There are a wide range of releases this week; really something to please everyone. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all good but I’m happy to see some variety come from artists I typically look out for. Outside of music, I’m starting to question the mantra of ‘good things come to those who wait’ and almost begging for an opportunity to come my way in the near future.
SINGLES & LOOSIES
H.E.R. – Comfortable
This is a largely acoustic love song featuring soft, melancholic vocals. It’s all very sweet to the ears and provides an easy listening experience like much of H.E.R.’s past work, but this song in particular feels underwritten and overall a tad bland. Because of it being underwritten, the 4:15 run-time tends to drag on with the repeated hook and not much change instrumentally.
MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO: H.E.R.
See First Impression Fridays #3 – January 24, 2020 here: https://scribblic.com/2020/01/27/first-impression-fridays-3-january-24-2020/
Meek Mill – Believe (feat. Justin Timberlake)
I was anticipating this to be an interesting combination given Timberlake’s frequent endeavours into hip-hop and R&B music but boy was I disappointed. Sure, his singing is fine, the vocal layering is a nice touch but the message of the song and the cookie-cutter style it reinforces make me want to throw up in my mouth. It’s got a Recovery-era Eminem sounding awful faux-motivational chorus and while I understand the hardships that Meek Mill has been through recently, these verses are nothing more than vanilla and could easily be replaced with almost any other rapper.
MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO: MEEK MILL
Hearing the first and second parts of his Dreamchasers series on DatPiff back in the day when his rap voice was a bit too yelpy and wild.
Carly Rae Jepsen – Let’s Be Friends
I’ve enjoyed Carly Rae Jepsen’s last two projects for being unabashedly glam-pop with some corny-sounding love songs, but everything about this style was done well. This new track is just nowhere near those heights for me unfortunately. It’s very 80s sonically, but almost too bubblegum barbie-doll with her voice sounding exceedingly childish. Overall I found the track quite annoying and am disappointed that this seems to have gone in the direction of a polka left-over from Lady Gaga’s The Fame.
MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO: CARLY RAE JEPSEN
Coming across “Call Me Maybe” by YouTube algorithm before it blew up and being adamant to my friends that it would be a hit.
Col3trane – Someone to Watch Over Me
Col3trane comes in with a beautiful, watery acoustic ballad. The subtle keys in the second half of the track provide a nice background instrumental key change. It’s quite a departure from the two tracks which introduced me to this artist but I’m pleasantly surprised. Parts of his voice even give a hint of early Bon Iver.
MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO: COL3TRANE
Spotify recommended “No Bus” and “Superpowers” last year and they have become two of my most played tracks since.
ALBUMS & EPs
Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats – Unlocked EP
Denzel and Kenny collaborate for a 17 minute explosion of aggression and impact. Everything from the album art to the unfinished (but still complete) style of the tracks to the vocal sample-based interludes surrounding these songs screams MF Doom. Denzel Curry’s voice is just so commanding and aggressive that regardless of some corny lines here and there, you can’t help but be sucked into his world. The project overall presents a strong underground or backpack rap feel with not a great deal of the EP being too accessible in sound and lines about weebs and cartoons. Although I’m not a total fan of some of the voice manipulation, the sheer creativity on display is refreshing and the cherry on top is the terrific multiple animation promotional video released alongside the EP.
Top tracks (so far): Pyro (leak 2019), DIET_, ‘Cosmic’.m4a
MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO: DENZEL CURRY
Hearing “Ultimate” in many YouTube videos around the time it was released and being intrigued by the pure energy and difference to a lot of other rap at that time.
Brent Faiyaz – Fuck the World
Brent Faiyaz may have one of the most uniquely beautiful vocal styles in R&B music right now. Sometimes this project can get a bit run-heavy and lack an overall sound but the themes here of his love/hate relationship with physical intimacy and narcissism in the world differ to the majority of music in this genre. Sometimes tracks here may lack a traditional song structure and some of the more mellow ones can melt into the background too much but the hooks and songwriting, just like before, are sticky and on point.
Top tracks (so far): Clouded, Been Away, Let Me Know
MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO: BRENT FAIYAZ
A friend recommended me the smooth “First World Problemz / Nobody Carez” and I’ve been hooked by his voice ever since.