UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | February 28, 2024

Album Analysis: The final best of list from the Analyzer

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This being his final column, the Album Analyzer says goodbye but leaves you with a parting gift: the 10 best albums released during his time at Dixie.

Here’s part two of the list, counting down from 10 to one.

10: “XXX” by Danny Brown (2011)

Brown debuted with 22 tracks of oddball stanzas and oftentimes even stranger instrumentals. “XXX,” song one and the title track, strikes listeners as ridiculous until every song thereafter features Brown rapping things most people wouldn’t think — let alone record on an album. Standout track: “Adderall Admiral”

9: “Acid Rap” by Chance the Rapper (2013)

Among its tales of adolescent strife and stellar guest appearances, Chance the Rapper’s “Acid Rap” possesses another quality that appeals to students: It’s free. From Chicago, Chance chronicles the troubles of his neighborhood through improvised chants and potent punch lines. Standout track: “Juice”

8: “Modern Vampires of the City” by Vampire Weekend (2013)

Vampire Weekend grew up with its third album, abandoning the irritating frat boy smugness exhibited on past projects, opting for lyrics that encompass post-coming of age distress and life’s mundane but important moments. “Hannah Hunt,” song six, best shows the band’s new, stellar direction. Standout track: “Ya Hey”

7: “pom pom” by Ariel Pink (2014)

Metal samples from 40 years ago, random key riffs and tracks too strange to fall under any category round out “pom pom.” Despite “pom pom’s” obvious obscure features, Pink stays accessible with catchy melodies and snippets of power pop from top-40 radio’s past. Standout track: “Sexual Athletics”

6: “Run the Jewels 2” by Run the Jewels (2014)

Sex and drugs are plentiful throughout Run the Jewels’ second album. But for each silly brag, El-P and Killer Mike add a complicated dimension like, “Who’s that voice on the side of the phone that shakes and rattles his bones? / Could it be the man behind the man behind the man behind the throne?” from “Lie, Cheat, Steal.” Standout track: “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”

5: “To Pimp a Butterfly” by Kendrick Lamar (2015)

The only artist with more than a single  entry on this list, Lamar could have stuck to what made “good kid, m.A.A.d city” a landmark project; however, jazz and funk instrumentals push Lamar’s artistry further here. “These Walls’” rolling bass and Chic-like chords underscore the album’s mix of fun sounds and social awareness. Standout track: “King Kunta”

4: “Black Messiah” by D’Angelo and The Vanguard (2014)

Only an album this quality could meet the expectations 10-plus years of anticipation brings D’Angelo finally dropped his third LP last December, and each quality — lyrics, layered instrumentals — seems at least a decade in the making, somewhat justifying D’Angelo’s long absence. Standout track: “Ain’t That Easy”

3: “St. Vincent” by St. Vincent (2014)

Listeners hear snippets of Prince, Talking Heads and other notable ‘70s-‘80s acts throughout the 11-track “St. Vincent.” Lyrics like, “Digital witnesses, what’s the point of even sleeping / if I cant show it, if you can’t see me?” from “Digital Witness” highlight the songstress’s introspection. Standout track: “Huey Newton”

2: “The Electric Lady” by Janelle Monae (2013)

When Monae isn’t screaming over thick bass lines and power chords, she teams up with the likes of Prince, Miguel and Erykah Badu — creating a comprehensive overview of both past and present urban music. The album dips through numerous genres and tackles subjects like alienation and loneliness. Standout track: “Dance Apocalyptic”

1: “Lonerism” by Tame Impala (2012)

 The Album Analyzer’s most embarrassing mistake as the Sun’s music columnist came when he didn’t list “Lonerism” as a top album of 2012. Now, whenever he hears “Mind Mischief’s” seductive strings or “Keep on Lying’s” Beatle-esque rhythm, he concludes this: Not even the Album Analyzer gets everything right. Standout track: “Elephant”