Album Audit is a weekly Interns feature, recapping and reviewing the album releases of the week with a cheeky score out of five.
Jessie Ware – Glasshouse
Jessie Ware is one of the few last remaining singers that gives it to us straight. Her lyrics have never relied on metaphor or ambiguity, rather crafting songs of love and heartbreak with raw honesty and on her third album Glasshouse she gets even more direct.
This isn’t a huge shift in sound from her second album Tough Love but it’s a definite improvement. Sonically it’s more organic and less electronic and vocally she reaches for it more than she ever has before. First single Midnight has her belting in the chorus with a power we didn’t even know she had inside her. Ballads like Hearts and Alone also see her dishing up some huge, emotive notes that she wouldn’t have been brave enough to showcase before.
Since her last album, Ware has become a mother and while that doesn’t dominate the subject matter its led to a braver, more transparent Ware. She delves into the most intimate details of her relationship with her husband Sam Burrows who she has been with since she was 18. On First Love she sings, “Make it feel like it’s the first time we fell in love,” scared that she’s losing his “devotion”. It’s these moments of doubt in a relationship that Ware captures so poignantly.
She expresses the strength of their relationship, however, on her most tearjerking moments ever Sam. Written while she was pregnant she reflects on the kind of mother she’ll be and calls Sam, “so beautiful and so naive alone.” The line, “Sam, my baby and me,” is so personal but such a beautiful, universal picture of a family unit in its infancy. That songs wisks the album away in a flurry of trumpets delivered by The Social Experiment’s Nico Segal.
It may be a slow-burning, emotional album but Ware’s also reaching for the mainstream on this one and she knocks it out of the park with a pair of left-centre pop songs. The first is Your Domino, a floating, effortless up-tempo track with a chorus that is just so endearing and the second is the Mediterranean flavoured Selfish Love which has Ware wrapping us around her finger, playing the role of a sultry temptress. The latter is one of her most captivating moments ever.
Like Beyoncé, Ware has a knack of pulling in big-name producers and writers (Benny Blanco, Ed Sheeran, Cashmere Cat are just a handful) but also making it her own clear vision. There may be plenty of cooks in the kitchen but Ware’s artistic vision and raw honesty mean that the end result centres around her. 4
Niall Horan – Flicker
If Niall Horan had released this album after his snoozer of a debut single This Town we probably wouldn’t have listened. The beigest member of One Direction, however, turned it around with the slick Slow Hands which showed that he may be able to give us more charismatic pop songs than Ed Sheeran offcuts.
Flicker oscillates between those two vibes. There are the painfully slow moments devoid of any sort of personality like Too Much To Ask and Flicker but then there are also genuinely enticing pop moment like opener On The Loose and On My Own.
The biggest issue is after 13 tracks it begins to feel like you’ve heard the same story over and over about a relationship that just isn’t that interesting. The lyrics move between the painfully vague, “I don’t know where it starts/But it ends with” (You and Me) and ridiculously metaphorical, “So don’t let the tide come and take me” (The Tide) without ever feeling truly genuine. Horan’s a relatable nice guy but while other relatables like Ed Sheeran have a certain spark, Horan can’t even seem to flicker long enough to make this interesting. 2.5
Future & Young Thug – SUPER SLIMEY
SUPER SLIMEY is Future‘s second full-length collaborative project but while him and Drake seemed like opposites in a sense on What A Time To Be Alive, he’s more closely aligned to Young Thug. Both Future and Thug have a knack for swapping between harder trap and more melodic hooks with ease. SUPER SLIMEY gives us more of the former but their left-centred, wonky approach to hooks and bars makes this more interesting than your the myriad of quick trap mixtapes that have dropped this year.
Future has had a great 2017, nabbing his highest charting song ever and grabbing back-to-back number ones with both his LPs, while Thug’s has been a little less consistent. For those Thug fans who felt ostracised by the country-leaning Beautiful Thugger Girls, you’ll be glad to know he’s back to JEFFREY Thug here with songs like Cruise Ship seeing him ditch guitars for bassier beats. While Future is arguably the more profound presence, Thug delivers strong, delectable hooks on SUPER SLIMEY bringing a sweet tip to harder cuts like Three.
While this is easily the third best Future project of the year, he still has some strong moments. Feed Me Dope has him back in the hard-hitting zone of DS2 and he brings an intensity and hunger to Drip On Me that Thug struggles to match.
The Offset-featuring Patek Water, which is likely to be the biggest hit on the record, marries the pair’s styles best with Future’s hook lifted by Thug’s ad-libs. When their styles collide like that it’s magic but a number of moments feel like a Future verse followed by a Thug verse or vice versa over a middle-of-the-road beat. The fans will dig this but away from that it’s hard to imagine this record will do much for either of their trajectories. 3.5