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Hunty Bear

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    1. The Louvre, Homemade Dynamite, Liability, Writer In the Dark
    2. Love, Get Free, Tomorrow Never Came, Cherry, 13 Beaches
    3. All About Me, Shake Em Off, Insecurities
    6. Big Fish, Yeah Right, Homage, Bagbak
    7. Praying, Rainbow, Let 'Em Talk, Finding You
    8. Love Galore, Garden (Say It Like Dat), Supermodel, Broken Clocks
    9. See You Again, 911/Mr. Lonely, Pothole, November
    10. Want You Back, Ready for You, Walking Away
    11. Jukai, OLLA (Only Lovers Left Alive), While We're Young, Oblivion, Sativa
    12. Life Goes On, Save It Til Morning, A Little Work, M.I.L.F. $
    13. LMK, Waitin, Better, Blue Light, Turn To Dust
    14. We Love, Don't Call Me, Bibimbap
    15. Time, You Keep Me Waiting, Fool for You, Walls
    16. Crybaby, Til I'm Done, WW3, Kings and Queens
    17. shedontknowbutsheknows, stranger, hey you got drugs?, bitches
    18. Arisen My Senses, Blissing Me, Future Forever, Utopia
    19. Dum Surfer, Biscuit Town, Vidual


    V - Captain Murphy
    POP 2 - Charli XCX
    [Flying Lotus]
    [Kali Uchis]
    [Noonie Bao]
    [Say Lou Lou]

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    3AM (Pull Up), Babygirl, ILY2
    Unlock It, Tears, Backseat


    While Charli's always been a prolific pop songwriter, she's had her fair share of misses over the past couple of years (*cough* Vroom Vroom, After the Afterparty, half of True Romance and a bit of SUCKER *cough*), though I think that these two mixtapes were enough to convince me to re-purchase that Charli XCX stan card that I had burned so many times in the past! Since last year's Vroom Vroom, Charli's been working with the PC Music collective to create more innovative and unorthodox pop sounds, but unlike Vroom Vroom, which was just shit, she plastered SOPHIE's oddball sensibilities onto 2 of the most fun and accessible party playlists of the year. Number 1 Angel has the edge for me I think, because it has just enough solo showpiece moments (ILY2, Roll With Me, Emotional) to stand out next to the dancefloor duets (3AM, Babygirl, Lipgloss), but POP2 is so fucking amazing too and is growing on me at an extremely fast rate. It's so easy to just visualize Charli and her friends passing around the mic at a house party, spitballing over each of these wacky PC-ified instrumentals, and the kind of carefree and accessible pop that Charli made on Number 1 Angel and the genuinely experimental pop music that Charli concocted on POP2 were so missing in 2017's pop universe (despite certain popstars' failed efforts 💅) . These 2 mixtapes served as good and uplifting bookends for a shit year overall, but a great year for music!

  2. 7 hours ago, Vilppu said:

    I liked a decent amount of albums in 2016, this year I either couldn't bring myself to listen to full releases at all or ended up playing them once/twice and forgetting for some reason.


    can't say I feel the same! I also liked a decent amount of albums released last year, but it was just so dry in terms of my personal top faves coming through with album releases, especially compared to this year! this year also is filled with releases that I love by artists who I used to be on the fence about (i.e. SZA, Tyler, Lorde, Kelela to a lesser extent because I liked her a lot before, but way more now), whereas last year the no one really delivered for me bar the artists that I was already expecting to deliver and a couple more surprises

  3. 5 hours ago, Vilppu said:

    oh totally, they both owned 2016 in my eyes and the collab was a cherry on top, although it took a while to fully grow on me

    for some reason I held off on getting into Anderson .Paak until this year, but it was totally worth it! 99.9% was my album of the year last year, though to be fair, 2016 was mostly abysmal compared to this year

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    #HuntySUGGESTS: Crybaby, Til I'm Done, WW3, Kings and Queens


    On The Architect, Paloma opted to adapt her cinematic sound for a more politically-weary audience, and the result is a great album, albeit falling short of the excellence of her first two albums. The album goes down uncomfortable political avenues at times (the interludes come to mind), but when she gets it right, Paloma gets it so fucking right, especially on the glistening funk banger Crybaby, where she deconstructs the concept of toxic masculinity, and the shimmering female-empowering disco throwdown, Til I'm Done. The album is epic as always (par for the course with Paloma's music), though I wish the trimmed some of the fat in the middle of the album and at the end, because songs like Still Around and Tonight's Not the Only Night really have no place next to such grand political statements like The Architect and WW3. 


