With so many different genres of dance, electronica, and EDM packed into every song on Madonna’s thirteenth studio album, ‘Rebel Heart,’ it feels like your a kid in a sonic candy store…and all those pills have friendly faces. Really, there’s so much depth on this album, it’s hard to start from the bottom or the top. The ‘Rebel’ set will suck you in, make you dance, lift you up, then break you down, like on the super ballad ‘Joan Of Arc,’ when Madge sings “I can’t be a superhero right now, even hearts made out of steal can break down…I’m only human…even when the world turns its back on me. I’m not going down…” With collaborators Diplo, Avicii, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj all on board, ‘Rebel Heart’ will pull you every direction and keep you heading back to it all summer long.
Kendrick Lamar/’To Pimp A Butterfly’
Kendrick has been on my radar for almost 6 months now, ever since I saw his infamous ‘SNL’ performance. Instantly, I was floored by his presence…and it shines on his sophomore set, ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’. He’s honest, he’s real, he’s unapologetic, not to mention he’s got a bad ass one-of-a-kind voice. What sets ‘TPAB’ apart from every other album out there today in the hip hop scene is the amount of sounds he’s packed into every corner of your speakers. It’s sonically brilliant, each song soaring into the next. From jazz to old school to soul to RnB to tribal and trip hop, Kendrick’s all over the music map. Stand out tracks from ‘Pimp’ include “Complexion,” “Momma,” and of course ,”i.”
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds/’Chasing Yesterday’
Throw yourself back into brit-pop sugar with Noel Gallagher (of Oasis fame)and his second album with his band, High Flying Birds. This is an album that you put on after a productive day at home or a long day at the office. It’s one to zone out to with its light acoustic flow, the saxophones, the horns in the background, the lazy drum beat, the driving bass. This would be where Pink Floyd left off…and by that I mean ‘Wish You Were Here’ part deux. Stand out tracks are opener “Riverman.” “The Right Stuff” (man those horns !), and rocker “The Mexican.”
Death Cab For Cutie/’Kintsugi’
This is a combination of Death Cab and Postal Service put together….and it shines. Lead singer Ben Gibbard feels most confident and bolder on this one. Their sound is tighter and more epic and a bit darker. There are plenty of ’80s synths to soak up with modern guitar and electronic drums mixed in to cleanse your pallet and wash away the tears. Listen to “Binary Sea,” “Good Help (Is So Hard To Find),” or lead single,”Black Sun.”
Sufjan Stevens/’Carrie & Lowell’
“I don’t know where to begin again…” sings Sufjan on his newest, return-to-sound album called, ‘Carrie & Lowell.’ Leaving the keyboards in the closet, Sufjan pulls out his acoustic instruments again and polishes them up a bit. If you don’t follow Sufjan, you wouldn’t know his journey. This is a perfect start to find out as every die hard (of which I am hardly) is geeking out over this album. If you must know anything about Sufjan it’s all about his words and story telling. And he does it so beautifully on ‘Carrie & Lowell.’ Mostly an acoustic record and mostly slow, it’s the album you fall asleep to at night. “Fourth Of July” is quite possibly the most beautiful tracks I have ever heard from him and “John My Beloved” is lyrically devastating. Give it a spin….
Modest Mouse/’Strangers To Ourselves’
This is an honorable mention, as Modest Mouse’s first album in six years has been out for a few weeks now, but has been mostly under the radar. It’s an amazing album from start to finish, a bolder, more mature take on the band that people were perplexed by when they first hit the music scene a decade ago. From a slow brooding self-titled opener to the rock/funk sound of “Lampshades On Fire,” ‘Strangers To Ourselves’ is all over the map with that unique sound we love and know of lead singer Isaac Brock’s voice. Modest Mouse has a way of taking you out of reality and putting you in a fictional journey. This album is just another perfect example of that…