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Nate's Music Reviews


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  • Hall of Fame

Jean Dawson - Pixel Bath (2020)

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I’m reviewing this album at the request of @Prince. I haven’t heard a Jean Dawson song before and I’m not very familiar with his work either, so I am intrigued to what this is going to sound like. 

Devilish: 8/10

This was a very enjoyable introduction to Jean Dawson to me, it has a very indie sound to it but he’s also rapping on here as well. Unlike some other rap/rock crossovers though this is actually produced beautifully, there’s a real Summer vibe with the sounds on here. Underneath the music though it sounds like there’s something darker going on with Jean Dawson’s lyrics, whose performance is also really good, the chorus is really catchy. 

Triple Double ft. A$AP Rocky: 8/10

Another solid track, the energy here was really fun. Jean Dawson’s opening part of the song was good, there was a lot of emotion in his singing. Hearing A$AP Rocky over what’s essentially an indie pop song is really weird, but I thought he did a good job with his verse, flowed well over that guitar. The instrumental outro is pretty sick too.

Shiner: 7/10

This reminded me of a JPEGMafia song, with the experimental and glitchy production on this track along with Jean’s vocal performance. I liked it but I think I prefer his melodic singing more than his aggressive rapping voice but there’s definitely still a lot of energy there. 

Dummy: 9/10

This was an absolute banger and my favourite from the album so far. The production is all over the place and I love how it switched up in the middle from the noisy bass filled production with some almost holy sounding vocals. Just the amount of detail gone into producing this and the little changes spliced into the track is an absolute joy on the ears. The chorus from Jean Dawson is also extremely catchy, he does well on what is mostly just a masterclass in producing. 

Bruiseboy: 9/10

Another really great song from the album. I absolutely love the vibe on this song, with the triumphant and atmospheric production. It reminds of something off that Aries album I listened to before with the emo vocals. Jean Dawson sounded really great on here and the chorus here is so unreal, the melodic energy he brings plus the switch ups in instrumentation that follows him make it really memorable. 

Pegasus: 8/10

This was definitely one of the most interesting songs on the album so far with the amount of different genres he managed to pack into this in just over 2 minutes. The guitar that plays throughout sounds really heavy yet Jean Dawson is able to accompany it well with his melodic singing vocals. He also manages to turn it into a chopped and screwed hip hop song in the 2nd half. In the chorus Jean Dawson sings about his hate for the police and how he had a lot of run ins with them growing up. 

Poster Child: 7/10

This was relatively short but I enjoyed it despite it’s duration. It starts off with a very calming voice over a piano, but it starts to become more distorted and it kicks off into a more hardcore hip hop route. I could definitely see aspects of this instrumental being something Earl could have rapped over on Some Rap Songs.

06 Burst: 9/10

I was completely caught off guard by this on first listen. I’ve got another comparison coming but this sounds like an Injury Reserve song, with the massive bass and the industrial hip hop sounds in the instrumental. The track is pure madness with all the glitchy and house elements. This was already a set in stone banger for me but the 2nd half of this song is absolutely ridiculous with the text to speech voice building up the outro.

Starface*: 8/10

This was a really nice change of pace after some pretty aggressive tracks. Jean Dawson sounds very emotional as it sounds like he’s reminiscing over his younger days. The production is also very pleasant on the ears. I love the glitchy effects that are done to his voice towards the end of the song and the almost subtle change up with the instrumental.

Policia: 7/10

Another really interesting change in this track, with a lot of the lyrics being sung in Spanish. The message of the song returns to the message during Pegasus about Jean Dawson hating the police, which is never a bad thing. The production isn’t as detailed as some of the previous tracks but I still liked it. Despite Jean Dawson singing in Spanish it never came off as awkward and he still sounded good.

Clear Bones: 7/10

This was another decent song, despite not being up there as one of my favourites. I guess that speaks a lot more about how great this entire album is rather than this not being an enjoyable tune. Everything sounds really clean but nothing blew me away personally. I liked the chorus though, it reminds me of early 2000’s indie rock.

Power Freaks: 8/10

This was a really great track, Jean’s vocals on here feel very reminiscent of Modest Mouse with the slight Southern slant on it in the first verse. I’m probably repeating myself a lot at this point but the production is so beautiful. The instrumental that plays during the first verse sounds like something out of an 80’s game. 

Pyrotechnics: 7/10

A very decent way to finish off this album. This had more of an R&B sound to it than the other tracks with Jean Dawson’s vocals on here. The chorus he does on this one is really catchy, but his vocals in general on this sounds a bit clunky. The production was cool as well but it wasn’t as epic as I was hoping it would be with how a lot of this album sounds. 

OVERALL RATING: 78 (B)

For an introduction into Jean Dawson’s music this was a very enjoyable album experience for me. There are so many ridiculous genre bending tracks all over this thing that you can’t really pin Pixel Bath down to one or two genres. Jean Dawson showed off a lot of creativity with his range all over this project, showcasing a lot of vulnerable, melodic vocals whilst also being able to bring a lot of anger and aggression to some of the tracks on here. He has a great knack for creating incredibly earwormy choruses all over Pixel Bath that you can only bang your head to. The level of production on here though is possibly my favourite part of this album. Everything sounds so bloody good with some of the more bass heavy and house/experimental hip hop inspired tracks whilst also bringing a lot of blissful moments on here like the more atmospheric and heavenly sounding ones on here. There is a lot to love with Jean Dawson and Pixel Bath, it’s consistently really good throughout and I don’t really have any major criticisms. Some tracks didn’t fully land with me, due to some of the verses maybe not being that interesting or some vocal moments not working for me but that’s just minor stuff. I’d definitely recommend checking Jean Dawson’s music out, because I think he could have a lot to offer in music in the future.

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Discography Marathon #2: Kanye West  Welcome to the 2nd installment of my Discography Marathons. This has taken me longer than I would have liked  because of the amount of time and writing

Avicii - Tim (2019) I'll be reviewing Tim by Avicii at the request of @Kabu. This was Avicii's posthumous album released a year after he sadly passed away in 2018. I'm not going to pretend

Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap: Mixtape  From the request of Bailey I've decided to review this mixtape. I have never listened to it before but with it being added to Spotify recently it seem

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  • Hall of Fame

Beach House - 7 (2018)

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I will be reviewing Beach House’s 7 at the request of @Max Volare. I have listened to Beach House before and I love Bloom and Teen Dream but I haven’t heard 7 yet so I’m looking forward to listening to this.

Dark Spring: 9/10

First song in and this was basically what I was expecting from Beach House. The almost sleepy vocal melodies on here over the very spacey and atmospheric production creates a certain mood that can only really come with Beach House’s music. I love stuff like this that you can just put on and relax to. 

Pay No Mind: 8/10

This is another really good track. The vocals on this feel slow and hypnotic which makes for a downbeat atmosphere. Despite the almost quiet vocals on here the guitars on here sound really heavy and it creates a very pleasant experience on the ears. The melodic refrain on this track along with the dreamy yet haunting vocals produces a very heavenly effect. 

