Said The Whale-As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide (2017)

My Rating: 45% (D-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 45%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Step into the Darkness
  2. More Than Ever
  3. Heaven
  4. I Will Follow You
  5. Realize Real Eyes
  6. Confidence
  7. Miscarriage
  8. Beautiful Morning
  9. Emily Rose
  10. Lilac and Willow

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Just need to add a couple more Said The Whale songs to your playlist.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Probably the best part of this album.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not in the least.

Final Thoughts:

Said The Whale has always been a good pick-me-up band for me, singing about Vancouver and Canadian lifestyle in general is an easy way to my heart, but they strayed too far from their core sound on As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide and the result is this disastrous album. First off every song sounds the damn same. Secondly it’s desperately trying to get radio-play, it’s typical mall music without the catchiness of mall music. And the biggest offender is the repetitiveness of the whole thing, good lord sit down and write some lyrics out. As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide is the worst Said The Whale album I’ve heard, I usually like these guys but this was just so miscalculated.

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Murs-Captain California (2017)

My Rating: 85% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 82%

Average Rating: 84%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Lemon Juice (feat. Curtiss King)
  2. Shakespeare on the Low (feat. Rexx Life Raj)
  3. GBKW (God Bless Kanye West)
  4. Colossus
  5. Another Round (feat. Krizz Kaliko)
  6. Xmas and Thanksgiving
  7. Summer
  8. 1000 Suns
  9. One Uh Those Days (feat. Reverie)
  10. G Is for Gentrify
  11. Animals Damnit (feat. Beleaf)
  12. Ay Caramba
  13. Wanna Be High (feat. Big Too Big)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

On the hunt for some Good Life sounding rap, although not one of the Good Life emcees, Murs definitely would be at home with the vibe.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I actually really like this album cover, it’s one of those that I can stare at for awhile and just enjoy the pure art behind it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Hell yes.

Final Thoughts:

Murs went weird there for a bit, his rhymes got really gangster and not as fun and clever as what I grew up with. Honestly he fell off my radar once he tried to reinvent himself, although I don’t fault him for trying to reach a wider audience, it wasn’t for me. Captain California is the compromise between his new fans and his old fans. I love hearing songs like God Bless Kanye West and Lemon Juice because I get my classic Murs fill, while songs like Colossus may not necessarily be my favourite tracks, they are in no way bad. Murs has found his sweet spot, a little more tweaking here and there and he may have found something to write home about.

Little Dragon-Season High (2017)

My Rating: 90% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: 56%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 67%

Average Rating: 71%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Celebrate (feat. Agge)
  2. High
  3. The Pop Life
  4. Sweet
  5. Butterflies
  6. Should I
  7. Don’t Cry
  8. Strobe Light
  9. Push
  10. Gravity

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for an easy to dance to electronic/pop album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty normal, kinda boring, not my favourite.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah absolutely.

Final Thoughts:

Little Dragon has been one of those bands that I love a few of their jams but often don’t give them the credit they deserve. This short album deserves your attention, mostly because it’s a lot of fun. They aren’t reinventing the wheel here, they’re just making good music, and I’m happy to have some more of their tunes back in my life. Season High makes me so excited to hear what else they have in store for us, it’s a nice little tasty album with lots of dance beats. I can’t wait to see where the band goes next, and if it’s anything like this impressive album we all should be taking notice.

Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly & James McAlister-Planetarium (2017)

My Rating: 50% (D)

Pitchfork Rating: 60%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 72%

Average Rating: 61%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Neptune
  2. Jupiter
  3. Halley’s Comet
  4. Venus
  5. Uranus
  6. Mars
  7. Black Energy
  8. Sun
  9. Tides
  10. Moon
  11. Pluto
  12. Kuiper Belt
  13. Black Hole
  14. Saturn
  15. In The Beginning
  16. Earth
  17. Mercury

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking to brush up on the solar system, I guess.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Reminds me of something from the 80’s, it’s neat.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not in the least.

