Clark. Kendrick. Sylvan Esso. Perfume Genius.
Death Peak is an odd Clark record. It’s as if you’re in a room equal parts rave and dancehall, with some darker glitch vibes hiding out in the corner. I’m not typically an EDM fan and was never a raver, but I could see myself jamming out web code things to this.
Album highlights: Butterfly Prowler, Peak Magnetic, Hoova, Aftermath
Damn. is Kendrick at his most straightforward. It’s still rich in detail, verbose, packed with meaning, but it’s approachable. I’m conflicted about the record and its message – not sure where it lands for me. I’ll damn sure give it more listens trying to figure that out. Or not.
Album highlights: DNA, Loyalty, Humble, Love, XXX
I’m such a huge fan of Slyvan Esso’s sound. They have darker 80s feels nailed down so well. With tempo shifts, vocal inflections and tremendous choruses, they expertly showcase a range of emotion. I appreciate their dark approach to humor as well. Take Die Young and it’s snarky love sentiments in:
I was gonna die young
now I gotta wait for you, honey
Essentially being upset to fall in love and being inconvenienced to live longer and actually enjoy being alive with someone. Or they were going to die young but they haven’t found love yet, so they have to wait to die to find it. One could derive a few meanings from the lyrics at face value.
I think Radio was the second single released prior to the album’s release. It’s a deliberately hostile take on pop music, which ironically is a relatively popular hit and played on the radio.
This record, as a whole, is a solid sophomore record. I’m super pleased that it knows when to stop, too. It’s the perfect length. These two have something kinda special.
Album highlights: The Glow, Die Young, Just Dance, Signal
I really tried to appreciate Perfume Genius‘ 2014 heavy-praised Too Bright but found it a bit too shiny and theatrical for my tastes. I had a hard time making an emotional connection to it. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with most of No Shape so far. “Slip Away” is an epic and gorgeously rich & detailed song – I adore it. Aspects of this record remind me of Too Bright, like the delicate “Just Like Love” and the breathy “Every Night”. Perhaps those will grow on me in time. I find his more complex songs intriguing and beautiful. His simplistic songs lose me a bit. I suppose everything needs its white space.
Album highlights: Slip Away, Go Ahead, Valley, Wreath, Sides