Jacqueline’s Album Recommendations II

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Jacqueline Lemus-Govea, Assistant Editor

Virtue, The Voidz (2018)

I spent a lot of time in between Zoom classes listening to this album, and Virtue is definitely one of the many albums I wish I could unhear in order to listen to it again.

One of the main reasons I enjoyed it so much was because of how experimental it is compared to what I listened to in the past. I think of it as The Strokes, but more intense (given that Julian Casablancas is in this band as well). The instrumentals are insanely bizarre and non-traditional, in contrast to other musicians, which is why I think they are so remarkable. This isn’t my favorite song off the album, but Black Hole is a good example of how abstract and irregular their music can get.

Another aspect I enjoyed is their use of auto-tune. It’s not so much that they need to use auto-tune, it’s more of an artistic element and I think makes it more experimental than it already is, and that’s obviously what I’m here for. This album also has some very interesting song titles. QYURRYUS is definitely one of my favorite titles because at first glance it doesn’t make sense, it took my brain a very long time to realize what it said, but once you say it out loud you notice that QYURRYUS is pronounced like the word curious.

Musical contrast from the band’s viewpoint is hilarious. In the album they did a rendition of a song called Think Before You Drink, that was originally by this dude named Michael Cassidy, and the difference between the two is wild. The Voidz’s version is very emotional and quite pretty, while the original version is super upbeat with the same intense lyrics. I was so shocked when I learned it was a cover, take this as an opportunity to listen to both versions and see which one you like most.

Some of my personal favorite songs from the album are: Permanent High School, Pink Ocean, and My Friend the Walls.

The Battle at Gardens Gate, Greta Van Fleet (2021)
I was excruciatingly upset at how long it took for this band to release their third album, and I didn’t listen to it until months later. I’ve been a fan of their music since the summer of 2019 and this is undoubtedly their best release yet.
Some may argue that the band’s lead singer, Josh Kiszka, does an annoying amount of screaming throughout the album, and I understand that it can get a bit excessive at times, but at the end of the day that’s what makes the band what it is. If you get it, you do, if you don’t, you don’t. Tears of Rain is a wonderful example of his screaming being used in a beautifully haunting way, it showcases a lot of pain that makes chills run down my spine. For those who dislike the screaming, take a song like The Great Gig in the Sky (by Pink Floyd), that song doesn’t have a single word in it, however it is so beautifully portrayed that it doesn’t even need words, that’s kind of what I believe Kiszka is doing.

The lyrics in this album are absolutely mind blowing. Sometimes I don’t understand what they are trying to say, yet when I listen to these songs, it’s still a very moving experience. I also really love how they integrate references from past songs that only those who listened would know; they do that as well with song titles within the album. On top of that, every single song on this album has it’s on symbol connected to it, some are easier to see the connection to the song than others, but that’s another reason why I think this album is so interesting.

Some of my favorites from this album are: Tears of Rain, Trip the Light Fantastic, and Age of Machine.

Chip Chrome and the Mono-Tones, The Neighbourhood (2020)
The only way I can describe this album is that it gives me a feeling of missing a time that never happened, but at the same time it reminds me of the summer, since I listened to it quite a bit then.
I found the whole idea of Chip Chrome to be one of my favorite aspects about this album. Especially since they created this whole character for the album and he appears in some of the music videos for the album too. When bands and musicians take the time to create an artwork that has many detailed characteristics, it makes the listening experience much better and makes the album feel more personal, theoretically. In my experience, albums like Chip Chrome and the Mono-Tones are the most memorable because they have one big theme or unique component that is purposefully integrated into the production of the album, through the lyrics, instruments, etc. and this album does that.

I’m not a hardcore fan of The Neighbourhood, I’ve only ever listened to this album by them, so it’s kind of hard to explain why I like this album. Take my word for it, just listen to the album, I’m sure you’ll like it. I recommend you listen to: Silver Lining, Middle of Somewhere, and Tobacco Sunburst.

The Madcap Laughs, Syd Barrett (1970)
I heavily enjoy lyrics that are written in ways that make the listener think deeply, and this is no exception. You could literally leave me in a room with this album for the rest of my life and I wouldn’t get bored. These songs are either written in a way that either makes no sense (I scream or ice cream? You tell me), or is blatantly obvious. Whether Barrett intended to do this or not, there are so many things to dissect and interpret because he is so cryptic and unclear.

Many, if not all, of these songs are very child-like and have a fairytale essence to them. For example, Golden Hair, which is clearly Barrett’s take on the story of Rapunzel, and I found it to be one of the most eerie in the album. I think it’s because he doesn’t have a very unconventional way of writing and playing guitar, and that is also one of the reasons why I find him so compelling. Love You is also an example of how unusual his style is. The song has a rhyme-y and fast component to it that feeds the idea of how childish his music can be, and I think he’s the only one that can pull that off.

With that being said, I don’t suggest you listen to this album if you haven’t been exposed to anything even remotely close to what this is (I’m not even sure what category this fits in). It is a work that you have to want to listen to and want to like in order to love it. You can’t enjoy it any other way, I think. Maybe try some of the early Pink Floyd stuff that Barrett worked on, such as The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, if you want to get a slight glimpse at what this album is kind of like.

If you do decide to give this a listen, I would recommend you listen to: Long Gone (my personal favorite), Terrapin, and Feel. These are the songs that gave me the most musically-spiritual experience and I hope they bring you that feeling as well.

There are so many other albums that I absolutely adore that I decided not to add, so these are some honorable mentions that I believe are worth your time:

Comedown Machine, The Strokes (2013)
Solar Power, Lorde (2021)
The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, Fiona Apple (2012)
Cherry Blossom, The Vamps (2020)