We Listened So You Didn’t Have To
What an exciting week for music! New tracks from King Krule, Julien Baker, and Chuck Strangers; an Eminem Trump-diss-cypher; and the announcement of a new Sufjan Stevens album!
Chuck Strangers – “Fresh”
A member of New York’s own ProEra crew, Chuck Strangers has been working alongside Joey Bada$$ for years now. “Fresh” marks his first proper solo release, in the lead-up to his debut album. The gorgeous beat is courtesy of veteran producer The Alchemist. “Fresh” begins with Strangers rapping over a simple sample loop, suggesting influence from Madlib and J Dilla. Before the sample wears out its welcome, though, the track dramatically switches beats, the drums dropping and a tense piano loop replacing the sample. Strangers is smooth and energetic over both, a sign of great things to come.
Julien Baker – “Turn Out The Lights”
The latest in Baker’s new string of singles, “Turn Out The Lights” develops in much the same formula as fans may have come to expect. A simple guitar pattern, mourning lyricism, and a shaky voice, emotional as ever. The climax of “Turn Out The Lights” is different though. In the final minute, just as the song seems to slow down, Baker launches into her most ballad-like hook yet, belting out the song’s title as the guitar drops into distortion. It’s a powerful musical statement, leaving me excited for her next project.
King Krule – “La Lune”
The closing track on King Krule’s sophomore album, “The Ooz”, “La Lune” is a return to the hazy jazz of his previous work. A send-off to a fantastic new album, “La Lune” is deeply concerned with mood, setting up a saddened, relaxed final word. It’s King Krule through and through (and honestly, the album is so good I could have picked any track to praise here). “The Ooz” is out now.
Sufjan Stevens – “Wallowa Lake Monster”
Accompanied by an announcement of the “The Greatest Gift” mixtape, “Wallowa Lake Monster” is the first offering from a compilation album of outtakes, remixes and demos from Stevens’ beautiful 2015 album “Carrie & Lowell.” All echoes, reverb, choral vocals and acoustic guitar, “Wallowa Lake Monster” is Stevens to a tee, another strong release from a talented artist.
Eminem – “BET Freestyle”
I do have to admit, some of the lyricism here is pretty corny, but the message is super important. Great to see more rappers taking a direct stance against the current administration’s policies.
Let us know what you think of these tracks down in the comments, and look out for next week’s list!