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The Best Albums of 2024 So Far

2024 has been a great year for music and here are some of its highlights.

Album covers of albums mentions
[From top left, clockwise] Loma Vista, Republic, 4AD, Get Better, 4AD, LustSickPuppy, Total Pleasure, Parkwood.

2024 has not even reached its halfway point yet multiple great albums have already been released. In no particular order, an assortment of albums below have different genres to satiate its avid listeners. From R&B to metal, and country to industrial music, here are some of the best albums that have been released in 2024 so far.

1. Erika De Casier – Still

Erika De Casier in black latex trench coat
Credits: Erika De Casier / 4AD

Erika De Casier had been gearing up a lot of attention for this album from the collaborations she had done with major artists. She was part of Dua Lipa’s remix album, putting her spin on her hit song “Physical.” She wrote and produced most of NewJeans’ Get Up EP and was featured in Blood Orange’s song “Relax & Run.” 

With all of her appearances, avid listeners and intrigued fans of other artists she has worked with have built up anticipation for her next album; a curiosity about what other angles she could pull from the 2000 R&B music she has been inspired by. And upon the album’s release, she shows how there is still much to show from that era while making it her own. 

On Still, she features instrumentals that are reminiscent of sensual pop and R&B songs with a hint of hip-hop that were coming out during the 90’s and the 2000’s. This can be seen in the song “ooh”, where she talks about the feeling of desire with a partner and having it satiated by them.

Credits: Erika De Casier / YouTube

Its raunchiness echoes the music of Janet Jackson with a production that resembles Beyonce’s “Naughty Girl.” Meanwhile, the songs “Ice” (featuring They Hate Change) and “Test It” fully lean into the 90’s West Coast hip-hop sound.

Erika de Casier also shows more vulnerability through her earnest songwriting. In “Ex-Girlfriend” featuring ShyGirl, she describes the continued desire for her ex and hopes they still think about her. In the song “The Princess” she talks about the dissonance between her career and her aspiration of becoming a parent. She uses fairytale tropes to convey unrealistic everlasting love while still holding onto her hopes of having it all. 

2. Beyonce – COWBOY CARTER

Beyonce riding a horse while holding an American flag
Credits: Beyonce / Parkwood Entertainment

“Genres are a funny little concept, aren’t they?” asks Linda Martell at the beginning of Beyoncé’s “SPAGHETTII.” 

Following her show at the Country Music Awards, Beyoncé faced a lot of backlash for her performance of her song “Daddy’s Girl” with the Chicks. Not because the performance had anything controversial about it, but because the hateful response she received was from country artists and fans questioning her decision to make a country song. Her presence alone in the CMA’s was controversial, with some people even saying that she was booed while performing. 

It sparked a debate about who gets the ownership to make country songs and if an artist’s background is necessary for them to make country. Despite being born in Texas and being around cowboy culture, she was still dismissed. It then became apparent that those who were dismissive of her were only doing so because of her race. They gatekept it to something that only white and southern people could produce, even if black people were heavily involved in its creation. 

In COWBOY CARTER, Beyoncé finds herself reclaiming country while defying the genre itself. Despite the album mainly being country, she creates a cross-over of genres in some songs. In “SPAGHETTII” and “SWEET ★ HONEY ★ BUCKIIN’”, which both feature Shaboozey, she incorporates southern hip-hop with a dash of country campiness. 

Credits: Beyonce / YouTube

The album is also riddled with features from Linda Martell, Miley Cyrus, Post Malone – Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson contribute to transitional tracks. Beyoncé also brought Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy, and Reyna Roberts for a cover of The Beatles’ song “Blackbird.” Paul McCartney revealed that the song was written for black women when he witnessed black girls being turned away from school during the 60’s. Their cover stays true to the original, but their harmonies work well together, sounding lush and pristine. 

Beyonce also decided to cover Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” tweaking some of the lyrics to recontextualize the song. Instead of the song pleading and begging for Jolene to not take her man, Beyonce is asserting herself, warning Jolene, or Becky with the good hair, to not take her man. The song also slowly builds to a grand finish where she reminds Jolene that she and her man will always be standing by each other. 

