November 29, 2016
To Be Kind by Swans
Screen Shot - 9/10 Similarly to The Seer, To Be Kind starts off really strong with a minimalistic, repetitive, I'd even say catchy song.
Just a Little Boy (For Chester Burnett) - 8/10
A Little God in my Hands - 8/10
Bring the Sun/Toussaint L'Ouverture - 8/10 Man about 5 minutes in it gets so intense for the next 10 minutes. Then his shouts at the end are so passionate.
Some Things We Do - 7/10
She Loves Us - 8/10 It takes about 8 minutes to build up, but once it does it's great. The "allelujahs" and the infectious drum beat and the weird guitar stuff going on in the background are all great.
Kirsten Supine - 7/10
Oxygen - 9/10 Wow. This is so different than everything else on this album. It's a simple guitar riff with a driving drum beat that sounds more like a punk band than a post-rock band.
Nathalie Neal - 8/10 At this point this record is really clicking for me. It's not amazing, but I like it more than The Seer, and I'm going to have give both of these albums re-listens. I don't know if I'm just tired or if I'm having some sort of euphoric experience right now, but I feel so great.
To Be Kind - 7/10 Damn. On one hand it's a great closer to such a huge, dark, scary album but on the other hand holy shit my ears. It's so grating to listen to. I want to rate it an 8, but I can't. It's just too much for me at this point, after one listen.
What an album. The Seer wasn't as good as I hoped it would be, but this is better. It's not as good as a lot of people are saying it is, but I definitely think it's a good album. Like I wrote above, it started to click for me during Nathalie Neal because I zoned out and that's when it really started messing with my head. I need to do that again, but this time with the whole album. It's just tough because it's not easy to carve out two hours to just sit and listen to an album. Especially when I want to do that for Soundtracks for the Blind, The Seer, and To Be Kind. But I'll do it. I have winter break coming up, and this feels like music for cold weather, so that'll be good. I've come to the conclusion that there's simply nothing like Swans. They're kind of post-rock, but they're so much more than that. 79/100, B. Best song: Screen Shot.
November 30, 2016
My Woman by Angel Olsen
Intern - 8/10
Never Be Mine - 8/10
Shut Up Kiss Me - 9/10 Really catchy and retro-sounding.
Give It Up - 7/10
Not Gonna Kill You - 8/10
Heart Shaped Face - 8/10
Sister - 8/10 It's long but it stays interesting throughout and doesn't lose my attention.
Those Were the Days - 8/10
Woman - 9/10 The drums on here are simple but I like them a lot. They're very laid back.
Pops - 8/10
It's simple, but it's really nice. Olsen mixes the dream pop of Beach House with the grunge of Courtney Barnett to make one of the best albums of the year. I don't have much to say about this album, but I really like it. 81/100, B. Best song: Shut Up Kiss Me.
December 1, 2016
Hopelessness by Anohni
Drone Bomb Me - 8/10
4 Degrees - 8/10 Catchy hook and she's got a really nice voice, even if it is a little repetitive. It sounds kind of like Jeff Buckley's voice.
Watch Me - 7/10
Execution - 7/10
I Don't Love You Anymore - 7/10 I feel like this doesn't really go anywhere. There's a cool idea, but she just stays in one place the whole time.
Obama - 7/10 The music is pretty good, but the lyrics are so boring and straightforward. "Obama. Obama. Obama. Obama." Come on...
Violent Men - 7/10
Why Did You Separate Me From the Earth - 8/10
Crisis - 8/10
Hopelessness - 8/10 Probably the best song on here. The instrumentation is so full, if that makes any sense.
Marrow - 8/10 It's short, but it's a cool ending because the tension is rising and rising and it suddenly ends unexpectedly.
I've heard great things about this album, and it's been on the top 20 of the year for a couple months now, so I figured I have to give it a listen before the end of 2016. It was pretty good, but nothing that will stay with me for a long time. Her voice is beautiful, and very similar to Jeff Buckley's, but the music is nothing at all like Jeff. It's kind of like electronica mixed with some orchestral influences, especially on the title track, and, even though it gets a little boring and repetitive, I respect her ability to make something unique rather than just sticking to one sound. 75/100, C. Best Song: Hopelessness.
December 3, 2016
Awaken, My Love! By Childish Gambino
Me and Your Mama - 9/10 It took a couple listens to click, but now I love it. The constant changes of time signature are a bit much to take in, but he pulls them off well. It's definitely a great first song to the album, because at first it seems like it might lead into him rapping, but instead it ends up being different than anything else he's ever done.
