17 Best Albums of 2017

It’s been a few weeks since I last uploaded a blog post but I’m back now. It’s unlikely that I’ll be posting every week as thinking of new blog post ideas is proving difficult and my free time is slowly decreasing; as A levels and athletics begin take over in the new year.

But anyways, I thought I’d end this year with a post listing what I consider to be the best albums that have been released this year. Seventeen of them to be precise. These are based on artistic content and not popularity. So, if you’re a pop music fan then this probably isn’t a good read for you. I listen to A LOT of albums. I add them to my library weekly when they release on a Friday but these are the ones that stood out for me. I consider some of these albums to be literal masterpieces. I hope that I persuade some of you to listen to a few of them at some point if you haven’t done so already. For reference, I find the majority of my music on Tidal.

Let’s do this in chronological order as listing them from best to is proving too challenging for my indecisive self.

IMG-36081. Kehlani – SweetSexySavage

This album is self explanatory in the sense that there are elements of sweet, sexy and savage throughout. Kehlani entered 2017 with a bang with this debut album and she has demonstrated how hard work really does pay off. The vocal arrangements and production are astonishing. She really put her foot down to claim being the new R&B princess.

2. Sampha – Process

Process is another debut album that I would recommend. I often listen to it when revising as it is somewhat relaxing.

IMG-36113. Stormzy – Gang Sings & Prayers

I first listened to Stormzy’s album with a closed minded perception of him. I now realise that it was a result of the media’s representation of him being unintelligent and unable to make ‘real’ music. However, ‘Gang Sign’s & Prayers’ is artistically exciting and is cohesively satisfying. Stormzy has had a big impact on British music and grime in particular with this album and I am somewhat proud of him for it. I would definitely recommend for people to and give the album a listen.

4. Khalid – American Teen

Despite how commercialised Khalid has become over this year, I have to admit that his album is generally an enjoyable listen. I like how carefree and youthful it is.

Here’s where it starts to get really good…

IMG-36135. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

DAMN, Kendrick really made a genius album this year. The cohesive elements of the album is magical and he continues to  deliver hard bars that are often underappreciated. I feel as though Kendrick Lamar has truly created one of the most clever albums after announcing that it was actually meant to be listened to backwards due to the narrative. I would be very happy to see him take many Grammy awards for it in February next year.

IMG-36146. SZA – Ctrl

Now, Ctrl is one of THE best albums of 2017 and best debut albums that I have ever listened to. I wrote a whole blog post on it here if you would like a more in depth analysis. SZA is what the R&B scene has been missing for years.

IMG-36157. Lorde – Melodrama

I have gone on about this album so much this year, labelling it as the ‘Best Album of 2017’, a ‘masterpiece’ that has a powerful narrative of a breakup and heartache. Of course, I wrote a whole separate blog post on this album which you can find here. I just love the honesty, narrative and brilliance of this album. After being nominated at the Grammy’s for ‘Album of the Year’, I would be so happy for Lorde to take the award home with her.

8. Jay-Z – 4:44

The legend himself, Jay-Z dropped ‘4:44’, exclusively for Tidal customers and the honesty, empowerment and buzz that it gives off is astonishing. I was shocked but pleased with him after revealing untold truths about his infidelity. The mature approach to subject matters of a black empowerment and equality concerning race and sexuality only made me praise him more despite his life mistakes. I wrote more about this album and the messages behind it here.

amine-good-for-you9. Aminé – Good For You

I have a growing love for Aminé, every time I listen to ‘Good For You’. The causal and cheeky feel that he gives off in his debut album can only lift your mood. Its pretty ‘litty’ in my opinion. I wrote more about ‘Good For You’ earlier this year in a blog post here.

10. Daniel Caesar – Freudian

This is probably the most fresh feeling albums of 2017. The cohesive album ‘Freudian’ is a personal favourite in terms of listening satisfaction. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Frank Ocean or Solange Knowles. I am definitely excited to see him and his music career flourish in the future.

