For myself a lot of my creative inspiration comes from listening to music. When listening to my favourite artists I tend to prefer listening to albums as a whole from the first song to the last the way I imagined the artist intended it to be heard. If you find yourself looking for some inspiration during this quarantine check out these albums and listen for the continued themes and stories told across the entire project.
Social Cues – Cage The Elephant
On Social Cues, Matt Shultz tries to make sense of a tumultuous time in his life. The Cage the Elephant frontman not only went through a divorce but also lost two of his best friends to suicide during the recording of the band’s fifth full-length album. But rather than dwell on his tragic circumstances, Shultz focused on the positives that tend to get dismissed during periods of personal turmoil. “I think there’s the temptation, when you’re going through a tough time, to get stuck in the melodrama of things and be like, ‘Oh, I’m going to write a sad song and it’s just going to explain exactly where I’m at,’” Shultz said in an interview with Beats 1. “You miss out on other notes and colours of life that are so important.”
OK Computer – Radiohead
The greatest album of all time? Plenty of polls suggest that, with Radiohead’s third set of songs frequently vying for that almighty accolade. There is, underneath the blanket praise, music too; a perfect (1997) statement of pre-millennial angst that sees the singer Thom Yorke being awkward about everything, from trains to politics. “Karma Police” is the band’s last great catchy pop tune, but it’s lesser known tracks like “Let Down” that still offer the surprises. So pretty, so sad, so Radiohead.
IGOR – Tyler The Creator
From the outset of his fame—or, in his earliest years as an artist, infamy—Tyler, The Creator made no secret of his idolization of Pharrell, citing the work the singer-rapper-producer did as a member of N.E.R.D as one of his biggest musical influences. The impression Skateboard P left on Tyler was palpable from the very beginning, but nowhere is it more prevalent than on his fifth official solo album, IGOR. Within it, Tyler is almost completely untethered from the rabble-rousing (and preternaturally gifted) MC he broke out as, instead pushing his singing voice further than ever to sound off on love as a life-altering experience over some synth-heavy backdrops.
Funeral – Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire’s fiery, rhythmically complex rock burns at full-beam, straight out of the gate. Make no mistake, the Montreal collective’s debut deals in weighty themes (take “Haiti”, the rootsy, shuffling tribute to core member Régine Chassagne’s politically volatile childhood home). But—from the stirring swell of “Wake Up” to the twitchy anguish of “Neighbourhood #3” (Power Out)”—frontman Win Butler marshals a kind of choral defiance, tracking down life-affirming light in the darkest spaces.
Merriweather Post Pavilion – Animal Collective
A leftfield marriage of summery Beach Boys vibes, churning electronic music, and psychedelic noise, Animal Collective’s trippy eighth album stretched the boundaries of what could be considered pop. “My Girls” is a maelstrom of synths, beats, and layered chanting, but it’s catchier than a cold. Tracks like “Guys Eyes” feature traffic jams of tribal drumming, yet give way to gorgeous vocal lines. Endlessly complex, with knotty arrangements that bloom like marigolds, this record offers an initially tough but extra-rewarding listen.