Welcome to a brand new series on this blog! Each week, guest author Alex Driscoll will take you through the music scene. From top songs, album reviews and featured articles, this series will delve deep into all forms of music. We hope you enjoy!
10 songs on repeat this week:
1. Lullaby by Low (1994)- minimal and hauntingly gorgeous, this nearly 10-minute epic is a classic of the slowcore genre.
2. Earth Death by Baths (2013)- A bass heavy electronic number complete a driving drumline that demands your attention.
3. Radiation (Lung Pollution) by Lil Ugly Mane (2012)- Off the underground rapper’s now legendary debut, this song is as strange as it is addictive.
4. Adore You by Harry Styles (2019)- An incredibly mature, groovy song of the ex-One Directioner’s equally mature LP.
5. Jerk Ribs by Kelis (2014)- If you ever look past the iconic Milkshake, you’ll find that Kelis has innumerable bangers such as this.
6. What Would I Want? Sky by Animal Collective (2009)- Like most of Animal Collective’s discography, this song might take a few listens to fully appreciate its beauty.
7. Satan In the Wait by Daughters (2018)- Pummelling and harsh, this noise rock piece is not for the faint of heart
8. Golden Brown by The Stranglers (1983)- A classic and melodic piece of new-wave pop from the British group.
9. Positive Contact by Deltron 3030 (2000)- If you love classic hip-hop, then you will love this song.
10. There There by Radiohead (2003)- I personally believe this hypnotic piece to be Radiohead’s best work to date.
This week’s playlist can be found by following this link- https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2tDWO3LJ3ioP8KcimKwtGm?si=Qa_6aeCBQ-qbvd0iNcDyAg
Quick album reviews:
Fine Line by Harry Styles- 8.4/10:
Fine Line is a sophisticated, enthralling and enjoyable piece of pop. Harry is leagues ahead of his fellow former band members, Fine Line demonstrating an artist filled with confidence and sense of direction. Though lyrically, this LP doesn’t break any new ground, Harry’s vocal abilities and the lush production really brings this to the level it is at. A great sophomore LP from the former teen heart throb, one that is mature and demonstrating the stride of an artist that is now fully forming.
Best track: Adore You
MAGDALINE by FKA Twigs- 6.1/10:
For all its grandeur and seeming originality, I’m not entirely convinced. Barnett’s voice is towering and passionate, forming the heart and largest element of appeal for this album. However, it’s the production that doesn’t do it for me. Though it certainly does add to the overall atmosphere of this record, I can’t help but feel at points that it is a little ‘same-same’-y, the combination of slow, bulging bass, delicate piano chords and the occasional odd sound effect being done nearly to death. A good album, yes, but one that unfortunately has not totally won me over.
Best track: Fallen Alien
LP 1 by Liam Payne- 0/10:
Just plain awful. I just wasted a good few minutes of my life entrenched in this offensive pile of trash. Liam Payne and his producers are quite possibly some of the most braindead people on this plant thinking this vomit-inducing mess of an album was suitable for public listening. Even typically overly positive critics such as NME have had to call him out on this one (a 40 by NME standards is basically a 0). Why oh why this repulsive bile of an album exists I will never know. All I know is that it does, and I hate it with every atom in my body.
Best track: The one where the album stopped, and I could go listen to Pink Floyd.
This Week’s Feature- My Top 5 Albums of 2019:
5. Titanic Rising by Weyes Blood- 9.6/10:
Talk about living up to hype. Also, what was it with female singer-songwriters last year? We’ve had a series of exemplary records from a number of artists, each seeming better than the last. But I am definitely not complaining. Titanic Rising is hard to pin down. Listening to it, I find it hard to try and figure out what is making this record so damn good. Simply put, it’s beautiful. Simple as that. Mering’s voice, the orchestral arrangements, the. staggering lyrics. It is all just so damn nice. Very few albums this decade can boast being this well produced as well, electronics blending perfectly with strings. A broad range of influences are deployed as well from the obvious folk to dream-pop, Americana and many more. But despite this, Titanic Rising is unique in every sense, pulling off something so many simply cannot. Its also a bonus that it satisfied by itch for a really arty sounding record.
