So, it looks like we're already halfway through 2018 already! If you've been keeping up with this blog series, you'll already know we've been covering some of the best new music this year. This month is no different— here's everything we've loved from June.
Tyler the Creator- "Peach Fuzz"
R&B vibes and sensuality ripens the mood of Tyler, The Creator's latest one-off releases, serving as a victory lap to his excellent 2017 album, Flower Boy. In June alone, he has dropped remixes of Kids See Ghosts' self-titled track, Jacquees' "No Validation", and most recently Prophet's "Wanna Be Your Man", which he titles "Peach Fuzz". Here, Tyler fusses about the short-winded nature of modern-day relationships, the action that happens within them, and troubled marriages- "contact, couple months, then we out."
SOPHIE - OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES
Anyone who’s been paying attention to the burgeoning genre of PC Music (if you want to distinguish it as its own genre) will have been eagerly awaiting SOPHIE’s debut album, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides. It’s been five years since her first single, "Bipp", and almost four since she worked on the track that thrust the genre into the mainstream, "Hey QT", with QT and PC Music progenitor, A.G. Cook.
As expected, the album features the same chaotic, glitchy melodies, and highly processed vocals that have come to define the PC aesthetic, delivering potentially the best execution in the album highlight "Immaterial". Perhaps unexpectedly though, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides is also surprisingly tender and heartfelt. Opener "It’s OK to Cry" showcases both a new side to SOPHIE and the PC style, and later, "Is it Cold in the Water?" and "Infatuation" proves it wasn’t a one-off – PC has a serious side.
Critics of PC Music and associated acts have been quick to criticise the style as "parody". SOPHIE’s debut album proves once and for all that it’s not a laughing matter. Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides is beautiful, frenetic, and overall outstanding.
Teyana Taylor- K.T.S.E.
2018 has introduced us to many female R&B artists seeking to capture the spotlight held by SZA, Kehlani, and Kelala last year, including Jorja Smith, Amber Mark, Ravyn Lenae, and Kali Uchis. Kanye West propelled the latest contestant, Teyana Taylor, into the spotlight from his production credit on her sophomore album, K.T.S.E., but her vocal performance is impressively confident on its own and crafts a high standard for erotic appeal. When she sings, she welcomes listeners into her bedroom and pushes them to break a heated sweat, giving Beyoncé's risqué storytelling a run for its money. Kanye amplifies her talents with smooth soul samples coupled with bumping bass, glimmering strings, and piano arrangements, which collectively stand as his best set of beats in his recent five-album run.
Snail Mail- Lush
As we mature, we encounter realizations of positive reinforcement and betrayal to define our perspective of life. Snail Mail's Lindsey Jordan reflects on both encounters on her gorgeous debut album, Lush. In its songs, Jordan constructs melodically dense guitar riffs and sings of the trials of adolescence. She watches her friends betray their true selves to be accepted, reflects on emotional frustration from failed romantic encounters, and discovers “full control” in her ideological beliefs. Her artistic growth is most noticeable on "Stick", which originally appeared on her debut EP, Habit. The renewed version is rife with glowing guitar work and striking drum work, which pushes Jordan to emotionally expose herself even more to her listeners.
Natalie Prass- The Future and the Past
Sadness never sounded so catchy on Natalie Prass' debut album in 2015, but on her sophomore album, The Future and the Past, she plays with funkier instrumentals and writes with a more political lean. Her songs about relationships gone awry are as danceable as ever on "Short Court Style and "Ain't Nobody." Prass sharpens her tone on "Lost", which discusses the bravery needed to stick up for herself in abusive situations with the purpose to cement the #MeToo movement in her music. "Sisters" links this humanitarian angle perfectly, serving as a girl-power anthem to inspire the women around her to amplify their voices and fight stereotypes pinned against them. Our future is as sensitive and ambiguous as ever, and Natalie wants to inspire her listeners to fight for one focused on forward-thinking and equality.
Kanye Mania- Pusha T’s Daytona, Kanye West’s Ye, Kids See Ghosts, Nas’ Nassir, and Teyana Taylor’s K.T.S.E.
"Grandiose" is basically Kanye West's middle name, and the rollout of his latest work satisfies that association and some. Since the end of May, West has branded himself on a new music project every week, one of which was a solo album. The majority fashions his talents behind the boards, where he provides beats for new releases from Pusha T, Nas, Teyana Taylor, and a collaborative project with Kid Cudi.
West's music is often celebrated for its lush production, perfected sampling, controversial lyrics, and innovation of genre trends to come, and all of that can be found in these five projects. He unearths a myriad of samples from obscure soul records, prog rock legends, early 2000s R&B and rap, and TV shows and documentaries, proving to be one of the best crate diggers in music today. If you want SparkNotes to some key selections of this Kanye era, check these out-
- Pusha T- "What Would Meek Do"
- Kanye West- "Yikes"
- Kids See Ghosts- "4th Dimension:
- Nas- "Cops Shot the Kid"
- Teyana Taylor- "Never Would Have Made It"