Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves
It’s that one-of-a-kind album that is just so great to listen to: you never get tired of it. No wonder why Golden Hour won the Album of the Year Grammy Award in 2019. It’s so relatable from the first song to the last one. Musically and lyrically, it’s so simply pure and clever, a beautiful pop and country blend (something Taylor Swift kind of failed to do on Red). Kacey Musgraves nailed the art of writing about the joys of love and life while also being aware of their downs. Favourite songs: “Lonely Weekend”, “Oh, What A World”, “Love Is A Wild Thing”, “Happy & Sad”, “Velvet Elvis”, “Wonder Woman”, “High Horse”, and “Golden Hour”.
Red (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift
In 2012, Taylor Swift released Red and we all knew it was the beginning of her abandoning country music (or so we thought). At the Grammy Awards, it lost Album of the Year because the main criticism it got was that it wasn’t cohesive (as mentioned earlier). Nonetheless, maybe it wasn’t cohesive musically (you had some loud pop jams here, some country vibes there), but theme-wise it was. In fact, it was all over the place, just like a person is when they go through a bad breakup. And Red was Taylor’s ultimate breakup album. However, when Taylor announced that she would be re-recording her first six albums, she had the chance to improve Red and make it a more cohesive/pop album. If the newest version of Red was out the first time, it would have probably won Album of the Year. Anyway, even if you’re not going through a breakup at the moment, you should listen to it, appreciate every iconic lyric from the best songs off of it, and go through the ups and downs of love, or more precisely of being young and wildly in love and then suddenly hit by a truck. Favourite songs: “Red”, “Treacherous”, “The Last Time”, “Holy Ground”, “Begin Again”, “Girl At Home”, “Ronan”, “Nothing New”, “Message in a Bottle”, “I Bet You Think About Me”, “All Too Well (10-min Version)”.
Stripped by Christina Aguilera
Although Back to Basics might be better, I love Stripped and I love Xtina. She might be known for her big voice, but I see her as a pioneer. In fact, she did what people think only feminists/artists in recent years, like Beyoncé or Lady Gaga, have done. In 2002, she was already talking about double standards between men and women and was advocating for equality in “Can’t Hold Us Down”. Moreover, nine years before Lady Gaga came out with “Born This Way”, Christina released “Beautiful,” the most sentimental and powerful ballad I know about loving yourself. I was too young when the album came out, but it was there for me during tough times in the beginning of my twenties. I felt understood by the young Xtina. She’s an artist always ahead of her time and never truly understood, and I feel that at times. Stripped has a very special place in my heart. Favourite songs: “Can’t Hold Us Down”, “Fighter”, “Infatuation”, “Beautiful”, “The Voice Within”.
Let Go by Avril Lavigne
Ahhhhh, that album makes me nostalgic. It made me wanna be a rockstar, it made me dream. I thought I was tough like Avril, or had a thick skin. She made me want to be myself, not afraid of being me, and just embrace my differences. A youthful album, with simple (cheesy, but acceptable) lyrics, that is there for you anytime you wanna rock out. Favourite songs: “Complicated”, “Sk8er Boi”, “Mobile”, “Anything But Ordinary”, “Things I’ll Never Say”, “My World”, “Naked”.
Prism by Katy Perry
Teenage Dream was maybe Katy Perry’s most popular album, but Prism was the one where Katy was herself completely. I remember, when I went to buy the album the day of its release, my friend accompanied me, and when she saw the cover, she told me, “I think this is Katy Perry at her best, for the first time, not wearing a wig, or hiding behind a mask.” Then, when I went back home to listen to Prism, I realized that my friend’s predictions were right. She didn’t write a controversial or over-the-top cheesy pop song. She reflected on her divorce, her past mistakes, and decided to make room not only for true love, but for self-love. Thus, it’s an album about finding the light at the end of the tunnel. Favourite songs: “Roar”, “Walking On Air”, “Unconditionally”, “International Smile”, “Love Me”, “Double Rainbow”, “By The Grace Of God”, “It Takes Two”.