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Classic Album Review

Classic Album Review: Zentropy

Written by Miranda

Frankie Cosmos, also known as Greta Kline; a well-loved indie artist, has been making incredible music since “Zentropy”, her first studio album. Not only is this album well-done for a 19-year-old independent artist (at the time), it remains one of my favorite works. “Zentropy” helped set the stage for future success for Kline in subsequent years and helped establish her within the indie pop scene. 

The album begins with an ode to the dreariness of school and ends with the sadness of a dog’s passing away. It’s strange, girlish, experimental, but simple. The beauty of this album is highlighted in its simplicity. A mixture of mediocre electric guitar and drum beats are all that makes up the melodies on the album, but sweet-sounding vocals entice the listener. Frankie Cosmos gives a solid look at the life of a nineteen-year-old girl. Issues of love flings, loss of pets, and disinterest in school make up most of the album. Her ability to use simple lyricism to convey these ideas gives an easy glimpse into her life and what is most important to her. The emotional depth of this album and its catchyness as an indie pop-adjacent style of album makes it one that is so easy to return to again and again. Even seven years after its release, I find the lyrics stuck inside my head while I go about my daily life – thinking of lyrics like “I’m the type of girl/Buses splash with rain” or “This is when I say my I love you.” Surprisingly (or not), “Zentropy” ended up gaining 

Frankie Cosmos has come a long way since this first studio album, since creating three more albums and dozens of music videos. Her latest album was released in 2019, and she has teased fans throughout quarantine with Instagram performances of her music and hopefully a new album coming soon.

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Band/Artist Profile

Band Profile: Flatbush Zombies

Written by Miranda

Flatbush Zombies Artist Zombies

Flatbush Zombies, stylized Flatbush ZOMBiES, are a hip hop group active since 2010. They first became noticed within the East Coast rap scene in the 2010s with the release of multiple mixtapes; since then they have produced three albums. Their most recent work is their 2020 EP, “now, more than ever,” and new single “Afterlife,” which has quickly become a fan favorite. Members Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice and Erick Arc Elliott met in grade school and have been great friends and co-performers since.

Flatbush Zombies have also produced interesting media. Their NPR Tiny Desk Concert and YouTube music videos are very entertaining. The group continues to create music together and build upon their previous discography with new and exciting styles.

I recommend checking out their most recent EP, “now, more than ever,” which they created in response to the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020. Their song “Big Shrimp” from their first album is another favorite of mine. Give Flatbush Zombies a listen and let us know what you think.

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Playlists

Friday Favorites (2/26)

Written by Miranda

Tides – Men I Trust

This song is very classic Men I Trust vibes, if you like the band you’ll love this new single. 

yesterday – frumhere

A new single from my one of my favorite lo-fi beat makers. 

Caution – KAYTRANADA 

A chill new song from KAYTRANADA; perfect for working out to. 

Gang Signs (ft. ScHoolboy Q) – Freddie Gibbs 

Another great single from Freddie Gibbs since his recent album, “Alfredo.” ScHoolboy Q brings more of a top-100 vibe to the song but Gibbs keeps it unique. 

Jealous (ft. Rico Nasty) – Mahalia 

Mahalia’s strong, sweet vocals perfectly complement with Rico Nasty’s harsher rapping. You can definitely see how Mahalia’s style has evolved recently through this song. 

Categories
Band/Artist Profile

Artist Profile: Amaarae

Written by Miranda

Description of Amaarae

Amaarae is an artist who fully expresses herself through her music. Amaarae is an artist who is never afraid to meld different genres and try new things. Not only is she a singer with a talented voice, she writes her own music and often produces it. She is vocal about many issues and uses her platform to further causes she believes in. Her music often focuses on equal representation and freedom of expression. She often uses social media to advocate for important causes such as gender issues and police brutality. She is also expressive using her clothing: she has been featured in Vogue Magazine online and received an award from the Glitz Style Awards in Ghana. 

Amaarae’s newest single release, “Leave Me Alone – A Colors Show” (stylized in all caps), is an older single by Amaarae performed on the COLORS studio platform. COLORS is a social media platform that focuses on minimalism, showcasing artists all over the world for their talents without distraction. This version of Amaarae’s single is stripped, allowing complete attention on her vocal talents; she also raises awareness of ending SARS and police brutality in Nigeria at the end of the song. You can watch the COLORS show video here. And, if you’re interested in hearing my review of Amaarae’s most recent album, The Angel You Don’t Know, check it out on the WKNC blog here

Categories
Playlists

Heartbreaker Playlist

Written by Miranda

For everyone out there celebrating Valentine’s Day alone this year, this one’s for you.

