A collection of deep lamentations and artfully constructed verses of longing by resident sad boy, Joji. Ballads 1, the artist’s first full-length album, is one of those ones that requires you to either be lying on the ground or driving down a moonlight highway in order to experience it in its truest form.
Head in the Clouds + 88rising at the Showare Center 10/27/2018
This is technically two highlights in one, but I think I’m going to let it slide. Last summer, the mass media company 88rising released a full-length album Head In the Clouds featuring six of the artists they support (some big names- Rich Brian, Joji, and NIKI) along with some noteworthy guests. A few songs that stick out from the upbeat, summery album would have to be “Peach Jam,” “Midsummer Madness,” “Let It Go,” “Warpaint,” and the title track, “Head In The Clouds.” The reason this is two highlights in one is because 88rising went on an international tour to promote the album, and their live performance was unreal. Set up almost as a festival, each artist had their own set in which they played mostly their solo work, but then they all came together at the end to sing some songs off of the collaborative album. I had never seen a show quite like it.
This song from Car Seat Headrest’s newest album, Twin Fantasy, has been an anthem for me this past year. Everything about the song — the harsh but melodic levels, the builds, the Frank Ocean reference — Comes together to create a perfect concoction of noise that I really dig.
“This is America”
Childish Gambino broke his two-year musical silence with one of the loudest and most deeply-dissected tracks of the year, “This is America.” Where do I even start with this song? We’ve all listened to it. We’ve all watched the music video. It became this phenomenon that visually and lyrically brought attention to a number of societal sins — namely the poison that is police brutality and gun violence. Donald Glover is a genius.
“APESH*T” and EVERYTHING IS LOVE
Beyoncé and Jay-Z, or The Carters, released their first album under this new stage name this past summer. EVERYTHING IS LOVE feels like a window into the legendary marriage and family-life of the two record-breaking musical powerhouses. Though this album is definitely not the paramount for either of these artists, it still became part of the soundtrack to my summer. The standout songs for me, “APESH*T,” “SUMMER,” and “713” will always bring me back to the sunshiny memories of summer 2018.
(I feel as though this captures the energy well)
Brockhampton at WaMu Theater 11/3/2018
There’s no way that I could describe the energy of Brockhampton’s show at WaMu Theater. The whole atmosphere was explosive. With every song came a new wave of excitement and vigor which left the whole audience with no choice but to move in whichever way they could. Brockhampton, the aberrant rap boy-band broke many inherent rules of live performances. First of all, they had no opener to prelude their own set. The show was just a Brockhampton show. They also performed for much longer than other musical artists would, with a set lasting about two hours. Everything was consistent with the vibes of their albums, and they left my ears ringing from an experience that I am sure to never forget.
Jorja Smith at Showbox SoDo 11/19/2018
I could really go on about this show, and I definitely already did in this blog post which fellow KSPU teammate Analyn and I wrote together about how deeply beautiful the whole night was.
Arctic Monkeys at WaMu Theater 10/23/2018
Sometimes the shows that I don’t plan on attending turn out to be the most memorable for me. This is definitely the case for Arctic Monkeys’ show at WaMu Theater (which I did not even have a ticket for until about three hours before the show). My 14-year-old self was absolutely buzzing with excitement throughout the entire theatrical show. So many songs that I used to play on repeat all through my formative years were now being played mere feet in front of me. This is an experience that I will definitely treasure.
Black Panther The Album
Kendrick Lamar could do no wrong. Black Panther The Album which was fully produced by the legend himself and features big-name rap and R&B artists was made to musically support the record-breaking Black Panther movie. This album was on repeat for me for most of 2018, and I was going to mention which songs stood out to me from it but then I just started copying the track list.
34 minutes of non-stop poetry. Noname’s voice and lyrical style feel so flawless, but so intricate at the same time. “Prayer Song,” “Don’t Forget About Me,” and “Montego Bae” (this one featuring the amazing Ravyn Lenae) are some that stand out to me. I highly recommend listening to this album on a rainy day, making sure that you take note of the intentional lyrics.