3. St. Vincent – All Born Screaming

St. Vincent frantically putting her arms out of fire
Credits: St. Vincent / Total Pleasure Records

St. Vincent is back to her original sound for her album All Born Screaming, and it’s louder than ever. Compared to her previous album, albeit good and arguably necessary for her discography, this album contains heavier instrumentals and eccentric electronic sounds. Respectively, the songs “Flea” and “Sweetest Fruit” perfectly encapsulate the aforementioned elements. 

In the song “Flea”, once the guitar and Clark’s voice kick in for the hook the payoff is a catchy chorus with booming drums and muddy electric guitar sounds. In “Sweetest Fruit” she gives homage to both SOPHIE and Daniel Sotomayor, queer icons who tragically died young.

The song has an odd-sounding synth pattern which she made from a modular synthesizer. Her experimentation with the instrument could be a tribute to SOPHIE’S absurdist and experimentalist take on her music. 

Credits: St. Vincent / YouTube

Lyrically, St. Vincent is able to convey the ugly process when one tries to rebirth themselves. She confronts it with such honesty and rawness that is reminiscent of PJ Harvey’s album Rid Of Me. In the song “Broken Man,” she uses religious motifs to ask her lover to show their devotion to her by nailing themselves beside her, while at the same time asking them to nail her next to them.

Although the act is a severe way to show one’s devotion, she asks her partner if they’ve seen a broken man before. She’s trying to normalize her view on how devotion to a lover manifests. 

Moreover, in the title track which features Cate Le Bon, she talks about going through situations just to feel alive and the feeling of restriction. However, she comes out of it knowing that no one owns her nor does she own anyone. She understands that to be able to undergo a rebirthing, hardships are inherent in the process.

Credits: St. Vincent / YouTube

Even if we scream out of frustration from the past, like a baby who cries after being born, it’s a sign of being alive. It’s a triumphant scream to end the lengthy, painful, and often tedious experience of rebirthing yourself.

4. Pouty – Forget About Me

Pouty sat at the bottom of a set of stairs
Credit: Pouty / Get Better Records

Pouty’s debut album harks back to the ’90s and 2000s rock artists of the time, creating an album about forever being young. She gives homage to their sound, but still makes it her own.

The song “TV on TV” is a testament to the sound of Hole, Sleater-Kinney, and Veruca Salt. She even mentions feeling just like Courtney and living like the ’90s. 

Meanwhile, in “The Big Stage” she talks about her desire to play on a big stage, a dream that’s stayed with her since she was a child. While she thinks about this dream, it makes her recall her childhood memories and dreams. As she sings “It’s always been me a road trip to fantasy” in the chorus, it’s backed by head-banging drums and guitars. 

Credits: Pouty / YouTube

She’s also able to instill some different elements into the genre she’s doing. The song “Bridge Burner” one of the slower songs of the album, has some country twang to it. 

Compared to “Bridge Burner,” the song “Underwear” is more stripped back with its production. Her voice is made echoey against the minimalistic and luscious guitars.

She sings about the incessant want to snap out of her childhood dreams, presumably from societal concepts about age and gender. It sees her admit about being constantly stuck in the present while wanting to have a more productive future since she realizes that she’s getting older 

Credits: Pouty / YouTube

5. Adrianne Lenker – Bright Future

Close up out of focus portrait of Adrianne Lenker in a cowboy hat
Credits: Adrianne Lenker / 4AD

Adrienne Lenker might be the best lyricist of our time. From the work she’s done with her band Big Thief and her solo projects, she’s shown how she writes so poetically and talks about emotions and events with such preciseness. She’s able to capture different aspects that exist in a scenario, as she’s describing it. 

It’s best seen in the album opener “Real House.” She recollects her childhood experiences and the freedom she once felt. It’s an intimate song about the relationship with her mother and how she’s been able to get through losing her childlike innocence by the comfort she brings. 

