Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! - February 2019


Written by: RaduP, Apothecary, Mr. Doctor, musclassia
Published: 11.03.2019


Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! - February 2019
Metal Storm's outlet for nonmetal album reviews

Here it is, the second edition of our nonmetal series, and thankfully one with a lot more contributors. Due to last edition's image issues, we have learned a bit more about how to work around those, but expect us to maybe change format again as we find better solutions. Thank you to everyone involved, contributing, proofreading, and mostly you, reader, who decided to check out music that isn't metal on a website dedicated to metal!

The place where we'll talk about music without growls or blast beats
unless they still have those but still aren't metal


We here at Metal Storm pride ourselves on our thousands of metal reviews and interviews and articles; metal is our collective soul and passion, which is why we bother with this junk. That being said, we'd be lying if we stuck to our trve-kvlt guns and claimed that metal is the only thing we ever listen to. Whether we want to admit it or not, we do check out some other stuff from time to time; some of us are more poptimistic than others, but there's a whole world out there aside from Satan-worshiping black metal and dragon-slaying power metal. We do already feature some nonmetal artists on our website and have a few reviews to back them up, but we prefer to limit that aspect of the site to those artists who have been a strong influence on the metal scene or who are in some way connected to it. This article series is the place for those artists who don't matter to metal in the slightest but still warrant some conversation - after all, good music is good music, and we all know metal isn't the only thing on this planet for any of us.

Down below, you might find some obscure Bandcamp bedroom projects or some Billboard-topping superstar; as long as it ain't metal and the album itself isn't a best-of compilation, it fits. Obviously, we're certain that not everything will be for everybody (you guys can be viciously territorial even when metal is the only thing on the menu, and we're all supposed to like the same things), but we do hope you find at least one thing that you can enjoy, instead of just pointing and screaming in horror "Not metal!" as if that would be an insult.

Here's a big chart of everything you'll find in this article, and even at full resolution here. Every image below this will look like shit in comparison.


Here's our last (and first) issue:

January 2019

And now to the music...









Motorpsycho - The Crucible
[Progressive Rock / Psychedelic Rock]

Why are Motorpsycho not on MS yet? Mostly because I still haven't figured out what genre they are. Listen to some of their songs and they can fool you that they're a stoner metal band; listen to others and they're an indie rock band, or an alt rock band, or a prog rock band, or a jazz fusion band. Lord knows what Motorpsycho actually are, other than absolutely magnificent. Seeing them live, the concert lasted nearly three hours, and while I had to go get some air from time to time, my friend just stood there gazing with his mouth slightly open because of how good they sounded. I have to agree that they set the bar quite high with respect to how good a band can sound live.

So... The Crucible sees Motorpsycho dive pretty deep into prog rock territories while still keeping just a bit of a psychedelic/desert rock feel. The whole thing is divided into three songs, each longer than the previous, until the 21-minute-long mammoth that is the title track. The first track is the heaviest as a whole, but the following two really feel taken out of the '70s, in such a way that most music that rehashes prog from that era misses, by feeling genuinely eclectic and symphonic as prog epics in that era were. And honestly few of the actual OGs of this type of prog rarely put out such compelling material this late in their career, as The Crucible was released in the band's 30th year of existence.

I might add them one of these days.

Google Play Music / Spotify

by RaduP

The Claypool Lennon Delirium - South Of Reality
[Psychedelic Rock]

Les Claypool needs no introduction; the opening minutes of "Little Fishes" will leave you in no doubt that the Primus bassist is bringing his instrumental A-game to this collaboration with Sean Lennon, whom I did need an introduction to. This is very much psychedelic rock of the '60s and early-'70s ilk thrown through a modern, weird blender; for instance, I'm sure there haven't been many Tinder references on previous flower power albums, and that Primus weirdness permeates a fair portion of South Of Reality, lyrically and instrumentally.

The skill on display is unsurprisingly top-tier, and there is some really lovely and captivating instrumental work going on, from the bass lick underlying the verses of the opener "Little Fishes" to the enthralling instrumental voyage in the closing minutes of the same song, featuring a really delightful solo. At the same time, as someone who's never really enjoyed classic 'Flower Power' psychedelia vocals that much (or that style of music in general, to be honest), there were some moments that really grated on me, so your enjoyment will depend somewhat on how much you appreciate this style to begin with. Having said that, the most personally irritating songs, "Easily Charmed By Fools" and "Toady Man's Hour", are also some of the weirdest. Beyond those, there's plenty of treats to dig for in this fun little oddball of a project, including "Amethyst Realm" and the raga rock-inspired "Crickets Chronicles Revisited".

