BSR Web Staff: Best Albums

Written by on February 28, 2020

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The Black Squirrel Radio Web Staff decided to put together a list of their favorite albums. Each staff member picked an album from the year they were born, the year they graduated high school and their favorite album ever to review.

Kelsey Paulus

Album from the year I was born- Kid A by Radiohead

Kid A is one of Radiohead’s most prominent projects in their discography due to its experimentation early on in 2000. This album is a perfect listen from start to finish and displays Radiohead’s progressiveness as a band. 

Album from the year I graduated high school- Veteran by JPEGMAFIA

Veteran is one of the best experimental hip-hop projects to be released to this day. Peggy is one of the most creative artists when it comes to sampling, and this album is nothing less than impressive. This album was produced by himself, making it even more constructive and accredited. 

Favorite album- Gone Now by Bleachers

As a fan of Jack Antonoff’s for years, Gone Now perfectly encapsulates everything he and his music are capable of. This album follows Jack’s emotions after losing his sister to cancer, and how it has shaped his life thereafter. Even though this is a personal experience, the album is relatable in many different ways, showcasing one of the best things that makes music worthwhile; empathy. 

Khiara McCarroll 

Album from the year I was born- No. 1’s by Mariah Carey

An iconic compilation album of Mariah Carey’s greatest hits count, right? 

Album from the year I graduated high school- As You Please by Citizen’s 

Citizen’s third sophomore album is a good album from one of my favorite bands of all time. It’s a good one to listen to during the late summer/early fall and as my favorite time of year, I appreciate that. 

 Favorite album- Copacetic by Knuckle Puck

A masterpiece of an album, this album is full of songs I want to cry to as well as songs I want to fight it out in the pit to. There’s not a song I want to skip on this album. If my life had a soundtrack, this would most likely be it. It’s on repeat all year round. 

Brittany Miller

Album from the year I was born- Emergency & I by Dismemberment Plan

Dismemberment Plan’s third album, Emergency & I, is both nothing like you’ve ever heard, yet is also everything that you’ve ever heard before in an indie rock album. It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact sound or influence with this album because it feels like it comes from everywhere and out of nowhere all at once. They have a sound that is evocative of Built to Spill and Talking Heads, but the bouncing guitars and the synths that slither throughout the melodies are a game changer, and prove that synths can be used in indie rock without turning the genre exclusively electronic. This is one of those albums that I can recommend to nearly everyone, and I really hope you’ll give this one a listen!

Album from the year I graduated high school- Sleep Well Beast by The National

Now, I’m probably biased as all heck with this one especially because I already love The National, and my favorite design studio, Pentagram, re-branded The National specifically for the release of Sleep Well Beast. This album is personally one of my favorites from the Cincinnati band because it finally highlights the lack of restraint that is typically shown exclusively in their live shows, but it still maintains the intimate melancholic niche that their previous albums have always filled. The National is an essential band to know in the world of indie rock, and while this album is less popular than some of their others, it is still absolutely amazing.

Favorite album- Doolittle by Pixies

Hey! I cannot stress this enough that Doolittle by Pixies is one of the best albums of all time. In this album, Pixies combine intelligent lyrics with grungy, overdriven, and reverb-heavy guitars and vocals that perfectly encompass late 1980’s indie rock. “Debaser” is the opening track, and it chooses to rip through you with the slinky guitars and blunt drums. “Hey”, one of the final tracks of the album, has a much more contained and minimalist sound. This album has it all with sounds that you can describe as grungy, poppy and restrained all at the same time. All in all, this album is easily considered a masterpiece and deserves the highest of recognition.

Rory Larrison

Album from the year I was born- Extr-A-Teens by A*Teens

This is a real thing I listened to growing up. I have no idea how it got onto my mom’s silver iPod nano, but some of my earliest memories of music come from the teenage ABBA cover band A*Teens. This EP has only three tracks, but it introduced me to the bizarre world of 2000’s music. I don’t know what else to say about it. 

Album from the year I graduated high school- Electric Light by James Bay

To be completely honest, my favorite album of 2018 was Trench by twenty one pilots, but I was embarrassed to have two albums by them on my list, so Electric Light is a close second. The album is smooth and jazzy, but also a bop and a half– perfect to dance. We stan. Good job, James!

Favorite album – Vessel by Twenty One Pilots

If you know me at all, this is no surprise. It feels like I’ve grown up with this album and this band even though in reality I found it only five years ago. I guess that’s like half of my adult life so far though to be fair! Vessel has helped me through the rough time that is high school, and I have so many memories, both good and bad, associated with every song on it. I wouldn’t have it any other way. My connection with this album runs deep, especially considering it holds my favorite song of all time, “Trees”. The fact that I also have a tattoo of a tree may or may not be coincidental.

Brandon Lewis

Album from the year I was born- The Truth by Prince

My mom is Prince’s No. 1 fan. She has every album and every song he has ever produced on CD, so naturally when I was trying to find an album to review from 1998, I had to go with Prince.