Lemon Glow: 9/10

Despite retaining a lot of the dreamy elements of the previous tracks with it’s ambience, Lemon Grow does manage to stand out with it’s sound. The synths on here sound incredibly good, and Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand’s vocals mixed with this makes for some surreal and cryptic energy. The loud and heavy drums towards the end are also a nice touch.

L’inconnue: 7/10

I like this track but compared to some of the others it isn’t that great. The production on this track sounds like ambient music and the vocals in the background sound very heavenly. There’s a lot of interesting sounds that Beach House were going for on here, but something about the vocals didn’t really work with it, they sound almost overpowered. 

Drunk In LA: 8/10

I love how this song progresses and builds instrumentally at the beginning before the chorus kicks in. The chorus itself here is really catchy and it does create some imagery of how it feels getting older and trying to call back to childhood days. I love the psychedelic and drug-infused feel of the production mixed with the vocals on here. 

Dive: 8/10

This song starts off very slowly but as it goes on you can hear more and more instruments getting involved and they get heavier as the song goes on. The guitar that comes during the middle of the track sounds absolutely disgusting and I love how Alex’s vocals sound over it. This does feel like a slow burn of a track but the payoff towards the end with all the noises clashing together is great. 

Black Car: 9/10

The ambient noise and synths that show up in the production of this track sound something very reminiscent of the Minecraft soundtrack. The vocals on here sound very cold, lethargic and the lyrics on here feel like Alex’s interpretation of someone who’s nearing death as she sings about not being able to close her eyes. Very beautiful track and one of my favourites from the album.

Lose Your Smile: 7/10

The instrumentation on this feels like a lot more warm than the other tracks on the album, having a bit of a Summery feel with the folk guitars. I guess my only real complaint is that despite the production sounding really good the vocals don’t really do much for me, Alex and Victoria kind of sound buried over each other at some points.

Woo: 8/10

I really love the sound of this track, the synths throughout are a joy to the ears and I love the distorted noise in the background of the track that just floats around. The atmosphere of Woo really makes you feel like you’re in space. There isn’t really anything to grab at conceptually on this track it just creates a very dreamy aura. 

Girl of the Year: 8/10

There’s a real 80’s vibe to how this track sounds to me for some reason, just something to do with the vocals and lyrics in the 2nd verse. The change up in the production in the 2nd leg of the track was really sick when they added in the heavy guitars, and Alex’s dreary vocals sound great over it. 

Last Ride: 9/10

Last Ride is a very epic closer to the album coming in at just under 7 minutes long. The track does use it’s time to spend a decent amount of time building it up. The piano here is a really nice touch and the abrasive distortion that plays during the start of the song is really sick and I love how it seemingly transitions into the return of the vocals. The track really does use it’s time wisely by slowing building up each section and the payoffs were really well worth it. By the end of the track the guitar completely takes over and it finishes out with a shit ton of noise being thrown straight at you. Love it. 

OVERALL RATING: 82 (B+)

So far, Beach House’s 7 has been my favourite album since returning to my music reviews and I kind of expected that due to how much I’ve loved previous projects of there’s. The atmosphere they’re able to create with Alex and Victoria’s often dreamy and heavenly vocals along with the production providing the perfect soundscape that allows you to relax and unwind. Even looking at the lyrics over most of this album, it takes stuff like aging and nearing the end of life and makes the moments leading up to it sound almost enjoyable. The quality of this album is extremely consistent, besides a few moments where the effects on the vocals didn’t sound all that great over the loud production. At the moment though Beach House are definitely the best group out there who are doing the shoegaze and dream pop genres justice with their creativity and the beautiful sounds that they can create. I thought this album was really great, and I would definitely recommend it as something to put on if you’re feeling stressed or even if you’re doing work. The vocals at times almost blend in with the music itself so it isn’t too distracting. Thanks for the recommendation Summer!

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  • Hall of Fame

Avicii - Tim (2019)

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I'll be reviewing Tim by Avicii at the request of @Kabu. This was Avicii's posthumous album released a year after he sadly passed away in 2018. I'm not going to pretend to be someone who's enjoyed his music but I'll be giving Tim a chance nonetheless. 

Peace of Mind ft. Vargos & Lagola: 5/10

This was an okay opener to the album. It’s kind of what I expected with very uplifting electronic instrumentation with some guitar strings in there. It’s pretty standard mainstream house music but I enjoyed the chorus, there was a nice melody going that had me bopping a bit. 

Heaven ft. Chris Martin: 6/10

This was a decent tune. Chris Martin was a good addition to the track as he gave a lot of heart with his performance. The house production is pretty basic but it isn’t distracting. The piano was a nice touch as well. 

SOS ft. Aloe Blacc: 4/10

I’ve heard this song a lot of times already but I don’t enjoy it much more than I did before. The tropical production on this song is just something that is so overdone at this point and it does irritate me slightly. The lyrics detailing Avicii’s battle and struggle with drugs would probably hit a lot more if it wasn’t over something this upbeat. 

Tough Love ft. Vargas & Lagola & Agnes: 4/10

Again this is pretty similar to what I’ve said about the other tracks. It’s pretty samey and doesn’t offer anything different than the other tracks. The vocals and lyrics are forgettable. The violin was an okay touch here I guess. 

Bad Reputation ft. Joe Janiak: 3/10

Yeah I’m sorry but this one was awful. Joe Janiak’s vocals on here are almost painful to sit through for me. This has the same problem as SOS with the need for the tropical production by Avicii here. Not feeling this one at all it’s just trying way too hard.

Ain’t a Thing ft. Bonn: 4/10

I’m running out of things to say about Tim already to be honest. I do like the message behind the chorus about how Avicii struggled with feeling isolated and needing to take a break. There are times when this album shows some potential but so far as a whole it’s done nothing to stop me in my tracks to appreciate anything about the music.

Hold The Line ft. ARIZONA: 3/10

I liked the lyrics behind this track that once again continue themes of the album, about mental health and depression which relate to Avicii’s passing. I can see how this could be seen as uplifting but everything about the music on here just seems predictable at this point. 

Freak ft. Bonn: 5/10

For once, I actually thought the production on this track was decent. The sampled vocals in the background throughout the track were really nice. The lyrics on here continue to go into detail about depression, and how people shouldn’t be judged because of it. It doesn’t really offer anything new but it’s still nice. 

Excuse Me Mr Sir ft. Vargas & Lagola: 4/10

Not feeling this one that much either. The vocals from Vargas & Lagola are bad and it’s tiring to hear them for the 3rd time on this album. The production is...standard, I guess. I liked the muffled vocals that came in and out in the chorus but that’s it really.

Heart Upon My Sleeve ft Imagine Dragons: 2/10

There have been levels of bad so far on this album but this definitely sticks out to me as the worst on the album. I knew that would be as soon as I saw Imagine Dragons on the track though. It’s obvious Dan Reynolds tried to put a lot of emotion into the track but his screaming just made me cringe a bit. He just didn’t mix well with the production on here either, it tries to come off as an epic but in the nicest way possible it just isn’t it.

