Editor’s Pick: Great albums from the past month

Lilianne Harris, Beat Editor

While Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is an important exercise in managing one’s music, pass on it if you aren’t already a fan of the original.


Fearless is an album that has been out since 2008, marking Taylor Swift’s move into pop with some of her biggest hits. It is a wonderful country-pop album, though musically Fearless (Taylor’s Version) doesn’t add as much to its greatness as I would have liked to see.

Swift has described the re-recorded album as being “the same but better” in terms of production, which is quite accurate⁠⁠—if you have heard “Love Story,” my favorite off the original album, then all you’re missing from “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” are slightly matured vocals. That isn’t a bad thing, given the intentions of the album not being to reimagine it, but rather to give Swift full control over her own discography. This is the true reason why you might listen to the album⁠⁠—Fearless is great, but it is the support you put behind artists that makes Fearless (Taylor’s Version) worth a listen. 

The one issue I have with Taylor’s Version is in its runtime. If you are a fan, then the runtime of over 100 minutes may appeal to you as you explore the album’s themes more with the “From the Vault” tracks, but if you aren’t completely on board with the country-pop sound, each individual song begins to lose its grip due to the album’s rather uniform soundscape. This shouldn’t dissuade you if you’re already a fan, though⁠⁠—if you want to listen to Fearless, Taylor’s Version is the best option for you. 


While thematically all over the place, Roadrunner… is an intensely personal album that pulls you into an energetic and emotional ride.


Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine is an album that demands your full attention when you listen to it. It grapples with complex and often dark topics in a masterful manner, while maintaining a jubilant atmosphere everywhere it’s appropriate. 

It is both impossible and distasteful to understate how much of an achievement “The Light” is⁠⁠—being about BROCKHAMPTON member Joba’s father’s suicide, it is a heavy, intelligent song that puts you into his shoes through its deeply personal lyrics and the dark, electric guitar-heavy instrumental.This song, in combination with “Dear Lord,” and “The Light Pt. II,” tell an incredible story of platonic heartbreak and love. Even if you aren’t into rap or hip-hop, these three songs are worth a listen.

The rest of the album is thankfully lighter, keeping that aforementioned upbeat tone even in the heavier songs, and overall Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine immerses you in a boisterous, narrative, and lyric-heavy album. “Buzzcut,” for example, is an incredible opener for the album, and is so strong in its exuberance that it almost takes over the first few songs that precede it. The album is all over the place in tone, going from vintage beats to heavy ones with ease, though you might find that not every song is for you because of that.


Chock-full of moody, atmospheric Americana, Chemtrails… is not Lana Del Rey’s best work, but still well worth a listen.


A good Lana Del Rey album is a great Americana album, and Chemtrails over the Country Club is no different. Without notable exceptions, each and every song takes a familiar tone from Del Rey, examining disillusionment, nostalgia, and the darker parts of love and heartbreak. Some songs are slightly more electronic, such as “Dark but Just a Game,” but in general the piano and acoustic guitar perfectly puts you into the shoes of the narrator as she reminisces on past loves and her mental state.

There are, however, a few strange moments with choices that are clearly deliberate but don’t work well for my tastes. “White Dress,” the album opener, has vocals that are extremely airy, which is intended to make it sound as if Del Rey has been crying, but instead just sounds bad. Other songs such as “Wild at Heart” and “Tulsa Jesus Freak” are okay, but you would already have to really enjoy Del Rey’s music to enjoy it. All in all, it’s a solid album, but these weird moments detract from the better, more straightforward songs such as “Yosemite” that I found to be the album at its best.