By: Timothy Coffman, Columnist
Featured image courtesy of troyesivanstore.com
There have been albums this year that have lived up to their hype of being very enjoyable records. However, many of the greatest albums to come of the past year have been changes in sound or quality that left many listeners amazed. Here are a few albums that held the biggest surprises of the year so far.
- Alkaline Trio’s “Is This Thing Cursed?”– This album had the unfortunate fate of coming out the same week as Eminem’s “Kamikaze,” but this album is a true return to form for the pop-punk trio. Guitarist Matt Skiba’s recent stint in Blink-182 help to re-energize the band and give their tunes the right amount of punch. This eclectic mix of punk, acoustic, and rock tunes come together to make up one of the better records put out by the group.
- Troye Sivan’s “Bloom”–This gentleman’s sophomore effort may have been lost in the flow due to the hype over Ariana Grande’s latest, but I feel that this record is a much more coherent experience. Songs like “The Good Side” and “Seventeen” show Sivan as capable of writing heartbreaking hooks reminiscent of the height of 80s pop. This kid is an artist we should be hearing good things from in the next few years.
- Waterparks’ “Entertainment”– The latest effort from Waterparks shows a lot of development in the band’s sound away from typical pop-punk. They have shed some of the keyboard padding back and have added some alternative rock style to their sound, which is a welcome addition. This is a great example of a band polishing off their edges and making something truly spectacular.
- Janelle Monáe’s “Dirty Computer”– While Monae has an extensive back catalog of excellent work, I was concerned that this came out amid her busy schedule starring in Oscar-winning films. However, this album is the best produced album that Monáe has ever put out, and the single “Make Me Feel” and the title track will go down as some of the best songs of the year.
- Kanye West’s “Kids See Ghosts”– Given Kanye West and Kid Cudi’s tumultuous relationship over the past few years, this mini album is stunningly amazing. Not a second of time is wasted on this record and each song brings a psychedelic flavor to Hip Hop, which fits like a glove. This shows both Cudi and West taking the best aspects of each other’s music and combining them into an absolutely spellbinding listen.