Album Reviews

By: Youeal Abera and Natasha Tar

Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe

Dirty Computer is Janelle Monáe’s third album, and with it, she reveals herself so vulnerably that she has manifested her most bold, beautiful work.
     Songs such as “Take A Byte” and “Pynk” find Monáe freely celebrating her pansexuality, expressing love and liberation for all members of the LGBTQ+ community. On the tracks “Crazy, Classic, Life” and “Americans,” Monáe includes notions of Black empowerment. In “Django Jane,” Monáe proclaims the power that women, particularly women of colour, truly possess.
     Monáe, with the manufacturing of such a bold and refreshing album, has been able to successfully administer a body of work comparable to the legendary albums of our parents’ time. Like Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation and Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, Monáe’s Dirty Computer is an album that provides both catchy, infectious tunes and empowering records for women.
     Last time I checked, Monáe is Wonder Woman. It’s true. The proof is right in her music. – YA

Vide Noir by Lord Huron

It’s hard to avoid Lord Huron. Their music appears in a variety of TV shows and movies, from 13 Reasons Why to A Walk in the Woods, and are used to elevate nature scenes and back school dances. Vide Noir is definitely a step away from Lord Huron’s regular sound.

     Sure, “Wait By the River” and “When the Night is Over” definitely feel like songs you’d slow dance to, but other than that, Lord Huron gets pretty experimental. A few of their tracks are more rough than I’ve heard them before, and their rock songs are fast and surprising. Some of them work, like “Never Ever” and “Secret of Life.” Unfortunately, other experiments like “Ancient Names (Part I)” and “Ancient Names (Part II)” fall flat for me.

     Altogether, the album is refreshing, but not one that I’d listen to without skipping a few songs. – NT

KOD by J. Cole

Cole dropped his latest album, KOD, on April 20. It’s no coincidence that he released his album on ‘420,’ as his album’s title is an acronym that stands for ‘Kill Our Demons.’ What is one of the demons he discusses? You guessed it: drugs.
The song “Once an Addict” vividly paints a picture of a boy dealing with the detrimental experience of having an alcoholic mother. An excellent attribute of this record is that J. Cole depicts the complex and intricate intersectionality of many Black boys, specifically their pain, anger, and deep despair.
     Through the songs titled “ATM,” “Kevin’s Heart,” and “1985,” Cole discusses the dangers and false power of money, the crippling plight of lust and infidelity, as well as the intoxicating elixir of fame. Cole uses this album to perspicuously inform his listeners that we all eventually experience great pain, and that there are many methods to alleviate it. He explicitly warns us to choose wisely.
     Although KOD is an album that kills sonically, Cole has sincerely concocted one of the most socially aware and conscious rap albums in recent history. – YA