October’s Albums of the Month



“Blue Banisters” by Lana Del Rey

Rating: 7.8/10

By: Waleeja Chaudhry

Lana Del Rey released her 8th studio album on October 22. “Blue Banisters” is melancholic, calm, and imaginative—just like the color blue. Del Rey toys with tragic romantic ideals of 50s and 60s Americana and dysfunctional love. Serving as an autobiography, this project is filled with stories of love affairs, sisterhood, and LA. 

The album consists of 15 tracks with majestic piano pieces, acoustic guitars, and lolloping bass lines. We get to experience the music as if we are standing alongside Del Rey as she belts in the studio. On “Dealer”, featuring Miles Kane, she shows her vocal capabilities making it one of the strongest songs on the album.

The most important part of any Lana album is the imaginative lyricism unlike anything in the 21st-century. However, “Blue Banisters” has more simple and relatable lyrics as well, especially in “Black Bathing Suits” when she sings “Grenadine, quarantine, I like you a lot/It’s LA, ‘Hey’ on Zoom, Target parking lot.” Ultimately, the relatability stops, and we return to her favored themes of “bad girls” and negative press attention.

In “Text Book”, she writes about her family, creative process, and personal struggles as she confesses “I didn’t even like myself,” and talks about being attracted to a man because he resembles her father. “Sweet Carolina” is co-written with Del Rey’s father and sister about an unborn child. While the song is beautiful, the lyrics take a humorous turn as she sings “You name, your babe Lilac Heaven, After your iPhone 11, ‘Crypto forever,’ screams your stupid boyfriend, Fuck you, Kevin.” The music manages to entertain and enthrall with its unpredictability. 

“Blue Banisters” shows what an excellent world-builder Del Rey is, as demonstrated in “Arcadia” in which she unravels her borderline-spiritual affinity with Los Angeles.  Overall, the album is personal and dives deeper into Del Rey’s mythos–– abstract creativity and emotional intensity in her music. •

“gelato” by boylife

Rating: 9/10

By: Isabelle Pala

In his debut album “gelato”, Ryan Yoo, who goes by the name boylife, paints a stunning self-portrait, intimately depicting his struggles with identity and mental health. The music is genreless, ranging from chaotic melodies to soft, sentimental ballads.

The album begins with the song “hey”, a melancholic ode to the namesake of the album. The instruments and vocals he combines create an eerie yet beautiful sound. He transitions effortlessly into the rebellious gospel song “church”, in which Yoo angrily sings “Don’t make me go back to the church, Don’t make me swallow no stars, Don’t make me lean on no gods I don’t trust ’em one bit,” reflecting on a childhood of forced participation in a religion he didn’t feel part of.  

“peas”, a song he released as a single more than a year ago, is undoubtedly the strongest of the album. There is something almost transcendent about it, as it encapsulates you in a whirlwind of a song told from a concerned mother’s perspective. 

Songs “amphetamine” and “bummy!” talk about Yoo’s struggle with depression and bipolar disorder. The former features a voiceover of a young woman talking about what it’s like being Yoo’s friend, adding to the intimacy and authenticity of the album. 

The choppy tempo and deep bass of “superpretty” mirrors the frustration he feels with being “young and colored in America,” describing what it’s like to be constantly put down by your country because of who you are. 

Despite the differences between each song, Yoo successfully merges them all to become one whole. Each song is stronger with the others standing next to it, making this album one that should not be missed. •

“Life of a DON” by Don Toliver 

Rating: 5/10 

By: Jean-Pierre Roberts 

On October 8, Don Toliver released his third studio album, “Life of a DON”, a musical expression filled with heavy themes of drug use, sex, and luxury, expressed through psychedelic beats and strong vocals. 

The opening track, “XSCAPE”, acts as a gateway into what Don Toliver’s life is like. We taste the previously mentioned themes through lines like, “Just pull up and when you’re outside, hit me for the gate code…Been a long time, but you still get sexy.”

Tracks like “OUTERSPACE” show the psychedelic style that is so heavily used throughout the album, while “Drugs N Hella Melodies” show the melodic and romantic side of the album. A lot of the production feels influenced by Travis Scott, who has two features on this album, with heavy drums, deep baselines, and even the occasional synth wave lining the back of the track.

“Swangin’ On Westheimer” carries that influence, and does so beautifully. With lines like, ”I know you need me. I guess it gon’ ride your way…I know it can’t get no easy,” it makes for a perfect song moving into fall. 

Outside of these few tracks, the album is very repetitive, with very overused themes that make the album very forgettable. This glaring flaw truly shows in songs like “Smoke”, where the hook is ‘smoke around 7 times, and “Company Pt 2”, which shows how the entire track is just painfully slow and uninteresting. 

The same applies for the features; Travis Scott had no energy, Baby Keem said nothing memorable, HVN and SoFaygo were simply lackluster, and Kali Uchis extended the vocal range that Don Toliver lacked. 

Overall, the album is endurable purely because of the story it tells, otherwise, this album is not where it needs to be. It’s painfully average for such a highly regarded artist that really just garnered attention within the past three years. •