JAY-Z is reborn on “Kill Jay Z”

When news came down the pipeline that Jay-Z Jay Z JAY-Z was gearing up for a new studio album, 4:44, the reception was rather muted. Once again opting to partner with a major corporation (Sprint) – 2013’s Magna Carta Holy Grail arrived in July of that year with a Samsung sponsorship – 4:44 felt like the logical conclusion to his declaration over a decade ago of being a “business, man.” And after a sensationalized account of infidelity on Beyoncé’s Lemonade (2016) as well as the infamous elevator fight at the Met Gala in 2014 involving Solange Knowles, the world sure wasn’t clamoring for new JAY-Z music. So, where does arguably the world’s biggest rap star go from here? Continue reading “JAY-Z is reborn on “Kill Jay Z””

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The Obama Years: The Best Albums from 2009-2016

There were a lot of great things about Barack Obama’s presidency, and the music that came during his time in office is just one small yet everlasting reminder of his time at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. These are the best albums that came out between the time of his inauguration and the time he left office, so no, there’s sadly no Merriweather Post Pavillon representation here. (That album came out in the final days of the Bush presidency.) In fact, no album from 2009 was good enough to crack this list, which features everyone from Arcade Fire to The War On Drugs, D’Angelo to Fiona Apple, and of course the heavyweights, perhaps the four biggest artists from 2009-2016: Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Frank Ocean and Beyoncé. Continue reading “The Obama Years: The Best Albums from 2009-2016”

The Best Albums + Songs of 2017.5

With honorable mentions to Alison Crutchfield, Arca, Beth Ditto, Big Thief, Charli XCX, The Courtneys, Dua Lipa, Drake, Future, Future Islands, Harry Styles, Hater, Jay Som, Johnny Jewel, Jens Lekman, Julie Byrne, Mac DeMarco, The Menzingers, Priests, Sampha, (Sandy) Alex G, Sorority Noise, Spoon, Slowdive, Stormzy, Syd, SZA, Tennis, TOPS, and Young Thug, there can only be ten albums in the “10 best albums of 2017.5” chart.

These are the 10.

10

Continue reading “The Best Albums + Songs of 2017.5”

“Do U Love Me” is another winner for Young Thug

Young Thug’s “singing album,” Beautiful Thugger Girls, is not a country album, despite what you may have heard. Yes, the excellent opening track “Family Don’t Matter” carries with it traces of country, but the album largely adheres to the hues he played with on Jeffery cuts “Wyclef Jean” and “Kanye West,” as well as his More Life collaboration “Ice Melts.” Continue reading ““Do U Love Me” is another winner for Young Thug”

LIV makes good on their potential with “Heaven”

Perhaps it has to do with outsized expectations, or artists struggling to find a common musical vocabulary, but supergroups most always are more exciting on paper than on record. So it was with trepidation I took the news last year that Swedish pop heavyweights Lykke Li, Miike Snow and Peter, Bjorn and John had recorded an album together. And as nice as the group’s first two singles were, the project – known as LIV – didn’t feel essential. On their newest single, though, LIV has their first truly great song, “Heaven.” Continue reading “LIV makes good on their potential with “Heaven””