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The Trailblazer

The student news site of McNeil High School

The Trailblazer

The student news site of McNeil High School

The Trailblazer

Winter Album Recommendations

A+collage+of+the+albums+mentioned+in+the+article+%28graphic+by+Hannah+Bland%29.
A collage of the albums mentioned in the article (graphic by Hannah Bland).

With the Winter season in full launch, sounds of a cool breeze whistling in the air, a warm crackling fire and the joyful sounds of the holidays can be heard. The sounds allow a distraction from the bitter cold outside, along with those, music can also be a great diversion or pass time during the season.

Carrie & Lowell

By Sufjan Stevens

Carrie & Lowell, first released Mar. 31, 2015, is an indie folk, lofi and folk-country album. Included are 11 tracks with a total duration of 43:35.

The album’s lyrics remark on Stevens’ personal stories, his feelings regarding the loss of his mother Carrie and the importance his stepfather Lowell left in his life. What makes the album stand out is the layers of emotions relayed through Stevens’ lyrics and singing as well as the creative mixture of different instruments and ambient noises throughout the songs. Many of the songs can be characterized as somber and peaceful. Some notable tracks include Fourth of July and Should Have Known Better.

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The Joshua Tree

By U2

The Joshua Tree, first released Mar. 9, 1987, is a rock, alternative rock and pop rock album. Included are 11 tracks with a total duration of 50:11.

The album’s lyrics are meant to reflect the Irish band’s interest in American culture, with more specifically their social and political concerns at the time, the lyrics also represent personal reflection and imagery, such as their symbolism of a desert as a clean slate for their lives. What makes this album significant is its storytelling through the lyrics, where they used inspiration from historical events and people’s experiences. Following the release was copious amounts of success, winning the 1988 Best Album Grammy Award. Many of the songs can be characterized as rich and vibrant. Some notable tracks include With or Without You and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.

 

Ultraviolence

By Lana Del Rey

Ultraviolence, first released Jun. 13, 2014, is a rock, dream pop and R&B album. Included are 11 tracks with a total duration of 51:24.

The album’s lyrics are meant to express Del Rey’s experiences regarding her involvement in the music industry as well as various personal relationships. What makes this album notable is Del Rey’s angelic vocals and unique melodies with the inclusion of guitar and jazz tones. Many of the songs can be characterized as immersive and yearning. Some notable tracks include West Coast and Brooklyn Baby.

 

SOS

By SZA

SOS, first released Dec. 9, 2022, is a R&B, hip-hop and pop album. Included are 23 tracks with a total duration of 67:51

Many of SZA’s lyrics express feelings of being alone, and moving on from past relationships. The lyrics go hand in hand with the album’s themes exploring love, heartbreak and even revenge. What makes this album a great selection is SZAs vocals, introspective and raw lyricism and varying styles moving from song to song, these different styles are supported by many featured artists including Travis Scott, Don Toliver and Phoebe Bridgers. Some notable tracks include Good Days, Kill Bill and Ghost in the Machine.

 

Grace

By Jeff Buckley

Grace, first released Aug. 23, 1994, is an alternative rock, blues and folk rock album. Included are 11 tracks with a total duration of 57:03.

Buckley’s lyrics are bleak but very imaginative. They express many feelings of heartbreak and love. Buckleys vocals are strong and are accompanied by crisp guitars. Graces’ first release left it with poor reviews but 10 years later the “Legacy Edition” was released and the album entered the charts. Now it is even considered one of the greatest albums of all time. Some notable tracks include Lover You Should’ve Come Over, Grace and Last Goodbye.

 

Sling

By Clairo

Sling, first released July 16, 2021, is a pop, folk, and folk-rock album. Included are 12 tracks with a total duration of 44:33.

Clairos’ album features many vocal layers, harmonies and lyrics with elements of storytelling. The album’s various pianos, stringed instruments and acoustic guitar, gives the album a softer feel. This album has a nostalgic feeling and talks about home, comfort and also change that comes later in life. Some notable tracks include Amoeba, Zinnias and Blouse.

 

 

Evermore

By Taylor swift

Evermore, first released Dec. 11, 2020, is an indie-folk and pop album. Included are 15 tracks with a total duration of 60:38.

Evermore is an emotional album that explores themes of love, regret and longing. This album brings a winter feel to listeners as the slower songs feel cozy. The mentions of December and winter throughout the album add to the imagery of this album. Adding to this imagery are Evermore’s sadder and dreamier lyrics. Some notable tracks include Evermore, Gold Rush and Champagne Problems.

 

 

Either/Or

Elliot Smith

Either/Or, first released Feb. 25, 1997, is an indie, folk and rock album. Included are 12 tracks with a total duration of 36:58.

Either/Or is inspired by a book of the same title by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, which explores themes of ethical, aesthetic and religious ideologies. The acoustic guitar and hushed vocals help develop the ideas of love, addictions and relationships. Some notable tracks include Between The Bars, Angeles and Say yes.

 

 

Stranger in the Alps

By Phoebe Bridgers 

Stranger in the Alps, first released Sep. 22, 2017, is an indie rock, indie folk and alternative album. Included are 11 tracks with a total duration of 44:15.

The lyrics revolve around Bridger’s past dysfunctional relationships including how they’ve affected her outlook on life, she also describes the bleak feelings of loneliness and the grief that comes with living. What makes this album notable is the conversational flow in Bridger’s lyrics that allows for uprooting of the music’s relatability. Many of the songs can be described as bare and detached. Some notable tracks include Motion Sickness and Scott Street.

 

Pure Heroine

By Lorde

Pure Heroine, first released Sep. 27, 2013, is an indie pop, electronica and R&B album. Included are 10 tracks with a total duration of 37:11.

The lyrics revolve around Lorde’s fear of her fleeting adolescents, going further in depth about being in her youth and the angsty experiences that follow. Lorde also speaks on her varying opinions encountering social classes. What makes this album notable is the young age to which Lorde released it, she began writing at 14 and at 16 released the album receiving immense positive feedback. Many of the songs can be described as upbeat and euphoric. Some notable songs include Royals and Ribs

 

 

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About the Contributors
Hannah Bland, Reporter
I am Hannah Bland, I am a Junior, and this is my first year on the McNeil Trailblazer staff. I spend the majority of my time outside of school working, watching movies, getting coffee, running in cross country and hanging out with friends.
Olivia West, Reporter
Hello my name is Olivia West. I am a junior, and this is my first year on the McNeil Trailblazer staff. I am on the cross country and track team and am also involved with clubs like Green Club! Out of school I spend my time working, listening to music, seeing my friends and dog and watching movies.                           
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