As many await the release of Cruel Summer, by G.O.O.D. Music, the expectations are high for Kanye West, who has become one of the oddest, most acclaimed, and most hated in pop culture. Thanks to a string of controversies and unapologetic behavior, much of the public despises the man; his relationship with a Kardashian, his Taylor Swift diss, etc.
Kill for Love may have the best introduction of an album this year with their cover of Neil Young, “Into the Black”. The album starts on a high note and continues to entrance the listener with instrumentation that is both contemporary and compelling, recalling the heights of the 1980’s. The melancholic album takes a trip through a peaceful dream of contemplation that leads to a desire not to wake up.
Charli XCX has gained massive attention in a short period of time for her ability to right a perfect pop song. The hooks are always catchy, simple, and direct. Her music is not Britney Spears though by any means. Instead, Charli XCX has filled the sonic palette between vocals with crunchy gothic electronic pop sounds.
Frank Ocean’s debut album, channel ORANGE, is an artist falling into a surreal world of love, riches, drugs, and sex (not to be confused with love). The journey taken is purposeful on the album, as Frank weaves together each song with interludes and soundbites from films. The album is a whole, thanks in part to this effort, but also because of the surreal world’s direct placement inside the singer’s fascinating mind.
Azealia Banks has developed a fresh sound that has been acclaimed since her debut, 2011’s “212.” Fantasea is Banks’ full-length debut after singles, leaks, and an EP. The mixtape never gives the listener a chance to catch their breath. It is a party in a .zip folder. Full of Banks’ recognizable house beats, ever-changing production, and mixture of a mile a minute flow and Nineties r&b singing, referencing Aaliyah or Lauryn Hill.
Folila is an international block party hosted by an experienced duo. Amadou & Mariam continue to release textured jams that build on their bluesy-worldbeat sound. The eclectic album effectively features a mix of American artists (such as Santigold and TV on the Radio) with local African acts to create an organic album ready for endless spins through the summer months.