Photo via Young Thug on Instagram
When was the last time you listened to Beyonce’s Lemonade? Or Rihanna’s Anti? Shit, when was the last time you put ...Pablo on from start to finish? Three of the biggest pop acts in the world have released albums in 2016 and all three were unceremoniously bumped from my rotation within a couple of weeks. Chance’s Coloring Book has stuck around and Bowie's Blackstar hasn't left, but "big" releases by "big" artists have been overrun this year. There's barely time to breathe.
This week was 2016 in miniature. Vince Staples dropped the follow-up to Summertime ’06 on Thursday. Prima Donna is great. But Friday was taken up by constant repeats of Young Thug’s No, My Name Is JEFFERY and Carly Rae Jepsen’s E-MO-TION Side B. By Friday evening, I was having to remind myself that there was a new Frank Ocean album in the world.
That was one of Blond’s gifts, though — for a couple hours on a Saturday night, we all stopped, sat in one place, and played a fucking record, no distractions. We gave it our undivided attention, thought about what it meant and the questions it was asking; we cared about the samples and the references and all of Ocean’s lyrics; we read his story on the album’s creation and cared about his narrative.
We’ve gathered this week’s most significant albums into one place. Maybe that’ll help.
Carly Rae Jepsen - E-MO-TION Side B
Carly Rae Jepsen said that 75 songs were written for last year's brilliant E-MO-TION. After being told by her label that, no, she could not drop 40 of them in one go, she managed to whittle her second album down to a remarkably consistent 17. A year on, she's released E-MO-TION Side B, nine tracks that didn't make the final cut last year. Again, somehow, they all flirt with perfection.
Tink - Winters Diary 4
The fourth installment of the Illinois R 'n' B rapper and singer's Winter’s Diary series features production from Jahlil, C-Sick, Cookin Soul, 1500 or Nothin, as well as a feature from Lil Durk.
Young Thug - No, My Name Is JEFFERY
Young Thug’s follow-up to March’s Slime Season features Wyclef Jean, Travis Scott, Quavo, and Gucci Mane. The album cover—Young Thug tipping his hat in an Alessandro Trincone dress—has taken over the conversation for the time being, but JEFFERY’s tracks will long outlast all that.
Glass Animals - How To Be a Human Being
The second album from British quartet Glass Animals tells 11 different stories about 11 different fictional characters that the band invented. Their first release since 2014's Zaba, it seems set to find yet more critical success on both sides of the Atlantic.
De La Soul - and the Anonymous Nobody...
Amongst it all, there was the glorious return of De La Soul. On just their second album in 12 years, the East Coast legends brought on some legacy collaborators in Snoop Dogg, 2 Chainz, Usher, and Pete Rock. They also brought on some less-expected talent in Little Dragon, Damon Albarn, and Justin Hawkins of The Darkness.
Cass McCombs - Mangy Love
“I like intense people,” Cass McCombs told us in an interview this week. “I find them inspiring.” McCombs’s debut for ANTI- Records dives headfirst into that intensity, toying up new sounds and old genres as it goes.
Vince Staples - Prima Donna
"Prima Donna,” we wrote this week, “is a twisting force… it aggressively bounces, feeling a bit like a warped and chaotic punch to the gut. It’s music meant for shaking the walls of wherever you find yourself listening.” Collaborations with A$AP Rocky and James Blake will grab the initial headlines, but it’s a typically consistent EP from the Long Beach rapper.
Young Dolph - Rich Crack Baby
With Zaytoven and Drumma Boy on production and Boosie Badazz, Gucci Mane, Wale, T.I., 21 Savage, and 2 Chainz getting features, Young Dolph’s second tape of the year—after Bosses & Shooters with Jay Fizzle & Bino Brown—is every bit as audacious as we expected.
Frank Ocean - Blond
There seems to be no point in running over the story behind Blond: the years spent waiting, the delayed releases, the fact that he came through when it mattered. Instead, we’ll point you to the essays that we ran on Frank Ocean this week:
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