Must-listen albums for students

Art by @ leo_eats_art

Art by @leo_eats_art

Although food, water, shelter, and clothing might be considered as life’s ultimate necessities, for the average university student, one could argue that music, at times, eclipses all of the above. Through the good and the bad, a strong beat always helps you through – and these are the quintessential albums that are best at it.

Sweetener (2018)

Ariana Grande

America’s sweetheart is back with her most experimental album to date. Her first release since the bold Dangerous Woman (2016), Miss Grande’s fourth studio album was recorded over a period of two years, and cheekily hinted at via her social media channels for months prior to No Tears Left to Cry’s debut. Heavily influenced by the tragic events of Manchester in 2017, the 15-track album is a whimsical showcase dedicated to not letting the darkness win. Ariana is not afraid to incorporate deep trap beats and breathtaking soul runs into a traditionally preppy genre, which only solidifies her place as the Queen of pop.

Notable mentions: Dua Lipa (2017) by Dua Lipa, Camila (2018) by Camila Cabello

Skin (2016)


Harley Streten made all Australians proud when Skin took home the 2017 Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic album – an honour second only to his 2016 win of Album of the Year at the ARIA Music Awards, of course. Mr Streten, also known as Flume, is not afraid to go bigger than technicolour. Critics argue that his smooth transitions between hip-hop, indie pop and EDM could make him the next big crossover talent, like American greats Skrillex, Diplo, or British innovator Disclosure. The duality of hard and soft beats in the future bass/alternative R&B single, Never Be Like You, makes for ideal listening when running for your 9:00AM class.

Notable mentions: True (2013) by Avicii, NOVA (2018) by RL Grime

X (2014)

Ed Sheeran

While Sheeran refers to his latest release, ÷, as the best thing he has made thus far, one cannot go wrong with his second studio album. Arguably, this pop/soul/hip hop/R&B fusion is 50 minutes’ worth of unadulterated talent. By producing five hit singles, all with their own distinct sound, X showcases the ginger Brit’s growth and variability as an artist. From wedding song-favourite, Thinking Out Loud, to the jubilant anthem, Sing, this multiple-platinum masterpiece is perfect for when one doesn’t know what they’re in the mood to listen to. It’s the ultimate playlist of greatest hits, all curated by Sheeran’s lyrical genius.

Notable mentions: Staying at Tamara’s (2018) by George Ezra, Flicker (2017) by Niall Horan

DAMN. (2017)

Kendrick Lamar

Pulitzer Prize-winning Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio album showcases Lamar’s talent for blending soul-baring lyricism with dynamic rap vocals. While Humble and Loyalty have received arguably the most critical acclaim, it’s Love, which was released as a single six months after the album’s debut, that is the crown jewel. With a team of nine working on the one song, Love has been described by writer Zacari as a genre of its own. The sheer devotion that Lamar professes for his fiancée, Whitney Alford, will leave you yearning for a soulmate.

Notable mentions: Big Fish Theory (2017) by Vince Staples, Bobby Taratino II (2018) by Logic

The Beauty Behind the Madness (2015)

The Weeknd

The Weeknd’s album isn’t here to paint you a picture of the world in all its beauty; he wants to showcase the darker sides of the human life. He is sinister in the way he exposes even the bleakest moments of drug use and sexual desires. He has created a piece of work that is tragically-beautiful to its core. He somehow manages to tie together mesmerising sounds, like on the track Angel, with twisted melodies, as heard through The Hills. Chaos and calmness alike are unified in hits like Can’t Feel My Face – this album will drive you crazy, almost as much as assessments do.

Notable mentions: SweetSexySavage (2017) by Kehlani, Lemonade (2016) by Beyoncé

This article appeared in The Comma’s 2018 Annual Edition. Read more here.

Tahlia Zangari is a second-year Public Communications student who is crazy about music and broke from all the concerts she attends… please send her money to crowdfund her lifestyle. Check out the latest music she’s obsessed with and updates to these playlists by hitting up her Spotify!