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    #HuntySUGGESTS: Biscuit Town, Dum Surfer, Czech One


    After seeing King Krule live at Tropicalia, I thought he was a bit of a diva: he turned up half-an-hour late, curtailed his set, demanded that the stage lights be turned off, and pretty much screamed his way through his set. But I guess...that's a part of his jazzy-punkstar essence! The OOZ is a punchy, texture-heavy, ghoulish, 19 track long monolith that lets us sink into the muddy and murky underbelly of deep London's underground scene, and there's a kind of beauty in the mucky chaos that torments this album. The album kind of comes off as a lo-fi, monochromatic film reel, which is exactly what I think he was going for? The OOZ kinda reminds me of Frank Ocean's Blonde in that sense: it's long, scattered, not at all single-driven, and yet is packed to the teeth with lush and raw instrumentation and amounts to something beautifully chaotic. I'm not sure this forum would necessarily be a fan of King Krule's work, but that's okay!

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    #HuntySUGGESTS: shedontknowbutsheknows, bitches, stranger, hey you got drugs?


    I vowed to myself that I'd never feature another Tove Lo album again after making the egregious mistake to feature Lady Wood on my last year's album list (which was a fucking terrible list in retrospect)...and yet here I am! Blue Lips tackles soft disco, French house, and more on album highlights like disco tits and shedontknowbutsheknows, and it packs a lot more sonic color and emotional punch than Lady Wood was able to muster, all in a sleek and musically-diverse package. It also has a successful sequel to Habits (hey you got drugs?), and I think that Lady Wood was really lacking in that kind of intimacy where Tove reeled back on that kind of ultra-sexual façade and projected her inner torment on an arena platform (hey you got drugs?, stranger, cycles). I had low expectations going into it, but I do overall think that Blue Lips is a step in the right direction for her, though I hope that she begins to journey outside of electronic dance for her next album, because it seems as though she's starting to dry up that spring


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    #HuntySUGGESTS:  Arisen My Senses, Blissing Me, Future Forever, Utopia


    As freeform as Utopia may be, it might just be her most instrumentally gorgeous album to date. After detailing her separation with her ex, Matthew Barney, on Vulnicura, Björk details her path to recovery on Utopia, and the result is a weightless musical odyssey teeming with flute, harp, and birdsong (literally). Those who complained about the length and shapelessness of Vulnicura will likely find many a reason to bitch about Utopia, but it was truly awesome to see the narrative that she developed on her last album complete itself on Utopia. Vulnicura, while amazing and beautiful, was dark and murky, and it was refreshing to finally hear liveliness in songs like Arisen My Senses and Blissing Me again, and the album as a whole radiates in color in a way that Vulnicura didn't. It's not her best work (as many Björkers will tell you), but it truly is a beautiful listen and a great addition to her catalogue.

