Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Texas chapter.

Alas, the time has come where I share unsolicited music opinions on albums, songs, and at some points musical artists themselves.

I feel like my ability to be emotionally vulnerable on the Internet has warranted me to the ability vocalize why I prefer one album over another or can’t stand the new era this artist has entered – because who wants their intimate feelings to be zeroed in on three times in a row…

SO! Music opinions it is!

However, I’d like to preface that my taste is constantly changing, not just in terms of music but in almost every aspect of my life, it’s hyper fixation issue we do not have to dive into today! Thus, the opinions and statements I am publicly exhibiting now are most definitely subject to change. In fact, I’ll state ahead of time the surety that my viewpoints will fluctuate as I grow in my music knowledge and as a person.

Without further ado, in no particular order, here are my top ten favorite albums!

10. ‘Juno’ by Remi Wolf

Released just last year (2021) in October, singer/songwriter Remi Wolf released her first full album and WOW! To say that this album is amazing feels like an understatement in all honesty.

I think I knew this album was going to be a delight to listen to as the singles leading up to the release began to come out. Remi Wolf has a way of making you want to get up and dance like no one is watching. Her experimental music production can be labeled as a combination of pop, hyper pop, and through her voice, soul.

Four songs I would recommend to anyone who wishes to get into this album would be: ‘Liquor Store’, ‘wyd’, ‘Volkiano’, and ‘Sexy Villain’.

It’s impressive how Wolf has the ability to have such a distinct sound without allowing her songs to sound the exact same. This album holds such a special place in my heart and I hope if you listen to it you’ll enjoy it just as much as I do!

9. ‘After Laughter’ by Paramore

The comeback album after a four year hiatus that managed to bring back my sixth grade obsession with this band as if it had never left. I remember all of the excitement and nostalgia that other fans were feeling as we waited for this album to drop, it brought me a sense of comfort to be a part of a community I had temporarily forgotten about as I entered high school.

What a comeback album to release! I can remember the overwhelming elation I felt as I streamed the pre-release singles on repeat and then the album once it was released. This recollection of the emotions that consumed freshman year Alexa bring a smile to my face, as it was not only a simpler time but one where I got to connect a Paramore album to the memories I was making and experiences I was going through.

With just the perfect amount of angst, edge, and pop sounding features, After Laughter had a major impact on high school me that would continue as I aged into the young adult I am today. As I still stream this album on a semi-regular basis. The album and bands ability to switch from ‘sad’ songs to ‘happy’ ones is nothing short of brilliant, the placement of each song within the album feels like it was just meant to be there, which makes the full listen through that more enjoyable. It also pushed me to re-listen to their older albums to fully engulf myself in the nostalgia of the past, which is something I tend to do whenever I listen to Paramore.

Consequently, it is the time in which I recommend four songs I believe are more than worthy of your listen as I believe they have the power to make you a Paramore fan too; ‘Rose-Colored Boy’, ‘Fake Happy’, ‘Pool’, and ‘Caught in the Middle’. Plus, I heard there are rumors of the band getting back together after another hiatus to create new music that is to be released soon! Now would be the perfect time to catch up on your Paramore knowledge so when the new music is released you can feel the fan to fan connection as well!

8. Harry Styles‘ debut self entitled album – ‘Harry Styles’

What sort of music listener would I be if I did not acknowledge the beauty that is Harry Styles’ debut album as a solo artist – which I will refer to as HS 1 for the remainder of this section.

Released in 2017, this album is one I also discovered in high school and has stuck with me throughout the many different stages of my teen life.

It’s an album that has songs you can dance and scream the lyrics to, but also songs that you can lay down and cry to. I think that’s why it’s an album that has stuck with me for so long, it’s duality permits a listen through the full album but also songs that fit perfectly into almost any playlist. Nowadays, the album holds a lot more sentiment to me as Harry Styles is my sister’s favorite artist – so, the album and songs that make up the album is something that we can mutually enjoy as they play during our car rides.

Four songs I would propose a person listen to from this album would be: ‘Carolina’, ‘Sweet Creature’, ‘Only Angel’, and ‘Ever Since New York’.

HS 1 is most definitely the superior album of two Harry Styles has released and I fully stand by that statement! For now at least… as we all await for his new release… but until then this album reigns as the better one in my mind.

