Music albums I like
This quasi-abandoned blog notably has a “Music I like” page, which has not been updated… since four years ago. Not that anyone cares, of course. The reasons why I stopped updating it definitely include the previous sentence, but that could apply to the entirety of this website; in the case of that page particularly, there is a more specific reason. Due to contractual changes with my communication services provider, I had to stop using their streaming service, which was the one I had used the most up until that point, and which provided 10 free track downloads per month. By the way, said streaming service was discontinued later in February 2018 – a move which certainly had nothing to do with the fact that my departure in 2016 allegedly brought them from 6 to 5 monthly active users.
This meant that I no longer had a reason to necessarily find at least 10 tracks to download every month, and the rhythm at which I processed new tracks into my library became even less regular. Checking my library now, it seems I went 6 months without processing new music into my library; it’s entirely possible I found mediocre SoundCloud music sufficient for that period. Eventually, legitimate replacement music sources were found, and my library would continue to grow, now having over 400 additional tracks compared to when that page, which does not contain the entirety of my library, stopped being updated. That’s an average of less than 9 new tracks per month, which means I’m adding less music now than when I had the minimum monthly goal of 10.
I could dump a massive update on the “Music I like page”, to inefficiently inform the world about these 🔥 absolute bangers 🔥👌👌, but I decided there is little point to an endless list of mediocre EDM, house, electronic synth-/indie-/progressive-pop singular tracks. Realistically, it wouldn’t provide any benefit over you just finding some fine examples of these genres with the help of YouTube’s and Spoitify’s recommendation engines, unless you craved the “Music I like” lists specifically because of the more obscure tracks I found, in which case you are just a creepy weirdo.
I realize it’s about time I move towards sharing my musical taste over more widely accepted methods, such as Spotify playlists; the reason why I’m yet to do so is that I often find my music elsewhere, and I don’t feel like manually adding my 1000+ track library to Spotify, searching track by track. Yes, as a programmer I also realize there are probably tools to help with this. Yes, as a programmer I’m also too lazy to bother. Instead of mentioning individual tracks without commentary, I’m going to talk about, review if you will, the albums which I’ve found to enjoy quite a lot over the last couple of years. And by “albums I enjoy”, I mean albums I like to listen to, from beginning to end, without “unfavorite” tracks.
Let’s start with Good Faith, the album released in November 2019 by Madeon. Wikipedia tells me the genre of this album is supposed to be French House, and I’m like, yeah whatever, because this doesn’t quite sound like house to me and it also doesn’t necessarily sound French. This album has a very different style from the tracks I knew from his previous album, Adventure – “You’re On”, “Pay No Mind”, “Finale” and “The City” – to the point where if it didn’t say Madeon on the cover, I’d probably assume it was from a different artist. I’m totally fine with this change, same artist or not, especially because this latest album apparently aligns more with my current taste; I definitely had “unfavorite” tracks in Adventure, while Good Faith is definitely one I listen to from beginning to end.
To stress the fact that I’m going through albums in no particular order, I’ll now talk about an album released earlier, in March 2019: Together, by Third Party. This one is much easier to classify: it clearly is a progressive house album. The melodies are great, vocals on the tracks that have them are nice, the lyrics are acceptable – keep in mind that’s about as much praise or criticism any lyrics are going to get from me, after all, I barely pay attention to them and I find anything fine as long as it doesn’t outright promote human rights violations. I suppose the really noteworthy thing is that I enjoy all nine tracks of it, something which I can’t say about most albums produced by progressive house DJs, which– hold on, albums? Exactly, barely anyone in this genre still bothers releasing cohesive albums, and if an album does get made, there’s a high chance it won’t be more than a collection of the artist’s tracks since the last album. I suppose I like this one because it is a proper album, and the tracks are not only individually enjoyable, they also flow well into each other.