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    #HuntySUGGESTS: Jukai, OLLA (Only Lovers Left Alive), While We're Young, Oblivion, Sativa


    I know it'd be a bit radical for me to declare that I still prefer Souled Out, but that doesn't make TRIP any less of a full-body experience. While Souled Out was altogether more spiritual in its element, TRIP is more of a metaphysical and psychedelic experience, with Jhené trying to visualize the whimsy and the chaos of a long-winded drug trip. With TRIP, Jhené takes us through the aural loops of memory that she chronicled during her 4-year grieving period, and her tales of woe translate beautifully into poetry. My favorite song on the album is the Jukai, which was inspired by the folklore surrounding the Aokigohara forest in Japan, because it seemed to be written in the same headspace as the material on Souled Out, though the other detours that she takes on this album are fantastic, like the mystical Dr. Chill duets and the post-apocalyptic disco hit OLLA (Only Lovers Left Alive). The album tells a cohesive story from start to finish and even the filler tracks add to the narrative of the album (though some tracks can honestly go! *cough* Newer Balance and Picture Perfect *cough*). Throughout TRIP, we walk in the footsteps of Jhené's life over the past 5 years, and though the album is long, it wouldn't feel nearly as complete or powerful any other way. I truly love every single song on the album, and it's definitely one of my absolute favorite albums of the year! Seeing her live at Tropicalia was the icing on the cake 💅


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    #HuntySUGGESTS: Time, You Keep Me Waiting, Fool for You, Walls


    I think that one of Snoh's many unique selling points is her ability to package old school soul and jazz sounds in a timeless musical tapestry, and I think that she executes that talent perfectly on FEELS, which is her debut album (under this moniker, at least!). After amping up the melodrama for last year's Don't Explain, Snoh took a more laidback and understated approach to her sound for FEELS, and it really shows on highlights like the woozy title track and the decadent album highlight Fool for You. Snoh's voice is truly this album's beacon though, and her incredible vocal performance on the album's showpiece, Time, really elevates this album from "great" to "AOTY-contender material". This album flows beautifully from start to finish, and it's great to see Snoh live out her technicolor fantasies on a full-length project where she gets to experiment with more sounds and more collaborators. Hopefully she'll complete her planned trilogy with another amazing project next year, because chapters 1 and 2 have both been A+'s!

  7. cute review! I've been into Vince Staples for a long while and BFT is definitely one of my favorite records this year, though I do agree with your main critiques (some of the hooks being underwhelming to the point that they make the song as a whole seem vapid *cough* Love Can Be..., Samo *cough*)! while I do agree that Homage has a relatively flaccid hook, I do think that the production is incredibly inventive and the verses are enough for the song to hinge on jj2 

    what albums are you planning on reviewing next? if you're still here that is wendy2 

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    #HuntySUGGESTS: We Love, Bibimbap, Don't Call Me


    Despite having been to a TOKiMONSTA show in the past, I really only made the choice to delve deep into her discography this year, which was a pretty fruitful decision on my part. After temporarily losing her ability to speak and hear music due to her rare brain disease Moyamoya, TOKiMONSTA had to learn how to compose music and language from scratch. Thankfully, Lune Rouge is much less sappy and dramatic than I expected, and much more triumphant and celebratory, which was probably the best artistic decision for her to make after her traumatic fight with her rare brain disease. I'd say that Lune Rouge is a lot of fun, but it ultimately amounts to something a bit less substantial than her stronger works, like Midnight Menu and Creature Dreams. Ultimately it's less instrumental-driven and much more pop-oriented than anything she's ever released before, but the pop singles are top-notch (We Love, NO WAY, Don't Call Me), and the instrumental tracks still have enough idiosyncrasies and oddball attributes to make them unique and ultimately true to TOKi's sound.


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    #HuntySUGGESTS: Life Goes On, Save It Til Morning, M.I.L.F. $, A Little Work


    Despite being a stalwart of Fergie's for many years, I hated the album when it initially leaked back in August. Fortunately, it's grown on me significantly since then, though I do think that the polish on the final mix of the album and the Visual Experience contributed significantly to that change. The old singles thankfully don't sound too jarring in the context of the album because they're really made of the same silver that constitutes the rest of the album, and the album is quite expansive in that regard, making room for both carefree pussy-poppers and lovely power ballads. But at the end of the day, it's extremely fun and it's a perfect encapsulation of her life during the last decade! It's wonderfully scattershot like The Dutchess, but like always, she makes it work.