7. ‘The Family Jewels’ by MARINA

She was once know as ‘Marina and the Diamonds’ but has recently rebranded as she is making her comeback, streaming MARINA and this album have been a continual practice since a time I can’t specifically place (that is to say for as long as I can remember). Her songs make me feel like a ‘girl boss’ to say the least, making me feel comfortable in embracing my ultra feminine attributes instead of feeling ashamed of them. Thus leading to her songs ending up on any ‘get ready’ or ‘hype’ playlist I have because MARINA has this ability to make a person forget about the swarming, constant opinions/judgements of others and just embrace yourself! Who knew an album with just 13 songs could empower and encourage femmes in such a long-lasting, continuous way?

From the start of the album to the end of it, I am entranced by MARINA’s theatrical production style and ability to effortlessly slow down the tempo of her album without it feeling ill-fitted with the rest of the piece. The time and care she places into each song does not go unnoticed by me in any regard, which is probably a huge reason why I hold this album to such a high regard – I want to listen/support something that the artist put themselves into completely. As it gives the music a timeless appeal and displays the value the artist has for their fans and through this the longevity of their place in the music industry.

If you’re looking to get into a pop icon who usually presents her songs in a pop sounding fashion but is laced with meaningful messages about femininity and the struggles of being a woman, look no further than MARINA. Here are four songs I’ve decided to share with you all from this album that will hopefully open a gateway for you to fall in love with the rest of her music; ‘Are You Satisfied?’, ‘Mowgli’s Road’, ‘The Outsider’, and ‘Hermit the Frog’.

I am hopefully going to see these songs, along with others that I love, very soon as I’m scheduled to see MARINA live as she tours for her most recent album release. Overall, I do admire MARINA’s work and due diligence to curating such a beautiful discography throughout the years and cannot wait to support her as she releases more wonderful music!

6. ‘Battle Studies’ by John Mayer

For all the ‘Swifties’ that are reading this piece, I apologize in advance for the way I am about to praise John Mayer for his art and music… if you have to look away no hard feelings, but if you chose to stay and hear me out you are everything and more to me!

John Mayer is the type of artist that I praise for his lyricism and guitar abilities, he has a way of taking such ‘simple’ attributes of music and making them into a well constructed song that is enjoyable no matter the amount of times you’ve replayed it. Yet, the music isn’t confined by its ‘simplicity’, there are times when I’m listening to a song I’ve heard dozens of times before and I’ll notice a note or noise in the background I had never noticed. I also think this album (and in particular John Mayer) mean so much to me because it’s an interest I share with my mom. Whenever I listen to this album or anything by him I am transported to all the times we’ve sung along to his lyrics in the car or bopped our heads as we crafted in her office. The music is delightful to listen to, but the connections I have to it make the music all the more special.

This album in particular though, was one I fully immersed myself in during the beginning of quarantine in 2020. I recall listening to it on repeat as I went through the same motions day in and day out, but this album helped me get through the mundane aspects of it all. John Mayer’s soulful voice paired with the guitar riffs he features are nothing less than perfect! I think it’s important to state that this was the album that got me into him as an artist in general, which I believe truly speaks to the quality of the music featured.

In all honesty this is a ‘no skip album’ for me, having to pick just four songs to feature was a bit more difficult than I had thought it would be, but of course I managed to do so for you all. I present the four songs from Battle Studies I believe you should give a listen to: ‘All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye’, ‘Crossroads’, ‘War of My Life’, and ‘Do You Know Me’.

Whenever I think about John Mayer and how I’m going to see him in April, there is a part of me that is manifesting with every piece of my being he plays these four songs because I think that would fix every problem I have or will have ever… If you do listen to this album or my song recommendations from Battle Studies, I hope you enjoyed it greatly and let it lead you down a John Mayer discography rabbit hole!

5. ‘Punisher’ by Phoebe Bridgers

Phoebe Bridgers and this album mean so much to me that I almost fainted as I waited for over two hours in the suffocating heat at ACL just to see her performance – where it felt like the entire time I was standing on my tip toes and craning my neck to see her bleached hair blow with the Austin breeze. What an image of a desperate me I’ve painted for you all, yet, let it be painted in a light that displays me as a true connoisseur of quality music and art.

Regardless of my ACL experience, this album is to put it simply, marvelous. With it just being Phoebe Bridgers’ second album it is truly mind boggling how she managed to curate such perfection in album that has a run time of 40 minutes and 42 seconds. How does someone manage to tear someone apart, semi-repair them, just to tear them apart again in 40 minutes and 42 seconds? If anyone has the answer to such a question, it’s Phoebe Bridgers.