Never Leave Me ft. Joe Janiak: 6/10

The album has finally pulled one out of the bag and given me a decent track. The groove on the production here is really good and it’s one of the few moments that actually had me bopping my head. Joe Janiak avenged his earlier performance on the album with a really catchy chorus on here. It still has some typical house tropes that I don’t like but overall this was one of the better tracks from the album. 

Fades Away ft. Noonie Bao: 6/10

This track has a lot more of a darker atmosphere to it. I liked Noonie Bao’s performance, it feels like one of the more heartfelt ones on the album. The production felt very stripped away on here at points as well which I liked, it wasn’t completely over the top like a lot of the songs on Tim.

OVERALL RATING: 43 (D-)

Yeah, I had a feeling going into this one I wouldn’t be a fan of it. Avicii’s music never really struck a chord with me and as I said before I was never a massive fan of the guy’s music, but I can understand how someone could listen to this and feel completely different than I do. If you have a lot of nostalgia for a lot of Avicii’s music or have been a long time listener I can see how this album would hit certain people, especially after his untimely death. Sadly some of the stuff on here just personifies what I dislike about house music, there isn’t that much surprises here with the production choices and the vocals and melodies are very radio friendly throughout. I liked that there was a constant theme throughout the album with the lyrics mostly detailing the struggles that Avicii had dealing with mental health issues and generally having a lot of stress in his life. Despite not enjoying this album musically I really do commend the people who worked on getting it released, it’s not an XXXTentacion situation where Tim was being released as a cash grab but to honour his memory and give something that I’m sure fans of Avicii really enjoyed. Not something I’ll be looking to return to but thanks for the recommendation Cody.

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On 3/4/2021 at 12:35 AM, Natedog said:

Jean Dawson - Pixel Bath (2020)

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I'm glad that you're enjoying the music I'm putting you onto Nate, Jean Dawson has so much untapped potential from what he has shown from this album and I really do feel he has potential to be one of the biggest artists from this decade. I will say that I feel you slightly underrated how good Triple Double with ASAP Rocky is lol because the overall vibe from that track is excellent, I feel like it could fit into the closing credits of some 'coming of age' film. The way they traded with each other vocally at the end is so well done to me. That and Bruiseboy are the tracks that I come back to most regularly but once again, great that you liked it!

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  • Hall of Fame

The Kid Laroi - Fuck Love EP (2020)

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Reviewing this album for @bailey14. Yeah I’m not a fan of The Kid Laroi’s music at all and I’m not looking forward to listening to this. Although it’s under 20 minutes so at least if this is bad the pain will be short lived. I mean Jesus Christ look at that album cover.

PIKACHU: 5/10

This was an okay way to start off the EP. I like the production on here, it gives a really nice atmosphere to the track with the chipmunk vocals in the background. Kid Laroi as a rapper though, meh. When you’re opening lyrics to a track is “I pull up, in a yellow Lambo like Pikachu” you make it very hard for me to defend you. Lyrically he’s quite bad but he flowed okay over the beat.

SO DONE: 3/10

Yeah this is more of what I was expecting. The Kid Laroi isn’t a good singer, he’s literally the same age as me and I could almost hear his voice breaking as he was singing. The chorus actually made me cringe with how bad his vocals were and I had to turn away from my screen. Instrumentally it’s pretty basic as well, just typical emo rap production.

TRAGIC ft. YoungBoy Never Broke Again & Internet Money: 5/10

This was a pretty standard track but it wasn’t bad at least. The piano in the background sounds nice even if it is a typical emo rap trope, the chorus wasn’t bad from Kid Laroi either, it was kind of catchy. The rapping on here holds it back though, can’t say I’m a YoungBoy fan either to be honest.

ALWAYS DO: 4/10

I thought the production on here was pretty okay, the chorus on here isn’t completely awful either but it isn’t good. The post-chorus when he started going “do-do-do-do-do” was complete ass though, he has moments on this EP where his voice gets very annoying to me. The actual verses on here aren’t any good either, very bland. 

FEEL SOMETHING ft Marshmello: 3/10

Once again, Kid Laroi’s singing on here is absolutely tragic. The production is starting to get very samey and I’m only 5 tracks in. It’s just the same formula with each track with him pouring his heart out over mediocre trap instrumentals. 

FUCK YOU, GOODBYE ft MGK: 3/10

The chorus on here is a real throwback to a lot of edgy 2000’s emo tracks, it’s not good. Kid Laroi’s verse is very forgettable, believe it or not. This song also has MGK on it who I’ve spoken very highly of in the past. That Eternal Sunshine line to start his verse off has ruined one of my favourite films. His singing isn’t that good either, his vocals also suck. 

WITHOUT YOU: 2/10

I think this is the one song I’ve heard from this and yeah it’s trash. Chances are everyone here has already heard it before, I hear my brother listening to it on his phone all the time so that’s great. The folk instrumentation just does not work with Kid Laroi’s singing and him howling at the top of his lungs isn’t any good for my ears. 

OVERALL RATING: 36 (E+)

As I had feared going into this Fuck Love EP, the music was very bland and The Kid Laroi’s singing throughout the majority of it was god awful. Surprisingly though, there was maybe two times on here where he caught me by surprise with some decent choruses. Lyrically they weren’t good or anything but they were still catchy, so maybe he has a future as a decent feature artist or something. His rapping is forgettable as hell, the only thing I remember him saying was that Pikachu line and that was the opening bar to the album. Everything here is at least mixed well enough, despite the production being pretty basic it rarely got to a point where it was distracting or awful. Kid Laroi is not someone I’ll be going back to in the future, there’s plenty of rappers who do the emo rap style a lot better than he does. Congrats to Bailey on officially having me my highest ever rating for a recommendation whilst also giving me my lowest one.

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  • Hall of Fame

FKA Twigs - Magdalene [38 min run time!!! and includes Fallen Alien, my goat kayfabe theme song]

Burial - Untrue

MGMT - Little Dark Age

Queens of the Stone Age - Songs for the Deaf

 

 

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  • Hall of Fame

Hilltop Hoods - Drinking From The Sun (2012)

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I’m reviewing this album today at the request of @Ropati. From what I’ve read about Hilltop Hoods they’re a pretty popular Australian hip hop group, not too sure how I’m going to feel about this with Drinking From The Sun being my introduction to Australian hip hop as a whole.

The Thirst Pt. 1

The album opens up with the first of three interludes on this album. There’s a lot of interesting things going on here so far with the production, there’s a nice piano instrumental to kick it off but there’s also a violin in the background as the track progresses. The vocals sound very different as well, from Pressure. I know it’s probably just the Australian accent but he kind of sounds like a country singer on the intro. 

Drinking From The Sun: 7/10

This is a solid track to officially open this album up. To start things off it continues with the violin before kicking off with a boom bap instrumental. The production on this track is very good, it has a very old school quality to it. I thought Pressure’s verse on this was good, he flowed well over the instrumental. The chorus kind of borders on corny with some of the lyrics and it has more of a pop rap vibe to it but I’m fine with it. 

I Love It ft. Sia: 7/10

This was another decent song. It has another old school boom bap instrumental but there’s also a pop vibe to it with Suffa and Pressure’s melodic rapping throughout the track. Sia’s chorus on here is very catchy which caught me off guard, it didn’t seem phoned in. I love the  A Tribe Called Quest sample that showed up before the final chorus, very nice touch. 

Lights Out: 6/10

Instrumentally this is a really sick track. It feels like a boom bap/rock crossover. I think Hilltop Hoods use a lot of live instrumentation in their music from what I can hear so there’s definitely some originality there, kind of feels very Roots influenced. My only real issue is the rapping here. It isn’t necessarily bad but I don’t think these guys are good at writing choruses on their own and the vocals feel kind of forced at points as well.

Living In Bunkers ft. Lotek & Black Thought: 7/10

I was pretty surprised to see Black Thought on here when I originally saw the tracklist, but considering some of the tracks sounding Roots inspired it makes sense. The production on this is pretty simple but I liked it. I thought Suffa and Pressure’s verses were good but obviously when you get Black Thought on a track you’re asking to be outrapped. The energy throughout was really enjoyable.

Speaking In Tongues ft. Chali 2NA: 5/10

This track was pretty mid I’ll be honest. The original instrumental is good but it sounds very messy when it gets into the chorus. The chorus itself from Pressure and Suffa isn’t exactly great either, and their verses weren’t all that interesting. I liked Chali 2NA’s feature on the track but in general, this one kind of came and went for me without doing anything. 

Now You’re Gone: 6/10

Another track to me that I thought was just okay. The instrumental on here is pretty simple here too but it still sounds decent. Pressure’s opening verse on the track was really good, can’t deny that. The chorus on here is fine but it’s far from memorable. Suffa’s verse wasn’t that great though, he just flowed pretty awkwardly over the beat.

Good For Nothing: 5/10

For the most part the rap rock crossovers, I’ve enjoyed the production and they’ve generally been good, this is the worst of the lot though. The singing on the chorus is awful, but there’s a part in the background that sounds like the start of Big Show’s theme which makes me laugh for some reason. The heavy guitar instrumental is very generic and overdone as well. I didn’t really have any problems with the rapping though, I’d have probably liked it if it wasn’t for the production and chorus. 

Rattling the Keys to the Kingdom: 7/10

The album finally gets back on track with this track though. The hook is one of the better ones from the album, the singing didn’t sound too forced. There isn’t anything special about the production on here but I love how Pressure and Suffa switched up their flows throughout their track on here, definitely the best track in terms of the rapping. I also have to rate the DMX shoutout by Suffa, Pressure was just edging him for me before that. 

The Thirst Pt. 2

I liked the continuity in the interlude that it used the same piano instrumental with the violin. The sampling is pretty cool too. 

The Underground ft. Classified & Solo: 7/10

This was another solid track. The theme of the track isn’t anything crazy with it just being about Hilltop Hoods growth from the underground. The production is another throwback to a lot of 90’s rap. The track is mostly just a lyrical showcase with everyone here having decent verses. 

Shredding The Balloon: 8/10

Have to say I respect Hilltop Hoods for leaving it until the last song of the album to pull out the best banger on the album. I love the combination of the guitar and the violin coming together on the instrumental of this track. In terms of the lyrics on here it’s one of the darker tracks on the album, it’s basically about Suffa’s issues with alcohol and it has his best verses on the album for me. I like how laid back the hook is on here as well as it helps relay that this is meant to be a more serious song. My favourite from the album, genuinely worth checking out.

The Thirst Pt. 3

The same as the other two interludes with the same instrumental, except it has a short Suffa verse which isn’t a bad way to finish off the album. 

OVERALL RATING: 65 (C+)

Overall I actually managed to get some enjoyment out of this album. I loved the range of production styles on here with some call backs to some early-mid 90’s east coast hip hop and even some of the rock inspired tracks on here were produced well too. It’s definitely a bit more original in it’s sound than what I was expecting, was getting a lot of Cunninlynguists and The Roots vibes throughout. The rapping here was mostly pretty decent. There’s some moments on the album where the lyrics felt kind of cheesy, like they were trying too hard to come off deep, but I thought a lot of the flows on the album were pretty good. The vocals were a bit of an issue at the start but I got used to it as the album went on. Another problem with Drinking From The Sun is it’s choruses are a bit hit and miss, which is what can kind of make or break a song at times. It’s clear they were going for a lot of the choruses to be catchy but some of the performances and writing was weak, although when they get someone like Sia on a feature it’s fine. I was fully expecting this to be a mediocre pop rap album going into it so I'm glad I was proved wrong. This was a decent album but there’s nothing here I will be racing to go back to outside of Shredding The Balloon and the DMX mention. Solid recommendation Ropati.

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  • Hall of Fame

FKA Twigs - Magdalene (2019)

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Reviewing this album from the recommendation of @Tamer. The only FKA Twigs track I’ve heard before this review is Cellophane and I’ve never got around to hearing Magdalene before, but from what I’ve heard though it should be a really enjoyable listen.

Thousand Eyes: 9/10

To start things off, the album opens up with an eerie choral refrain from FKA Twigs. The banging in the background begins to become progressively more distorted as the track goes on. I love the abrasive industrial sound of the track as it goes into the interlude in the middle of the song, along with the track’s noisiness slowly being stripped away in the last verse. The combination of FKA Twigs’ almost heavenly vocals and the disturbed production sounds like a messy clash but it works extremely well. 

Home With You: 9/10

FKA Twigs vocal performance on this track at the start of the track is very raw and emotional and the piano instrumental is really great. FKA Twigs acapella singing on the first chorus is crazy good. It almost sounds like it’s going into a completely different track in the 2nd half with the glitchy and distorted production showing up in the 2nd verse. There are so many different things going on in this track, yet everything fits in perfectly despite it being under 4 minutes. 

Sad Day: 10/10

Yeah the title of this track was not lying this is sad as hell but it’s also one of my favourites on the entire album. It sounds like something that could have easily ended up on Bjork’s Homogenic. The vocal performance on here from FKA Twigs is absolutely incredible, caught me completely off guard with how heartbreaking it is. The atmosphere her voice and the production createst on here is amazing. This song is just nuts, like the other tracks there’s a lot going on but it’s never overbearing.

Holy Terrain ft. Future: 7/10

This was a decent track, but nowhere near as good as some of the earlier tracks in the album. It takes a break from some of the industrial heavy production for a trap instrumental which obviously helps Future. I honestly would have loved to hear Future on some of the destructed club production to have him out of his comfort zone. FKA Twigs singing on here is good throughout but the instrumental does hold it back slightly for me.

Mary Magdalene: 8/10

Like Thousand Eyes, this is a track that takes it’s time to build up. The chorus on here by Twigs is incredibly catchy. The triumphant instrumental interlude in the middle is also really great, and I really enjoyed when it came back towards the end when the track finished off some electronic production. I thought all the different parts of this song were executed pretty well overall without anything completely blowing me away. 

