As the members of Gorillaz become Humanz, the album teaches us something about ourselves, too.Read More
2016 is off to an extremely strong start. Here’s just a list of all of the new albums I’ve listened to from January to March and links to reviews, if applicable.
Doing it a bit different this time, doing it by rating, from greatest to worst. Alphabetical just seemed trivial.
5-Star Albums (8.5 - 10)
- AURORA - All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend: 10
- Panic! At The Disco - Death Of A Bachelor: 9.5
- Deftones - Gore: 9.5
- Dream Theater - The Astonishing: 9
- Foxes - All I Need: 9
- Daughter - Not To Disappear: 9
- Lacey Sturm - Life Screams: 8.5
- HÆLOS - Full Circle: 8.5
- Weezer - Weezer (White Album): 8.5
- LIGHTS - Midnight Machines: 8.5
- The Last Shadow Puppets - Everything You've Come To Expect: 8.5
4-Star Albums (6.5 - 8)
- David Bowie - ★: 8
- BANNERS - BANNERS: 8
- Savages - Adore Life: 8
- Kanye West - The Life Of Pablo: 8
- Jack Garratt - Phase: 8
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - This Unruly Mess I've Made: 8
- Sia - This Is Acting: 7.5
- Grizfolk - Waking Up The Giants: 7.5
- The Drones - Feelin Kinda Free: 7.5
- Yeasayer - Amen & Goodbye: 7.5
- Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.: 7.5
- Textures - Phenotype: 7.5
- Rihanna - ANTI: 7
- Megadeth - Dystopia: 7
- Hands Like Houses - Dissonants: 7
- Miike Snow - iii: 7
- BABYMETAL - Metal Resistance: 7
- The Jezabels - Synthia: 7
- Amy Lee - Recover, Vol. 1: 7
- Steven Wilson - 4 ½: 6.5
- Chairlift - Moth: 6.5
- Porches - Pool: 6.5
- Polyphia - Renaissance: 6.5
3-Star Albums (4.5 - 6)
- ZAYN - Mind Of Mine: 6
- Mogwai - Atomic: 6
- Låpsley - Long Way Home: 6
- Baauer - Aa: 5.5
- Asking Alexandria - The Black: 5.5
- The 1975 - I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It: 5
- Explosions In The Sky - The Wilderness: 5
- School Of Seven Bells - SVIIB: 5
- Krallice - Hyperion: 4.5
- Future - EVOL: 4.5
- Anderson .Paak - Malibu: 4.5
- Wiz Khalifa - Khalifa: 4.5
2-Star Albums (2.5 - 4)
- Killswitch Engage - Incarnate: 4
- Cozz - Nothin Personal: 3.5
1-Star Albums (0 - 2)
- None! :D
Top Albums Of 2016 (so far)
- AURORA - All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend
- Panic! At The Disco - Death Of A Bachelor
- Deftones - Gore
- Dream Theater - The Astonishing
- Foxes - All I Need
- Daughter - Not To Disappear
- Lacey Sturm - Life Screams
- HÆLOS - Full Circle
- Weezer - Weezer (White Album)
- LIGHTS - Midnight Machines
Top Songs Of 2016 (so far)
- AURORA - 'Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) (Acoustic)'
- Panic! At The Disco - 'Emperor's New Clothes'
- Deftones - 'Hearts/Wires'
- Foxes - 'Better Love'
- Lacey Sturm - 'Rot'
- AURORA - 'Through The Eyes Of A Child'
- Deftones - 'Phantom Bride'
- Dream Theater - 'Moment Of Betrayal'
- Daughter - 'New Ways'
- Jack Garratt - 'My House Is Your Home'
“Savage” is not an appropriate enough term to describe Savages’ new album. How can one put a single term on an album as brooding as this? Savages’ new record, Adore Life is a post-punk rage against love, filled to the brim with attacks on one of the finest human emotions. Every note is another punch to the face and another question to be asked about the heart. The band that brought the rebellious anthem “Strife” and the indie punk staple “Husbands” is now back with an industrial, hard hitting post-punk album that can’t be forgotten easily.
The album is headed with the gothic, Lightning Bolt-esque “The Answer” that immediately establishes that this record does not fool around. With guitars so distorted they merge the line between noisy guitars and a thick synth, almost a thrash rock song with how hard hitting it is. This extreme heaviness is found at other moments on the album, including the rocker that describes confusion, “Surrender” and the closing track that traps its listener in an industrial black hole, “Mechanics”. That’s not to say that the album has it’s moments of regression. The central track, “Adore”, is a slower paced ballad focused around a reverberating guitar and a light beat that ends abruptly before building up into a massive wall of noise. Vocalist Jehnny Beth has an urgency and demand in her voice throughout the album, especially in “The Answer” and “I Need Something New”. One of the most spine-tingling moments on the entire record is her tortured scream in the second half of “Slowing Down The World”. Songs such as “The Answer” and “Mechanics” have epic riffs delivered by Gemma Thompson, with equally as driven bass lines by Ayse Assan featured in “When In Love” and “Slowing Down The World”. Fay Milton delivers groovy and epic percussion throughout the album, especially on “The Answer” and “Evil”. This album does not have a single dull moment - every song shines with some form of excellence in one area or the other. The album ends on a very minimalist track, though for what it has, it makes due with. It’s still the most abyssal track on the album, dragging you into the deepest depths of space (or the supermassive black hole of your broken heart) and crushing you with industrial intensity.
“Adore”, had the album been more of a concept album that told a story, could’ve been the turning point of the album. Savages’ new record is a love story, almost a concept album, in a sense. But rather than being a tale of the enjoyment of love, it is, rather, quite the opposite: Adore Life is a tale told of the aftermath of love, in the most brutal form possible. This is most evidenced in hard hitter “T.I.W.Y.G.”, which laughs in the face of the cruel reality of love: “We gave you life to see if you'd disobey / Not interested in what we have to say,” or in “The Answer” in which Beth cries “If you don't love me / You don't love anybody / Ain't you glad it's you?” As fantastic of an arrangement this album is sonically, you’ll need two listens to fully appreciate it: once focussing in on the incredibly vast instrumentals, and another to fully take in the lyrics and interpret them.
Savages live up to their name with Adore Life, absolutely ravaging the principles of love. There’s no traces of positivity here, every word and note played with a vengeance. This all female-fronted post-punk revival group from London won’t be taking anyone’s shit - they’re coming with power and conviction to make their message known. Adore Life is an ode to happiness and not what makes you happy. And with that, in the most brutal way possible.