This half-year of music has seen many things. Drake made a ‘mixtape’ that was basically an album, Kendrick Lamar released his long-awaited follow-up to ‘Good Kid Maad City’; Bjork, Faith No More and Sleater Kinney all had comeback albums, Madonna fell over (and kissed Drake), and Kanye West is set to make a headlining appearance at Glastonbury tomorrow. But how much of the actual drama has amounted to amazing albums because there have been a fair few amongst the chaos. In no particular order, here are some of them.
Sleater Kinney – No Cities To Love
Fantastic Punk Rock and Riot Grrrl band Sleater Kinner returned early this year to release the amazing ‘No Cities To Love’ which is an album that had them digging deep into their melodic sides and retreating from the very experimental album, ‘Woods’ which preceded this one a decade ago. ‘NCTL’ isn’t a perfect album but it’s a fantastic comeback record filled with idiosyncratic guitar leads and Carrie Brownstein’s signature vocals.
Joey Bada$$ – B4.Da.$$
At the tender age of 20 (19 when recording), Joey Bada$$ is bringing back a flavour of Boom-Bap Hip-Hop that he won’t even remember being big in the first place. He carries entire project by himself and although there aren’t very many new ideas cropping up on this album they’re all executed in a way that sounds so refreshing.
Bjork – Vulnicura
Bjork’s break-up album ‘Vulnicura’ details her thoughts prior to the break-up, during the break-up and afterwards. It holds back nothing as she goes through all of the motions that happens when you break-up with a long-time partner. Confusion, betrayal, anger, before the eventual moment where you’re able to move forward. Bjork hoped the album would be a crutch for people who have gone through the same thing. The production and instrumentation on this album is icy cold to the point where it can be difficult to listen to at times.
Lupe Fiasco – Tetsuo & Youth
This should technically be a comeback album for Lupe. People are finally getting over the fact that he fell off so far with his album ‘Lasers’. ‘Tetsuo & Youth’ is a triumph in that it features Lupe rapping his ass off once again with a few of the tracks on here being 8 or 9 minutes long. He’s back to talking about serious issues in our society like the absolutely harrowing and spellbinding song ‘Prisoner 1 & 2’.
Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
Father John Misty wrote an extremely funny and confessional album detailing his relationship with his girlfriend with ‘I Love you, Honeybear’. It’s a simple album but a compelling one due to the fact that Tillman has such an ability to paint himself as a big man-child who loves to hate himself and paint pictures of nights out that go terribly wrong because of the paranoia that comes with being in a relationship.
Jeff Rosenstock – We Cool?
Jeff Rosenstock’s new album is influenced by power-pop bands such as Weezer and tells the tale of a man in his mid-30s having a bit of a crisis due to the fact that he feels like his time in the music industry has been wasted because all of his peers from school are now grown up with kids. With absolutely killer choruses that powerfully – yet unconventionally – sung, this record is a joy.
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
there’s not much that can be said about Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a butterfly that hasn’t already been done in massive detail. the entire narrative of this album has been picked apart so much and people are still discovering layers within the music alone that they didn’t catch before. This is an album that details how are society reacts to the rich – more specifically how rich black people – and to about how Kendrick has coped with the massive survivor’s guilt he’s had since he made it big. He recognises that there’s a bigger picture to look at in our society and it kills him that he sees people in his community in poverty and taking it out on each other. All of these themes are tied together in an hour-long package of self-doubt, anger, frustration, sadness and redemption. (There’s fantastic musicianship throughout too).
Death Grips – The Powers That B (Jenny Death)
Death Grips finally released ‘Jenny Death’, the second part to their ‘final album’, ‘The Powers That B’. The album is filled with self-loathing songs that have Death Grips drawing from a lot of Punk in their heavy useage of guitars and utilising those sounds to make arguably the loudest and most aggressive Death Grips album to date. It features some of their most catchy hooks for a long-time as well as some of their most disturbing lyrics. It’s an album that feels appropriate for them to close their career on (if it is actually their last).
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