With the sheer amount of music released, we’re bound to stumble upon songs we don’t like, as well as artists who have a less-than-stellar track record. On the other hand, each of us have artists who could do no wrong, and their discography could be left on, without the need to skip a song.
Artists who fit that brief are few-and-far between, but when you find one, it’s the equivalent of striking a goldmine. These artists will forever be a favorite, and their spot cannot be replaced. This week, we highlight those artists who we think don’t have any bad songs.
I realize Mitski might be a bit of a basic answer, but every album is written so incredibly and elicits such different emotions and I would be lying to myself if I didn’t choose her. Her lyrics are written so poetically that I find she often is able to verbalize my own feelings better than I ever could. The first time I actually heard her music was in the show Adventure Time when the character Marceline performs a cover of Francis Forever. She’s a huge artist and so a lot of her music has gone viral online multiple times, but I find that a lot of the people who partake in these trends and a lot of her new fans don’t look into her background or the experiences behind the lyrics of these songs. I would recommend listening to Lush and Bury Me At Makeout Creek first, but you really can’t go wrong with any of her albums. I would really take a look at her lyricism when you listen since I would say that is what sets her apart from a lot of other indie artists. Bonus points if you’re listening to her alone in your bedroom crying.
ABEL: BLANK BANSHEE
Blank Banshee is really a one of a kind artist. His music is most commonly described as vaporwave trap, but it extends so much further than that in different directions depending on the album. But since pretty much every track is around 2 minutes, even if an idea isn’t your favorite, it will never overstay its welcome. And the ideas that do work, they work very well, and I find myself just looping songs a couple times when listening through one of his albums. I think the album of his that best exemplifies the “no-skip” nature of his music is his first album, Blank Banshee 0 from 2012. While his second album (confusingly titled Blank Banshee 1) is probably my favorite of his, Blank Banshee 0 encapsulates the core sound that the Blank Banshee project is centered around, rather than exploring more varied sounds as he does on later albums.
AUSTIN: ANDY SHAUF
Andy Shauf‘s songwriting is epic. Each song is a part of a whole which contributes to a narrative arc that is an album. The albums are reminiscent of rock operas of old, were they to be written with the sensibilities of Simon and Garfunkel or Crosby, Stills and Nash.
The Party, The Neon Skyline, and Wilds are all beautifully crafted albums. I find it difficult to select a favorite, as they are all delightful in their symmetry and unique narrative. I’ll say Wilds is my favorite since I’m listening to it as I’m typing. Is it a cop out from selecting a favorite to say they are all my favorite? Yes. Is it true? Yes.
You either love CAKE or you hate it, there’s no in between; and this applies to the band too! CAKE has an extremely unique style to their music. For me, this unique musical style comes with the bonus of not a single bad song. CAKE is one of the few bands that I can listen to for hours on end, and still want to hear more of them. From the wacky talked vocals to the loud and bright trumpet, each song of theirs has some unique aspect that makes it completely stand out from the rest, while also being instantly recognizable as CAKE. Not only is the instrumental aspect of CAKE amazing in every song, but the lyrics are also pumped full of meanings and references. I can think of very few other bands that are able to achieve this, and even less that can achieve it on every song they make.
GAVIN: WESTSIDE GUNN
Westside Gunn has made so many albums and mixtapes that sound like they are from no specific time period. His production is next level and his flows and vocals over that production make him an artist that’s never dropped something bad in my opinion.
ASHLYN: ARCTIC MONKEYS
Two directions I could’ve gone here: Jimi Hendrix, who is highly nostalgic for me, and has a perfect discography, OR Arctic Monkeys.
Arctic Monkeys edged Hendrix out solely because this is where my music taste blossomed. I could (and have) just put their Spotify on shuffle and don’t feel like I need to skip any songs. The metaphors, the emotion, the imagery, the instruments, all of it comes to this beautiful creation that I consider to be flawless. Without falling into the Tumblr trap of 2014, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with music as much as I have, especially alternative rock. In more recent years, their tune has switched to a much slower pace, but I don’t think that’s bad in comparison to their older albums. I highly encourage you to listen to Favourite Worst Nightmare and/or Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, two flawless albums, both capturing the energy they held at the beginnings of their career.
