Illustration by Maheen Eatazaz

Your Weekly Music Recs Vol. IV

A look back at everything that happened during the fall break (which we already forgot happened) and the past couple of weeks, which were surprisingly busy for both NYUAD students and the music industry.

Nov 7, 2022

Fall break already seems a millennium away. After a hectic two weeks, I am pretty sure we’re all ready for the next time we might have the chance to get some peace and quiet. However, a quick stroll down memory lane shows breaks are actually never relaxing. During the break we deservedly tried to disconnect from most of the celebrity drama, alas, to no avail. From Kanye West losing most of his contracts with big brands to Brad Pitt being canceled after the F1 race in Austin, Texas, everything happened in our time for unwinding. If you are one of the lucky few who managed to escape the perpetual drama whirlwind, your luck ends here because what follows is a recap of what you might have missed in terms of music news in the past couple of weeks.
New Releases Being Funny in a Foreign Language by The 1975 (released Oct. 14)
With Taylor Swift’s new release, more people than usual were tracking world music charts like stock market statistics. Her record overshadowed even Arctic Monkeys’ long-awaited comeback album, The Car (which still received sky-high reviews from music critics, don't worry).
However, one new album remains severely underappreciated. The 1975 also made a grand return with a new release called Being Funny in a Foreign Language. It is the same old 80s-sampled alternative the band is famous for, along with a lot of new unexpected experiments. The record is a collection of feel-good, almost show-tuney melodies with easy and genuine lyrics. However, the addition of saxophone solos and riffs with classical instruments in almost every song is a game-changer: these bring more maturity and depth to the usual funky and slinky vibe of The 1975 and become the perfect foundation for the musicians of the band to showcase their growth as performers. Turn special attention to Matt Healey, the vocalist, who reveals a more stable and confident voice, as if he has rediscovered the limits of his abilities during the band's hiatus. The growth can also be expressed through their more and more 80s sound, this time turned up to the point that the band should really consider rebranding as The 1985. With its almost ambient-pop musical qualities, Being Funny in a Foreign Language might as well provide the time for that break-from-the-break we all need, even if it is only about 40 minutes long.
And I Have Been by Benjamin Clementine (released Oct. 30) Benjamin Clementine’s new compositions in And I Have Been are yet another wonderful mix between classical music, jazz, and pop. Clementine’s vocals have a unique, almost extraterrestrial sound, and the results of this natural talent combined with his exceptional composing skills are always a delight. This particular album carries so much power and emotionality that, at the end. you might feel like you went through the emotional equivalent of the Formula Rossa. It is not an experience that can be described with words.
Throwback good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar (released Oct. 22, 2012)
On Oct. 22, the music industry was still trembling from the force of Swifities tweeting analyses of lyrics from Midnights back and forth, and the celebration of good kid, m.A.A.d city’s 10th anniversary was a lot quieter than it should have been. While To Pimp A Butterfly greatly outperforms its predecessor on Lamar’s discography, good kid, m.A.A.d city is not an album to ignore. It is nothing less than perfectly crafted. It really lays the foundations for Kendrick’s undisputed masterpiece, but remains its own thing. Singles like “B****, Don’t Kill My Vibe”, “Swimming Pools”, “Money Trees” and “m.A.A.d city” are all part of this record, and they are some of the rapper’s best work. Some say To Pimp A Butterfly is a much more politically charged and socially provocative record, which distinguishes Lamar’s music from your regular rap, but good kid, m.A.A.d city is equally thought-provoking, just in more subtle ways. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, I propose we revisit and reflect: has Kendrick managed to change the world in the meantime, or is it too far gone to be fixed?
11ᐧ 11 ᐧ 11 by MGMT (to be released Nov. 11, 2022)
Without any publicity, advertising, and just minimal public presence, it is as if the news of MGMT’s upcoming album came out of nowhere. It has been four years since this electronic indie rock band has released a record. In their absence, several platforms picked up on their lesser-known singles and pumped them up the charts. Perhaps this sudden surge of popularity sparked the production of a new album, or maybe it is just a coincidence that they are releasing it just as their new-found social media fame is starting to dwindle. Whatever the case, this is definitely a record to await impatiently, since we know literally nothing about it. Prepare to be surprised in the best way possible.
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