WSUM Exec Staff’s Top Ten Albums for Quarantine

WSUM’s hard working staff is here to help you find something new to listen to while you are practicing social distancing. Read below for each member’s top ten list of albums to listen to while in quarantine.

Izzi Bavis, Music Director

  1. Harry Styles, Fine Line 
  2. Emily Remler, Firefly 
  3. Roy Ayers, Lifeline
  4. Arthur Verocai, Arthur Verocai
  5. Doja Cat, Hot Pink
  6. Wes Montgomery, The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery
  7. girlpool, Before the World Was Big 
  8. Childish Gambino, 3.15.20
  9. Bobby Caldwell, Carry On 
  10.  Fort Lean, Quiet Day

As the Music Director here at WSUM I am embarrassed that Harry Styles is my number one for quarantine but it’s true. I think a more accurate list would actually put the Harry Styles NPR Tiny Desk Concert as number one, I’ve watched that at least three times a day for the past week. The first time I listened to Fine Line I was underwhelmed; his self-titled album was a masterpiece that highlighted his artistry and commitment to music while Fine Line was just a sloppy sophomore album. I was wrong. This album is spectacular, each track makes you feel all the feels and is perfect to put on while you are bumming around the house. The rest of my list is a mix. We have some jazz guitar with Wes Montgomery and Emily Remler. We dip into some Brazillian music with Arthur Verocai. We have some indie music with girlpool and Fort Lean. I also put Doja Cat, Childish Gambino and Bobby Caldwell on the list. Each bringing different dimensions of RnB and hip hop to the table. This list is a combination of what I’ve been listening to the past two weeks, take a listen if you feel so inclined.

Will Mandel, Production Director

  1. Madvillain, Madvillainy
  2. Crazy Frog, Crazy Hits 
  3. Rico Nasty, Kenny Beats: Anger Management 
  4. Manwolves, A Safety Meeting
  5. Open Mike Eagle, Paul White: Hella Personal Film Festival
  6. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Broom
  7. Takuya Kuroda, Rising Son 
  8. Casiopea, Casiopea
  9. Quasimoto, Madlib, Yessir Whatever
  10.  Vulfpeck, Live at Madison Square Garden

This whole self-imposed isolation thing has given me plenty of time to listen to entire albums in one sitting, and I can’t think of a project more suited to the task than Madvillainy. I actually hadn’t heard this album until earlier this year, and now I feel like I’m making up for lost time by listening to it about four times a day. It just doesn’t get old; each time I listen to “AccordionI have the best two minutes of my life. “Curls” is probably one of the greatest cuts I’ve ever heard. “All Caps” makes me want to fold the dishes. This album has been reviewed into the ground, so I won’t try to make any grand proclamations about how wonderful of a combo MF DOOM and Madlib are, or how this album fits together so perfectly that it’s practically one song, but I will say this: I have a habit of finding albums that I like and listening to them until I can’t stand them anymore. I’ve had this album on repeat for months and I don’t plan on stopping. If you’re going to listen to one new record during all of this self-isolation business, make it Madvillainy. 

Zoey Knox, Traffic Director

  1. Andy Shauf, Neon Skyline
  2. Vundabar, Either Light
  3. Soccer Mommy, Color Theory
  4. Caroline Rose, Superstar
  5. Twin Peaks, Sweet 17 Singles
  6. Best Coast, Crazy For You
  7. Big Thief, U.F.O.F.
  8. The Beths, Future Me Hates Me
  9. Cautious Clay, Blood Type
  10. Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life
  11. Porridge Radio, Every Bad

This period of quarantine has sent my musical taste in two directions. On one hand I’ve been listening to new releases to spice up the monotony of my daily routine. On the other hand, the uncertainty of the current situation has me reaching for my longtime favorite albums. In terms of new discoveries, Neon Skyline is one of my current favorites. Our dear Music Director, Izzi, recently re-introduced me to Andy Shauf, and his album Neon Skyline is the perfect listen for when you’re stuck in your apartment for days on end. The album unfolds like a friend is telling you a long story about their day, complete with dialog from secondary characters and offhand remarks. Shauf’s syrupy voice, casual style and easy guitar playing are what made me fall in love with his music on Foxwarren, and are what make Neon Skyline the perfect quarantine soundtrack.

