• CCA Pulse Magazine

On Replay | Izzy Ster

It’s a Thursday afternoon. After logging off from your fourth period English class, it’s time to procrastinate your homework by scrolling through your phone for a half hour on your bed. Somehow, you muster enough motivation and energy to roll out of bed, return back to your desk, and start your homework. Pulling up Google Classroom, you select your math assignment. Just before you start working on (somehow) figuring out trigonometry identities, you pull up Spotify. What should you listen to? Your stale “Chill” playlist? A playlists with a (way too) specific title? Regress to middle school and shuffle My Chemical Romance, or maybe Twenty One Pilots would suffice? Exasperated, you get up from your desk, and go back to your bed, defeated from trying to find some good music. If the latter situation is all too familiar, check out this list of stellar albums 2021 has served up thus far. 

“ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE” — BROCKHAMPTON

This highly anticipated album following the hip-hop boy brand’s previous album, Ginger, (yes, the one with the song “Sugar”), went above fan’s expectations. The album features returning fan favorites such as Kevin Abstract and Matt Champion, but also features guests like Danny Brown, JPEGMAFIA, and A$AP Rocky. The group successfully keeps its fun energy, as seen with the group’s perfectly-executed display of each member’s strong suits, while meshing sensitive melodies and commentary on social and economic issues. Although it strays away from the group’s signature eclectic sounds, the album features mellower beats. On this album, check out “DON’T SHOOT UP THE PARTY,” “WINDOWS,” and “THE LIGHT.”

“Collapsed in Sunbeams” — Arlo Parks

Arlo Parks parks released her highly-anticipated debut album “Collapsed in Sunbeams,” following the release of songs from the album such as “Caroline.” The album features soulful jazz undertones and Parks’ soothing, buttery voice. Every song feels comforting and is unbelievably easy on the listener’s ear drums. Alongside a smattering of pop culture references, listeners can find solace in the chorus. On this album, check out “Too Good,” “Portra 400,” and “Eugene.”

“Little Oblivions” — Julien Baker

True to the spirit of Gen Z, Julien Baker has perfect self-deprecation and woven it into music. Notable for her two previous albums “Sprained Ankle” and “Turn Out the Lights,” along with her participation in boygenius, a EP featuring Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, the album features her sharp voice and “fresh out of the garage” band feel. It also features the artist’s signature, painful refrains and soft melodies. On this album, check out “Ringside,” “Favor,” and “Faith Healer.”

“Super Monster” — Claud

In the popular Indie artist’s debut album, Claud does not disappoint with her insightful album. Chalk full of heartache, new love, and mediations on her identity. Reminiscent of the artist’s start in bedroom pop, it incorporates easy sounds and instruments with lyrics full of pining. Spanning vibes similar to 90s throwbacks, breezy afternoons, and soft pop, this album has a song guaranteed to please everyone’s ears. On this album, check out “Cuff Your Jeans,” “Soft Spot,” and “Guard Down.”

“OK Human” — Weezer

The impressive fourteenth album by Weezer released in January 2021 features pop and orchestra sounds working in tandem. The album has subject matters that are painfully relatable given the nature of the pandemic, such as the importance of escapism during difficult times and the avoidance of crowded movie theaters. Straying away from the band’s oddly apt guitars, the album instead includes breathy strings. On this album, check out “Grapes of Wrath,” “Here Comes the Rain,” and “All My Favorite Songs.”

“Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” — Taylor Swift

Yes, you read that right. Taylor Swift recently re-recorded her sophomore album, “Fearless,” which was originally released in 2007. The album, which was released when Swift was 18, despite having identical songs, feels different sung through the now 31-year-old. Instead of wanting to stray away from her past and reputation, the country-girl-turned-pop-star with a laundry list of lovers, seems to be embracing it. The recordings feature new instrumentation and sounds alongside different emphasization on lyrics as Swift sings along. For long-time fans, the album is wonderfully nostalgic and reminiscent of simpler times. Also featured on the album are songs released from her song vault, which include songs such as “Mr. Perfectly Fine,” “That’s When,” and “We Were Happy.”

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