Little Dark Age – MGMT
Genre: Indie pop
To all the indie kids out there: Little Dark Age by MGMT is the album for you. The songwriting and production give this album a unique feel. MGMT left behind it’s psychedelic indie pop days in favor of a more contemporary, synth sound. The different topics in each song, like the times spent looking at a phone or being with your best friend, make the album stand out from its predecessors.
Best Track: Hand it Over
Worst Track: TSLAMP
Black Panther: The Album – Various Artists
Genre: Hip-hop, Rap
Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) was in charge of the Black Panther album, and the result is a soundtrack made for the movie that works surprisingly well with the amalgamation of artists signed to TDE. Kendrick Lamar is the starring voice of the soundtrack but gets solid contributions from other big artists like Travis Scott and SZA. The voice and style of each artist comes off strong, but also manage to be uniformed. There is get a good mix of aggressive bangers and soft songs. The collection of artists doesn’t come together well in every song, however. Certain songs in the album can be jarring, like “X,” an absolute banger, playing right after “All The Stars,” a poppy R&B song.
Best Track: King’s Dead
Worst Track: Pray for Me
Culture II – The Migos
With Offset back after making a collab mixtape with 21 Savage and Quavo and releasing an album with Travis Scott, the trio reunites to create Culture II. Their previous record, Culture, played to the trio’s strengths and gave us a tight, condensed taste of their sound, which has influenced rappers throughout the industry since it was released in 2016. Culture II, however is an hour and 30 minutes of the Migos sound and gets real old real quick. Out of the album’s 24 tracks, there are a few good ones you can pick out and it would ultimately be a better project. Tracks like “BBO,” “Stir Fry,” “Motorsport,” “Notice Me,” and “Made Men” would’ve made a solid, short album.
Best Track: Stir Fry
Worst Track: Flooded
Man of the Woods – Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake’s latest project, Man of the Woods, is just a futile, weird, attempt at mixing a folk sound with Timberlake’s contemporary sound. All the songs are awkwardly mixed, and he doesn’t even sound like the main focus of his own album. Instead we hear the strange production overtake Justin’s great voice. Man of the Woods starts off with the opening track, “Filthy”. An awfully mixed, awkward song, filled with strange warble noises that overpower the whole a large part of the track, then in the middle it turns into this epic, orchestral tune that just confuses the listener. I guess the opening track really does show what’s in store for this album, a sloppy mess.
Best Track: Say Something ft. Chris Stapleton
Worst Track: Supplies
Day69 – 6ix9ine
Genre: Screamo Rap
Last year a new wave of artists started gaining traction through the music sharing website Soundcloud. Some turned out great, like Ski Mask the Slump God. Others turned out like 6ix9ine. Day69 shows 6ix9ine’s one dimensional sound throughout the 11 tracks, even repeating his hit single, ‘GUMMO,’ twice. The only difference is that the remix in the album includes an Offset feature. 6ix9ine’s yelpy, screaming vocals feel silly rather than angry over a generic Soundcloud trap beat. The energy that 6ix9ine brings on some of the songs does give it a workout music vibe, but it isn’t enough to make it a good album.
Best Track: BILLY
Worst Track: RONDO ft. Tory Lanez, Young Thug
Anticipated Albums of 2018
Travis Scott – Astroworld
Travis Scott’s last two projects, Rodeo and Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, are great albums. His experimental sound and his strange vocals make his music sound unique, and I look forward to what he has in the pipeline.
Post Malone – Beerbongs & Bentleys
For all the white girls out there (and me), there’s a new Post Malone album coming soon. If his past two amazing singles Psycho and Rockstar are a preview of what’s to come, then I’m excited for the other material in Beerbongs & Bentleys.
Brockhampton – PUPPY
In 2017, this progressive boy band released a trilogy of albums, Saturation I, II, and III, which all hit hard. For those bored with the trap rap sound, listen to the creativity of Brockhampton and their new album, PUPPY, coming out this year.
By Tristan Asuncion