Reaching the milestone of six studio albums is a triumph only some artists achieve. Putting out six consistent LPs over the course of years of changing musical trends is tough and even then, sometimes artists release six completely different albums that make them stand out as masters of their craft.
With Twenty One Pilots just releasing their sixth with the poppy and boppy Scaled And Icy, it made us realise that some of our favourite artists have also reached the achievement of six or more album, with the sixth being better than ever. Here are six of our favourite albums where artists made it to the half-dozen mark.
Lemonade - Beyoncé
Comparing Beyoncé albums feels like contrasting Renaissance paintings with each other, each is a striking piece of art. Not only that, but each album defined pop music as we knew it. Bey knew and killed every assignment she was handed. Destiny’s Child was iconic, Dreamgirls was a dream in itself and her early discography is chock-filled with songs we are still screaming along to, to this day. I Am...Sasha Fierce (2008), 4 (2011) and the surprise Beyoncé (2013) are all lined with pop perfection and brimming with life-changing pop culture moments. So, when Bey dropped Lemonade in 2016 we were obviously shook beyond belief. Beyoncé’s sixth effort feels like a culmination of her career into one supreme magnus opus. Hold Up, a song that credits a tweet from Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend and inspired by a quote from a Yeah Yeah Yeahs song, reflects the epicness of this project. Unapologetic fury emanates off of songs like Formation, Sorry and Don’t Hurt Yourself, as the album is stitched together by Bey’s anger over Jay-Z’s infidelity. Let’s not forget the iconic lyric, “He better call Becky with the good hair.” This album is just an historic moment from head to toe and is one of our absolute favourite sixth albums an artist has put out.
Yeezus - Kanye West
Kanye West has been releasing genre-defining and genre-breaking albums since his 2004 debut The College Dropout. Each consecutive album has been unique and a little hit factory blessing us with some hard-hitting dancefloor fillers. Everything then coalesced into a certain album in 2012. Following up My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy sounds like an impossible task - West’s fifth album was a tour de force in rap, emotions and pop music as a whole. So of course, his follow-up was the even darker, twisted and dirtier album Yeezus. With co-production from the likes of Rick Rubin and Daft Punk, Yeezus has minimalist but angular production that emanates an angsty mood on tracks On Sight and New Slaves. Who could forget such genius lines as “In a French-ass restaurant, hurry up with my damn croissant!” too? Employing features from Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and “God” Himself, Yeezus is one of the most impressive jack-knives of a sixth album.
Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part II - Foals
Foals have always been an ambitious band. Starting off as math-rockers on their debut Antidotes back in 2008, they then evolved into sonically serene kings of indie rock with albums like Total Life Forever (2011) and Holy Fire (2013). In 2019, their ambitions took them to new heights when the band announced a two-part album series Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost with two halves of one project being released throughout the year. And hey, like The Godfather or Shrek, everyone agrees the second one’s always better, right? Foals albums have always felt like an epic experience, but the second part of the series feels completely cinematic. Wash Off harkens back to the danceable My Number, and The Runner is Foals at their very loudest. Spreading themselves over two albums didn’t spread the band too thin, it made them stronger and their sixth album is a testament to that.
The Now Now - Gorillaz
Damon Albarn, the brains behind Blur and Gorillaz, is no stranger to putting out more than six albums with The Magic Whip, Blur’s last album, being their 8th. Gorillaz as an entity has been releasing quality albums since their self-titled arrival in 2001. Demon Days (2005) and Plastic Beach (2010) cemented Gorillaz as an electronic music goliath and their sixth release, The Now Now, feels a lot like the best parts of those albums with things stripped back just a little. And that’s just the appeal of The Now Now, it feels like a more simpler, accessible version of Gorillaz with a lot more danceability and chantable lyrics. Receiving a feature from the returning Snoop Dogg on Hollywood and music legend George Benson appearing on album opener Humility, the album is also stripped back in the sense that there’s less features than usual. The bare nature of this sixth outing of the Gorillaz is appealing. It may be less epic than some of the other albums in the discography but its simpler sound makes it stand out to us.
ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE - Brockhampton
It was hard to be a music fan on the internet in 2017 and not see Brockhampton all over the place with their Saturation trilogy. Iridescence (2018) and Ginger (2019) were the follow-up albums that solidified Brockhampton as the hip-hop group of the decade. They are the best boy band since One Direction and with their sixth and to-be-penultimate album, ROADRUNNER, released this year, we remember why Brockhampton are so beloved. Album opener BUZZCUT, which features a hard verse from Danny Brown, is a punchy return after two years. The album is filled with unique production utilising a range of different instruments and new sounds, like on BANKROLL. Themes on the album range from dealing with the COVID-19 crisis in the US as well as band member’s Joba dealing with the passing of his father on tracks THE LIGHT PT. I and II. What makes the album stand out so much is that it’s clearly got two sides, it can be abrasive, loud and angry but it’s also a beautiful, and sensitive album that proves Brockhampton can balance two distinct and different moods effortlessly six albums in.
Talk That Talk - Rihanna
For over a decade, Rihanna has been a pop powerhouse that has produced hit after hit. Umbrella? Unforgettable. Pon de Replay? Still slaps to this day. Work? A perfect pop song. Since her 2005 debut, Music Of The Sun, Rihanna has been making albums that constantly improve upon her infectiously catchy sound. Her most recent album ANTI (2016) is an adored album by all but her sixth Talk That Talk is a pearl of an album that feels like 2011 frozen in time. Birthing hits like We Found Love which is a tune that can still get us grooving ten years later and Where Have You Been, Talk That Talk just oozes the perfect early 2010s sound. Deeper cuts like Cockiness (Love It) and Drunk On Love (which even samples The xx) expresses Rihanna’s unique spin on pop by taking things in a darker direction. Talk That Talk established the groundwork that would eventually lead to ANTI and that in itself is commendable and a reason why it’s one of our favourite sixth albums.