Zhu | Ringos Desert
I can’t believe this slipped under my radar last year. Zhu has absolutely pulled it out of the bag and delivered a mindblowing album. The consistently well-executed blend of pumping house music alongside western guitars and saxophones creates an incredible desert rave atmosphere throughout the project.
It really is hard to pick the standout tracks because they all work so well together as a whole. I’ve listened to this a lot and every track feels like it’s giving you something new and different. The features also deserve a lot of credit because they all fit their tracks perfectly.
The only critique I would want to say is that more pop-structured songs like Coming Home would have helped the album stand out more from a songwriting perspective. However, it is a dance album and Ringos Desert will get you moving. The hooks are good enough to keep it in your mind and it bangers will keep you coming back.
Final Thoughts | Incredible concept and production aesthetic, features smash it and will keep you dancing for a good hour.
Best Bits | Coming Home (feat. Majid Jordan), My Life (feat. Tame Impala), Guilty Love
Ariana Grande | thank u, next
Okay, so I was a bit sceptical with my expectations for this album. I got a lot of respect for Ariana Grande but she’s never really been my go-to artist for pop or R&B. However, thank u next was not what I expected and I actually think it’s well deserving of the hype it’s received.
There are definitely a few songs that don’t really do much for me like Ghostin, Bad Idea and Make Up. It not really anything to do with the production, songwriting or her performance, which is always vocally incredible. It’s more to do with a lot of the other songs completely smashing them out the water.
Lyrically, songs like Fake Smile and In My Head cut pretty deep for a pop album, giving this album far more authenticity than many pop stars are capable of. On top of that, there is some really stunning production on here like Bloodline and 7 rings. This album is hooks galore and has brilliant examples in contemporary songwriting and production for any aspiring songwriter or producer.
Final Thoughts | Will probably be 2019s standout pop release with the songwriting, production and performance all working in amazing harmony together. Ariana needs no features.
Best Bits | Bloodline, Fake Smile, 7 Rings
Lucky Daye – I
Keep your eye out for Lucky Daye this year. He’s released few singles and EPs and his album will be dropped and reviewed later this year. If you’ve been missing Frank Ocean then this is your man to fill the void but he’s definitely got his own vibe.
First of all, Lucky is an exceptional vocalist. I tried singing Roll Some Mo and after a few minutes I couldn’t help but think damn, this guy can REALLY sing. It’s so effortless and his tone is just gorgeous. The production is lush and the music just feels good.
This is R&B that I think everyone can get into and hopefully we’ll see a big year from this talented artist. There is a good amount of variation in this EP and although it’s opening is definitely the highlight, the five tracks will give you a great taste of some up beat R&B.
Final Thoughts | Very, very, very excited for this guy, amazing vocal talent with the songs and production to back it up.
Best Bits | Roll Some Mo, Late Night