Little Simz | GREY Area
I don’t think there’s a more underrated artist in UK music than Little Simz. I think that’s going to change with this album. Simbi you’ve nailed it. So much effort went into Stillness in Wonderland and it was brilliant, especially from a narrative perspective. I was worried that the next project would have been a step-down or would have tried to be Wonderland 2.0. However, with 10 tracks on GREY Area, it’s beautiful flow and step up in songwriting has, in my mind, cemented Little Simz as one of the best UK artists right now.
It opens hard but then gets to the main single, Selfish. This is going to be one of those songs that Little Simz will be playing for years and years. It’s such a stunning song and record and Little Simz has struck that perfect balance of heavy themes and production that can still make you move.
I think her delivery as a rapper has improved, which is scary because she was already pretty good. Don’t be put off by lyrics that might seem a bit too real or deep for some people. There is a massive spectrum of writing and production that still fits in nicely together so there is something for everyone. I just hope there will be more future radio bangers to take her to the next level.
Final Thoughts | simply sounds amazing and can get completely lost in so many different aspects, from lyrical honesty to amazing instrumental and vocal performances.
Best Bits | Selfish, Flowers (feat Michael Kiwanuka), Pressure (feat. Little Dragon)
SZA | Ctrl
I hit up some songs from this album last summer but only recently gave the whole project a listen. Oh my goodness I have no idea why I’ve been sleeping on this. I think SZA is completely in a league of her own and has such a distinctive voice and attitude to go with it.
Straight from the opening Supermodel, this is an eyebrow-raising album with plenty of lyrics to make you wonder if she actually sang that. This album is completely unfiltered with lyrical themes you just don’t expect to hear from female singers. The Weekend and Doves In The Wind are great examples of this and they also happen to be some of the best tracks on the album.
The bold nature of this album is what makes it stand out. TDE manage to keep putting out albums that let artists be free and still have huge commercial appeal. What a label, what a roster, and what a debut from SZA. She doesn’t seem like an artist that concerned with being prolific but there’s enough on this album to keep you going for a long time.
Final Thoughts | Raw and unfiltered R&B with plenty of bite, attitude and heart to make it a fascinating listen. Up there with the best TDE releases.
Best Bits | The Weekend, Love Galore (feat. Travis Scott), Garden, Broken Clocks, Go Gina, Doves In The Wind (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
Daft Punk | Homework
The Netflix documentary and my latest AV Campaign has really got me back into Daft Punk. I’d forgotten how great their first album is and it really sets the tone for them being the kind of artists that work on their own terms.
This is a landmark house album that has really done well to not sound nearly as dated as an electronic music album over 20 years old should. You can really hear their rock origins on this album too and there is plenty of experimentation in the second half of the album. However, it’s the first half that contains some really great songs that laid the foundations for Daft Punk’s sound and iconic career.
Final Thoughts | Revisiting Daft Punk’s debut reveals several great tracks that have aged exceptionally well.
Best Bits | Around The World, Revolution 909, Fresh, Phoenix