IMG-375111. BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION II

This album had me SOOK on so many levels. The irregular ‘boy-band’, BROCKHAMPTON produce some of the best rap bars that I have personally listened to in terms of originality. I don’t even know how to explain the production and sounds on this album. Just go and listen to it for yourselves, PLEASE. They released three albums this year, part 1, 2 and 3 of the SATURATION trilogy. Part 3 was only released last week! It’s crazy. They will forever leave me mind-blown.

12. Sabrina Claudio – About Time

I would say that ‘About Time’ is another refreshing album that is somewhat relaxing. I look forward to hearing more music from Sabrina in the future.

13. Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me

I don’t tend to listen to the big ‘pop’ albums, but after watching Demi Lovato’s Youtube documentary, I felt like I had to go on to listen to her album. The documentary was rather deep at times. For the album itself, it’s pretty good if i’m honest. I was surprised with how strong her voice really is.

IMG-375214. Kelela – Take Me Apart

‘Take Me Apart’ is an album that I would say it up there with ‘Melodrama’ and ‘DAMN.’ in terms of its artistic ability. The album is cohesive and is a personal favourite of mine. Kelela created what I would call a masterpiece here. With it’s ‘breakup’ theme, Kelela goes in hard on this LP.

15. Willow – The 1st

This album is just adorable. Willow never fails to produce good music. Despite it being a short album, I was truly satisfied with the music that was produced.

Don’t judge me but…

IMG-375316. Taylor Swift – reputation

I don’t like Taylor Swift personally but I decided to listen to ‘reputation’ due to it being one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year. I was definitely surprised. I have to admit that this is a really good pop album with some great pop anthems throughout.

…And finally…

17. Chance The Rapper & Jeremih – Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama Re-Wrapped

Released literally LAST NIGHT, Chance and Jeremih dropped a surprise Christmas album and it’s amazing. Whenever they collaborate together, they make wonders happen. The R&B sounds that they’ve been able to incorporate into this album are so inventive. Plus, they even got Noname to feature on it.

…And that is my list completed.

It’s interesting that around half of what I would call the ‘Best Albums of 2017’ are actually debut albums. Hopefully this means that the artists are only going to produce even better albums later down the line in their careers. It’s strange that the albums that stood out for me the most this year had themes of love and heartbreak. It must mean that I’m a sucker the emotional stuff. Lol. Anyway, I’m excited for what music 2018 has in the bag for us. See you all in next year 🙂

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I’ve been busy.

Apologies for not posting last week. I’ve been busy.

My message for this blog post is that you can do anything if put your mind to it. The post is going to be pretty self-centred so I’d stop reading from here if you’re not a fan of me, myself and I. However, I will also go on to talk about International Men’s Day.

Anyways, over this past two weeks, I’ve passed my driving test, applied to university, began hurdling at training and many other things. Not to be overconfident and annoying, but I’ve done all of this by staying consistent in staying focused and getting things done as and when they need to be done. I’ve set so many goals for myself since the academic year has began and I’m happy to say that so many things are finally coming together.

I would say that all of the things written in this blog post sort of links to my ‘Goals‘ post that I wrote a few weeks ago. I stressed the importance of having goals and gave advice on keeping a healthy mindset about them. I would advise reading it 🙂 (yes, that was me giving myself some self-promo). Being able to say that you’ve achieve a goal is so satisfying no matter how big or small the goal is. Therefore, I wouldn’t see any reason for me to stop setting myself goals.

I also woke up this morning to see that today is International Men’s Day. After seeing a few tweets, many men were taking this day to not only praise and appreciate the good men in this world but also reflect on how men could improve. Especially in this moment in time where feminism is growing and where toxic, hyper–masculinity is being challenged. (A blog topic that I look forward to writing about in the future). I think that some of the top tweets that I have seen are spreading awareness about men’s mental health so if you’re a male reading this, maybe you should join in with the conversation using the hashtag #InternationalMensDay.

That’s all for today’s post. Thanks to everyone reading 🙂

Why did I start blogging?

