My Top Albums and EPs released in January, February, and March

These 25 albums and 7 EPs are my favorites from the first three months of the year. For the first time in this series, I’ve actually embedded tracks—one of my favorites from each collection. This not only makes it easier for you to listen to a snippet right away and see what you like, but it also provides a quick link to listen to more. Then if you find you want to listen on an ongoing basis, you can purchase it on Bandcamp! …

106 Albums That Got Me Through This Uniquely Challenging Year

In 2020, I listened to over 300 newly released albums, and actually I lost track —hmm, I must have been tired this year—and the final count was almost certainly closer to 400. That means that I listened to even more new music than last year, which is to say: far too much, again. So again, like last year, I will now recommit to spending more time on old favorites. (Maybe I can cut it down to 250 new albums? Sounds even sillier when I put it that way.)

In the tradition of one of my very favorite writers, Hanif Abdurraqib

My Top 25 Albums released in October, November, and December

In the music world, the last few months of every year are traditionally reserved for diving back into the past nine months. It can be incredibly rewarding to return to all your favorite albums from January through September, and remembering what they’ve meant to you and mean to you is important for processing and internalizing your journey.

One of the most challenging things about this, though, is that albums continue to be released apace through early or mid-December, and often the last six weeks of releases basically get lost in the shuffle. At the very least, it’s hard to find…

My Top 25 Albums released in July, August, and September

It’s 2021 now, and during the last five months of 2020 I have been diving with my full heart and mind (and schedule) into deeper involvement at The Wild Honey Pie.

But a year wouldn’t feel complete without finishing up my own personal music lists for 2020. So, while I am sad that I don’t have time to attempt to do these albums justice through new written reflections, I’m not letting perfectionism stop me. There is still something important about documenting this portion of my heart. Here are my favorite albums that came out during July, August, or September 2020.

My Top 25 Albums released in April, May, and June

1. Phoebe Bridgers — Punisher

Punisher is an album about searching for things—in the sky, in your past and your future, in your own behavioral patterns—and not finding them. So one of its most obvious benefits is that it gives the listener a lot more space than usual for feelings like exasperation and ennui. But out of emptiness emerge other tools for survival, and this album is also about some of those very familiar human tools, including the instinct of faith and the mysterious persistence of hope. Actually, the more I listen to Punisher, the more things I think it’s…

My Top 25 Albums released in January, February, and March

1. Waxahatchee — Saint Cloud

Katie Crutchfield’s idiosyncratic voice shines more beautifully than ever over dustier, more confidently and proudly Southern songwriting. Every song is a precious gem.

2. Grimes — Miss Anthropocene

A retrospective list of my favorite collections from the last decade

The 2010’s lined up almost exactly with the first decade of my adulthood, and my understanding is that this portion of life ends up being a very impressionable time. So the list that lies below is intensely personal and spiritually significant to me. It is pretty overwhelming to realize that it contains much — most? — of what will turn out to be my favorite music of my whole life.

This list of 168 albums released from 2010 to 2019 contains the collections that stuck with me most and hit me deepest. Some are among the most culturally significant American…

81 Albums That Moved Me and Defined My Year

In 2019, I listened to a whopping 303 newly released albums, which is, without a doubt, the most I’ve ever listened to in a year. (I counted a “listen” as meaning at least 75% of the tracks in full, and in the vast majority of cases it was truly 100% of the tracks in full.) In the process of creating this list, I determined that I liked 144 of those 303 albums, which means I listened to about 159 that I thought were meh or awful. And let me tell you — I do not recommend spending your time that…

My Top 15 Albums Released October through December

By mid-November of 2019 there appeared the usual flurry of “Best of” lists from all publications from every direction, like clockwork. But this time around, I was shocked to find that they were not the usual Best of the Year lists. “Best of the Decade?” I thought, like a weirdo. “Oh yeah, I guess that’s true.” I think I had been so focused on 2019 that I forgot how much people love the symbolism of the turn of a decade. …

My Top 25 Albums released in July through September

1. Lana Del Rey — Norman Fucking Rockwell

To me, Norman Fucking Rockwell is the most artistically focused, sonically cohesive, and crushingly beautiful album ever released by Lana Del Rey. The most influential 50’s-pop-star of the 2010’s has newly refocused her songwriting on the gorgeous, melancholy melodies that introduced her to the world back in 2011. For an hour and eight minutes, NFR flows with surprising confidence between the tight intimacy of solo performances on guitar or piano and the huge push and pull of swelling string and synth arrangements. It is no secret that much of Lana’s discography to…

Karl Snyder

Music moves us through our lives in productive and spiritually significant ways. I write about that. More writing on The Wild Honey Pie, FRONTRUNNER, & Patreon.

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