Tuesday, September 3, 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Lover - Taylor Swift

I'm gonna hit y'all with some honesty real quick. I REALLY wanted to hate this album. Considering Reputation never really clicked with me, I wasn't too excited for another Taylor Swift album. I didn't even wanna listen to the first single, ME!, but I gave it a listen because Brendon Urie, one of my favorite frontmen in the game right now, was featured on it. 

The song made me do a 180 almost immediately. The catchy hook and chorus, amazing production, the fun, childlike spelling bridge, I was hooked. The next single, You Need to Calm Down, was equally as good but it took a while for it to grow on me. The harmonies in the chorus, the quirky beat, Taylor's vocal performance, and the silly, but appropriate lyrics were all stellar. 

The next two singles, The Archer and the title track, Lover, were equally as amazing. Both songs include production credits from Jack Antonoff, who co-wrote and co-produced most of this album, which might explain my love for these two songs. The Archer has a slow build up to this beautiful sort of crescendo with a drum beat muffled in the background which works in perfectly. Lover, however, sounds like it could've been on one of her country albums. An acoustic guitar complemented by Taylor's reverbed voice and yet another harmonized chorus make this song sound like it'll be in the background of every wedding video for the next year. 

Now into the actual album itself. It surpassed any expectations I had. It's probably one of the most solid pop albums I've listened to all year. The production, writing, and Taylor's performances on this album are incredible. It sucks that this album came out at the beginning of the fall because Cruel Summer DEFINITELY would've been the song of the summer. It was co-written with Annie Clark, of St. Vincent fame, and Antonoff and their influence on this song is what makes me love it. The chorus on this thing is PURE Annie and Jack's production gives this song a magic touch. 

However, I have two major issues with this album. One is on par with the state of music today, the other is just a personal issue.

My first issue is that this album is another example of quantity > quality. It's the same thing that's killed Vampire Weekend and Chance the Rapper this year. I say this because the first 11 songs are the greatest stretch of pop music I've heard this year. If she would've kept these 11 songs and added in the singles, I would probably give this album an 8 or a 9, but because of the filler stacked onto the end, I can't stick to that score.

My other main issue is also my favorite part of this album. The choruses. Every song goes from meh verses to these giant, explosive choruses that transport you to another dimension. However, the pattern becomes so repetitive as the album goes on and it doesn't feel as cool on track 14 as it does on track 2.

In the end, I really enjoyed this album. Everything Jack Antonoff touches turns to gold and his production and writing on this thing really help it shine. But the ever living trend of quantity > quality has taken yet another victim.

I would rate
By Taylor Swift

Taylor has yet to announce any touring plans this year, but this will be updated as soon as she announces dates and on-sale times.

Sunday, September 1, 2019


Amid rumors of the group's breakup, BROCKHAMPTON has treated us to another full length album. For those who aren't familiar with the group, the self-proclaimed "boy band" was formed in San Marcos, Texas in 2015 and has been pedal to the metal ever since. The SATURATION trilogy was released throughout 2017, followed by their major label debut, iridescence. While the latter didn't really wow me much, I still knew they had something special and their performance at ACL Fest last year almost turned me into a Kevin Abstract stan. The pure energy of their set was incredible.

Image result for brockhampton governors ball
BROCKHAMPTON performing at the 2019 Governor's Ball at Randall's Island Park in New York. Kevin Abstract (center) is the group's frontman. (The Fader)

In this new album, the boys continue to do what they do best. Making damn good rap music. I have to say, this may be my new favorite BROCKHAMPTON album. It's a huge step up from iridescence both production-wise and musically. The beats on this thing are great, the production is amazing, and the use of bearface is very pleasing. 

The opening track NO HALO has really grown on me since it was released as the fourth single. There's an interesting acoustic guitar driven beat that I've slowly fallen in love with and this amazing harmonized chorus that takes you through a range of emotions. Then, in comes SUGAR. 

For this album, I'm drawing parallels to IGOR by Tyler, the Creator, because once this album gets going, it doesn't stop. Just track after track of pure greatness. On SUGAR, Ryan Beatty comes in with a beautiful chorus that almost sounds like something from a James Blake song. The songs BOY BYE and ST. PERCY are both pure energy with amazing beats. BOY BYE might be in the running for my favorite song on the album. Another song I need to get into is DEARLY DEPARTED, because no review of this album could be complete without talking about this song. 

This song probably has the deepest subject matter in the whole album as it talks about former member Ameer Vann who was kicked out of the group last year due to allegations of sexual misconduct. The song features Kevin, Matt, and Dom each taking turns describing their feelings towards Ameer's departure. In his verse, Dom details how Ameer set up one of his friends to be robbed and ends his aggressive verse by slamming his microphone to the ground and throwing his headphones across the studio.

In the end, I am very, very pleased with this album. It's a big step up from iridescence and, for some reason, this album made me super proud of the boys. I'm excited to see where their creativity goes next.

I would rate: GINGER

BROCKHAMPTON hits the road on the Heaven Belongs to You tour at the end of October. Slowthai will support the band on tour. Tickets are on sale NOW at brckhmptn.com/dates

Image result for brockhampton tour

Tour Dates:
10/26 - Vancouver, BC @ PNE Forum
10/27 - Seattle, WA @ WAMU Theater
10/30 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Union Event Center
11/1 - Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren
11/3 - Las Vegas, NV @ Day N Vegas*
11/5 - Fresno, CA @ Rainbow Ballroom
11/8 - Palo Alto, CA @ Frost Amphitheater
11/9-11/10 - Los Angeles, CA @ Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival*
11/13 - San Antonio, TX @ The Aztec Theatre
11/14 - Dallas, TX @ The Bomb Factory
11/15 - Austin, TX @ ACL Live at The Moody Theater
11/17 - New Orleans, LA @ The Fillmore
11/19 - Miami, FL @ The Fillmore
11/20 - Altanta, GA @ Coca-Cola Roxy
11/22 - New York, NY @ Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden
11/24 - Boston, MA @ Agganis Arena
11/25 - Washington DC @ The Anthem
11/27 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
11/29 - Toronto, ON @ Coca-Cola Coliseum
11/30 - Detroit, MI @ Masonic Temple
12/3 - Minneapolis, MN @ The Armory
12/4 - Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom
12/6 - Chicago, IL @ Aragron Ballroom
12/9 - Denver, CO @ The Mission Ballroom
12/13 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Hollywood Palladium

*denotes a festival date