ALBUM(?) REVIEW: More Life by Drake

By Will Sexton (@willshesleeps)
 
Change of direction and sound is something that is always argued about in the world of music, dividing and/or bringing in new fans. Drake’s ‘More Life’ is an album that is definitely dividing audiences, possibly pushing away his older fans but bring new fans in in the thousands. More Life is a dancehall dominated playlist, influence presumably from the success of 2 of the lead singles (One Dance and Too Good feat. Rihanna) from Drake’s last album Views. The playlist also includes the moody nocturnal vibe that Drake always brings to the table.
 
 

 
The first thing that’ll attract you to More Life, besides the fact Drake is one of the biggest artists around in this modern day, was the features. Seeing names like Giggs and Skepta will bring people in from the other side of the pond, Drake representing his connection to Boy Better Know (Skepta’s record label) and it gives grime more of an opportunity to show its face in the United States. Other features that attracted me was the new voice of soul, Jorja Smith, big auto-tune rappers like Young Thug and Travis Scott and of course the infamous Kanye West.
 
Still, More Life seems very safe. Lots of singing from Drake himself, pushing his pop-rap style further into the mainstream, and lots of the beats are based off the dancehall style that he was so successful with. Some tracks are easy listening, nice to put on in the background. If I played some of these songs at a party, I wouldn’t piss anyone off. I played some of the tracks to my mum, someone who’s not a fan of anything rap, and she loved it. Not that that’s a bad thing, but considering 2 years ago songs like Energy and Legend being two huge hits from the most recent album of the time If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late shows how Drake, even 2 years down the line, has migrated most of his attention to the songs you could play in mainstream clubs.
 
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Regardless of this, it’s a good playlist.  Drake pulls a lot of emotion out on some of these songs, talking further into the struggles of fame on the song Do Not Disturb with lines like ‘Can’t describe what my life is like when she asks about it, scary whenever I close my eyes at night, wakin’ up to public statements about my private life’, describing how his life has got so busy he can’t even talk about what he does anymore and is also scared of public attention. Also showing heartbreak and loss on the song Lose You and the lead single from the playlist being Fake Love about fake friends.
 
The other thing that interests me about this playlist is that some of the features have their own tracks, a feature that artists like Frank Ocean and Kanye West have done on their own respected albums. Sampha and Skepta throw their own styles into the mix, which is possibly why the album is described as a playlist. In addition to this, the samples used for some of the songs are out of the blue, like some of the soundtrack from the 2006 video game Sonic The Hedgehog used in the song KMT and samples J-Lo’s ‘If You Had My Love’ on Teenage Fever’ which is slamming.
 
Overall the album has struck a chord with me more than Views did. Besides the dancehall, the album is, for the most part, darker; however some of the songs are forgetful, maybe throwing 22 songs in is stretching it a bit thin.  It does feel quite like a B-Side album of songs that didn’t make Views but it’s still pretty solid. 

7/10

BEST TRACKS: Passionfruit, 4422, Do Not Disturb, Can’t Have Everything, Blem, Fake Love and Lose You.


Bar a few filler tracks, a solid effort filled with great features and cracking production

7/10 – Jake Cordiner (@jjjaketh)

Thankfully making up for the disappointment that was Views, the variety in sound and solid features is sadly brought down by a handful of filler tracks.

7/10 – Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)


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10 Worst Songs of 2016

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

As we bid farewell to 2016, arguably the shittest year in terms of right wing racists and celebrity deaths this century, and reminisce on all the high-quality albums and singles the year has provided. Of course, there are plenty that I’ve missed out and it goes without saying that these are personal choices and that if you genuinely like any of these songs then good for you and I am glad that you see something in these that I do not: too bad you’re not writing this.

In addition to that, if there are any songs that you think are missing or don’t deserve to be here then don’t forget to drop a comment in the section below. With that being said, in no particular order, let’s get on with it…

10.Blink-182 – Rabbit Hole

Oh blink-182. One of my favourite acts (can you not tell from the URL?)  you managed to put me at ease after the departure of founding member Tom Delonge with the delightfully solid track Bored To Death off your upcoming album California only to deliver this….thing. Rabbit Hole oddly enough falls into the same pitfall that Bored To Death barely skipped over with the lyrics and sound being too stuck in the past. Every line uttered just sounds like the ramblings off some 17-year old’s Tumblr page and not that of a forty odd-year-old who has shown his songwriting ability by managing to tackle some interesting subject matter. Thankfully the rest of the album wasn’t as abysmal as Rabbit Hole though it seems like the “triumphant return” of one of pop punk’s biggest bands was more than a little underwhelming.

