New Music Quick Reactions Dec 17

Singles

  • Aaliyah and The Weeknd, Poison (A-): The murky beat, the sublime vocal filters, the crystal-clear Weeknd feature, the strong structure, this song has it all. This refreshing collaboration features some of the best of both Abel’s and Aaliyah’s soundscapes.
  • 6LACK, By Any Means (C+): The slow jams of 6LACK have defined Atlanta’s R&B scene but this new single does nothing new in its 1:28 run length. Up to expectations but nothing notable
  • SAINt JHN, The Best Part of Life (C+): The popular appeal SAINt JHN has gained in the last two years has not changed him. This new track features familiar vocals and style, with the added effect of a gratingly annoying chorus.
  • Rvssian, Future, and Lil Baby, M&M (C+): Rvssian’s hook is nothing special, but the beat, Future bars, and Lil Baby feature, are all good on this one.
  • FKA twigs and The Weeknd, Tears in the Club (C): An interesting combination of sounds that ultimately comes to naught due to weird mixing choices and very poor song writing. FKA’s vocals are erratic and distracting while The Weeknd clashes with his unwavering clarity.
  • Bobby Shmurda, Quavo and Rowdy Rebel, Shmoney (C): This new track attempts to make up for Shmurda’s floundering rapping ability with features that do nothing for the track. Another bland track with a surprisingly cheap beat.
  • NLE Choppa, Drop Shit (C-): This song is nothing special; familiar flow, similar beat, low energy, and poor hook.

In Between

  • Tierra Whack, R&B? (C): Tierra continues her streak of releases by swerving into the R&B on this new three-track EP. The opening song, Heaven, sounds like an outro from Kanye’s recent work but less inspired, featuring very little of what makes Tierra unique. The second track, Cutting Onions, is more intimate and effective, contemplating loss and grief. Sorry, the final track, is the most conventional by genre standards and features the strongest vocals and melodies of this EP. This EP is another perplexing installment in Tierra’s discography, leaving more incomplete than it presents.

Albums

  • Roddy Ricch, LIVE LIFE FAST (C-): The supreme popularity of Roddy Ricch’s track, The Box, has pigeon-holed him in the industry as a melodic hook-singer. On this new project, he doubles down on this identity, taking very few chances and basing songs off absurdly simple premises. There are hints of new directions, more aggressive vocals, nods to classic influences, and haphazard flows, but these are points of light in the murky 50-minute run-time.
  • Gucci Mane, So Icy Christmas (C-): There has never been a good Christmas rap album and this new Gucci project is no exception. While most of the tracks are cheerful and clever, the best parts of the songs have nothing to do with the festive theme.
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