In a world of downloads and streaming sites, music experts have proclaimed the album officially “dead” about 150 times in the past three years. The single is everything – who needs 12 tracks when you can have one absolute belter?
But with some of the world’s most influential artist dropping surprise releases and creating game-changing visual albums, the LP is slowly beginning to rise from the ashes, if its importance ever truly faded.
Albums can define genres, decades and even key moments in your life: whether your parents played them on repeat when you were younger or whether they got you through exam stress, we probably all have a few albums that are instantly nostalgic as soon as the first song kicks in!
With this in mind, a few of us here at Queen’s Radio undertook the herculean task of choosing some of our favourite albums and explaining why we love them. Have a read, give our picks a listen, and see what you think…who knows, you might just discover your new favourite record!
Eilis Lee (Head of Events/Host of Wednesdazed & Confused)
- Nelly Furtado – Loose (2006)
9-year-old me had no real idea what ‘Promiscuous’ lyrics meant, but she knew that it – and the whole album – was pure pop gold. ‘Maneater’, ‘Say It Right’ and even the Spanish/Portuguese-language tracks are anthems, and it might be cheesy as hell, but Loose is the album of my heart. Also, it’s undoubtedly Timbaland’s best production work to date.
- Paul Simon – Graceland (1986)
The album that made me realise that a) world music could be amazing, b) Paul Simon is a ridiculously good songwriter and c) my parents’ record collection was pretty damn good. Without Graceland, too, I’d never have had my folk epiphany through discovering Simon and Garfunkel’s back catalogue.
- Alt-J – An Awesome Wave (2012)
Listening to Alt-J’s Mercury-winning debut was one of the only times I remember thinking “I’ve never really heard anything quite like this before”, and it kind of blew my mind. Alt-Gregorian folk-electronica art-pop has never sounded so good, and Taro is just one of the loveliest kind-of-miserable songs ever.
(Honourable mentions to all of Two Door Cinema Club, Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend and Tame Impala’s albums—each were so good that I couldn’t pick just one—and to the masterpiece that is Beyoncé’s Lemonade. I think it’s genuinely changed me as a person.)
Matthew Kirk (Deputy Station Manager On-Air/Host of Maximum RPM)
- Gym Class Heroes – As Cruel as School Children (2006)
The incredibly fun and infectious 3rd album by the American rap-rock quartet. The artwork is bright and colourful and the album, featuring hits like “Cupid’s Chokehold”, “Clothes Off!!” and “The Queen and I”, really thrust Travis McCoy and co. into the limelight. Definitely reminds me of a hot and sunny summer circa 2007 (… let’s hope that we can have one of those this year, eh!)
2. Guns N’ Roses – Greatest Hits (2004)
It’s the album that started me off on my rock n’ roll odyssey and with it being packed to the brim with some of the best rock anthems from the 80s, 90s and perhaps EVER, its easy to see why. They are often touted as one of the best rock bands ever and this compilation certainly proves it. P.S. I also really liked Chinese Democracy…
3. Scorpion Child – Acid Roulette (2016)
They’ve just rocked this year’s Download Festival at Donnington Park, but 2016 also saw the release of Scorpion Child’s awesome 2nd album Acid Roulette. A great album that really fills me with hope for the future of rock music. Want to read my review of the album? Click here.
Lucy Smith (Co-host of Hot Diggity Radio)
- Belle and Sebastian – Girls in Peacetime Want To Dance (2015)
I found this album around the time I joined uni – I never get tired of listening to it. The tunes and lyrics constantly surprise me and it has a sweetness to it.
- Xylaroo – Sweet Tooth (2016)
This only recently came out but I’m already addicted – it’s a debut album, it’s dark and clever, but upbeat too.
- Nelly Furtado – Loose (2006)
This is the first album I ever bought – no matter how bad others may find it it’ll always be the thing that got me listening to music and I’m grateful! Also it’s so very catchy…
Stephen McDermott (Co-host of Happy Medium)
- Panic! At the Disco – Death of a Bachelor (2016)
After their exodus of band members such as Dallon Weekes and Spencer Smith, Brendon Urie returned in 2016 to produce in my opinion the best Panic! At The Disco Album yet. The album contains singles such as “Victorious”, “Hallelujah” and “LA Devotee”. Brendon fulfils all the roles in the band perfectly and to a very high standard.
- Fall out Boy – Folie à Deux (2008)
From 2008, this is one of my favourite albums by Fall Out Boy. It was written by Patrick stump alongside Pete Wentz. The emo power chords along with collaborations with various artists such as Brendon Urie, Travis Mc Coy and Debbie Harry, make this probably the best Fall Out boy album there is (Although many fans would debate that!).
- The Killers – Hot Fuss (2006)
One of the best bands of all time. So hard to choose between the vast arsenal of albums but Hot Fuss is probably the best known album by the Nevada band. The album was influenced by pop punk and punk rock and is clearly evident in songs such as “Mr Brightside”, “Somebody Told Me” and “Smile Like You Mean It”.
Chris Hastings (Head of Online Content and Promotions)
- Placebo – Placebo (1996)
Brian Molko, the frontman for Placebo, is one of my main role models because he was one of the first people from whom I learned that being LGBT+ was okay, mainly through his “no f***’s given” attitude towards those trying to put him down for being openly bisexual which was arguably more of an issue for people back in the 90s when the album came out than it is today. The album itself is pretty good too, ha!
- Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (2010)
This is Gorillaz third album and is by far my favourite because of how expertly the album itself blended with the videos and other media released alongside it and built up an extremely engaging and powerful environmental message. I could write a book on how meaningful Damon Albarns lyrics are in this but you will just have to listen for yourself!
- Home – Falling Into Place (2016)
This album takes the spot for my favourite new album of 2016 and is also a group that I feel could do with a lot more listeners and supporters than they are getting. Their music is absolutely out of this world sort of retrowave/synthwave sort of vibes and each song is beautifully mixed into the next.
It’s looking like our love for the humble album is stronger than ever – here’s to the many more classics to be released in the future!
(Also, as the only album that was picked twice, Nelly Furtado’s Loose is now a certified Classic™ and is perhaps the 21st Century’s greatest album. Not that I’m biased or anything…)
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