In this week's column, Mollie King gives you some serious Spotify fodder with her favourite albums, ever
Welcome to Mollie’s Feel-Good Feed, a place where each week Mollie King shares her round-up of the things bringing her joy in these strange and uncertain times. Check back each week for uplifting music, self care tips and, hopefully, a smile being put on your face.
This week’s column is perhaps the hardest top 10 I’ve written so far – my top albums! For someone who is music obsessed, I could easily give you another 10 on top of these picks. But for me, a brilliant album is one that has the power to instantly take you back to a special time or place. These albums all bring back so many memories for me, and all make me smile for very different reasons!
Let’s kick things off by going all the way back to 2002, when ‘Nsync’s lead singer Justin Timberlake broke away from the band and released Justified. To say I was a big fan would be an understatement – I probably would have loved whatever he released! – but the fact that the album was a total triumph was the icing on the cake. His debut solo single, Like I Love You, certainly stood him in good stead for a brilliant album, but when he released Cry Me A River, with that video, I think we all knew it was a moment that would go down in pop history.
Pop perfection has consistently been delivered by Taylor Swift, which is why I’m having trouble deciding between her albums Red and 1989. Do I go with Red, which has hits like I Knew You Were Trouble, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and 22? Or 1989’s track listing, which includes Blank Space, Shake It Off, and Style? This is a decision that’s too hard for me, so I’ll have to cheat a bit and leave it up to you. But, Taylor, I thank you for all of these almighty pop moments!
John Mayer’s Continuum was an album that, if I’d had it on cassette (remember those?), would most definitely have been tangled and twisted from the amount of times I played it on repeat! Mayer’s tone on this album transports us straight into relaxation mode, which was clearly noticed by the Grammys as they awarded him Best Pop Vocal Album for 2007.
Who could forget when Justin Bieber went from singing hits like Baby and Boyfriend, to shaking up pop music’s landscape by teaming up with Skrillex and Diplo and giving us What Do You Mean?, Where Are Ü Now, Love Yourself and Sorry? I know, I’m thinking it too… what an album Purpose is, and who can we stick in the studio with Skrillex and Diplo next?
Keeping with the pop theme, an album which undoubtedly has to feature in any top 10 is Ed Sheeran’s ‘+’, which was our first glimpse of Sheeran’s sophisticated and honest lyrics. With songs like The A Team, Lego House and You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, we were welcomed into the true magic of Sheeran’s songwriting from day dot.
Bear with me and this next sentence… This album is one that will be creeping into my most played albums as we approach Christmas! It isn’t, however, a Christmas album(!), but there’s something about it that feels like it has to be played when the temperature drops and we start to travel home or to our loved ones over the festive period. Strange, I know, but I wonder if you’ll feel the same! The unmistakable voice that belongs to Otis Redding gives us songs like These Arms of Mine and Try A Little Tenderness, and with the album’s title, Love Songs, he sure knows how to make you really feel every lyric he sings.
In 2004, Ray LaMontagne released his album Trouble and I remember being so interested in the way sad songs could still leave you feeling as good as the upbeat pop hits I’d grown up listening to. This album is perfect for some thinking time or de-stressing. He later followed it up with Gossip In The Rain, which I loved equally, but Trouble has to be my favourite.
For a pop/rock band’s debut album, this next one for me is absolute perfection. The elements of harder-hitting production and super pop melodies make Maroon 5’s Songs About Jane a firm favourite of mine. It was my first time hearing Adam Levine’s unique voice, and the contrast between songs like Harder To Breathe and She Will Be Loved had me knowing this band really could deliver it all!
I don’t remember how I stumbled across this next album, as classical music is a genre I’m still very new to, but Ludovico Einaudi’s Islands is a must-listen. A compilation of his best work, I immediately fell in love with and appreciated just how beautiful his music is. As someone who usually likes to sing along to her favourite songs, you can probably appreciate just how brilliant this album is; it truly makes you stop and listen, rather than joining in with a big pop chorus. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t attempt singing along to the piano every now and then, though!
Our Queen B, our pop diva and all-round superstar: Beyoncé. Of course she had to appear on my list of best albums! I Am… Sasha Fierce, which was understandably Grammy-nominated, not only gave all us pop fans something to scream about, but in the much bigger picture was a real moment in pushing forward female empowerment. It is a masterpiece that brought us tracks like Halo, If I Were A Boy and Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It). If you don’t know the dance routine to the latter by now, I suggest you hop into your leotard, put on the music video and have a strong word with yourself! Come on, you’ve got it in you!
Thanks so much for reading Mollie’s Feel-Good Feed – check back on Marie Claire every Friday for more of my feel-good recommendations.
Take care and stay safe!