One of the craziest things about myself is I get ideas that are randomly associated with a different experience. Such an example is the premise of this listicle: I got the idea for doing a list of my ten favorite current artists while doing a Spanish project where I had to describe my love for Aerosmith entirely in Spanish. There was a question that asked if music helps me relate to my friends, and I immediately realized that what I wear, which is almost all classic rock t shirts, only helps me relate to those select few who know more that "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin. However, there's a completely different side of me that loves many current artists. In light of this, here's a ranked list of my ten favorite current artists.
*Author's note - My real top of this list is Kelly Clarkson but I've written at least two Kelly-heavy pieces and didn't want it to feel excessive.
10. Rival Sons - As time goes on and I hear more material from them I'm sure they'll shoot up this list, but from the little bit I've heard Rival Sons is a great act. Their sound is most definitely a new rock sound but in many aspects reminds me of classic rock groups such as Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. The guitar work is exceptional on what I've heard, with driving riffs and precision. They're well produced and have a lot of talent and I hope they continue to put out more records.
9. Paramore - I just want to say that I wish Paramore had been higher on this list. I thought their self-titled album released in 2013 strayed away from their best work in the pop-punk genre, but they chose to go in a less punk direction to gain popularity. However, their pre-sellout material such as "All We Know is Falling" and "Riot!" are some of my favorite albums released in the 2000's. If they return to that pop-punk style that won my heart the first time, they'll not only climb this list, but will have the opportunity to top it.
8. Drake - I never thought I'd see the day I liked Drake more than Paramore, yet here we are. My biggest knock on Drake is that I haven't listened to an entire album that I really enjoyed. For me, Drake is an artist I can pick and choose songs I love, but there's too much material that isn't my speed on some of his albums. Songs like "Hold On, We're Going Home" and "Headlines" make me love the guy, so it excuses what I feel to be weak material.
7. Selena Gomez - A couple of years ago when writing for my high school newspaper I decided that along with buying and listening to "Confident" by Demi Lovato I would buy and listen to "Revival" by Selena Gomez. What I didn't expect is that I liked "Revival" more. This album alone made me a fan of Gomez because I couldn't stop listening to it. Out of the 16 songs on the Target version (yes I opted for the bonus tracks) there are only two I skip sometimes. In her comeback, Selena Gomez won a lot of new fans, including myself. I mean, wow.
6. Keith Urban - Keith Urban is the reason I started really liking country music. I had seen him on American Idol and had no idea why he was popular until I listened to some of his songs, and I fell in love. He's a criminally underrated guitar player and what most people don't know is he writes or co-writes most of his songs and often plays several of the instruments on his albums. He's a great vocalist and still to this day is my favorite performer I've ever seen play live.
5. Papa Roach - So basically these dudes are the real deal. Papa Roach is my favorite current rock band because their body of work speaks for itself. From "Infest" to "Face Everything and Rise" they've had excellent material and have worked hard to win a loyal fanbase while never truly compromising their sound. They deserve more respect and credit than they get.
4. Luke Bryan - While Keith made me like country music, Luke Bryan has made me love it. While he isn't nearly as accomplished a musician as Keith Urban is I find that I like Bryan's voice more. Further, Luke Bryan has proved himself a pretty versatile singer, such as the time he did a duet version of "Want You to Want Me" by Jason Derulo where Bryan was hitting very high notes. In concert, Bryan is just as good as he is on the records and puts on quite the show. When I saw him he had recently broken his collarbone yet was out singing and even offered to sign the cast of a little girl in the crowd. He's a great singer, performer, and he's the most popular act in country music. He's the bomb.
3. Lana Del Rey - Lana is another of those artists that I heard people rave about one day and did research to find out how overrated she was. When I listened to Lana Del Rey for the first time I was really weirded out. Her music was very much a spectacle and sounded almost as if in an old style and I wasn't sure if I liked it. As I explored more and more I fell in love with it and started scouring the earth for rarities, eventually finding "Lana Del Rey: Unreleased" on vinyl. To this day, that's the most expensive vinyl in my collection, yet it is worth it. Every penny. Lana Del Rey is a unique artist, a great singer, and someone everyone needs to listen to at least once.
2. The Weeknd - The Weeknd is just an artist. On his "Trilogy" alone I could make a case he deserves a ton of Grammys. The Weeknd is one of those artists that can blow you away with the sound of his voice and the quality of his songwriting. Even though "Starboy" is his weakest album in my opinion, by the industry's standards it's still an "Album of the Year" contender. He crafts albums unlike any artist in the industry today.
1. Ariana Grande - I honestly cannot truly explain why I like Ariana Grande. Part of me is embarrassed, but most of me gives absolutely no care as to what you think. She isn't a fantastic songwriter, she doesn't mix much of her own music, but she has a fantastic voice. "Dangerous Woman" is one of my favorite albums of the twenty-first century. It's constructed pretty well, but Ariana does so many things well on that album. Her songs are catchy and she sings unlike anybody I have ever heard. Why she's number one is because she could sing the phone book and I'd think it was good. Don't get me wrong, I could make a case for 7 or 8 of the artists on this list for myself, but out of all the current artists right now, my gut tells me she's my favorite, so here she sits at number one.