If you are looking for new music for that long car ride back home this weekend, look no further than our list of the top albums streaming on Spotify right now. Our Fringe contributors have compiled what they believe are the most noteworthy albums you should be listening to, the result is a list heavy on classic rock and eclecticism.
Moving Pictures, Rush
I grew up in a progressive rock family, with parents who have seen Pink Floyd and Yes more times than they can count on their fingers and toes. So I was brought up with a divine appreciation for Rush, the greatest band of all time with the greatest drummer of all time. (Search Neil Pert on YouTube if you want your life changed.) “Moving Pictures” was released in 1981 and delivers some of Rush’s most popular songs. Their music is perfect for trucking through homework late at night, or to play during a road trip. It’s powerful, electric, loud music that is motivational as hell. My favorite songs on the album are “Tom Sawyer,” “YYZ,” and “Limelight.”
-Mary Jo Contino
Like Vines, The Hush Sound
Produced by Patrick Stump (best known as the lead singer of Fall Out Boy) and released on his bandmate Pete Wentz’s own record label, alternative rock group The Hush Sound’s sophomore album feels like a breezier version of all the pop punk bands you used to rock out to back in high school. What makes these guys stand out is their use of the piano to accompany the guitars and drum on most of their songs, creating some memorable tunes that make even the most mundane of study sessions exciting. Personal favorites include, “Wine Red,” “Magnolia,” and “Don’t Wake Me Up,” three tracks that I feel really capture the mood The Hush Sound is trying to express through their work. Check them out, and don’t forget to keep an ear out for Stump himself on two of the tracks!
I discovered Tycho from the commercial “bumps” on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming, but this ambient electronica artist is honestly worthy of much more than a few five second clips.
His 2011 album “Dive” has been the soundtrack to my long nights of studying as of late. There are few things more relaxing and entrancing than these songs. They usually begin by introducing an infectious yet simple melody. Swells of synthesizer chords soon join in, followed by subtle yet driving drum beats. The melody is then playfully shaped by these new instruments.
With a consistent tone and energy, the album feels like one continuous song. This makes it somewhat uninteresting for active listening, but listening to it passively while reading, studying, or resting gives it the sense of being a film score to one’s own mundane activities.
My personal favorite tracks include “Daydream,” “Coastal Brake,” and “Elegy.”
The Strange Case of…, Halestorm
“The Strange Case of…” is the stereotypical heavy rock album, and that is why I can’t stop listening to it. Between its power anthems and soft slow ballads, it provides the gamut of cheesy, in your face rock storytelling. “In Your Room” provides a nice romantic song, perfect for when someone you care about refuses to open up, while “Freak Like Me” and “Daughters of Darkness” are great to turn up when you want to celebrate your weirdness. If you want to celebrate rock itself, I recommend Rock Show; it’s the closest any band has come to capturing the sublime feeling of being in the mosh pit. This is the album I come back to over and over again when more unique albums have worn out their allure.
Emergency & I, The Dismemberment Plan
From the moment I pushed play I was hooked. From the moment it finished I had to play it again. It gets stuck in my head when I shower in the morning, and I mumble the lyrics to myself while I walk around campus. It’s one of the few albums that I can say I truly love, and every listen offers a new experience. This album oozes with energy, risk-taking yet so balanced unlike anything I’ve ever heard. It’s chaotic while remaining harmonized, sparse while plentiful, and filled with passionate lyricism without subtracting from the precise musical arrangements.
Trouble in Paradise, La Roux
Who could forget the inescapable debut single “Bulletproof” off La Roux’s self-titled album back in 2009? The “ridiculously easy to get stuck in your head” track was a contemporary twist on classic 80s synthpop, and the song juggernauted lead singer Elly Jackson to stardom. Then in 2014, after a five year hiatus, Jackson returned sans her creative partner Ben Langmaid with an album that is happier, sexier, and gives a nod to the sounds of the 70s. With “Trouble in Paradise,” La Roux shies away from her first album’s futuristic 8-bit sounds and opts to incorporate guitar, piano, and steel drums. It gives off a tropical, laidback feel. Dance and synch music is often criticized for being lifeless or cold; but “Trouble in Paradise” is full of rich lyricism which references “the way sexy was before it got made dirty.” Standout tracks are, “Kiss And Not Tell,” and “The Feeling.”
1989, Taylor Swift
I am going to be upfront and say that I never liked Taylor Swift. But this album changed everything for me. Her move into pop music definitely seems be a better fit for her, as I constantly find myself singing along to over half of this album. The definite favorites include “Style,” “Welcome To New York”, “Blank Space,” and of course, “Shake It Off.” “1989” is one of the few albums that I can listen to the whole thing in one sitting and not get bored. I tend to easily get bored with music and move from one artist or band to another in a matter of five minutes, but “1989” is a full experience that I think should be listened to all the way through. There are some slower ballads and some upbeat pop heavy tunes for Swift fans alike. From its memorable lyrics to its catchy melodies, “1989” has everything. Swift famously rejected putting the album on Spotify, but the songs are still worth buying or streaming elsewhere.