1. Aretha Franklin | Drinking Again (Gloria Lynne with The Earl May Trio Cover)
To me, Aretha owns this song. It’s not a torch song. It’s hers and hers alone. Every line is so beautifully rendered and there is so much Sincerity and Conviction in her voice. I put this on whenever I’m heartsick and missing those I love and it puts me at ease.
2. Animal Collective | The Purple Bottle
One of my favorite AC songs. Another great Love song. This song really resonated with me in High School, especially the refrain: Sometimes you're quiet and sometimes I'm quiet... Hallelujah!... Sometimes I'm talkative and sometimes you're not talkative, I know. I used to be an incredibly shy person and this song helped me understand that, well, it’s okay to hold your tongue and that there is Value and Intimacy in Shared Silence.
3. Adrian Younge Presents Venice Dawn | Anna May
I don’t have much to say here except that this song solves every argument with the bae.
4. Erykah Badu | Appletree
5. Bright Eyes | The Calendar Hung Itself
Soundtrack to my teenage angst. Conor Oberst gave voice to the feelings of young aspiring musicians who couldn’t seem to get any love or recognition for the magnitude of their feelings and inner life. My friends Justin, Kevin and I used to just hang out in High School and play Fevers And Mirrors and hash out our girl troubles together.
6. Infinite Body | A Fool Persists
This song is a destressor. I listen to it on repeat sometimes to put myself at ease or to fall asleep. In its simplicity, it is a masterpiece of Sampling. This album is so rich and textural. One of my favorite Drone/Noise releases of all time.
7. Drake | Connect
This song puts me in my zone and reminds me of all the things lovers do for each other just to be present in the flesh before one another. I know Drake is playing hardball right now, but his albums really exist for the ladies in my opinion. The line, I know I'm late, it's always the same shit, comes out of my mouth, like, maybe two or three times a week. I feel like I can pull a Drake lyric out of my pocket at any moment to express how I’m feeling, and I really admire his ability to create such a versatile catalogue and fanbase, where his lyrics mean so many different things to so many different people on so many different levels. He really is The Man. I can’t wait to hear what he puts out next.
8. Julia Brown | Library
Again, another great song about loving at a distance. I love the production of this track—the form correlates perfectly with the content of the lyrics. Like, When you go to sleep do you dream of me? Who doesn’t wonder that? Who doesn’t desire that?
9. Balam Acab | Fragile Hope
I started making Music the moment I heard Wander/Wonder. What Alec Koone was doing with sampling here is unprecedented and I don’t think people appreciate this work enough. He’s just a few years older than me and when I heard how he made this album, I thought, maybe I can make Music after all. This is one of the most beautiful albums I’ve ever heard. When my mom would let me borrow the family car to go to work I would blast this and just become totally immersed in the atmosphere he created. I almost got into an accident while I was listening to it once—I just straight up ran a red light and almost got blindsided. Listening to Wander/Wonder is one of the most immersive listening experiences I’ve ever had—there are so many textures and layers and sounds and each listen returns a new sonic discovery.
10. Alex Donley | Rusty
+ Slow Spin – spin... + Let’s Fight! – En Marche... All songs from very dear friends—Alex, Zeerak & Matt. Alex is the best pianist I know and he’s put out so much quality material it baffles me he isn’t selling out concert halls. Zeerak, who makes Music as Slow Spin, just makes really beautiful Music. Her voice is angelic and she has a great sense of balancing Ambience with more concrete forms of Vocal Expression. She rules. Matt, who makes Music under numerous monikers, has been going hard since the 10th grade. Their work ethic is nuts and En Marche is a really rich and wondrous piece of Sampling.
+11. Arvo Pärt | Spiegel Im Spiegel (Performed by Vladimir Spivakov and Sergej Bezrodny)
No words. Just listen. This takes the cake for Greatest Work Of Art Of All Time in my opinion. I put this on and feel, like, at peace with myself in The Cosmos. I know that sounds pretentious, but there’s something truly Divine about this piece. I have cried tears of Joy and Sadness to this song more than any other in my life. It has and always will be there for me.
+12. DeJ Loaf | Back Up (feat. Big Sean)
+13. dvsn | With Me
Best Contemporary R&B album I've heard in my lifetime.
+14. Kanye West | FML (feat. The Weeknd)
I've always loved Kanye and I feel him so much on this track. It's been getting me through the mornings.
+15. Beyoncé | Pray You Catch Me
What is there to say?
+16. Drake | Redemption
Best vocal performance yet from your boy...
+17. Janet Jackson | I Get Lonely
Me too, Janet, me too.
+18. Mac DeMarco | A Heart Like Hers
S/O to Dana V., I love you.
+19. James Blake | I Need A Forest Fire (feat. Bon Iver)
No words. So beautiful.
+20. Prince | Come
Yes, come (back). We will all miss you...