¡Uno, dos, tres! We are back, and this time with three incredibly diverse and yet engaging albums for your Friday morning. There may not be much to bring you in the way of singles this week, but that trio of albums – the wonderful Janelle Monáe‘s enticing Dirty Computer, hip hop sensation Post Malone‘s long-awaited Beerbongs & Bentleys, and Cool Like You, the follow-up to 2016’s indie breakout stars Blossoms‘ self-titled debut – are far more than enough to satiate even the keenest of audiophiles. Of course, despite the quality offered by Post Malone and Blossoms, there is only one place we can start, right?
Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer
JANELLE. MONÁE. The queen returns with her third studio LP this weekend in Dirty Computer, a truly voltaic record that deserves to be top of your radar. Monáe first burst onto the scene as The ArchAndroid in 2010, an endlessly inventive R&B record that took its cues from early-cinema masterpiece Metropolis and gave them a Wondaland pop sheen. Then came 2013’s The Electric Lady, an album that showcased the evolution of Monáe as a pop artist with infectious hooks and clean, synthesized production whilst remaining as innovative, subversive, and experimental as her debut three years’ prior, before her big break as an actress in 2017’s Oscar-winning Hidden Figures.
Now finally back in the studio, it feels like she never left, and it certainly doesn’t look like she’ll be pulling any punches: lead single ‘Make Me Feel’ openly discusses Monáe’s pansexuality, while the Grimes-featuring ‘Pynk’ venerates a certain part of the female anatomy. It’s all part of the electro-pop fantasia that seems to be making up what is looking to be a truly terrific third studio album that explores both the funky (‘Make Me Feel’) and the fiery (‘Django Jane’ – don’t forget Monáe can be as ferocious as any MC when she wants to be). Featuring guests such as Brian Wilson, Pharrell Williams, and Zoë Kravitz, Dirty Computer is set to be the funk-pop album that will dominate your summer.
Post Malone – beerbongs & bentleys
I think it’s safe to say that expectation is through the roof for this one. Texas rapper Post Malone announced himself in 2016 with Stoney, a confessional hip-hop slow-jam featuring the stellar ‘I Fall Apart’ and ‘White Iverson’ – as well as the chart-smashing ‘Congratulations’ featuring Quavo (of course). He truly arrived in 2017, as his debut reached the UK Top 10 and he featured on the brilliant remix of Lorde‘s (already sublime) ‘Homemade Dynamite’. Rumours over a follow-up to Stoney have been swirling for over a year, with multiple release date pushbacks since the originally stated release of December 2017. Finally, it is here.
So will it be any good? You’d certainly hope so, given Post Malone explained the constant release date pushbacks by saying he wanted to “keep working my ass off and make the best fucking album ever”; when you look at the track listing, things look even more promising. Chart-topping (and 21 Savage-featuring) ‘rockstar‘ makes the cut, alongside the terrific ‘Psycho‘ and ‘Candy Paint‘. Meanwhile, Swae Lee, Nicki Minaj, G-Eazy and YG all find space for features. All in all, it points to exciting things from one of the world’s most meteoric MCs.
HONNE ft. Tom Misch – ‘Me & You’
So the singles may not be flowing today from the biggest artists, but this one – as with anything that Tom Misch touches – is absolutely delightful. HONNE brings a luscious dance-pop soundscape to act as the perfect backing to Misch’s perfectly balanced vocals, with the two working exquisitely off each other to produce a wonderfully upbeat track that positively oozes summertime vibes. Give it a listen and see if you too can’t resist reaching for the strawberries and Pimms.
Ben Howard – ‘Nica Libres At Dusk’
A rather delicious track of surprising tenderness and warmth, ‘Nica Libres At Dusk’ is the third single released ahead of Ben Howard‘s upcoming third album, Noonday Dream. Howard’s ethereal, almost breathless vocals float weightlessly on top of his shimmering guitar whilst the most dulcet drum beat punctuates the track, creating a beautiful twilight soundscape that perfectly complements the otherworldly lyrics (“And all of the mountains whisper knowingly / I order a Colada / To sit, count my dollars / And watch eagles soar in circles / Perpetually”). Coming in at 6:34, ‘Nica Libres At Dusk’ is not a short song, yet it never outstays its welcome; rather, the precise instrumentation and delicate vocals entice you from the start to stay with them for a little while in eternity, before the track abruptly ends and drops you off right where it found you. Magical stuff.
Blossoms – Cool Like You
Following a very public spat on Twitter between singer Tom Ogden and drummer Joe Donovan just a couple months ago, the terrific indie quintet from Stockport (who broke the charts with their 2016 self-titled debut album) surprisingly sound just as united and carefree as ever in the lead singles for Cool Like You, their second full-length record. If early reviews are anything to go by, it’s a feeling that’s shared across the entire album – a great middle-finger to the idea of a “difficult second album” if ever there was one. The band keep their brand of pompous, synth-inspired indie rock from their debut in tracks like ‘I Can’t Stand It‘ and ‘There’s a Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls)’, but also take a more mature approach to more tender tracks such as ‘Stranger Still’ and ‘How Long Will This Last?’. Time will tell to see if Cool Like You will stand as tall as their Mercury Prize-nominated debut, but with their second album they’ve certainly had a damn good crack.
Mason Ramsey – ‘Famous’
Proof that yodelling in Walmart can land you in a little known student entertainment magazine. *sighs*
Selected Other Releases
Anne-Marie – Speak Your Mind
Matt Cardle – Time To Be Alive
Wiley – Godfather II
Aloe Blacc – ‘Brooklyn In The Summer’
Big Narstie – ‘Woah’
Disciples – ‘Athiest’
Dusky Grey – ‘Joy Ride’
GIVERS – ‘Collide’
Hayden James ft. Boy Matthews – ‘Just Friends’
Jason Mraz – ‘Have It All’
Jon Hopkins – ‘Everything Connected’
The Manor – ‘Out ‘Ere’
Mellah – ‘Cigarette Lighter’
Michael Calfan – ‘Got You’
Parcels – ‘Tieduprightnow’
Plan B – ‘Mercy’
Scott Quinn – ‘Run’
Stargate ft. Partynextdoor, 21 Savage & Murda Beatz – ‘1Night’
Swarmz – ‘Lyca’
WESLEE – ‘Sweat Dreams’
This Week In Records: Playlist Edition
Follow our shiny Spotify playlist and all this musical newness will be right there in time for breakfast every Friday morning.