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Nick Wilson in his music video Ashes, directed by Daniel Hearn

Nick Wilson in his music video Ashes, directed by Daniel Hearn

Nick Wilson’s Ashes is a stripped down, barebones melodic song about a strained relationship that has finally made it to its breaking point. The chords strummed by Nick Wilson present a personal take on some of the break up songs heard on the radio to day. There are no bass, drum kits, or overused echoes to convey the voices in your head, there’s just Nick and his guitar. It sounds and feels like a song that we shouldn’t be hearing in the first place; is this a song that meant for only one pair of ears?

Ultraviolence Album Cover

Ultraviolence Album Cover

With Lana Del Rey’s new album, Ultraviolence, reaching the top of the charts, is it really living up to the hype?

The entire album feels like a very long striptease.

It is as if each track is another layer of clothing being taken off one by one. Unfortunately, there are 14 tracks on the Ultraviolence Deluxe Edition, which would be way too much clothing during a striptease session.

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Out Among the StarsJohnny Cash’s Out Among the Stars is the lost album by the country legend recorded close to thirty years ago. After John Carter Cash uncovered an entire album recorded in the 1980s shelved, he released it and we, as fans of the Man in Black, we ecstatic. Johnny Cash died eleven years ago and since then there has been reports that there are still a ton of music left over from his career to release in a box set and a whole other box set with outtakes from recording that music. Out Among the Stars is just as good as anything Cash has ever done; some may even say that the album was way ahead of its time.

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YG_MYKRAZYLIFEYG’s My Krazy Life sounds inspired. It has the elements of Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city and The Game’s The Documentary with the effort of Eminem’s Relapse. That’s not necessarily a terrible accomplishment but it’s by no means a wonderful accolade. My Krazy Life sounds different in the world of the melting pot we call hip-hop. There is no definitive style found in most mainstream rap songs as there was ten or fifteen years ago and when do get an album that sounds like where the artist is from it comes so few and far between. Though many of songs on the album are “ok” the entire album manages to maintain a vibe of 1990s west coast music heard in The Chronic and, more relatively recent, The Documentary.

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12 Years a Slave PosterIn school we read about stories of slavery and the harshness that follows it. We rarely get a glimpse into what that ‘world’ is like, even though that ‘world’ was as close as 125 years ago. The show Roots may have been the closest form of media that encapsulated the rawness and damning occurrences of early America. 12 Years a Slave may just be this generation’s Roots. Telling the true story of Solomon Northup, a freeman whom was conned and kidnapped and sold into slavery in the 1840s. The film is visceral, beautifully directed and acted, and necessary.

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I, Frankenstein

I, Frankenstein

The month of January is a dumping ground for terrible films. The studios spend all their time focusing on award season that they release their terrible films in January. I, Frankenstein is no exception. The film tries too hard to be fun or entertaining and the result is a mess of a film with no real exposition or likeable characters. With a premise that’s supposed to be ridiculous and fun, the final result fails to encapsulate on better, more entertaining films this one film borrows from.

Katy Perry PrismPrism by Katy Perry is intended to be her Manga Opus. During her transition from ‘Barbie, Valley girl’ to respectable, wholesome singer, Kate has blessed us with some of the most memorable pop singles of this decade.

While the songs are much more personal than previous albums, the album is missing that je ne sais quoi to really push this album as something that is truly worth buying.

You can hear that a lot of effort went into this album, with its taut production and great writing. This was supposed to be her breakthrough album, overcoming what she’s endured in the past; but I’m left asking myself, “Do we really need this?”

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She may be 16 years old but she sure has the vocal stamina and range of someone twice her age. Lorde’s debut album, Pure Heroine, is addictive, beautifully executed, well produced, and extremely well written. The New Zealand native provides one of the best albums of the year, and she clearly knows it. With the album only being ten songs, those ten songs are almost better than most of the songs on the radio right now. Though many of the songs are about teen life and angst, she, along with her writing and producing partner Joel Little, manage to keep each song fresh, interesting and filled with metaphors.

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I never gave the credit Drake deserved for being a lyricist. He’s been around for quite some time and though he’s put out some great music over the years, I’ve never given the attention other people do. He’s has some great lines but I never pegged him to be a good conscious rapper like Wale, Kendrick Lamar or J. Cole. I think it was because he was rolling with Lil’ Wayne for a while that I didn’t take him seriously. Thank Me Later and Take Care, his past two albums, slipped past me but after listening to Nothing Was The Same, I’ll give them a listen. Nothing Was The Same is one of the year’s best hip-hop albums that I’ve had the chance to listen to. And with a year of Watching Movies With The Sound Off, Hall of Fame, The Gifted, and Born Sinner, this an album that you should definitely check out.

2 Chainz is a rapper you don’t really pay much time to. He has some great records but he’s not the rapper you look to produce a good album with lyrical content. B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time, the sequel to his debut studio album Based On A T.R.U. Story, can be compared to French Montana’s Excuse My French more so than J. Cole’s Born Sinner or Mac Miller’s Watching Movies With The Sound Off. B.O.A.T.S. II isn’t going to reinvent the hip-hop genre or push it forward into something we’ve never been before, it’s going to be that album you break out when driving in your car, lounging around the house, or blast when you have some friends over. It may not be one of the best albums of the year, but it’s an honorable mention.

 

Fork opens up the album with 2 Chainz yelling at his mother, questioning her about his disappearing money. The opening lyrics go: I had a dream/that rap wouldn’t work/ I woke up on the block/had to heat it with the fork.  Taken at face value, this seems to be another rap about trapping and how glorious it is to sell drug on the corner because he has so much money on him it won’t even fold! Though the name of the album is Based On A T.R.U. Story, the opening song talks about if his rap career fell in shambles, he would have to resort to, or rather, stay in the drug game.