As the year approaches its finale, we’re thrown into a blitzkrieg of artists releasing highly anticipated — and sometimes unexpected — albums. Björk, Fabolous & Jadakiss and a slew of holiday-themed artists all released projects this weekend.
Björk’s ninth album Utopia is the clear standout from the weekend. She’s never been one to conform to the norms of the music industry, and that remains true now. The record is a stark shift from her previous project in terms of theme. In a March interview with AnOther Magazine, Björk said, “The last album, we sort of call it ‘hell’ – it was like divorce! So we are doing paradise now. Utopia.” The difference is quite apparent. Utopia is lush, incredibly layered and dense. It’s a must listen.
In what seems like a throwback to 2003, rappers Fabolous and Jadakiss released a collaborative album called Friday on Elm Street. The two New York based rappers teamed up for an album that would’ve been better suited for a Halloween release. Bars and boasting is the name of the game for the two rappers; the two trade bars back and forth over 12 tracks backed by a horror-tinged boom-bap production. A swagger-filled album, Friday on Elm Street is prime listening material if you’re looking for a taste of Halloween to go with the upcoming holiday tracks.
And of course, now that Thanksgiving is over, the holiday season is here. The most telltale sign that we’ve begun the descent into holiday madness is the sudden proliferation of brand new holiday-themed albums popping up all over. Gwen Stefani, DRAM and Sia all released holiday-themed records the night of Thanksgiving. For modern takes on some holiday classics — as well as a couple of original tracks — go give them a listen.
That’s all for this week’s albums, but there’s a also few honorable mentions from the week of Nov. 19 that are definitely worth checking out.
CyHi the Prynce released his highly-anticipated, long-delayed debut album No Dope On Sundays. It’s littered with GOOD Music features, clever wordplay and some thrilling beats. The album is not the best project of the year, and some fans might be disappointed after waiting for nearly seven years, but it’s worth a listen nonetheless.
Similarly, Jaden Smith released his debut SYRE. Always under the spotlight as a child celebrity, Smith’s prior projects came under a lot of scrutiny, and his debut answers some of the criticisms he received. The production is fascinating but the lyrics struggle with a sort of pseudo-intellectualism throughout the project.
A personal favorite was the latest release from NxWorries — Anderson .Paak and Kxnwledge’s collaborative efforts. Yes Lawd! Remixes revamps the instrumentals for a chunk of the tracks from their first collaboration. Some of Kxnwledge’s new beats are better than the originals, some are worse than the originals and some are just there. Either way, it’s a bundle of new music for die-hard fans.