Let’s now go quite a bit more into mainstream land, and by “mainstream” I don’t want to imply I’m some sort of hipster and that Madeon and Third Party are exquisite, obscure artists. What I mean is, “artists that play in top-50 radios around the world”, such as Dua Lipa. Future Nostalgia is her second album, released in March of this wonderful, blessed year, at least as far as critical acclaim for Dua Lipa albums is concerned (Metacritic score of 88/100). This album has very good tracks from start to end, and overall the title describes the genre of the album perfectly: it’s an album full of late 70s, 80s, early 90s hits, but produced in the future. Not the future with flying cars people used to dream about, but a future with exponentially exciting natural developments, and where I have fiber in this neck of the woods; the jury is still out on whether this was a good trade-off, flying cars could have paved the way for innovative drive-in (fly-in?) supermarkets, and would have an infinitely higher breads-per-second throughput than fiber optics, but I digress. If you never listened to Future Nostalgia beyond the “Physical” and “Don’t Start Now” singles brought to you by your advertiser-friendly neighborhood top-50 radio, you are missing out on many other enjoyable songs.
Speaking of artists which play in top-50 radios, let’s talk about The Weeknd and his latest After Hours album, released in March this same wonderful year, as far as critical reception of The Weeknd albums is concerned (Metacritic score of 80/100). Not as wonderful, because 80 is less than Dua Lipa’s 88. And rightfully so, because unlike the other albums I’ve mentioned, this is one I must give a hard pass, so much so that I’m bringing it here just to do that.
After Hours has two extremely well produced, extremely successful synthwave/synth-pop hits: “Blinding Lights” and “In Your Eyes”. Aaaand that’s about it as far as my taste is concerned. I gave a quick listen to the rest of the album: too much R&B for my taste, too little synth-pop. I would even go as far as to say that those tracks don’t quite fit in the album, because their style feels so distant from the rest of the tracks. And as much as I love “Blinding Lights”, it has been so overplayed and overused that it is starting to suffer from “Get Lucky” syndrome – remember how some years ago we got too much of that single Daft Punk track while almost nobody cared about the rest of their excellent Random Access Memories album? I remember, and “Blinding Lights” is slowly getting to that point.
I feel like I also have an obligation to leave this video here:
Leaving top 50 behind, I’m going to make one final recommendation. (Wait. Is this supposed to be a post with music recommendations? Recommendations to myself, I guess.) Released August this year, less than a month ago, BRONSON is the name of the debut album of the collaborative project of the same name, between ODESZA and Golden Features. It has one more capital letter than ODESZA, so that means it must be better. (Unfortunately, it seems some of their “””fans””” didn’t like the new sounds as much, and did some artist harassment. I don’t even.) For my fellow uncultured gamers, ODEZSA has a couple tracks in Forza Horizon 4’s radios and “A Moment Apart” plays in the game’s intro and in the menus.
But back to BRONSON. The album is great, even if I wouldn’t mind if it had a couple more tracks. Quality over quantity, I guess. Much like many of the tracks from ODESZA, it’s hard to define their genre beyond something generic like “electronic”. BRONSON is an interesting case of an album I enjoy almost exclusively as a whole. Many of the tracks aren’t tracks I would listen to on their own. But when played from start to end, I really enjoy it, even the parts that wouldn’t normally fit my taste. And I think that’s really the best way to appreciate and evaluate this album, from start to end, without interruptions. Each track transitions seamlessly to the next, to the point where the gap between tracks introduced by some players becomes quite annoying. I’m really glad I didn’t listen to the singles from BRONSON as they were being released, as I’d probably have ignored the album if I did. The last track features Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, an artist to which I haven’t paid attention in ages, and which I really need to take some time to yay-or-nay one of these days (I really enjoyed a couple of his tracks some years ago, notably one that was featured in a Nokia commercial for a Windows Phone – that’s how long ago that was).
I suppose this ends my music reviewer roleplay, and I can now go back to enjoying my generic house tracks as recommended by my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify. There are a few more albums worth mentioning in my library, but I’ll save those for another time. Maybe the destiny of this blog is indeed to go from cosplaying as a music blog in certain pages, to actually becoming one. It’s not like I feel like talking about work, anyway – and who knows what kind of trouble I’d get in with the HR department(s) if I did. My CV hopefully speaks for itself, and this lousy blog adds nothing anyway, even if I added some spectacular “technical posts”.