Cliche Magazine Dec 2017/Jan 2018 - Page 103

APR DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar GENRE: HIP-HOP The highly-anticipated follow-up release to the game-changing To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), DAMN. catapulted Lamar—who is often called the best rapper alive—into the world of the mainstream with the hit single “HUMBLE.” His original fans are still sticking around, too. Lyrically and musically complex, Lamar uses DAMN. to explore and manipulate the genre of rap to craft a truly original piece of art. MAY Harry Styles by Harry Styles GENRE: SOFT ROCK Although it’s not surprising most One Direction fans were heartbroken at the idea of Harry Styles recording solo work, his album certainly found a way to cheer them up. Styles used his newfound independence to record rock influenced by all of his favorites from the ‘60s and ‘70s onward. The comfort this album exudes makes it obvious that Styles was born to be a solo artist and that he’s finally come into his own. JUN Ctrl by SZA GENRE: R&B The debut album by the alternative R&B singer, Ctrl was a long-time coming. SZA’s debut was promised a release in 2015, and after a lot of drama with her label, it finally came out two years later to widespread critical acclaim. SZA noted that a lot of freestyling was used in the making of this album, which explains why it sounds so organic to her voice. Melodrama by Lorde GENRE: POP After four years of waiting, Lorde fans finally got what they were looking for. The follow-up to the career-launching release Pure Heroine, the sophomore album by the New Zealand native explores a raw, mature, and confident side of the singer. It focuses on the whirlwind of emotions that came from the breakup of her long-term relationship, but to be clear, this is not an album about a man; it’s about what it means to be a woman. 4:44 by Jay-Z GENRE: HIP-HOP The king of Brooklyn made a comeback with this album after a long hiatus from making music. Following the release of his wife Beyonce’s Lemonade, which not-very-subtly exposed Jay-Z for infidelity, 4:44 highlights Jay-Z’s redemption arc. More Life by Drake GENRE: HIP-HOP It’s a playlist, not an album. At least, that’s what Drake had to say about his 22-track-long release. Although some critics of the format still disagree, it’s safe to say this was one of the most influential releases of the year with hits like “Fake Love” and “Gyalchester,” among others. www.clichemag.com 103