By: Youeal Abera and Geron Malbas
K.T.S.E. by Teyana Taylor
K.T.S.E., just like Teyana, is lovable for three reasons: it’s dynamic, honest, and unabashedly authentic.
In 2014, Teyana Taylor released her debut album, VII. Although a great contribution to R&B, the record was immensely underappreciated. Nevertheless, this past June, Teyana released her second studio album, K.T.S.E. (Keep That Same Energy). With it, Teyana made one thing certain: she will no longer be ignored.
The album begins with the sexy “No Manners,” where Teyana boasts over her sybaritic relationship with her husband. The following track entitled, “Gonna Love Me,” has Teyana singing from a much more vulnerable place where she sincerely asks, “Are you gonna love me?”. Further along the tracklist, Teyana celebrates her sexual liberation with tracks like “Hurry,” and “3Way.”
However, the album’s preeminent track, “Rose In Harlem,” stands as the highlight of the album. With lyrics like, “Grew out the concrete, you know it ain’t sweet,” the song seems to warn her musical counterparts that thanks to her Harlem upbringing, Teyana is more than capable of overcoming any curveball Hollywood throws her way. -YA
Troye Sivan – Bloom
If you mix amazing pop music, romance, and unapologetically queer representation into a piece of music, you get the beautiful floral arrangement of an album that is Troye Sivan’s Bloom.
On this album, you get songs like “My My My!”, “Lucky Strike,” and “Plum” that explode with energy and passion both in the album’s rhythm and beats. But you also get slower songs like “Seventeen,” and “Postcard” which serenade listeners with the emotions attached to young love and relationships.
Bloom comes out a little under three years after Sivan’s premiere album, Blue Neighbourhood (2015), but you can hear both the growth and maturity Sivan underwent during his astronomical rise to musical fame.
I definitely recommend leaving this album on repeat because of how seamlessly the songs transition into one another, and how easy of a listen the album is as a whole. – GM
Love Me/Love Me Not by HONNE
If you love music that gets you grooving or puts you in a mood to dance, then this album is definitely for you. HONNE’s Love Me / Love Me Not takes their synth pop- and R&B-fuelled style to the next level with more featured artists and a more vivid sound than their previous album.
The vocals on this album seem to be sharper and more pronounced than their first, bringing a lightness to each song that always puts me in a good mood. Songs like “Location Unknown,” “Me & You,” and “Crying Over You” get my body swaying and head bobbing along. In addition, featured artists on the album like Tom Misch and Nana Rogues were all paired to their respective songs beautifully.
For anyone who enjoys music best for dancing in the comfort of their bedroom, or jamming along to on their commute, this album will pleasantly fit that category. – GM
Silk Canvas by VanJess
Many may believe that R&B is “dead.” But with artists like VanJess, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
This year on July 27, VanJess dropped their LP titled Silk Canvas. Packed with 14 beautiful tracks, Silk Canvas is quite arguably one of the best R&B releases in recent memory. The hypnotizing melodies, the luminous 808 drums, and enchanting harmonies which Ivana and Jessica Nwokike showcase throughout their album makes Silk Canvas the masterpiece that it is.
Perhaps the greatest feat that VanJess accomplishes on Silk Canvas is their ability to integrate traditional R&B, Afrobeat, and soul into an alternative audio-sensory collage. As a result, listeners take a musical journey that is far too difficult to compare with anything released on the pop charts.
Tracks include the sensual “Control Me”, the infectious “Through Enough” featuring GoldLink, and triumphant “Best Believe” which altogether make Silk Canvas a terrifically diverse record. – YA