Have Some Love - 7/10
Boogieman - 8/10
Zombies - 7/10
Riot - 8/10
Redbone - 9/10 It's so beautifully funky. Ever since I first heard both songs, I've liked this one more than Me and Your Mama, and I think it's because, while the first track is a crazy journey and an excellent opening, this one is so straightforward. He doesn't take it too far, and there's nothing I would add to it. The repeated riff in the last two minutes is so beautiful.
California - 7/10 The instrumental isn't awful, but those vocals need to go.
Terrified - 8/10
Baby Boy - 8/10 I don't like the spoken word section, but the rest is great. Really nice instrumental.
The Night Me and Your Mama Met - 8/10 Great guitar riffing by Gary Clark Jr.
Stand Tall - 8/10 Weird song. I don't know if he was shooting for this, but I heard influence from Janelle Monae, the Flaming Lips, and Tame Impala. That might be just me though.
I haven't listened to Because the Internet in a while, but I might eventually come to think that this is his best. I understand all the criticism of his old music. It's ingenuine rap made for prep school kids, and he's too all over the place. I get that, but I still liked some of hits stuff. I know all the words to Sweatpants, and I will never stop loving it. But this feels like a more complete album. It's short and to the point, and although there's definitely songs on it that I'm not the biggest fan of, I really like the direction he took with this album. It's obviously completely different than anything else he's ever made, which is good and bad. Even though I did like some of his older music, I do think it was time for a change. I hope not too many music magazines have already submitted their "Best of 2016" album lists, because this should definitely be in the top twenty, at least. 79/100, B. Best Song: Redbone.
December 4, 2016
You Want it Darker by Leonard Cohen
You Want it Darker - 9/10 It's so beautiful. His voice is so deep and raspy which juxtaposes perfectly with the clean background vocals.
Treaty - 8/10
On the Level - 8/10
Leaving the Table - 8/10 The lyrics are so sad, but they're song over such a happy instrumental.
If I Didn't Have Your Love - 8/10
Traveling Light - 7/10
It Seemed the Better Way - 7/10
Steer Your Way - 7/10
String Reprise/Treaty - 9/10 Such a pretty ending to the album. The strings give off such a sad feeling, and the reprise of the lyrics from Treaty bring the album back around full circle.
What a year: David Bowie, Prince, and now Leonard Cohen. Although, this isn't as much an album about death as Bowie's Blackstar is, You Want it Darker is still a haunting listen. When he first starts singing on the opening track, it's almost painful to listen to. His voice is so low and raspy, but never weak. Even in the weeks leading up to his death, Cohen is still able to passionately muse about life and love and God. The lyrics on here are beautiful, and so are the orchestral elements backing his voice. Although I was never the biggest Cohen fan, it's a shame we won't be able to hear any new music from him. 79/100, B. Best Song: You Want it Darker.
Puberty 2 by Mitski
Happy - 8/10 The chord progression is so simple, but the melody is beautiful.
Dan the Dancer - 8/10
Once More to See You - 7/10
Fireworks - 8/10
Your Best American Girl - 8/10
I Bet on Losing Dogs - 8/10
My Body's Made of Crushed Little Stars - 7/10
Thursday Girl - 8/10
A Loving Feeling - 8/10
Crack Baby - 8/10
A Burning Hill - 7/10
Interesting. It has this sort of punk-ish, jazz-ish lo-fi sound to it, but when it's put together with her vocals, it sounds really weird. It's like she can't decide what kind of sound she wants to make. I like it though. It's weird, but at least it's interesting. 77/100, C+. Best Song: Happy.
December 5, 2016
Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes
Sound & Color - 8/10 Really cool intro. The beginning sounds like something Chance the Rapper would rap over, but once the drums come in it quickly goes in a different direction.
Don't Wanna Fight - 9/10 Oh my god that hook is spectacular. The verses are all right, but that chorus is incredible.
Dunes - 7/10
Future People - 8/10
Gimme All Your Love - 8/10
This Feeling - 7/10
Guess Who - 7/10
The Greatest - 7/10
Shoegaze - 7/10
Miss You - 8/10
Gemini - 7/10
Over My Head - 7/10
It's definitely not deserving of an Album of the Year Grammy nomination, but it's not bad. The singles are strong and soulful and their hooks are so strong. Most of the songs on here just serve as filler, though, and that makes it lose some steam in the middle. It was an interesting listen, but I definitely won't be revisiting this album anytime soon. 75/100, C. Best Song: Don't Wanna Fight.
I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside by Earl Sweatshirt
Huey - 7/10
Mantra - 8/10
Faucet - 9/10 I love the lyrics. They're so personal, but they're easy to relate to.