Shelby Len, Administrative Support Specialist

  1. Melt Banana, Charlie
  2. The Garden, Kiss My Superbowl Ring
  3. Jerkcurb, Air Con Eden
  4. Rodan, Rusty
  5. Dungen, Ta Det Lugnt
  6. Sonic Youth, Sonic Youth
  7. Ovlov, Am 
  8. Sweetest, Jelly/Jam 
  9. Peaer, A Healthy Earth
  10.  Les Rallizes Dénudés, Cable Hogue Soundtrack

Since being confined to my childhood home in Minnesota, I’ve found that an excellent means of escapism is listening to music at all possible hours of the day. As a result my old  favorites have been completely blown out of the water in a desperate search to find something new. I found Melt Banana’s Charlie, whose challenging and abrasive chaos reflects the mild insanity that’s been making occasional appearances in my psyche. Similarly, Kiss My Superbowl Ring maintains an organized chaos in its perpetual genre-crossing and general devil may care attitude. In other news, I’ve developed a strange penchant for bedroom pop (see Jerkcurb, Sweetest), probably due to the obscene amount of time I spend on Tiktok, or the fact that bedroom pop makes a great soundtrack for impromptu in-your-room dance parties. I only hope that the admittedly incongruous melée of a list I’ve drawn up doesn’t serve as a prediction for further madness.

Sam Buisman, News Director

  1. Beastie Boys, Ill Communication
  2. The US National Parks Service Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, Sounds of the Parks
  3. Rolling Stones, Exile On Main Street
  4. Lil Ugly Mane, Mista Thug Isolation
  5. Mötley Crüe, Dr. Feelgood
  6. Noname, Room 25
  7. The I.L.Y.’s, Scum With Boundaries  
  8. William Basinski, The Disintegration Loops
  9. Tierra Whack, Whack World
  10. Dead Kennedys, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables 

No, yeah, times are tough. Things are seriously scary. We are living through a once-in-a-century pandemic. With the exception of those who remember the 1918 flu outbreak, everybody is in the dark here. Nobody really knows what to expect, or what’s going to happen. But, WSUM is staying on the air. And over here at News, it is our duty to bring you all the information we can in these uncertain times. In this epoch of illness, communication will continue. Starting Monday, WSUM News will begin broadcasting a morning news update in addition to our regular nightly news. We promise to do our absolute most to keep our listeners informed and safe throughout this crisis. We promise to be your Ill Communication. 

DIS-honorable Mentions (DO NOT listen to these): Carpenters, Close to You; Bob Marley, Exodus; Grant Green with Dave Bailey Quintet, Reaching Out; Car Seat Headrest, How to Leave Town; Nas, Illmatic; The Notorious B.I.G, Ready to Die

Sean Horvath, Station Manager

  1. R.A.P Ferreira, Purple Moonlight Pages
  2. Connan Mockasin, Forever Dolphin Love
  3. Frog, Kind of Blah
  4. Ashley Eriksson, Colours
  5. The National, Fake Empire
  6. Earl Sweatshirt, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside
  7. Arcade Fire, Funeral
  8. D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
  9. HONEYMOAN, Body
  10. FIDLAR, FIDLAR

There’s a moment on Purple Moonlight Pages where R.A.P Ferreira (formerly known as Milo) describes an experience he had reading graffiti on a bathroom wall. Someone who came before has asked what the meaning of life is. Underneath, the answer is written “to be the eyes, the ears, and consciousness of the creator of the universe, you fool!” Not only is this a quote from my favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut, but I think it’s a mantra we can all live by in these crazy times. There is beauty to be found everywhere, even when you’re trapped at home. It is our duty as conscious citizens of this planet, to create and experience as much beauty as possible, regardless of current circumstances. If you’re looking for somewhere to find this beauty, Purple Moonlight Pages is as good a start as any.

Teresa Yen, Talk Director

  1. Lorde, Melodrama
  2. Lana Del Rey, Norman Fucking Rockwell
  3. Phoebe Bridgers, Stranger in the Alps
  4. Fletcher, you ruined new york city for me
  5. Daughter, If You Leave
  6. Jessie Reyez ,Before Love Came to Kill Us
  7. Yoga Lin, Sell Like Hot Cakes (今日營業中)
  8. Troye Sivan, Blue Neighborhood
  9. Sasha Sloan, Self Portrait
  10. Death Cab for Cutie, Plans

Compiling my list together, I’ve realized that quarantine time is really the time to release the ultimate sad girl energy. Who else can beat Lorde, if we’re talking sad girl vibes? While the album was released in 2017, Melodrama is still relevant. My favorite track is still “Hard Feelings/Loveless,” an emotional cry on one side of the tape and a complete angry girl on the other. From desperately pleading “please could you be tender” to playfully sneering  “bet you wanna tape my mouth shut,” this song captures the two sides of a girl post-breakup, one that is undeniably sad, and one that is jokingly petty. I think that’s probably one of the most accurate descriptions there is of a sad girl. I present to you my ultimate sad girls albums list. If you need a good cry, or just want to enjoy some chill tunes, these albums will get you there.