9. Drake – One Dance

I can tell that I’m going to get a lot of slack for featuring Drake on this list but bare with me. Firstly, I’m not huge on Views: it’s somehow more of a mess than The Life Of Pablo with lifeless tracks devoid of any emotion and sometimes effort with One Dance being the epitome of that. Managing to stay at number one for weeks on end, the track is no doubt catchy but overall unambitious despite the afrobeat influences and influencers that appear on it. That’s not to say I don’t like Drake, shown by his appearance of last year’s best album list and the fact I’m willing paying £80 to see him next year.

As the year has gone on, and more intolerable tracks have made an appearance, it seems like the biggest problem with One Dance isn’t that it is objectively bad, it’s just wasted potential. Some may see it as the perfect club track but with Drake’s vocals being almost as drab as the piano mash that kicks off the song, I’m finding it harder and harder to get down with One Dance.

8. Mike Posner – I Took A Pill In Ibiza

If I took a pill everytime I had to listen to this song while working at my summer job, I’d OD which would be far more enjoyable than enduring Posner’s pish attempt at retaining his long lost relevance. Cooler Than Me was a product of its time and while you could mistake it for any late noughties pop song, it was at least tolerable. At one point during I Took A Pill, Posner mentions that he knows a sad song and due to how close to tears you’ll probably be if you have to listen to it for a second longer, it might be the most meta thing to come out of a year that included a fucking Deadpool movie.

7. Jacob Satorious – Sweatshirt

Considering the massive like to dislike ratio on the music video for this song, it’s not an unpopular decision to have Sweatshirt on this list. The second coming of annoying prepubescent teen pop, Jacob Satorious is harmless but that doesn’t make his music any less frutratingly generic and cringey. The reason why it’s not any higher is that, thanks to multiple remixes and satirical takes on the song, Sweatshirt has potential to make you laugh though that probably wasn’t Satorious’ intention. Despite that though, listen to this at your own risk. (Sorry Teagan Ner)

6. Jake Bugg – Ain’t No Rhyme

Credit where credit is due here: Jake Bugg’s new album isn’t the worst thing I’ve heard this year. While most of his recent LP On My One is sub-par at best, nothing that appears on the album is overly offensive to the ears like some of his discography. However, as soon as I came across Ain’t No Rhyme I felt revolted by Bugg trying to seem somewhat politically involved though it all comes off as impressive as Slaves going on about how we need to “take control” for the millionth time. More on that next week though. Bugg’s attempt at rapping or some variant of it is enough to have you reaching for the nearest bin.

5. The Stone Roses – All For One

If you’re going to return from a long-spanning hiatus, during which your debut album has accumulated a large amount of critical acclaim and a cult status, it’s probably best not to hit out with this as your comeback song. Back in the 80’s The Stone Roses were constantly hailed as one of the pioneering acts of music at the time and whether you disagree with that or not, there’s no doubt that I’d rather listen to anything else they’ve made than this generic BNQ advert drivel.

4. Fall Out Boy ft. Missy Elliott – Ghostbusters

While my affiliation with the Ghostbusters franchise isn’t as strong as the MRA’s who lost their shit with this year’s reboot, I, much like everyone else, found this remix of the classic theme tune very sacrilicious. The Missy Elliott verse is so out of place, not to mention plain as vanilla, Patrick Stump’s vocals seems overdone when the instrumentals are as uninteresting as they are and only when the song finally ends will you find some degree of enjoyment. They might not be afraid of no ghost but they’re definitely feart of making decent music at their current rate.