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    #HuntySUGGESTS: Praying, Finding You, Let 'Em Talk, Rainbow


    The journey to Rainbow was long, dark, and arduous, but it's finally here and Kesha's bursting with more color than she ever had before! After 5 years of relative musical silence (because of her contentious legal struggle with Dr. Luke 🤮), Kesha burst back on the scene with her most colorful and raw album to date, fitting in folk, pop, glam-rock, country, and electronic sounds all under this album's wide-encompassing niche. This album's musical palette makes room for beautifully whimsical guitar-laden folk, like Finding You and Godzilla, and room for more powerful and reflective musical moments, like Praying and Learn to Let Go, and it all jells together in a beautifully optimistic, cathartic, and ultimately fun musical experience. It may not be her best imo, but it certainly is her most important album to date, and both it and Praying have already proven to be touchstones for Kesha's musical career.


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    #HuntySUGGESTS: LMK, Better, Blue Light, Waitin, Turn To Dust


    Kelela has always had a reputation for pushing R&B to its most cutting-edge and experimental limits, but I really think that she best executed that talent the most successfully on Take Me Apart, which is by far her most fucking amazing album to date, like that bitch went all the way off! Kelela employed some of the most innovative R&B productions from her musical arsenal, and managed to fold the instrumentals in a way that sounds otherworldly, but also grounded and earthed at the same time. Kelela has a way to apply intimacy to the most amorphous and spacial R&B beats, like on the shapeless and ambient Enough and the interplanetary and heavily laminated album centerpiece, Blue Light. She still has the songwriting prowess to mold her music for the club though, with songs like LMK (in particular) and Truth Or Dare serving futuristic Janet Jackson in the club realness! Kelela really has the talent to manage to perfect her R&B craft anywhere on the R&B spectrum, whether it be keeping it somber and downbeat on album highlight Better, amping the fire up to a 10 on LMK, or amping the experimentation up to 1000 on the shapeless and glitchy Onanon. Kelela finally managed to live up to her reputation on Take Me Apart, becoming the incredible R&B songstress that I always wanted her to be

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    #HuntySUGGESTS: Love Galore, Garden (Say It Like Dat), Supermodel, Drew Barrymore


    When I first gave CTRL a spin, I liked it a lot but I had no intention of listening to it again. A month later however , I randomly decided to break that vow, and that decision was one of the most rewarding choices I made this year, given that this album became one of my top favorites this year. I found her old stuff nice, albeit a little too ambient and vibey, but this album was perfectly raw and emotionally intelligent in a way that I never expected her music to be. There is a kinda understated beauty to to the whole vibe of the album, and SZA perfectly marries her wide assortment of languid instrumentals to her crisp and biting lyrics, especially on songs like Garden (Say It Like Dat) and Supermodel where she unveils her deepest insecurities to the listener, set to the most gossamer R&B instrumentals. I think her songwriting is considerably less inhibited on CTRL than it was on Z, and she was able to connect with me with her songwriting on this album by making her music so much more forthright and less encapsulated in reverb. Really happy she grounded her craft on this album and forsook the heady synths that Z was so rife with, especially on the softer tunes like Love Galore and 20 Something. Yeah, I wasn't initially floored by this album, but once I was able to break the mold with it, it became one of my favorite albums of the year, and it was so worthwhile to be able to dive into the emotionally complex web that is CTRL.


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    #HuntySUGGESTS: 911/Mr. Lonely, See You Again, Pothole, November


    Flower Boy was a beautiful coming of age album, following his rather vulgar and chaotic previous efforts, Wolf and Cherry Bomb. Flower Boy came out around the same time as Lust for Life, so it didn't initially garner that much traction in my library, but after taking another glimpse at it, it's clear that Tyler has widened his musical scope so much further than he previously allowed himself before. The album is lush and tender, and the album was clearly conceptualized to visualize the irresponsibility of youth, which translated beautifully on songs like See You Again and November. There are a lot of pastoral references as a whole, with the running "blooming flower" and "garden shed" conceits clearly alluding to Tyler's newly-revealed sexuality, and I feel as though the general tapestry of the album is very subdued and and teeming with sylvan-allusions as well. My main gripe with the album is that it's occasionally flyover at times, and that the guests on the album occasionally overshadowed his contributions, but I think that this album is a much more full body experience than Cherry Bomb ever was! Time to try to get into his discography again!