GARY: MARTY ROBBINS
In the interest of being creative and explorative, many artists often experiment with different musical and lyrical techniques, causing the overall appearance of their sound to vary from album to album, or even within an album. Although this is naturally a good thing, and regularly leads to novel discovery and wonderful creation, it can sometimes also be disastrous (I’m looking at you, Pink Floyd). Conversely, some artists simply write each and every one to sound like the one before it, following the old adage: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Artists like AC/DC, Royal Blood, and Gordon Lightfoot come to mind. Marty Robbins also adopted this method, at least in terms of melody and instrumentation. For this reason, Marty’s music sounds consistent throughout his entire, lengthy discography. Where Marty separates from the pack, however, is in his ability to write gripping, emotional, and moving stories within his lyrics. This is what provides his song with variety, as well as captivating the listener, drawing them in and displaying vivid imagery of a world gone by, with gun-toting cowboys, outlaws, Mexican maidens, prairie fires, and more. With the level of storytelling that Robbin’s possesses, each and every one of his songs is truly remarkable.
JUSTIN: CHARLEY CROCKETT
When I saw this prompt, the first few artists I thought of were all deceased. After all, a really good way to never make a bad song is to die before you have the chance to. However, I finally arrived at an answer of Charley Crockett. Crockett is a master of nostalgia, whether he’s working in the medium of blues, R&B, or country. His energetic songs sound like something out of an old western, and his ballads sound like something your grandparents danced to at their wedding. Despite releasing 12 albums in 7 years, I never really get tired of his baritone voice and his often sparse instrumentation. If you’re a fan of country, check out his album Welcome To Hard Times. If you’re not, then listen to Music City USA.
DAYTON: TYLER CHILDERS
With over 7 million monthly listeners on spotify, Tyler Childers has become many people’s favorite country/folk singer as well as mine. His charmingly unique vocals and soothing guitar helps him stand out in every album, playlist, and radio. He’s received several grammy nominations as best single country artist and rightfully so. His album Purgatory, released in 2017, containing three of my favorite songs: Feathered Indians, Tattoos, and Lady May stand out the most to me. Furthermore, the album was produced by Sturgill Simpson another very talented country artists. Together, they made one of my favorite albums. At the end of the day, every single one of Childers’ songs tells an authentic story with impeccable vocals and rhythm.
ISAK: NOTHING BUT THIEVES
I picked Nothing But Thieves because they have no bad songs. I found them about a year ago when their new album, Moral Panic came out. I really enjoyed it and from there, I would just listen to their entire discography religiously for the whole summer. I still listen to them a lot but not nearly as much as I used to. I will say now that it is rare for me to find a band where I can just pick any song they have and enjoy it. Some notable songs I’ll tell you to check out by them are: Particles, Unperson, Excuse Me, and their cover of Crazy (Gnarls Barkley). In addition, if you’d like an album experience, they are all great but I find myself listening to Broken Machine the most.
PETAR: THANK YOU, IM SORRY
Thank You, I’m Sorry is my favorite underground band and has been for some time. They’re a 5th wave emo band based out of Chicago, Illinois and consist of vocalist/guitarist Colleen Dow, bassist Bethunni Schreiner, guitarist Abe Anderson, and drummer Sage Livergood. They only have two albums, The Malta House and I’m Glad We’re Friends. Both of these albums contain perfectly crafted songs full of introspective lyrics describing the members’ struggle with depression, anxiety, insecurity, and heartbreak. Musically, the band relies on a DIY sound that makes you feel like you’re in a basement in the midwest drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon with 40 other sweaty people. My favorite song by the band is How Many Slugs Can We Throw Against the Wall Until We Question Our Own Mortality (The Malta House Version).