Four Albums That Will Define Your Next University Year

Lorde- Melodrama

Teenage heartbreak, terrible parties and vodka-fuelled self-loathing- ‘Melodrama’ illustrates those definitive moments, stood outside Mega Munch at 3:15, ranting and raving about past ex’s or ‘what could have been’ over a box of cheesy chips. Thankfully, on her sophomore effort, Lorde paints her angst-tinged landscape with extreme care and delicacy, heard through 11 songs of intense teenage vulnerability, backed to beautiful, 80’s synthpop-like instrumentals. On ‘Green Light’, the albums classic single, Lorde sings of dancing through heartbreak over pounding 808’s and glaring synths, while on ‘The Louvre’, a Bruce Springsteen-like acoustic guitar riff backs the New Zealand singer-songwriter as she sombrely reflects on a past relationship. If her debut ‘Pure Heroine’ was her ‘teenager-in-boring-town-comes-of-age’ record, then ‘Melodrama’ is Lorde’s ‘young-adult-moves-to-city-and-excessively-drinks’ album, making it the perfect university soundtrack.

Oasis- Definitely Maybe

The essential 90s’ coming-of-age record, ‘Definitely Maybe’ – and it’s chaotic, youthful, distortion-drenched, adolescence-fuelled energy- still powerfully resonates today, almost 30 years on from its original release. From the opening wall of overdriven guitars on ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ which build into a crescendo of beautifully-yelled vocals from lead singer Liam Gallagher about that inner-city, alcohol-induced ‘on top of the world’ feeling, to the slow, acoustic pace of classic single ‘Live Forever’, where the brothers sing of taking life as it comes- the album is, for my money, one of the most optimistic and gleeful portrayals of young adulthood ever put on record. While follow-up ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’ is critically and commercially considered the bands best, the undeniable raw and passionate energy of ‘Definitely Maybe’ lives on.

Beabadoobee- Beatopia

The 23-year-old Filipino-English guitar and grunge-rock queen’s second album is rooted in the excitement and eccentricity of navigating the world as a young adult. On the album opener, ‘Beatopia Cultsong’, the artist softly repeats ‘Is it me or recently time is moving slowly?’ over a pool of psychedelic layers of acoustic guitars, synths and marimba-style drums- perfectly defining both the lyrical and musical tone of the record. The singer-songwriter defies genre conventions as tracks weave through the influences of bossa-nova, 2000s acoustic pop, 2-step garage and 90s indie-rock, the latter of which is heard throughout lead single ‘Talk’, on which Yeah Yeah Yeah’s-style guitars and drums back confessional lyrics about drunken lust and bad ideas. The album closes with the acoustic Randy-Newman-Pixar-soundtrack-like cut ‘You’re here that’s thing’, on which Bea sings of the bittersweetness and beauty of being in your early twenties, beautifully bookmarking one of the best albums of the 2020’s so far.

PinkPantheress- to hell with it

Rising on TikTok, London-based garage-pop star PinkPatheress is one of the most intriguing, powerful artists to emerge in recent years. The singer-songwriter-producer’s debut mixtape ‘to hell with it’ is packed full, start-to-finish, of angst, sorrow, anger and, unsurprisingly, 2-step-classic-garage-style beats, beautiful 2000s pop-punk and house samples behind direct, brutally honest, powerfully simplistic lyrics, softly sung by Pantheress. While the mixtape features the classic singles, such as ‘Pain’, and ‘Just for Me’ that catapulted the garage star all over everyone’s ‘For You’ pages, ‘to hell with it’ is so much more than a compilation of old cuts. ‘All My Friends Know’ is one of the most stunning, heart-wrenching songs I’ve heard in recent years, with the singer opening on the line “Did you ever want me? No worries if not” over a wall of pianos, while ‘Last Valentines’, sampling Linkin Park’s ‘Forgotten’, brings extreme energy and anger to the record. On her debut mixtape, PinkPantheress proves that, lyrically, she’s our generation’s equivalent of emo pop-punk bands such as Paramore and Fall Out Boy, backed by garage beats and samples, creating one of the finest coming-of-age records of this decade so far.

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