By: Louise Ho and Neil MacAlister
The Lost by Otto A Totland
At first listen, it’s haunting and chilling. For anyone who enjoys piano, this album provides songs suitable for long drives, rainy days, dances alone, and studious moments. Each track feels carefully produced and smooth, allowing the mind to wander and to get lost in the music. A personal favourite of mine is “Anona.” Among the tracks, one of the pieces, “Greiner,” reminded me of a classic piece that I heard quite a lot as a child, “Rondo Alla Turca” by Mozart.
Composed by Norway’s Otto A Totland, The Lost gives the listener the feeling that they’ve been in the music’s world long before they’ve stepped into it. I think that those that are interested in a more contemporary style of piano that still carries a hint of nostalgia for the past would appreciate this a lot. Totland does a great job of telling stories without any words, and for that I applaud him. – LH
In an Open Field by Nicholas Krgovich
It’s always nice to support local musicians. Vancouver-based Nicholas Krgovich created an album that gets you bobbing your head, but also gives you those smooth, relaxed vibes. To be honest, the album cover is what attracted me, but the music inside is jammin’. Two favourite tracks of mine on this album would be “The World Tonight” and “A Day in October.” You get a taste of his soothing vocals as well as trombone, violin, and saxophone. Listening to this album feels like it’s taking you back in time, allowing you to kick back and reminisce to the beat. For me, I got a sense of Belle and Sebastian the more that I listened to the album. I found it all very pleasing to the ear, and I think that these tunes are fitting for your parents as well as for those indie-music listening friends. – LH
Revival by Eminem
Following a monumental beginning, Eminem’s career took a steep downward dive around 2004. While subsequent albums attempted to rebuild the legacy that made him one of thebiggest and most influential artists in hip hop, each project was ultimately unsuccessful. None of them, however, were the unlistenable trainwreck that is Revival.
Em’s vague attempts at political jabs or introspective self-condemnation are counteracted by immature fart jokes or outdated attempts at shock-value controversy. The beat selection is probably the worst he’s ever rapped over, and the featured artists are a joke. Phresher is a poor replacement for the teased 2 Chainz feature on “Chloraseptic” and the inclusion of X Ambassadors and Ed Sheeran is the most laughable decision Em’s made since writing “Ass Like That.” I had genuine hope that Revival could be Eminem’s first good album in over a decade, but while his notable talent still lingers under Revival‘s (extremely) rare good moments, there’s no reason for this to not be the final nail in the coffin of Eminem’s dying career. – NM
No_One Ever Really Dies by N.E.R.D.
A N.E.R.D. reunion has been teased for years, but I don’t know if anyone expected Pharrell, Chad Hugo, and Shay Haley to actually revive their party rap/rock fusion project after a seven-year hiatus. 2017, however, brought No_One Ever Really Dies, and despite all of its flaws, it may be N.E.R.D.’s best project since their debut. It’s a crazy album, constantly veering off in unexpected directions and transitioning between styles and genres with no regard for cohesion. But this chaotic disregard for any semblance of order is what makes the album so exciting.
The use of featured artists is seriously phenomenal. Future’s verse doesn’t fit “1000” but somehow feels inexplicably perfect; André 3000 and Kendrick Lamar appear at the last minute of their respective songs with blisteringly energetic verses that blow the rest of the track away; the sudden transition to steel drums during Wale’s inclusion on “Voilà” should not work as well as it does; and Rihanna — taking a break from her usual duty as a hook-killer — raps one of the best verses on the whole album. – NM