I perform the incredibly difficult task of ranking the ‘Tumblr’ albums by their significance and impact on the world today. Urban Outfitters give me strength.
Back in the day, when Tumblr was still around and functioning as a vehicle for posting edgy lyrics atop of pastel pink backgrounds and pictures of teenagers in oversized sweaters holding roses and Crosley record players, certain albums became glorified as the holy grail of the site’s main users.
Everyone and their pet dog were posting pictures of their vinyl records with aesthetic covers, and glorifying a certain small subset of artists for their captivating lyrics and mesmerising sense of style. One could say that the Tumblr albums also introduced us to the Vinyl resurgence, but that’s an argument for another day.
What is a Tumblr album you may ask? Well, a Tumblr album is one that either gained popularity through the website Tumblr, or was constantly featured in aesthetic photographs of Crosley record players and Urban Outfitters shelves. One could even call these albums Crosleycore, and these are the main twelve albums that defined this entire era of music.
12. I Love You. – The Neighbourhood
An unfortunate sign of the times, this album is more known for the symbols on the album cover than it is for the music. A hard pass. Despite their many attempts after I Love You. to hold onto their Tumblr fanbase, many grew apart from this band as they grew older, despite the fact that they are still around today.
11. Crybaby – Melanie Martinez
Melanie experimented with a sound that quite literally nobody was doing at the time in Pop, and nobody tried to emulate in later years. Nowadays, it is scathingly obvious as to why. Turns out nobody wants to hear kids lullabies across multiple albums, and Martinez isn’t at all the pleasant figure she makes out to be. Crybaby is undeniably a sign of the times – with its pastel colour scheme, it’s cutesy yet biting lyrics, and its doll-like fashion sense.
10. The 1975 – The 1975
As a member of the Tumblr era, I knew this album was blowing up all over the place, but I never formed a connection with it. However, I do know that in 2020 the remnants of The 1975’s self-titled project are almost nowhere to be found. At least the band are still massive, and make waves constantly.
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9. Coexist – The xx
Everyone had a brief moment in time when ‘Angels’ was the most beautiful song in existence. Unfortunately, the album has not aged very well, but it definitely did introduce the idea of minimalism in music, at a time when everything was already starting to slow down. The xx took the trends in indie music and applied them to a more chill, calm and almost tropical landscape. In fact, their album xx was also a Tumblr album, given the black and white contrast that it offered, making it an easy contender for aesthetic posts.
8. Ceremonials – Florence and the Machine
Sultry, effervescent, and haunting, this album taught us all that it was okay to dress like a cast member of AHS: Coven in our daily lives. Also ‘Never Let Me Go’ is not a love song it is quite literally just about drowning.
7. Electra Heart – Marina & The Diamonds
Everyone and their sister had a black love heart on their cheek if they came through the Tumblr era. Unfortunately, this era was so god-damn iconic that even Marina herself couldn’t shake it off, and had to reinvent herself to just ‘MARINA’. The album didn’t introduce much to pop, but it had a music video for every song, which at the time was groundbreaking. (This trend was popularised by Beyonce, but was done almost a whole year before by Marina.)
6. AM – Arctic Monkeys
Do you remember where you were when you saw ‘No. 1 Party Anthem’ on the tracklist and got excited for an absolute banger only to discover it is one of the slowest songs in the Arctic Monkeys discography? This album holds up to this day, and so many bands are still trying to sound like AM era Arctic Monkeys, including the band themselves.
5. Badlands – Halsey
Visibly queer, sporting blue hair and singing about love, Halsey was the only real artist to ever gain a career through all the Tumblr fanaticism and can be cited as one of the most aesthetically powerful figures of the time. While her music may not have made that many impactful waves, the image of Halsey defined the Tumblr era, and can still be seen today in modern fashion.
I will argue to this day that while you may not really remember Badlands, it was incredibly important in defining an entire generation, who grew up learning that it was okay to be visible and proud with your queerness, and strong in your times of heartbreak. Truly we all have Halsey to thank.
4. Modern Vampires of the City – Vampire Weekend
One of the holy grail albums for the indie kids, MVOTC did everything right, and pushed indie rock and alternative bands into the forefront. This album can be identified as a stepping stone for many people branching out into more obscure albums, but its popularity definitely changed us all.
3. Night Time, My Time – Sky Ferreira
2. Born to Die – Lana Del Rey
Whether you like it or not this album birthed a genre, a fashion style, popularised a way of singing unheard of in the mainstream of pop, radicalised the lyrical content of popular music from eccentric and happy to inward and self-reflective, and also created a brand new emotion. Yes it did all of that, and I don’t have enough words to explain how, but trust me, it did.
1. Pure Heroine – Lorde
This album could come out today in the year of our lord 2020 and it would still change the entire world. Lorde defined how we were all feeling at the time with this album and did so again with Melodrama a few years later. Nobody is trying to recapture this sound either, because it is so unique to Lorde herself, that it’d be embarrassing to even try. With this project, Lorde quite literally launched herself into legendary status, and now everyone waits for what she will do next as she grieves the loss of her dog.