Hello everyone and welcome to the latest installment of Music Monthly brought to you by Plebings! What a great few months it has been! Lots of music to review. Yes, I’ve reviewed a massive 25 albums, and we’ll be pumping out issues of Music Monthly every week during August. Let’s hope August isn’t as much of an assault on the ears as the past few months have been.
So, here we go, continue reading to read the reviews featuring albums A-C that were released during the past three months.
ANOHNI / HOPELESSNESS (Alt-pop)
Rating – 7
Highlights: Marrow, Crisis
HOPELESSNESS is unsettling; it blends the sounds of cold electronics and the majestic vocals of ANOHNI to form some strange beast (for nerds, think of Mother 3’s nature/robotic abominations). She knows it’s unnatural, but the sound perfectly matches the eco-warrior themes throughout. The lyrics couldn’t be any more direct focusing on drone bombs, global warming, Obama and so much more. You’ll be left either rolling your eyes or feeling, well, hopeless.
Ariana Grande / Dangerous Woman (Pop)
Rating – 7
Highlights: Everyday, Knew Better / Forever Boy
I never understood the adoration for My Everything, it was a mixed bag, dragged down by MOR tosh and out of place up-tempos. Enter Dangerous Woman; which manages to fix the problems of the former while creating its own new issues. Boring ballads are out, boring mid-tempos are in. Screechy tracks like Problem/Break Free are gone, and in their stead we have the hypnotising pulse of tracks like Into You and Touch It (both playing out like Love Me Harder on steroids). Just please make sure to buy the deluxe edition, or I’d be knocking a couple of points off.
Blood Orange / Freetown Sound (R&B)
Rating – 8
Highlights: Best to You, Hadron Collider
It’s difficult to state that Freetown Sound is a political charged album. Whilst it covers bases like feminism, police violence and racial politics, the soft R&B sound throughout soften its impact. In the end Dev sounds exhausted, and who can blame him? Still, Freetown Sound is effective in its more subtle approach; maybe love will win in the end. Shout out to the excellent feature picks too, including Nelly Furtado, Debbie Harry (of Blondie), Carly Rae Jepsen and Empress Of.
Bright Light Bright Light / Choreography (Pop)
Rating – 4
Highlights: Where Is The Heartbreak
Choreography has to be nominated for the gayest album ever, right? Not released by the Drag Race alumni of course. From its title to the cover, and even the features – half the album’s songs feature a guest appearance from either a member of Scissor Sisters or Elton bloody John. Sadly for the most part I’m left yearning for a song to land a punch. Rod Thomas isn’t the most charismatic singer, a forgivable trait if the instrumentals weren’t so limp. I count three tracks I really enjoyed, but the rest blend together in a boring rainbow of beige. There’s nothing to hate on Choreography, but it might give the album some character if there was.
Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book (Rap)
Rating – 6
Highlights: All Night, No Problem
I should like Coloring Book more than I do. It’s use of gospel and generally colourful instrumentation are things I’ve praised Kanye and Macklemore’s latest for. Thankfully, Coloring Book doesn’t suffer the same bloated body that dragged Pablo and Views down, but it doesn’t switch things up either. The tracks never properly blow me away either, only the groove of All Night and blinding sunshine of No Problem grab my attention for the most part. Still, it’s a cohesive album to a fault and recommended for anyone who thinks of rap as only thug beats and negative thoughts.
Christine and the Queens / Chaleur Humaine (Pop)
Rating – 7
Highlights: Narcissus is Back, Tilted
Christine is cool. She hangs out with drag queens, comes from France and just makes cool music. Seeing her blow up in the UK has been incredible, and restores faith in me that the UK can actually take to a talented left-field pop star. Chaleur Humaine takes a minimal approach similar to Lorde’s Pure Heroine, but each track has a baroque twist, be it plucking of strings or a gentle piano. It gives a warm layer to what could be a cold album, and combined with Christine’s soft vocals leave a good impression.
Classixx – Faraway Reach (Dance)
Rating – 6
Highlights: Safe Inside, Just Let Go
A blogger’s wet dream. Faraway Reach is a dance album, with features from indie darlings such as Passion Pit, How To Dress Well and Holy Ghost! – It’s actually quite consistent too, unlike my view on the recent Flume album. Sadly its consistency is its undoing, it never quite goes the extra mile, and so you probably won’t hear any of these taking over the dance floor.
Stay tuned for next week where I’ll be covering albums and EPs from: