Jake Bugg-Hearts That Strain (2017)

My Rating: 77% (B)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 66%

Average Rating: 72% (C++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. How Soon The Dawn
  2. Southern Rain
  3. In The Event Of My Demise
  4. This Time
  5. Waiting
  6. The Man On Stage
  7. Hearts That Strain
  8. Burn Alone
  9. Indigo Blue
  10. Bigger Lover
  11. Every Colour In The World

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Driving through the prairies.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Does little to nothing for me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this one.

Final Thoughts:

Jake Bugg is a newer voice that I’m always glad to hear, for some reason I’m stoked anytime I catch wind that he’s succeeding, maybe just because I feel like he is his music: mellow, humble, and vulnerable, and if that’s the truth all the power to him. Hearts That Strain was another solid release by him, not as strong as other work I’ve heard, but still a good album. I found the album to take a weird turn from the normal from his usual sound, and sometimes that works for him (How Soon The Dawn), and other times against him (Indigo Blue). I want him to really go full blues, something like a good breakup album would put him on the map, but regardless he’s doing his own thing and I can respect that.

Advertisements

Jurassic 5-Quality Control (2000)

My Rating: 87% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 61%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 77%

Average Rating: 75% (B-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. How We Get Along
  2. The Influence
  3. Great Expectations
  4. Quality Intro
  5. Quality Control
  6. Contact
  7. Lausd
  8. World of Entertainment (Woe Is Me)
  9. Monkey Bars
  10. Jurass Finish First
  11. Contribution
  12. Twelve
  13. The Game
  14. Improvise
  15. Swing Set

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Craving for some bouncy call and action old school hip-hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s funny, not great, but makes me laugh.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

For sure!

Final Thoughts:

Jurassic 5 is the biggest group that came out of The Good Life Cafe, easily. Their music has made it so far that I heard it in a Bluenotes last year (that threw me off a bit). I’m sure that most my generation has at least heard the name, if not a couple of their tracks. Quality Control is business as usual, honestly, these guys are just so much fun. The most impressive thing on show on Quality Control is their ability to flow from one emcee to another, they work very well together and it’s a joy to listen to. Add that to Cut Chemist and Numark’s cuts and breaks and you have something to hold onto and never let go. Jurassic 5 always makes me happy, because they are keeping Hip Hop alive and maybe, just maybe, we can get a little more of their sound on the radio, probs not, but it’s a nice thought.

J. Cole-4 Your Eyez Only (2016)

My Rating: 45% (D-)

Pitchfork Rating: 67%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 75%

Average Rating: 62%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. For Whom the Bell Tolls
  2. Immortal
  3. Deja Vu
  4. Ville Mentality
  5. She’s Mine, Pt. 1
  6. Change
  7. Neighbors
  8. Foldin Clothes
  9. She’s Mine, Pt. 2
  10. 4 Your Eyez Only

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a rap album that’s more R&B than actual rap.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I actually love this album cover, it really fits the concept.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not in the least.

Final Thoughts:

J. Cole caught my attention from his flow on the song My Nigga Just Made Bail by Bas, I was totally on board with his crew after that style. Unfortunately I’m not sure he has quite delivered an album that has lived up to my expectations from that verse. 4 Your Eyez Only fails to be a Hip-Hop album, it’s just not. There’s very little rapping on it and it’s mostly repetitive R&B. When he finally gets around to rapping, I was already somewhat pissed at what he made me sit through that it’s just too little too late. The title track 4 Your Eyez Only, coming in at just under 9 minutes, is the jewel that you have to wait to the very end to hear. Most would’ve given up but I’m glad I stuck it out for it. I usually have a hard time listening to songs that pass the 5 minute mark, but this track remains entertaining throughout its entire play. Putting the best track at the end is typical J. Cole bullshit, now I have to get into the next album he releases hopping that he will release an album like the finally song, there’s still hope for Cole, but damn dude this album was really rough.

John Mayer-The Search For Everything (2017)

My Rating: 71% (C++)

Pitchfork Rating: 49%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 61%

Average Rating: 60%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Still Feel Like Your Man
  2. Emoji of a Wave
  3. Helpless
  4. Love On the Weekend
  5. In the Blood
  6. Changing
  7. Theme From ‘The Search For Everything’
  8. Moving On and Getting Over
  9. Never On The Day You Leave
  10. Rosie
  11. Roll It On Home
  12. You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

At a family gathering and they ask you to put something on.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s ultimately a good cover, a part of me feels like he’s saying: “look how attractive I am” but that’s definitely more my problem than his.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Nope.

Final Thoughts:

John Mayer is one of those artists that is polarizing, there are strong camps on either side talking about him being the greatest (they usually point to his guitar work) and there’s people who say he is the worst (they point to his radio-friendliness and personality). Somewhere in the divide are the few of us who pick and choose between albums and sometimes even just tracks. The Search For Everything is one of Mayer’s albums I’ll cherry-pick, it’s a mix of his styles so honestly it feels more like a mixtape or playlist than an album (a trend that seems to be gaining momentum as of late). The songs that sound like they could be off Continuum are going right on shuffle, the ones that sound like they’re from Paradise Valley were passed pretty quickly. Mayer isn’t my favourite, but he’s nice music and he’s easy to put on for older folks without getting under anyone’s skin.

