Music of the Month: February

With the new year comes new music! Here are three albums released that are perfect to usher in 2018.

Chloe Koulefianou, Features Editor

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Dying to see your favorite artists in next month’s Music of the Month? Submit your requests to [email protected] or my twitter!

1. No_One Ever Really Dies by N.E.R.D

From left to right: Chad Hugo, Pharrell Williams, Shay Haley

Pharrell Williams’ Virginia Beach-based trio, N.E.R.D., has come out with a new album after seven years of working on individual music. This much anticipated album features many of today’s chart-toppers, including Rihanna, Gucci Mane, Future, Kendrick Lamar, M.I.A, André 3000, and Ed Sheeran. It consists of a futuristic funk timbre, with progressive punk lyrics.

Almost all of the songs in the album preach social justice, non-compliance, and dissatisfaction with the current political sphere with lyrics like, “You’re all at the matinee/The American mall/Where corporations won’t pay for effects they cause” in Deep Down Body Thurst. In Don’t Do It, Williams and Kendrick Lamar document the shooting of an African American father, Keith Lamont Scott, with lyrics listing the locations of riots that occurred as a result of police brutality.

Along with these anthem-like tunes, No_One Ever Really Dies is full of motivational bops. Voilà talks of Gucci Mane’s transformation after his three years in federal prison and has optimistic statements such as “Abracadabra, get out the bed/I’m your mirror, I’m the voice inside your head/Some motivation to get you up/You can lift your mood without it being touched.” All in all, this album has basically created an entirely new music scene in itself, mixing hip-hop with pop and funk, leading to a refreshing experience.

2. Blue Madonna by BØRNS

Alex Reside
Garrett Borns

Garrett Borns is back with a languid new album, full of tracks perfect for easy listening and long trips. While it is a huge leap from his upbeat 2015 album, Dopamine, Blue Madonna maintains the same elements of synth, indie, and high notes.

A lot of it was loss of innocence, this melancholy feeling of departure.”

— Garrett Borns on Blue Madonna

The best songs on this album by far are Faded Heart, Supernatural, and TensionFaded Heart was the first single released on the album, debuting back in July. Its sugary, pop sound is reminiscent of his freshman album, and it is accompanied by an acoustic version including a unique combination of instrumental choices- a theremin and a mariachi band. It was also featured in his mini-series of Instagram videos, The Search For Lost Sounds. Supernatural was hypnotic and orchestral with accents of electric guitar and deep bass and sort of acts as a reprise of Faded Heart. In his chorus, Borns sings of indecisiveness of his newfound love as he says “Is it us, or is it supernatural?/Sometimes we fall so fast it’s hard to tell.” The theremin makes a reappearance in the bridge of this song, a constant throughout the album. Tension has gotten good reviews from critics, deservingly so. It starts off sounding a lot like Madonna’s Holiday which fits into Borns’ 80’s aesthetic. The album also contains the smooth vocals of Lana Del Rey in God Save Our Young Blood.

The one area in which this album falls short is the lyrics, which are dull, predictable and conventional. While the tone of this album fits 2018’s new lethargic “self-care” theme, BØRNS is yet to put out his best album.

3. SATURATION III by BROCKHAMPTON

Members of Brockhampton

Everyone’s favorite boy band has released 3 albums in 6 months, which is extremely fast in the music industry. The third album of their Saturation series is 46 minutes of pure energy, a trait that is also exhibited by their performance onstage. It starts with an abrupt trumpet riff in BOOGIE, a song boasting of the band’s rise to popularity with lyrics like “Best boy band since One Direction.”

Brockhampton still speaks of personal experiences, like Ameer Vann’s anecdotes about his time on the streets and Kevin Abstract’s sexuality, but in a more playful way than in their previous albums. Their excitement at becoming successful is clearly evident in the instrumentals throughout the album. While the album might still lack continuity, the band is steadily becoming a more concrete unit, without the alienating verses characteristic of JOBA and Merlyn Wood.

The most stunning aspect of this last installment of the Saturation trilogy is probably the fact that the last song on this album, TEAM, transitions nearly perfectly into HEAT, the first song on Saturation. Every song in Saturation III had a six-letter title, except TEAM, which signals a loop back to Saturation I, which consisted of four-letter songs. This just goes to show that Brockhampton clearly put extreme care and lots of forethought into planning and producing these three albums.

Brockhampton’s fourth album, Team Effort, is set for release this year.

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Music of the Month: February