3. Lukas Graham – 7 Years

I have reason to believe that this track is the cause for many of those working in retail to be in such a sour mood. Having peaked at Number One in February and seemingly managing to stay “relevant” since 7 Years is a song that goes out of its way to try and evoke nostalgia and tranquillity yet only manages to enrage with its bland instrumentals and mind-numbing lyrics. Message to Lukas Graham: if you’re going to sing about being seven years old, something that plenty have managed, at least tell us something interesting that isn’t about how you had no pals.

2. The Chainsmokers – Closer

Call me an over-reacting little waine but The Chainsmokers may be the worst thing to happen to the charts since Calvin Harris sold his soul to make souless, formulaic chart hits. The duo have been very prominent this year and, if I’m being honest, I wouldn’t expect to have had to ever write about them again after just how dated and forgetful their first hit Selfie was all the way back in 2014. Closer manages to be somehow worse than all of the other “hits” Chainsmokers have shown off by featuring another artist who is equally as devoid of any entertainment, that person being Halsey. Both artists come together to create a song that, while having a great deal of meme potential, is enough to send you into a generic electro induced coma.

1. Catfish And The Bottlemen – Glasgow

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And to finish things off,  here we have our old friends Catfish And The Bottlemen. The band, being the saints that they are, decided to find it in their hearts to sing a heartfelt song about Scotland’s favourite music thriving city by doing it the only way they can: putting no effort in and consuming far too much alcohol to realise what a mistake they had made. Whether it be just how dire the song is, acoustic does not give you the excuse to be boring, or the blood curling way Van pronounces Sauchiehall Street, there’s plenty to love here! Wait, scratch that, I meant hate. Hate.

~

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Best Of: April 2016

A lookback at this month in music, listing the greatest albums and singles that April had to offer.

ALBUMS

5. Drake – Views

While it may go on a bit longer than necessary and hit a few dud notes in the process, the highlights of Drake’s fourth LP far outweigh these gripes and result in Views being another strong entry in the Toronto rapper’s discography.

[FULL REVIEW HERE E.T.A 3/05/2016]

4. Parquet Courts – Human Performance
Parquet Courts - Human Performance

One of the finest rock records of the year, Parquet Courts provide smart lyrics which, whilst not inherently political, make the listener think whilst simultaneously delivering entertaining raw and rugged music.

3. Frightened Rabbit – Painting Of A Panic Attack

It’s no coincidence that, five albums into their career, Scottish rockers Frightened Rabbit have crafted their most mature album yet. While it doesn’t have as many anthems as previous records, the heartbreaking and emotional nature of Painting Of A Panic Attack is one that will resonate with you more than anything the band have ever released.

2. Death Grips – Bottomless Pit
Death Grips - Bottomless Pit

In traditional Death Grips fashion, Bottomless Pit was leaked in advance and thank god it was. Displaying the accessibility of The Money Store, the punk influences from Ex Military and the utter craziness of The Powers That B, the Sacramento act have one again resurrected to grace us with one of the most enjoyable listens of the year.

[FULL REVIEW HERE E.T.A 3/05/2016]

1. Weezer – Weezer (White Album)
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The callbacks, both lyrically and instrumentally, aren’t just brief bits of fan service, instead they’re reminders of what the band can do and will immediately top just a few seconds after you recognise them. The nerdiness is even more introverted, the romance even more anxious and fleshed out than before, and the grunge pop sound even more satisfying. You can shout it from the rooftops: Weezer are back and better than ever.

[FULL REVIEW HERE]

SONGS

5. Holy Fuck – Xed Eyes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peG6ZeBk_BE

4. Schoolboy Q – Groovy Tony

3. Skepta – Man

2. Moose Blood – Honey

1. PUP – If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You Then I Will

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IM472k0Md8

~

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New Drake Track Leaks Online Ahead Of Album Release

It seems like Drake can’t hold off potential leaks of his anticipated Views From The 6 as another new track has appeared online.

Faithful, which will appear on the Toronto rapper’s follow up to 2013 release Nothing Was The Same, features Aubrey and Chad Lamont Butler aka Pimp C, then late hip hop producer. The track is set to mirror the sound established on his 2011 album Take Care.

Drake hasn’t been silent about his admiration of  Pimp C. Speaking to MTV News back in 2010, Drake said:

I’m a huge Pimp supporter. I’m a huge Pimp fan. I feel like I’m extended UGK family. Bun and Pimp are like uncles, dads to me. They’re G’s. [When I’m around them], I feel like I do around my uncles.

