7 Favorite Artists
By: Connor Lenahan
So Twitter hasn’t moved onto the logical next step of the 7 Favorite hashtag, but I’ve been having fun with it. So tonight I figured we would move to music and potentially the toughest list of all to put together. Because outside of two people/bands the rest of the list was a conscious conversation. It also makes almost no sense all together – a notable feature of all of my musical tastes.
Again, in no order, here are my seven favorite music artists.
There are very few artists in the history of music with a genuinely classic album. There are even fewer with two. Kendrick Lamar is one of those people. I can’t really find anything negative about his stellar good kid, m.A.A.d city and it’s still a fraction as good as To Pimp a Butterfly. Kendrick might not have the largest of discographies – and trust me, that won’t hurt other entries on this list – but he makes up for it in overwhelming quality. Even his throw-away songs on Untitled, Unmastered are better than most full releases.
Dave Grohl is my favorite singular musician of all time in the sense that he actually plays an instrument. Or, like, ten. He’s a terrific showman as a lead singer, great on guitar, and for my money the best drummer of my lifetime. As rock music continues to fade from the mainstream the Foo Fighters remain the standard bearer for the genre, and back it up with a crazy deep catalog of music.
Honestly if you hadn’t seen this one coming you obviously have never read Unbreakable or met me in person.
An asshole? Definitely. Megalomaniac? Absolutely. Narcissistic? Without a doubt.
A perfect record on albums for his career? No debate, yes. A trendsetter that regularly gets undervalued? Hell yes. The best rapper of his generation? Very likely. Best of all time? There’s a genuine case to be made.
You might hate Kanye West as a person, and I could never hold that against you. I get it. I think most people would. But to impeach any part of his career is lunacy. Kanye West is the best rapper on the planet right now and by far the most interesting musician working today. Don’t let his personality fool you, he’s a legend for a reason.
Nirvana and Kurt Cobain are the first band I really fell in love with that I found more or less myself (hold this thought). Through high school they were my go to band to listen to and even today they hold up amazingly. Nobody tries to argue that Nevermind isn’t a generational album, but I’m in a minority that also stands up for In Utero as one of the more interesting albums ever made. Take note, Drake: at least Nirvana tried something different.
And, of course, Unplugged is a seminal live album that remains my favorite of all time, and one of the best albums of any kind I’ve ever heard.
I love rap and I love funky rap music. Not only was OutKast one of the most transcendent concert experiences I’ve ever had, but their music is some of the most endlessly listenable in my library. And outside of Frank Ocean, and potentially ahead of, OutKast is the group that would cause me to be the most excited if they dropped new music. And now, to listen to “B.O.B.” on repeat.
Are and forever will be my favorite band of all time. My Dad used to play Steely Dan around the house all the time. He still does today, only now it’s because I’m normally explicitly asking him to put on deep cuts from Two Against Nature. As a familial connection Steely Dan is on another level than any other band on this list. But out of my sheer enjoyment for the band they are far and away in first place.
I am a fan of variety, but if presented with only one band’s discography to have on a desert island forever Steely Dan gets the nod. It wouldn’t be clear cut – Kanye is the closest alternate – but the only band I’ve ever dedicated a bracket to gets the nod.
I would die a happy man if I could successfully get all my friends to listen to Steely Dan. So here are a few hits to get you started.