  11. 1 minute ago, Stars Are Made To Shine said:

    The one directly in front of me during my show definitely was sia1 (and this was a GA standing show - aka, no seats, aka they were VERY scarily close to me)

    Yeah I didn't get a 'secondhand high' from the Kehlani or the Kendrick show. All I did was cough-cough-cough-cough, just like with cigs. Marriage iguana may not be as deadly to smoke as cigs, but both are equally as deadly to my lungs/both make me cough up a storm.

    Again though, the Kendrick show was not even nearly as close as the Kehlani show with uncomfortable-smoking, because in this one we were actually seated, and again, the Kendrick fan only took 4 "drags" or whatever they're called.

    Exactly! And how the heck do you top HUMBLE of all songs? THAT should have been the encore song. If not it, then Alright or something. Shaking my head at his choices to be honest.

    you were seated at the Kendrick concert? wtf? would've expected a mosh pit dead2 I agree that HUMBLE. should've been the encore track though? he could've done a cute throwback to HiiiPoWeR but GOD. is such a flaccid encore track lmao

  12. you're so cute oprah2 happy you had such a great time! kind of awkward to end the concert with GOD. though, like there are better songs to end a concert with from the same album alone oprah5 but yeah hip-hop concerts tend to be replete with potheads! I remember when I went to 2015's Camp Flog Gnaw festival and Snoop Dogg came up at midnight and I shit you not like literally 50% of the group took their joints out of their pockets and started smoking ... I'm so blessed I didn't get a contact high! I got sick later though dead2oprah5 

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    #HuntySUGGESTS: Want You Back, Ready for You, Walking Away


    Admittedly this album was a little disappointing, considering how ubiquitous Days Are Gone was for me in 2013, but it was still tons of fun! Something to Tell You is a little less effervescent than their debut, but that was probably the intention though, because the album is a lot more mature and seasoned than their debut. Overall this album stays mostly within the walls of that West Coast pop-rock girl-group niche that they're mostly known for, which is a shame because the sonic detours that they took, like on the R&B kiss-off Walking Away, really paid off. Still, they definitely struck gold on the spots on the album where they zeroed in on the sound that got them famous in the first place (Want You Back, Ready for You, Little of Your Love). Something to Tell You is a bit of a sophomore slump, but is still definitely a very cute, sun-kissed summer soundtrack and a solid album!



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    #HuntySUGGESTS: Love, Tomorrow Never Came, Cherry, Get Free, Beautiful People Beautiful Problems


    Obviously, Lana is my fave and I can go on for hours about this album but I'll try to keep it relatively concise (relatively!) and just establish right now that it's probably my AOTY! 💋 When Lana debuted the lead single off of Lust for Life in February, the triumphant ode to young love, Love, we all knew that Lana was turning a new leaf in her career. On Lust for Life, it seems as though Lana decided to forsake the general gloom that girthed the entirety of her back catalogue and embrace a more optimistic disposition. She even opted to smile on the album cover, which is probably the most vivid visual testament to the change in her ethos that we have (as cheesy as it sounds!). Songs like Coachella - Woodstock In My Mind and Lust for Life still radiate with unshakeable optimism, despite the darkness lurking underneath them. It was just really cool overall to see Lana play the part of the hipster fodder on this album (Tomorrow Never Came) and play the part of the onlooker on this album, singing about the woes of this ever-tumultuous world that we live in today and praying for some kind of world peace, possibly through voodoo! 

