Meyer explores his favorite albums


Cam Meyer, Editor In-Chief

Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of music, from Kanye to Counting Crows, so let’s take a look at five of my favorite albums at the moment. I say at the moment because my favorites change on what feels like a week-to-week basis. With that being said, my music taste is very diverse. Readers will soon see that in this column alone, artists such as Frank Ocean and Tyler, the Creator share the floor with bands like Counting Crows and Pearl Jam.

The first album on this list of favorites is Ten by Pearl Jam. Ten, released on August 27, 1991 was Pearl Jam’s debut album. While Pearl Jam had accusations of jumping on the “grunge bandwagon” of the late ‘80s-early ‘90s, Ten was crucial in popularizing alternative rock in the mainstream music scene. Some songs that I would recommend from Ten include one of Pearl Jam’s best known songs “Black,” the bands first single “Alive,” and finally, the longest song on the album “Release.” Most of these tracks begin as instrumental songs, to which lead vocalist Eddie Vedder adds lyrics that cover the topics of depression, abuse, and homelessness. As I listen to these tracks, I can picture exactly what Vedder is singing about, because of his lyrical genius, and the way he is able to paint a picture over a verse to give it life.

Following Ten, we move into the hip hop/Chicago rap scene with Kanye West’s The College Dropout. Kanye burst onto the rap scene in 2004 after producing for many artists, the most notable being Jay-Z, as he was a producer on The Blueprint. Kanye wanted to prove that he could be much more than a producer after he was involved in a near-fatal car crash in 2002, and that’s exactly what he did with his first studio album. After the crash, Kanye’s jaw had to be wired shut, and even with the major setback, he recorded the album’s lead single “Through the Wire.” Other tracks that you should give a listen to are “All Falls Down,” which reflects Kanye’s battle with consumerism, a slow, harmonious track in “Slow Jamz,” and another long track as it clocks in at 12 minutes and 41 seconds “Last Call.”
Next up, I’m going to take a look at Tyler, the Creator’s fourth studio album, released in 2017, Flower Boy. Tyler took a very different approach in producing this album than his first album trilogy. Listening to this trilogy, you get more of a feel of horrorcore and alternative hip-hop, while in Flower Boy, you see more of Tyler’s R&B and neo-soul side. My favorite track is easily “November,” because of the way Tyler talks about his insecurities and fears concerning his life, career, and relationships. He is able to make the lyrics flow so well together and make the message of the song not feel forced. Other songs off of this album that I would recommend would have to be “9/11 / Mr. Lonely” and “Foreword.”

After Flower Boy, comes another debut album from 1993, this time from Counting Crows. Counting Crows released an emotionally honest record in August and Everything After, and they show this description very well in two specific songs that happen to be my favorites off of this album. “Anna Begins,” is a track of denial, the denial of two people falling in love (lead singer Adam Duritz and “Anna,” a girl he met on vacation in Greece in 1989.) Secondly, “Round Here,” has more of a feel-good meaning to it, as it has to do with our dreams and how they motivate us to do what we do.

Finally in this list of many albums, comes another fairly recent one, as it was released in 2016, with Frank Ocean’s Blonde. Blonde has more of an atmospheric feel than Frank’s first album Chanel Orange, as that album felt more upbeat and rich. Frank also moved farther away from that upbeat feel in tracks like “White Ferrari,” “Godspeed,” and “Nights,” where he explores heavily on concepts like falling in and out of love and failed relationships. This record comes full circle with the final track “Futura Free,” as Frank speaks on being able to move on and move forward in his newfound freedom.

Writing this column, I noticed that it was way harder to pick just five albums than I ever thought it would be. Now that I’m wrapped up with these albums, I could see myself having a whole new lineup by next week that are considered my “favorites.”