The Tower Pulse (Grosse Pointe, Michigan)
I can confidently say the year of 2018 fully delivered when it comes to new music.
Starting the year off strong, Migos released their third studio album “Culture II” on Jan. 26, 2018. With features such as Nicki Minaj, Drake and Post Malone, the rap group provided songs that would last throughout the whole year. The album had slower tunes, such as “Notice Me” and “Gang Gang,” as well as quick, upbeat hits including “Motorsport” and “Walk it Talk it.” The album is a part two to their second studio album, “Culture,” and they fulfilled listeners’ expectations.
On Mar. 16, late rapper XXXTentacion released the last album during his lifetime, titled “?” The album consisted of slower, acoustic songs, similar to his previous album “17.” Both “17” and “?” show a more emotional side of the rapper, especially in comparison to one of his most popular songs “Look at Me!” which is very loud and violent. More people began to appreciate his album “?” after he died only months later in June.
Later in March, the Weeknd released a 5 song E.P. titled “My Dear Melancholy.” Directly after its release, many people loved the extended play. It received a lot of publicity when there was speculation he was writing about his ex-girlfriends Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez in “Wasted Times” and “Call Out my Name.” The R&B E.P. presented a raw, emotional side of The Weeknd. The vibes from the songs remind me of his older album that he released in 2015, “Beauty Behind the Madness.” Overall, it was decent music, but I would have liked it if he released a full album with more than 5 songs, especially since his older albums have around 15 songs.
ASAP Rocky released his third studio album “Testing” on May 25. The rapper included a wide variety of features from different genres, including Frank Ocean, Kid Cudi, Kodak Black and FKA Twigs. I believe this album was underrated and didn’t receive enough credit. ASAP Rocky showcased his talent and artistry by releasing an album full of consistently quality songs. It is clear he put a lot of time and effort into this album. The album had two singles “Praise The Lord (Da shine)” and “ASAP Forever” which were short-lived in their popularity.
“Everything is Love” by Beyonce and Jay-Z, who credit themselves as “The Carters,” hit the charts in the middle of June. In their first joint album, The Carters delivered nine R&B, hip hop songs. It was shocking to hear their chemistry and devotion towards each other on this album, especially considering Beyonce’s last album, “Lemonade,” which was strongly convincing that Jay-Z cheated on her.
Also in June, , Drake released his fifth studio album, Scorpion, and it was one of the albums of the summer. He had several chart-topping hits, including “In My Feelings,” “God’s Plan,” and “Nice for What.” Drake configured the album into two parts: “Side A” and “Side B,” the former rapping and boasting about his career and success, while the latter focused more on emotions and women.
On Aug. 3, Mac Miller released his last album,“Swimming”, before his unfortunate death just over a month later. The album seems to focus on self-love, when one is suffering through pain and mental health issues. I can always appreciate a vulnerable side from a rap artist such as Mac Miller. The songs of the album go together very nicely, all revolving around a common theme with a similar sound, yet a sense of differentiation between songs.
Also released on Aug. 3 was Travis Scott’s “Astroworld”, with the title and album cover themed after the Six Flags park in Houston Texas. Travis Scott’s third studio album was supported by singles such as “Yosemite,” “Sicko Mode,” and “Butterfly Effect,” all of which have transcended into 2019 already. Music lovers of all kind were not slow to jump on this album. Scott supplied the listeners with 17 catchy songs. Although I think it may be a little overrated, there are a few songs where I can understand all of the hype around them.
On Aug. 17, Ariana Grande released “Sweetener.” Ariana had released a few singles prior to the drop of the album including “God is a Woman” and “No Tears Left to Cry.” Usually, I see her songs as catchy radio hits, but this album Ariana brought 15 songs that showed her range perfectly. There were so many genres included in this album and it’s clear she tried to experiment with different sounds.
Joji’s debut studio album, “Ballads 1,” released on Oct. 26, gained him lot of popularity before the end of the year. Many people had never heard of his name before, but after hearing the most popular songs from his album such as “Slow Dancing in the Dark” and “Yeah Right” they were quick to fall in love. I really enjoy Joji’s music because it is a perfect mix between pop music and R&B, and he also has a different sound. I look forward to seeing what he releases in 2019.
Photo Credit: chris couderc