sing every genre and do it FLAWLESSLY (haha, get it?) Not to mention the visual album was beyond beautiful. Before this album was on Spotify, I would have to play an mp3 version from some random website that looked like it was going to give me a virus, but it would have been worth it.

Anti (2016) by Rihanna

Okay so clearly, 2016 was a great year for music. Once again, this album was just a different sound than all the albums Rihanna made before it. I think one of my favorite things in the world is when you can hear an artist change from the sound they thought people wanted to hear to a sound they wanted to create. I think ANTI is the perfect example of that. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always love “Pon de Replay,” but on several of the songs on ANTI she slows it down a little and it’s so refreshing.

High Road (2020) by Kesha

This album. This woman. Wow. I would have never in a million years expect to love a Kesha album as much as I do. In a way, I feel proud of her for this album. She has been through so much, and her last album was beautiful and vulnerable, but on High Road, she really just lets loose and make so many fun, quirky songs that I absolutely love listening to. If I had to describe this album in one word it would be “delightful.”

Landmark (2017) by Hippo Campus

I first saw Hippo Campus at a music festival during a time when I didn’t have any other concerts I really had to go to, so I just followed my friends to this set, and I was not disappointed. The band had come out with an album the year before and it was the perfect summer soundtrack. It still reminds me of that festival and that summer. I like to listen to it in the dead of winter and dream about warmer days. Hippo Campus is also one of my favorite bands now and I saw them again last summer in St. Augustine (and met the bassist, who is an entire foot taller than me).

me and the bassist of Hippo Campus, Zach Sutton Jenna Ward

Saintmotelevision (2016) by Saint Motel

I don’t even think I listened to this album in its entirety until last summer, 3 years after its release, but I listened to it on repeat for a couple of weeks. This album makes me feel like a movie, which is always a good quality for any album. You have to listen to it at full blast in your car with the windows down. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

Golden Hour (2018) by Kacey Musgraves

There is a good reason why Kacey Musgraves won 4 Grammys after the release of this album. Golden Hour is that album that made people who usually detest country music be like, “…wait a minute, this is good?” She did that! Her voice is so calming, and her lyrics really make you feel something. My favorite song from this album is “Wonder Woman.”

Honorable Mentions:

These are just albums that I listened to repetitively when I was younger and probably had on CD or downloaded in full onto my iPod. They are still a great nostalgic listen, but I honestly forget about them a lot.

Here We Go Again (2009) by Demi Lovato

Breakout (2008) by Miley Cyrus

Made in The A.M. (2015) by One Direction

Some Nights (2012) by fun.

Did I mean for it to be pretty much all pop music? Not really. Am I surprised? No. I don’t believe in pretending like there isn’t a reason that pop music is popular. It’s because it’s good (most of the time), especially for someone like me who is very high energy. Anyways, if you don’t agree with my list, just keep that to yourself because I will get my feelings hurt.

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