Google Play Music / Spotify

by musclassia

Xiu Xiu - Girl With Basket Of Fruit
[Experimental / Avantgarde]

I like weird music. It gives you a feeling of "not done before". But then again, sometimes some music is so weird that I can't really ever be sure if I enjoy it or not. But I certainly do appreciate it. If you are in any way familiar with Xiu Xiu, you know that they've been very prolific at weird music, but they had somewhat "catchier" music like Dear God, I Hate Myself; they also did a full album where they played the music of Twin Peaks and also a collaboration with Merzbow, among many other albums. So they've done a lot of weird music - but I'm fairly sure Girl With Basket Of Fruit outweirds all of those.

We've had our fair deal of nightmarish music here on Metal Storm, either stuff that was dark ambient or cavernous death metal, so we ought to be used to getting tingles down our spines. But very little of the music that I have listened to is so aggressively weird and creepy, with rambling vocals shouting nonsense and droning violins and percussion that seems to compete for its place in the spotlight with itself. A lot of it genuinely seems weird just for the sake of shock value, but damn is that shock value achieved. Especially with lyrical topics this sickening. And with just enough shifts in tones and pace, Girl With Basket Of Fruit becomes as accessible as such an ordeal can be.

Oh, and it has a duet with Oxbow's Eugene Robinson.

Bandcamp / Google Play Music / Spotify

by RaduP

Boy Harsher - Careful
[Darkwave / Minimal Synth]

Depression, deceit, disappointment... Dance?

Besides the fact that this duo has been releasing material since 2013, the other thing that surprises me is how emotionally involved I've become with this surreal, toxic yet addictive atmosphere created by Boy Harsher. After a few singles/EPs and a 2016 debut, Boy Harsher return with a sophomore album that proves they got their style down.

I must admit I'm far from being an expert of synth and the like, so comparisons can only be done with artists I'm familiar with. That being said, I do feel that Careful touches some of that sweet Depeche Mode territory but with a faaaar gloomier layer on top. The gritty production takes the synth melodies to claustrophobic, hypnotic depths while the droning bass adds the darkwave touch to create an unnerving party number. This is further developed by the haunting vocals of Jae Matthews. Her monotonous, emotionally detached performance paradoxically packs quite the punch of desperation and passion, which fits the overall atmosphere of this record like a glove. If dark, brooding electronica sounds intriguing to you, then Boy Harsher latest effort comes with the warmest of recommendations. Take a shot and a NOS balloon and stare at the ceiling for a while!

Bandcamp / Google Play Music / Spotify

by Mr. Doctor








Theon Cross - Fyah
[Afro-Jazz / Jazz Funk]

Usually solo jazz albums are made by people who play one instrument. You have jazz albums made by saxophonists, by guitarists, by pianists, by trumpetists, and so on. I have to agree that is not often that one listens to a jazz album by a tuba player. I probably would have neglected this album as well, but, you see, Theon Cross plays the tuba in Sons Of Kemet. The London-based Afro/Caribbean jazz outfit has been turning a lot of heads in the last few years, so it only makes sense that the world would look at individual members as well for their solo output, and now Theon Cross releases his first record.

While a lot of it sounds like old-school New Orleans jazz, a lot of it also clearly couldn't have been made in any other decade and perhaps in any other city, with some hip-hop and grime and electronica and dancehall-influenced sounds throughout. Most of the album is performed in a tuba/drums/tenor sax trio formula (with Moses Boyd and Nubya Garcia), with just two of the tracks being performed with a different saxophonist, some guitars, and a trombone, but despite most of it being fairly simple in sound palette, Fyah feels extremely lively and cool. But when the band goes full ensemble on "Candace Of Meroe" with it's nods to '70s Afro-funk, it takes the experience to a different level.

