The Decemberists – “A Beginning Song”
The Decemberists’ latest album, What a Terrible World, What a Wonderful World was not only released on Jan. 20, but it also marked Decemberists Day in the city of Portland. The mayor of the city was set to be present, with the band announcing a community art project that is inspired by the new album. The album itself, which is the band’s seventh, does not try and reinvent the wheel, but continues with the successful folk sound that has made the band one of the biggest in the scene. Though it is a little more radio-friendly than some of their previous work, tracks like “A Beginning Song” prove to be more complex as well, with different instruments coming in and out, while Colin Meloy pairs his distinctive voice with vocal harmonies that creates an interesting close to the album.
Lupe Fiasco – “Mural”
In a recent interview with Billboard, Lupe Fiasco stated that he doesn’t “want to be relevant today.” Fiasco, who is never one to shy away from saying some strange things, went on to talk about how there is a new generation of rappers, such as Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, who speak to a younger generation. “I don’t have the same lingo. I don’t sip lean or smoke weed,” he continued. While he may not be popular among twelve year olds, Fiasco’s newly released Tetsuo & Youth is arguably his best work since his early career. On “Mural,” which comes in at close to nine minutes long, Fiasco raps like he is happy again. No pop chorus, no complaining about record companies, just Fiasco proving that he is still relevant, and that he still has a lot to say.
Frank Ocean – “At Your Best (You Are Love)”
Hip Hop’s obsession with Aaliyah has long been documented, and on what would have been the R&B singer’s 36th birthday, Frank Ocean shared a cover of the Isley Brother’s “At Your Best (You Are Love),” which Aaliyah also covered in 1994. Ocean’s version comes as exciting news for his fans, as it is only the second track he has released since his critically acclaimed Channel Orange, which came out in 2012.
While there has been no real information on a follow up, Ocean has apparently been working with the likes of Pharrell Williams, Hit-Boy and Danger Mouse.