Sophomore Peridot Park reviews the most popular albums that were released in January. Creative Commons Image: Drew on Flickr.
“Culture II” - Minos
After the success of “Culture,” the album that shot Migos to fame with singles like “Bad and Boujee,” fans eagerly awaited the group’s next album. Nearly a year later, they delivered “Culture II”- an album with perhaps less viral sensations, but which boasts an impressive lineup of collaborations. Migos managed to snag songs with acclaimed rappers 21 Savage, Drake, Gucci Mane, Travis Scott, Ty Dolla $ign, Big Sean, Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Post Malone, and 2 Chainz; among the album’s producers are big names like Metro Boomin, Kanye West, and Pharrell Williams.
Prior to the release of the album, the group released the catchy and immensely popular singles “Supastars,” “Stir Fry,” and “MotorSport.” The album’s melodies are undoubtedly repetitive. Some may find this dull, but others may find that this only adds to the songs’ infectiousness. With the steady bass and rhythmic flow typical of Migos, “Culture II” is a solid album that can be played at parties or for casual listening.
Recommended songs: “Stir Fry,” “MotorSport” and “Emoji A Chain”
“To Imagine” - The Neighbourhood
The alternative rock band The Neighbourhood has been steadily building up a loyal fanbase following the release of “Sweater Weather” in 2013. Although the band has been known for its varied, dark melodies, they chose to play up their electronic influences with their new EP “To Imagine.”
The EP marks the band’s foray into a new sound, as the songs feel more driven by pulsing, fast-paced bass than their previous work. The atmosphere is considerably moodier, sometimes full of ennui and other times bordering on angry. While the songs still have the band’s characteristic echoing synth tones, they are less layered, lending “To Imagine” a slightly simpler feeling. Although the EP is worth a listen, The Neighbourhood may want more time to develop their sound before releasing their next full-length album.
Recommended songs: “Heaven” and “Stuck with Me”
“Scary Hours” - Drake
Drake’s new EP, “Scary Hours,” contains only two songs, “God’s Plan” and “Diplomatic Immunity.” The Canadian rapper has been known for his popular melodies, booming 808s, candid lyrics, and instantly recognizable voice. “God’s Plan” features a repeated, swirling background tune paired with a continuous beat. Combined with Drake’s fast-paced flow, the song is fun and easy to listen to. “Diplomatic Immunity” is more bass-heavy, and there is little to no variation in its melody and Drake’s cadence.
The song seems to have been written for relaxed listening; however, some may find its repetition more monotonous than catchy. The EP comes after a short hiatus; Drake fans will find it a steady album indicative of new hits to come.
Recommended song: “God’s Plan”
“Blue Madonna” - Børns
Electropop artist Børns put out his second full-length album, “Blue Madonna,” in January of 2018. He is best known for “Electric Love,” which was released in November of 2014 and certified platinum by the RIAA in 2017. Despite the song’s fall release date, like most of Børns’ other work, it feels much better suited for summer. With Børns’ triumphant vocals, soaring synths, and charged guitar riffs, the artist’s repertoire sounds straight out of an indie movie road trip scene. On “Blue Madonna,” Børns switches from whispers to belts to his ringing falsetto, developing varied dynamics that make it hard for listeners to feel bored. Børns’ most promising quality is his irresistible energy. Although this is consistent with the first half of the album, its second half feels somewhat lackluster. Overall, “Blue Madonna” is a successful sophomore endeavor.
Recommended songs: “Faded Heart” and “Supernatural”