Yearbook (2011)- Sleeping At Last
I was in sixth grade when I discovered Sleeping At Last on Grooveshark (my music streaming service of choice at the time) and I quickly fell in love with each of musician Ryan O’Neal’s instrumental-based songs. He announced his Yearbook album concept in 2011- a collection of three songs released each month for one year. I anxiously awaited his monthly email drop as each trio became my new favorites. My most beloved song of all time “Snow” is on this album, which is why it’s my No. 1 collection!
A Black Mile to the Surface (2017)- Manchester Orchestra
Manchester Orchestra is another one of my middle school discoveries as I continuously played their Mean Everything to Nothing album on my iPod nano watch. A Black Mile to the Surface is my second most-loved album because the collection tells one long story and each piece is a beautiful mixture of guitar riffs and haunting vocals. “The Gold” is my go-to on the album.
Trouble Will Find Me (2013)- The National
My sister Megan introduced me to The National, but I didn’t obsess over their music until after they toured in Hawaiʻi and I missed them (what a little dumbass I was)! High Violet was my jam upon first listen, but Trouble Will Find Me is my golden love. I could listen to Matt Berninger’s alluring voice 24/7. Their use of brass instruments also tickles my fancy. “I Need My Girl” and “Heavenfaced” always give me chicken skin.
I obviously had to include the Hamilton soundtrack in my 5 favorites as it was the only collection of songs I talked about freshman-sophomore years. When I saw the original cast’s Grammy performance in 2016, I flipped my shit and went on a streaming rampage. I made my mom listen to the album all morning and evening when she visited me that spring break and she complained the whole freaking time. Guess what she listens to always now? This album. My favorites of the bunch are the lady songs: “Satisfied”, “Burn”, “Take A Break”, and “It’s Quiet Uptown”. Throw in a bit of “Wait for It” for good measure.
30 (2015)- Kapena
Upon contemplating my favorite Hawaiian/local album, I had to go with 30 from Kapena. “Masese” has been one of my most-loved songs since I was a kid and throughout my high school days when we played it in All-State band. I’m semi-cheating with this choice since it features two sections of 15 tracks each, but all of my childhood songs are on here! Nowadays I’m a huge fan of “Talofa Teine”, “Bula (Drums of the Islands)”, and “Never Gonna Give You Up”.