Fallen Alien: 9/10

The track that Tamer hyped up in his post as his best BPZ theme, is definitely an unreal banger. The production on here has an experimental hip hop quality to it, the instrumental feels very reminiscent of something from Yeezus, the sample especially. The hard hitting production goes quiet during the chorus as Twigs’ goes acapella again. I love how the instrumental builds up again though as different parts of the production from before keep coming back in. The last minute of this thing is ridiculous. 

Mirrored Heart: 8/10

This song is a lot slower in it’s approach with the downtempo instrumentation and has a more sombre vocal performance from Twigs. I really liked the change of pace this track has on the album, it does help it stand out. I thought the track felt more haunting as it went on, especially towards the final section where a lot of the distorted noise comes back. I liked how it switched up again though with the piano and heartbroken vocals from Twigs. 

Daybed: 8/10

This track continues the sound of the previous track with more downtempo production, although this one does sound a lot more electronically influenced. Twigs vocals on here are very melancholic and they stand out a lot due to how much of a backseat the production takes throughout the majority of the song. I thought the outro was really great with the instrumentation getting louder with each line Twigs was singing. 

Cellophane: 10/10

The final track on this album is absolutely class. Twigs’ singing on here was very passionate and raw and my favourite performance of hers on the album. It just hits like a ton of bricks when she screams the lyrics at the top of her lungs. The chorus on here is incredible, I love the little changes in the instrumentation throughout it. The outro of this track to finish this album off was sick, I think it was the perfect song to finish Magdalene off with this being the main single from the album. 

OVERALL RATING: 87 (A-)

Overall, Magdalene by FKA Twigs is a really great album and one of the best ones I’ve heard in awhile. Twigs’ performances all over this album are stunning, I love how much her vocals work over literally anything on here, with a lot of industrial and experimental production throughout. In terms of her vocals she really didn’t miss at all Magdalene, she brought a lot of emotion with some passionate and melancholic performances. Despite clearly taking a lot of influence from artists like Kate Bush and Bjork she’s still able to make her sound come across as original, nothing on here is a half arsed tribute. The only track on the album that I didn’t think was great was the song with Future but for what it was I still liked it. The quality on here is highly consistent and there isn’t a song that I would look to skip. Sad Day and Cellophane are both incredible and they’ll definitely be in heavy rotation for a while. I thought this album was sick and I’ll definitely be going back to it in the future. Thanks for the recommendation Tamer.

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Childish Gambino – Because The Internet (CD) - Discogs

Childish Gambino - Because the Internet

I was surprised when you told that you hadn't heard this lol, it's one of my favourite albums of all time and I do think that with how more recently within hip-hop & r&b we are seeing people pushing the envelope more and fusing more genres in their music this album from 2013 has aged beautifully. 

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21 Savage & Metro Boomin - Savage Mode II (2020)

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I’m reviewing this album as a recommendation from @Sameer. I listened to Savage Mode II a decent amount when it came out last year and it was one of my favourites of 2020. It’s been a few months since I’ve revisited it so I’m looking forward to reviewing it. 

Intro

This album starts off with a speech from Morgan Freeman. He does a lot of narration throughout a decent chunk of the songs and interludes and it’s a great touch to the album. I could listen to his voice over this piano instrumental all day.

Runnin: 10/10

This track left me in absolute disgust the first time I heard it, and it still leaves me feeling the same way now. The sinister and dark trap instrumental on here along with the harrowing Diana Ross that plays throughout the track goes ridiculously hard. Metro Boomin absolutely destroyed it here. 21 Savage sounds perfect over this beat as well, his deadpan delivery and violent lyrics are just a perfect combination with the sound of the track. To date this is my favourite thing 21 Savage has released. 

Glock In My Lap: 8/10

I really enjoyed this track, I thought the constant changes in the production throughout the track, especially in the middle of both of the verses when those strings come in, sounds like something out of a horror movie soundtrack. 21 Savage’s delivery throughout the track and he has some enjoyable verses. The chorus is pretty catchy and memorable.

Mr Right Now ft. Drake: 9/10

Maybe I’m coming around to the 6 God? This track is a real mood changer on the album with a very feel good instrumental that 21 Savage does some really catchy melodies over. The soulful sample in the background is sick as well. I liked Drake’s verse, it suited the light heartedness of the track. 21 and Drake rap about the women they’ve been with in their life whilst also bragging about the lifestyle they live. Really sick, fun banger. 

Rich Ninja Shit ft. Young Thug: 7/10

This track has more of a laid vibe to it. I liked the production on here, it has a real mid 90’s southern hip hop sound to it. 21 Savage’s verse on here was solid but it wasn’t as aggressive as some of his other ones. Young Thug’s feature on here was decent as well. I enjoyed a lot about this track, but didn’t really love anything.

Slidin: 8/10

Metro Boomin absolutely kills it once again with the production on here. The instrumental on here is grim and chilling. 21 sounded great throughout the track as well, the chorus he delivers on here goes incredibly hard. I thought his flow was pretty enjoyable throughout. Song is a fun headbanging tune.

Many Men: 9/10

Another one of my favourites from SM II. The eerie horry synths on here that sound like something from a Three 6 Mafia track are great and fit the mood of the song. 21 Savage was spitting bars on here and I enjoyed the chorus on here and how it just sounded like an additional verse. The interlude at the end that samples the original Many Men from 50 Cent with his voice sounding buried in the instrumental is sick as well. 

Snitches & Rats (Interlude):

This was my favourite of the Morgan Freeman interludes on the album, it’s funny whilst simultaneously being the scariest thing ever. I loved the line at the end and how the beat transitions into track.

Snitches & Rats ft. Young Nudy: 8/10

21 Savage and his cousin Young Nudy combine together on this track to rap about how much they hate snitches and rats in rap music, obviously taking aim towards 6ix9ine. The synths on here along with the bass sounds crazy good. I thought Young Nudy’s feature on here was very good, one of the best I’ve heard from him.

My Dawg: 7/10

I liked this track but it wasn’t one of my favourites from the album. 21 lyrically on here sounded like he was trying to tell more of a story, as he raps about the problems he has with women and the fact he was born in the UK. The AK’s line on here is hilarious. I liked the production on here but it felt kind of simple, the beat switch up during the 2nd verse was cool though.

Stepping On Ninjas: 8/10

There’s a lot of throwback tunes on this album but this was a massive throwback to the 80’s hip hop sound. The disco synths on here sound great, and I love how everything triumphantly builds up during the chorus. 21 Savage rapping over an instrumental like this sounds a really weird combination but I thought this was a good track.

Brand New Draco: 7/10

I liked this track but there wasn’t anything about it that stood out too much to me. I thought the 808’s on here sounded really good on the production. 21’s rapping on here is good, he flowed pretty well over the instrumental throughout. The chorus wasn't as enjoyable as some of the other ones, it didn’t feel that important. 

No Opp Left Behind: 7/10

This track was 21 Savage being a little more introspective. The production on this track felt very atmospheric and eerie at times, 21 just floated over the beat. Despite enjoying the track for the most part I feel like it could have done with a beat switch up somewhere, and the chorus was fine without being great. 

