Noel Gallagher’s ascent to fame began in Manchester rock band Oasis, but since the band split in 2009, Gallagher has been working on his own solo project. Chasing Yesterday is Noel Gallagher’s second album with the High Flying Birds and has been a hit with fans, although many reviewers have criticized the album for sounding too much like Oasis. As Gallagher was the main songwriter in Oasis, it’s hardly surprising that the music is comparable and I think it’s unfair to expect such an acclaimed musician to divert away from his instantly recognizable style of writing and composition.
With this record we see many similarities to Oasis albums and it is particularly reminiscent of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?. However it is also clear that Gallagher’s song writing has developed a lot since the 90’s and the majority of the songs featured on this album appear to hold more emotion and more structured narratives. The album is very easy listening. Although not all the tracks are necessarily cheery, the enjoyable pop rock tempo is kept up throughout. Notable tracks from this album include “In The Heat of The Moment”, “Riverman”, “The Dying of The Light” and “The Ballad of The Mighty I”.
Tuxedo – Tuxedo
Artists Jake One and Mayer Hawthorne have got together to create duo Tuxedo. Released on the 3rd of March, their self titled debut album combines elegant vocals and sleek electronic beats to forge a synth-funk record that has been popular among users and critics alike. This album is one you can really get down and dance to with that wistful groove/disco sound continually floating over all of the tracks.
Overall I’d say this record is very original sounding, however there are some added in flairs that nudge into parts of the album (particularly in “R U Ready”) that remind me of that downward scale synth pop sound that is repeated throughout the Todd Terje track “Inspector Norse”. These little flairs highlight how effortlessly Tuxedo has blended classic and futuristic sound in this record. Notable tracks from this album include “Do It”, “R U Ready” and “Number One”.
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
Hip Hop artist Kendrick Lamar already has two highly acclaimed albums from 2011 and 2012 but it seems that he is not slowing down as To Pimp A Butterfly is arguably Lamar’s greatest album to date. He succeeds in staying away from the ‘safe zone’ that so many artists find themselves resting in after their first few albums. For example, his choice to include a live version of the track “i” rather than the original that sounds very made for radio was a bold decision that really paid off. Kendrick has said that his greatest influence is Tupac Shakur and the instrumentation on this record sounds raw and old school and is very reminiscent of Tupac.
The album is fantastic from all angles. Kendrick nails the music and instrumentation as well as great lyrics and strong messages. It’s almost as though he has folded back on the more fashionable/trendy artistic development that seemed to be going down on his second album and I think that it is a really good move and look forward to seeing where he can go from here. Notable tracks from this album include “King Kunta”, “Institutionalized”, and “i”.
Action Bronson – Mr Wonderful
New York rapper, Action Bronson released his second full length studio album and first major label album in March and lived up to expectations with a mix of witty lyrics and raw instrumentation such as the use of piano and woodwind in “Galactic Love”. The album started off with an up beat and bouncy track “Brand New Car” which is humorous. It is not necessarily out right comical but the simplicity of the light hearted lyrics is endearing and the track seemed like a very good choice as an opener. The reason I love this album so much is the fact that it is so simple. There are some slightly silly parts of the album such as silly lyrics and the use of whistles and bells but these don’t make for a distraction from Bronson’s great rapping and rather just add to the fun. Notable tracks from this album include “Brand New Car”, “Actin Crazy”, “Baby Blue” and “Easy Rider”.
Words by Cara Stones