Albums I Play to Feel Something
I get more emotional over music than I do over real life, but hey, it be like that. Check out these albums that get my emotions stirring.
4 Your Eyez Only- J. Cole
4 Your Eyez Only is J. Cole's fourth album released in 2016 and ties into him being the face on conscious rap. Nothing about a lavish lifestyle, but an album that tells a story and makes you think and feel. As a concept album, this one was heavily theorized among fans and critics as it goes and tells the story of a man who goes from selling drugs, to falling in love, to having a family, and the man's subsequent death as the album is supposed to be a message for his daughter after he's gone. Listen to this one all the way through with no distraction, and really take in every word of it. It takes some turns and showcases J. Cole as a master storyteller.
American Beauty- Grateful Dead
There are Dead fans that I'm sure will tell me why I'm wrong to have this opinion, but I think this is their best studio work. The beauty here is in Robert Hunter's song writing. In terms of lyrics, this album is pretty iconic. Specifically, the album opener "Box of Rain" sets the tone as Hunter wrote the song (with Phil Lesh) about his dying father. Ripple is, also, another standard in here, written by a far from sober Hunter which is one of the most inconic and theorized songs in their discography. "Friend of a Devil", maybe their most recognizable, is also in here which I highly recommend looking up live duets. You may stumble across versions with Maggie Rogers or Grace Potter.
Currents- Tame Impala
If you know me in any capacity, you know that for me, this is THE album. Did you know disco, synth-pop, and psychedelic pop could also be wildly depressing? I recently watched a music documentary that talked about the "Swedish Pop Music" model that has been so successful for decades of combining melodic tunes with melancholy elements and this just hits the nail right on the head. The songs on the album were written as a response to Kevin Parker's break-up with Melody Prochet, lead singer of Melody's Echo Chamber and takes you through the inner monologue of questioning and acceptance. This album flows really well and is just a really, really great showcase of exemplary song-writing used for a dance-oriented sound.
Swimming- Mac Miller
This album was the last release Mac Miller gave us prior to his death in 2018. The album was inspired by his breakup with Ariana Grande and his ability to heal and grow from the experience. This was Mac Miller at his most human and most mature. One thing I really loved about him as an artist is his music aged with us and it felt really special to be in this age group listening to his music because no matter how famous he got or what demons he battled, Mac always felt relatable. This one is honestly hard to put on now, though, as good as it is. "Self Care" has hit hard since September 7th, 2018.
The Waterfall II- My Morning Jacket
My Morning Jacket released this album after a five year gap as a surprise release in 2020 when we needed it most. It might surprise you to learn that every song on this album is a leftover recording from the original Waterfall album from 2015 and somehow it's, honestly, better. Jim James' voice is incredibly mesmerizing as always and we are taken in a ton of different directions here. Songs like "Spinning My Wheels" and "Feel You" were perfect for the year of isolation while "Welcome Home" is perfect for the hope we are getting back in Summer 2021.
Coloring Book- Chance the Rapper
I could honestly write a book about the insane rise and fall of Chance the Rapper, but rather than focusing on that, I want to talk about what a moment this mixtape was for music. Chance was the face of indie rap in 2016 and there was no close runner-up. He toured the living hell out of this and really incorporated gospel elements into the recording as well as the live performance. I'm not a religious man, but, my god, this music had me feeling it. Chance hasn't really been on my radar nearly as much as he used to be, but "Blessings" will ALWAYS do it for me.