The closer we get to my number one, the more these reviews will be about how albums made me feel this year with the musicality taking a backseat to the emotional connection I have with said album. I can remember exactly two different listens of Shields from this year that will always stand out. The first listen that really stuck with me was after I had returned from a run. I was exhausted, stressed about school and looking forward to the weekend. For some reason, “Gun Shy,” had been stuck in my head all morning so as a way of getting rid of it, I put on the album. I was immediately showered with such a peaceful feeling that started calming me down and relaxing me almost at once. I don’t know why, but serenity and Shields just go hand and hand in my mind. It may be Edward Droste’s haunting but beautiful voice that can go from a soft serenading expression, to a biting scream almost instantly. Or maybe it’s the melancholy melodies that Grizzly Bear as a band are so good at creating. Either way, listening to the album really made me settle down and reflect on my life. While listening to Shields, I not only had some enlightening epiphanies, I also came to love the album a whole lot more than before.
This love was reinforced on the second memorable listen of the album. It was Christmas night and some insane stuff had just gone down. I needed something to help steer me straight and into the rest of the break. My friend happened to be playing this album and as I sat and fretted about girls (obviously that’s what the problem was) Droste’s voice was there for me again, in just a different way. Now whenever I need relaxing or calming down, I know Shields is there for me. And that is why it is the 7th best album of the year.