One of my most anticipated releases of the year let me down and man that Bloc Party album is wack. Otherwise, this week’s releases were pretty solid. Toro y Moi & Melody’s Echo Chamber both released relaxed, enjoyable albums but my personal favorite track came from a single for an EP due out soon.
I’ve got a hot take for you with my favorite old track of the week too. Honorable mentions first, as always:
“Up the Mountain” is the new single from Regina Spektor. Her performance is a little lacking, at times feeling flat paired with the eclectic, tense instrumentation. It’s very cinematic, the kind of song you’d hear soundtracking a montage in an adventure film. Would’ve liked Regina to match that energy, but otherwise it’s a great track.
2018’s “I’m All Ears” wasn’t a masterpiece, but the best tracks on Let’s Eat Grandma’s sophomore set felt really cutting edge. I had high hopes for their next project. Unfortunately, “Two Ribbons” is a big step in the wrong direction, with far less ambitious songs, and even less cohesion – one of the big criticisms “I’m All Ears” faced. “Watching You Go” was probably my favorite deep cut, but honestly this album was a big disappointment.
If experimental (occasionally French) psych pop is your thing, have I got an album for you. Melody’s Echo Chamber’s 3rd album “Emotional Eternal” is nowhere near as abrasive and wild as some tracks from 2018’s “Bon Voyage”, replacing the chaos with a dash of bedroom pop sensibility. It makes for a far less ambitious, yet generally much more listenable album. This one’s definitely best played front to back, but “A Slow Dawning of Peace” & “Alma_The Voyage” are my favorites.
Another album best played in sequence, like most Toro y Moi records, is his newest “MAHAL”. Singles like “Postman” or “Magazine” sound a lot better in the full context of the album’s chilled out lounge-funk. As stylistically dynamic as the album is, throwing in splashes of synths or disco rhythms here and there, I would’ve loved to hear a couple more guests or a little more instrumental variety. “Last Year” was my favorite deep cut.
Favorite New Track of the Week: “Dog Food” by IDK featuring Denzel Curry
Talking about “Taco” a couple weeks ago, I said that beat sounded like a Jamiroquai song.
Well that’s a lot less surprising knowing that Kaytranada produced the track, and produced the entirety of the EP that “Taco” and my favorite track of this week, “Dog Food” will be on.
The beat on “Dog Food” is a lot less funky which leaves a lot more space for a more lyrical delivery from IDK. Over some jangly embellishment and dusty drums, he raps about moving all kinds of hot merchandise, and the pressure and guilt that comes from that.
Now I don’t wanna say Zel bodied IDK on his own track, but Zel bodied IDK on his own track. ‘Most of my niggas never had Thanksgiving, so instead of giving thanks my niggas takin’ what’s given’ is one of a handful of great bars he packs into just 30 seconds.
IDK makes up for getting shown up with some of the best singing I’ve ever heard from him on a catchy bridge that comes after the hooks. The song feels shorter than it is, not in an underwritten way, in an ‘I wanted more of that’ way. Hopefully the rest of the EP is the same.
Favorite Old Track of the Week: “Scoff” by Nirvana
My most controversial music opinion is probably that all of ABBA’s music is hot garbage. There is no faster way to get me to leave a room than playing “Dancing Queen”.
Maybe 2nd or 3rd in my hot take ranking is that “Nevermind” is Nirvana’s worst album.
Now that’s not because it’s bad – I love “Nevermind”. It’s a classic, and one of the most important, influential albums of all time.
“In Utero” better though…
That’s not all that uncommon of an opinion though. Lots of people, myself included, give “In Utero” the title of best Nirvana album. It’s rawer, Kurt Cobain’s songwriting is at its most intimate & vulnerable, has a lot of the best riffs the band ever wrote, and easily the best closing song from any of the band’s 3 records (“All Apologies” might be Nirvana’s best song).
“Bleach”, Nirvana’s Dave Grohl-less debut album, doesn’t usually get the same love. And I get it. It’s a much more straightforward grunge album in comparison to everything the band would go on to release. Cobain’s songwriting is messy in a way that might turn some people off.
I’m not one of those people though. “Bleach” is angry and unkempt in a way that feels so much less polished than “Nevermind” in the best way. There’s a loose energy on the record, yet the album still feels as heavy as “In Utero”.
Like I said, “Nevermind” is the greater album out of the two. I just don’t go back to it as often as I go back to “Bleach”. It’s not just that I’m too young for “Nevermind” to have the ‘you had to have been there’ nostalgia attached to it, it’s that Nirvana’s entire discography has shares a different sheen of nostalgia for me. I have sisters that that are 20 & 18 years older than me, so Nirvana’s music was always omnipresent when I was really young.
“Nevermind” has the iconic singles, but front to back just doesn’t scratch the Nirvana itch quite as well. Feel free to disagree with me. This is a hill I will die on.