Albums of the Month


“Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You” by Big Thief

By: Mabel Canty and Rowan Mccrary

Rating: 8/10

 Big Thief released their fifth studio album “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You” on February 11, and the record  is a beautiful addition to their portfolio. The four-person band, based in Brooklyn, New York, set the bar high for new folk and indie-rock with their debut album “Masterpiece” back in 2016. “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You” meets that standard.

The album’s title, “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You,” is an accurate representation of the unusually lengthy tracklist of 20 songs. It is difficult to listen to consecutively, as the run time of the album reaches nearly an hour and a half. Some might find it boring, however, tracks like, “Time Escaping,” “Wake Me Up to Drive,” and “No Reason” still stood out.

The opening track, “Change,” is a simplistic take on their reputable lyrical strategy used in their past albums. It begins the album with a lullaby-like melody and slower tempo than the following tracks. Their nostalgic and melancholic lyrics from past works such as “Mythological Beauty” and “Masterpiece” reappeared throughout this album. The following track “Time Escaping” changes it up a bit and has a more upbeat melody, although the lyrics of the song follow the pattern of many songs from their previous albums.

Songs like “Wake Me Up to Drive” and “No Reason” carry the sentimental and sweet feeling of being a kid in a beautiful world, before the complexities of life hit you. Lyrics such as “put one on, let’s sing along/to the famous song” in “Wake Me Up To Drive” bring back Big Thief’s signature catharsis that stays with us throughout the album.

Since James Krivchenia, Big Thief’s drummer and producer, announced a new solo album and Adrienne Lenker, Big Thief’s lead vocalist, began a solo career recently, this album could be a last for the group. Maybe the album is meant to summarize their time together, maybe it’s a wishing well for the member’s futures, but if the rumors are true and “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You” really is a send-off, we’ll take it! •

“Laurel Hell” by Mitski

By: Ashley Redhead

Rating: 8/10

Mitski lived a life of pain, passion, and regret. Her new album, “Laurel Hell,” is the result. The album touches on feeling “stuck” in life and includes personal reflections on the artist’s past mistakes. 

In the first single “Working for the Knife”, Mitski quickly shirks the sadness that her fans thrived on. She no longer wants to feel the sadness and despair that characterized her previous music. 

The song has a melancholy beat. The drums and backing trumpets remind me of a long road-trip where you regard the wilderness around you with a child-like admiration. In the song, Mitski proudly exclaims that now nearing thirty, she will find a way to be happier, and that will affect her music. 

As the album progresses, Mitski reaches a point of acceptance. In “Heat Lightning”, she repeats the phrase “I surrender”, signifying how she is beginning to allow herself to escape the burden of past relationships. 

The song begins again with a very bare beat, as it progresses Mitski becomes indignant; the vocals and accompanying backings display the depth of emotion behind the lyrics of the song. She is choosing to no longer let loneliness weigh her down. 

Mitski, like everyone, wants to be loved. In “Love Me More”, the fervent repetition of the lyric “love me more” leaves the listener feeling an air of desperation. Mitski is left feeling empty; she can’t afford to remain in the realm of sadness any longer. Her need for unconditional love breaks through. Perhaps one of the most upbeat, rock-inspired songs on the album, “Love Me More” is an anthem for wanting to be loved.

Mitski ends the album on a somewhat optimistic note of possibility. In “That’s Our Lamp”, she realizes that her lover, whoever this may be, does not reciprocate the feeling, but life still goes on. 

“Laurel Hell”, initially made to fulfill Mitski’s label deal, evolved into a self-reflection of not only her music career but her life as a whole. The despair, loneliness, and utter sadness that fueled her previous records are no longer the only attributes present in this record, they are now accompanied by ideas of forgiveness, growth, and change.

“WHO CARES?” by Rex Orange County

By: Waleeja Chaudhry

Rating: 7/10

Rex Orange County released his 4th studio album “WHO CARES?” on March 11, showcasing his exceptional hold on bedroom pop and blending the genre with jazz, hip-hop, and R&B. The songs are simply crafted; the beats and rhythms are plain, yet quirky. 

The lyrics throughout the album are about escapism and self-acceptance, contradicting the happy music. Verses like “I can barely take it anymore/ stuck here I never seem to get away” exemplify this sullen state whereas the music on the track is very cheerful.

Some highlights on the album include “KEEP IT UP”, “OPEN A WINDOW”, “WORTH IT”, and “ONE IN A MILLION”; perfect for the spring weather. Filled with funky bass and drum bits, “WHO CARES?” has exactly what Rex’s last album “Pony” was missing. This album is more engaging and personal, unlike the last which contradicted Rex’s iconic bedroom pop sound. 

The only feature on the album is Tyler, the Creator on “OPEN A WINDOW”, which is a dreamy song with soul-inspired instrumentals. Tyler is a very natural fit for the album as both Rex and him have shared creative ground visible in many of their other collaborations. 

Unlike the first half of the album, the middle is a bit repetitive and lacks versatility. “7AM” is representative of the stagnancy, as it is a very mediocre wallowing yet happy song. 

The album has a much stronger end, as the songs “SHOOT ME DOWN” and “WHO CARES?” bring back the interest of the listener with beautiful piano ballads and a meaningful message about the imposter syndrome most of us (including Rex) have. 

The album is potent in its storytelling; even though the lyrics are somewhat disheartening, Rex still conveys hope. Nonetheless, “WHO CARES?” is definitely a step up from “Pony” but doesn’t quite reach the bar his sophomore album “Apricot Princess” set. •