Grief - 8/10
Off Top - 8/10
Grown Ups - 7/10
AM // Radio - 8/10
Inside - 9/10
DNA - 7/10
Wool - 8/10
It's good. I haven't heard Doris yet, but now I'm definitely gonna give it a listen. This isn't super innovative or anything, like it's not like Earl is the next Kanye or Kendrick or anything, but he's just good. It was hard for me to pick a best song off this album because there's no standout. They're all pretty even. I know Tyler the Creator is the mastermind behind Odd Future and everything, but Earl really is their best member. He's understated but he gets his point across. It's as simple as that. 79/100, B. Best Song: Inside.
December 6, 2016
A Sailor's Guide to Earth by Sturgill Simpson
Welcome to Earth (Pollywog) - 8/10 It progresses so much. The guitars at the beginning are really pretty, and then the horns at the end have a completely different feel.
Breakers Roar - 8/10 It's subtle, but it's nice.
Keep it Between the Lines - 8/10
Sea Stories - 6/10 I don't like this.
In Bloom - 7/10 I'm not a big fan of this cover. It's not bad, but I like the original too much to really enjoy this.
Brace For Impact (Live a Little) - 8/10 I like this. It doesn't even feel like country because of all the synth stuff and the experimentation in the guitar.
All Around You - 8/10
Oh Sarah - 8/10 Such a sweet song. The strings are perfect.
Call to Arms - 8/10 It's interesting how he mixes the funky guitar riff with the disco drum beat, the country vocals, and the jazzy horns.
I don't like country. But this album has been on the top twenty of 2016 list since it came out like half a year ago, and now it's been nominated for album of the year at the Grammys, so I figured I have to listen to it just to see what all the hype is about. Although it's definitely not even close to being as bad as all that modern country shit people are trying to pass off as music. This clearly had some thought put into it, and it's more than just a country album. It has some super jazzy and funky horns, there's some real touching moments when he's just strumming some chords quietly on his guitar, and the drums are generally fast-paced and dance-y. I don't like it as much as the critics and other people, but it's not bad. 77/100, C+. Best Song: Call to Arms
Visions by Grimes
Infinite Love Without Fulfilment - 7/10 What the hell is going on. It's interesting, but I don't think this is meant to be anything more than an intro.
Genesis - 9/10 Those synth sounds at the beginning are so cool! I wish they played pop like this on the radio instead of the stupid meaningless trash people "write" these days.
Oblivion - 9/10 It's definitely weird, but it's also beautiful. The "la la la"s during the chorus are so catchy.
Eight - 7/10
Circumambient - 8/10
Vowels = Space and Time - 8/10
Visiting Statue - 7/10
Be a Body - 9/10
Colour of Moonlight (Antiochus) - 7/10
Symphonia IX (My Wait is U) - 7/10
Nightmusic - 8/10
Skin - 8/10 It's good, but it would be better if it wasn't so long.
Know the Way - 7/10
It starts to lose me about a third of the way in, but the singles are so good that it doesn't even matter. Genesis and Oblivion are two of the best songs of 2012, and maybe even of the entire 2010s. Grimes is definitely one of the stranger artists of this decade, but her music is so interesting. Her voice is beautiful, and she mixes simple electro-pop beats with crazy experimental stuff in the background. It's really cool. 78/100, B. Best Song: Oblivion.
Doris by Earl Sweatshirt
Pre - 8/10
Burgundy - 9/10
20 Wave Caps - 7/10
Sunday - 8/10
Hive - 7/10
Chum - 9/10
Sasquatch - 8/10
Centurion - 8/10
523 - 7/10
Uncle Al - 7/10
Guild - 7/10
Molasses - 8/10
Whoa - 9/10 I love that sample of the guy going "Whooooaaaa"
Hoarse - 9/10
Knight - 8/10
While I Don't Like Shit was very consistent with not a lot of peaks, Doris is longer, so it's less consistent, but it also has more and higher peaks. Overall though, the two albums are petty similar, in that they both have this really understated sound to them, like he's not even trying, even though he clearly is. Earl has a really cool backstory, and it's really cool that he's been able to achieve so much success and acclaim. 79/100, B. Best Song: Whoa.
December 7, 2016
Art Angels by Grimes
Laughing and Not Being Normal - 7/10
California - 7/10 This seems like really straightforward pop that's a lot less experimental and challenging than her first album. It's catchy, but I hope the rest of the album isn't like this.
SCREAM - 7/10 What the fuck is this. It's not bad, but I'm so confused.
