At a time when we constantly have our headphones in or our speakers blaring, it is so easy to become bored with the music that we listen to. We become stuck in our ways, listening to the same things day in and day out, never discovering anything new. Even Spotify’s discover feature can seem to grow tired and repetitive. So, it’s time to mix up your everyday playlist and listen to something new. Here are five albums that you may not have heard before – give them a listen to instantly transform your music and try something new!
1. Ventura – Anderson Paak
Anderson Paak’s 2019 album Ventura opens with Come Home, featuring André 3000, setting the mood for this care-free, laidback album that you won’t be able to resist playing on repeat. Ventura is new and refreshing whilst also channeling elements that are very much nostalgic and familiar. A patchwork of genres and previous work appear on this album, threaded together with Paak’s unique and smooth style. Moving up the Californian coast in his album titles (Venice, Malibu, and Oxnard preceding Ventura), Paak delivers yet another richly textured album with a deeply retro quality that reveals more about the artists than his work ever has before.
Ventura is made up of eleven tracks, featuring a range of artists: Brandy, Nate Dogg, Jazmine Sullivan, and Brandy. Each song is an inventive blend of soul, funk, and rap that Paak pulls off spectacularly. The shining moment of the album is the second track, Make It Better featuring Smokey Robinson – an expertly crafted piece of music impressively showcasing the talent of both artists.
2. Cuz I Love You – Lizzo
Cuz I Love You is the third studio album by Lizzo, released in April of this year. This is her first album in three years, since her 2016 release Coconut Oil. Cuz I Love You is brimming with life and energy, making it an album you absolutely cannot miss. A mix of hip-hop, R&B and pop, Cuz I Love You is an epic display of Lizzo’s talent and her vibrant personality that drives her songs. Every lyric is carefully selected and every note is sung with undeniable passion and talent, but it is Lizzo’s pure charisma that shines through more than anything in this album.
Juice, which was released as a single before the album release in January, is an addictive dance hit, dripping with positivity and confidence. At the album’s opposite end, in stark contrast, you’ll find Lingerie, an intimate and seductive track that slows the pace of the album, and only leaves you wanting more.
3. Coming Home – Leon Bridges
Leon Bridges’ Coming Home is the definition of old but gold. Released back in 2015, this album is beautiful and timeless. His voice is rich and strong, combining R&B and soul in perfect measure to create a masterpiece of an album. Coming Home is nostalgic of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding but is also impressive in its own right – Bridges has brought new life to an aging genre. The album is upbeat, leaving you with an overall impression of relaxed contentment that oozes from Bridges’ voice.
You may recognise the album’s last track River from its appearance in the HBO series Big Little Lies, and it is by far the shining song of Coming Home. But the other tracks are not to be overlooked; Better Man, Smooth Sailin’ and Flowers also stand outs. But with a talent like Leon Bridges, every song from Coming Home is undoubtedly worth a listen.
Whether you’ve had it on repeat for the last four years, or you’re hearing it for the first time, Coming Home is an expertly crafted album that doesn’t include a single bad note.
4. Early In The Morning – James Vincent McMorrow
Another oldie, Early In The Morning was released by Irish singer and songwriter James Vincent McMorrow. His first full-length album is beautiful and peaceful – the kind of music that would perfectly accompany staring out the window on a long car journey, or a slow Sunday morning in bed. It consists of eleven tracks, including Higher Love, an acoustic remastering of Steve Winwood’s 1986 song that takes on a completely new persona in McMorrow’s soft but textured voice.
Early In The Morning falls best into the indie-folk genre, though elements of pop are threaded in occasionally. Breaking Hearts, We Don’t Eat and Sparrow and the Wolf are the masterpieces of this album, showcasing McMorrow’s addictive voice in the best way; it is both soft and forceful, gaining confidence as the songs progress.
This is an album draws parallels with many others of the same genre, but if you are going to choose just one indie-folk album, James Vincent McMorrow’s is easily the best option.
5. Something To Tell You – HAIM
Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim make up this American pop-rock trio of sisters. Their pop, rock and R&B combination creates bold and energetic songs filled with tight harmonies and unique sounds. Their voices perfectly complement one another creating a smooth and slick sound that is also effortless and carefree.
Something To Tell You is their most recent full-length album, released in July 2017. This album is a thorough and exciting exploration of heartbreak, love, and loss, made up of eleven tracks. Their voices are incredible and as are their lyrics, creating an album that is barely short of perfection. Something To Tell You stays close to the band’s previous album Days Are Gone, but they have curated such a style for themselves that the album only improves an already impressive foundation.
Haim has mastered singing songs of heartbreak with a rhythm of upbeat energy that still maintains the song’s sadness and poignancy, as they prove in Kept Me Crying. Ready For You, Little Of Your Love and Found It In Silence are others to highlight on this album to get a well-rounded taste of this talented group.