Drew Brown, Editor-in-Chief
After releasing two mixtapes, one EP, and teaming up with Rihanna on Anti, Recording artist SZA has finally released her debut studio album Ctrl back in June which features guest appearances by Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott. Labeled as a R&B album, SZA delivers fourteen songs that are both raw and insightful, and should not be put in box. Exploring themes of love, heartbreak, and self-esteem, SZA has away of writing songs that are honest and relatable and comes close to filling the my personal music void since the passing of Amy Winehouse by craftily mixing genres, and letting the listener into her world while finding the balance of being vulnerable and bold.
Hoon, Managing Editor
A part of me wants to take to these pages to shout out to a relatively lesser known artist of amazing talents who deserve more attention and love. I’m thinking of Your Old Droog and his second studio album, Packs, of which especially the third track, Bangladesh, should be more than enough to win over any doubters. Another part wants to pay respect to Prodigy, who passed away way too soon but not before dropping a 14-track banger of an album, Hegelian Dialectic (The Book of Revelation). But that’s just sentiments talking. In truth, the absolute best album of the year has to go to an already legend and still expanding Kendrick Lamar and his fourth studio album, DAMN. And I don’t see whatever’s left of the year bringing in an album more worthy.
Adina Heisler, Contributer
Four years after the release of her first album, Pure Heroine, Lorde has returned with the concept album Melodrama. With this album, it’s clear that Lorde has matured both emotionally and musically and has branched out, bringing together multiple musical styles all within the loose themes of emotions, the highs and lows, of a night out on the town. While Lorde’s time gap between albums was for unknown reasons, we all know about the long-drawn legal battle between Kesha and “alleged” abuser Dr. Luke, which has kept her from releasing any new music for years. However, Kesha has finally been able to return with her upcoming album Rainbow. The album is a sharp turn away from her previous music, which featured autotune heavy singles about partying and drinking. Kesha is finally able to use her actual voice, which is on full display in the three singles that have been released thus far. With country inspired bangers like “Woman” and breathtaking vocals survivor-empowerment themes on “Praying“, Rainbow is a welcome return for the singer-songwriter.
Natasha Grodzinski, Contributor
Upon the release of Gorillaz’s newest album, Humanz, I felt not only a dead fanbase rise from the grave, but a feeling inside myself I hadn’t had since early high school, the last time I head new music from them. Now, the British duo of musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett are back. Albarn mixes the tracks, Hewlett pens the famous four animated band members: 2-D, Murdoc Niccals, Russel Hobbs, and Noodles. Like their past albums, Gorillaz worked together with a number of collaborators, but this album has some particularly notable names: from newcomers Popcaan and artist Vince Staples to legends Grace Jones, and Carly Simon. Some of the best tracks to check out are “Saturnz Barz,” “Ascension,” “Let Me Out,” and “Andromeda.” Word is that Albarn and Hewlett asked contributing artists to imagine what the end of the world would be like and put that into the songs. Seems dramatically appropriate.
Kimberley Drapack, Contributor
Tyler, The Creator has come a long way. Back with the visuals of pastel hues and flowery fields we’ve grown to love comes his fourth studio album, Flower Boy. Upon its release, I was immediately grabbed his his single, Who Dat Boy, with A$AP Rocky, and his second release of, 911/Mr. Lonely with Frank Ocean and Steve Lacy. This without a doubt is Tyler’s best album to date. Although we are not quite finished with the year, don’t let Flower Boy slip through your fingers and remember to grant praise where praise is due.