Music: The Top Four Under-appreciated Albums of the Past Five Years

By William Hoffman | 

There have been a lot of great albums in the past five years, but many have flown under the radar to most people when they should have been hits. These four albums are more than worth a listen and are all worthy of greater accolades than they acclaimed.

1) Wolfmother: Cosmic Egg

Many know of Wolfmother’s initial hits from its first self-titled album, such as “Woman” and “Joker & The Thief.” The band’s second release, however, was met with barely a splash.

Cosmic Egg is the best metal album to be released in years, bringing the genre back to its old-school roots, sounding much like Black Sabbath. The instrumentals come together perfectly, supporting each other rhythmically, especially during the soaring guitar solos on songs such as “White Feather” and “Sundial.”

The entire album is filled with gems that should not be missed by metal or hard rock fans. The band truly shined on this album and showed off its extraordinary talent.

2) John Legend and The Roots: Wake Up

Wake Up is a cover album bringing many old school soul artists to the attention of a younger audience more aware of John Legend’s popularity. The album had much more success than some of the albums on this list but its significance is understated.

The songs are protest songs that fuse soul, R&B and rap, with The Roots rapper “Black Thought” cleverly injecting meaningful and thoughtful lines into these classic songs.

But the song that makes this album shine is an old Bill Withers tune: “I Can’t Write Left Handed.” The song has an amazingly energetic guitar solo and Legend’s soulful vocal stylings insert a level of passion into the song not typically seen in modern music.

3) The Roots: Undun

I hate to add the same artist to this list twice but I feel it necessary. The Roots’ 13th album Undun is a masterful concept album told about the story of Redford Stevens who grows up in poverty (I’m assuming in Philadelphia where The Roots grew up). Here’s the twist though: The story is told in reverse from his death to birth.

There are numerous lyrical lines that will take your breath away and make you think about poverty in the USA. A lot of the magic of this album comes from personally discovering the meaning so I won’t ruin it, but this is a hip-hop album that cannot be missed.

4) Sublime: Yours Truly

Many people out there are music purists and don’t like to see change in their music, but change can be good. When lead singer Bradley Nowell died, the group seemed to have disbanded, but in 2009 the remaining members formed again under a new young singer, Rome Ramirez, who has a similar vocal style to Nowell’s.

The album doesn’t try to stay to the old-school Sublime sound and instead revamps it in better song writing and catchy hooks. The classic punk ska feel is all there and proves that Sublime can still produce amazing feel-good music. Nothing beats the feeling of blasting this summer time music from your car with the windows rolled down. It might not be Nowell singing but if you let Sublime back into your heart I promise you won’t regret it.

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