1. Underoath, Define The Great Line. This album is hands down the most life changing album I’ve ever listened to. When I was depressed at 16, Define The Great Line was my everything. It helped save my life and give me hope in my depression, and 9 years later, continues to do so today. This metal-core album combines raw, awe-inspiring energy with deep lyrics and a beacon of hope throughout it all. And to me, it is the perfect example of how music can save one’s life. Favorite song: Writing on the Walls.
2. Bon Iver, Bon Iver. The highly acclaimed self-titled album from Wisconsin band Bon Iver is everything dreams are made of. It was made in a cabin in the woods, and it shows: it’s ambient, folksy and almost other worldly. This is my favorite band, my most listened to album and the music I recommend to everybody who asks. It has an unknown magic to it so that when I’m sad and listen to it, I’m comforted, and when I’m happy and listen to it, I’m even more hopeful. Bottom line, it’s straight up beautiful. Favorite song: Holocene.
3. Kendrick Lamar, good Kid, m.A.A.d city. When I first listened to this critically acclaimed album, both from critics and fans alike, I remember it was the middle of the night and I was crying. I was moved by Lamar’s ability to tell his story of growing up in Compton through rap music, and do so poignantly and impressively. Honestly, if anyone can combine profound story-telling abilities with just as amazing music, it’s him. This album has West Coast vibes, music you can turn up and feel good about life. And when you listen to it, you understand why people are now hailing him as the King of Rap. Favorite rap album ever. Favorite song: Poetic Justice feat. Drake.
4. The Strokes, Is This It. I was a huge indie-rock fan in my teens. I went to gigs every weekend, spent all my money on albums and yes, even wore badges. What started this craze was The Strokes’ Is This It, an album that labeled the band as the saviors of rock. It oozes New York cool and true rock and roll, something bands have tried to replicate and never came close. I was obsessed with The Strokes back then, and even now, this album will always be something I will always love, sing to, dance to and chill to. Favorite song: Last Night.
5. Kings of Leon, Aha Shake Heartbreak. Before King of Leon became huge, they debuted an album that will always be to me the coolest they have ever been. Aha Shake Heartbreak is a southern rock and roll, indie cool, 70’s vibe album that always impresses me when I listen to it. It makes you happy, makes you dance and makes you wonder why Kings of Leon ever left that sound. Favorite song: The Bucket.
6. Drake, Nothing Was The Same. This album cemented by obsession with Drake. I know he gets slack for being overly emotional, but I think people are confused. He’s deep, he’s poetic and he makes damn good R&B music. This isn’t shown better than in Nothing Was The Same, a melancholy and deep album that displays his ability to combine impressive rapping skills with smooth vocals, and actually do it well. Drake once said he makes music that you can late-night drive to, and this album is perfect for that. His mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is also amazing. Favorite song: From Time feat. Jhene Aiko.
7. Calvin Harris, 18 Months. To me, 18 Months is the pinnacle of Harris’ career so far. It is the perfect dance album, full of anthems and feel-good vibes while also bringing back nostalgia of good times. This album catapulted Harris into the world’s most highest paid and top DJ and when you listen to 18 Months, it’s clear why. This album will always be my favorite dance album, and when I listen to it I can’t help but feel a surge of happiness and energy. Favorite song: Thinking About You.
8. Led Zeppelin, Mothership. To me, Led Zep are the epitome of Rock and Roll. The 70’s flares, the shaggy hair, the effortless cool. Their compilation album Mothership combines all their classics into a 2-disc rocker’s heaven that makes you understand why they are legend status. When I listen to it I am transported into the golden era of rock, making me wish I was there to see their glory in action, throwing my bra at them like all the other girls did at the time. But really, this album is so, so good and a classic for any rock and roll lover. Favorite song: Black Dog.
9. Joey Badass, 1999. When you listen to the chill, East Coast vibe, classic hip-hop sound of 1999, it’s really hard to remember that Badass is only 19 years of age. To me, he truly gets the art of it and doesn’t steer far from the sounds of the classic New York hip-hop bands of the 90s. However, Badass does it in a fresh, youthful and relevant way. I think his rapping skills are pretty insane, as is his rap group, Pro.Era. I find that when I want to listen to good rap these days, it’s him I go to. Favorite song: Suspect.
10. Tame Impala, Lonerism. Psychedelic band Tame Impala’s album Lonerism is so buzzy, so chill and so good-vibed. I remember always blasting Lonerism with my flatmate when I was living in Wellington. It has this strange power to give you lots of energy while at the same time sitting you back and making you zone out into psychedelic bliss. Though this band is young, they have something incredibly special. Listen to this album if you can to see what the hype is about. Their debut album Innerspeaker is also just as amazing. Favorite song: Be Above It.
11. De La Soul, The Grind Date. I have been only listening to rap for the past five months, and I feel obsessed. I have been mainly focusing on the classic hip-hop bands of the 90s, and while this album was made in 2004, De La Soul remains to be one the of the most influential hip-hop bands from that time. I didn’t expect much when listening to Grind Date, but I was blown away. It’s classic hip-hop, but it’s still modern and relevant. And the rapping, wow. I discovered this album recently, but it has already made it’s way to one of my favorite albums of all time. Favorite song: The Grind Date.
12. Swedish House Mafia, Until Now. The final album for three-man dance powerhouse, Swedish House Mafia, contains massive, massive tracks, the kind that can move a stadium of people into dancing. While it makes me sad that they finally called it quits, I can’t help but feel grateful that I was there to hear their dance music while they were still together. It brings back so may good memories for me, and no doubt will always be dubbed a classic and a dearly loved dance album for me. Favorite track: Save the World.