A disclaimer about the weeks ahead, lest you fear I’ve been infected by the bite of hyperbole:
Though it’s impossible to say for sure, I have a feeling upcoming album roundups will be more positive than normal. Not because a greater share of transcendent albums are released at the end of the year (though I hope that’s the case!); rather, as I finalize my rankings of 2018’s best, I plan to catch up with my most regrettable misses from the last ten months. As such, I’ll be covering some older albums (not oldies, obviously, but those that are more than a few days old), and since I’ll be focusing on a lot of work that’s received the most favorable reviews, I expect good things. Or, at the very least, better things than the weekly slog full of inevitable BS.
BUT, the highlight of this week IS actually a product of this week, and she’s known by one name:
Honey — Robyn
Hot holy goddamn shit THE PRODUCING!!! Immaculate craftsmanship, hitting the exact, lofty, unusual target it’s aiming for. I’m all about art that pushes the envelope of our personal taste in the name of expanding, through challenging, our fallback frameworks for our evaluations. Robyn conforms to no formulas; every moment surprises. The kind of music that you just want to live in and have course through your veins. Make sure to listen on headphones so you can savor every meticulous sound.
so sad so sexy — Lykke Li
A slightly inferior Robyn (still the highest of praise around these parts); Lykke Li’s just a bit more formulaic and less musically dense, complex, layered, and nuanced. She’s more alternative and less pop, but only in genre designation; the former’s more alternative in terms of alternating from the norm.
Good Thing — Leon Bridges
Mostly traditionalist soul-R&B — think Marvin Gaye (!) — with modern flourishes here (including some John Legend funk-pop), and influences as classic as soft jazz there.
BALLADS 1 — Joji
A vocal experiment that’s equal parts haunting, mesmerizing, affecting, trance-inducing, sometimes profound, and always bizarre, the benefits of a digitally-mutated, inventively-mutable, and consistently-peculiar crooning voice. Though I’m down for sequels, I’m least interested in Joji’s attempts to musically hang with Trippie Redd.
SYRE: THE ELECTRIC ALBUM — Jaden Smith
Jaden’s range clearly stretches to the avant-garde; these are less remixes of the originals and more largely-unrecognizable deconstructions. Nepotism be damned, I’m in his artistic corner AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT!!!
MIH-TY — MihTy (Jerimih & Ty Dolla $ign)
Ty’s bouncy beats + Jerimih’s smooth flow = a tonal orgy of hip-pop-R&B (predominantly the latter). Sometimes the album’s even Weeknd-esque (at its best). I swear damn near every track is about sex.
Fully Loaded — Shy Glizzy
A hazy daze that lasts twice as long as it should; “Wavy”, indeed.
LoVE me NOw — Tory Lanez
The producing: yay.
The fire features: YAY!
The weird capitalizations in all the titles: FUCK YAY!!!
Tory’s rapping: na…¯\_(ツ)_/¯?
OUT OF CONTENTION
Singing You Home — Laura Benanti