  • Build – Justine Skye
  • I Wish I Missed My Ex – Mahalia
  • Get Money – The Notorious B.I.G.
  • Single Again – Big Sean
  • Run Me Dry – Bryson Tiller
  • Hardest To Love – The Weeknd
  • Needed Me – Rihanna
  • Beware – Big Sean
  • Undying Love – Nas
  • I’m Out (ft. Nicki Minaj) – Ciara
  • Same Ol’ Mistakes – Rihanna
  • Too Good (ft. Rihanna) – Drake
  • On My Mind (acoustic) – Jorja Smith
  • Damage (ft. Halsey) – PARTYNEXTDOOR
  • Just Sayin/I Tried – The Internet
  • Insecure (ft. Bryson Tiller) – Jazmine Sullivan
  • Normal Girl – SZA
  • Motivation – Normani
  • Sorry – Beyoncé

Listen to the Heartbreaker playlist on Spotify here.

Categories
New Album Review

Sound Ancestors Album Review

Written by Miranda

The new Madlib album is something entirely new. Sound Ancestors has more than creative depth; it breaks the boundaries of what a traditional album is. Madlib is a DJ, producer, and occasional rapper most known for his production for albums with MF DOOM, J Dilla, and Freddie Gibbs. Madlib also worked with Kanye West, producing West’s 2016 single “No More Parties in L.A..” His former solo albums have typically been released as the instrumental version of his collaboration projects, but this album the creative project of Madlib. No rapper collaborations or narratives are present, though Madlib received help arranging and editing the album into its final product bu producer Four Tet. 

The album maintains a dynamic between elements of simple production and nostalgic samples. The track “Two for 2 – For Dilla” is a tribute song created for Madlib’s former collaboration partner, J Dilla who passed away in 2006. Throughout the different tracks, this one is the most serious. It also gives an homage to J Dilla through its similar style, bringing nostalgia to any fan of his work. The rest of the album has similar nature but is a bit more playful. It calls attention to the best parts of the songs it samples and breathes new life into them through fantastic drum beats, bass, and a mix of piano and guitar. My current favorite and greatest recommendation to listeners is “Road Of The Lonely Ones” – which I featured on this week’s Friday Favorites as one of the best new songs. I definitely recommend listening to this album while relaxing, doing homework, or any creative activities. This instrumental-laden album is sure to capture your attention and get your brainwaves and creativity flowing.  

Categories
Playlists

Friday Favorites

Written By Miranda

Road Of The Lonely Ones – Madlib

Madlib is known for his production work on major albums with MF DOOM, Freddie Gibbs, and more. His newest project with fellow producer Four Set, “Sound Ancestors,” just released and so far this is my favorite track from the new album.

2hrs – Tobi Lou

This phenomenal and emotional single from Tobi Lou encapsulates a lot of the loneliness, frustration, and exhaustion we can all relate to.

MLK Dr – Smino

A gorgeous, colorful music video pairs so well with this smooth new track from Smino in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Good Vibes (Za) – Wale

A groovy track perfect to relax you or get you dancing, with realness in the lyrics that adds a great depth.

Pomegranate – Kota the Friend

My favorite track from Kota the Friend’s newest release, “Lyrics to GO, Vol. 2.” A simple and short song with beautiful vocals and visual descriptions.

To listen to this week’s Friday Favorites and every song from the past weeks, check out my playlist on WKNC’s Spotify.

Categories
Music News and Interviews

Anticipated Albums 2021

Written By Miranda

2021 has already been blessed with some great new music content by prominent artists, and we all have plenty to look forward to in music this year. January 2021 notably saw the release of Madlib’s “Dirtknock,” Jazmine Sullivan’s “Heaux Tales” (which you can read my review), and Lo Village’s “Lost In America” so far. We’re all looking forward to more content from our favorite artists. These are the most anticipated albums likely to be released this year. 

Noname’s “Factory Baby”

Noname teased the release of this album in 2020 but ended up pushing the release date back and will instead likely be released during this year. As fans, we’re all hopeful to see her next project after “Room 25.” 

Lorde, TBA

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly four years since the release of Lorde’s last project, “Melodrama.” The pop singer has been discussing the release of new music since 2019 and is likely to release her newest album this year. 

slowthai, “TYRON” 

slowthai’s singles from his new album have left fans excited for what’s to come. The album “TYRON” is coming February 12th. The album is sure to be interesting, with features from rappers including Skepta and A$AP Rocky. 

