Emerging writer and published poet | Owner of Modern Music Analysis music publication
Top 5 Albums of 2022
What a year for music, right? This feels like the biggest year for music in a long time, probably since the divinity of 2016. While I wish Frank Ocean would’ve broke the Internet and released an album, I’m beyond satisfied with the plethora of art released this year — we saw the biggest artists drop and new ones break onto the scene in a big way. Check out my top 5, and honorable mentions, for 2022 (in no particular order). I will attach reviews to the album title, a few of which belong to Mark Chinapen.
Give or Take by Giveon | Album Review
I had a chance to review this album for Line of Best Fit upon its release, but due to a word limit, I don’t think I could analyze and explain fully how I feel about the album as I can here. I didn’t do this album justice. There are a few important points that will carry over from my original review plus a few more after a handful of listens over the past couple of days. That being said, Give or Take, Giveon’s debut studio album, is truly a focus and revival of traditional soul music. It feels like you could drop this album in the 80s and 90s and it would be perfectly okay. There aren’t very mainstream artist that are tackling this genre in stride while paying reverence to its roots and succeeding.
Honestly, Nevermind by Drake | Album Review
I was expecting at least a couple singles from Drake this summer, but I certainly wasn’t expecting an album — we aren’t too far removed from Certified Lover Boy. The only project I had on my radar for the midnight release was Joey Bada$$’s, 2000. Was this surprise drop just bad timing or did Bada$$ really not get the sample clearance? Either way, just as I suspected, this year has been electric in the music industry with Joey, Giveon, and Brent Faiyaz all dropping soon. Reviews of each will be released ASAP upon release.
Crash by Charlie XCX | Album Review
Crash by Charlie XCX ranges from dancingly beautiful to infuriatingly annoying as some of the highest potential tracks are marred by repetitive choruses and dystopian-like persistence for upbeat tempo and party atmosphere despite its inadequacy. This album feels straight out of an old Need for Speed game with the nostalgic capturing of an older form of pop that was so prevalent about 10 years ago. It certainly has its ups and downs but there is just enough potential and heart-racing thematics akin to a car crash that makes this album worth listening to.
Melt My Eyez See Your Future by Denzel Curry | Album Review
Melt My Eyez See Your Future, as maybe expected by the title, is filled to the brim with psychedelic, “brain-melting” flows and tracks with an emphasis on a new approach in Denzel Curry’s music. Touching on a plethora of themes, including enlightenment and systematic oppression, the artist put together an interesting collection of tracks that mix between genius and skippable. For me, this album fits comfortably in the mid to high 7’s, just missing low 8’s.
IGOR by Tyler, The Creator | Album Review
Simply put, IGOR is probably Tyler, The Creator’s best album. Having been entirely produced by the artist himself, the innovative and almost dramatic production pays homage to other legendary influences such as Kanye and Pharrell. The album itself focuses on love and heartbreak as hinted by the pink background of the album cover. This album was another step removed from the grotesque, outrage rap of an earlier era and another step in the direction of genre fluid music as a source of catharsis as hinted in Flowerboy (of which a review can be found here).
5 Tips for New Music Journalists
I run a music publication, you may have seen it here on Medium, called Modern Music Analysis. I’ve collected quite a few writers, views, followers, etc. I’ve been doing this music journalism thing for a little while and have learned a lot in my time doing it. I’m going to keep this short and sweet because there are many convoluted ways to go about it, and that’s not what will keep you in business. Here are five tips for budding music journalists:
Harry's House by Harry Styles | Album Review
The former One Direction member has made quite the solo career for themself thus far. With the with a debut and sophomore albums under the belt (the latter of which a review can be found here), Harry Styles looks to impress with the more intimate and exploratory Harry's House. Fine Line was filled with summer bops and the exploration of sex and gender, seemingly a focal point of introspection for Styles. Harry's House seems to capture a nostalgic summer rock pop, especially in the leading single, "As It Was".
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers by Kendrick Lamar | Album Review
It's been years now since the drop of award winning album, DAMN. We've gotten a taste here and there with teasing singles and features with Baby Keem, but a new album is finally here - Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, a double album filled with x and y, topping off what has been one of the most incredible discographies of the modern era. The intimacy of family is front and center, with glimpses of religion, gun violence, and struggle hiding within plain sight - a Compton paramount. Kendrick, a modern rap king, has solidified his place atop the throne with this release.
3.15.20 by Childish Gambino | Album Review
While the cover and song titles may be minimalist, the production of 3.15.20 was not. It seems fitting that what may be the last ode for the moniker Childish Gambino, was likely his best and most addicting work, while being the least recognizable. The album cover, simply a white square (a predecessor to Kanye's Donda cover) and the timestamp song titles (besides two) really made this album almost inaccessible to some as it's almost impossible to point out a song off the top of your head unless you're intimately familiar with it. Only the second and third song of the album are devoid of this fate. However, under its forgettable shell is a masterpiece, laden with funky electronic eclecticism and soulful renditions of existentialism and other social commentaries.
“Awaken, My Love!” by Childish Gambino | Album Review
Childish Gambino is an artist that doesn’t really care whether or not people are talking about his music. Don’t get me wrong, the artist certainly cares how he is perceived, but the approach to how he makes his music is very modern. Meaning he pays attention to the infinitesimally small details of each and every song and word he produces — a postmodern approach that relays old techniques and traditions with a twist. As a result, it is difficult to categorize what genre this album falls under. I think it was safe to say his earlier albums fell under the hip-hop umbrella, but it’s worth noting that “Awaken, My Love!” doesn’t. Regardless, the word that sums up the experience of this album is psychedelic.
From A Bird’s Eye View by Cordae | Album Review
The focus in Cordae’s music has always been lyricism. I think this is one of the things that separates him from his peers. I don’t think he aims for catchy, chart-topping radio fodder but rather cohesive projects with a certain theme in mind. This was especially evident in The Lost Boy that was heavily focused on family and personal growth. From A Bird’s Eye View is no different in its approach.