Ayden Schultz, Web Director

  1. The Dismemberment Plan, Emergency and I
  2. David Bowie, Low
  3. Duster, Stratosphere
  4. Radiohead, Kid A
  5. The Microphones, The Glow pt. 2
  6. Godspeed You! Black Emperor, F# A# Infinity
  7. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Howl
  8. Protomartyr, Relatives in Descent
  9. Ought, Room Inside the World
  10. Have a Nice Life, Deathconsciousness

While I sit in quarantine, nearly bursting from the unspent energy I’ve built up from being isolated in my room, I’ve found at least some solace from the devolution of my daily routine in music. Spending hour after hour grudgingly pecking away at the seemingly bottomless pit of busy work my online classes throw at me, I’ve fallen into the habit of spinning one particular record I have in my collection: The Dismemberment Plan’s Emergency and I. There’s a certain ethos about this record that perfectly fits this new situation we’ve found ourselves in. Maybe it’s the nervous, erratic energy that seems ready to burst from nearly every track or, also quite likely, the themes of social isolation and the succeeding depression that populate the majority of the album’s lyrics. In trying times like these, I find it less interesting to try and throw off the feelings of loneliness and stagnation that inevitably fall upon everyone of us, and more enriching to try and be introspective about said emotions. This list of albums will certainly help you do that.

Ashley Evers, Promotions Director

  1. Alex G, House of Sugar
  2. MUNA, Saves the World
  3. Weyes Blood, Titanic Rising
  4. Moaning, Uneasy Laughter
  5. Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride
  6. The Paper Kites, twelvefour
  7. Sufjan Stevens, Aporia
  8. Liza Anne, Fine But Dying
  9. Robyn, Honey
  10. Better Oblivion Community Center, Better Oblivion Community Center

Self-isolation in my childhood home has propelled my brain in opposite directions: yearning for albums that provide comfort and consistency, or searching for projects that instigate a rather dystopian feeling, which is exactly how the real world feels during a pandemic. Alex G’s latest project, House of Sugar, communicates American life through characters in a very radical yet distorted way. This gesture personifies the idea that what we perceive can be a mix of what is tangible and what is imaginary, which is a difficult paradox for humans to juggle. House of Sugar can be a complicated record to take in after only one listen, but after unpacking Alex G’s phenomenal chord choice and melodramatic themes, I have adopted a whole new perspective. The emotionally direct “Hope” brought tears to my eyes upon first listen, and is both haunting and truthful. A light still shines as Alex G’s uneven poetry narrates the fleeting uncertainty present in our present day lives. While I don’t advise sitting in your bedroom alone strictly blasting the saddest tunes you can find, the stories on House of Sugar remind me that beauty lies in some of the most unexpected places.

Maximilian Huth, Program Director

  1. Bonobo, Black Sands
  2. LANKS, twentyseven
  3. BAYNK, Someone’s EP II
  4. ODESZA, A Moment Apart
  5. Matt Woods, Ain’t No Use
  6. RÜFÜS DU SOL, Bloom
  7. Lastlings, Verges
  8. Flume, Hi This Is Flume (Mixtape)
  9. RKCB, Shores
  10. Frank Ocean, Blonde

Spending the majority (if not all at this point) of my time in my apartment, music is always playing. After saturating my ears with music I listen to while walking to class, I decided to dig back into my musical roots to burn some time. Once again, in all of its glory, I played the first track of Black Sands. The rhythmic instrumental barrages in tracks like “El Toro” and “Black Sands” are intense, but not overwhelming. The electronic influence is present during “1009” and “Kiara,” but doesn’t take away from the multi-instrumental showcase of the album. After hearing it fully, I made sure the repeat button was green. While the beauty of the album can be sat down and listened to, I feel it is best enjoyed when it isn’t your main focus, but rather paired with the time sink that is keeping up with online classes.