Album from the year I graduated high school- This One’s for You by Luke Combs

Three of my favorite Luke Combs songs are on here: “Hurricane” (track No. 5); “One Number Away” (track No. 6) and “When It Rains It Pours(track No. 8), and Florida Georgia Line sadly did not release an album in 2017, so I had to go with my man Combs here.

Favorite album- Here’s to the Good Times by Florida Georgia Line

How can this album not be my favorite ever?! The No. 1 track, “Cruise” is my favorite all time FGL song, mainly because it’s the first song I heard by them, and the reason why I love country music. Besides “Cruise”, this album also includes some of my all-time favorite FGL songs, including “Hell Raisin’ Heat of the Summer”, “Party People”, “Round Here” and “Here’s to the Good Times”.

Grace Kolich

Album from the year I was born- A Rush of Blood to the Head by Coldplay

This album was actually released on the day of my birth, Aug. 26. This is from back when Coldplay released good, meaningful, sing-a-long-able tunes, and I highly doubt that any person reading this did not have a moment where they were sitting on their bed, sad that their mom didn’t pack the right lunchable for their fifth field trip, listening to all five minutes and nine seconds of “The Scientist” by Coldplay.

Album from the year I graduated high school- Very Cool Music for Very Cool People by Fredo Disco

Fredo Disco defined my senior year of high school. Everyday during lunch period, my friend Sam and I would sit in Ms. Eckman’s classroom and be angsty while listening to some of Fredo Disco’s bops, specifically “Saturn SUV”. If you are looking for a good bop, check out “Jimbo”. During exam season, check out “Greens”. Also, they are coming to Ohio on March 14, so catch me there!

Favorite album- Don’t You by Wet

I was going to choose a Fredo Disco album, but I already praised them enough. I mostly listen to “feelings music,” that kind of music when you are feeling sad or lonely. But, I listen to it all the time; it boosts my mood. There are maybe twp (?) songs on this album that I wouldn’t be able to sing by heart. The song “Body” can be applied to so many “in your feelings” feelings — like love, disassociating, body dysmorphia, etc. I thought “Softens” was on that album, but turns out I don’t know what I’m talking about. Check out “Softens” though; it’s a bop.

Kayla Ann Mullins

Album from the year I was born- 1 by The Beatles

1 is a compilation album originally released on Nov. 13, 2000. It includes almost all of the Beatles hit songs. I mean, it’s the Beatles; they have great music. 1 sold over 31 million copies and topped the charts worldwide.

Album from the year I graduated high school- Sing to Me Instead by Ben Platt

In 2019, Ben Platt started making commercial music. Beforehand, he was mostly known for his work on Broadway. Due to his background in theatre, Platt’s voice is utterly flawless. Along with that, this album specifically is full of heartbreaking stories of love, loss and doubt. 

Favorite album- Neotheater by AJR

The title of best album ever is a really hard category to fill. What makes a good album? So much of it is subjective. But to me, Neotheater is a work of art. All of the songs are connected musically which is unbelievably impressive. The album is also clearly a work of love by AJR. It’s a very recent album and might not have shaken the earth to its core, but it is an amazing listen. AJR is also coming to Ohio in May, and I am endlessly excited to see them perform these songs live.

Julia Kelch

Album from the year I was born- Different Stages by Rush

Picking the best album that came out the year I was born was the most difficult. I was an infant; I wasn’t able to listen to music yet. However, when researching for this article, I discovered that one of my favorite bands, Rush, released an album, Different Stages, in 1998. It is a live album recorded over three different tours with the band, and it is a very interesting listen. You can hear the differences in recordings, which is interesting. It’s always fun to hear a big rock band in a live setting like that. Even if you aren’t physically present, a recording can still evoke some of those emotions. I can’t say that this is one of my favorite albums by Rush, but it did come out in 1998 and I love Rush, so I’ll take it.
Album from the year I graduated high school- Death of a Bachelor by Panic! At The Disco.
What was the best album from the year I graduated from high school? Well, when I think about the person I was back then (four years ago now, yikes!), I was just beginning to shape my music taste into what it is now. Thinking about that, my favorite album of 2016 was Death of a Bachelor by Panic! At The Disco. Another album that really made me a fan of the artist.
As someone who grew up in the early 2010’s I was of course familiar with Panic!, but I was never a big fan until this album. This was what I consider to be Brendan Urie’s first really foray into pop music, something that clearly worked out in his favor. I love that he was able to keep making great, albeit very different music, without the former members of the band. The experiment that began with this album has definitely been a good one for him, and it made me an official Panic! At The Disco fan until I die.
Favorite album- Sweetener by Ariana Grande
Favorite album of all time? Sweetener by Ariana Grande, hands down, no cap! It was a cultural reset as the kids like to say. I wasn’t a fan of her originally, but this album changed my mind. With this album, Grande was able to make people see her as a more serious songwriter and artist, not just some ex-child star trying to have a music career. The album itself is so beautiful. It shows her vocal chops and is such a sweet expression of new love and all the feelings that go with it. It is a 11/10, and I will not be hearing feedback at this time.

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