March 2020 Album Round Up!

What’s up guys! Another month, another Album Round Up. Below is a quick run-through of all the records I checked out this month:

Body Count – Carnivore: After 2017’s shockingly great Bloodlust, Ice-T’s Metal band followed it up with nothing more than a glorified EP full of corny, unlistenable lyrics. The cover of Ice’s 1988 classic “Colors” is a high note, as is the hard-hitting single “Bumrush”, but this was generally a big disappointment. Here is a full review.  NOT RECOMMENDED.

Code Orange – Underneath: Wow! I was one of the few holdouts on this critically acclaimed Metalcore act’s previous LP Forever, but it all clicked for me on Underneath. This album sounds like Metalcore from the future – a ferocious platter of Converge-influenced songwriting with modern industrial flourishes and lyrical themes that bemoan the dystopian direction of society in 2020. Here is a full review. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Jay Electronica – A Written Testimony: So the Chinese Democracy of Hip-Hop finally showed up after 13 years, and it wasn’t quite what we expected. Rather than what Jay Elec initially hinted at with singles like “Exhibit C” years ago, instead we got a spirituality-themed Watch the Throne-style collaborative album with Jay-Z. I don’t know what it is about Jay Elec, but he always brings the best out of Hov, who delivers his best bars since…well, the “We Made It” remix with Jay Elec six years ago. I especially enjoyed Jay Electronica’s self-production on standouts like the soulful “Ghost of Soulja Slim”. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Jessie Reyez – Before Love Came to Kill Us: I found this to be a directionless record that couldn’t figure out whether it wanted to be obnoxious lowest common denominator Pop (“Dope”), wallpaper Pop (“Figures”), or some form of lite R & B (“Intruders”, “Imported”). Reyez’s melodramatic over-singing just made it drag that much more. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Joyner Lucas – ADHD: The creepy, unnecessary skits alone should take this album out of the running for any 2020 Hip-Hop list. But throw on top of that a poorly selected guest list (Chris Brown, Logic, Timbaland), a little too much robotic “lyrical miracle” flow, and unoriginal production, and Joyner falls short of the hype on his debut album. I did like a couple tracks like the brazen “I Love”, and also that one song about all the bad people who should’ve died  (the name escapes me), but that’s about it. I gotta say, an Eminem co-sign is starting to mean very little. Slaughterhouse is defunct, Yelawolf and Obie Trice have niche audiences, and on his last album, Eminem shouted out: Joyner Lucas, Hopsin, and Logic, none of whom have earned much critical acclaim. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Joywave – Possession: A very fun Indie record from a band that I’ve been ambivalent about up until this point! Joywave show fantastic range on here, from the opening ballad “Like a Kennedy” to punchy, energetic cuts like “F.E.A.R.”.  RECOMMENDED.

Lil’ Uzi Vert – Eternal Atake: Still not quite sure how I feel about this one. I do find Uzi to be one of the most emotive and charismatic MCs in the current “mumble rapper” class, and the way he rides on top of beats like “Lo Mein” has me revisiting this one quite a bit. I think releasing a double album was a bad move on his part that watered down its impact (the back end of this is actually Lil’ Uzi Vert vs. the World 2), but Eternal Atake is a pretty solid listen, all things considered. RECOMMENDED.

 The Weeknd – After Hours: Much like The Weeknd’s 2016 blockbuster release StarboyAfter Hours could’ve been a classic with some of the fat cut out (the drab radio song “Hardest to Love”, the bloated “Escape from L.A.”), but it’s still got some of the best material of his career. Two particular must-listens are “Save Your Tears”, and the MJ-influenced “In Your Eyes”, the latter which features an awesome saxophone solo. RECOMMENDED.

A FEW MORE:

Enjoyed

Jhene Aiko – Chilombo (R & B)

Megan Thee Stallion – Suga EP (Hip-Hop)

My Dying Bride – The Ghost of Orion (Metal)

Didn’t Enjoy

Childish Gambino – 3.15.20 (Pop/Hip-Hop)

Loud Luxury – Nights Like This EP (Dance)

Pearl Jam – Gigaton (Alternative)

Silverstein – A Beautiful Place to Drown (Alternative)

 

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