This isn’t the first time this has occurred as it follows a string of leaks which include Controlla featuring Popcaan and a cover of a 1970’s song called These Days. Views From The 6 is set to be released this month which will feature Meek Mill diss track Summer Sixteen.

 

This Week In Music: 12th – 19th March

Covering the biggest music stories of the past seven days to keep you in the know!

Death Grips open up about Bottomless Pit

After stating that their 2015 release Jenny Death would be the band’s last, Death Grips quickly followed up that news with the announcement of Bottomless Pit and last night we got our first details.Album artwork was unveiled by the band on Twitter, featuring a woman with a fairly ominous smile, along with the back cover that had the words “very shallow listening” written on it. The tracklist was also shown off and is as follows:

01 Giving Bad People Good ideas

02 Hot Head
03 Spikes
04 Warping
05 Eh
06 Bubbles Buried in the Jungle
07 Trash
08 Houdini
09 BB Poison
10 Three Bedrooms in a Good Neighborhood
11 Ring a Bell
12 8080808
13 Bottomless Pit

Whilst there’s no firm release date, anyone with very little Death Grips knowledge will know fans can expect to see it launched in yet another unconventional way.

Rumour has it festival goers are split over Glasto announcement

Pop juggernaut Adele yesterday confirmed that she will headline Glastonbury’s Saturday night. The Hello star, the final headliner for the festival, will be joining Muse and Coldplay who will headline Friday and Sunday respectively. Twitter was split right down the middle about the news, opinions ranging from furious to delighted:

Despite the mixed reception, Adele has hit back out at those who think she is too dull to headline the festival:

“And to the people who say I am too boring to headline, you’re more fucking boring for moaning about me headlining”

Fans Biff out over Scottish rockers headline show

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In a week full of teasing from the band over their upcoming LP, Scottish three piece act Biffy Clyro have announced their biggest headline show yet. The band, who have already been announced as headliners for Reading + Leeds, will play at Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park alongside support act Fall Out Boy on August 27th.

The band have released several teasers over the past week that have lead to speculation over their new album, the follow up to 2013 double LP Opposites, being released as soon as this month. Annie Mac will be showcasing the band’s first single Wolves Of Winter off their new album as her Hottest Track In The World on Monday, tune into Radio 1 at 7:20PM to hear their Death Grips and Tears For Fears influenced sound!

Kanye breathes new life into Pablo

Despite being released just last month, Kanye is still tweaking his seventh LP The Life Of Pablo. Earlier this month, ‘Ye tweeted, “excited to see my family and finish the final mixes of the Life of Pablo and keep working on Turbografx 16 and Season 4” and fans on Tidal witnessed these changes this week.

Some changes are more obvious than others with Wolves tweaks being the most obvious, incorporating vocals from Sia and Vic Mensa as well as some simple touches like echoed lyrics. As well as this, an extra track was added by man in hiding Frank Ocean though it’s essentially just the outro to the aforementioned Wolves. Many commentators are describing this as an evolution for albums, making comparisons to other entertainment such as video games that are at an advantage thanks to things like DLC and patches.

RUMOURED: LCD Soundsystem and Radiohead to headline Lollapalooza

Another week, another festival announcement, this time for Chicago fest Lollapalooza who are set to celebrate their 25th birthday in a big way. While the organisers haven’t announced any of the lineup, Consequence of Sound reported that LCD Soundsystem, Radiohead and Red Hot Chili Peppers will be headlining.

These aren’t totally unbelievable predictions considering all three acts are expected to release new music this year. This news comes just a few weeks after Reading + Leeds had their lineup leaked just a couple of days before they were expected to announce it, showing the difficulties organisers face when keeping their festival secret.

Watch The Throne 2.0? Drake and Kendrick collab rumours

It may be a case of enemies turned partners if rumours are to believed about a potential Kendrick Lamar X Drake collaboration project. The two rappers have had some very public beef, usually in the form of tracks such as Compton that has resulted in a tense relationship. Rumours have plagued the internet however, suggesting that the two might bury the hatchet.

