Though I give music recommendations monthly, I occasionally like to talk a little bit more about albums I’ve been enjoying. Enter: my album review series. Today I’ll be reviewing a few more of my favorite albums of the year so far. You can find my first set of 2020 album reviews here!
Folklore by Taylor Swift
My Thoughts: Dare I say, this is Taylor Swift’s best album? The song writing here is so detailed and beautiful. Swift took her time in quarantine to embrace her storytelling skills, something she doesn’t always get to show off on her pop albums. Buried among wistful breakup songs and adoring love tunes is the story of Betty, James, and Summer Love— a lover triangle between characters of Swift’s own creation. Folklore is an album that will introduce listeners to the wonderful world of indie music and I couldn’t be happier. This album is flawless.
Highlights: The 1, Cardigan, Exile (feat. Bon Iver), My Tears Ricochet, Mirrorball, August, This is Me Trying, Illicit Affairs, & Mad Woman
Who Are the Girls? by Nova Twins
My Thoughts: I wouldn’t have discovered this band if a thread of Black alternative bands and artists hadn’t gone viral on Twitter and that’s a real shame because these girls are incredible. This record is loud and experimental, assertive in answer to the album title’s question. The girls are Amy Love and Georgia Smith and they are talented, confident, and bold. I’ve never heard anything like this album before, and I doubt I will again until Nova Twins release their next project.
Highlights: Taxi, Bullet, & Athena
Petals for Armor by Hayley Williams
My Thoughts: Hayley Williams’ first debut album is so different from what I expected, and yet it’s exactly what I needed. Petals for Armor is a step sideways from Paramore’s sound, more in the vein of Radiohead. This record is a deep exploration of Williams’ psyche, finding her reconciling with the traumas of her childhood, falling in and out of love, and deciding what it means to her to be a woman. Though the sound is polished, the emotions are raw. What a triumphant return for the former princess of emo.
Highlights: Simmer, Cinnamon, Sudden Desire, Dead Horse, & Over Yet
SUGA by Megan Thee Stallion
My Thoughts: I’m late to the Megan Thee Stallion train, but I’m so glad I’ve finally climbed aboard. Stallion is easily one of the best rappers in the game right now this EP is filled with absolute bangers. Megan Thee Stallion is assertive and confident on SUGA, a force to be reckoned with. If this is what she has to offer on an EP, I can’t wait to check out the full-length albums in her backlog.
Highlights: Ain’t Equal, Savage, Hit My Phone (feat. Kehlani), & B.I.T.C.H.
Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers
My Thoughts: Punisher is the kind of album that punches you directly through the chest and shatters your heart. Bridgers’ vivid lyrics and gentle voice paint a picture so clear, you’ll feel like you’ve lived her life. Throughout the record, Bridgers opines on failing relationships, thinks wistfully of the past and future, and ponders her lack of belonging. This album is painful, but strangely hopeful as well. If you’re looking to step into another life, Punisher is the album for you.
Highlights: Kyoto, Punisher, Chinese Satellite, Moon Song, & ICU
SAWAYAMA by Rina Sawayama
My Thoughts: Did you know this is one of Elton John’s favorite albums of 2020? That alone should tell you how good SAWAYAMA is. On this record, Sawayama explores themes of not feeling British enough as the daughter of Japanese immigrants, consumerism, and identity. Tinged in early 2000s pop vibes, SAWAYAMA is filled with anthem after anthem. I would go as far as to say this is the best pop album to come out so far this year. It’s no wonder Sawayama is a critical darling.
Highlights: XS, STFU!, Comme De Garçons (Like the Boys), Akasaka Sad, & Who’s Gonna Save U Now?
Have you listened to any of these albums? What do you think of them? Let’s discuss in the comments!