RIP Luv: 9/10

This track continues the introspective vibe of the last one and takes it up another level with 21 Savage being a bit more emotional. The sombre instrumental from Metro Boomin here is absolutely beautiful and 21 killed it. He raps about the pain about losing someone close to him whilst also relating that with the women in his life. The chorus on here is great too, the way he delivers “I be crying on the inside and smiling when the cameras on” is devastating. The guitar outro at the end was also sick and unexpected. 

Said N Done: 9/10

Another amazing beat from Metro Boomin and the 21 Savage chorus on here is probably the best one from the entire album, the melodies are catchy as hell. The soulful sample in the background really fits the carefree sound of the production. 21 raps about his past and his rough climb to get to the position he’s in now, lyrically this is one is really great. Really impressive way to show out the album with both guys doing their best on here.

OVERALL RATING: 82 (B+)

Glad to say that listening back to this album it’s still a great listen front to back. I’d definitely say this is the best album 21 Savage has put out so far in his career, he seems to only get better with each release which has me interested in what he does next. He definitely isn’t a case of a rapper who is shit but blessed with great production, he showed all over this album that he’s capable of delivering menacing and vicious lyricism whilst also not shying away from showing a more sensitive side on some of these tracks. Despite 1 or 2 tracks on here the choruses he does all over this album are unbelievably catchy, you can’t help but nod your head to some of the melodies. Metro Boomin does his thing which is as expected from him, he’s one of the best rap producers out there right now and the range of instrumentals he gives to 21 Savage here is crazy. From throwbacks of disco rap like Run-DMC in the 80’s to a lot of clear Three 6 Mafia salutes with some horror inspired production. Savage Mode II is a really great album, if you somehow haven’t heard it yet then I’d definitely recommend listening to it. Thanks for the recommendation Sameer.

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Drake - Nothing Was The Same (2013)

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Today I’ll be reviewing another Drake album by request of @slim. Nothing Was The Same is the 2nd project I’ll be listening to in the “maybe Drake isn’t all that bad” trilogy as I’m calling it. I really liked If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late so I’m intrigued about how much I’ll like this. 

Tuscan Leather: 8/10

For the first track on the album, pretty good. I feel like a lot of Drake’s older tracks don’t have any choruses and it’s just him rapping for the entire song, and this is another case of that. The production on here is unbelievably good, the chipmunked vocals in the background along with the instrumental give this a very atmospheric sound. The beat switch up about 2 minutes in was sick, that sample is just so good. Drake’s verses on here are decent, just because they’re long doesn’t necessarily mean they’re great but I’m still loving the production either way. 

Furthest Thing: 7/10

This is another solid track that has a similar cloudy vibe that the last one has with the instrumental. Drake is a bit more melodic on here and does a lot more singing. The beat switch towards the end of the track with the sample vocals in the background was good. He raps about being unfaithful to one his girls by shagging someone else behind their back, what a class act. The way he delivers the chorus on here is memorable, nothing crazy but I liked it.

Started from the Bottom: 6/10

I thought this track was okay, I don’t get why it’s one of Drake’s biggest songs. Everything about it is pretty average. The trap production on here is very simple and generic, it rarely changes up throughout the whole track. Drake’s rapping sounds kind of tired on here, I liked what he was doing with his flow but there is so little energy, even in the chorus which just feels like another part of the verse. Drake rapping about coming from the bottom just isn’t something I can really get into either when it isn’t a real narrative. 

Wu-Tang Forever: 6/10

Another song that's just fine to me. I liked the gritty and atmospheric sound of the instrumental and the Wu-Tang sample that shows up throughout. The song never feels like it’s going anywhere though, Drake just aimlessly raps about one of his girls and the chorus feels so flat. Really don’t know how you can call this an ode to the Wu-Tang just because of that one sample. 

Own It: 5/10

This one is just really boring. The instrumental on here feels so bare, Drake might as well have been singing acapella on this track. His singing on here isn’t the best either, it isn’t bad but he isn’t helped with the lack of a good instrumental and the songwriting is so corny. It picks up slightly in the 2nd half with Drake’s melodic rapping but I’d already lost interest at that point. 

Worst Behaviour: 7/10

I really liked this track, one of the better ones on the album. For a Drake track, this sounds weirdly experimental, the production sounds like something that might’ve been a Yeezus left over, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Drake raps about his upbringing and not having a father figure in his life. The chorus on here is nice, it’s not catchy or anything but some of the lines stuck at least.

From Time ft. Jhene Aiko: 7/10

This track has a lot more of a downtempo and somber sound to it with the instrumental, and the piano sounds really good too. The way the instrumental transitions in the 2nd half is very good. Drake is a lot more introspective and emotional on this one, which I think is when he’s at his musical best when he isn’t trying to put on a tough guy act. Jhene Aiko’s feature is solid but her part takes up a decent chunk of the song and it feels a bit slow at the start especially. 

Hold On, We’re Going Home ft. Majid Jordan: 9/10

Everyone has definitely heard this hundreds of times before, I absolutely hated it when it came out years ago. Listening to it with fresh ears after not hearing it for a while, it’s pretty great. The production on here is really good with those synthesizers which give the track an unbelievable groove. My favourite part of the track on here is the chorus, it’s so unforgettable and catchy and it’s helped make it one of the biggest songs of the last decade. Very strange how this sounds ancient yet so timeless at the same time. 

Connect: 6/10

This one starts off fairly slow but gets better as it goes on. The first half way okay but Drake’s singing along with the production didn’t really captivate me. The transition after the chorus in the 2nd half was sick, love that industrial sounding beat that basically acts as an interlude in the middle. I enjoyed Drake’s last verse on the song, his singing sounded a lot better.

The Language: 7/10

Another really enjoyable track, Drake is at his most braggadocious here. The trap production creates a very gritty atmosphere for Drake to rap over. Drake’s delivery is really good, he flowed very well over the instrumental. There’s nothing all that standout or great about this track, it’s just a decent tune.

305 to My City ft. Detail: 4/10

It took long for him to do it in fairness but this is genuinely a bad song. The production sounds like an absolute mess over here, there’s just so many things going on at once, that sample in the background got very irritating quickly and it was present for the whole track. I have no idea who Detail is but his feature doesn’t offer anything at all, he’s so devoid of anything interesting whenever he shows up and he comes off as a Lil Wayne knock off. Drake’s rapping is also pretty boring, I lost interest in his rapping pretty quickly with how poor everything else is. 

Too Much ft. Sampha: 9/10

Drake was able to bring it back immediately with this track though at the very least. Everything about this is pretty great. The light hearted production on here is very soothing to listen to. Drake is a lot more introspective and emotional here than he is on the majority of Nothing Was The Same and his verses feel a lot more important. This would probably be a 7 or an 8 if not for Sampha though, his performance on here is unbelievable. The chorus he delivers is one of the best on the album behind Hold On. His singing in the background throughout Drake’s verses sounds like an instrument itself, it adds so much to the song. 

Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2 ft. Jay-Z: 8/10

A really great outro to finish this album off. The atmospheric production on here along with the heavenly vocals that accompany it are pure bliss. The C.R.E.A.M sample is great as well. Drake obviously had to show out on his verses considering he had to come up against Jay-Z on this song. It’s clear with some of Drake’s rapping throughout the album that he was kind of biting him. I thought both done pretty well on here, I’d probably say Jay outshined him though. The 2nd half was good but I preferred the production in the first half. Drake’s verse towards the end is pretty great though, but I think the beat could have been a lot more interesting. Considering this is 7 minutes long it was pretty good at being able to hold my attention for the most part.

OVERALL RATING: 68 (C+)

I definitely wouldn’t say Nothing Was The Same is as good If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late but it’s still an enjoyable listen outside of a couple of tracks. I think a lot of the ideas and sounds Drake was going with here improved on IYRTITL, the cloudy and atmospheric tracks that feature a lot of soulful samples were executed slightly better on that album for me. That isn’t to say there isn’t quality on this album though because there definitely is. Tracks like Tuscan Leather, Hold On, Too Much and Pound Cake are all really great and I can see myself going back to them in the future. A decent chunk of the album is a bit hit and miss though. Drake’s performances can be pretty forgettable during the album, despite how long and drawn out some of his verses are he says very little in terms of anything interesting. Even the production on here at times can feel a bit too generic and repetitive despite mainly being a highlight on NWTS. He did surprise me with some good verses here though, mostly on those atmospheric tracks where he just floated. If you’re a Drake fan, chances are you might have already heard this but if you haven’t it’s well worth a listen. Even if you aren’t a massive fan of his like me, there’s still a lot of quality stuff present here on this album, and he isn’t as suffering or obnoxious as he is on his later stuff. Thanks for the recommendation Slim and I’ll be getting to Take Care soon enough.

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Jacob Collier - Djesse Vol. 3 (2021)

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Today I will be reviewing an album I’ve never heard of by request of Summer. I’ve never heard Djesse Vol. 3 before and I’m also not too familiar with Jacob Collier, but apparently he was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammy’s for this so maybe it’s worth checking out. 

CLARITY

The intro to this album is just a lot of different offbeat sounds coming at you all at once. Yeah I don’t really know what to say about this one to be honest, none of it did all that much for me but it was under a minute long anyways so I won’t give it a rating.

Count The People ft. Jessie Reyez & T-Pain: 2/10

Nah I’m sorry but WHAT is this? I’m still in shock after what I’ve just sat through. Jessie Reyez provides a very generic pop chorus on here and I’m thinking this might be the big pop single from the album. Jacob Collier then comes onto the track and starts rhyming together random big words that don’t make any sense, and it just feels like an opportunity for him to show off how fast he can rap? The instrumental switch ups in the track feel so unnecessary, there’s so many things being thrown at me here in under 3 minutes and absolutely none of it is doing anything for me. T-Pain’s feature on here is pretty forgettable, he’s basically ad libbing for the majority of this. Not off to a great start I have to admit. 

In My Bones ft. Kimbra & Tank and the Bangas: 3/10

Yeah okay this one isn’t that great either. This one is trying to be a funky jazz track, but there is literally no groove at all to this. The production on this is absolutely all over the place and Jacob Collier’s vocals don’t sound good over it at all. The rapping parts on here by Jacob Collier and Tarriona are so annoying, but I feel like they must have made it sound bad on purpose surely. I thought the chorus on here from Kimba was decent, she has a good voice but it’s overshadowed by how much of a convoluted mess the production is. 

Time Alone With You ft. Daniel Caesar: 5/10

After some bad songs to start off, I didn’t think this was terrible. A lot of this still comes off a bit obnoxious to me but there was nothing that annoyed me. This track continues in the same direction sound wise as the last one mostly, with the groovy funk vibe of the track. This one works instrumentally for me a bit more because it isn’t trying to be too complex. I liked some of Daniel Caesar’s vocal moments throughout the track, he at the very least fits the mood. Jacob Collier himself is so dry though, he is so uninteresting vocally and he’s given me zero reason to care about him so far. 

All I Need ft. Mahalia & Ty Dolla $ign: 4/10

This one is quite bad as well actually. I actually thought this was okay for about a minute or so, instrumentally it was quite nice and a lot of the soulful elements to the track weren’t offensively bad at the least. Mahalia’s singing for the majority of the track was enjoyable too, her melodies didn’t sound off at the least. The synth inspired pop chorus is dreadful though, I feel like it’s meant to blow me away, but the switch up in terms of the production was done so poorly and the chorus itself is really bad. Like T-Pain, Ty Dolla $ign is more involved in the background rather than having a proper verse. 

In Too Deep ft. Kiana Lede: 5/10

Probably the only track so far that I didn’t really have any major gripes with, but simultaneously there was nothing that stood out either. This track was a lot more sombre and quiet, he didn’t decide to turn it into a dance track half way in. Vocally, Jacob Collier almost put me to sleep on here but I think that was what he was going for in fairness. The instrumental is pretty calming and relaxing which I liked. 

Butterflies

I have no idea what to think about this one in terms of a rating. Jacob Collier is going with a more wonky sound, similar to something Flying Lotus would do, except there’s little to no character to this and it sounds like it’s trying to be noisy for the sake of being noisy. It’s only 2 minutes long so I’m just going to pretend that it’s an interlude and move on. 

Sleeping on My Dreams: 5/10

I thought this one was okay. It’s one of the only tracks on here where Jacob goes solo with no additional vocals helping him, and he does a not bad job. I thought the chorus from him was quite decent, maybe just outside mildly catchy. Some of his vocal moments throughout the verses are a bit all over the place at times, like when he randomly decides to make his voice sound deeper than it is. 

Running Outta Love ft. Tori Kelly: 4/10

This song is mostly fine, I could enjoy it as background music. Tori Kelly’s performance on here is generic, she has some vocal melodies on here that I thought were decent but nothing that ever grabbed my attention. Some of Jacob’s singing on here really wasn’t singing, considering this is trying to be soulful he has very little emotion.

Lit it up on Me: 5/10

I honestly kind of liked where this one was going to begin with. The wonky Flying Lotus inspired sound here works well at points, especially in the first half, but the song kind of lost me then when it got a lot louder for no real reason at all. For a 2 minute track I didn’t mind this one. 

He Won’t Hold You ft. Rapsody: 6/10

My favourite track on the entire album, I thought it was a really decent track. Production wise it’s very easy on the ears and it didn’t do anything to try and catch me off guard. Not saying it was great but it definitely helped create the relaxed mood of the track. Jacob didn’t do too bad vocally on here, one of his better performances. Rapsody’s spoken word feature is good, which isn’t that surprising. Her presence alone on this track adds a lot more character to it. 

To Sleep: 5/10

There actually is some pretty humorous irony in this track, it’s literally Jacob Collier telling me I need to go to sleep for the entirety of the song. I didn’t have any problems with this one, Jacob provides some very quiet vocals here which fit the vibe of him telling me I need to sleep. For a closer to the album it works, but I’m not all that crazy about it.