Best Track: Movies
4. GREY Area by Little Simz- 9.7/10:
Moving at break-neck speed, wrapped in layers of some of the richest production in hip-hop this decade and topped with the blunt and brilliant bars of the artist behind this project. Little Simz has delivered what could possibly be the best rap album to come of the UK this decade. UK hip-hop is dominated by waves upon waves of grime, and like trap in the US, it is becoming oversaturated. Though Ajikwao does incorporate elements of said genres minimalism and thundering bass, this album moves far beyond that zeitgeist. It incorporates elements of jazz-rap and an east-coast boom-bap vibe. Flutes, strings and horns are beautifully blended with drum-loops and heavy bass. Little Simz herself is of course the main highlight. Her flow is impeccable, flipping from break-neck and insult heavy to composed and sincere with masterful effect. Lyrically, very few rappers can claim to have the arsenal Simz puts on display, boasting, reflecting and straight up insult with a finesse hard to come by. An unlikely yet wonderfully masterful album.
Best track: Offence
3. All Mirrors by Angel Olsen- 9.8/10:
Just when I thought the year couldn’t deliver anymore brilliant female singer-songwriter records, along came Angel Oslen. Cinematic, emotionally complex, musically mature, engaging, masterpiece. Some words that come to mind thinking about this album. Ditching her typical guitar/organ driven folk rock, Olsen embraces orchestral sweeps and broad soundscapes. It plays out like a long-lost Hollywood romance film, vintage in the best possible way. To bring it along nicely is the ever-brilliant vocals and lyrics of the woman herself, cutting through the dense production with a vulnerability paradoxically giving her confidence. A real triumph of 2019 and this decade.
Best track: All Mirrors
2. There Existed an Addiction to Blood by clipping.– 9.8/10:
After a decade of being the most overlooked group in modern hip-hop, clipping close out their remarkable work in the 2010s with a verifiable masterpiece. From the singles, this album promised to be something special. Direct, frightening, eerie, a wholistic experience. It delivers on all those promises, and them some. There Existed an Addiction to Blood sees the group at not only their most focused, but most ambitious, just about every risk they take paying off immensely. Even Piano Burning, a statement I would often find arrogant and snobbish, packs an atmospheric punch. Production wise, we get some of the sharpest, visceral soundscapes yet, even pulling in noise artists to create those all too familiar blasts (again, something I usually hate, but an inclusion that adds the brilliance of this album). But of course, we cannot go without mentioning Daveed Briggs. His mainstream success with Hamilton has not at all softened him, delivering some of his most disturbing, vivid and frightening lyrical images yet, all delivered with immense skill and precision. The whole horror concept of this album is also brilliant, just thought I’d say. A real masterwork from clipping.
Best track: Blood of the Fang
1. Bismillah by Peter Cat Recording Co.- 10/10:
A 10/10 in my eyes is a rarity. In order to receive that score, a record must be beyond criticism. Bismillah might probably seem like an odd choice to most and I would agree. By lying in my bed, dying of a cold, this album was just so… beautiful. Is it the smooth, jazzy instrumentations? Is it the lead singer’s gorgeous baritone? Is the vivid lyrics? In fact, it is all of those things. Not a second on this record felt wasted. The fact I was ok enough listening to the whole thing three times back to back is testament to this fact. For me, Bismillah feels so damn ahead of its time, yet grounded in nostalgia. It’s like Frank Sinatra rose from the dead and chose Radiohead as his backing band. I have rarely felt this entranced by an album this decade, in fact ever. So, there you have it. In my eyes, Bismillah is nothing but a 10/10.
Best Track: Floated By
A link to my full Top 50 can be found here- https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0yMG1JxK5KRdbPAKQ2s1G7?si=Esm249dqQ6aAv8fyz6NbwA
For more reviews, check out my AOTY profile @Adrissd423