I am not one for ranking art; whether that be books, films, paintings or music. How can you measure one great novel against another, or a beautiful piece of music against another piece of equally good music?
You can’t. It’s an impossibility and quite frankly, demeaning to the art you’re measuring.
Firstly, who am I to say what you should like? Secondly, art is so subjective and so personal, that trying to rank your favourites only ends in disagreement and division when art is meant to bring people together in shared appreciation and love. And thirdly, it perpetuates competition, and there is more than enough of that in our lives.
I have therefore decided to throw tradition to the wind and create my own list. The albums on my list are not ranked in order of which I like the most, or which I or anyone else considers to be “better” than the others, or which has received more critical acclaim than the rest.
The albums I’ve chosen are so different, so eclectic, so diverse that they could never compete against each other, nor should they have to. The only common thread running through these records is honesty and individuality, and how can you possibly measure those two things.
I have chosen these albums based on how much I love them; what they mean to me and how those meanings have evolved from my first listen to my last; how often I go back to them; and most importantly, the visceral reaction each album evokes in me.
‘Delilah’ – Anderson East
I remember when I first heard this album on NPR; I fell unequivocally and irrevocably in love with it. I had the album on a continuous loop for a week prior to it being released. Time has not changed my love for this record. It’s beautiful, it’s honest, it’s vulnerable, and most importantly, it makes me smile.
‘The Sound and the Fury’ – Nerina Pallot
In a year of intense personal and political events, ‘The Sound and the Fury’ has become my way of making sense of the world both within my four walls and in the world beyond. Pallot weaves personal with personal creating a moving and powerful piece of work. Not a lot of albums leave you feeling like you’ve just rummaged around in your ribcage and leaving all your vulnerability laid bare. It is also the only album this year to make me cry.
‘Macbeth OST’ – Jed Kurzel
Jed Kurzel’s score to ‘Macbeth’ is hauntingly beautiful and powerfully atmospheric. It is not only is the film’s accompanying soul but also manages to exist beyond the confines of the cinema. With its blending of organic and traditional; synthetic and modern, the score is timeless. The music not only evokes the wildness and unpredictability of the Scottish mountains but also brings forth the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, as if phantoms, drawn from the depths of your imagination and memory, to act out their fates as you listen.
‘Honeymoon’ – Lana Del Rey
‘Honeymoon’ is pure indulgence, pure escapism. It is rich in its cinematic scoring and vast and unparalleled sonic landscape. The record gives you permission to delve into and explore the parts of yourself that you keep hidden from the world, and even from yourself. With each listen, you lose yourself down the rabbit hole to a world entirely your own.
‘The War Inside’ – Jill Andrews
When an album is a labour of love, I think as a listener you know. I’m not sure how or if it’s even quantifiable but you can tell when an artist has invested time and love to a project and when they haven’t. Since the album was first released I have repeatedly gone back to it for a source of comfort, and for a place to feel less alone. ‘The War Inside’ is about life; the good, the bad and the mundane, and it is delivered with such honesty and beautiful simplicity, that you can’t help returning to it over and over again.