Let’s face it, we’re in the age of the single. Now that we can download whatever we want, whenever we want, the album is losing relevance to most music listeners. When I talk to many of my friends, they rarely download an entire album, but rather wait to see which songs are the most popular and then download them as singles. This encourages artists to specifically tailor certain songs to the general public to create buzz about their album. For example, Kid Cudi’s 2010 album Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager features the ironically upbeat single Erase Me which features Kanye West. The song is peppy and fast with a comically manufactured chorus rattled with pop tropes. It has no place in the brooding, solemn, self-contemptuous album that is supposedly based around Kid Cudi’s nightmares. The reason this song even exists is to attract hype for the rest of the album. Nowadays, it can be hard to find albums that both work as a story with a message, while being simultaneously entertaining and interesting. As a result, I have compiled a small list of albums that I believe will live up to the hype behind them.
SWISH – Kanye West
If there is any person alive that can guarantee a spectacular album, it’s Kanye. Ignore his persona, his ego, his business and personal decisions, and strip away everything you know about him outside of his music. When you actually sit down and listen, he is a commanding artist with his finger on the pulse of his craft. The revolutionary album The College Dropout changed rap music when it was released in 2004. It was Kanye staring the world in the face and saying, “This is me. Take it or leave it,” a message that heavily contrasted the bravado and egoism of early 2000’s rap. And even now, 2 years after his highly experimental album, Yeezus, Kanye is still managing to maintain his roots without falling to clichéd repetition.
Boys Don’t Cry – Frank Ocean
I have been listening to Channel Orange for three years now and I want something new, dammit. Ocean’s newest album was supposed to drop in late July, however, the release was cancelled for unspecified reasons. Channel Orange’s vignette style of short, introspective songs still proves to be entertaining today. There’s no set release date for the new album, but give Ocean’s talent and production, I’m confident it will be huge.
Art Angles – Grimes
Grimes recently said in an interview with The Guardian, “If I sound current, it’s because I made the new current.” That kind of boisterous confidence is off-putting, yet expected from the same person who produced Visions almost four years ago. With Grimes’ technical and extremely unique sound, it’s hard to argue that she isn’t at the forefront of originality when it comes to music. There’s speculation that this new album will be influenced by nu-metal which may deter fans of the “Grimes” style. However, many have come to expect the unexpected with her. All that can be guaranteed from this album is that it will be weird, confusing, and experimental. Hopefully, it will be groundbreaking.
Views – Drake
This last album is probably the one with the closest release date. If you’ve been paying attention to Drake, you’ll know he’s had a hell of a year. Starting off with the chart-topping If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, it was clear that Drake was hitting his prime. The studio album was received well commercially and critically solidifying Drake’s superstar status in the music world. This summer, Drake was in the media again in an apparent quarrel with fellow artist Meek Mill. During this time, Drake released two “diss tracks” creating media buzz that even involved a member of the Canadian parliament. Most recently, he released a collaborative mixtape with Atlanta-based rapper Future, titled What a Time to Be Alive. Drake’s success this year has been unparalleled, and his sound is stronger than it’s ever been. While he has yet to fully mature in his thematic material, he is nevertheless reaching his prime as a rapper. Long gone are the days of his “hashtag rap” style. With the spotlight brighter than it’s ever been, and all ears listening intently, Views is going to be huge.