Final Thoughts:

Sufjan Stevens Planetarium is a swing and a miss. He continues to try to flirt with electronic music, and it is not so great this time. The concept album is all too familiar without being very memorable, seriously there have been too many albums that explore space like this. The few songs that do stick out are good, but they’re not even close to comparable to B-Sides from Sufjan’s better albums. This album seems like it was a lot of fun to make, but it’s really not that fun to listen to. It’s just a big yawn, when it should be a lot of fun. Overused concept. Mediocre songs. Skip this Sufjan.

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.

San Cisco-The Water (2017)

My Rating: 90%

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 90%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Kids are Cool
  2. Sunrise
  3. That Boy
  4. The Distance
  5. Hey, Did I Do You Wrong?
  6. Waiting For The Weekend
  7. SloMo
  8. The Water
  9. Did You Get What You Came For
  10. Make Me Electrify

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a fun pop album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I actually like the cover a lot, it’s really reminiscent of early electric music.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really one I think that would be that great as a record.

Final Thoughts:

San Cisco is fun music, really easy to put on and have anyone generally enjoy it. They’re good at what they do: making poppy bouncy music. The Water is really dance-able, consistently enjoyable, and not at all thought provoking, just the kind of tunes you need when throwing a summer pool party, or for those long days when you need something mindless to lift up your spirits. The music is really solid, not like a lot of the bands who are similar, and thank the sweet lord it’s not too repetitive. A fun summer listen.

The Drums-Abysmal Thoughts (2017)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 74%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 79%

Average Rating: 84%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Mirror
  2. I’ll Fight for Your Life
  3. Blood Under My Belt
  4. Heart Basel
  5. Shoot The Sun Down
  6. Head of the Horse
  7. Under The Ice
  8. Are U Fucked
  9. Your Tenderness
  10. Rich Kids
  11. If All We Share (Means Nothing)
  12. Abysmal Thoughts

Favourite Song on Album:


Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a contemporary band that sounds like they could be straight out of a 90’s Spielberg flick.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Super weird, I think I like it…I think.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Own it, they did a good job at making it really unique too! One side of the two records is just a glossy “Abysmal Thoughts”.

Final Thoughts:

The Drums have been playing on my mp3 players since late High School, they’re a band that’s seen me through a lot of growing pains. And I think they’ve gone through growing pains of their own. With the more experimental sound of Encyclopedia, their release before this one, a lot of fans weren’t on board for songs like Magic Mountain (my all time favourite by them). But with the release of Abysmal Thoughts both fans from Encyclopedia and old school fans from the days of Money and Let’s Go Surfing should find lots to drool over. There is something a lot more accomplished about this album, true it doesn’t stray too far from their sound, but it’s almost like a confidence is being exuded through the tracks. It sounds like an instant classic, like the evolution of The Smiths. Abysmal Thoughts continues the theme of incredibly sad lyrics over fun instrumentals, and we thank them for it.

Thundercat-Drunk (2017)

Record Review Requested By: Samantha Matheson

My Rating: 85% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: 85%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 80%

Average Rating:  83%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Rabbot Ho
  2. Captain Stupido
  3. Uh Uh
  4. Bus In These Streets
  5. A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II)
  6. Lava Lamp
  7. Jethro
  8. Day & Night
  9. Show You The Way (feat. Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins)
  10. Walk On By (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
  11. Blakkk
  12. Tokyo
  13. Jameel’s Space Ride
  14. Friend Zone
  15. Them Changes
  16. Where I’m Going
  17. Drink Dat (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
  18. Inferno
  19. I Am Crazy
  20. 3AM
  21. Drunk
  22. The Turn Down (feat. Pharrell)
  23. DUI

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

You want something experimental and funky.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Friggin’ awesome and terrifying.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Absolutely!

Final Thoughts:

I can safely say that I have never heard anything quite like Drunk, it’s a truly one of a kind experience. Ridiculous lyrics, crazy sounds, way too many tracks for one album, it’s as if you are listening to Tim and Eric as a funk album. It’s hard to take the album too seriously, but honestly it’s just really good/fun music. I don’t know if it came on on shuffle if those nearby could appreciate it for what it is, but I think as an album not knowing what you’re getting yourself into but open to new experiences it can be quite the space ride. For fans of techno, funk, and hip-hop you’ll find plenty to fawn over.

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