CCES Staffs Favorite Album This Year

CCES Staff’s Favorite Album This Year

Love it or hate it, here are the top albums of the year from your CCES News Staff

Eli Kernaghan – Co-Editor in Chief

Album: RFK Stadium, Washington D.C. 6/10/73 

Artist: Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead has a lot of live albums, and RFK continues that legacy. The Dead have maybe the most extensive vault of live music from any band ever. Almost every one of their 3,000+ shows was put on tape. The best songs on this particular tape include the nearly eight-minute-long rendition of “Truckin”, the 11-minute-trip of “Not Fade Away”, and the ten-minute-long “Sugar Magnolia.” Other shorter tracks included a cover of “Johnny B. Goode”, “Big River,” and “Jack Straw.” If you have the time, you can also put on the 26-minute epic “Dark Star.” Surprisingly, that’s not even near the longest rendition of the song, which registers over 33 minutes long. Overall, RFK is a pretty long album, but it’s worth a listen. I wouldn’t say it’s the best Dead live album, but you can’t go wrong with a Grateful Dead record in my opinion. 

Honorable Mentions: Stop Making Sense – 40th Anniversary by Talking Heads; Rustin’ in the Rain by Tyler Childers


Ciaran Greer- Co-Editor in Chief

Album: Teenage Dixie

Artist: Muscadine Bloodline 

The third full studio album from the pair from Mobile Alabama was one to remember. In a year when an alternative independent country skyrocketed in the charts and general popularity, Muscadine Bloodline’s success was no different. The album is true to its name, as the duo covers common themes present in growing up in the rural deep South. Songs like Life Itself and Good to Drive are classic heart-wrenching soon-to-be honky tonk favorites. Me on You is relatable to any southern man fresh in love and full of country colloquialisms. The band also stays true to its roots with a new interpretation of the legendary Charlie Daniels song “Devil Went Down to Georgia.” The song “Devil Died in Dixie” is witty and nostalgic to anyone who grew up with the Daniels song. This is an album special to me because of its down-to-earth nature and relatable lyrics to any coming-of-age youth in the changing “Dixie”

Honorable Mentions: Chris Stapleton’s Higher, Megan Moroney’s Lucky


Elijah Butcher – Political Commentator

Album: Zach Bryan

Artist: Zach Bryan

Zach Bryan’s self-titled album, his fourth full-length project, received significant success upon its August 25th release. There was much anticipation for it, as he hadn’t released any music since “Dawns,” a single released in January featuring Maggie Rogers, and his live album All My Homies Hate Ticketmaster, recorded at Red Rocks, which dropped on Christmas 2022. He also hinted at new music on his Instagram. The 16-song album is shorter than his 34-song studio debut from 2022, but none of the songs were disappointing and each brought a unique style and sound to the album. 

My personal favorites are “Hey Driver,” “Summertime’s Close,” and “East Side of Sorrow,” although I like every track from the project. All three are emotional and deeply personal songs that leave the listener in awe of his intricate mesh of musicality and writing. “East Side of Sorrow” is a story-telling song about Bryan’s own life that can only be described as beautiful. “Hey Driver,” featuring the duo The War and Treaty, is unique due to the featured band and wonderful to listen to. “Summertime’s Close” is a simpler song but was perfect for the time of its release, “when the day’s coolin’ off and the summertimes close.” 

The most popular song from the album is “I Remember Everything,” which was first released as a single and features Kacey Musgraves. Another significant song was “Spotless” because it featured the popular band The Lumineers. The album is also a departure from the more acoustic and country styles of Bryan’s previous music. I would recommend listening to the entire album from start to finish, as each song has something unique to bring to the table and none are forgettable. 

Honorable Mentions: Life Lessons EP by Wyatt Flores and Endurance by Josiah and the Bonnevilles. 


