Hey Aztecs! Welcome back to another semester of Now Listening with Lala! Even through we’re back on track with school and Fall is just around the corner, I’ve still got sweet sweet Summertime on my mind. With that said, I’ll be sharing the Top 3 albums dropped during the Summer of 2016 that you should be paying attention to.
1. Freetown Sound – Blood Orange
Devonté “Dev” Hynes began making music under the pseudonym Blood Orange in 2011. His most recently released album, Freetown Sound is simultaneously soothing and striking. As he speaks out to the racial injustice in modern day society through his music, the tones of Freetown Sound are melodic and jazzy.
A unique tool that Hynes exercises in this album is the use of vocal clips, spoken-word poems, and narratives. These clips give insight to struggle of colored people and refers multiple times to the Black Lives Matter movement. Songs such as “Hands Up” and “Love Ya” quite openly address the issues of the racial inequality that is occuring in today’s society. While a heavily emotional album, Freetown Sound is intense and empowering. It is uplifting and hopeful for positive change in the future. The sheer rawness of these tracks are what make this album so special. Check out the song “Best of You” below.
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2. Blonde – Frank Ocean
Highly anticipated and probably not so patiently awaited, Frank Ocean has finally released new music since Channel Orange in 2012. Blonde is much more meditative and calming. This album is cozy and emotional. In addition, it strays from Ocean’s previous album, which pursues a more eclectic and funky sound. A clear maturation of Frank Ocean as a person and his music is what can be heard through Blonde.
Abstract and mysterious, the R&B roots that Ocean came from are hard to find in Blonde. The tracks lack a lot of rythym and beat, replaced with lots of avant-garde melodies. Receiving mixed reviews, Blonde is vastly different from the Frank Ocean most love and know. This new direction is not at all stepping backwards, just sideways. At 28, Ocean is expressing a multidimensional self and the track “Ivy” portrays this well. Percussionless and heavy with guitar reverb, this song reflects on Ocean’s youth and past regret. The stripped down track is one of many examples of the emotion Frank puts forth on the album. Listen to the first track “Nikes” below.
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3. HOPELESSNESS – ANOHNI
Formerly releasing music Antony, ANOHNI has authored a radical album that progresses towards change thats is both necessary and positive. HOPELESSNESS is a protest and dance anthem at the same time. Addressing issues such as racism, peace, even climate change, the melodic and peaceful sounds that ANOHNI presents in this album are deceiving. If you listen closely, ANOHNI is hoppingly mad at what is going on in the world today and uses music to express so. Passionately delivered, the tracks to this album are intense and highly emotional.
With such heavy subject matter, ANOHNI is still able to create an album carrying to a beat that makes the listener want to jive and vibe.The track “Drone Bomb Me” portrays all that ANOHNI is expressing very well. This album is astoundingly melodic, a combination of both jazz and electronic music. Check out “Crisis” below.
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All of these albums cry out against multiple injustices in today’s modern society. Sweet reminders that we are all human, and kindness is key ❃ You can listen in on my show “In Your Speaker” from 3-4 pm on Tuesdays!