The album manages to encapsulate feelings of abandonment, loss, and at times garner hope for moving on. This album mostly consists of songs people would deem ‘sad’ and while yes, they can be seen as downer songs, I think it’s beautiful that Phoebe Bridgers has managed to take her pain, put it into song/musical form and use it to connect with a group of people who have felt similar, if not the same emotions at some point.

I do believe that I hold this album to such a high regard because I connect it with some of my best friends, listening to the songs and laughing as we scream the ‘depressing’ lyrics out loud – because yes, comedy is an appropriate coping mechanism in my opinion!

Thus, these four selected songs are ones that hold sentimental value to me for a variety of reasons but are also just beautifully made for a repeated listening experience; ‘Kyoto’, ‘Moon Song’, ‘Savior Complex’, and ‘I Know The End’. Let me note that ‘Savior Complex’ holds such a special place in my heart that if I ever make someone a playlist the chance of this song being on it is almost guaranteed.

All in all, I adore Phoebe Bridgers as an artist and her music perfectly matches this sentiment. I cannot wait for more ‘depressing’ songs to be released by her as I will gladly listen to anything this woman puts out!

4. ‘Alright, Still’ by Lily Allen

An album that I believe fully encapsulates the sound of British pop in the early 2000s, Lily Allen manages to keep me tethered to this album despite it being over a decade and half since it’s release.

However, let me things clear, I was not an ‘original listener’ way back in 2006 when this piece of art was released. In 2006, I lacked taste and music competency as I was only four years old…

But, when I did discover this album many years later as a young teen, I would become obsessed! The tracks on this album, despite their somewhat pessimistic message, make me want to jump around in front of a mirror as I mouth the lyrics back to myself.

I have not kept up much with her new releases but this album will remain a staple of my pop knowledge archive for a very long time.

So, here are four songs from this album I recommend for those of you who also wish to love this album as much as I do; ‘LDN’, ‘Everything’s Just Wonderful’, ‘Friday Night’, and ‘Take What You Take’.

I promise, listening to any of these songs will make you feel as if you’re in an early 2000’s movie roaming the streets in low rise jeans and a layered v-neck/cami combo. All in all, the album isn’t extremely complex or to a general sense ‘revolutionary’ in its sound or techniques, it’s just a wonderful album that I believe everyone should listen to at least once!

Live your y2k dreamscape while this album plays in the background!

3. ‘Twenty Twenty’ by Djo

With music that has been described as, psych-pop [psychedelic], created by a man that is primarily known for his role in the hit Netflix original series, Joe Keery – Twenty Twenty is an album that manages to be versatile and completely unique all at once.

The album, originally released in 2019, was something that I found by chance in high school as I scrolled through a random celebrities Instagram story, reposting the cover of a single released leading up to unveiling of the album in its entirety. This album is truly spectacular! My opinion and high regard of it might be bathed in the bias of nostalgia I experience whenever I listen to it, as like stated this album has been with me since my high school days. Yet, each time I give this album a listen I am pleasantly surprised as I feel like I hear new aspects of each song every time.

The album allows for people to share their Joe Keery fun fact and music taste superiority (as it’s a pretty unknown album generally speaking), anytime it’s played in a social setting. It’s also perfect for listening to as you lay down in the dark, yearning for a sense of escapism from reality for a moment.

It is extremely difficult to pick just four songs off of this album I think should be listened to if you wish to further dive into the musical world Joe Keery, or Djo, has constructed for us. Despite the difficulty, here are the four songs I managed to pick out: ‘Personal Lies’, ‘Chateau (Feel Alright)’, ‘Roddy’, and ‘BNBG’.

However, I encourage you all to listen to this album in it’s entirety as I’m positive you won’t be disappointed. The last thing I will say about the artist and the album is that I anxiously await for the release of new music as time goes on!

2. ‘RAZZMATAZZ’ by IDK How But They Found Me

I could possibly go on about this album and this duo group for an eternity if given the opportunity, but no worries, I won’t subject you all to that…

However, let me just start by saying that this album is beautiful, spectacular, and every other good adjective that exists. Razzmatazz was the duo’s first album release after having their ep out for years, which of course, I was also obsessed with – but WOW, what an album to say was your first.