Instagram photos surfaced from Drake’s account showing a stack of $2 bills which fans think is no coincidence when considering that Kendrick posted a video on snapchat of him counting bills. While nothing may come of this, the fact both artists are currently making new music means there’s definitely some subsistence to this story.

No Surprises: Radiohead Gigs Sell Out Within Minutes

Following the announcement of a world tour, tickets for Radiohead’s big comeback following years of no activity sold out almost instantaneous. While details about the new album are still non existent, 20 minutes was all it took for the three headline shows in London to sell all tickets available.

Though it is an impressive achievement, many fans were left disappointed and empty handed due to the massive demand, least of all frontman Thom Yorke:

Yorke also warned fans about paying extravagant amounts of money for tickets off of second hand sites, stating that they may not be valid for entry due to the tickets being tied to the person who bought them and their ID.

R.I.P DJ Derek

A post mortem test concluded that remains of a body that were found by police belonged to Bristol DJ Derek Serpell-Morris. Although he was 74 years old, he didn’t retire until 2013 after starting from playing small clubs and pubs to regularly appearing at huge festivals like Glastonbury. Known for playing mainly black artists from various genres including reggae, DJ Derek stood out amongst the rest and will be greatly missed.

 

Top 10 Anticipated Albums of 2016

With my first video telling you all about my favourite albums of 2015, here’s a list of all the albums I’m excited to listen to this year!

 

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Top 25 Albums Of 2015

It’s time.

List season. It’s odd how something with such a boring name could cause heated debate amongst many, though that’s nothing new for the internet. So as I’ve always done since 2013, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite albums of the past 12 months, ranging from heavy rock to pop to grime to rap, there’ll no doubt be something here for you. Disagree with me? Well you could always contribute to my Best of 2015 post which is coming next Thursday, just message me on Twitter or Facebook and you’ll be sorted!

I hope you enjoy this list which took far too much time to make than I’m proud to admit. So put the pitchforks down for now and let’s dive in.

25. At. Long. Last. ASAP – A$AP Rocky

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Following up his 2013 debut Long Live ASAP, Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky gets even more experimental on this sophomore album. While there’s significantly less chart gems present than his last outing, the same charm and production value can be felt on every track.

 

24. Purpose – Justin Bieber

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Time for all those awfully spelt insults and memes we made about biebs to disappear. He is back and with a totally transformed sound as those who once slated him are now praising him as tracks like Sorry are pop perfection. While his vocals might be a bit lackluster and too safe, the influence Kanye, Skrillex and co. have had on the lad has paid off.

23. Back On Top – The Front Bottoms

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While Talon Of The Hawk felt like a AAA version of The Front Bottoms’ self loathing lyric fueled sound, Back On Top feels like the beginning of a new chapter for the band. Historic Cemetery just screams Weezer and other tracks like Cough It Out are as catchy as a cold (albeit more enjoyable). A near flawless amalgamation of emo & pop-punk.

22. Every Open Eye – CHVRCHES 

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There’s no denying that CHVRCHES are one of the best new bands to come out in quite a while, breathing new life into the synth pop genre and yet again reiterating how vibrant the Glasgow music scene is. Every Open Eye is like the Empire Strikes Back for the band: more gritty, more epic but faithful to what made the band what they are.

21. For All My Sisters – The Cribs

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West Yorkshire band The Cribs might have hit out with their best album yet, full of the indie punk greatness that put them on the radar in the first place. See Pink Snow for a chaotic crescendo closer that results in another classic album for the band’s discography.

 

20. Currents – Tame Impala

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Despite constantly being compared to the likes of Radiohead for their album rock genius, Tame Impala somehow manage to merge frontman Kevin Parker’s uncontrollable love of pop and their trademark psychedelic sound to craft something truly special. A breakup album disguised as a feel good, funky gem, Currents is only as good as the sum of its parts and those parts are undeniably brilliant.

19. Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit – Courtney Barnett

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Courtney Barnett has proved time and time again why she deserves to be put on a pedestal, despite what she might say on Pedestrian At Best. Sometimes I Sit.. has an unprecedented charm to it and is insanely listenable. Absolutely exceptional.