    We still get that classic Lana sound that we all know and love, like on the sultry and sophisticated cavernous torch song, Cherry, and the downbeat Hollywood film score, 13 Beaches. But just as that smile promised, there's been a change in tone and atmosphere as well. Lust for Life is her first album where she broke out of her own cocoon and passed the mic to other musical collaborators on an album of hers, and that choice provided a whole new dynamic that had never been seen before on a Lana album. Whether it be Stevie and Lana singing about their woes on downbeat piano showpiece Beautiful People Beautiful Problems, Lana brownnosing to her celeb crush Rocky on the woozy and heady slow-burner Groupie Love, or Lana and Sean Ono Lennon singsonging in the pouring rain on the folky and pastoral Beatles-esque album centerpiece, Tomorrow Never Came (also the album's best moment, don't @ me!), by opening the doors to new collaborators, Lana allowed for a whole new level of intrigue to her music that she wasn't able to foster before. Lana also decided to dip her toes into the mires of the political sphere, and while her political messages can get a little clunky (*cough* Change, When the World Was at War We Kept Dancing), it was truly fascinating to see her strive for personal resolve in a way that she hadn't allowed herself to before. Her more political songs are a little benign, but when she allows room for more interpretive flexibility, like on the album's bookends, the warm and hearty Love, and the serene Shangri-La-esque anthem, Get Free, she really manages to hit that much harder and resonate that much stronger. Overall, Lust for Life isn't a perfect masterpiece, but it's a perfect masterpiece, and it's a peephole into Lana's ever-evolving musical world. Here's to hoping she continues changing it up on Løst for Life next year! Out 👏 of 👏 the 👏 black 👏 and 👏 into 👏 the 👏 blue 👏 indeed ✔

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    #HuntySUGGESTS: All About Me, Shake Em Off, Insecurities


    This album didn't really impress me at first, but it really proved to be one of the more interesting and forward-thinking debuts released in 2017 by the year's end in my opinion. The production is a little tinny at times, but the jazzy cadence that guides this album helps this album find its footing by obscuring the lines between traditional R&B and neo-soul, and I also found it kinda cool to see her challenge the heteronormative culture that has been fostered in R&B and hip-hop in general, especially because she's clearly very (very, very 👀) gay and really just glides into the role of the "male voyeur" observing the female character with relative ease. This album isn't necessarily immediate either, as I had to listen to it in its entirety several times before really being able to appreciate the dissonant and slinky R&B direction that she cultivated on the album, especially on the lowkey and glacial Smile More and the relatively weightless closer, Insecurities. It really is a curious project overall, and she also released a cool 3-track appendage to Fin in September, titled Always Never Home, which also makes this era a more satisfying experience!


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    #HuntySUGGESTS: Big Fish, Yeah Right, Homage, Bagbak


    I've been following Long Beach rapper Vince Staples since early 2015 (I hit it first! @Lachlan), and with Big Fish Theory, it seems as though he dexterously managed to tread the vast expanses that Summertime '06 covered, but in nearly half the time. Big Fish Theory is an abrasive 37 minute-long capsule bubbling with the most frenetic, industrial, and forward-thinking hip-hop beats I've heard in years. Vince's raps are incredible and challenging as always, and he spitballs bars all over a diverse array of techno, G-Funk, electronic, and grime beats. And despite the fact that this album is so sonically innovative, he does remain very much on-trend as well, with singles like Big Fish and Bagbak channeling that G-Funk boom-bap hip-hop style that's so hot right now. I personally feel as though Summertime '06 was a more dynamic and varied body of work, but Big Fish Theory just might be a tad stronger, packaging all of Vince's musical chaos turmoil in a concise, fluid package. This album was the perfect complement to DAMN., with both Kendrick and Vince managing to skew the rap landscape in 2017 by releasing 2 of the best rap records this year. Love Californian excellence!

