MUSIC

Albums That Made You Want to Join a Cult in 2019

From the self-care cult of Lizzo to Lingua Ignota's cult of vengeful women.

2019 saw a lot of fabulous releases, but which ones will stand the test of time?

While some albums are critically acclaimed but then rapidly fade into obscurity, others are so good that they could easily inspire cults. The albums on this list may not have been the year's most highly acclaimed, but they are the most likely to inspire (if they haven't already) massive cultural shifts and changes that will persist long into the 1920s.

1. Lingua Ignota — Caligula

Lingua Ignota's raging, heavy, monstrous Caligula mixes harsh noise with effects and lyrics that blend liturgical services with murderous impulses. It's a howl of rage that damns all abusers to eternal hell and suffering; and, at a time when women are getting tired of the inaction that accompanied #MeToo, Caligula could easily inspire a cult of women to take to the streets and take back what was taken from them.

LINGUA IGNOTA - DO YOU DOUBT ME TRAITOR (official audio) www.youtube.com

2. Lizzo — Cuz I Love You

The cult of Lizzo is already in full swing, and it looks like it's only going to continue to grow. Lizzo already has tremendous sway, and her lyrics are ubiquitous in Instagram captions and in politicians' Twitter feeds. As many of us resolve to get over self-hate and turn over a new leaf in 2020, Lizzo will certainly only gain notoriety and acclaim. It's easy to imagine a massive group of Twerking, face mask-using, body-positive Lizzo fans and imitators snapping selfies, going viral, and starting the defining cult of the next decade.

Lizzo - Cuz I Love You (Official Video) www.youtube.com

3. 100 gecs — 1000 gecs

100 gecs didn't mean for their album to go viral, but their absurd, chaotic collection of angsty electronica has sparked a revival movement for ex-scene kids who moved out of their small towns into big cities and immediately gravitated to the local noise venue. Like the best memes, the duo's meme-inspired album toes the line between hyper-seriousness and total parody, and ultimately it hits the perfect level of absurdity for what's going to be a very chaotic decade.

100 gecs - money machine (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

4. Tyler, the Creator — Igor

The Igor wigs were one of this Halloween's most popular costumes, and it's likely that Tyler, the Creator and his Igor alter-ego aren't going away anytime soon. Tyler, the Creator was already powerful enough to inspire Frank Ocean to start his music career, and Igor was a master-class in the art of transformation—and really, who wouldn't follow him to the edges of the Earth?

IGOR'S THEME www.youtube.com

5. BTS — Map of the Soul, Persona

The BTS ARMY is already a kind of cult, and the group's powers are continuing to escalate. They're even going to ring in 2020 as special guests on New Years' Rockin' Eve in Times Square. If BTS asked their fans to do anything or cancel anyone, there's no real doubt of what would result, and in the 2020s as algorithms become the center of warfare, the ability to instantly get something trending is a unique and formidable superpower.

BTS (방탄소년단) 'DNA' Official MV www.youtube.com

6. Kanye West — Jesus Is King

This one is contestable, because cult experts have reviewed Kanye West's Sunday Services movement and have determined that it doesn't really have the signs of an actual cult. It's just really, really born-again Christian. Whether you think Christianity itself is a cult is another discussion (but also, it is).

Kanye West - Jesus is King - Sunday Service Experience (The Forum - 11.03.19) www.youtube.com

7. Better Oblivion Community Center — Better Oblivion Community Center

Earlier this year, Phoebe Bridgers (emo-folk queen of the late 2010s) and Conor Oberst (emo-folk king of the 2000s) came together to create a cult-inspired emo-folk band about apathy, drunk nights out, and togetherness. They're definitely trying to recruit you, though it's not clear if BOCC practices any specific ideology or if they're just real sad about everything but still excited to hang out.

Better Oblivion Community Center - Dylan Thomas www.youtube.com

What artists or albums would you follow all the way to Jonestown?

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Kanye West's Sunday Services have generated a lot of speculation and theories and certainly have inspired more than a few evangelicals.

Back in December, Kanye West and Joe Rogan discussed the possibility that Kanye might come on Rogan's show to do a "serious interview speaking on mental health." However, the show was later canceled, and Rogan just recently stated that he thinks Kanye is "starting a new cult. It's clear, he's on his way," he said. "It's probably gonna be huge."

Kanye's Sunday Services have been drawing comparisons to cults since their inception. "It's got the early trappings [of a cult], I guess we could say," cult expert and sociologist Janja Lalich said to Vox. To better understand whether or not Kanye West is starting a cult, or if you're looking to start one of your own, here are five characteristics shared by the average cult.

KANYE WEST SUNDAY SERVICE | NOVEMBER 3RD, 2019 LIVESTREAM www.youtube.com

1. Cults have charismatic, unquestioned leaders

Cults are nothing without their leaders. A great cult leader is able to persuade followers that they're the messiah, unquestionably knowledgeable and endowed with the secrets to the universe. Leaders often create stories about their own greatness, starting small and then building themselves into a messiah-like figure.

2. Cults use some form of brainwashing or indoctrination

Cults indoctrinate their members into the belief that their allegiances should always be to the cult above all else. They often do this by using a process called indoctrination, which slowly persuades people to fall completely for the cult's ethos. Cults use indoctrination to "break down a person's sense of self," according to How Stuff Works, using techniques like thought reform, isolation, induced dependency, and eventually, dread. As far as we know, Kanye hasn't yet done this.

The New Yorker

3. Cults use an "us versus them" mentality

Members of cults are taught to believe that all of their own beliefs are absolutely, unquestionably correct, while others' are fundamentally flawed. Interestingly, many cults actually aren't religious, though many cult members were raised religious but left their faiths.

4. Cults are exclusive—and lavish praise on their recruits

Most cults make their recruits feel special and seen, eventually convincing them that the cult is worth giving up their lives for. People who join cults tend to suffer from low self-esteem and a desire to belong to a group as well as naive idealism, according to Psychiatric Times, making them prime targets for cult recruitment.

5. Cults often exploit their members

More often than not, cults wind up exploiting their members, either monetarily, sexually, or both. Once recruits are totally indoctrinated into the cult, lavished with attention and completely convinced to swear loyalty to the cult, then the exploitation usually starts.

Judging by these criteria, Kanye West is probably not starting a cult.

West does have some characteristics of a cult leader in that he's always believed in his own genius; but for now, it seems like the Sunday Services are just experimental efforts to blend West's love of music promotion with his newfound born-again faith. Actually, most cults seem far more malicious than what Kanye is trying out—thus far, his organization has nothing on, say, the cult of capitalism, or the cult of Christianity.

Cults are part of the fabric of American life. Make sure you know the signs, and if you ever feel tempted to accept any form of Kool-Aid, think again.