Winterize your Holiday playlist

Ed Sheeran "=" album cover
Ed Sheeran "=" album cover

Will Love’s Music Memo

Ed Sheeran

A significant amount of change has taken place in Ed Sheeran’s life since his last album, 2017’s “÷.” Sheeran is now 30, married, and recently became a father to daughter Lyra. With so much change also comes growth.

Ed Sheeran describes this as a coming-of-age album that he holds very personal to him. His fifth studio album, “=” is highlighted by very formulaic production which has received a mixed response upon release. Noticeably heard less are the expected acoustic guitars.

Instead, we hear more synths, which is a welcome change. Nevertheless, this album is no different than previous albums in terms of lyrical depth, which only goes so deep despite the emotion-churning instrumentals. Overall “=” oozes love anthems, several of which are bound to become future wedding songs. Favorite: “Visiting Hours”

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey "Blue Banisters" album cover
Lana Del Rey “Blue Banisters” album cover

Blue Banisters marks the eighth studio album, and second album released this year by Lana Del Rey. Released only seven months after Chemtrails over the Country Club, Lana achieves her eighth consecutive Top 10 album in the United States. Blue Banisters provides an air of mystery personified by introspective songwriting and abstract production.

With each album, Lana continues to outdo herself, showcasing new layers of herself through impeccable songwriting. At certain moments, you feel like you are in the studio with her, which is a testament to how vulnerable this album comes across. It is hard to believe Lana Del Rey is only 36 years old. There is a level of creativity and maturity witnessed on this album that many major artists her senior have yet to achieve. Favorite: “Black Bathing Suit.”

Elton John

Elton John "The Lockdown Sesions" album cover
Elton John “The Lockdown Sesions” album cover

When the Covid-19 Pandemic caused the world to completely stop during March 2020, Elton John was right in the middle of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road world tour. Soon, he was in quarantine just like the rest of us, stuck in his head. That is how the concept for The Lockdown Sessions came about.

The album acts as a gala of the Who’s Who in the music industry. Dua Lipa shines on the opening track which fuses “Rocket Man” into “Cold Heart.” Charlie Puth delivers on the standout ballad “After All.” Brandi Carlile brings country flavor to “Simple Things” while Stevie Nicks provides a soft rock vibe to “Stolen Car.” Nicki Minaj provides a stellar performance with Young Thug on “Always Love You.” The album also features previously released collaborations such as “One of Me” with Lil Nas X. Favorite: “Cold Heart.”

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson "When Christmas Comes Around" album cover
Kelly Clarkson “When Christmas Comes Around” album cover

Kelly Clarkson takes a break from hosting The Kelly Clarkson Show and mentoring singers on The Voice to bring us When Christmas Comes Around…”Clarkson has not released a Christmas album since 2013’s Wrapped in Red and continues to do a great job at bringing the holiday cheer while keeping the cheesiness factor at a minimum.

The album features classics like “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Santa Baby” as well as provides original material like “Blessed” and “Christmas Isn’t Cancelled (Just You).” When Christmas Comes Around… also features stellar collaborations with Ariana Grande (“Santa, Can’t You Hear Me”) and Chris Stapleton (“Glow”). Overall, a very thorough body of work, at least for a holiday album. Favorite: “Santa, Can’t You Hear Me”

Winter Top Five

  1. The Anxiety, Willow, Tyler Cole – Meet Me at Our Spot

2. Justin Bieber – Ghost

3. Elton John & Dua Lipa – Cold Heart

4. Adele – Easy on Me

5. Neiked, Mae Muller, Polo G – Better Days