I also feel obliged to mention that I recently saw this group on tour for said album and they sound/play just as well (if not better) live as they do when listening through a device. They have a way about them that commands the audiences’ attention and holds it with them for the entire duration of the show, never letting it slip or wander as they play song after song. From their crowd engagement to the energy put out, this duo makes me so excited for the success that I’m positive will come to them through the years.

Anyways, back to the album, which is a work of art! From when the first track begins to when the last track ends I am in awe of the lyricism and instrumentals that make up this album. They manage to sound like a variety of popular bands while also distinctively creating a sound that is just their own through the personal lyrics embedded in varying songs to the background instrumentals that add even more volume to the music.

The four tracks I’ve selected from this album are: ‘Nobody Likes The Opening Band’, ‘From The Gallows’, ‘Kiss Goodnight’, and ‘Door’. Yes, narrowing my recommendations down to just four songs was not an easy task because if it were up to me I would tell everyone to listen to this album in it’s entirety!

I simply adore this band and the music they create. Each time I listen to any of their music I am filled with eagerness and anticipation for what they will release next – and when! I am not sure how much longer I can stand waiting for a new release!

1. ‘Vices and Virtues’ by Panic! at the Disco

Finally, an album that I’m sure will lead you all to believe I have some weird connection to my middle school years that I cannot sever despite the amount of time that has passed (which is only partially true!). When I state that this album has sentimental value to me, I mean that in every sense of the word and emotion. Throughout high school and moments in college this album has had the power to ground me when I feel overwhelmed or lost – which I do believe has a lot to do with the nostalgia that envelops me, allowing me to truly remember the goals/purpose I had assigned myself way back in my middle school days.

Yet, despite the ‘cringe’ that may come about as I acknowledge that this statement will forever live on the internet and that you readers will know this ’embarrassing’ obsession/connection of mine – I do love this album the way I imagine a mother loves her first born child.

In middle school, I remember feelings so ‘cool’ for liking this album. For not strictly listening to the top 100 radio songs, but instead enjoying an album that had come out years before my discovery of it. As I’ve grown older there are periods of time in which I won’t listen to this album (or any Panic! at the Disco album) for a long period of time, but when I remember it exists in my Apple Music library/under the ‘Saved Albums’ tab of Spotify or when I just have a melody from it stuck in my head, I’ll give it a listen and all the feelings of comfort and love will come back to me.

If you wish to get into Panic! at the Disco or this album in general, here are four songs I’ve selected from it [the album] that I hope you thoroughly enjoy: ‘Let’s Kill Tonight’, ‘Always’, ‘The Calendar’, and ‘Sarah Smiles’. Not to mention the beautiful unreleased songs from this album, that yes, I have also memorized through my constant replaying of them on Youtube.

I know that Panic!’s style has changed vastly over the years and likewise so have I, yet, this album has remained a favorite of mine consistently since I first listened to it way back when… Vices & Virtues, you have managed to put me in a trance as you have a hold over me that no album can match no matter the amount of passing time.

Random Songs that Deserve an Honorable Mention

Alas, with you all now knowing my top ten albums, I thought I should add in a few song recommendations in case you aren’t an album kind of person. I can acknowledge that listening to an album, let alone a new album, can be quite taxing. So, here are ten songs that I enjoy very much that I hope you will as well.

*Tricks – Stella Donnelly

*Prism – Superet ft. Olivia Kaplan

*Pigeon – Faye Webster

*That Life – Unknown Mortal Orchestra

*Cornerstone – Arctic Monkeys

*Hayloft II – Mother Mother

*Should’ve Been Me – Mitski

*If You Like It Or Not – The Brobecks

*Mic Check – Cornelius

*Nina Cried Power – Hozier ft. Mavis Staples

Overall, I hope my selection of songs and albums allows you find a new artist/album to listen to – and that you like a few of them. I know taste is subjective, my wish is that my taste is one that can be palatable to some degree for everyone!

Thank you all for reading (and if you listen to any of the recommendations above, listening)!

Cheers to sharing things we enjoy and expanding our knowledge through the exploration of new unheard avenues! Until next time!

A first generation college student trying to navigate my college years! I'm a Capricorn super passionate about social justice, feminism, and reality TV…yes, Jersey Shore is the best piece of media I have ever consumed. While pursing a degree in Film and English my goal is to brighten your day with my articles and various 'hot takes' I have! In advance, thank you for your support and reads (because you don't know how much both truly mean to me).