Culture staff recommends: Favorite albums

Culture Staff

If you ever find yourself in a music rut, know that you can find some excellent suggestions in the digital pages of the Cynic. Here are the culture staff’s recommendations for tunes to turn up to.

“Love Angel Music Baby – 15th Anniversary Edition” by Gwen Stefani Maggie Swanborn

I am in no way claiming to put you on to “Hollaback Girl,” I’m simply taking this opportunity to remind you to revisit this album. 

This debut solo album by Gwen Stefani is not only excellent but is incredibly innovative. The record is the perfect album for a pregame or girls night out with a blend of electropop, dance-rock, new wave and soul. 

Gwen Stefani, and this album specifically, paved the way for the pop girls we know today, and it’s time we start giving credit where credit is due. 

I specifically recommend you listen to “Serious,” “Crash” and “Long Way To Go” featuring André 3000. 

“HDTV” by Tai Verdes Keely Ehnstrom 

Whenever a Tai Verdes song plays I cannot help but dance, or at least bop my head. 

Verdes’ newest album, “HDTV,” was released in September 2022, and six months later I am still addicted to the beat each song provides. 

This album reminds me of Mary Poppins’ bag: endless and filled with a grand variety of treasures. You never know what you will discover next. 

You go from having your windows down and screaming the lyrics of “TWO SUGARS” to a slow solemn head bop to “in this movie.” 

Regardless of how you feel, Tai Verdes helps enable you to explore your feelings by finding a song on “HDTV.” 

“Mercurial World” By Magdalena Bay Grace Wang

If it’s been a long day and you want to escape, find your fairytale in the ethereal sounds of “Mercurial World” by Magdalena Bay. The futuristic and somehow nostalgic songs help me create a world outside of reality for 46 minutes and five seconds. 

The duo seamlessly delivers synth-pop in a way that makes me want to lie on my bed staring at the ceiling for hours. However, if you don’t have the time to dream your life away, the album is also great for long walks or to help you space out during a lecture. 

A lot of music made in this cosmic electronic style tends to sound ungenuine to me, but this album’s production complexity pulls it away from my preconceived notions. 

I can’t recommend a purpose for this album other than to melt into the whimsical melodies and leave behind anything that makes you think too hard. 

“Places and Spaces” By Donald Byrd – Will Hamilton

The sixth week of the spring semester is one of the most emotionally draining times of the school year. Caught in a flurry of midterms and accentuated by winter darkness and cold, it’s easy to lose sight of the imminent relief of spring break. 

This album, a jazz fusion record by American trumpeter Donald Byrd, helps me escape my winter funk. “Places and Spaces” is characterized by lively jazz instrumentation and laid-back vocals, making it the perfect record for unwinding and relieving stress. 

My favorite track is the titular song which features light and airy melodies paired with an infectious rhythm. Whenever I’m seeking a much-needed break from studying, it’s become an essential accompaniment. 

Whether you’re hoping to find some peace after long hours of studying or needing some motivation to start, Donald Byrd offers a comforting place to turn to.

“Awaken, My Love” by Childish Gambino Maya Surrenti

Recently, I have been rediscovering albums that I was obsessed with a few years ago. 

“Awaken, My Love” is straight fire. It really freaks me out that the album came out seven years ago—I already feel old despite being 18 years young. 

Of course, everyone knows the song “Redbone,” a true classic. 

However, “Me and Your Mama” seems to get swept under the rug, a true shame since this song is orgasmic to listen to. It’s got energy, it’s got a smooth R&B beat—and then the bass drops—and you can add it to your sex playlist. It’s six minutes and 19 seconds of pure awesomeness. 

“Awaken, My Love” is the perfect album for studying, playing as background, vibey mood music, and more.