OVERALL RATING: 40 (D-)

Yeah I’ll be honest I was not feeling this album at all. Jacob Collier seems like a very strange artist to me based on my listen of Djesse Vol. 3. There are a lot of different sounds and genres that he dives into with there being a lot of elements of jazz, soul, funk, electronic, hip hop and pop music all over this album, but no matter what everything always either comes off embarrassingly awful or sometimes painfully boring. I honestly don’t know if there’s another artist out there like him though, his music is so complex and specific, like the production at times is mindboggling to listen to, yet there’s also something that’s so generic and boring. Count The People and In My Bones especially feel like a fever dream, like it doesn’t feel like what I’m listening to actually exists. I guess I can see why people would be able to enjoy this though, a lot of the features make it a lot more accessible to a mainstream audience, but a lot of the sounds on here can at least make it seem somewhat original. I can’t say I’ll ever be returning to this album, and it’s just left me wondering who was working behind the scenes to get this nominated for the Grammy’s. Thanks for the recommendation Summer, sorry for shitting on the album.

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I had a feeling that the Djesse Vol. III album wasn't gonna be a favorite of yours. I honestly just wanted your thoughts on it, it's not one of my favorites either, but I like a few songs on it, mostly Time Alone With You and All I Need which are the two kinda more mainstream ones.

Anyways, I've got another Beach House album for you to review soon.

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Jake Hill - Spectrum (2017)

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I will be reviewing this album by the request of @Crip. I’m honestly not sure what to expect by Jake Hill on Spectrum. I’m not all that familiar with him or his music so I’m just diving straight into this with zero knowledge of what it is.

They’re Here: 5/10

The opener to this album is a harsh trap metal banger. The production on here is very eerie and it sets a really dark tone for the track. The main thing I didn’t really enjoy was Jake Hill’s vocals and delivery, it does sound a lot more metal than rap influenced. Hopefully it won’t be something that hinders my enjoyment of the album though. 

Mindless: 7/10

This one is a bit better, really fun banger. The production on here is really noisy and you can’t help but bang your head to it. You can tell here that Jake Hill is influenced by Denzel but it’s not at the point where it’s a bad imitation. He isn’t amazing lyrically but some of the flows he displayed on here were really enjoyable, just wish it was a bit longer.

Storm: 7/10

I thought this was another really solid track. Like the first couple of songs the beat is very hard hitting and grim. Jake Hill raps about taking pills and being an addict, getting a bit more personal on Storm. The chorus on here is very catchy, his flows at times are really great even if it kind of is just Denzel lite, which isn’t a bad thing.

Die A King: 8/10

The most popular track on the album according to Spotify and that I’d have to agree that it’s my favourite so far. It’s absolutely mindblowing at points throughout the track how quick Jake Hill’s flow is, without it just being a corny mess. The instrumental on here is pretty solid but the thing I enjoyed the most was definitely Jake Hill’s performance. 

Better Off Dead ft. Josh A: 6/10

This one was okay, there wasn’t really anything that stood out. The instrumentation on here continued down the eerie and dark vibe but it wasn’t as noisy. The verses from both Jake Hill and Josh A were enjoyable mostly due to how they change up their rapping throughout the track, but there wasn’t really anything else interesting about this one.

38 to the Face: 5/10

Wasn’t a massive fan of this track either. It takes it’s time to start off and when it did it left me wanting more. The instrumental is pretty simple and it doesn’t really do all that much for me. I thought Jake Hill’s rapping was pretty boring throughout most of the track as well besides some decent flows, his shouting does get a bit tiring to listen to after a while. 

Murderer’s Regret: 6/10

Another track that was just okay to me. I actually thought the sinister vibe of the track with the piano in the background was cool, but it never really clicked for me for some reason. There’s something about this song that seems kind of lo-fi, which might be because of Jake Hill sounding a bit quieter. 

We Die Too: 7/10

This song is extremely dark, from that 911 recording to open it up which basically sets the vibe for the track itself. Jake Hill raps about suicide and tells the story from a suicidal person and the family. It’s a very chilling and uncomforting track to listen to, because of the 911 recording in particular, but the last verse was really good as well.

Pranda Coffin: 7/10

This was another song that I enjoyed a fair bit from the album. I really liked the haunting vocals in the background that followed the dark trap instrumental. Jake Hill’s ability to switch up his vocals throughout the track from some hollow singing to his quick rapping flow. This also goes into more suicidal thoughts as Jake talks about struggling with depression.

Anxiety

Can’t really rate this one because it’s more of a spoken word interlude but I still enjoyed listening to it. The guitar that played throughout the track was cool, and I liked how Jake Hill sounded with his vocals being a bit more laid back.

Help: 5/10

After a few solid tracks I didn’t enjoy this one that much. Jake Hill delivers a more emo rap performance with his melodic singing, which doesn’t really do anything for me personally. The instrumental sounds upbeat compared to the other stuff on here, and I don’t really know if that fits with the majority of this album.

Finer Things: 6/10

This song is decent, I liked the sound of it more than the last one. Despite the production still maintaining a lot of the dark aura as the earlier stuff, it sounds kind of triumphant. I liked Jake Hill’s rapping as well, but the singing on the chorus was a bit much. It didn’t change my opinion on the track that much but still not a fan of the effect he used on his voice.

Orlando Forever: 5/10

I liked the upbeat production here more than on Help, but once again his melodic singing isn’t really doing it for me. It’s not awful but it’s not good either, it just makes me lose my interest in the track pretty quickly because I know he’s a better rapper.

Cantaloupe’s and Natural Calm: 7/10

I enjoyed this track a lot, the instrumental on here has a real lo-fi Nujabes quality to it which is really good. Jake Hill’s rapping is solid as well, there’s a few corny lines here and there but I enjoyed his verses for the most part. The 2nd half has had a lot more chilled out vibes but this one does it the best for me because it stays more in the rap lane.

Everyday Apocalypse: 4/10

The worst track on the album to end things off, which is a disappointing note to finish this off on. The instrumental is okay, it’s kind of generic though. I can appreciate how this song is meant to be serious and aware but his singing especially on this track wasn’t enjoyable to me. You could tell he was trying hard but his emotional performance wasn’t doing it.

OVERALL RATING: 61 (C+)

Considering this was my introduction to Jake Hill as an artist, I thought Spectrum was an enjoyable album. I really liked the Denzel Curry & Three 6 Mafia inspired songs on here that had a lot of eerie and dark music in the background, along with the fast and harrowing flows that Jake Hill delivers on this album. I appreciated how he tried to switch things up throughout the album like his vocals and even the genre of the music he was making, even if some of it never resonated or hit home with me personally. His singing on here is the only thing that annoyed me on the album, and even at that my problems with his vocals weren’t even that deep outside of a few moments. The instrumentals on here got a bit tiring after some time as well, there was a lot of simplicity and there were never any great beat switches that I can recall. Nonetheless, outside of some minor issues I had with Spectrum, I thought it was a pretty decent effort from Jake Hill and he could maybe have potential to do better things in the future. Thanks for the recommendation Crip, this wasn’t bad.

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