Determining album of the year


Album Cover by Empire

The album cover for Flawless Like Me

The album cover for Heroes and Villains by the artist Metro Boomin shows a man on fire shaking hands with a second man.
The album cover for Heroes and Villains (Album cover from Republic Records)

It’s a dark and rainy school day. You pull yourself out of bed, get ready for your day, hop in your car and hit play on your favorite album. You feel yourself almost instantly transported into an engaging, mood improving listening experience. It’s like your favorite artist is inviting you into their own world that they have created through beautiful instrumentals, relatable or insightful lyrics, imagery, and unique vocals. 

Everyone has their different opinions and interpretations on music and how it affects them personally. The truth is, music is a subjective thing. There isn’t one answer or one perfect album. There isn’t one way to think about something or one emotion to feel while listening to an album or a song. A great album is all about perspective, and how it affects the listener. There is definitely a connection between how an artist uses a specific style to their advantage and what people at Fayetteville-Manlius High School think makes an album appealing.

Seniors Trevor Roe and Jacob Freidank believe artists like Yeat deserve more recognition for their work. Trevor Roe said, “He gets hated on his music for how it sounds, with the bells and everything.  I listen to him when I’m driving and it makes me feel great.” Other students strongly disagree with the fact that Yeat deserves recognition. Sophomore Diego Garcia said, “His music is pretty boring.” Devin Smith agrees, “He just mumbles.” Some think that Yeat, a rapper whose songs normally center around unusual vocals, strange beats, and somewhat repetitive lyrics, have less appeal than other artists–musicians that might have more value due to their insightful lyrics, and individuality to their songs. Artists like Yeat may have unique, fresh vocals, but may be lacking in creativity and value to the composition of their songs.

Diego Garcia believes that less mainstream genres of music, such as experimental rock, are more creative with their music,  “Every artist does it so much differently. In each wave of it there’s just new ideas being created.” To make it as a music artist and maintain longevity, it is important for the artist to be constantly crafting their sound and trying new things that may be out of the norm. That way their next album/project can stand out from their last. It seems that young discerning listeners are seeking out that incredible genre-bending, refreshing, and iconic album that will stand out in their favorite artist’s discography.  

The objectivity of how a song is produced does not determine if it is good or not. Someone can listen to something and be able to acknowledge that the artist is not off key, and the instrumental or beat is on point, but this does not mean that the song is necessarily good; it is not so much the quality of the song, but the emotions and thoughts it triggers. 

Sophomore Uday Atwatal touches on the nostalgia and memories music has the power to bring back. He explains how his favorite song brings back the feeling of summer vacation, “Every time I listen to it I feel like I’m on that plane again… It cheers me up.” After a while of listening to a song or album one can develop memories, feelings, and emotions that they associate with it, increasing the value of the music. Lyrics can play a very important role in a song. They set the scene of the song and give the listener something to relate to or think about. Listening to a song where the artist feels like they are talking about the same thing you are going through is an incredibly refreshing experience. Sophomore Julia Lok talked about how some of her favorite artists such as Taylor Swift have huge discographies with many different types of songs for every feeling and mood imaginable, providing a broader selection of music to listen to, “I feel like there’s so many songs for you to relate to because she has so many songs.” The ability to listen to happy and joyful music when one is feeling happy and sad and depressing music when one is sad can be a very great feeling and add to the novelty of an album.

Although one can find the album that was given the official title of “Album of the Year” by simply looking at the charts or the Grammys, it goes deeper than numbers and votes. Everyone has their own interpretations so there are endless possibilities for album of the year. It would be impossible for every human being on this planet to agree with one single album. People are too different from one another; everyone has different emotions, different ways of thought, different ways they express themselves. Coming to a full consensus of album of the year would be near impossible. It’s okay to not have one answer.