folk

Melalbums of 2015 (loved list)

Here are my favorite records of the year thus far, in no particular order and continuously updated:

Sleater-KinneyNo Cities to Love

Björk – Vulnicura

Susanne SundførTen Love Songs

Screaming FemalesRose Mountain

Open Mike EagleA Special Episode Of EP

DoomtreeAll Hands

Sufjan Stevens Carrie & Lowell

Kendrick LamarTo Pimp a Butterfly

Laura MarlingShort Movie

Titus AndronicusThe Most Lamentable Tragedy

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Melalbums of 2014 (in no particular order)

Stephen Malkmus and the JicksWig Out at Jagbags

WarpaintWarpaint

Sun Kil Moon Benji

St. VincentSt. Vincent

Wild Beasts Present Tense

BeckMorning Phase

Freddie Gibbs & MadlibPiñata

LiarsMess

Cloud NothingsHere and Nowhere Else

Have a Nice LifeThe Unnatural World

A Silver Mt. ZionFuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything

The War on DrugsLost in the Dream

The Pains of Being Pure at HeartDays of Abandon

BraidNo Coast

The New PornographersBrill Bruisers

tUnE-yArDsNikki Nack

Against Me!Transgender Dysphoria Blues

SwansTo Be Kind

Sharon Van EttenAre We There

First Aid KitStay Gold

J. MascisTied to a Star

Thurston Moore The Best Day

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Mimicking BirdsEons

Open Mike EagleDark Comedy

Busdriver Perfect Hair

milo a toothpaste suburb

Shabazz Palaces Lese Majesty

FKA Twigs LP1

Aphex Twin Syro

Princess NokiaMetallic Butterfly

Azealia BanksBroke With Expensive Taste

Iceage Plowing Into the Field of Love

Perfume GeniusToo Bright

Mick JenkinsThe Water[s]

Caribou Our Love

Flying Lotus You’re Dead!

Run the Jewels Run the Jewels 2

D’Angelo and the VanguardBlack Messiah

Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It

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There are two pivotal aspects of music I look for when I first hear an album. First of all, I look for any musical complexities that make me get lost in the chord progressions and layered sounds. I also look for lyrics I can relate to or storytelling within the lyrics that takes me to a different place completely. Either way, I’m constantly seeking something abstract that takes my mind on a new journey.

When I first heard the new Perfume Genius album, Put Your Back N 2 It, I did not hear any musical complexities, nor was I totally sold on the song lyrics. However, I was immediately captivated by Mike Hadreas’ heartfelt vocals and overall passion through each and every track. Make sure you have a box of tissues close by because this album is poignant and somber to the max. His beautiful falsetto makes his lyrics truly come alive and he often sounds like he is holding back tears. Don’t get me wrong, his song lyrics are far from boring and though they aren’t intricate necessarily, they are so brutally honest and his voice delivers them in such a sincere tone. I almost felt like I was surreptitiously reading through his diary at some parts; it’s devastating how open and honest Mike presents himself throughout this new release. Songs like“Normal Song” and “Hood” have common chord progressions, but his powerful vocals make tracks like these all the more touching.“Hood” illustrates the struggle of revealing one’s true identity when in a romantic relationship and how it’s even harder when you think the other person wouldn’t love you if only they knew who you really are.

As for an overarching theme in Put Your Back N 2 It, Mike Hadreas deals with problems of drugs, abuse, and even suicide. “17” was the first standout track for me and he has said in interviews that it is written in reference to a gay suicide letter. Musically, these songs are backed by a piano or guitar and the simplicity of it all is appealing to me because it makes the vocals stand out tremendously.

Even though it is incredibly hard for me to pick a favorite track, “All Waters” is the one that sends the most shivers down my spine. All in all, Put Your Back N 2 It is a magnificent work of art because of the way that it so effortlessly captures the pain of human emotions. I would say it is a major improvement from Mike Hadreas’ debut album, Learning. The production is better, the album as whole seems more consistent. It isn’t as lo-fi as the last release; you can hear his voice clearly this time. The only complaint I have is that the songs are so short (the album is only 32 minutes long), but perhaps that is the magic of this release. It leaves you wanting more every time.

9/10