 

 

18. Art Angels – Grimes

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As abnormally appealing as they come, Grimes returns with a record which is far more pop orientated than anything she’s ever made before yet it still retains all her trademark characteristics. California is a radio friendly hit that never verges into sell-out territory. She may have scrapped an entire album before this but when the replacement sounds this good, we’re not losing any sleep.

17. Cherry Bomb – Tyler The Creator

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While the ever controversial Tyler may have had a bad 2015 (OFWGKTA is no more, fall out with best pal Earl Sweatshirt, banned from UK), he can end the year knowing his latest album is arguably his best yet. A Frankenstein’s monster of sorts, Cherry Bomb fuses Tyler’s influencers (N.E.R.D, Stevie Wonder) and his own own dubious rap style to make a distorted masterpiece.

16. Another One – Mac DeMarco

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It really is testament to how talented Mac DeMarco is that a mini album manages to stand above full LPs. In his own words, Another One is about “different kinds of facets of being in love, being out of love, wanting love, not wanting love”. This concept never grows tiresome over the record’s eight track length and further refines his already sublime laid back sound.

15. Happy People – Peace 

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Peace know what they are: floppy haired indie royalty, just like Arctic Monkeys before them. They’re not ashamed of this in the slightest though as they embrace this wholeheartedly. Happy People has exactly what you’d expect from the guys who brought you bloodshake as well as some even heavier tracks like I’m A Girl, showing the band are still as capable as ever to fire out some more indie-rock gems.

14. What Went Down – Foals

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It’s hard to recall an album this year that has managed to balance balls to the wall heavy rock and cordial little tracks all on the one LP. Foals have proven yet again that it’s not in their DNA to make a bad album.

 

13. Are You Satisfied – Slaves

81rIWd69XNL._SL1417_The debut album is often a record which most bands would play it safe on to be more approachable by the public. This isn’t the case for Kent punk duo Slaves who showcase their silliness on Feed The Mantaray while also trying to get their message across of “doing something with your lives” to listeners. Regardless if they succeed in doing so, the boys manage to stand out from every two piece band around at the moment, no small feat at all.

12. The Mindsweep – Enter Shikari

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2015 was undoubtedly one of the most important years for UK politics and no band knows and represents this better than Enter Shikari. From the feedback heavy track Anaesthetist dealing with the privatisation of the NHS to the unsubtly commentary on the corruption of bankers on Bank Of England, the band make their voice well and truly heard and it’s never sounded so good.

11. If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late – Drake

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For a man who is worth millions, if not billions, Drake’s latest album is surprisingly minimalistic in comparison to other rapper’s records. However, this surprise release benefits from this, managing to hit out with the anthems you’d expect from Drizzy while managing to be retrospective. A man that can’t be stopped.

 

10. Too – FIDLAR

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Los Angeles band FIDLAR love drugs (despite just getting out of rehab), drinking and self loathing. They lay all their cards out on the table so that they and the listeners can get down to business and have a good time. Wouldn’t you know it, they do exactly that. Heavily inspired by the 90’s teen angst bands like blink-182, Too is a 42 minute record that is all about having fun and provides just that. Simple yet amazing.

9. My Love Is Cool – Wolf Alice

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Is it any surprise that Wolf Alice are the biggest new act of 2015? The band have built up a hype hurricane since their very first EP which hasn’t been helped by the likes of NME naming them a “band that will change your life” and being nominated for multiple awards. Thankfully this hasn’t derailed the band who deliver a record bursting with heart and grunge-lite sound. One of the greatest debuts of the past decade.

8. Life’s Not Out To Get You – Neck Deep

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Pop punk has had its own sort of renaissance this year with Knuckle Puck mixing the emo sound of American Football with the appeal a genre like this brings. Neck Deep have filled the converse of blink-182 with an album that is full of the same polish and emotion as Enema Of The State. A band that are worth keeping your eye on.

7. Positive Songs For Negative People – Frank Turner

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You’ll struggle to find a solo artist with the same raw passion as Frank Turner. After constructing a record about heartbreak that was enough to make the toughest person feel second hand remorse, PSFNP does exactly what it says on the tin. Any self professed cynic will find themselves drawn in by the snarling guitars and folk rock genius of certain tracks, showing that Frank is arguably the most talented Turner in the business.