Jay-Z-4:44 (2017)

My Rating: 70%

Pitchfork Rating: 84%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 83%

Average Rating: 79%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Kill Jay Z
  2. The Story of O.J.
  3. Smile (feat. Gloria Carter)
  4. Caught Their Eyes (feat. Frank Ocean)
  5. 4:44
  6. Family Feud
  7. Bam (feat. Damian Marley)
  8. Moonlight
  9. Marcy Me
  10. Legacy

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

In a chill mood looking for something not too overwhelming.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Boring. It’s just really boring.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

No.

Final Thoughts:

Jay-Z is one of those artists that people just go batshit crazy about and I just don’t understand the hype. 4:44 is one of the better albums in his discography, there’s no doubt about that, it’s really well produced and it’s clear that the beats are the best part of the whole album. But as with all of Jay’s albums his rapping is just too simplistic and boring. Being raised on emcees like Gift of Gab, Aesop Rock, and MF Doom, there’s just something too formulaic about his rhyme scheme, and I just find myself yawning through most of his work. The Story of O.J. is the clear front runner of the album, while the rest passes by not being too great or terrible. It’s an album to put on in the background and fade out, but it’s not one to put on to impress friends. It seems that I will never be enthusiastic about a Jay-Z album, no matter how many chances I give the guy. It’s not that I see him as absolutely nonredeemable (his production game is A+) but he really needs to change his flow for me to really invest my time in him, and I just don’t see that happening.

John Reuben-Word Of Mouth (2007)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 100%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Sing It Like You Mean It
  2. Trying Too Hard
  3. Make Money Money
  4. Focus
  5. Word Of Mouth
  6. Miserable Exaggeration
  7. Universal
  8. Curiosity
  9. Cool The Underdog
  10. Good Evening

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for easy listening Hip Hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Love it, it’s original, I especially like the font.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah but I don’t think I’ll ever find it.

Final Thoughts:

John Reuben has been tragically underappreciated, his albums have always been really diverse and entertaining. Word Of Mouth, a ten track carnival, is a great example of the artists abilities to mash multiple genres and themes into one coherent listen. He can go from party/funny tracks like Trying Too Hard, to thought provoking tracks like Cool The Underdog. The famous line at the ending of the album where he chants “Bob Dylan’s Microphone” repeatedly is also a really quirky little story (that you should totally look up) and adds to the overall mystery of this mystifyingly impressive and aloof emcee.

Julia Holter-Tragedy (2011)

My Rating: 56% (D+)

Pitchfork Rating: 80%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 68%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Introduction
  2. Try To Make Yourself A Work Of Art
  3. The Falling Age
  4. Goddess Eyes
  5. Interlude
  6. Celebration
  7. So Lillies
  8. Tragedy Finale

Favourite Song on Album:


Listen to This Album When You’re:

Into listening to ambient/experimental/mellow tunes.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Trippy. Just like the music. I like it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Even though this scored fairly poorly, I’d love to own this on vinyl, mostly because I think it’d actually sound incredible on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

Julia Holter loves manipulating sound to the point where she can take traffic, birds, and coffee shop noise into beautiful music. Tragedy is one of those unfortunate albums that works really well as a whole, but not at all as individual tracks, and in today’s shuffle obsessed culture (myself included) it just won’t make it onto most peoples radar, which is what is killing the modern album. Tragedy is lots of fun and original, it’s just not at all accessible.

Julien Baker-Sprained Ankle (2015)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 70%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 85%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Blacktop
  2. Sprained Ankle
  3. Brittle Boned
  4. Everybody Does
  5. Good News
  6. Something
  7. Rejoice
  8. Vessels
  9. Go Home

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Contemplating life/driving during night/sad.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s wonderful. Really cool colours. Fits the music really well.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Hell yeah.

Final Thoughts:

Ho lee sheeeeeeeeeet. This album is absolutely incredible. Yet another great find through the youtube series “What’s In My Bag”.  I think the most impressive part of this album lies in its simplicity; it’s mostly just Julien and a piano. Her lyrics are absolutely incredible, and Go Home’s ending on the album with a muffled pastor preaching about Jesus over the melancholy piano, amazing.

John Mayer-Continuum (2006)

Record Review Requested By: Matthew Ziegler

My Rating: 83% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 67%

Average Rating: 76.7%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Waiting on The World to Change
  2. I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)
  3. Belief
  4. Gravity
  5. The Heart of Life
  6. Vultures
  7. Stop This Train
  8. Slow Dancing in A Burning Room
  9. Bold As Love
  10. Dreaming With A Broken Heart
  11. In Repair
  12. I’m Gonna Find Another You

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

You want John Mayer at his best.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s okay, nothing special here.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Oh hell yes.

Final Thoughts:

These John Mayer songs are really close to my heart, it’s what I know him the most for, and what I dream he would revert to. This is one of those albums that I remember fondly but forgot about the dip in quality near the end of the record (Bold As Love, Dreaming With A Broken Heart, and In Repair all being pretty major misses for me). All that to say this is still a solid album that I constantly refer as being Mayer’s best work.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