If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’ll know that I can’t live without my music. Previously, I’ve blogged about artists I hope to see live. I’ve also shared with you some of my Spotify playlists where I build lists according to my mood, or what music I’ve been loving at the moment.
To take a break from the other posts, I wanted to share with you some recent music releases that I’ve been listening to now. This is very special to me because I am the type of person who gets a feel of other people through their music. By sharing this, I hope you get a glimpse of what I like, and how these encapsulate my current state of mind.
As a way to mix things up, this blog is not just by me! I got my friend Josh to help me out and share his thoughts as well. Trish and Jasmine from my digital team also chimed in. Among the four of us, I hope we help you decide which ones are your new faves and which ones to pass on.
Tom Misch, Kanye West, and J Cole have all put out great albums lately. These musicians have released lyrically superior tracks that are mainstays on my current playlists.
1. Tom Misch – Geography
Sarah: I love a good mix of jazz, hip-hop, and R&B. This album is all of it. It’s so pleasant to listen to that I usually start my day by listening to this. The record is a mix of ballads and fun songs that showcase what he can do. Listen to the song called “Lost In Paris,” which critics say is the track that defines this album.
Trish: I found Tom Misch’s Geography to be funky and soulful overall. Eventually, I was waiting for variation at some point while listening to a song, or for the beats to be more playful but it just never happens. It’s like Tom Misch was still holding back in this album. “Lost in Paris,” however, is my favorite from this album. It felt like he was not afraid to let loose with this song. Variations are thrown into the upbeat mix and are introduced to you as you listen and enjoy the song. I enjoyed the instrumentals, and Tom Misch is known as a clever beatmaker. Tom Misch’s soothing voice seems so effortless and delightful to hear. This debut album is not bad at all. I do recommend listening to his song (and one of my personal favorites) “Beautiful Escape” though because I feel this is at par to “Lost in Paris.”
2. J. Cole – KOD
Sarah: It’s definitely a good year for music. The more I listen to KOD, the more I love the production. The album is lyrically superior to any album by any lil’ something rapper. There is meaning to what J. Cole says, and a story is being told.
Josh: KOD is J Cole’s fifth studio album and his third straight one with no features. Right off the bat, it starts strong with its title track “KOD,” with Cole seemingly getting right to it with lines like “How come you won’t get a few features? I think you should? How ’bout I don’t?” This serves as a preemptive answer to a would-be critic’s question. The songs “Photograph” and “The Cut Off” on the other hand, are strong enough that carry the momentum to the album’s first single, “ATM.”
3. Kanye West – Ye
Sarah: Kanye is a master when it comes to production. Say what you will about him, but as a musician, he is brilliant. This album’s organization of sound is amazing on Ye. I found the music to be so earnest and soulful that every song was so good (but obviously some are great). My favorite tracks so far are “All Mine” and “Violent Crimes.” Give these a good listen as you go through the rest of the album.
Josh: Kanye is the only artist that can get away with, but first of all have the gall to even put out an unfinished song! It sounds promising, and he did say his verse is coming, but the most influential artist of our time still released a song that ended with the words “scoop poop.” I can imagine it being great when it’s finished, but at its current state, it’s a thumbs down for me.
Everyone loves a good bop. These standouts from The Internet, Nicki Minaj, King Princess, and Childish Gambino have all of us talking.
1. The Internet – “Roll”
Sarah: This funky track just makes you want to groove! The video itself is so cool, being so simple and fresh. This is one of those songs that you want to play while on a road trip with the car windows rolled down. I’ve been playing this on repeat and will do so for a good long while. 🙂
Jasmine: It’s impossible for you to listen to funky songs and not feel a buoyant joy as you tap your foot to the beat. “Roll” is smoother than that first sip of perfectly brewed creamy coffee. This track sounds so fresh. As many people have pointed out, The Internet just continues to evolve and put out more tunes, and this one does not disappoint at all.
2. Nicki Minaj – “Chun Li”
Sarah: I know a lot of people compare Nicki with Cardi B. But to me, it feels almost manufactured to compare the two of them, when the truth is they’re so different. But I’m excited that Nicki is back and better than ever: I’ve been so excited to blast her songs at the gym! I vibe with some of Cardi B’s songs, but Nicki will always be the real OG for me. She doesn’t ride the bandwagon phase of trap music. Apart from that, she’s a talented songwriter and a perfectionist with her work! I love “Chun Li” and “Barbie Tingz.”
Josh: This is now probably my favorite Nicki Minaj record. She went in!!! Whew! This should have ended any female rapper’s career, but since it’s directed at Cardi B, it didn’t even make a dent! I like Cardi, but this is proof that clout is just as important (if not more important) nowadays than an artist’s actual body of work.
3. Childish Gambino – “This is America”
Sarah: It’s impossible to talk about “This is America” without talking about the music video accompanying it. So rich with metaphors, I think the point of the video is to be distracted with what’s presented to you instead of the chaos happening in the background. It’s a distraction to keep us blinded by the real issues of violence. This is America, indeed.
Josh: As a song, it’s good. It’s above average, but nothing great to be honest. I thought this track is the second best representation of his artistic transition/maturity, behind “Redbone.” As a music video, though? Pure genius. It is also exactly what Kanye was, and is trying hard to still be. Edgy, without fear and honest. Amidst the chaos, a clear message was conveyed, not confusion.
4. King Princess – “1950”
Sarah: I was watching Lady Gaga’s Netflix documentary and saw how she and the genius Mark Ronson work. I decided to stalk him shortly afterward. I found some of Ronson’s new work and stumbled upon King Princess. I love her vibe and her realness. I have a feeling she’s going to be big. I’m excited for her to release her album.
Jasmine: King Princess’ “1950” seems to me like the modern counterpart to Mandy Moore’s “Crush.” It sounds much much more effortlessly cool, the kind of music you want to listen on a breezy evening spent lost in thought. But what’s even more special about this track is that it actually explores queer love, which is particularly hard as it has, for so long, forced to be felt behind hushed whispers. King Princess is so young, but it seems like she has much more to impress the music scene with.