Aziz Ansari-Right Now

            With the release of Right Now, the largest comeback attempt yet of the #MeToo moment has been enacted.  Yes, Louis CK has popped up at comedy festivals, and Kevin Spacey releases weird videos into the internet’s void, but Aziz Ansari’s new special is a Netflix-cosigned release where Ansari is trying to rediscover himself in a post-Babe.net world.  The previously larger-than-life comic’s return to the stage with a candid, casual, and most importantly thoughtful special that is second most importantly, his best.

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Meghan Trainor-The Love Train

When Meghan Trainor’s Title was released in 2015, it was occasionally a breath of fresh air.  It subverted classic 60’s and 50’s pop by singing about modern ideas.  It was very similar to Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox.  The bops were there.  “All About that Bass” and “Lips are Movin'” were genuine hits, and most of the best moments on the album signaled the energy of those two songs.  Whether it was the doo-wop of “Credit” or corny white-girl rap “Bang Dem Sticks,” there was something mystifying about Trainor,which the industry  obviously sees since she’s appeared on a bunch of singing shows and the Grammys.  What’s most puzzling about Trainor though is her appeal to (much) younger listeners, which her latest EP, The Love Train answers (sorta). Continue reading

Bring Me the Horizon-amo

If there’s one thing Bring Me The Horizon is owed, it’s respect.  While plenty of new albums suffer from a symptom of sameness, BMTH bring us amo, an album that couldn’t feel further from their deathcore roots.  Still, this wasn’t a drastic shift (the opposite end of the same complaint), the band has been inching towards this change since their deathcore opus Suicide Season.  Following 2015’s That’s The Spirit, the band’s crossover into the mainstream shouldn’t come as any surprise; seeing as that was a nu-metal/hard rock record, BMTH coming out with a hard rock/pop album seemed to be the next step.  Now that the band wants to swing for the big leagues, the UK band find shaky ground to establish themselves on. Continue reading

Eminem-Kamikaze

            Remember on Recovery when Eminem straight up said, “Them last two albums didn’t count/Encore, I was on drugs. Relapse, I was flushin’ ‘em out?”  While Recovery may not be the definitive album in Marshall Mathers’ catalogue, it was really great to see Eminem own up to two albums that were really just subpar, and that album was followed by Eminem’s best album in 11 years.  Revival was a serious misstep for Eminem, and while there’s a certain excitement and viciousness in Kamikaze, it’s an even bigger one. Continue reading

Kanye West-ye

The nature of waiting on Kanye West’s ye has been conflicting.  In some sense, it was nerve-racking: Kanye West, already the most polarizing artist of the decade, had recently come out as a Trump supporter (suspected to be the product of a mental breakdown).  The first track released from this album cycle was the meme-birthing “Lift Yourself,” arguably Yeezy’s most cringe-worthy lyrical work to date.  This also comes as the world of mainstream rap is enthralled by a Drake and Pusha T beef that seems to only be growing.  With that being said, there’s still the excitement that comes with being a Kanye fan.  It’s not exactly at the same level of The Life of Pablo, with the Yeezy Season 3 showing at Madison Square Garden or surprise album drop on SNL.  Reading about the listening party in Wyoming and getting the album a few hours later, I felt the same exhilaration as hearing that Life of Pablo dropped on SNL, seeing the Yeezus artwork, and first hearing “Runaway.”  From the time Kanye announced this album until now, it’s been a period of wrestling with wanting the new album to be good from a fan’s perspective but also struggling to come to terms with Kanye’s politics.  Surprisingly, there was little to be worried about on either front. Continue reading

The Problem With Greta Van Fleet

In 2008, AC/DC went on a North American tour in support of their Black Ice album.  Opening this tour was Northern Irish hard-rockers The Answer, a band that upon a Google search was hailed as “The Irish Led Zeppelin.”  I downloaded some of their songs, most notably “Highwater or Hell” from their Never Too Late EP.  They definitely did have a bunch of Zeppelin-isms, chunky guitar riffs, a yelping lead singer, and a powerhouse rhythm section.  For someone who’d yet to get jaded from almost all opening bands, The Answer seemed like a godsend.  Of the three big arena concerts I’d been to, The Answer was easily the best opening act I’d ever seen.  I listened for The Answer for about a year after that show, because why wouldn’t I?  Led Zeppelin was my favorite band, and there was little sign they were ever reuniting.  Here I had a near perfect sound-alike that I also enjoyed.  A few artists manage to stir up similar feelings: young bands like Wolfmother, Jet, Alter Bridge, as do some newer supergroups formed by older rockers: Black Country Communion, Adrenaline Mob, or Hellyeah.  Artists that pay tribute to older music are nothing new, and some are actually somewhat innovative in their modern classic rock (see: The Darkness, Steel Panther), but now we have Greta Van Fleet: a breakout sensation that sounds a little too much like Led Zeppelin. Continue reading

Mount Eerie-Now Only

               This is all terrible to write about.  Last year’s A Crow Looked at Me was a career-defining album for Phil Elverum.  That’s terrible to say, because it’s an album so rooted in the tragic loss of his wife, Geneviève.  It’s also somewhat ignorant, because Elverum had been working as a musician for over two decades.  While a popular artist in his own rite, A Crow Looked at Me was the sort of album that propelled him into a certain level of mainstream success.  His near-immediate follow-up Now Only should not be nearly as good as it is, but it’s a similarly haunting and honest album. Continue reading

Titus Andronicus-A Productive Cough

To say I wasn’t really looking forward to Titus Andronicus’ new album wouldn’t be right.  I really wanted to hear it, but I also planned to dislike it.  In the interview that was released with “Number One (In New York),” Patrick Stickles declared that A Productive Cough would have no “punk bangers.”  Those were my favorite Titus songs, and now Stickles wanted to get rid of them?  These fears evaporated upon listening to “Number One.”  A Productive Cough doesn’t have the same sort of gritty, shout-along songs like “Dimed Out” or “A More Perfect Union,” but the songs aren’t any less punk bangers. Continue reading

Camp Cope-How to Socialise & Make Friends

Camp Cope has positioned themselves as a hyper-political pop-punk band that will fight against sexism, gun rights, sexual abuse, and so much more, but the Australian trio is so much more than that.  While Camp Cope utilize their platform to speak about equality and representation, their best songs are deeply personal.  The band writes numbers that rage and songs that can let your entire world break around you, and How to Socialise & Make Friends really makes way for both of those worlds. Continue reading