Around three months ago, I started my blog, TREXTHOMAS. In this post I would to reflect on the reasons as to why I began blogging.

As I stated in my first blog post, I’ve always enjoyed writing about things that interest me. Especially the things that I have good knowledge about, enjoy or have an opinion on. Being a student, blogging sort of links into my A level subjects and the things that I tend to write about all intertwine with the topics within my A level studies. I’m also an athlete and although I’ve not written massively about athletics itself, I think that I am lucky enough to gain an audience of readers from that aspect of my life. It’s exciting because I know that people from all over the UK and even abroad read my posts. I’m lucky in that respect. I think that blogging is definitely an opportunity that I had to grab.

With reading and writing writing, I’ve never really been a person that liked to read books. I used to read and I definitely enjoyed it but I always felt as though I was forcing myself to. Reading felt like a chore to me. With the way that society is today, everything is online and it is so easy for you to put out messages for your friends and followers to read. The messages you read online also tend to be things that you’re interested in so on you’re not forced to read them. You get so much choice as to things that you want to read online and they don’t have to be books. Although I like to share things on apps like Instagram and Twitter, they’re slightly limited. 140 characters is shorter than you may think and blogging has been a great way for me to develop my writing skills.

I am also aware that by writing my blog posts, I somehow have a positive impact on my readers. I know that people take away tips and pointers to enhance their lives. I know that I often persuade people to be more open minded about things and I’m really happy about the way that my blog has flourished.

Blogging is simple but definitely a challenge in some ways and I’d definitely recommend it to young people. You get to write whatever you want. Put your message out there and build a platform for your yourself. Be unique. Make yourself known.

Is it time for you to start a blog?

Goals

Apologies for not posting yesterday. Long story short – I was busy 🙂

Anyway, let’s get to the post.

I’d like to think that goals are important. In my experience, I know that I achieve better in specific things when I know I  have an end goal. I’m always searching for a new goal that I can set mentally. Whether that be in education, athletics or just everyday general life.

When you run out of goals to aim for, I think that it’s very easy to drift off into a space of carelessness. Having a bunch of goals to keep you well driven will always keep you on track. Short term and long term goals will benefit each other and help balance things out. Let’s take a small example of my own… It’s half term for me now and I reached my goal of trying to keep a 100% attendance at sixth form. This enabled me to keep on top of my work and go through the term smoothly. This short term goal will help be in my long term goal of trying to achieve good grades at the end of the year.

It’s important to not let your goals consume all of your energy. I would definitely advise people keep a healthy balance of ‘work’ and ‘play’ time. This will of course help with your mental state too. It’s also important to know that you’re not always going to achieve your goals. Especially if you aim high. As long as you deal with failure in a pro-active way with a level head on your shoulders, you’ll be able to move onto your next goal swiftly.

So, no matter how big or small your goals may be, they’ll always be beneficial to you if you have the right approach. You will prosper.

#WorldMentalHealthDay

mental heath problems can affect anyone and they are common. probably much more common than you think. it’s a topic that is often swept under the carpet but the more that we shy away from it, the more difficult it is for someone to admit needing help. mental health problems can easily be triggered with changes in academics, sport, relationships and identity etc. it’s as simple as that. young people especially have so many pressures at such a young age making life difficult. i would just like to raise some awareness today and reassure young people, athletes and students that you are not alone, particularly boys. boys tend to withdraw from discussion of topics like these after being told to ‘man up’ and hide their emotions away. but boys are massively effected too. there is help out there online, in schools and at nhs centres. don’t be hesitant, it’s not out of the ordinary. spread the hashtag and message today, let’s help each other collectively.

When you walk into a room, do you bring light or darkness?

Just a short one.

I came across this question recently on social media. It genuinely made me think about myself and the way in which people may perceive me.

The question isn't asking about literal light or darkness. It's about the impact that you have on others. How you make others feel and the mood that they associate you with.

