Image for post
Image for post
Bob Marley and the Wailers had a prolific 1973, releasing both “Burnin’” and “Catch a Fire” within five-months.

Those who have been keeping up with my series “Ten Best Albums of…,” I apologize for breaking my promise of writing weekly. Last week was the start of my junior year of college, and couldn’t find the time to get this article out by last Monday. Two weeks ago, I explored the year 1989, a melting pot prelude of grunge, indie rock, and hip-hop that would dominate the upcoming decade. This week though, I explore a year from hands down the greatest decade of music the 70s, but more specifically, 1973. This was a time in history where the soul genre was in its golden age, best known for classic works from Stevie Wonder and Sly & The Family Stone fighting the good fight in an era of social regression. …


Image for post
Image for post
The Cure dominated the 80s, capping off the decade with renowned classic “Disintegration.”

After spending the first couple of articles in the series “Ten Best Albums of…” within the 2000s, I jump to the very tail end of the 80s, in 1989, where genres that dominated the early part of the decade like new wave and post-punk were set aside for the immense popularity of metal, post-hardcore, and the U.K. Madchester scene. Beneath the mainstream horizon, hip-hop continued it’s rise to stardom that would dominate the 90s while early indie rock and grunge took shape with bands like Pixies and Nirvana leading the era respectably. Household names included but were not limited to Madonna and her defining singe “Like a Prayer” and Prince, who was tapped for the soundtrack of “Batman,” which at the time was the fifth highest-grossing film of all time. And to throw a curveball into the mix, a handful of classic compilation albums compiling old E.P.’s into first-time album releases from Minor Threat, Fugazi, and Nick Cave’s first band, The Birthday Party. 1989 was an exciting mix; you had plenty of genres in there infancy with others inevitably fading out of the conversation, transitioning into the wild west that was the 90s. …


Image for post
Image for post
Amy Winehouse, as seen on the cover of “Back to Black.”

Jumping forward just a few years from 2003, the music landscape as one would expect hadn’t changed too much. In the mainstream eye, the garage rock revival was still dominating the airways, Justin Timberlake had his solo breakthrough after a four-year hiatus in the form of “FutureSex / LoveSounds” featuring mega-hits “SexyBack” and “Summer Love.” Other high profile releases included Beyonce’s sophomore “B’Day” and Red Hot Chili Peppers behemoth double album “Stadium Arcadium,” including the successful single “Dani California.” The east-coast hip-hop scene stole the show producing classic albums from veterans Ghostface Killah and The Roots while the modern-day trap started to take its current shape with the pounding 808 drums of DJ Burn One and Gucci Mane’s “Chicken Talk.” …


Image for post
Image for post
White Stripes lead the garage rock revival explosion of the early 2000s.

Getting in the habit of regularly publishing on Medium, let alone weekly, has been my goal ever since I published my first article last year during my freshman spring semester. For various reasons such as school and lack of motivation, my content on Medium has been few and far between, something I have now decided to change thanks to some internal inspiration.

Starting with this article today, I have set out to create a weekly series where I’ll write about what I believe are the ten best albums of a given year. The goal, take a trip down memory lane, highlighting the impact of renowned classics and perhaps exposing lesser-known gems to a new audience. …


Image for post
Image for post
FKA twigs performing during her 2019 “MAGDALENE” tour.

Spots 50–26 showcased trap all-stars like Young Nudy and Pi’erre Bourne’s collaborative effort “Sli’merre,” Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds ability to reinvent themselves with “Ghosteen,” and a UK rap classic from slowthai in the form of politically driven “Nothing Great About Britain.” 25–1 features everything from Lana Del Rey’s longtime coming opus to Danny Brown, finally rapping from a state of wellbeing. It was a well-diversified year of music, ending the decade on a strong note with one of the best years of a boundary-pushing decade.

25. “Zdenka 2080” by Salami Rose Joe Louis

Image for post
Image for post
Released August 30th

Lindsay Olsen, better known as Salami Rose Joe Louis’s third album, is a wonderful mashup of elements of neo-psychedelia, dream pop, nu-jazz, electronic, and more. It’s an ambitious synthy album, one that tells a narrative of our future world in 2080 decimated by the effects of climate change while simultaneously working towards a better future. “Zdenka 2080” is relevant in theme, envisioning a bleak future of our earth if we fail to take action to the current epidemic of climate change, all done in a cutting edge 44 minutes of genre bleeding brilliance. …


Image for post
Image for post
Polo G released one of the year’s most surprising albums of 2019, “Die a Legend.”

2019 was a fantastic year for music; every genre had its share of standout releases to wrap up this turbulent decade. Both heavyweight artists with defiant career works and new faces establishing themselves for years to come were in abundance, enough to make this list a two-part series. From budding star, Kelsey Lu to the dominance of Griselda Records, this is part one of the best albums 2019 had to offer.

50. “Snaxx” by Mndsgn

Image for post
Image for post
Released June 14th

Released on the Stones Throw label, many may not know Mndsgn by name, but working with artists such as Danny Brown and Quelle, you have more than likely heard some of his production work if you follow the current underground hip-hop scene. At 14 songs in just 25 minutes, “Snaxx” is a quick mellow experience with most of the tracks not even cracking the two-minute mark. Closing out the album, you’ll find a feature from the up and coming Pink Siifu on the track “Ggardenn,” a highlight for sure. …


2019 was filled with an array of impressive albums worthy of high praise for years to come. Before we talk about those, let’s take a look back at the year’s albums that left us with more questions than answers and much to be desired.

Image for post
Image for post

It’s the most challenging part of being a fan of an artist, waiting in some cases years just to be let down by music that fails to live up to it’s potential. Unfocused ideas, failed experimentation at a new sound, or simply not able to live up to the hype set by the fanbase, these things happen all the time in music. Still, when we receive a clunker of an album from an established artist or hyped prospect, it’s hard not to feel some level of disappointment. …


Image for post
Image for post

Hip-hop has always been a genre dominated by the youth. Those who’ve made a name for themselves before the turn of the 21st century are currently few and far in between. This group is even smaller when talking about artists who are still relevant in today’s rap landscape. So what has Jay-Z done to stay both in the mainstream eye and continue to make great music even as he approaches 50? For the longest time, it looked as rappers either fade out of the picture before the quality of music falls off a cliff or become so popular that they hang around long enough by default and taint their legacy through the inevitable lackluster middle and late-career albums such as what has happened to Eminem. Jay-Z’s career trajectory, on the other hand, tells a different story. It can be a cold world for many rappers once they hit 30, let alone approaching 50. …


Four Years Later, The Cultural and Social Impact of “To Pimp A Butterfly”

Image for post
Image for post
Kendrick Lamar performs his hit song “Alright” at the 2015 BET awards.

Once an album is out and the release date is in the rearview mirror, we the consumers don’t pay much attention to anything outside of the year it was released, and even that can be a stretch. It means nothing to us, take September 29th, 1998, for example. On that day, we received new albums from the likes of Black Star, Jay-Z, A Tribe Called Quest, and most notably Outkast’s Aquemini. We received four great albums, two classics in Black Star and Aquemini, maybe a third depending on your opinion of Jay-Z’s Vol. 2, yet 20 plus years later even the biggest of hip-hop fans won’t bat an eye if the date September 29th, 1998 is ever brought up. …

About

Evan Shrewsbury

College student with aspirations of working in the music industry, for now, I’ll try my hand at a blog.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store