Considering that I catch myself listening to the same music over and over again, I thought it would be fun to discover new music and check out some newly released albums for the month of January. Many artists have finally decided to drop their albums after long delays, so it is the perfect time to listen.
For disclosure, these reviews are just my opinion. My taste in music is 100% based on my experiences just like everyone else. What I think as trash can be considered a treasure for another person and vice versa, except Imagine Dragons. That’s just bad music taste . . . I’m kidding. Music is probably the most subjective art out there and that’s why I love it so much.
To give a sense of my personal music taste, here are some of my favorite projects: Nurture – Porter Robinson (Favorite album of 2021), Cherry Bomb – Tyler, The Creator (Fight me), Congratulations – MGMT (Carried me through the initial covid lockdowns), Hi This Is Flume – Flume (I love listening to this with beautiful scenery), Melody’s Echo Chamber – Melody’s Echo Chamber (Favorite Tame Impala album, iykyk), Lonerism – Tame Impala (Actually this is my favorite Tame Impala album, I miss the old Kevin), Bandana – Freddie Gibbs & Madlib (Didn’t think they could top Pinata).
DAWN FM – THE WEEKND
The Weeknd’s fifth studio album was arguably the most anticipated album of January 2022. The album has amazing production from start to finish. Abel and his producers are able to create a beautiful soundscape full of luscious synths and 80’s drum machines. The album really hones in on the 80’s synth pop sound that Abel first experimented with in ‘Starboy’ and ‘After Hours’. Many of the songs in this album carry a strong influence from Daft Punk. Another collaboration between the two artists would have fit in perfectly on this album. Notable producers Swedish House Mafia were brought to produce ‘Sacrifice’ which I argue is one of the catchier songs on the album. Abel’s singing is great as always and his vocal range is insane, which reminded me of Michael Jackson at some points. The vocal harmonies on the hooks are catchy and memorable. However, the subject matter of the lyrics do get repetitive. I didn’t really care much for the interludes or anything they were saying. There were only two features in the entire album. Tyler’s feature, although good, didn’t add much to the song. Lil Wayne’s verse on ‘I Heard You’re Married’ was cool but like Tyler’s, it wasn’t much of a standout. Overall, the album was a fun listen that transported me to an 80’s musical experience.
Favorite songs : Out of Time, Here We Go… Again, Don’t Break My Heart
SICK! – EARL SWEATSHIRT
Earl Sweatshirt came back from a two year hiatus with his fourth studio album SICK!, a 10 track album that replaced a longer, more optimistic project after the initial COVID-19 lockdown. The overall project has great sound production from various producers. It consists of mostly minimalistic beats with a few samples that keep you in a trance. I couldn’t help but bop my head to almost every song. I was excited to hear that the Alchemist produced some of the songs and came to find out that they did not disappoint. Earl’s flow with the Alchemist’s hypnotizing madlib type beat left me eager to hear more from the two. ‘Tabula Rasa’ is one of the stronger tracks on the album. Both Earl and Armand Hammer gave amazing performances on the track. The offbeat flow showed off their rapping skills and almost reminded me of MF Doom. Zeloopers verse goes well on the hard hitting beat in ‘Visions’ but it does pale in comparison to Earl’s verse. Earl’s lyricism is immaculate. His use of diction and metaphors is always impressive, but it can be easy to get lost in the sea of words sometimes. I often find myself looking up the lyrics to figure out what he’s saying exactly. SICK! is very short but compact. I will definitely be listening to this more.
Favorite songs: Old Friend, 2010, Vision, Fire in the Hole
FROM A BIRD’S EYE VIEW – CORDAE
Cordae presents us with an inspiring sophomore album. He definitely took a victory lap with this one after a successful debut album. The song production consists mostly of laidback groovy beats, letting Cordae’s lyrics shine, which I think works really well for him. Cordae’s narrative style is very reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar’s and J Cole’s. Cordae’s verses and hooks usually are able to resolve on a recurring theme. He is able to paint a picture in almost every song, but it seems to be of the same storyline, usually about finding success. There are a few hard hitting trap songs, but none of the songs stood out as much as his other singles from his debut album. The features on the album are great. Personally, I think ‘Chronicles’ featuring H.E.R and Lil Durk is the most memorable collaboration of the album. I expect to hear ‘Chronicles’ and ‘Today’, his collaboration with Gunna, a lot this year. ‘Sinister’, featuring Lil Wayne, also has to be one of my favorites from the album. Both Cordae and Lil Wayne arguably served the strongest verses on this track. Besides the features, there isn’t much substance after the first half of the album. As always, Cordae has great lyrical skill that can put him on top, but the subject matter can use some work. However, the album still had some really great moments that left me nodding my head with a huge stank face.
Favorite Songs: Chronicles, Today, Sinister
CAPRISONGS – FKA twigs
I was the most excited for this album. FKA Twigs has always been a favorite for the critics ever since her debut album ‘LP1’. This is the first time I have ever fully listened to one of her albums and it was such an interesting one. The production on this album is so dynamic. It’s a genre bending album with touches of Pop, R&B, Hyperpop, Hip- Hop, and Dancehall. Even with all these genre influences, the album is able to keep a consistent sound palette which makes for a smooth listen. Like the sound production, the vocals are very diverse. FKA Twigs showcases her wide vocal range with her rapping and singing. She doesn’t shy away from using vocal effects like autotune. The effects are always used in a tasteful manner and never become overbearing. This album had a lot of strong features. It was refreshing to hear The Weeknd’s auto tuned vocals being paired with a hard trap beat in ‘tears in the club’. Jorja Smith’s verse on ‘darjeeling’ was short, but it was a nice contrast to FKA Twigs’ singing. ‘Jealousy’ featuring Rema stands out with its modern twist on dancehall music. The album’s last song, ‘thank you song’, probably has to be my favorite. Arca’s beautifully produced beat has a melancholic four chord piano progression that lets FKA Twigs vocal melodies take the shine. The song gives a cathartic end to FKA Twigs’ journey with heartbreak. Every song has a beautiful sound production that deserves to be heard with a good pair of headphones. This album might be my favorite from this month.
Favorite Songs: tears in the club, papi bones, minds of men, thank you song