In my opinion, you shouldn't be thinking about what others think of you. You should always be yourself, live a joyful life and mind your own business. But this question made me realise that maybe we should question ourselves, just occasionally. Reflect on what we choose to present to others.

We all know those people that we naturally warm to. We also know those that we try to avoid immediately. Which person are you?

What I learned from my first year at sixth form

Recently, I finished my first year at sixth form (equivalent to 11th grade). Towards the latter part of the year, especially after my exams, I began to reflect and realise that I have learned a lot of general life lessons along the way. I have also learned a lot about myself and how to better myself as a human being. Using the knowledge that I now have, I can hopefully use it positively to excel academically and as a person in year 13 and further on in life.

So, here are a few lessons that I have learned along the way:

Be yourself

This first lesson applies especially to people that have moved schools to go to a new sixth form or college. You will certainly meet new people, make new friends and maybe even form new friendship groups. My advice for this would be to be yourself. Theoretically, at the start of the school year, you can really reinvent yourself and start presenting yourself in a way that reflects you as an individuality. When going to sixth form, I feel as though you can really be who you want to be without being judged. In school before, everybody had to wear the same uniform, study the same subjects, have the same hairstyles etc. Whereas in sixth form, it’s an opportunity for you you to express your individuality and differences to everyone else. With being yourself, you will automatically have a happier lifestyle and positive outlook on things as you won’t have to worry about conforming to social norms.

Stay in contact with old friends

Staying in contact with old friends is so important. These are likely to be friends that you have had friendships with for years at your previous schools. It wouldn’t make sense to loose contact with them simply because you don’t get the opportunity to seen them as often as you used to. Your old friends will also be great for when you’re feeling down and need somebody to talk to. They are the friends that will know you better than any of your new friends that you have made. Furthermore, they are likely to be the ones who care the most about you, so letting go of those particular old friends would be a silly mistake.

Let go of old friends

Yes, this is a complete contradiction to my previous point. However, when moving to sixth form, you will need to let go of some old friends. My advice would be to loose the ones that don’t support you as much as you would like, the ones that have a negative outlooks on life and the ones who were only your friends because they attended the same school as you in the first place. These “friends” will no longer benefit you in life and as savage as it may sound, you will have to cut them off at some point.

Your mental health is important

Mental health is always something that is brushed under the carpet. It’s rarely ever spoken about for no logical reason what so ever. Yet, your mental health/state is probably the most important thing that is going to get you through year 12. Being able to grow as a person, learn new things and deal with the workload will be so much easier if you are in a good mental state. Having a huge work load can undoubtedly cause stress and if you are one of those students that is able to keep a positive attitude all year round then I definitely take my hat off to you. With that, just remember that your well being is important and it isn’t something that should be ignored. I advice discussing your problems (if you have any) instead of hiding them away to try come across as strong. It’s also okay to feel down or cry. Take a day off sick if you need to. But remember, you’re not the only one going through the same thing and many have been in your position before. You’re not alone.

Don’t feel obliged to get into a relationship

By all means make new friends, have a crush on one or two people but don’t feel as though you need to get into a relationship. If you feel as if you have found someone that you can have a future with then by all means get into the relationship (but don’t rush it). I would also advise not to get into a relationship for the sake of it. If you know it’s right then go for it. Besides, boys/girls ain’t shit.

Time management

Year 12 has been the most challenging year whilst in education for me so far. I would definitely say that time management is crucial. Time management will determine on whether you hand your homework/coursework in on time, whether you get your revision done in time and whether you are doing equally as well in all of your subjects as oppose to failing one and getting A’s in another. Try and stick to a schedule. I myself do athletics at a high level outside of school which means that I have to train/compete several times a week.  Sticking to a schedule is honestly the best way to get your work done in time. Wiring a to-do list will also be very satisfactory once everything is ticked off.

These were just a few lessons that I have learned over the past 11 months that can be used as tips for anyone going into yer 12. Hopefully, I will be able to go onto year 13 and learn many more lessons and use past ones to my advantage.