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These are some of my top ten albums. I listen to mainly one genre of music, but I want to highlight some of the other things I listen to along with the main genre for some more variety. In this list, there are albums from rock/ metal, rap, and classical.

  1. God wins- Bryson Gray

This album is one of Gray’s newest albums. It came out alongside another album later in this list. It is a rap album about Christ. The best song on the albums is “False Teachers.” In this song, he sings about “Christian preachers” that promote things of this world and not of God. It also talks about how you need to give up sin. It starts off with a sample from heretic “preacher” saying you don’t need the Bible. Another great song on this album is called “Test.” This song musically is interesting because there is a basic piano in the background while Gray is singing with a constant rhythm over it. After the sample at the beginning of a nonheretical preacher, he sings about how you need to follow the commandments of God, specifically with things like Sex, drugs, and alcohol, even though your false prophet preacher says it doesn’t matter because Christ died for your sins. However, Jesus did tell the woman who was about to be stoned “Go and sin no more.” People remember the go and not the sin no more. Gray says you need to consider where your worldly pleasures will lead you when it is all done.

  1. Jesus is King- Kanye West

This album is Kanye’s 2019 album. It was the first one after he became Christian. The best song on the album is “Closed on Sunday.” Musically, the song has a low guitar playing with some sound effects on top with Kanye singing on top of it. Its chorus is in reference to Chick-Fil-a’s policy of not opening on Sunday, as all places should. It is the verses that really make the song great. He talks about putting electronics away, getting together as a family to pray, keeping your daughters safe from vipers (which is an interesting allusion probably to satan from The Book of Genisis and comparing it to boys who will “indoctrinate”), training our sons in the faith, and following Jesus. There are more great lines of how to raise your family and praise for God.

  1. Dmitri Shostakovitch

This isn’t an album, but he is a composer from the 20th century. I really enjoy all of his work that I’ve listened to so far. His best work is Waltz No. 2. This song is a waltz that is incredibly pretty and the waltz rhythm, which is an emphasis on the first beat by the melody with the snare and other instruments playing on the second and third beat, is used throughout it. This song was played by the Sparkman Symphonic band two or three years ago and has stuck with me since.

  1. 1776- Bryson Gray

This album came out alongside God Wins. They have many overlapping themes of politics and religion, but in God Wins, the focus is on religion while this album focused on politics. One of the best songs on this album is titled “Exposed.” In it, he calls out many types of people like the rappers trying to attack him, “conservatives” who will only do things online instead of real life, and degenerate “conservatives.” He names many of the people in these categories throughout this song also. Another song is “Maga’s Most Wanted.” This song starts off with audio from when the feds went to his parent’s house trying to find Gray because people lied saying he was inside the capital (he was outside) and he likes guns. Gray sings about how his “haters” are “giving [his] name to the feds” and how those people want him in prison or dead. Then he says the Maga hat is still on his head, signifying how he won’t back down. He then sings about how they will come for our guns (which turns out to be true) and how censorship won’t stop on the internet.

  1. A Dramatic Turn of Events- Dream Theatre

Dream Theatre is a band known for their fast and complex music on all instruments used. This album is their best one and the first one with their then-new drummer Mike Mangini. This album is a great listen from the top to the bottom. The best song of their whole discography is on this album. “On the Backs of Angels” starts with a pretty guitar part that is harder than it sounds. Then it starts layering in more instruments, starting with the piano and light drums. The guitar and piano are the focuses of this band, often playing many solos trading foci multiple times throughout. The singer is a talented singer but the high-pitched tone of his voice was hard to listen to at first, but it has since grown on me. However, in this song, his tone has always been great.

  1. Pepe Romero

This is another classical musician. This guy is a classical guitar virtuoso. He can make everything he plays sound incredibly musical. As a newer classical guitarist, I have massive amounts of respect for Romero because the things he plays as fast as he plays them take lots of skill and don’t normally sound as musical when played by other musicians at that skill, but he always does. To my knowledge, he doesn’t have any original works but has played many pieces by different composers.

  1. Can’t Cancel God- Bryson Gray

This is another one of Gray’s religious albums. It came out in 2020 and has more of a sole focus on religion than the God Wins album. One of the best songs on this album is “This is War.” At the beginning of his part, he sings about how the world seems lost, but God kept Noah’s Ark from sinking. He then calls out false teachers inside Christianity that promote sins of the flesh as natural and good. He also says that sin is past tense and references when Jesus told the woman “Go and sin no more.” Another great song is “God First” where he sings about putting God before money, fame and friends. Gray also talks about putting his faith in God over worldly things and is willing to say unpopular things at the risk of losing followers because he cares more about not going to Hell. “You pray to God, but live your life for satan.”

  1. Feathergun- Rishloo

This is a smaller band that I found by chance. I believe that they have since broken up, but this album is such a good listen that I had it on repeat for a week or two over the summer. There are two or three parts of this album that, upon the first few listens, sounded really good and gave this feeling that almost never comes up in any song, much less multiple times an album. The best song is “Systematomatic.” It is a continuation of the previous song and has a tastefully distorted guitar tone. The vocals also have a unique sound that works well with the band as a whole.

  1. Blackwater Park- Opeth

This album is the heaviest of everything on this list. Opeth mixes the complex music of the prog metal genre with the distorted and heavy sound of genres like death metal. This album isn’t all screaming and distortion. The band is great at mixing the low, heavy points with the high, acoustic points. This allows for the whole album to not just be a wall of distortion and screams. It instead has higher points so when it gets to the low points, they have more impact. When i say low, that doesn’t mean bad, it means heavy and distorted. The best song on this album is “Dirge for November.” It starts with just the vocals and an acoustic guitar playing together. The impressive part about this is that there is lots of space between each note and they both play at the same time. Then the acoustic guitar plays an arpeggio with another guitar playing its own tasteful lead solo. This creates a hard-hitting effect when the guitars turn to their heavy electric sound and create a wall of distortion. Then the lead guitar plays another lead solo on top of the new electric sound. Later on, the vocals come in with the classic death metal growl singing. The song exhibits the range the band can play in and how their sound is.

  1. Mesmerize- System of a Down

This is System’s best album. It is part of the Hyptomize and Mesmerize two-part album, however, they are generally considered two separate albums. This album has many of their greatest songs, with many being incredibly underrated. B.Y.O.B. is a fast song throughout its many parts with the chorus being slow, allowing for a hard-hitting effect when it switches back to the fast part. It sings about the endless wars in the Middle East and how we shouldn’t be in them. One of the lines that stand out the most is “why do they always send the poor?” in reference to rich politicians sending our boys to die across the sea under the lies they are fighting for freedom because the politicians work for foreign interests and we don’t even keep the oil. Another great song is “Radio/ Video.” This song has an upbeat heavy verse which gives way to another light to heavy hit. When it gets back to the upbeat verse, it slowly speeds it up, bringing you with. The songs throughout this album are all fun, fast and musical.

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