“I Used to Know Her: The Prelude” by H.E.R.
By Erin Harper
With all the new albums released in 2018, it can be difficult deciding which is worth a listen. There’s one artist that no one should sleep on: Having Everything Revealed (H.E.R.). H.E.R. came into the mainstream spotlight with her hit song “Focus,” gaining her millions of listeners and fans. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long for H.E.R. to release her first EP “I Used To Know Her: The Prelude,” which debuted August 3.
H.E.R.’s signature sultry singing style is prominently heard throughout every song, especially on bops such as “Could’ve Been” and “Against Me.” H.E.R. never misses a chance to teach her listeners a lesson; on the Lauryn Hill-inspired tune “Lost Souls,” she sings about the ongoing problem of women taking pills to change their body image, saying, ” Those pills you swallowing for a following–what he got to offer?… Feminism not what you embodying.”
My favorite song from the prelude is “As I Am.” “As I Am” differs from the rest of the songs on the prelude because H.E.R. reaches out to the audience and urges them to realize that they don’t need to change for someone else, singing, “Tell me I’m the best I am, I be feelin’ like ‘yes I am’”.
Overall, H.E.R.’s prelude deserves a perfect score. She empowers the elements of being a female. I can confidently say that the world will be watching H.E.R.
“ASTROWORLD” by Travis Scott
By Autumn Moore
Among the many new albums dropped this summer, Travis Scott’s “ASTROWORLD” was arguably the most hyped up. Before listening to “ASTROWORLD,” I didn’t really know much about Scott, and just thought of him as a sub-par rapper; the only song I’d really liked being “Antidote” from his debut album, “Rodeo”. Surprisingly, his latest album fared better.
Released on August 3, his third studio album consists of 17 songs all stylized in capital letters. My favorite song is definitely “SKELETONS”. The beginning of the song has a slow yet mellow tempo, then pivots to accommodate the vocals of The Weeknd, Tame Impala, and Pharrell Williams. Scott changes the beat multiple times throughout the album—as seen in the hit song “SICKO MODE”—and this change in tempo keeps the listener in for a lot of surprises. I like that Scott incorporated many different artists in his album, creating a unique sound with musicians such as Drake, 21 Savage, Swae Lee, Kid Cudi, Tame Impala, and Stevie Wonder.
On the other hand, I enjoy artists who produce albums that each have different tempos and styles, and thought some of the tracks, specifically “HOUSTONFORNICATION,” sounded similar to tracks on previous albums. Travis could’ve changed his style so as not to seem repetitive, and on repeat listens, most of his songs began to sound very similar. The repetition is boring. I do not think that “ASTROWORLD” is Scott’s best album, but I do look forward to hearing his future works.
“Pray for the Wicked” by Panic! At The Disco
By Alex Metzger
“Death of a Bachelor,” the fifth studio album for rock group Panic! At The Disco hit number one on the Billboard charts this summer, and a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album of the Year and Best Album. Two and a half years later, Panic! released another follow up comprised of more upbeat, cry-worthy, and sing-in-the-shower tracks to top the charts once again.
“Pray For The Wicked” is a self-aware tribute to the band’s decade of fame and to the city of Los Angeles, depicting it as a cornucopia of inspiration. The strong frontman Brendon Urie has brought new life to the band with high pitched chorus solos. Starting out with an introspective track speaking on their latest success, “(F*** A) Silver Lining,” has stayed in the back of my mind even as I listened to the band’s take on tequila-styled track, “Roaring 20’s,” or up in the clouds-themed “High Hopes” and “Hey Look Ma I Made It.” The first five songs serve as a constant reminder that no matter how prepared you think you are for what lies ahead, sometimes life comes crumbling down.
“Pray for the Wicked” recreates the mind blowing, visceral, and commanding whistle drowner tone that set “Death Of A Bachelor” apart from the group’s first four experiences. From the commanding peak of their “Roaring 20’s” to the bar stool tales of “Old Fashioned” and the somber closing sopranos in “Dying in LA”, Panic! reminds us that they are the rock powerhouse of at least the next decade to come.