5 Albums To Buy For The Music Lover In Your Life

5 Albums To Buy For The Music Lover In Your Life

2017 blessed us with so much new music, it's hard to just pick five albums!
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This year was a big year across the board for the music industry. Numerous artists emerged from their hiatuses and blessed the world with new music. Many new artists have also come into the spotlight and shaken up the industry in the best way possible. In 2018, numerous artists are also taking their music on the road. To celebrate the many masterpieces released this year, here are five albums that would make perfect gifts for the music lover in your life!


1. All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell by PVRIS

PVRIS (pronounced 'paris') has been dominating alternative music charts for the last two years. The trio, Lyndsey Gunnulfsen (better known as Lynn Gunn), Brian MacDonald, and Alex Babinski formed the band in 2012 and released their debut album "White Noise" in 2014.

One year later they won the 'Break Through Band' category at the Alternative Press Music Awards and in 2017, Lynn, the band's lead singer, won best vocalist. "AWKOH AWNOH" is PVRIS' highly anticipated second studio album which was released in August 2017.

They've been touring around the world since its and in February 2018 they embark on their North American Tour.

2. The Thrill of It All by Sam Smith

"The Thrill of It All" was released in November 2017 and is Sam's second studio album. His first record, "In The Lonely Hour," won four Grammy's in 2014. He has also won an Oscar and a Golden Globe. This album was highly anticipated as he disappeared from social media and the spot light for a year or so while creating this record. He has said that this album is grittier and even more raw than the last. Sam recently released dates for his 2018 World Tour.

3. The Peace and The Panic Neck Deep

Neck Deep is a UK based punk band who has toured around the world numerous times. They were a part of Van's Warped Tour for numerous years and toured as support for bands such as All Time Low.

This is their third record which landed then number four on the Billboard 200 in August 2017. "The Peace and The Panic" documents the band's growth and experiences since their previous album, "Life's Not Out To Get You." In 2018, they embark on their headlining North American tour.

4. American Teen by Khalid

"American Teen" is Khalid's debut studio album, which debuted in the top ten on the Billboard 200. The overall visuals of his album come from El Paso, Texas; he relocated to the boarder city with his mother, who was in the military, while he was in high school. He won MTV's Video Music Award for Best New Artist and has been nominated for five Grammy's. Khalid has released dates for his Roxy Tour across America.

5. Lust For Life by Lana Del Rey

"Lust for Life" is Lana's fifth studio album and features collaborations with The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky, and Stevie Nicks. This album is not as dark as her previous ones and she's smiling on the cover, which isa detail that shook the fandom to its core. Lana has said that this album celebrates life and hope for the future. "Lust For Life" has landed her a Grammy nomination; she also begins her tour in 2018.

Cover Image Credit: Vanya G.

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To the guy that shot my brother...

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To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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An Open Letter To The Friend Whose Parents Hated Me

And why? That, I'm not so sure.

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I was not prepared.

Was I ready for the casual "head-butt" with your other friends? Sure. Potentially don't like the new boyfriend? That's expected. Maybe I would have to lie, maybe have to tell your friend Rebecca I liked her nails at your sleepover when the color really just looked like a rotten tomato.

But your parents were a different story.

What made it so hard? The fact that I was so firmly taught to show respect, absolutely no questions asked, to adults. So the fact that these adults were your parents, made it so, so much harder.

Mom always said if you can count the number of friends, true friends, you have, on one hand, you're lucky. And, honestly, I was.

I had you on bus rides home after a bad day at school, in the bathroom between classes convincing me my silver eyeshadow would become a statement, and you even saw me naked, the biggest confirmation of friendship for our seemingly new teenaged pubescent selves.

At first, I thought I was crazy and simply paranoid.

But suddenly I couldn't avoid conflict. Now, I would get scolded when putting on lotion. If I fed your goldfish while you helped with dinner, your mom wouldn't speak to me. Quickly, my drink of choice at your house became water when your mother would roll her eyes if I reached for anything else.

I no longer wanted to accept anything you had to offer. I didn't want the bowl of popcorn during our movie nights anymore, your mom would yell at me for invisible kernels on the floor. Dinner nights? Forget about it, I couldn't stand the shame under your mom's glare when I didn't pray the same as you.

The ironic thing is, I never was a bad kid. I never touched a drug, never went to a party, even rejected every boy who attempted to take me to the movies. But, respectably, your mom was much quieter and reserved, and I could not fit the same mold.

And then it got hard, really hard. It was no longer small comments like your mom angrily correcting me for saying "thank you" prior to receiving a favor. "Didn't your parents teach you better?", she would sigh under her breath.

Your mom then soon pulled you out of our school and transferred you elsewhere, where now your summers were filled with camps that you hated. It didn't matter though, you were going regardless, and our time spent together suddenly became few to none.

I don't know what was worse, the fact that I was fighting a useless World War III with your parents for reasons unknown, or the fact that you refused to acknowledge it. Perhaps it was better that way anyway, I never liked direct confrontation.

At first, when the demise of our friendship became apparent, it was easy to laugh. Your mom's tireless efforts to keep you away from the "dangerous" peer pressures of me entirely backfired.

You were no longer at home watching movies with me in our neighborhood. She didn't think ahead to realize not allowing you to hang out with me, meant going out all the time with other friends from new schools, new faces, and new opportunities, including the bad.

But it didn't stop. I started getting messages from mutual friends pleading to help save you from alcoholism. That you were heavily involved with drugs, not even able to recall your body count.

Wait, what?

I didn't know you reached for the bottle or bottles for that matter.

But I wasn't the one you confided in anymore.

Any attempt I made was a failure. Besides casual small talk, you wouldn't share with me anything you were doing. When I asked about your love life, you said you couldn't say, that your "number" was too high now to even recite out loud.

But I wouldn't have judged you. Not like your mom would have.

I still check in on you time and time again through social media to make sure you're still getting by. It's odd to flip through photos of daily life and not seeing you in them like I thought you would be.

So I hope your family is doing great, truly. I still will give all of my energy for one in-genuine smile when passing your mom, even if she looks right over me as she always does, just like I did for Rebecca's ugly rotten tomato nails.

I know what you are studying at college for isn't what you had wanted, but I'll still smile and double-tap when I see you captioning photos "best time of my life!"

Even still, I hope you are having the time of your life. I hope that you've found a way to do that without the need for a bottle and a line.

I will forever be thankful for the friendship we had during such a growing, fragile state of our lives, comparing options of boyfriends, complaining about newfound puberty weight, and bickering for the cute new guy down the road.

Just know, when I scroll through your finsta, and see the photo of you jokingly making out with another girl, I'm smiling. I'm cheering for you. I'm cheering for the girl, who despite a mother's obsessive control, still smiles, still lives, and still carries on her way fearlessly like I always knew you did so many years before.

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