A Comprehensive Guide To Alex G

Alex G released a strong contender for album of the year in 2022 with his latest project, God Save The Animals. Alex Giannascoli reinvents himself with every release, all the while sending shockwaves throughout the rest of the indie sphere that set trends for years to come. His highlight work stretches all throughout his career, even digging into the unreleased. Along his tour, Alex G has already begun debuting new songs, so who knows when we’ll get his next project. It may be sooner than we think.

Alex G’s creative output for every project has been so consistently outstanding that I don’t think it would be an unreasonable claim to say that he was one of if not the most influential indie artist of the 2010’s. With each release, he inspires new trends before moving beyond to a new frontier of his own wild soundscapes. This article will serve as a comprehensive guide into the world of his music.

My Top 10 Alex G Songs

10. “Mis” (Rules, 2012)

“Mis” is the most bittersweet song in the garden of melancholy that is Rules. The piano melody sadly saunters along the 3 minute run time while Alex G sings about a disinterested lover and the heartbreak that comes with that disconnect. My favorite moment from the song is when Alex G sings “she says” and it’s followed by nothing but a whistling organ. 

9. “Sarah” (Trick, 2012)

“Sarah” is such a softly sung story that tears apart the heart. As flutes and guitars decorate the song, Alex G sings about a doomed relationship with a girl that he keeps leading on. He’s realized that the two of them will eventually split apart and the song ends with the lyrics “Did I make a mistake?”

8. “In My Arms” (House of Sugar, 2019)

“In My Arms” is so caring and yet, it’s heartbreaking. Spacey folk guitars and vocals that stretch out to the stars, all tagged along to a tape reverb for good measure, make this song sound so pleasing to listen to. The drums are mixed to sound echoey while droning guitars place the listener in a dreamscape. The song has a delicate relationship with the noisy gain that fills the background and keeps the audience entranced. All together, it’s a beautiful display of his talent and experience in songwriting from the later releases of his catalog.

7. “Race” (Race, 2010)

“Race” begins with an explosive riff and carries that energy to the end. The title track that plants itself at the finish line of Alex G’s debut is filled with scratchy distortion and wailing vocals. His whiny storytelling creates infectious hooks that flare up beside exciting guitar lines. Race was the album that set the standard for Alex G’s lyrical and sonic abilities and still boasts some of his best work.

6. “Skipper” (DSU, 2014)

The shortest song on this list is “Skipper”, coming in at 1:26. This soothing spell lulls the listener to sleep, rocking them back and forth between Alex G’s sweet vocals and the flickering guitar line. It’s impossible to not feel a sense of tranquility come over you as you’re serenaded by Alex’s distant “ooo’s” and “ahh’s.”

5. “Blessing” (God Save the Animals, 2022)

This song blows me away every time I hear it. The blaring distortion creates a soundscape for the mystic messaging of Alex G’s whispered lyrics, coming across as a mantra of sorts. The fuzzy synthesizer carries the listener off into the distance before suddenly dissipating- as if alluding to the lyric “every day is a blessing”, and not one second is taken for granted.

4. “Brick” (Rocket, 2017)

“Brick” is without a doubt the best song in Alex G’s discography to hear live. I was about to say that it practically screams mosh pit, but he’s… literally screaming. Alex G turns to a sound that we rarely hear from him: a violent, angsty, and punky outburst of emotion. This sound is meant to be played loud. 

3. “Gretel” (House of Sugar, 2019)

Alex G has always explored new sounds with his music and “Gretel” was like his first step on the moon. House of Sugar sounds like it’s from space with its far out production and ethereal vocal mixes. “Gretel” makes use of vocal alterations to add nuance to an already ornate piece of art. The shifting phases of this song work together beautifully and tell of a personal mantra of Alex, “I don’t wanna go back / Nobody’s gonna push me off track, uh huh / I don’t wanna be this / Good people gotta fight to exist”. As this message is delivered, the song breaks into graceful fingerpicking and the world seems to swirl overhead amidst the lovely sounds of synths. This was the first Alex G song I ever heard and was what drove me to dive deeper into his music. 

2. “The Same” (Race, 2010)

Race is a rough ride through a series of experimental sounds from the young Alex G. Nowhere better is this displayed than on “The Same”, a song where he launches himself from a folksy ballad into a whirring cyclone of distortion and synthesizers. As the song flies off the rails, new sounds flood into the music to keep the listener engaged. The way Alex G uses harsh noise in this song to enhance intense instances of emotion is reminiscent of the explosive choruses in a lot of Car Seat Headrest’s music. In a similar fashion, Alex G fills this song with self-defeating lyrics and reflections on gender. As he murmurs about how “Everybody loves you, yeah / Everybody wants you”, an organ churns in the background alongside the garage rock beat of drums.

1. “Pretend” (High, 2011)

“Pretend” is from an unreleased Alex G album, High. Although this song is currently unreleased, it’s the best work that has come out of Alex Giannascoli. This song showcases the strongest and most unique elements of Alex G: the catchy guitar strumming, his demonstration of various vocal approaches from nasally to falsetto, his mastery of storytelling, and his vast experience in production that allows his songs to be filled with so many wonderful sounds. All of these ideas are entwined within the indie-folk genre that have felt like home for Alex G since his debut.

“I don’t want to be me, but I’m gonna pretend for you”

Alex G Albums Ranked

Every Alex G album has something about it that makes it special, there’s no objective ranking to them and there’s an argument for any arrangement of these projects. These albums are all mini universes that helped shape the scene of indie throughout the 2010’s and now into the 2020’s with last year’s addition, God Save The Animals.

With all of that being said, listed below is my ranking of Alex G’s albums (from my lowest to highest ranking). There’s really something for everyone in this discography, so don’t be afraid to explore. Some listeners may prefer to listen through chronologically, which is great because they’ll be able to hear as Alex G incorporates different sounds into his artistry.

9. Beach Music (underwater, gooey, folk)

8. Rocket (folk, hyperfolk, experimental, ballads)

7. DSU (gritty, sweet, static, glitchy)

6. House of Sugar (spacey, folk, experimental)

5. Rules (folk, ballads, somber)

4. Race (garage rock, folk, static)

3. High (folk, experimental)

2. Trick (elaborate, experimental)

1. God Save The Animals (hyperfolk, experimental, cloudy)

7 of the 9 albums listed have album arts that are paintings done by Alex’s sister Rachel Giannascoli (with the exceptions being Race and Trick). If you’re curious about her work, here’s a great article that includes an interview with her.

Honorable Mentions

With 8 officially released albums and a trove of unreleased music, it’d be a crime not to name a few honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the cut.

“SugarHouse – Live” – a beautiful recording with sweeping horns and heartfelt vocals.

“Break” – a personal favorite of mine and a super sweet unreleased track.

“S.D.O.S.” – an extremely unique use of instrumentation and production.

“East Coast” – an anthem for anyone who lives on the east coast.

“Gnaw” – an incredible track from Alex G’s debut album.

“Serpent Is Lord” – a killer shoegaze track.

“Fay” – this is another one of my personal favorite unreleased songs. 

“Miracles” – maybe the sweetest song Alex G has ever written.

“Water” – a simple track about a relatable feeling that boasts some really cool production.

“Self Control” – while not in his own discography, Frank Ocean brought Alex G along to play guitar on this track. I figured it’s worth a mention.

Some artists you should check out if you like Alex G

Villagerrr, Wyatt Smith, Elliott Smith, E.S.S., Tree Limbs, Mac DeMarco, Dawning, Lots of Hands, Eifuawn and Aubrey Key.

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