By Gabby Couter

Albums

Lana Del Ray – Lust for Life

In Lana Del Ray’s new album ‘Lust for Life’, Lana shows energy and life and finally, fully embraces the vintage pop sound which have always inspired her and been teased throughout her songs. The energy and pop of her album is shown through the cover art of her track, where Lana is actually smiling for once, symbolising her new found life in this album. There are some songs on this track which are great, and other which are completely pointless and quite horrible. For example, Coachella, Woodstock in My Mind, is hilarious because of the stupid lyrics which reveal Lana’s weak attempt at trying to make a political statement. This matched with the very ‘in’ trap style percussion and murky synth sound, which do not work very well for Lana, and are unfortunately, heard on other tracks in this listing. For example, in the song Groupie Love, where I do like the very swaying, whimsical, gauzy chorus, but the back to back A$AP Rocky features placed here, and on the song before it, are very unnecessary and makes Lana sound like a feature on her own track. However, for the most part, Lana sticks to her guns here and builds on the lavish and vintage instrumentation that made up the bulk of her last album, especially towards the end of the album. The song Get Free is probably my favourite song of the album, if not one of my favourite Lana songs of all time as she fully embraces the sound of sixties girl groups, which have always inspired her, yet have never been executed as peppy a way as she has does on this song. Overall, I really enjoy this album as it shows a new side of Lana which has life and movement and I believe that this album is a new starting point for her to progress her sound even further.

7/10

Notable Tracks:

  • Love
  • Get Free
  • 13 Beaches
  • Tomorrow Never Came

Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy

This month, California rapper Tyler the Creator came out with the brand new album, Flower Boy. This talented rapper has disappointed me in the past, yet with the release of the Singles Who Dat Boy and 911/Mr. Lonely, Tyler showed some of his best material to date. It felt like Tyler was finally brushing up on his rapping and production skills, and his performance was more animated without being immature. After these singles and going into the album, I was hoping that I wasn’t let down by the technical flaws which made his past albums hard to listen to. The opening track Foreword, shows Tyler hint listeners with a nice string of rhythms coated with very strong wordplay, which gave me a very positive outlook for the album to come. Throughout this entire album, Tyler has a motif of cars, chains, and other materialistic possessions. This wouldn’t be strange for a rapper to do, except for the fact that Tyler has never talked about material possessions on any of his other albums before, making me think that they are a metaphor to fill a void which is very clearly forming the moodiness of many of the songs on this album. This is what we hear on songs such as Pothole, Boredom, and Garden Shed, which have this dreamy, yet dreary aesthetic. They are smooth, lavishly layered, jazzy, and soulful, yet in comparison to previous album Cherry Bomb, feel much more solidly composed and gorgeously arranged. Flower Boy is expansive, its kaleidoscopic. Tyler is finally coming into his own in being a producer while still showing off what made him so special in the first place, which is his deep appreciation of jazz. Overall, I feel it bad to analyse each of these songs separately, as this album is so unified with its sound, so much so that it feels wrong to separate a song from another. I believe that this is a great album, which explored Tyler more personally that anything he has released before.

9/10

Notable Tracks:

  • The whole album

Arcade Fire – Everything Now

10 years after the release of their first, genre defining album Funeral, Arcade Fire has released their 5th studio album Everything Now. This also solidifies the idea that the dance beats are here to stay, after they were teased in Reflecktor. This album explores the theme of technology and materialism in the 21st Century, which I think is an interesting concept for a band which would remember a time before this influx of technology which we have today. Towards the start of the album, I became more and more convinced of the disco sound, yet it does not take long for Everything Now to fall apart, in concepts, in arrangement, in writing, in everything. The song and single Creature Comfort, although has one of the best grooves on the entire album, the lyrics come in and creates a sanitized, surface level analogy of modern day issues. From here, it only seems to get worse, with Arcade Fire embarking on reggae fusions in their next tracks, which doesn’t really go down very well as they half-heartedly commit to this. After this, the album devolves further with the track Infinite_Content, which is, in a way, a half written track with one portion being this fast, punk tinge, indie track which brings back the albums central theme, which I enjoyed, when all of a sudden, turns into a slow, country version of the song which was quite unpleasant. Further, the song Electric Blue is probably the worst track on the album because of the extremely annoying lead melody and the completely unintelligible falsetto vocals, which create an almost piercing vocal tone, which it overall pretty bad. In conclusion, this is sadly, probably one of Arcade Fire’s worst albums and I would much rather listen to their earlier discography.

4/10

Best Tracks:

  • Everything Now
  • Signs of Life

Singles

Selena Gomez – Fetish

After the release of single ‘Bad Liar’, I was highly anticipating the release of Selena’s next single Fetish which was teased over all social media, and honestly, I was not disappointed. This song has great lyrics, a very catchy beat, and overall a very good sound, and solidifies Selena’s split from her Disney image. I believe that this is probably her best song to date, with the really interesting juxtaposition of the fast paced lyrics to the slow, sultry chorus. Gucci Mane’s lyrics are pretty mediocre and I would have preferred if he stayed out of the track and Selena just sang the bridge, but anyways. Overall, I really love this single and cannot wait until she drops the next album.

8.5/10 (loses 1.5 because of Gucci Mane)

Hall and Oates – Out of Touch

This month, due to lack of new singles, I’ve decided to review an oldie but goldie, Out of Touch by Hall and Oates. This song is an absolute classic hit which really transcends its time. Its easy yet fresh beat and catchy lyrics make it the great song it has always been. Through the rhythmic drum beats and complementing electric piano, it allowed this rare song to become a hit on the pop, R&B, dance, and adult contemporary charts. The drum machines and two thick bass lines show a very early form of the pop sounds we hear nowadays. Overall, this is an amazing song which has always been a hit, and will always continue to be a hit, now and forever.

 

11/10

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