Student Album Picks To Listen To During Quarantine (May 2020)
Music keeps us connected, validated, and gives us room to express our emotions. As many of us find ourselves approaching almost three months into quarantine, we are now turning to music more than ever to maintain our waning sanity and to find peace of mind during this chaotic time. The three albums below span from 2013 to 2020, yet all delineate messages and themes that are just as relevant to what is happening today.
Whether you need to cry over a heartbreak, have a complete self-reclamation, or just want to work out to some energizing beats, you will find a song below that suits your needs.
These are some of the best albums to listen to during quarantine!
Wasteland, Baby! – Hozier 2019
Hozier is an Irish musician who quickly came to fame after his debut album “Hozier” in 2014. “Wasteland, Baby!” was Hozier’s first album in almost five years, and this long-awaited album did not disappoint. This album delivers a raw, emotional, and almost hard-to-swallow account of the hardships of modern life where Hozier confronts difficult themes of death, abuse, love, chaos, and reclamation.
“Wasteland, Baby!” is an incredibly dynamic album that plays with different styles of music in a surprisingly cohesive way. While Hozier is typically branded as an indie singer, he explores a more upbeat, pop-esque style in songs like “Almost” and “No Plan.” However, Hozier also incorporates his blues-rock style in “To Noise Making,” and even embraces his traditional indie-rock archetype in “Dinner and Diatribes.” Hozier’s incredible versatility in this album and the masterful juxtaposition of emotions within his songs makes it one of the best indie albums of 2019. However, this album is also especially pertinent today: with all of the chaos enveloping our world, many of us feel like we’re holding on for dear life just to stay afloat. “Wasteland, Baby!” reminds the listener that happiness can arise from even the darkest of places and that the good can still be celebrated despite the bad.
Dark Lane Demo Tapes – Drake 2020
Drake is a Canadian rapper and one of the most prominent figures in modern music today. Drake’s newest album Dark Lane Demo Tapes masterfully showcases Drake’s versatility and his flawless control of different styles of music. Although the fourteen songs do not seem to be connected in any way or put forth any common themes or meanings, this formalized mixtape seamlessly joins fragments of songs Drake has been working on in recent years.
Drake effortlessly showcases his adaptability in this mixtape by collaborating with a variety of different artists. In “Pain 1993,” Drake takes on a more relaxed vibe to match Carti’s laid back vocals. In “Demons,” Drake adds more dynamic and spirited bars over a unique beat to match the fast-paced style of the rappers Fivio Foreign and Sosa Geek. In addition, Drake’s hold over a variety of music styles is incredibly evident in one of the more popular songs on the album, “Chicago Freestyle.” In this collab with Giveon, a soul/R&B artist, Drake easily adapts to the traditionally slower groove of R&B while still keeping his traditional style. Despite being released just this past week, Dark Lane Demo Tapes is already soaring in the charts and is proof that Drake shows no signs of slowing down, even in quarantine.
Birthdays – Keaton Henson 2013
Keaton Henson is an English musician who specializes in indie and folk-rock music. After his debut album “Dear,” which was intimately recorded in his bedroom in 2010, he professionally produced “Birthdays” in 2013. “Birthdays,” while delicate in its sounding, is a deeply powerful album that grapples with feelings of sadness, guilt, longing, and heartbreak. Throughout the fourteen songs on the album, Henson tells brief, connected vignettes of unrequited love, the pain of heartache, and the emotions that come with mourning the one that got away.
Each song in “Birthdays” is intensely personal and reflects a great deal of introspection on Henson’s part. In the album’s opener, “Teach Me,” Henson broaches the subject of a love that is not reciprocated, singing, “I’ll never love you enough, my love.” Later on, in “Sweetheart, What Have You Done to Us,” the album bifurcates into two different stories when Henson paints himself as the victim in a failing relationship. Overall, the slow build-up of each song and Henson’s hauntingly delicate voice pack the album with such emotion that the listener can’t help but be moved. Henson unashamedly displays his raw anxieties in a way that validates all emotions and reminds us of how important it is to simply feel – an invaluable lesson that could not be more relevant today.