You’ll notice an egregious omission in the list below.
Though I once again listened to every new album that cracked Apple Music’s Top 30 Most Streamed chart this week, the best of those albums will not be mentioned here. Why?
Pusha T’s Daytona — produced by MOTHERFUCKING KANYE (or is it MOTHERFUCKER Kanye nowadays?) — elicited more words than could succinctly fit here. As such, they’ll be in your inbox courtesy of a stand-alone post in the coming days. In it, we’ll tackle such matters as that motherfucking/motherfucker conundrum, and whether the album deserves to be credited equally to Pusha AND Ye (spoiler alert: it does).
And now, onto the albums that inspired fewer words, but not that much less enjoyment! This might be the year’s best week of music thus far!
Testing — A$AP Rocky
A sonic experience. How many other mainstream rappers experiment with their music to such an extent that hip-hop traditionalists wouldn’t even call it music?
Shawn Mendes — Shawn Mendes
I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying. Mainstream alternative pop doesn’t get much better. Like a cross between Justin Timberlake and John Mayer.
Trapholizay — Zaytoven
Superior producing, inferior rapping — an inverse of the usual hip-hop formula today (and this is coming from an anti-trap guy!). Luckily, Zay invites a litany of all-stars to feature on literally every track, compensating for his own lyrical, flow, and vocal deficits.
Vibras — J Balvin
The second week in a row with an album predominantly not in English! Though it’s an improvement over Maluma’s F.A.M.E., both share the same problem: too much of the producing maintains the same general sound profile, lacking sufficient differentiation from track to track. With that being said, “Ma Gente” remains a fucking bomb.
Voicenotes — Charlie Puth
Personality-free jams! The musically-sanitized version of Shawn Mendes’ alternative pop, stuck between a refreshingly-retro boy band aesthetic and its gratingly-commercial aspirations; lean into the former, Charles!