January Albums of the Day

Near the end of 2021, wrapped up in wanting to improve myself for the upcoming year, I found myself caught up in the New Year’s Resolution brainstorming frenzy felt by many around the world. 

“Eat healthier and go to the gym.” No, too hard.

“Spend less money and invest in your future.” No, too boring.

“Wake up before 8 AM everyday.” No, too annoying.

Getting confused by all of the “self-improvement” ideas, I settled rather on setting a tangible goal for myself. As a music lover, I knew I wanted to expand my palate and discover more intriguing artists and listen to some classics I had never gotten around to in the past. With this in mind, I set my goal to listen to a new album every day of 2022. Now, with almost two months of my goal complete, let’s talk about it. 

Seeing as of today (2/26/2022), February is not over yet, I will only talk about the month of January.

Best Album: Kaputt by Destroyer (9.5)

Destroyer: Kaputt Album Review | Pitchfork

Shocked is the best word I can think of to describe my experience with this album. Unclear of what music to expect from Destroyer, I cannot tell you how pleased I was when the opening notes of “Chinatown” revealed this was going to be a synth-heaving sophisti-pop album. With every track showcasing his expertise of music, Destroyer’s Kaputt has quickly become one of my favorite albums of all time. It is delicate, refined, intriguing, danceable, humorous, and much more at the same time and is by far the best album I listened to in the month of January.

Worst Album:  ✝ by Justice (5.5)

JUSTICE « ✝ » | Ed Banger Records

Aware of the massive hit, D.A.N.C.E.,” from this French duo’s breakout album, and somewhat enjoying the track, I really was looking forward to this listen. After only a couple tracks, however, I knew that this was not going to be something I enjoyed all that much. Relying on cheap EDM tricks and “rave-ready” beats that induced more of a headache than the urge to dance,  was just a disappointment through and through.

Most Surprising Listen: Purple Mountains by Purple Mountains (9)

Purple Mountains: Purple Mountains Album Review | Pitchfork

Released in 2019, months before David Berman’s (Purple Mountains) death, I always shied away from this album, knowing it to be extremely heartbreaking. Aware of its Americana roots, I was also hesitant as I am not historically the biggest fan of country-adjacent music. However, as soon as the first song kicked in, I knew this album was going to be special. Perfectly written as it describes a man’s life crumbling in front of him, the music spoke for itself. The instrumentation was lush, the themes crushing, and the aura inescapable. I can truly say this album has affected me in ways few albums have.

Most Disappointing Album: Dawn FM by The Weeknd (7)

The Weeknd: Dawn FM Album Review | Pitchfork

As a huge fan of The Weeknd’s previous album, I was excited to see where the pop auteur would go next. Hearing the lead single, “Take My Breath,” it appeared he would be venturing further into the 80’s pop landscapes. With the first few tracks, I was very impressed with the quality of the music. The production was rich, the lyrics not dull, however, with the quickness of the “skip track” button, the album tanked. It became forgettable, cliche, boring, and predictable. Dawn FM became too wrapped up in its concept to make interesting music, leaving me ultimately disappointed in After Hours follow up.

Throughout this journey, I have truly been able to find many great albums. With that, however, have also come some duds. All in all, I would say this process has introduced me to a wide variety of different music types that I would have previously written off as bad, but because of this, I am now more welcome to hearing things that challenge my taste. I look forward to the albums ahead of me.

To contribute to the journey, you can suggest albums here: https://tinyurl.com/bnpjz7am

To keep up with the journey, here is a playlist featuring my favorite song from each album: 

January’s Albums of the Day:

1/1: WHAT WE DREW-Yaeji (7.5)

1/2: Freetown Sound-Blood Orange (8)

1/3: Father, Son, Holy Ghost-Girls(7.5)

1/4: Logos-Atlas Sound (8)

1/5: Fleet Foxes-Fleet Foxes (8.5)

1/6: Give Up-The Postal Service (7.5)

1/7: Dawn FM-The Weeknd (7)

1/8: Strange Mercy-St. Vincent (8)

1/9: You Forget it in People– Broken Social Scene (8.5)

1/10: Volcanic Bird Enemy and the Voiced Concern-Lil Ugly Mane (8)

1/11: Kaputt-Destroyer (9.5)

1/12: Quiet Signs-Jessica Pratt (7)

1/13: Pet Sounds-Beach Boys (8.5)

1/14: Caprisongs-FKA Twigs (9)

1/15: Sirens-Nicolas Jaar (8)

1/16: In Colour-Jamie xx (8)

1/17: Halcyon Digest-Deerhunter (9)

1/18: This is Happening-LCD Soundsystem (7)

1/19: What is this Heart?-How to Dress Well (6)

1/20: Bitte Orca-Dirty Projectors (7.5)

1/21: Veckatimest-Grizzly Bear (8)

1/22: Purple Mountains-Purple Mountains (9)

1/23: Swim-Caribou (8)

1/24: Funeral-Arcade Fire (7.5)

1/25: The Moon and Antarctica-Modest Mouse (7)

1/26: Dedicated to Bobby Jameson-Ariel Pink (7)

1/27:  ✝-Justice (5.5)

1/28: I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One-Yo La Tengo (8)

1/29: Either/Or-Elliot Smith (8)

1/30: Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts-M83 (7.5)

1/31: Echoes-The Rapture (7.5)

About Brennen Thomas

Brennen is a freshman Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering student from Carterville, Illinois. He enjoys hyperpop, soft rock, and electropop, but is always willing to listen to any kind of music. While exploring music is one of his main hobbies, he also enjoys embroidery and exploring.

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