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    #HuntySUGGESTS: Casanova, Need You, Vintage


    It took this bitch 2 fucking years-worth of incessant carrot-dangling and teasing, but Allie finally came through with her second CollXtion project! CollXtion II was definitely a step up from its predecessor, which I thought had higher highs but unfortunately way lower lows. CollXtion II is thankfully less scattershot overall, though I can't act as though there's a song on the album that reaches the same level of pop perfection that songs like Bitch and Prime did (though Casanova comes quite close). CollXtion II is also quite cohesive, though admittedly some of Allie's edge gets lost in the gloss and there are some points on the album where the music gets quite vanilla (like on Downtown and True Love Is Violent). Still, CollXtion II was a fun sophomore project and I can't wait to see what she has in store for us on CollXtion III!


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    #HuntySUGGESTS: The Louvre, Homemade Dynamite, Liability, Writer in the Dark


    Larde really won me over with Melodrama! I haven't been into her since The Love Club, and by releasing one of the most pensive and beautifully-written concept records of 2017 (and one of my absolute favorites), she managed to resonate harder than she ever was able to before as the whiny, bitchy goth caricature that she embodied for Pure Heroine. By releasing some of her most introspective and visceral material to date, she was able to foster a kind of nostalgic atmosphere that anyone can relate to, especially on the more threadbare and vulnerable cuts on the album like Liability and Writer in the Dark, the more galvanizing and electric party anthems like Green Light and Perfect Places, and the weird grey area that falls in between those 2 extremes, like The Louvre and Hard Feelings/Loveless. With age comes maturity, and it was really refreshing to see her drop the "I'm a serious and angsty alternative slam poet" shtick to evolve into an artist more willing to use her art as catharsis. This album is just so strikingly fully-formed and organically powerful, and it's really just incredible how she was able to compact so much heavy content into such a concise package. Now if only she were more willing to dump the Taylor Swift circlejerk, that'd be fantastic!

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    This album was made out by many to be Joey Bada$$' big political statement, but in my opinion, it frankly doesn't really add much to the conversation and it doesn't really approach the topics of race relations and systematic oppression in creative ways outside of Y U DON'T LOVE ME?. Still, I admire how politically heavy-handed this album is and Joey's flow on this album is slick and incredible as always. The beats are a little softer than they were on B4.DA.$$, but it's still a very polished and well-orchestrated product, and its instrumentation is understated yet lush, pivoting more towards the tender, jazz-inflected approach to rap that made the golden-age of hip-hop so noteworthy. I wish that this album's lyrics were more a little  subversive and less sanitized, because aside from the various personal attacks on Donald Tr*mp, I didn't really feel as though he's really saying anything that wasn't already a part of the public's collective thought. Still a great project from an awesome rap talent overall, though.


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    I didn't feel as though DAMN. was the masterpiece that critics heralded it to be at first, but Kendrick's 4th (not 3rd!) studio album really is a complex masterstroke of hip-hop excellence. We haven't seen this much this much raw candor and abrasion out of him since Section.80, we haven't seen him employ such expensive beats and compact them in such a traditional hip-hop product since good kid, m.A.A.d city, and we haven't seen nearly as much introspection and such a cohesive narrative in one of his projects since To Pimp a Butterfly. It doesn't read as such a profound project at first, but there's a sense of duality that flows through the record (PRIDE. preceding HUMBLE., LOVE. following LUST., etc.) and there are so many interwoven narratives in this record (made apparent if you listen to it from front-to-back and also vice-versa) that really give the tracks different contexts depending on the way that you listen to them. This album really is a turbulent and tumultuous listen, with tracks like DNA. and FEAR. really broadcasting a hellish amount of inner turmoil, and yet the album's pieced together so that Kendrick can roll out his powerful lyrical dexterity on any kind of sonic avenue, with this album featuring hot boom-bap banger beats (ELEMENT., HUMBLE., DNA.), smoky jazz (FEAR., DUCKWORTH., YAH.)  and any other kind of offbeat, cacophonous kind of instrumental (LUST., XXX.). There's so much more that I can say about this album, and yet I still think that it's his third best effort behind To Pimp a Butterfly and good kid, m.A.A.d city. But for the fourth time straight on a widescreen commercial platform, Kendrick really has proven that he's the best, smartest, and hottest in the game. Poor everyone!