Reid Botzis-Staff Writer 

Album: A Great Chaos

Artist: Ken Carson

Ken Carson, signed to Playboi Carti’s Opium label, changed the rap game with his new album. Ken Carson is a young up-and-coming rapper from Atlanta who took the world by storm with his genre ‘Hip Hop Trap Rage”. These types of songs consist of beats with heavy 808s and loops that sound like they are from space. His new album A Great Chaos is a never ending masterpiece that doesn’t take a rest from extreme bass and never before heard distorted beats. The beats carry Ken’s heavenly, auto-tuned, yet ignorant vocals with little to no meaning. His lyrics aren’t too meaningful but his music is designed to elevate your mood. It’s the type of music to start a mosh pit too, workout, and just have fun. His music has taken over the youth and he sells out shows all
around the world with mostly sweaty teens starting mosh pits in the crowd. You might not have heard of him but that is just due to his career taking off. A Great Chaos is rated higher than most of Swiftie’s beloved album, 1989 (Taylor’s Version). A Great Chaos sold for 49K on the first week of release. Which is more money than worldwide rapper Offset sold on his new album that week. His music might not be for everyone but it sure puts me and I know many others in a great mood when I turn it full blast in my car.


Honorable Mentions: For All the Dogs by Drake, and Utopia by Travis Scott 


William Mims – Staff Writer

Album: Oppenheimer (Original Motion Soundtrack)

Artist: Ludwig Göransson

The soundtrack to the best film of the year, Göransson’s soundtrack perfectly overscores Oppenheimer. The album combines a violin-centric theme with booming sympathizers, reaching its highest point with the track Can You Hear the Music.

Honorable Mention: Let’s Start Here by Lil Yachty


Brooke GraysonStaff Writer

Album: City of Gold 

Artist: Molly Tuttle

Molly Tuttle, a staple in the world of roots and Americana, has gotten more admiration this year after being featured on the official Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes album with her single “Bury Me Beneath the Willow.” Her best work of the year, however, is undoubtedly her album City of Gold. The album beautifully blends involved instrumentals, classy lyrics, and beautiful vocals. Tuttle’s control over her voice and the (many) instruments she plays are especially evident in City of Gold. Plenty of string riffs are featured throughout the album. Songs like “El Dorado” and “San Joaquin” have a quick and peppy tempo, reminiscent of classic mountain swing. In contrast, songs like “Stranger Things” and “Goodbye Mary” are poignant and heartfelt. The album has a little bit of every emotion, immersing the listener in Tuttle’s haunting vocals. The best song on the album is “Alice in the Bluegrass,” a folksy retelling of Alice in Wonderland. The song is all things a ballad should be: narratively interesting, musically engaging, and just plain fun. 

Honorable Mentions: The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by various artists; D-Sides by Djo


Zoe Yearby-Staff Writer

Album: Guts

Artist: Olivia Rodrigo

I’ve always been a big Olivia Rodrigo fan even when she was just acting so when she started releasing music I was ecstatic. Guts is Olivia Rodrigo’s second album and was released in September of 2023. Featuring songs like “ Vampire” “Get Him Back” “Lacy” and “The Grudge” which all contain elements of Pop, Rock, and Indie/Alternative genres, it was no surprise that Guts was so successful. It even topped the Billboard 200 albums when released.  Guts shows off Rodrigo’s stunning vocals and her talent for songwriting. And I can’t wait to see what she produces in the future.

Honorable Mentions: Speak Now (Taylor version) and The Hunger Games Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Brooke Grayson
Brooke Grayson, Staff Writer
Brooke is a Junior at CCES and a part of the journalism staff. She enjoys theatre, mystery and horror novels, and indie music.
Elijah Butcher
Elijah Butcher, Political Commentator
Varsity Cross Country Team Captain, music enthusiast, free thinker
Ciaran Greer
Ciaran Greer, Editor in Chief
Runner, Singer, Writer, and believer in God.  A strong belief in supporting the working class and the Average American.
Reid Botzis, Staff Writer
I am a senior at CCES. I have attended CCES for 13 years. I love to fish, hunt, hang out with my friends, and I have a love for music. I love anything with a board like long boarding, wakeboarding, surfing, and just skateboarding. My favorite subject in school is English.
Eli Kernaghan
Eli Kernaghan, Co-Editor
Eli Kernaghan is a senior at CCES. This is my 5th year at Christ Church. My hobbies include baseball, vinyl record collecting, guitar, listening to music, and of course writing.