2017 album reviews
Just some basic thoughts on new albums
1. Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked At Me
How do I even begin to talk about this album. Made by Phil Elverum about the passing of his wife, A Crow Looked at Me is a look on the reality of death. As written in the song Real Death,
"Death is real Someone's there and then they're not And it's not for singing about It's not for making into art When real death enters the house"
the death of Phil's wife isn't something that he can transform into some form of art or poetry. A Crow Looked at Me isn't some majestic introspective on the philosophy on death. It's just a devastated man writing about the passing of his wife.
2. Thundercat - Drunk
Drunk isn't some brilliant masterpiece that tackles contemporary issues. It's just a really fun, funky album that makes for a very enjoyable listen. That's not to say that there aren't some heavier songs on here about drug and alcohol abuse, but the strength of the album clearly lies when Thundercat doesn't take himself too seriously. A few of the tracks on it are just about daily life, like Captain Stupido, which is literally about Thundercat forgetting his wallet at a club. Tokyo is another standout track about Thundercat's love of Tokyo and anime. In an era where almost every album has to have some sort of important message behind it, it's very nice to listen to a album that solely exists for the music itself.
3. Julie Byrne - Not Even Happiness
There are a lot of good things about Not Even Happiness. The guitar work is fantastic, the lyrics are deep and heartfelt, and Julie's voice feels like velvet in your ears, but I just can't help but feel that the album is lacking something that elevates it from good to great.
4. Foxygen - Hang
You can't dislike this album. It's fun, it's over the top, and it's ridiculous. Half of the album sounds like it came straight from a Bowie album, and the other half sounds like it came from a musical. That's not to say that it doesn't tackle some more serious issues though, as the track America gets quite political. There are definitely some problems, namely the fact that the vocals can be a bit weak. But as long as you don't listen to it too seriously, it's great.
5. Dirty Projectors - Dirty Projectors
The first album released by The Dirty Projectors after David Longstreth's breakup with Amber Coffman, Dirty Projectors is filled with spiteful lyrics. The music itself is a more electronic and RnB focused than The Dirty Projector's previous albums, and I honestly quite like it. Unfortunately, the subject matter of the album drags down the music, and it ends up feeling like a self-pity fest at some points. It's all the more frustrating because David Longstreth clearly has the talent to write an amazing album on his own, if only he wasn't so bitter about Amber Coffman.
7. The XX - I See You
I've never been much of a fan of The XX, and honestly this album doesn't change much. There are some good tracks on here, I especially like the horns on Dangerous, but I still can't help but feel that the album is a bit bland and uninteresting. However, the production is amazing and its probably the best part of this album.
8. Brian Eno - Reflection
As a casual fan of Brian Eno, I came into this album not really knowing what to expect. And overall, I feel pretty neutral about it. The album consists of a sole 54 minute track that is filled with what I can only describe as a watery sound, with echo-y notes coming in at random. While it is cohesive and pleasant, the album doesn't really go anywhere, making it drag a bit of a drag to listen to.
There's only one track
9. Dj Okawari - Compass
As a fan of DJ Okawari's earlier work, especially Kaleidoscope, I was pretty excited to find out that he released an album this year.
Compass is a very smooth, very well produced and polished album. The tracks transition very well, making it a very cohesive listen. However, no part of the album really stood up to me, and I end up zoning out during the middle tracks almost every time I listen to it.
Overall I didn't dislike Compass, but I don't think it builds on anything that he did in his earlier work. Fans of his music won't dislike this album, but I don't see the point of listening to it over any of his other work.
Want to make your own list?