February Albums of the Month

Ryan Thomas, Alex Metzger, and Natalia Thomas

Photo courtesy of Amazon

“Members Only Vol. 4” by XXXTENTACION

Ryan Thomas

Rating: 9/10

In this crazy, fast-paced world, there’s always one thing we can count on to remain constant: the quality of Members Only albums. Originally a duo consisting of rappers XXXTENTACION and Ski Mask the Slump God, the duo dropped their first collective album in 2015 to positive reviews. Hype has been at an all-time high for the fourth release of the Members Only album, especially after the passing of X.

Despite many listeners believing the controversial artist was nothing more than a mumble rapper, thousands were ecstatic about the fourth volume of “Members Only Vol. 4.” The album dropped this year on X’s birthday, January 23, and features a wide variety of other artists, including Bass Santana, Kid Trunks, Legend Of Shiloh and Tankhead. One thing that caught my attention was the spectral feeling of the album. Much like the style of X, no two songs are inherently the same and stray away from any form of repetition, which is now a key tool for many rappers to stay in the game.

“Members Only Vol. 4” is a refreshing break from the exact same music we hear every day. If you find yourself bored of listening to the same songs over and over again, this is the perfect album for you. During his career, X was known for putting a different spin on the industry and music that was unique to him and him only, even when he received backlash for a large majority of his music.

Photo courtesy of whenthehornblows.com

“Almost Free” by FIDLAR

Alex Metzger

Rating: 9/10

Radio may be dead outside of the pop industry, but the quintessential establishment-defying sound that made it such a great outlet for punk bands is still being replicated today. The pop-punk group FIDLAR is back, and frontman Zac Carper helps in becoming a driving force behind highly satirical and discombobulated content on “Almost Free.” Dealing with a slightly more grounded lifestyle the band throws themselves into making a punk, yet therapeutic album, filled with slide guitar, high pitched harmonica and varying animal sound effects.

However, this isn’t a replacement for excellent punk rock instrumentalism exhibited throughout the effort as the band shines instrumentally with scratchy vocals by Carper, captivating riffs by guitarist Elvis Kuehn, and fantastic bass lines from Brandon Schwartzel prop up the satirical lyrics. This is a continuous theme throughout all 13 tracks, from fun, sing along acoustic jams in “By Myself” and “Good Times are Over” to rocky headbangers in “Get Off my Rock” and “Alcohol.” The middle ground between these two poles is that Carper playing to the audience with an agenda to murder.

The actual delivery, at times, is too cynical and repeated points become meaningless. Jab after jab is thrown from FIDLAR’s seemingly endless grab bag of grievances. By the time Carper is assuring the audience, he’s not high maintenance in “Thought. Mouth.” (my favorite song off the record regardless), you’re inclined to disagree with him. Nevertheless, FIDLAR captures the spirit in “Almost Free”, and that earns an A in my book.


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

“thank u, next” by Ariana Grande

Natalia Thomas

Rating: 10/10

I’m a big fan of Ariana Grande, so I had high expectations for her fifth studio album, “thank u, next”. The hit song from which the album is named after is not only catchy but an intimate and heartfelt glimpse into Grande’s life. “thank u, next” is about tragedy, gratitude, and self-love. These themes hit home for Grande, which is what makes it such a great album.

All 12 songs on the album convey her authenticity. I love how each tells a story about her dynamic personality. In “needy”, Grande reveals her need to feel loved, especially after all of the turmoil that she’s dealt with. From the shooting massacre at her Manchester concert to the death of her ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, and a broken engagement with Pete Davidson, she has been through a lot in the past two years, but in “needy,” she shows that she has grown from these events.

The album ends with “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored,” where Grande shows off her sexy and sultry side. Her bold lyrics perfectly match with the techno-hip-hop beat. Grande’s confidence, shines through in this brilliant finale.

Grande takes fans on a roller coaster ride in “thank u, next,” as we get a glimpse of her life’s highs and lows. I gladly give this album a 10/10 because it is brought to life by Grande’s words and personality. The messages and melodies of her songs are perfectly intertwined, and what resulted is a masterpiece. Bravo, Ariana.