Thursday, January 27, 2022

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Sound Check


“In Another Life”
Entertainment One

It almost seems like Bilal does not want people to like him as much as they should. Back at the turn of the 21st century, Bilal was coyly flirting with R&B while popular musical tastes were anywhere but. He has always been a talented man, and his classically trained voice was always a clean, clear alternative to the autotune and run-happy vocals of his contemporaries. But now that R&B is fully back in our collective good graces, the man seems to have done everything in his power to take the focus off himself and his winning voice. Most of the album’s tracks put the instrumentation higher in the mix than Bilal’s vocals, and the best tracks on “In Another Life” are the ones in which his many guest singers are doing the heavy lifting. CV


“The Gold Album: The 18th Dynasty”
Last Kings

I cannot for the life of me decide if Tyga is the best bad rapper in the world or the worst good one. On the surface, everything is in place to make Tyga one of the all-time greats. He is a charismatic young man with a penchant for good lyrics, an eye for talented producers and one of the best pure flows around. But it all tends to get short-circuited by the fact that Tyga does not really want to be a rapper, and is instead using rap as a way to become something else. As a result, “The Gold Album…” features some of the laziest work of Tyga’s seven-year career. Even convincing Kanye West to produce (say what you will about Yeezus’ personality, he is a brilliant producer) is not enough to turn “The Gold Album” into something memorable. Instead, all we are left with is a forgettable album from an artist who should be anything but. CV


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