Album Audit is a weekly Interns feature, recapping and reviewing the album releases of the week with a cheeky score out of five.
Lorde – Melodrama
Album Of The Week
David Bowie knew something that we didn’t know four years ago. He knew Lorde was the future of music. While the Kiwi artist’s cohesive debut album Pure Heroine was good, it was hardly enough to solidify her as one of the greats. Four years later though, with the release of her second album Melodrama, it’s clear that he was right. Lorde has poignancy and ambition. A magnetism to the strange, a gentle eye for the tender and a microscope for lyrical detail. And Melodrama highlights all of that.
Sure, we can say this is a record of teenage emotion but that would be underselling it. There’s something everyone can take from Melodrama. Embrace every emotion, chase the high but accept the low and know that your search for perfect places is fun but endless.
This record is a masterpiece. It takes in every detail (the weather, the setting, the feeling) and translates it with unfiltered emotional honesty. It has an intimacy that puts you close to the author but a perspective that makes wider realisations about being a young woman, and a human being.
Bowie was right. Lorde is the future of music. 5/5
Young Thug – Beautiful Thugger Girls
Over the past two years, Young Thug has gone from being an underground hero with one of the most constant outputs in music to a potential megastar, featuring on nearly every rapper who matters’ album. Beautiful Thugger Girls comes in the midst of huge mainstream hype and while you’d be forgiven for thinking his “singing” album would be a grab for chart success, it’s not. In fact, it may just be the strangest thing he’s ever released. Everything from the cover to a bizarre trailer hinted that this was going to be strange but this is a wilder ride than most could’ve anticipated.
On opener Family Don’t Matter he somehow infuses R&B with country complete with a “yee-haw” adlib, Me Or Us sees him sample sees him sample Bright Eyes’ First Day Of My Life and Do U Love has him getting dirt over a dancehall beat. It’s all over the place stylistically but Thug’s identity is so strong that he manages to blend it all together.
Despite icier cuts with Snoop Dogg (Get High) and Future (Relationship), this project is worlds away from his Slime Season series, opting for something a little more gentle and melodic. Rather, it continues the vibe of JEFFERY but goes even further than that giving some of the most questionable moments in music this year. “Baby girl come suck me and fuck me,” he sings on the incredibly graphic Do U Love Me and on Tomorrow Til Infinity he calls himself “the black Christian Grey”. The whole thing is overtly sexual but he somehow manages to get poetic with it.
It’s likely by the time you get to closer Take Care you’ll be more confused than satisfied but that’s the greatest thing about Beautiful Thugger Girls. It’s so different that it makes zero sense on first listen but on repeat listens it begins to sound familiar. Now, it’s like we’ve been pumping R&B/country crossover jams for years. That’s a mark of Thug’s mastery. He’s so far ahead of the game that he’s making music that doesn’t even exist in your wildest dreams. What you have to decide is whether he’s too far ahead for you. 4/5
2 Chainz – Pretty Girls Like Trap Music
2 Chainz debut album came out in 2012. That’s the same year Kendrick Lamar released Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, Nicki Minaj dropped Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded and Meek Mill unleashed his debut album Dreams and Nightmares. While those three names are still some of the most notable in hip-hop, 2 Chainz has failed to release that hallmark record. Nothing has hit number one since his debut and critically he’s failed to prove he can hit with the heavyweights. At the ripe age of 39, however, 2 Chainz may be hitting his stride. His latest Pretty Girls Like Trap Music is by far his best record.
With Quavo, Travis Scott and Swae Lee on board, Chainz dabbles in new era hip-hop but he mostly holds the fort with the sort of hip-hop that defined G.O.O.D. Music’s heyday. Chainz is a wiser, more profound rapper now and you can tell that because no matter what feature he comes up against, he makes it his own. Drake’s contribution on Big Amount is strong but fails to play with words as effortlessly as the host, Travis Scott delivers icy greatness on 4am but it’s Chainz’ haunting, sparse bars that dominate and he somehow beats Migos at their own game on the woozy Blue Cheese. Just about the only guest that stops by and wins is Nicki Minaj on Realize but he handed her more than half the song for her to succeed.
When he’s on his own, like on the damning Riverdale Rd, he sounds more focussed than ever. His rags to riches tale has the benefit of hindsight and lyrics like, “from grams to Grammys” sounds more celebratory than boastful. Trap Check is unapologetically triumphant and Burglar Bars has a grandiose soul that he’s never been capable of in the past. The Georgia rapper is more focussed, more profound and funnier than he’s ever been on this record and it finally feels like he has a voice in hip-hop. 4/5
Terror Jr – Bop City: TerroRising
It feels like now is the time for Terror Jr to deliver with songs rather than conjure hype. The mystery around Kylie Jenner being the lead-singer has died down and the glitchy, bubblegum pop phase has died down considerably since Come First. To their credit, Bop City sequel TerroRising recognises that. It’s far darker than its predecessor and feels like it has much more to say.
Death Wish deals with party addiction over a glossy-yet-haunting beat, Caramel addresses sexism and Dead Girl Walking is about the other woman. The production matches to new lyrical depth, ditching the minimal, surface gloss of Bop City in favour of something far more dimensional. IDWT guitar is the closest they’ve come to epic and Souls sounds are addictive and ambitious.
If you’ve come for easily-devoured pop songs, never fair, they’re still here. Smoke is a lustful bop and Sweatpants is a dancehall-flavoured cut that’s literally about the apparel mentioned in its title.
The 13-song length seems a little too drawn-out to maintain interest but they’re definitely getting better. The trio are moving past gimmicks and embracing depth. It’s also a good reminder of just how influential they’ve been. It’s hard to imagine Fifth Harmony’s Down or Rita Ora’s Your Song existing if it wasn’t for Felix Snow’s promotion of using spacious production to maximise melodic effect. The hype may have died down around Terror Jr but they could be settling in for the long run. 3.5/5