End of Decade Top 10 Albums to Drink Tea To

January 1, 2020

Hello hello! 

 

      Over the past ten years, a lot of us have gotten into tea — rather that be that you sell or drink it. Along with tea, a wide variety of music has also been released that’s helped influence culture and media. When drinking tea, it’s fun to meditate and get lost in a gong-fu session, and sometimes, specific albums in music can help you get there. Today, I’m going to cover a selection of albums from the past decade that I believe to be the top ten albums to listen to while having tea time. 

 

      In the following, you’ll see an album, a description of the album, and primary and secondary tea suggestions to drink while listening to these albums. You can pick a tea based off the album, or, you can find the tea your drinking and listen to the album it's attached to. Before we start, let’s set a few ground rules. Although it’s not mandatory, this is the way I best recommend listening to these albums while drinking tea.

 

Rule 1.

You must listen to these albums in their entirety. These albums are a journey, and just like a tea session, you can’t jump in and start on the seventh track (or 7th infusion of tea). 

 

Rule 2.

While listening to these albums in their entirety, don’t skip any of the tracks. To add, especially to add, listen to these albums in their intended order and not on shuffle. 

 

Rule 3.

Do not listen to any samples of the songs on these albums, and let yourself be pleasantly surprised.

 

Rule 4.

For the fourth and last rule, take deep breaths, close your eyes, and try and physically place yourself in the music and the tea. If possible, wear headphones to immerse yourself further into the tea and music.

 

~

 

      Now that we’ve covered a few non-mandatory but highly suggested guideline, lets get moving! The following albums are in no ranked or specific order...

 

Note: Due to being afraid of copy-wright infringement of posting these album's covers, here's an assortment of some of my favorite photos that I've posted in 2019!

 

 

 

Album: Reflektor

Artist: Arcade Fire 

Year of Release: 2013

Tea Pairing: Gu-Shu Sheng Puer

Secondary Tea Pairings: White Tea or Shou Puer 

About This Album: 

      Reflecktor is Arcade Fire’s fourth studio album and is an indie electro-rock album that touches on dance with a slight touch of psychedelic influences. This album began production in a shed Louisiana and moved production where half the album was recorded in a castle in Jamaica. This album is great at adding a fun vibe to tea time because it not only puts you in a mellow-like trance, it also seems to help your mind escape further into the tea that’s in front of you.

 

Album: Melodrama

Artist: Lorde 

Year of Release: 2017 

Tea Pairing: Sheng Puer

Secondary Tea Pairings: Green Tea or White Tea

About This Album:

      Melodrama is Lorde’s second studio album which goes further into pop with synth and electro influences. This album( which is literal perfection) explores themes of going out in your early twenties and takes you through a night of going out. This laid-back conceptual experience not only has its upbeat highs but also contains soul-eep lows that anyone can relate too — not just someone who's in their twenties. This is a great vibe-album for tea time because it not only takes you down a specific journey, it also evokes a wide variety of emotions that seem to make it all work. 

 

 

 

Album: Sound of a Woman

Artist: Kiesza

Year of Release: 2014

Tea Pairing: Green Taiwanese Oolong

Secondary Tea Pairings: White Tea or Chinese Black Tea

About This Album: 

      Sound of a Woman is the debut studio album by Canadian artist, Kiesza. This house album relies heavily on traditional 90’s house-electronic synths that immediately take you directly into the 90’s. In fact, despite how fresh it was, you could have guessed it was from the 90’s itself. This is a great album to drink tea to because it creates an easy vibe while still keeping a level of being mellow and as the album progresses, and as a session of tea progresses, it isn’t afraid to touch on the emotional side of what makes us human.

 

Album: Ultraviolence (Deluxe Edition)

Artist:  Lana Del Rey

Year of Release: 2014

Tea Pairing: Black Tea

Secondary Tea Pairings: White Tea or Shou Puer 

About This Album:

      Ultraviolence is Lana Del Rey’s third studio album, and was recorded live with a 6-piece band — which was produced by The Black Key’s very own Dan Auerbach. This album was a departure from the dream/sad-core pop albums she had released previously and jumped into raw and stripped-back psychedelic rock elements that skate with a dream-pop and indie-alternative backbone. Ultraviolence is so brutally honest that it makes you question that everything in life is so black-and-white. While this album is honest and full of wit, there’s a venerability behind it since most of the songs were recorded live, and some of them, only once. This is a perfect album for tea time because it leaves you bare, and lets you face what's in front of you. 

 

 

 

Album: A Seat at the Table 

Artist: Solange 

Year of Release: 2016

Tea Pairing: Four Seasons Taiwanese Oolong

Secondary Tea Pairings: White Tea or Lightly Roasted Oolong 

About This Album:

      A Seat at the Table is another literal masterpiece on this list— beginning to end. Solange’s third studio album crosses over into R&B, psychedelic soul, with traditional a touch of blues. This album, one of the best albums in the past decade, crosses over into art and leaves music behind. Solange touches base on many emotions that come from a black-America perspective. This album not only masterfully takes you into another aspect of our culture, but the undertones of love and passion also seep out form this album's cracks. This is an excellent album to drink tea to because it takes you above the clouds and makes you think about your own life in retrospect. 

