I won’t dwell on how shit this year was, as it’s a bit depressing. Great things have come out of the year too, such as some great albums. These are my top five favourite albums of the year, let us know if you agree or disagree with any of them.
5. From Caplan to Belsize – Muncie Girls
The Exeter Indie Punk trio’s full-length debut album is short and sweet, filled with solid song writing that invokes vivid imagery. The songs are catchy and infectious, yet there’s a clear sincerity. It shows their political stances, their fears and their inspirations. It reflects on how shit the world is in Respect and Balloon, yet still aims to be inspiring; they’re obviously hoping to encourage us to be active in what we believe in, for example Learn in School as singer Lande Hekt urges her listeners to “try and leave your own little mark on this earth. Muncie Girls are certainly a band people should be looking out for in the future.
Track to listen to – Social Side
4. Daughter – Not to Disappear
The indie folk band returned this year with their new album, Not to Disappear. After the success of their previous album, If I Leave, following on from their hauntingly beautiful tracks was never going to be an easy task. However, they do make a good attempt, and there are certainly some standout tracks. Doing the Right Thing evokes the same gripping sadness Daughter became well known for back when their EP’s were paving the way for the bands inevitable debut album. It explores dementia, an unconventional and risky move that not many bands could have pulled off, yet Daughter manage almost effortlessly. No Care examines the effect of a relationship controlled by insecurity and emotional distance, something Daughter have explored many times before, yet completely differs from the band’s usual sound, creating a refreshing experience. Overall, the album explores the dull, numb and bleak every day, and turns it into heart-wrenching stories that you can’t help but fall in love with.
Track to listen to – Numbers
3. Sia – This is Acting
Sia’s album This is Acting has it all, from unsettling emotional tracks such as Alive, to the upbeat anthems such as Move Your Body and Cheap Thrills. Her song writing skills and chilling vocals are her obvious strengths, honed through years of providing hits for artists including Rihanna, Beyonce and Christina Aguilera. The album floats between powerful and uplifting tracks flawlessly, creating an entertaining contrast for the listener. You can easily tell which songs were meant for other artists before they were either rejected, or Sia decided to keep the tracks for herself, most notably Adele’s and Rihanna’s. It’s a hit and miss piece, due to Sia’s eclectic song writing styles, however packs enough punches to more than earn it a place in this list.
Track to listen to – Reaper
2. Lemonade – Beyoncé
Political, full of gossip and fiercely proud. You can say you want about Beyoncé, but she knows exactly what she’s doing when it comes to her music career. Her sixth studio album, while primarily R&B, mixes genres fluidly, from pop to country to hip-hop and more. Not to mention the stunning visuals that accompany the album both through its music videos, album cover and promotional material. The fearless tracks include the free-spirited Sorry and Hold On, before it draws attention to the Black Lives Matter Movement in Formation and Freedom (ft Kendrick Lamar). Her more moving tracks reflect on her personal life, including Daddy Lessons and Sandcastles, while they pale in comparison to the other tracks on the album, they’re vulnerable. The whole album adds a new layer of vulnerability in fact, yet is done so on Byeoncé’s own terms. Yet another example of the Queen B’s strength, it’s perhaps her most varied and ambitious piece of work to date; it could have so easily disappointed yet undoubtedly pulls it off.
Track to listen to – Freedom (ft. Kendrick Lamar)
1. Catfish and the Bottlemen – The Ride
Following their debut album The Balcony, The Ride sees alternative rock band Catfish and the Bottlemen exploring new territory while never quite letting go of their roots. From 7 to Outside, Catfish show us the difficulties of long distance relationships, the excitement, and confusion of finding someone who challenges you and the hope it will live up to your expectations. It does it all while being honest, raw and captivating. While tracks such as Glasgow and Heathrow show their acoustic charm, standout tracks such as 7 and Soundcheck showcase the band’s polished, yet unpretentious sound. It’s not the most adventurous album, but they never pretend to be something that they’re not, easily placing them in my top spot of the year.
Track to listen to – Anything