Bandcamp / Google Play Music / Spotify

by RaduP

Maurice Louca - Elephantine
[Arabic Jazz / Avant-Garde Jazz]

Maurice Louca is an Egyptian experimental artist and composer. Believe it or not, Elephantine is actually his first jazz record, as beforehand he tried his hand (either solo or with groups like The Dwarfs Of East Agouza) at avant-folk, electronica, experimental rock, and art pop. So quite a versatile guy. Here, he plays piano and guitar and is joined by an ensemble of 11 other musicians, with instruments from the usual bass and percussion and saxophone to violin and vibraphone and oud. In this 40-minute-long odyssey, Louca has created a blend of cosmic jazz, world music, and avant-garde improvisation.

I'm obviously not a world music expert, so I can't give you an exact detailing of the cultural aspects of the world music side (the Bandcamp page does mention African and Yemeni music), but the exotic feeling that it achieves does indeed warrant its blend with another cosmic feeling to create a truly hypnotizing and transcendental record. There are a lot of smoother and more structured moments, but Elephantine doesn't shy away from avant-garde and free jazz territories with plenty of moments feeling quite close to the unnerving Chaos Echús / Mats Gustafsson collab (sans the droning guitars obviously).

Bandcamp / Google Play Music / Spotify

by RaduP

Crabskull - Tarantula Frequency
[Instrumental Hip Hop... with a dash of retro horror]

Instrumental hip-hop, basically "all beats, no rapping"-type hip-hop, is an often overlooked and under-appreciated side of the genre. Sometimes with a lack of vocals the music that results can be very boring and lack much forward momentum. At other times it can still be highly stimulating and satisfying in its own right. The Canadian Crabskull are a little bit of both, but thankfully much more of that second one than the former. With an old-school horror aesthetic and album artwork that almost looks as though it could be the poster for an Alfred Hitchcock movie, the group's Tarantula Frequency casts a hypnotizing spell with eerie, haunted house-sounding synth rhythms, lulling drum-and-bass combinations, and a clever usage of audio samples.

The one downside to Tarantula Frequency is that the beats on it are looped considerably, meaning that various melodies that appear on the release rear their heads on more than just one track. While this can give the album a feeling of monotony and create a desire for greater diversity among its tracks, the sound Crabskull conjure is still pretty catchy and enjoyable nonetheless. Perhaps they simply should've shaved off a good third of it, so as to make the album not feel as though it drags so much as a result of its overall repetitive nature. Regardless of its length and the somewhat redundant feeling of it that really sets in during the second half, Tarantula Frequency is quite the interesting listen. And if you're feeling particularly ambitious with a pen and paper, the beats here are fun as hell to go at some freestyle rapping over.

Bandcamp

by Apothecary

Czarface & Ghostface Killah - Czarface Meets Ghostface
[Hip Hop]

While Czarface may a relatively new project in the world of hip-hop, its members are certainly no newcomers to the genre, Inspectah Deck, 7L, and Esoteric (not to be confused with the funeral doom Esoteric) all having been making material for over 20 years. On this collab the trio is joined by Deck's Wu Tang partner in crime, none other than the legendary Ghostface Killah. If you're familiar with previous Czarface albums, or anything else that these four have done in the past, you could reasonably expect that what results from this effort is pretty hot.

And hot it indeed is. Musically Czarface Meets Ghostface isn't that different from previous Czarface releases, minus the appearance of Ghostface, but when the group has already established so potent a formula there's really little need for tweaking it. With production by 7L and newcomer Spada4 (going under the "Czar-Keys" name), the beats are rhythmic and funky and at many points tap into an aesthetic reminiscent of old-school horror flicks. The rapping of Deck, Esoteric, and Ghostface is as tight and spot-on as one could hope for, and if there's one aspect of this collab that draws the most attention, it's the fact that these three are all still such great rappers multiple decades into their respective careers. Groovy, memorable, and very well-written, Czarface Meets Ghostface demands a listen from any casual and die-hard hip-hop fans alike.

Google Play Music / Spotify

by Apothecary








Efdemin - New Atlantis
[Minimal Techno / Deep House]

I really like electronic music but my knowledge of it is still pretty basic entry-level. I'm just starting to get differences between subgenres like techno and house and trance, though it's still pretty much a mess for me. I'm glad I'm not in my "it's just sewing machine music" phase, because I've realized how intricate and diverse it can be besides the shitty stuff the DJs remixed at the shitty parties I went to. I've started to realize that I really like this more ambient and subdued sound of stuff like minimal techno and trip-hop and the likes. Turns out there's more to techno than Selected Ambient Works 1985-92.

