ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Nicki Minaj - Queen
Is this a self-titled album? I think so because Nicki Minaj has rightfully accredited herself queen status with this epic collection of hip-hop tracks that serve attitude, angst and emotion. After suffering multiple setbacks ‘Queen’ was ultimately moved forward a week and was surprisingly released to all streaming services.
The honest and bold collection of tracks hears her continuing to return to her roots like she did on ‘The Pinkprint’ and deliver hard and real tracks. While there might not be any pop moments on the record there are some real commercially ready tracks that would perfectly fit on American Hip-Hop radio.
Album opener ‘Ganja Burns’ perfectly sets the tone for the album with its contrast of aggressive rap and an emotional chorus to a rhythmic hip-hop beat. “Every time I get high, I just think about you”. She then lays down a hard beat on ‘Majesty’ which hears her teaming up with Labrinth and Eminem for the albums most aggressive track. This also hears Eminem breaking his record for his fastest rap with 123 syllables in 11.9 seconds. An impressive feat.
She then shows a playful side with the diss track ‘Barbie Dreams’ where she roasts some big names. It’s a little sassy but it’s done in a fun way. She raps over Notorious B.I.G’s ‘Just Playing (Dreams)’ instrumental to pay homage to one of her favourite rappers. She goes into the playful ‘Rich Sex’, ‘Chun-Li’, ‘Miami’, ’LLC’ and ‘Chun-Swae’ where she continues her hard raps full of attitude before stripping it back.
‘Bed’ featuring Ariana Grande and ‘Thought I Knew You’ featuring The Weeknd hears her getting a little seductive and reflective before the ballad ‘Come See About Me’ strips it all the way back. Then ‘Nip Tuck’ hears her working her way back before ‘Miami’ drops all the sassy aggressiveness the start of the album embodied.
Because this album has a lot of strong production and songwriting it was unsurprising that some songs like ‘Run & Hide’ and ‘Hard White’ felt a little lacklustre in comparison. But at 19 tracks long Nicki delivers a lot of memorable moments. She really has found herself as an artist and shows a lot of growth from the artist we were first commercially introduced to on ‘Pink Friday’. This album doesn’t try to make radio hits, instead she’s just speaking her truth and making decent and fun hip-hop music.
SINGLE OF THE WEEK: Broods - Peach
Earlier this year both Georgia and Caleb Nott from Broods released a solo project that saw them going in two completely different directions. It was noted that it was unsure when they would release music again together but when it did happen that it would be excitingly completely different. After a bit of time apart the brother and sister duo are back with an epic comeback track. ‘Peach’ is a vibrant and bold indie-pop affair that hears Broods like you’ve never heard them before. The playful feel-good anthem reflects on feeling unsure about a lot of things happening in your life but celebrating the highs where everything feels amazing.
“I'm high and I'm low, no control. But everything's looking peach now”. It has a real hopeful sentiment that will have you just wanting to dance and forget your own issues happening in your life. The track begins with some moody indie-pop synths that are similar to the sound on their previous record before unleashing a very experiential and high-pitched sample. This texture changes the whole song and instantly transforms it into a euphoric pop moment with big synths and electronic drums taking over. it’s a whole lot of fun and if you don’t have a massive smile whilst listening to it then you’re not listening to it loud enough.
SINGLE REVIEW: WAFIA - I’m Good
WAFIA has really created a lot of buzz for herself over the past 12 months. Her singles ‘Bodies’ and ‘Only Love’ catapulted her into the spotlight before being featured on Louis The Child’s infectious and experimental track ‘Better Not’ which is undisputedly one of the best songs of 2018. After her massive set at Splendour In The Grass the Australian singer-songwriter is ready to unleash her first solo single of the year. ‘I’m Good’ is a groovy pop song that hears her heading towards a more playful sound compared to her previous moody EP. She still holds onto her roots with her emotional vocals that instantly transport you to another world but her delivery is a lot funkier and hears her adding in a lot more ad-libs. The post break-up track looks at her realising while she was a little upset that it ended that she is actually okay and can move on happily. “I’m by myself and that’s better for my health. You know you put me through hell. But whatever, I’m good”. The euphoric dance moment is a little sassy but is ultimately empowering and encourages people to look at a negative situation with a positive outlook. We all grow from bad experiences and break-ups are a perfect catalyst for this. This song is an anthem in it’s own right and you are going to be dancing and singing along to this for months to come. It’s very…. Good. (Yeah, that was a bad pun).
SINGLE REVIEW: Twenty One Pilots - Levitate
Taking into consideration their massive global domination I expected the upcoming fourth studio album from Twenty One Pilots to have a little more hype. But so far their impact is a little lacklustre and the accompanying singles have been a little underwhelming. With ‘Trench’ being officially released on October 5 the dynamic duo have released their third single to try and create some buzz. ‘Levitate’ is a brief 2 minute 20 second song that hears them returning to their hip-hop meets rock blend. The angsty track continues the fictional storyline they have created for this record however it’s a little confusing to follow and majorly disjointed. The structure isn't memorable nor is there any catchy or empowerful lyrics.
This industrial sound hears them pushing further and further away from the commercial breakthrough their last album had and I’m a little confused as to why. Their potential is massive and their accompanying raw talent is insane so I don't know why they aren't embracing the impact their last album had and are dividing their fans with this weird collection. Hopefully in due time it was all make sense but so far this record is looking a little disappointing.
SINGLE REVIEW: Troye Sivan - Animal
Troye Sivan’s sophomore studio album ‘Bloom’ is only two weeks away so it’s time to get excited. And to help you get in the celebratory mood the Australian singer-songwriter has released one final single. ‘Animal’ is an epic and euphoric love song that was created to excel in his live show. The romantic ballad begins with moody synths that begin to grow with the addition of drums and more dreamy synths.
He professes his love for his boyfriend and describes the strong connection they have which he believes is unmatched by anything else. “I want you all to myself, don’t leave none for nobody else. I am an animal with you”. This is completely different to what I expected from him and that’s not a bad thing. This alternative ballad is super moody but it’s also super anthemic and stands strong next to his big pop singles ‘Bloom’ and ‘My My My’. It may not be as instantly catchy or memorable but it is a very special and intimate moment. And to be honest, Troye Sivan is really proving himself currently as the worlds next big popstar.
You can read full music reviews, live reviews, interviews and more at www.thomasbleach.com.
Want to listen to some of these songs? Then check out the #BLEACHED playlist on Spotify which is curated each week by Thomas Bleach featuring his favourite new releases.