Singles – Future Islands (2014)

Singles - Future Islands (2014)

Singles is an appropriate name for this album, because that’s what this album sounds like: a collection of singles. Singles kind of acts like a greatest hits album for songs that were never released by Future Islands, and because of that there isn’t a bad song on this album. Not only does this album not have a bad song, the vocals from Samuel T. Herring are pretty amazing. If I had to make a list of strongest singers of 2014, Samuel T. Herring would be the entire top five because of the set of vocal chords that guy has.

Choice Cut: Seasons (Waiting On You)

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Pretty Hate Machine – Nine Inch Nails (1989)

Pretty Hate Machine - Nine Inch Nails (1989)

Influenced by the likes of Gary Numan and Adam Ant, Trent Reznor set out to make a dark and edgy rock/electronic album. The end result was Pretty Hate Machine, which switches between wanting to dance and wanting to cry. While opinions on Reznor’s lyrics are divided, it is hard to find someone who does not admit that the music on this album is different than anything they’ve ever heard, at least before 1989. This album is musically raw, which one would not expect from the mashup of electronic and rock.

Choice Cut: Terrible Lie
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Black Sun – Gold Fields (2013)

Black Sun - Gold Fields (2013)

The synthpop sub-genre had intrigued me for a while so I decided to expand my tastes. I found the album Black Sun through an iTunes recommendation and I was pleasantly surprised by the result. Throughout the album lie many strong points such as Dark Again, Treehouse, and You’re Still Gone. People looking for a break from their normal tastes in music will be able to find enjoyment in Black Sun, as I did. The album covers material from pop to alternative rock and is incredibly easy to get into.

Choice Cut: Dark Again
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Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix – Phoenix (2009)

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix (2009)

When I first heard 1901, it was unlike anything I’d ever listened to before. I caught onto the song quickly and decided to listen to the album it came from. After giving Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix a few listens, I was hooked on the entire album, and it opened the door for me to alternative rock in general. Many things are done on Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix that simply can’t be found on any other album. The vocals are mixed perfectly with the instrumentals on all tracks and elements of alternative rock and synthpop are blended to make Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix a true one-of-a-kind album.

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Ice on the Dune – Empire of the Sun (2013)

Ice on the Dune - Empire of the Sun (2013)

It takes a special kind of talent to create an album with a theme and make it work successfully. Empire of the Sun accomplishes this feat on their album Ice on the Dune. As the title suggests, there is a recurring theme of snow and ice throughout the album. As uncanny of a theme as it is, every song successfully reflects the theme of ice thanks to the album’s unique production and execution. As for the songs, every song manages to stand out from the rest, resulting in some great picks such as DNA, Concert Pitch, and Alive.

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Illumination – Miami Horror (2010)

Illumination - Miami Horror (2010)


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Illumination isn’t one of those albums that you listen to once and forget about. There is something really unique about this album whether you favor pop, house, soft rock, or alternative. It covers all of those genres and so much more. Each song sounds as if it was uniquely crafted, resulting in an album for all emotions. There are songs about celebration, adventure, love, or just basking in the summer sun. Listening to this album will take you on a journey.

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