Because of how unsure I am of proper subgenres, I just tagged it with what others described it as, but this about as IDM as most of the IDM stuff I listened to. While this is obviously as focused on repetition as all techno is, it really feels like there is more intricacies going on in the sound than simply the dance floor sounds that it sits at the border of. It feels like it build so much avant-garde or kosmiche or cinematic stuff around the skeleton of the beat that it feels like it could work really, really well as a movie soundtrack, due to how much mood it perfectly conveys. I can't help but be reminded of Gaspar Noe's Enter The Void and how much some of New Atlantis can invoke similar feelings. There's a lot of samples that really feel strange, like the opening track, which almost feels like something off Wardruna's Skald album, but everything blends to create something like a techno Godspeed You! Black Emperor album.

Bandcamp / Google Play Music / Spotify

by RaduP

Seesar - Ghoul-Kin
[Dark Ambient]

Lovecraft-themed dark ambient from China? Yes, please. I have more or less told you everything you need to now, but allow me to explain further. This is released through Sombre Soniks, a British label specialized in such cosmic and ritualistic dark ambient projects, the kind that really like to spell everything with a "k" instead of a "c" and still use "thee". There's a lot of dark and disturbing stuff on there, and honestly reading the way they type puts me in a state that's bordering between cringe and disturbing uneasiness; first the former, but once the music gets me in the mood, it becomes the latter.

Ghoul-Kin is meant to be listened to alone and at night, as it is with most dark ambient, but there's something about this album that made me feel actually uncomfortable when listening to it and I can't pinpoint anything exactly musically that did this. It really sounds like the flooded basement of an abandoned haunted factory, very spacey and claustrophobic-sounding at the same time, with a constant feel that you're not alone, there's something tapping on some pipes somewhere and walking through some hallway, wailing from time to time, and there is no escape. Until you're suddenly transported to a secluded tribe having a ritual. Obviously this record was made with some Lovecraftian thing in mind, but with it being instrumental and all that, there is nothing too obvious to pinpoint to that conceptual side, so this is what I felt like instead while listening to it.

Bandcamp

by RaduP

Nivhek - After Its Own Death / Walking In A Spiral Towards The House
[Ambient / Drone]

Ambient music as a whole is pretty weird, mostly because, due to its emphasis on atmosphere, it can be quite unengaging and impenetrable. Liz Harris's project Grouper always found that sweet spot where it perfectly assembled everything to feel human and otherworldly at the same time. This time, she decided to release something under another moniker, a record split into two parts, recorded mostly during her stay in rather isolated places in Portugal and the Russian arctic. And you can feel that. It feels like this hum of purgatory is actually there.

I've listened to my fair share of ambient, a lot of it dark ambient, but I have rarely felt so close to a record, like each sound was carefully designed to pull some heart-string and pull my soul out of my body. Extremely quiet and sparse until it's not, and with just enough field recordings and instrumental experimentation to feel meticulous and ambitious, it can really feel like it's more than just music in your headphones, especially during the very few moments where her angelic vocals, quiet as can be, do eventually make their way in. A lot of ambient would work really well as a soundtrack to something else, but I'd rather listen to this as it is, alone and in trance.

Bandcamp / Google Play Music / Spotify

by RaduP

Cosey Fanni Tutti - Tutti
[Post-Industrial / Dark Ambient]

Cosey led a very interesting and weird life, involving anarchist communes, softcore pornography, and pioneering industrial music. I'd recommend her autobiography, Art Sex Music, if only I had read that, so instead how about this interview instead. Mostly, you should know her through her work for Throbbing Gristle, who basically birthed and baptized industrial music as a whole. Cosey hasn't had much solo work, other than one album in 1982, but she has since mostly collaborated with fellow Throbbing Gristle member and main electronics man, Chris Carter, under the duo Chris & Cosey. Now comes her first real solo album in more than three decades.