Flesh Without Blood - 8/10
Belly of the Beat - 8/10
Kill V. Maim - 8/10
Artangels - 8/10
Easily - 8/10
Pin - 8/10
Realiti - 9/10
World Princess Part II - 8/10
Venus Fly - 8/10
Life in the Vivid Dream - 7/10
Butterfly - 7/10
I really can't make up my mind on Art Angels. Visions was crazy. Oblivion and Genesis were extraordinary but the rest of it was really really weird. It kind of sounded dark, even though it was all sung by this really high-pitched, soft, young-girl-sounding voice. It seemed like Grimes took modern pop music, completely deformed it, and spit out this new crazy thing that was almost unrecognizable. Here, though, it's not nearly as experimental. Near the middle of the album Grimes starts to sound more sure of herself, but it starts off so confused. It's like she can't decide whether she likes modern pop or not, and she wants to keep experimenting like she did on Visions, but she also just wants to embrace mainstream electropop. She ends up basically just making sort of off-kilter pop music that's good but too weird for me to really enjoy. Unfortunately, nothing on here comes remotely close to Genesis or Oblivion, Art Angels seems a little more consistent. The beginning and ending are too weird for me, but from Flesh Without Blood to Venus Fly is a string of catchy, subdued, fun pop songs that aren't crazy good, but are just good enough to keep my attention. Neither Visions nor Art Angels were anything like what I expected, so I hope to be completely surprised when Grimes releases her next album. 77/100, C+. Best Song: Realiti.
December 10, 2016
Divers by Joanna Newsom
Anecdotes - 9/10
Sapokanikan - 8/10 I like the jazz-influence on this song. I haven't heard anything jazzy from Joanna yet, so this is nice.
Leaving the City - 8/10 Wow the drums are unexpected.
Goose Eggs - 7/10
Waltz of the 101st Lightborne - 7/10
The Things I Say - 8/10
Divers - 8/10
Same Old Man - 7/10
You Will Not Take My Heart Alive - 8/10
A Pin-Light Bent - 8/10
Time, As a Symptom - 8/10
Joanna Newsom is one of the most interesting artists of the 21st century. As I listen to her more and more she continues to surprise me and I continue to find her more intriguing. I don't find this album as good as three albums that came before it, and here's why: The Mild-Eyed Mender is her introduction. It's an album that says "Make way, freak folk just got even weirder". Ys is her masterpiece. It totally takes you and throws you into a completely different world for forty five minutes. Have One on Me is her experiment: she writes two hours of material that surprisingly doesn't holds up really well. And Divers is... um... It seems like it's just more of the same. Whereas her first three albums all had something very original about them, Divers just seems like a continuation rather than a new path. That's not a bad thing, since what she's been doing is so great, but I think this is her weakest album. 78/100, B. Best Song: Anecdotes.
December 11, 2016
Summertime '06 by Vince Staples
Ramona Park Legend Pt. 1 - N/A
Lift Me Up - 8/10
Norf Norf- 9/10 That is such a catchy hook.
Birds & Bees - 8/10
Loca - 7/10
Lemme Know - 7/10
Dopeman - 7/10
Jump Off the Roof - 9/10 I like this a lot. The sample from Chesław Niemen is so badass.
Senorita - 8/10
Summertime - 8/10
Ramona Park Legend Pt. 2 - 7/10
3230 - 7/10
Surf - 9/10 That beat is so simple but so strong.
Might Be Wrong - 8/10
Get Paid - 7/10
Street Punks - 7/10
Hang N' Bang - 7/10
C.N.B. - 8/10
Like It Is - 8/10
'06 - N/A
Although it's less than an hour, it still feels long cause it's 20 songs and a lot of them feel like filler. But the high points are so good. I think this is going to grow on me with more listens cause after only two listens I already love Jump Off the Roof more than I did before. His flow is simple, but the beats are what set this album apart. 77/100, C+. Best Song: Jump Off the Roof.
The Colour in Anything by James Blake
Radio Silence - 9/10 Gave me chills. Great song.
Points - 7/10
Love Me in Whatever Way Possible - 8/10
Timeless - 8/10
f.o.r.e.v.e.r. - 7/10
Put That Away and Talk to Me - 7/10
I Hope My Life (1-800 Mix) - 6/10
Waves Know Shores - 7/10
My Willing Heart - 9/10 Such a pretty piano progression that sounds kind of jazzy.
Choose Me - 7/10
I Need a Forest Fire - 8/10
Noise Above Our Heads - 7/10
The Colour in Anything - 7/10
Two Men Down - 7/10
Modern Soul - 8/10
Always - 7/10
Meet You in the Maze - 7/10 This sounds so similar to some of the songs on Bon Iver's 22, A Million. Vernon was definitely influenced a lot from working on this album.
This was a struggle to get through. There are some interesting songs on here, but there's no reason for this album to be 17 tracks long. If he had cut off at least five or six of them, this album would immediately be a lot better. He has some great ideas, but he just wants to showcase them too much. It gets repetitive and kind of boring honestly. 74/100, C. Best Song: Radio Silence.
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