I listen to a really wide and weird range of music, and have a lengthy history of enjoying Epic Rap Battles on YouTube, so I’m basically like a music expert.
I actually really like talking about music though, and my criticisms are kind of like an overall vibe rather than just like “Oh this track was really good but the other track? Not so much.” Whenever someone is reviewing music and is like “Oh yes, the production was impeccable, but great heavens, the sound editing left a lot to be desired” I get really really bored, so I want my review style to be like some guy recommending music to you!
(please do not treat my word as gospel it’s really scary and a lot of pressure)
I’ve been like, really good about keeping up to date with albums when they come out this year, and god, a lot of music came out last Friday! Is all of it good? I don’t know!
First up to bat: Meghan Trainor’s TAKIN’ IT BACK
Takin’ it back to what? Bad music apparently! Goteem!!!!
I just don’t like it.
She’s very obviously trying to take it back to her past style, with songs like “All About That Bass” and “Lips Are Movin’” with the doo-wop 50’s diner sound that won people and grocery store loudspeakers over in 2014, but it feels like it’s too little, too late.
There isn’t a song I can point out and say I like, because the ones that sound even slightly okay to me feel just like recycled versions of those two singles that kicked her off. There are plenty I can say that I didn’t like, though! But I won’t bother, I got pretty mean with this one.
Rating - 4.0 / 10 (Not Very Good)
Second, the star of the show, probably: Taylor Swift’s Midnights
I know Taylor’s fans are very ride or die with her music, which I get. I’ve actually liked her other albums! I don’t hate her! But god dude, I have to be honest, this album put me to sleep.
It’s not bad by any means, she has too much money to let it be bad, but it’s very boring! It feels like a shell of her other projects, and that’s she’s just doing a whole rinse and repeat when it comes to her lyricism. It also doesn’t help that this is produced by Jack Antonoff, one of my least favorite producers right now, who just did The 1975’s new album that came out literally like last week, and the soundtrack to the critical darling Minions: The Rise of Gru, both just this year. However, one of the most empty tracks off the entire project is “Snow On The Beach”, featuring Lana Del Rey, which sounds really good on paper! The problem is that I genuinely couldn’t tell if she was in the song at all. She didn’t have a verse, people seem to keep claiming she did backing vocals, which I don’t really think sound count as a feature? It’s really misleading and I don’t get it, it’s not clear what part she played in the song.
Taylor was on such a good streak too, dude. She came out with Folklore, and Evermore, which are both great, but this album feels very reminiscent of both Reputation and Lover, which even some Taylor fans will admit aren’t that good. It feels so weird hearing her curse in a song like “Vigilante Shit” and trying to be edgy, it doesn’t fit her vibe at all.
It feels like she’s working backwards somehow, and I don’t know if I’ll stick around to watch.
Rating - 5.5 / 10 (Average)
Third: Carly Rae Jepsen’s The Loneliest Time
WOOOOOOO yeah okay now we’re getting to that good shtuff
Most people may not have known Carly Rae Jepsen still made music, let alone dropped any records after “Call Me Maybe”, but her collab with Rufus Wainwright, the titular synthpop single “The Loneliest Time” seems to have become a hit on TikTok, which is really cool to see.
Besides that, however, she also has standouts such as “Surrender My Heart” and “Talking to Yourself”, both filled with excellent dance-worthy synth 80’s-inspired instrumentals, but riddled with some fairly depressing and lonely lyrics, reminiscent of The Weeknd’s past two projects, After Hours and Dawn FM.
It’s a very good listen, and I don’t have much else to say besides check it out for yourself!
Rating - 7.5 / 10 (Pretty Good!!!)
Fourth, and Finally: Dry Cleaning’s Stumpwork
Lastly, my favorite project from the last week.
Over this last summer, I’ve fallen in love with the post-punk scene, with semi-underground groups like Black Country, New Road and black midi.
This one is no different, I fell in love with it pretty quickly. However, in comparison to the other two groups, Dry Cleaning is focused on spoken word as well, which may or may not be a turn-off for some if you don’t like it when the singer isn’t singing, kind of like Talking Heads, but it made me feel smarter so I liked it.
It also had some really surreal lyrics throughout the entire thing, some really nonsensical ones about water caterpillars or horse head tea or a family tortoise. I can assure you, the album does absolutely nothing to help you understand it.
So if you want to hear some Cate Blanchett-sounding narrator saying some bullshit like “three times did the cheese move sideways to Switzerland by radio, but she never licked that parking permit” this is the album for you!
It’s definitely my favorite album with pubic hair on the cover from this year!
Rating - 8.5 / 10 (Really Good!!!!!!!!!)
Honorable Album Recommendation:
bag or die - bbno$