Tutti is very minimalistic, dark and subdued. As expected of a post-industrial and dark ambient release that feels pretty close to something Lustmord would make. A lot of it has some semblance of a minimalist techno beat, but more often than not it feels like journeying through the sewers underneath an abandoned power plant. There's a distinct digital-age glitch to it that melds with olden analog synth sounds that feel like taken out of the experimental '80s (don't think of synthpop or the like). There is obviously a lot of soundtrack quality to it, due to how ambient and subdued it is, while also being some of the most haunting, dark, and unnerving of its kind.

Google Play Music / Spotify

by RaduP








Julia Jacklin - Crushing
[Indie Folk]

It gets a bit hard to appreciate folk music after years of listening to extreme metal, wherein you didn't pay attention to the lyrics most of the time, so I learned to appreciate just the music itself and kinda lost the ability to properly process lyrics. So trying to fully appreciate folk and hip-hop with that is somewhat hard for me. One can easily appreciate Crushing as just another great piece of youthful female indie folk with some surprisingly good instrumentation and vocal performance for a indie folk album, but what good is it if I don't get a glimpse of another person's life experience? So I tried to pay attention.

Julia Jacklin supposedly recorded this album after extensive touring and a break-up, during which she felt like her mind and body where two completely separate and independent parts, with the latter just being there to get from point A to point B; and you can feel this in this album about failed relationships and finding yourself. Not only are lyrics like "So I'll say it 'til he understands / You can love somebody without using your hands" and "Don't know how to keep loving you / Now that I know you so well" and "Started listening to your favourite band / The night I stopped listening to you / You were always trying to force my hand / But now I'm listening because I want to" really compelling (and I could fill another paragraph just with lyrics that I liked), but I probably would have enjoyed Crushing's youthful, melancholic, and somewhat sarcastic mood just on it's own, probably due to how much it reminds me of Angel Olsen as well.

Bandcamp / Google Play Music / Spotify

by RaduP

Jessica Pratt - Quiet Signs
[Folk]

Jeez, they weren't kidding. This is quiet.

Quiet Signs is a hazy and mesmerizing piece of folk music. It really feels like a reverie. I recently said that psychedelic music and folk music have gone hand-in-hand quite well and this album does indeed bring some late-'60s folk to mind, but unlike Hexvessel, which was more of an ensemble, this is a singer/songwriter record, so it is unusual to hear more than two instruments at once. Most of the time, it's just some acoustic guitar, some shy ambiance in the background or a piano, and the reverb-heavy voice of Jessica Pratt.

And its stark minimalism and dreamlike quality is only more inviting into quiet and comfort. This album is her first to have such polished production, and while she herself expressed concern that this might come at the expense of the haziness of the music, this doesn't feel to be the case. The only concern I have while listening to this is that I can only listen to it at home where I don't have to worry about outside noises and I can properly immerse myself in these daydreams.

Bandcamp / Google Play Music / Spotify

by RaduP

The Telescopes - Exploding Head Syndrome
[Space Rock / Shoegaze]

Even though they're quite early shoegaze pioneers, having released their debut album, Taste, in 1989, they never really got the recognition other contemporaries like Loop or Spaceman 3 did, which were also closer to space rock and neo-psychedelia as well. After an initial ten-year break, they started putting out albums semi-regularly in 2002 and they've now reached their tenth album on the thirtieth anniversary of their overlooked debut.

Even though I haven't dived much into their post-reunion material, I can tell that Exploding Head Syndrome doesn't feel like a money grab or a rehash at all. Instead of flowing on the still-recent new wave of dream pop and revivalist shoegaze, this new album is droning and quiet and quite disturbing. While taking in the subdued vocals and the repetitiveness of said genres, Exploding Head Syndrome makes more use of electronics and prolonged, droning guitars to achieve a less pleasant dreamy feel. If My Bloody Valentine is Neurosis, The Telescopes is Sunn O))).

Bandcamp / Google Play Music / Spotify

by RaduP

Spielbergs - This Is Not The End
[Noise Pop / Indie Rock]

Noise pop, huh? How noisy can pop get? Well, the first time I listened to This Is Not The End, it came in the queue right after Discordance Axis' The Inalienable Dreamless and the guitar feedback that the record started with made it blend pretty much seamlessly up until I suddenly started hearing some indie rock / pop-punk tunes. So... if you ever wanted to hear what pop sludge would sound like, here's your chance. The debut from Norway's Spielbergs is about as fun as Spielberg's funnest films and as heavy as Spielberg's heaviest films.

