August albums of the month

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August albums of the month

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“Angel’s Pulse” by Blood Orange

Madeline Kessler

8/10

“Angel’s Pulse,” the latest from British artist Blood Orange, is beautiful. When playing the leading song, titled “I Wanna C U,” for a friend, she mistook it for late Prince’s high rifts. It’s not surprising; hearing Hynes’s daring tenor vocals on an uptempo guitar track truly has the lush and free-flowing effects Prince was known for. 

“Dark & Handsome,” featuring the chill-wave electronic artist Toro y Moi, has witty, distorted and auto-tuned lines, delivering a nonsensical dialogue of a sad summer day. The synth and drum kit selection blends the two mid-2010 electronic artists’ casual manner of always breaking the mold.

“Gold Teeth” resembles a late 90s club banger, with verses from the rap group Three 6 Mafia’s own Project Pat and Gangsta Boo. Tinashe’s lead on the hook and Hynes’ softer vocals contrast the Three 6 Mafia affiliates’ tough flow and boisterous lyrics. The track plays with vocal effects and distortion that is ubiquitous amongst Hynes’ music.

Angel’s Pulse is not, however, Blood Orange’s best work, due to its shorter songs and unnecessary interludes. These have become trends in 2019, because of the culture of online streaming, in which royalties are based on the number of plays an artist gets. Nevertheless, it is still a worthwhile quality listen. 

 

“Immunity” by Clairo

Margot Durfee

8.5/10

Clairo’s debut album “Immunity” gives a raw and nostalgic glimpse into singer and songwriter Claire Cottrill’s moments of vulnerability and strength, from rejection to overcoming heartbreak. 

Like in some of her previous hits such as “Flaming Hot Cheetos” and “Pretty Girl,” Cottrill uses a mix of upbeat drums, electric guitar, and synthesizer to maintain her trademark “soft alternative” flow and dreamy vocals. 

The opening song “Alewife” is melancholy yet wistful, as a combination of piano and Cottrill’s soothing, matter-of-fact singing directly contrasts the fast-paced electric guitar and drums. The use of a diverse array of beats is evident in the album—from a mechanical clacking in “Closer to You” to the classic drum beat in “North.” 

The closing song “I Wouldn’t Ask You” starts off slow in which she laments “I wouldn’t ask you to take care of me” with only an acoustic piano and children’s choir singing in the background. Halfway through, the song takes a 180 turn as a quick drum beat emerges and the piano plays faster rifts while the choir sings “We could be so strong/We’ll be alright.” By the end, I felt like I had finished a long journey of discovery and transformation along with Cottrill.

 

“!” by Trippie Redd

Anna Gustafson

8/10

Having been in a music rut for the better part of the summer, Trippie Redd’s “!” was like a breath of fresh air for me. I wouldn’t consider myself a huge Redd fan, but his fifth album, released earlier this month, definitely grasped my attention. 

Redd commences his album with my personal favorite, “!”. The interlude consists of a Siri-like voice repeating “exclamation mark” five times, leading into a feel-good and unique song.

In “Immortal” featuring the Game, Redd starts off his first verse with “You don’t know what it’s like to have these people watching you.” He expresses the pressure of fame and the feeling of having to constantly please people, further developing the theme of putting himself first.

*BEEF ALERT* When I first listened to the album, I added “They Afraid of You” featuring Playboi Carti, to my playlist, only to have it disappear in less than a week later. I did some digging, and found that internet trolls claimed Carti’s verse in the song was superior when compared to Redd’s, causing the rapper to remove the track from his album. Yikes.

Nevertheless, “!” is definitely worth a listen. Redd manages to combine catchy lyrics, melodic tunes, and personal experiences into arguably his best album yet.