September Albums of the Month

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“Cry Pretty” by Carrie Underwood

Hannah Frank & Shifra Waskow

Rating: 8/10

Carrie Underwood released her sixth studio album, “Cry Pretty,” her first release with her new record label, Capitol Records Nashville, on September 14. From the beginning, you can hear her new take on country music. While Underwood’s older songs were fixated on personal drama, “Cry Pretty” targets relevant issues in our current society, while managing to incorporate aspects of her personal life in the process.

Opening the album with the song “Cry Pretty” was a great way to give the album an explanation of what would be forthcoming. She sings, “So I apologize if you don’t like what you see, but sometimes my emotions get the best of me. And falling apart is as human as it gets. You can’t hide it, you can’t fight what the truth is,” sharing the life of a woman that can no longer hold back her emotions and instead learns to embrace them. This message resonates with many high school girls who feel that their voice is overlooked.

Underwood writes about her views on the epidemic of gun violence and the underlying effects it has on many people in America in her song “The Bullet.” She sings, “you can blame it on hate, or blame it on guns, but mamas ain’t supposed to bury their sons. Left a hole in her heart and it still ain’t done, the bullet keeps on going.” She addresses the idea that the cause of the problem may not matter, but that a peaceful solution is crucial to fostering an environment that enables unity. This song is greatly influenced by her love for her young son, as she does not want to see the current society affect his life in a negative way. 

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“Kamikaze” by Eminem

Alex Metzger

Rating: 8/10

Following the release of his eighth album “Revival,” the 15-time Grammy winner and musical powerhouse that is Marshall Mathers III clapped back at the industry on August 31 with the album “Kamikaze.”

When you name your album after a Japanese suicide bomber aircraft and place the Beastie Boys’ “Licensed to Ill” plane cover emblazoned with the middle finger placed in prominent view, there is a message to be sent. Manager Paul Rosenberg attempted to talk Em out of it, as explained on the track “Paul (Skit),” yet Eminem feels the need to bring back his ‘Slim Shady’ alter ego that we all know so well.

Despite the less-than-thrilling success “Revival” had, “Kamikaze” enjoys a hip-hop virtue of not having any premature hype due to its surprise release. The first 10 tracks are incredibly strong lyrically and sonically. The flow hits the ear choppy and disorganized, but as the tracks progress the flows begin to resemble and mock popular trap music from the past decade. “Kamikaze” dominates everything else he has released in the past decade as Em employs the rock-and-roll vibe he has worked with so well on  “Greatest” and “Stepping Stone,” all while giving throwbacks to “Berzerk” and “Sing for the Moment” as he does it.

Featured artists Joyner Lucas and Royce Da 5’9 absolutely kill their verses, bringing a unique sound and relief to the project. The falling points of the album do come when Eminem drops the corny and veiny flow on some songs to attempt a singing falsetto, but these can be overlooked because the lyricism and thematic crushing blow he delivers carry the duo tracks. 

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“East Atlanta Love Letter” by 6lack

Natalia Thomas

Score: 7/10

I’ve never heard of 6lack before, so when I first listened to his new album, I wasn’t sure what to expect. “East Atlanta Love Letter,” released on September 14, and consisting of 14 tracks, pays homage to his Georgia hometown. His last album, “Free 6lack,” summarized the past 5 years of his life, when he was stuck in a bad record deal. He wanted to express that he was finally free of his toxic relationships. Thus, the album represented a fresh start for this rising artist.

“East Atlanta Love Letter” opens with the track “Unfair.” The song starts out with a slow tempo as he transitions from singing in falsetto to baritone. I soon discovered this was a signature style for 6lack, as the majority of his tracks on the album applied this technique. 6lack’s music focuses majorly on relationships, heartbreak, and his personal struggles.  I was not a huge fan of his songs’ beats, but his lyrics were on point. He can connect with his listeners on a deep and emotional level. While I do appreciate 6lack being so down to earth, honest, and vulnerable with his music, I was not connecting that much with the rhythm. I feel that my style of music is a little more uptempo, which is the exact opposite of 6lack’s style. Nonetheless, I think 6lack is a great artist who has a unique sound and should continue to make music with his distinctive approach.

Overall, I give his album a 7/10. I loved the messages 6lack was conveying with his music because it was about real things that people go through, however, I wish I could’ve connected as well with the tempo as I did with the lyrics.