Putting her great writing skills aside, Lenker’s voice is also audibly arresting, breaking you down as it reaches your core. It can be most felt in the song “Ruined” where she talks about longing for a past lover.

Credits: Adrianne Lenker / YouTube

When she sings, her voice slightly wavers, making you feel the abject misery she’s experiencing. The song is about the ruination that comes from thinking about an ex while a wave of past memories flood in. Her admittance about the emotions she still feels about them is both vulnerable and honest. 

This honestly is further continued in her rendition of her bands song “Vampire Empire.” She expresses the dissatisfaction she feels with her relationship, and the need to leave them. However, she finds herself going back to them despite being ready to leave, hoping they can remake happy memories again. 

Credits: Adrianne Lenker / YouTube
Digital image of a carousel
Credits: LustSickPuppy

LustSickPuppy’s debut album is a controlled chaos of industrial and rap music. The album is reminiscent of Death Grips sound but is more eccentric.

Despite its short runtime of 19 minutes, the album still feels satiating. The songs are only two minutes or less, but each song takes on different directions that you won’t even notice that it was two minutes. 

For instance in “EMPATHY RESERVED,” booming bass and glitchy industrial sound effects dominate the entire track. However, during the chorus the noise is pulled back and LustSickPuppy sings on top of a fast jungle beat.

Credits: LustSickPuppy / YouTube

While the song “CHOKEHOLD” has influences to reggaeton done with scratchy synths. The chorus goes into a J-POP industrial fusion, similar to something Alice Longyu Gao might do.

7. Chelsea Wolfe – She Reaches Out To She Reaches Out To She

Chelsea Wolfe portrait in blue hues
Credits: Chelsea Wolfe / Loma Vista Recordings

Chelsea Wolfe understands the gothic aesthetic in music well. She’s able to mix different genres and find ways to make it fit her sound. It results in a dark atmospheric music that is done thanks in part to her wistful and haunting vocals and her usage of electronic sounds and guitars. 

The song “Everything Turns Blue” is a true testament to this ability. The echoey piano keys are paired with a trip hoppy beat while she sings about finding herself after a long toxic relationship. Her voice is breathy and chilly, and she saunters throughout the song, making it feel nocturnal. 

Meanwhile, the opener of the album “Whispers of the Echo Chamber ” has an ominous vibe everytime it builds into its chorus. The track then ends into a full metal breakdown with booming drums and chugging guitars. 

Credits: Chelsea Wolfe / YouTube

“Eyes Like A Nightshade” has these fast electronic muted beats with jingling bells that make it sonically interesting. Different sound effects would pop in every now and then like scratchy synths, glitchy noises, and odd piano keys.

8. Ariana Grande – eternal sunshine

Ariana Grande facing back leaning on herself
Credits: Ariana Grande / Republic Records

Throughout her career, Ariana Grande has endured a lot of misfortunes and unnecessary backlash. When her ex-boyfriend Malcolm Miller (aka Mac Miller) died of a drug overdose, she was somehow blamed for his death. And upon discovering that her ex-fiancee had cheated on her, she was forced to leave him. Even in her current relationship with her boyfriend, it has been surrounded by unnecessary controversy that allowed for people to accuse her of many things. 

Eternal sunshine sees Grande become unapologetic while also being vulnerably honest. The song “the boy is mine” is a response to the people who had a say about her relationship with Ethan Slater. She claims him as her man without any regrets and essentially says that the heart wants what it wants. 

The pumping house song “yes, and?” is about not letting anyone restrict you from yourself. It’s a power anthem that tells people to ignore those who go against you, letting it roll over you like water off a duck’s back. 

Credits: Ariana Grande / YouTube

Songs like “I wish I hated you” and “don’t wanna break up” also find her being honest about her emotions. The former expresses her wish to have hated her ex to make the coping of the breakup easier. Meanwhile the latter sees her wanting to break up with a boyfriend but refuses to do so. Even if time has run its course for their relationship its hard for her to end it, blaming her incessant need for co-dependency.

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