Music

The Month in Music: May

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April was a big month for music following the release of Drake’s ‘Views’ and the reunion of The Last Shadow Puppets with their album, ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect’. Not to mention Beyonce’s highly anticipated ‘Lemonade’ which took the internet by storm after her cheating allegations against husband Jay-Z. It was a hard month to follow, but May surprised us all and graced us with some pretty good music to set us up for the summer.

 

Chance the Rapper – Colouring Book (ALBUM)

Chance the Rapper stole the limelight this month, and rightly so, with his latest mixtape ‘Colouring Book’. The album was hot straight after it’s release with many artists tweeting their approval of the project – including Kanye West, who is known to be Chance’s favourite rapper and idol, calling it a ‘masterpiece’. This is easily the best we’ve seen from Chance since he released his mixtape ‘Acid Rap’ three years ago. Chance experiments with the boundaries between gospel and rap to create an album which is completely different to any of it’s predecessors. Colouring Book has an impressive list of features including Kanye West himself, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Jeremih, Future, and even Justin Bieber.

Top tracks:

  • Juke Jam ft. Justin Bieber & Towkio
  • All We Got ft. Kanye West & Chicago Children’s Choir
  • All Night ft. Knox Fortune
  • No Problem ft. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz

Nao – Girlfriend (SINGLE)

Nao is still very much overlooked in the world of electronic music, despite her flawless track record in releases such as ‘Bad Blood’ and ‘So Good’, produced by A. K. Paul. She’s a soulful singer but the slick and smooth sound that layers beneath her is what makes her stand out from the crowded field of experimental female artists that are also trying to break into the industry. Nao is very much aware of her own voice – she knows when to dial it down and when to release it’s full power, which you can clearly see on this track. ‘Girlfriend’ was released later on in May and it could see Nao gain the popularity she deserves.

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Jorja Smith – Where Did I Go (SINGLE)

Jorja Smith is one to look out for in R&B. She debuted her first commercially released track ‘Blue Lights’ in February and has only released one more song before this debut track ‘Where Did I Go’. This song attracted the likes of Pigeons and Planes, who have named it as part of their ‘good new music’ playlist. Even though Jorja has only formally released three songs, she oozes originality and her thought provoking lyrics mixed with her soulful voice is an impressive combination which will leave you feeling lost.

Ariana Grande – Dangerous Woman (ALBUM)

This album has been highly anticipated after Ariana Grande drip-fed snippets of songs and previews of music videos to her fans via Instragram for weeks up until the release date. Her impressive album ‘My Everything’ gave her fans and critics alike high hopes for ‘Dangerous Woman’, formerly named ‘Moonlight’. The album starts off powerful, with the first half featuring upbeat and provocative tracks alongside her impressive vocals. However, the second half lacks the same energy and the record appears to go downhill. Grande has an array of impressive artists featuring on her album but fails to use them wisely. Her song with Nicki Minaj ‘Side to Side’ is a little disappointing, and Lil Wayne’s verse on ‘Let Me Love You’ is half-hearted, consisting of cheesy rhymes. Nonetheless, the album is worth a listen and is up there with recent pop albums.

Top tracks:

  • Be Alright
  • Dangerous Woman
  • Into You

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Kaytranada – 99.9% (ALBUM)

We have been waiting for new music from Kaytranada for quite some time now and he did not disappoint us when he dropped his latest album ‘99.9%’. He has collaborated with some impressive artists, including Craig David, Vic Mensa, and Syd. Even when he’s not got a solid feature on his tracks his colourful sound never fades. The drumming and synths make this album an upbeat listen, however it also lends itself to a mellow and dreamy sound and, consequently, Kay creates a contemporary take on electronic music. He puts a funk and soul spin on the electronic synths and his features add a touch of R&B to the mix. Kaytranada’s grown up since he made his mark on Soundcloud and it’s for the better.

Top tracks:

  • Got it Good ft. Craig David
  • You’re the One ft. Syd
  • Together ft. Alunageorge & Goldlink

Flume – Skin (ALBUM)

This new release from Flume has impressed some of his finest critics and even some are going as far as calling him the new face of EDM. Some of the best tracks on his debut album are those which feature carefully selected artists such as Vince Staples and MNDR – he showcases their talents without overshadowing his own. The album moves from having a fast tempo in tracks such as ‘Smoke & Retribution’ to slower tempo songs such as ‘Innocence’, featuring the angelic voice of AlunaGeorge. Skin’s intent is to change the game of EDM and appeal to it’s mass following, however Flume also shows that he still has the ability to make hits with the sterling ‘Never Be Like You’, which leads the album. His production skills are tested and showcased in this album and it’s easy to see that Flume is on a mission to test the boundaries of EDM.

Top tracks:

  • Never Be Like You ft. Kai
  • Smoke & Retribution ft. Vince Staples & Kucka

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Skepta – Konnichiwa (ALBUM)

Skepta’s long awaited album sees him spitting rhymes and sneering contempt for popular culture on all levels. Grime is probably the only genre which isn’t defined by albums, but instead prides itself on single releases; however, after five years since he released a studio album, Skepta sets to change the game in the grime scene. This album is easily the most anti-authoritarian statement to come from rap so far this year, as it slates anything to do with the government, police, press, and much more. ‘Konnichiwa’ proves that Skepta’s anarchic attitude is not going to change despite the increasing popularity and commercial success of grime. The album opens up a tantalising door for grime and is as stripped back as Skepta has ever been.

Top tracks:

  • Konnichiwa
  • Man
  • Numbers ft. Pharrell Williams

 

Words by Sophie Nutt

Maisie is your entertainment editor

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