The record isn't exactly consistent in its heaviness - don't expect Daughters levels of noise rock - but it definitely is heavier than most indie rock or pop-punk or power pop or shoegaze or whatever and it has A LOT of energy. Distorted and massive while still being massively anthemic and upbeat, This Is Not The End is just the beginning and it feels like it. A band that has a lot of that youthful "what are you waiting for" type of energy and it has something to say and to make you feel. If sludge is supposed to make you miserable, this does the absolute opposite.

Bandcamp / Google Play Music / Spotify

by RaduP








White Lies - Five
[Post-Punk / Indie Rock]

It's been ten years since White Lies debuted with To Lose My Life, which propelled them to indie rock stardom. They were never really able to recapture the same amount of reception since despite not really fading into obscurity. The blandly titled Five feels like a band having no interest in trying to recapture olden magic or to break any barriers, which does indeed make the album somewhat honest. There's obviously some inherent nostalgia in the whole thing, from the obvious U2 and Pink Floyd influences to the heavy synths (check out the great new wave-ish "Tokyo").

Thirty isn't exactly such an "old" age, but you can tell that these aren't exactly the same folks who did To Lose My Life. While Five has less of the youthful grandeur, it feels a lot more mature and patient in its songwriting, with songs that feel like they're longer (or in the case of the opener, actually are) but still not being bland or boring, but more stripped-back and focused on the soundscapes it creates, which are often quite soaring and euphorically melancholic. Five feels like the album other bands would've made a bit later in their career, but thankfully they do it earlier while they still have plenty of creativity to make it so much more worth it.

Google Play Music / Spotify

by RaduP

Ladytron - Ladytron
[Electropop / Synthpop]

We haven't heard much from this dystopian synthpop band ever since they released their last album in 2011 and each member proceeded to pretty much move to a different country. But it seems that they are needed again, and a look at the cover art reminds us of some recent events. So now with a self-titled record there's gotta be a lot of importance given to the album by the band, and with how nihilistic the themes feel, it's no wonder. This is a very cold album in its apparent upbeatness, but it's as subtly evil as subtly evil electropop can be. But this is coming from a band whose most famous song is called "Destroy Everything You Touch", so it fits.

At a very shallow first glance, this feels like upbeat electropop, due to it not being as cold as synthpop and coldwave can actually be. Though I wouldn't say it's that subtle either, the way last month's Deerhunter album was, since you don't really need much time to figure out that this isn't exactly fun music. I mean, hearing dreamy vocals sing "There's no wrong / There's no God / There's no harm / There's no love" kinda breaks the shallow illusion of upbeatness, but it's not like it's just the vocals that carry the nihilistic mood. I feel like this is Ladytron's most retro synthwave-ish record (but don't expect it to sound generic like most of it does) and there's quite a consistently claustrophobic mood. Also Iggor Cavalera of Sepultura fame plays drums on this record.

Google Play Music / Spotify

by RaduP

Copeland - Blushing
[Indie Pop / Art Pop]

What a different band Copeland has become. 15 years ago, they blurred the lines between indie rock and emo while still having some pop sensibilities as well. They were always prone to changing their sound bit-by-bit, but it's still hard to imagine that the same band that made Beneath Medicine Tree also made Blushing. And it's a good thing; I first listened to Blushing completely unaware of their back catalog and I was instantly won over thinking that this has to be one of the best pop albums I have heard this year. Pop and emo are undoubtedly dirty taboo words here, but think less Justin Bieber and My Chemical Romance and more Kate Bush and Mineral. Art pop is quite a obnoxious and self-gratifying music genre name, but damn does it fit.

Blushing is intimate, enchanting, and dreamy, with lush instrumentation and a lot of sentimental value. I could endlessly quote lyrics like "What's the point of searching if I just end up lost?" or "Can we just lay here? Beautiful morning / Tell me all of your worries / Give me all of your love", which obviously sound generic and cheesy when out of context and out of the mood of the album, which feels like an early-morning or late-night album, one of being caught between dreaming and awake. And it is in both the passionate vocals and the diverse sound palette of post-rocking guitars and piano, orchestration, and trip-hop electronics that make this album feel so melancholic and lonely. There's a big trend of sad, depressing pop in the charts nowadays, and they all wish they could sound half as good and creative as Copeland's Blushing.

