It’s the first ever National Album Day today - particularly appropriate as 2018 marks 70 years since the first album was released (it was Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor by Nathan Milstein and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, if you were wondering). To celebrate, a few of our writers talk about what their favourite album means to them...
Molly Greeves: My Love Is Cool by Wolf Alice
I’ve had love affairs with many albums, but I always end up running back to My Love Is Cool. This is a record that, despite experimenting with different sounds, still manages to flow perfectly, from the angsty guitars of ‘Fluffy’ and ‘Giant Peach’ to the heartbreaking woes of ‘Silk’ and ‘Soapy Water’. In more ways than one it was the soundtrack of my teenage years, with the influences ranging from All Saints to Riot Grrrl and the lyrics appealing to every emotion of teenage life: love, anger, the desire to run away. For that, I’ll never stop loving this album.
Rohan Katargamwala: Blonde by Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean’s second album explores themes which are generally untouched by the hip hop community, yet Frank bucks the trend. This album is one of my favourites as Frank produces an introspective project which deals with the themes of sexuality, breakups and drug abuse in a unique way that is incredibly relatable to listeners whilst telling an incredibly personal story. He also demonstrates a versatility that although impressive, still keeps the album as a cohesive piece of art. The interludes ‘Be Yourself’ and ‘Facebook Story’, help contextualise the narrative of the album without dragging. This album really makes its mark with its beautiful aesthetic driven by Frank’s angelic and unique voice.
Loz Doyle: American Idiot by Green Day
Looking back, some might consider an eight-year-old girl from the North East of England being a die-hard Green Day fan a tad unusual. For me, jamming out to those punk rock tunes felt like the most natural thing in the world. American Idiot was the album which introduced that unicorn-loving child to the anti-establishment punk mindset which carried her through to today. This incredible album, packed with bloodthirsty riffs and Tre Cool’s truly exceptional percussive talent, was quite unlike anything I’d heard before. And hey, it turns out it’s as politically relevant as ever, nearly fifteen years after its release.
Jess Taylor Weisser: California by Mr. Bungle
Aged twelve and armed with a laptop and an insufferable interest in ‘complex’ music (cringe), I was bound to stumble on Mr. Bungle at some point. It took me only a listen or two before I fell in love with their turbulent approach to songwriting and Mike Patton’s chameleonic voice. Despite the eclectic blend of genres from surf rock to avant-garde jazz, California is surprisingly cohesive as a whole - and also marks their most consistent release; no track on this baby is skippable. The gradually accelerating whirlwind that is ‘Ars Moriendi’ demonstrates the band’s virtuosic skill, while the tragic warmth of ‘Pink Cigarette’ never fails to bring me to tears. So much experimental music is pretentiously dry, but California best demonstrates that there was always a beating heart behind what Mr. Bungle did.
Adam Williams: Man on the Moon: The End of Day by Kid Cudi
I think I find myself revisiting this album with such regularity because it reminds me so vividly of a certain time in my life. Appropriately, the lead single was in fact 'Soundtrack 2 My Life' which is how the album felt to an insecure sixteen-year-old me. If it was released today I would most likely be indifferent towards it, unable to relate to its angst-fuelled, arguably melodramatic ethos. However, the sense of nostalgia it inspires within me keeps bringing me back. This album, to me and to so many other Cudi fans, feels like the old friend who you can go forever without seeing, but when you do it feels like you've never been apart.