Sophia Abrams, Traffic Director

  1. Little Joy, Little Joy
  2. Various Artists, Garden State Soundtrack
  3. Solange, True
  4. Kings of Convenience, Riot On An Empty Street
  5. Jack Johnson, In Between Dreams
  6. Best Coast, Crazy For You
  7. Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride
  8. Belle & Sebastian, Dear Catastrophe Waitress
  9. Feist, Let It Die
  10. Corinne Bailey Rae, Corinne Bailey Rae

During this uncertain time, nostalgia gives me comfort. Rewatching old TV shows, making loaves of banana bread, and rereading my favorite books, quarantine has put things into perspective and reminded me to cherish the blissful moments solitude offers me. Confined to my house in Minneapolis and determined to have some pre-corona normalcy in my life, music has proven to be instrumental, giving me the stamina to stay optimistic during this dystopian-like reality. Little Joy’s bossa nova indie rock eponymous debut album is the album I’ve been listening to the most. Composed of Rodrigo Amarante from Los Hermanos, the Strokes’ drummer Fabrizio Moretti, and singer-songwriter Binki Shapiro, Little Joy combines acoustic songs with retro ‘60s-inspired rock songs, painting nostalgic imagery reminiscent of the feeling old film produces when reminding one about the good times of the past. Exactly 30 minutes, Little Joy’s album gives me a quick escape, and dare I say a boost of joy amidst this anxious time.

Talia Eiseman, Traffic Director

  1. The Japanese House, Good at Falling 
  2. Lorde, Pure Heroine
  3. Orion Sun, Hold Space For Me
  4. Megan Thee Stallion, Suga 
  5. Sudan Archives, Athena 
  6. Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell
  7. Tierra Whack, Whack World
  8. Blood Orange, Cupid Deluxe
  9. Indigo De Souza, I Love My Mom
  10. Bon Iver, 22, A Million

Usually in uncertain times, I turn to somber and melancholic tunes to calm me down, as reflected in my top ten list. Good At Falling is an album that I always go back to when I am having a bad day or just need to take a break and think. Most of these albums are very reminiscent and represent different parts of my life, so I have enjoyed having the time to rediscover these monumental albums again. In the mix are some newer albums, as I always try to explore new music. Amidst the sad music, I try to stay positive and listen to music that will keep me distracted and happy, like Megan Thee Stallion and Tierra Whack, both influential and empowered female rappers. This music has kept me sane these past few weeks, so take a listen if any of these albums interest you.

Allison Hartwig, Creative Director

  1. Beach Bunny, Honeymoon
  2. Various Artists, RENT: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  3. Maggie Rogers, Heard It In A Past Life
  4. Hippo Campus, Bambi
  5. Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell
  6. Julien Baker, Turn Out The Lights
  7. Bon Iver, 22, A Million
  8. EDEN, i think you think too much of me
  9. Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon
  10. Boston, Boston

I have been listening to Beach Bunny’s Honeymoon on repeat since the moment it came out on Valentine’s Day, and it still continues to be my favorite album for releasing emotions and energy. Feeling down? Have a good cry to “Racetrack.” Needing to punch something? Dance it out with your own personal mosh pit with “”Cuffing Season” or “Colorblind.” The tracks on Honeymoon combine fun and upbeat songs with all of the emo energy that everyone is feeling. It is a beautiful work that continues to surprise me and make me feel new things every time I listen to it. The rest of this list is a personal look into albums that I have most definitely cried to. Some are more indie and upbeat, some are more somber, some are classic rock and some are not. Each of these albums has moved me in an emotional way, and allowed me to release anything that was weighing on me or emotions I was keeping inside. It’s a mix, but if you like the feeling you get from Honeymoon, maybe give a few a try.

Asher Low, Sports Director

  1. Anderson .Paak, Malibu
  2. Vulfpeck, The Beautiful Game
  3. Bob Marley, Survival 
  4. D’angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
  5. Thundercat, Drunk
  6. Durand Jones and the Indications, American Love Call
  7. Noname, Telefone 
  8. Theo Katzman, Modern Johnny Sings: Songs in the Age of Vibe 
  9. Alfa Mist, Antiphon 
  10. A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory 

In such unprecedented times, I was looking for an album with versatility, and one that could work with multiple emotions. For me, Anderson .Paak’s Malibu is the album that works in almost any situation. There’s something that feels freeing about the neo-soul beats on the record, and something that feels a ton like being on the beach in Malibu. There are vulnerable moments on the album to be sure, but in the end it feels more like listening to a drive down the beautiful California coast than anything else. If you miss the cool, crisp air near the water, the beach, or that feeling of a freeing drive then this is the album to go to.