Google Play Music / Spotify

by RaduP

Ariana Grande - thank u, next
[Pop / R&B]

I don't follow celebrity news and drama that much. I might see a headline once in a while and just keep scrolling. But even I know that the last few years have been pretty tough for Ariana Grande. There was that Manchester attack. She broke off her engagement and one of her exes, Mac Miller, died of a drug overdose. She has mostly maintained an image of indifference towards all of these, but it gets pretty clear, especially in this album, that it is quite difficult to have to act like all this shit doesn't bother her. She had already released a pretty great album last summer, which also addressed a few of those events, and she was still in that album's single release cycle when she released the title track for this, because it was that important. It couldn't wait. She needed to be back in control of the public drama. And when we compare her attempt to address her personal drama to someone like Taylor Swift's, oh man, the latter's seem even more disastrous.

This is an album that you can definitely enjoy even without context or even paying attention to the lyrics. This is a mainstream pop/R&B album (the first really gigantic one for this year), so even if it's her most personal and vulnerable one to date, it can still be enjoyed without taking any of that into account, considering how the production on this is a lot more cohesive and homogeneous than previous records, and it also doesn't just feel melancholic or not playful enough. The whole album feels less like being anchored but rather moving forward from her past and seeing all those events as learning experiences, as well as painting a picture of the flawed person that she is instead of a faceless, spotless pop star. thank u, next builds upon all the strengths, whether musical-wise or personality-wise, of last year's Sweetner.

Google Play Music / Spotify

by RaduP




And that was it. You've made it through still alive. Congrats. See ya next month.



 


Comments

Comments: 9   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 104 users
12.03.2019 - 17:22
Mercurial
That's a lot of music that isn't metal.
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12.03.2019 - 17:42
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Mercurial on 12.03.2019 at 17:22

That's a lot of music that isn't metal.

Almost as if most of the music released wasn't metal
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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13.03.2019 - 00:17
musclassia
I'll need to keep an eye on your electronic suggestions, I like the sound but don't know that many people operating in it

Giving Edfemin a listen, kinda like it but think techno probably works exclusively in a club setting for me
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13.03.2019 - 00:21
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by musclassia on 13.03.2019 at 00:17

I'll need to keep an eye on your electronic suggestions, I like the sound but don't know that many people operating in it

Giving Edfemin a listen, kinda like it but think techno probably works exclusively in a club setting for me

I think Efdemin makes music that's on the border between fit and unfit for clubs, leaning more towards the latter. I generally don't go much to clubs so for me listening to electronic music is not much different than listening to say black metal.
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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15.03.2019 - 05:53
tintinb
Really really liked the jazz suggestions here, especially Theon Cross. As a metalhead I personally have an affinity towards jazz than other musical genres.
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15.03.2019 - 06:51
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by tintinb on 15.03.2019 at 05:53

Really really liked the jazz suggestions here, especially Theon Cross. As a metalhead I personally have an affinity towards jazz than other musical genres.

Glad you liked it. I didnt really get to cover any jazz in january's edition and thought i should make it up here
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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15.03.2019 - 12:20
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
Oh, Jazz.

Written by Cynic Metalhead on 05.09.2018 at 14:39

Quote:
jazz music is bad music in my opinion.


Absolutely.

Jazz music meant for the two best scenarios - funeral and background music in restaurants.
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16.03.2019 - 12:49
JoHn DoE
^ background music in restaurants? what restaurants are those? Or do you think that Kenny G is jazz? Because calling Kenny G smooth jazz is just wrong to me somehow, because I've heard smooth jazz that was quite interesting, competent, not for anyone (if I may say so).

I want to go to a restaurant and hear some Miles Davis, Bill Evans, T. Monk, Stan Getz but damn if I've seen one.

Calling jazz bad music is ridiculous. If anyone says they do not like this kind of music, it would be ok, no problem, but calling it bad is just laughable.
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02.04.2019 - 22:26
dammage11
Thanks for doing these, I've found at least one gem in each one that I would have otherwise overlooked. Last one was Hante. and this one has Ladytron
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