Five of 2024’s Best Albums (So Far)


Image Courtesy of Top10HQ

By Dean Robbins

2024 has seen a lot of new music already, from indie rock to genre defying choices. Here are some of the best albums we’ve seen so far. 

5. Where we’ve been, Where we go from here by Friko

Chicago-based indie rock duo Friko dropped their first LP back in February, and they sound like veterans. Members Niko Kapetan and Bailey Minzenberger deftly navigate between intense emotional intensity and bombastic catharsis. 

4. COWBOY CARTER by Beyonce

Maximalism is the name of the game now, and Beyonce has delivered one of the most maximal country projects ever released. The production here is often jaw-dropping with Beyonce crosscutting genre tropes with vast dance-pop production and a surprising number of curve balls. Case in point: the opera section in “Daughter.” The technical mastery is matched by some of Beyonce’s best lyrics and commentary on Americana. 

3. Only God Was Above Us by Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend are back with a vengeance on their first album in five years. Their last album, Father of the Bride, was made in the aftermath of producer and multi-instrumentalist Rostam’s departure. It was their worst album to date. Many worried that Vampire Weekend’s days at the top of indie college rock were over. With Only God Was Above Us, Vampire Weekend quell those fears from the first track “Ice Cream Piano,” which puts the listener into a dream state, simultaneously frenzied and cozy. There is no shortage of the usual savvy vocabulary and nods to music history from classical to jazz to rap. Ezra Koenig and company are still above the rest of them (except the next two on this list). 

2. Bright Future by Adrianne Lenker

Adrianne Lenker, best known as the lead singer of indie folk outfit Big Thief, collects a series of delicately ferocious lo-fi, folk tracks on her fifth (or sixth if you count her fourth album’s companion) album. Lenker gathered a group of friends and recorded the songs live giving the sound an electric feel of intimacy and improvisation. 

Honorable Mentions: “The Garden Dream” by gglum (indie rock), Empress Of’s “For Your Consideration” (dance-pop), “BLUE LIPS” by ScHoolboy Q (rap), “Big Sigh” by Marika Hackman (indie folk), and “Trail of Flowers” by Sierra Ferrell (bluegrass)

1. Scrapyard by Quadeca

Quadeca may have started out as FIFA YouTuber and meme rapper, but his new album “Scrapyard” is no joke. The project could be broadly defined as hip-hop, but it leans into R&B, folk, and electronica almost as much. It is one of the most original works of the year, opening up further on each new round. It is sensitive yet powerful and effortlessly intricate. Expect to see this one near the top of year-end lists.

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