 

Album: The ArchAndroid

Artist: Janelle Monae 

Year of Release: 2010 

Tea Pairing: Fresh sheng puer (up to a year)

Secondary Tea Pairings: White tea or Korean Green Tea 

About This Album: 

      The ArchAndroid is Janelle Monae’s debut studio album that has pop influences of neo-soul, alternative R&B, and psychedelic soul. This album tells the perspective of a rogue robot that makes her way through-out a dystopian city society that’s changing the oppressive government. From beginning to end, this album plays exactly like a picture less movie, and in certain spots of the album, you can almost see The Fifth Element (1997 film) playing in the background. This is a great vibe-album because it literally takes you to another world, and despite being almost ten years old, it still sounds like it was just released. In other words, it’s still way ahead of its time.

 

Album: FEVERDREAM

Artist: Of Monsters and Men 

Year of Release: 2019

Tea Pairing: Taiwanese Green Dancong Oolong

Secondary Tea Pairings: Japanese Kyobancha or Bug-Bitten Taiwanese High Mountain Oolong

About This Album: 

      This is the Islandic band ‘Of Monsters and Men’ with their third studio album. Originally rooted in alternative indie rock and Islandic folk music, they took a huge left turn down a brand new path; a departure from their previous sound. Of Monsters and Men dove right into a European-indie electronic album that focuses heavily on their time spent in Latin America and across the globe. This album’s love letter coated in a technicolor haze really warms you up to whatever cup of tea you’re enjoying. 

 

Album: Junk 

Artist: M83

Year of Release: 2016

Tea Pairing: Fresh White Tea 

Secondary Tea Pairings: Any Taiwanese Oolongs or Aged White Tea 

About This Album:

      M83 by Junk is a French album that’s heavily influenced by a ‘Punky Brewster’ themed 80’s goofiness. Junk seemed to be a collection of songs that make you remember the times of going to big department stores and riding in the back seat of long summer-night road trips with Dad and his grass-stained white tennis shoes and a fanny pack. However, this album also hits hard with a retro-wave of electro-pop. Most importantly, and most impressively, M83 brings iconic electric guitar and saxophone solos. Hell, he even managed to beautifully perfect harmonica solo that flowed beautifully in the album. This passion project is a groovy journey that makes any tea-time fun, nostalgic, and will even make you smile in the end, and make you miss being care-free.

 

Album: Days Are Gone 

Artist: HAIM 

Year of Release: 2013

Tea Pairing: Japanese Sencha 

Secondary Tea Pairings: Fresh Sheng or Taiwanese White Tea

About This Album:

       Days Are Gone is an album by a sister-trio group that’s heavy in the indie pop-rock genera, and is an album that’s somehow upbeat musically, yet devastating lyrically. These songs start airy, upbeat, and smooth melody. However, as the album progresses a power emits that grows louder, which refuses to let you forget that you’re somehow bopping your head to a beat that still sounds fresh. This album is a great album to pair with tea time because it not only gets you moving, it also helps you focus and think about what you were, and who you ‘were’ whoever you were with. 

 

Album: In Colour 

Artist: Jamie XX

Year of Release: 2015

Tea Pairing: Gu-Shu Sheng Puer 

Secondary Tea Pairings: White Tea or Shou Puer 

About This Album: 

      In Colour is a heavy-hearted electric album that pulls at every bit of emotion you have in your body — all bathed in nostalgia for the good and the bad. Even when you close your eyes while listening to this album, it feels like you’re placed directly in the streets of Bristol and living the past that Jamie XX, well, lived. This isn’t ‘Skrillex’ electronic, but rather, a dream-pool of subtle and vibrant sounds that make the album dramatic in an instant. This album is perfect for tea time because, with a clear-enough mind, you can see the locations alluded to in the album. You can also see the gardens that the tea was harvested from. And just like that favorite harvest year of tea, you feel like you’ve just experienced something uniquely special that you may never come across the likes of which again.

 

 

Ten Honorable Mentions:

 

      Here are ten more albums to listen to in case you burn through this list, and want a different journey not mentioned above…

 

  • Lana Del Rey — Honeymoon (2015) or Norman Fucking Rockwell (2019)

  • FKA Twigs — Magdalene (2019)

  • Arcade Fire — The Suburbs (2010)

  • Tame Impala —  Currents (2015)

  • Kacey Musgraves — Golden Hour (2018)

  • St. Vincent — St. Vincent (2014) 

  • Lorde — Pure Heroine (2013)

  • M83 — Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (2011)

  • SZA — Z (2014)

  • Of Monsters and Men — My Head Is An Animal (2012)

 

       Let me know which albums, and which teas, you ended up selecting from this list and lets start a discussion! Thank you for a great 2019, and here’s to an incredible 2020!

 

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