6. The Powers That B – Death Grips

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Sacramento experimental hip hop band Death Grips are…weird to say the least. This statement proves to be the most true when listening to Jenny Death, the second half of TPTB, which came out of fucking nowhere in traditional Death Grips fashion. It serves as a reminder to why many fell in love with the band: pure uncut anarchy with the staple MC Ride delivery. Although it isn’t as tremendous as The Money Store, it’s the perfect combination of rap and rock, especially on tracks like On GP.

5. Integrity > – JME

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Just like pop punk, Grime witnessed a second wind this year, solidified by artists like Skepta breaking into the charts and a flamethrower extravaganza at the Brits when many artists from the genre joined Kanye on stage. While it may not have topped charts, JME’s latest record is the best record in the genre since Boy In Da Corner. Independently released, JME preaches about keyboard warriors, veganism and his disinterest in others opinions. Over the 16 tracks and countless video game references, it’s painfully clear that JME is loving what he’s doing, not having to answer to a boss and in the process he’s stumbled upon one of the most refreshing albums of the year.

4. Get To Heaven – Everything Everything

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Bare with me here. Yes, if you had asked me a few years ago if I would ever enjoy an Everything Everything album I would probably have laughed you off. However, the Manchester act aren’t regarded as genre defying for nothing and their latest release is proof of that. Full to the brim with infectious pop and insanely danceable tracks, Get To Heaven is unlike anything to come out this year. It has political commentary so well hidden by its 60’s beats and weirdly catchy alarm clock samples that even if they were stripped away, the album as a whole would still stand on its own. Imaginative and unique, Get To Heaven can be three genres at once but still be described with one word: exhilarating.

3. That’s The Spirit – Bring Me The Horizon

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After a brutal history with the drug Ketamine, Oli Sykes says he came out of Rehab feeling like he didn’t want to scream anymore, he wanted to “sing from the fucking rooftops”. Just as Sykes overcame his addiction, so to have Bring Me The Horizon overcame the troubles that most bands face when changing their sound. Although hardcore fans who have been there since their metalcore days may be disappointed about the transition, there is no denying the layered and evolved synths and atmosphere that come in hand with them are on an such a level of quality that it’s hard to think of a band that does it as well as them. Without a doubt, the best rock album of 2015.

2. In Colour – Jamie XX

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It’s hard to fault Jamie Smith when it comes to his skills as a producer. Many felt like working with The XX was limiting his range, musically, and whilst members of the band make appearances throughout, In Colour not only stands on its own two legs, it stands out as an absolute juggernaut of a record. The brilliant thing about In Colour is how difficult it is to pigeon hole. It’s been described by some reviewers as a rave album and some tracks like the aforementioned Gosh could imply that it is such an album. However each track can be interpreted in so many and the term “electronic” is so vague that it’s almost insulting. Whether you think it’s a rave album, a techno one or even a semi reggae one for some reason, you’re both right and wrong. One thing is for sure though and that’s that you’ll definitely be in the latter if you decide to give this album a skip.

 

And the best album of the year is…

To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

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What else was it going to be? Let’s all confess for a minute: we were all worried. How on earth could Kendrick Lamar top the move-esque masterpiece that was Good Kid m.A.A.d city? We were anxious as fuck but once To Pimp A Butterfly dropped out of nowhere, all those worries were laid to rest.

Criticise me if you wish but Lamar is the new king of rap as his scope reaches a ginormous scale you’d expect from a firearm. Showing the rage of Kanye (Blacker The Berry), romantic nature of Drake (Complexion) and the unpredictableness that only Lamar himself can provide, TPAB could have been a lame, safe follow up. Instead it tackles integrated racism in America, staying true to yourself by turning down stardom and…talking to Tupac. Seriously though, Kendrick is a man who knows where he stands in the music world. He knows he’s one of the biggest artists in the world and he uses this position for good, asking for gangs to reconcile, calling out rappers for being shams and telling the listener to love themselves.

There’s not much I can say about To Pimp A Butterfly that hasn’t been said already but what I can say is this: it’s not only the best album of 2015, it’s arguably the best album to come out this century.

Big love, Liam x

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