Albums Of The Year (So Far)

Music speaks to me. I enjoy the occasional album that has a good beat and solid production, but most of what really gets me is music you can tell is written from the artist’s experience, or music that is written as a social commentary of some kind.

That, paired with solid music and production, is what a gold record sounds like.

There have been a handful of albums I’ve heard over the past few years that I’ve enjoyed. So far this year, that list can be whittled down to three albums and a single. I’m not going to link to the albums below, as you can find them all on Spotify or Apple Music… I’ll use the headers to link to some live performances (where available) instead.

Fair warning for anyone playing this music at work: A few of the songs on these albums are “Explicit.”

Dermot Kennedy (Self-Titled Album)

A compilation of a lot of singles, EP’s and a couple new songs, this is a fantastic singer-songwriter album that captures a lot of emotion. If you like piano- or acoustic guitar-driven music, chances are you’ll really enjoy this one.

A lot of Dermot’s songs are really gritty, a little bit dark, and have the ability to punch you right in the feels. Lyrically, every song is an interesting listen. Musically, you can tell that he and his crew are extremely talented. (Link above is to their NPR Tiny Desk Concert).

At 27 yrs., we’re the same age. Every time I listen to his music, I think to myself, “Man! Why didn’t I write that?” (The answer’s because this guy really works at it, and puts a lot of effort into developing his musical skills and gifts. 😬)

Favorite tracks include:

  • An Evening I Will Not Forget (Acoustic)
  • All My Friends (Acoustic)
  • Moments Passed
  • Glory
  • After Rain
  • Shelter
  • etc., etc., etc.

Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent – Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi, 22, has also been releasing singles and EP’s since 2017, and just recently put out his first full album. While the production on this album is a little heavier-handed than a lot of singer-songwriter music, for the most part it’s still relatively simple, and can be enjoyed in most listening environments.

Favorite tracks include:

  • Grace
  • Fade
  • Hold Me While You Wait
  • Hollywood
  • Someone You Loved
  • Maybe
  • Don’t Get Me Wrong
  • (Yes, seriously, there are a lot of great tracks to choose from here.)

Doom Days – Bastille

I’ve been listening to Bastille since they released Bad Blood in 2013. The single, “Pompeii,” really got my attention, and once the full album was released it turned out that it wasn’t even the album’s best song (like a lot of singles).

When Doom Days first dropped, I was initially gripped by the title track’s commentary on today’s cultural norms. It’s a fantastic track… I linked to a live performance in the header.

Favorite tracks include:

  • Quarter Past Midnight
  • Doom Days
  • Joy
  • Divide
  • Million Pieces

Bonus Single: Shadow – Macklemore & IRO

We watched Songland on Hulu this past month. One of the episodes featured Macklemore and some really talented songwriters. The song he chose, “Shadow,” was written by a street performer. It was presented as a chorus and a bridge, since Macklemore writes all of his verses.

The moment when he tells the writer, IRO, that he wants him featured on the song for he chorus and bridge will give you chills. Forty days after they started working together on the song, they performed the finished version live at one of Macklemore’s concerts (I’ve linked to the live video in the header).


What have been some of your favorite albums this year? Looking for other songs that both say something and really jam.

Comments are open!