Kendrick Lamar 

It’s been three years since Lamar’s last release with the film Black Panther and his Pulitzer-winning “DAMN.” He has appeared on a few features but fans are anxious to hear the next project, hopefully coming in 2021. 

Frank Ocean, TBA

Fans of Frank Ocean have been waiting for new content from the visionary, who hasn’t released an album since 2016. Initially, Frank Ocean planned to release a new 7” but scrapped the idea, so we’re hoping to see this content make its way onto a release this year. 

Ani Defranco, “Revolutionary Love” 

Feminist icon Ani Defranco’s newest project, “Revolutionary Love,” will be released this Friday, January 29th. Defranco says the album will vocalize the world’s deepest frustrations and tensions through an alchemy of folk and soul. 

Adele, TBA

Fans of Adele have waited nearly five years for a new project from the beloved pop singer. In 2020 the singer stated she was still working on her newest album and teased its possible release for 2021. 

Which albums are you most excited to see release this year? Let us know on social media! 
Sources: I, II

Categories
New Album Review

Heaux Tales Review

Written By Miranda

My favorites: Lost One, Girl Like Me, Bodies – Intro 

Listen if you like: SZA, Summer Walker, H.E.R., Jorja Smith

Jazmine Sullivan, typically most well-known for her hit 2008 single “Bust Your Windows” has again created new music worthy of our attention. Since her 2008 “Fearless” which earned her seven Grammy nominations, Sullivan has only released two full-length projects before “Heaux Tales.” However, she has performed many notorious features with artists such as Goldlink and Bryson Tiller. “Heaux Tales” has quickly risen to the top of R&B charts – for good reason. 

“Heaux Tales” perfectly encapsulates all the talents Sullivan offers: versatility, depth, and realness. Sullivan’s purpose? Portraying “today’s women standing in their power and owning who they are.” She delves into relationship issues, love, and sex while utilizing the stories of other women as anecdotal tracks throughout. Sullivan navigates these topics with care and honesty, making each track delectably real and showing off the conflicts brought about by being a woman in the 2020’s. Sullivan’s “Heaux Tales” contains a mixture of catchy rhythms with Sullivan’s velvety vocals. She also features several artists which complement her style well including Anderson .Paak and H.E.R.. The album features prior-released singles, “Lost One” and “Pick Up Your Feelings,” released in 2020; and released in 2021, “Girl Like Me (feat. H.E.R.)”. The most popular song from the album currently is “Pick Up Your Feelings.” This song is catchy and playful, but meaningful. Sullivan discusses getting cheated on and how she “doesn’t need it” and deserves better. I know that’s true. “Lost One” is emotional and raw. Sullivan reflects on losing a good relationship: “And if it’s too late, I understand/Sometimes it’s too late to make amends.” Another notable track is the last one on the album, “Girl Like Me” which features vocals from R&B artist H.E.R.. The song follows a woman after a breakup rejected by her lover. The vocals include soft, beautiful harmonies; Sullivan and H.E.R. play off of each other’s energies beautifully. 

I highly recommend giving this album a listen, especially the three pre-released tracks which showcase the versatility that makes Jazmine Sullivan so appealing as an artist. I predict Sullivan to rise to ranks of other female R&B artists like SZA and Jorja Smith in the coming year. 

Categories
Playlists

Aging Up Playlist

Written By Miranda

Since my seventeenth birthday I’ve collected songs about the age I was turning for every birthday and made a playlist each year to assist the transition between my ages. There’s something comforting about knowing that the artists you identify with have also gone through the same things you are currently going through. This playlist is a collection of all the songs about being between the ages of seventeen and twenty-three. You can listen to the playlist here

  1. Seventeen by MARINA
  2. Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks 
  3. Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl by Broken Social Scene 
  4. Seventeen by Kevin Abstract 
  5. Dancing Queen by ABBA 
  6. 8TEEN by Khalid 
  7. Eighteen by Joyce Manor 
  8. 18 by One Direction 
  9. I’m Eighteen by Alice Cooper 
  10. Reinventing the Wheel to Run Myself Over by Fall Out Boy 
  11. Nineteen by Tegan and Sara 
  12. Perfect Places by Lorde 
  13. Pushing 20 by Sabrina Carpenter 
  14. 20 Something by SZA 
  15. Twenty One by Khalid 
  16. 21 and Invincible by Something Corporate 
  17. Leaves That Are Green by Simon & Garfunkel 
  18. 22 by Taylor Swift 
  19. What’s My Age Again? by blink-182
  20. Maintain Consciousness by Relient K