Yes Lawd! – NxWorries

Yes Lawd!, the debut album by the brand new hip-hop duo NxWorries, made me go “Yes lawd!” The album delivers the best of modern hip-hop as far as smooth vocals and chill beats.  

Anderon .Paak and Knxwledge make up NxWorries, and Yes Lawd! marries the best of Knxwledge’s brilliant producing with .Paak’s sultry lyrics and smooth singing. Unpredictable beats and gospel vibes mesh expertly with raspy vocals that walk the line between rap and smooth melodies.

My personal favourite tunes from the album include “Scared Money” and “Suede,” which feature edgy lyrics and syncopated indie beats that will get any head bobbing.

The songs are short and sweet yet plentiful, and full of emotion from .Paak, as themes vary from adolescent struggles to love and affairs. This album is a true accomplishment within the hip-hop and R&B realms due to its cohesion and collaborative spirit. – RO

Joanne – Lady Gaga

Joanne is the best Lady Gaga we’ve had in years. It seems odd to type that, since Gaga has been a fan favourite and commercial success since her 2008 release Fame. But ever since Fame Monster, her outrageous personality began to overshadow her music, and most of the world forgot how talented she actually is.

The country-infused pop that’s featured prominently on this album is a departure from the meat dress-wearing Gaga of the early 2010s, but after eight years in the spotlight that’s not surprising. If anything is surprising, it’s the choice to include the two lead singles (“Perfect Illusion” and “A-YO”) on the album at all. Musically they don’t fit in, and lyrically they aren’t on par with the rest of the album. The Gaga-Florence Welch collaboration “Hey Girl” should have been the lead single, since it’s the perfect song to usher in the new Gaga.

Joanne succeeds where other recent Gaga albums have failed; it showcases her vocal and lyrical talent while also keeping alive her sense of innovation. – JW

American Football (LP2) – American Football

Seventeen years after the band’s first LP, American Football is back with its highly anticipated second self-titled LP. Although this time around they’re a little older, the band still hits the emotional highs of growing up, albeit in a more restrained and darker tone than in their last release.

LP2 still contains the signature unconventional polyrhythms and twinkling guitar tones which made the original a cult classic. However, the biggest change is Mike Kinsella’s vocal delivery. He traded in his youthful, high-pitched voice for a deeper, subtler delivery which developed from his solo project Owen. They now embrace sounds that lean towards soft rock, and there are moments on songs like “Home is Where the Haunt is” that feel like it would be played on the radio during the morning commute.

This release doesn’t reach the same greatness as the original, but it doesn’t need to. Although the group has aged, they still keep their technical abilities, and with this comes a subtlety that was missed in their first release. – CR