Thanksgiving weekend is over and everyone is back to their usual bustle and hustle. However, the holiday season is upon us with Hanukkah and Christmas fast approaching. This is a collection of holiday tunes from a variety of genres and artists to suit your holiday mood. “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy A swing take on the song “You’re a Mean One,” iconic to the book and movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss. The song describes the Grinch who is the least holiday spirited Who of Whoville. In this rendition of the sound saxophone, trumpet decorate the swing beat.
Within the past year, there has been a significant rise in music coming into America from a across the globe.. Similar to the well-known, “British Invasion” phenomenon in the 60s, music from different parts of Asia, Africa and Spanish speaking countries have showed themselves as a force to be reckoned with in terms of popularity among American listeners. In an age of globalization, media coming from all over the world is at our fingertips. As for music, streaming services like Spotify offer curated playlists such as, “Viva Latino,” “Afropop” and “Essential K-Pop,” to satisfy audiences with the popularity of global music. Spotify is available in over 60 countries, leaving listeners with a vast selection of music from around the world in the palm of our hand.
What R&B singer Joji revealed in his first track, “Attention,” is incredibly telling of who he is as an artist — he pours out vulnerability through these lyrics acknowledging his more subtle emotions. “I thought I'd vocalize my troubles, but nobody will listen — I know I'm cryptic and I'm weird, that s*** comes off as indifferent.”
Janelle Monáe’s album “Dirty Computer,” released in April of this year, is a bold expression of her unique experiences with sexuality and self-expression, and how these experiences have been shaped by American society. Monáe, who also came out as pansexual this year, uses “Dirty Computer” as a way to give a voice to women and their sexuality, something which is often ignored. “Dirty Computer” is beautifully crafted, with the sounds of several of the songs clearly influenced by artists of the 1970s and 80s. These vintage elements are mixed in with more modern, electronic sounds evocative of the computer in the album’s title. This is particularly noticeable in the album’s second track, “Take a Byte,” in which Monáe creates an image of a herself as a sexual being who is both confident and playful.
Taking the American Express Stage at Austin City Limits the morning after Paul McCartney headlined on the same stage, drawing thousands, would seem like a daunting task. But to the California indie rock band the Wallows, it was nothing but a punch line in a joke. On stage lead singer Dylan Minnette sent a friendly jab at Paul McCartney stating that because he was on stage before them, Paul McCartney was their opener. This was just the start to a performance that was in the simplest form just pure fun for the band and audience.
This playlist is comprised of songs that are about serial killers, zombies, witches and all other kinds of folk lore, supernatural and paranormal. Many of these songs seem to be like any other on first listen, but when paying closer attention to the lyrics it is clear that the subject matter is far from ordinary. “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.” by Sufjan Stevens This song on Sufjan’s album titled “Come on, feel the Illinoise” features piano, soft guitar and Sufjan’s gentle voice. The song tells the story of American serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who killed 33 boys between 1972 and 1978 in Cook County, Illinois. Sufjan’s music is frequently quirky and discusses a variety of topics. In fact he has an entire album dedicated to birds. This album focuses all things Illinois related and is not the only chilling song featured on the album.
Editor’s Note: This article is the third in a series of coverage on the Austin City Limits Music Festival. To think that a few days ago I was just getting back to my Airbnb after day one of Austin City Limits (ACL) wondering how a flock of festival girls were surviving off of a shared basket of nuggets and little to no water. As day three came to a close I was looking back a thinking, “I can do this for another few days.” Distinct red patches of skin on the fairer members of ACL, and the countless bandage covered heels were evidence that the constant walking from stage to stage claimed many victims over the course of the last few days, but with the star-studded line-up of day three people were bound to tough it out to see their favorite artists.
Editor’s Note: This article is the second in a series of coverage on the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Crisis averted. Day two of ACL had been plagued with worry and stress about what looked like an unavoidable storm, but as the day went on the clear sky was visible leaving many guests still sweating bullets. The morning started off with a young, charismatic band called the Wallows. Many people might not have heard of them but will surely recognize front man Dylan Minnette from his leading role as Clay Jensen in “13 Reasons Why.” Don’t let the fandom of that get in the way because the Wallows actually put on a great live performance.
Young the Giant, an indie-rock band based out of Irvine, C.A., released their fourth studio album, “Mirror Master,” on Oct. 12, 2018. The quintet has been egging on eager fans who have been tuned into the band’s instagram page for the album’s release since early June. Several tracks have been released since then, leading up to the official release of their new 12-track album. Starting up in 2004, the five bandmates Sameer Gadhia, Jacob Tilley, Eric Cannata, Payam Doostzadeh and Francois Comtois have come a long way from their former days as “The Jakes.” Although there are different members of the current band, the present quintet has been together for 10 years. It has been two years since the band’s last album, “Home of the Strange,” and eight years since their self-titled debut album back in 2010, which included three chart-topping singles of the alternative genre.
Now I know Texas is hot, but Friday, Oct. 12, the first day of weekend two of Austin City Limits (ACL), was a particularly uncomfortable day to say the least. The entire day, Zilkner Park, where the festival is held, felt like drudging through a middle school locker room, in a climate so humid it should be criminal. Other than the weather causing my dry desert body to sweat like I’m one of the Bellagio Hotel fountains in Vegas, the whole experience of ACL day one was truly unforgettable. This being my first large music festival outside of Albuquerque’s music and arts festivals such as Fiestas and SOMOS, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I quickly learned that most festival goers treat music fests like television.
“Chewing Gum” by Blood Orange In Blood Orange’s latest laid back album, “Negro Swan,” one of the more lively songs “Chewing Gum” is all about being tired. Devonte Hynes spends most of the song repeatedly asking “what do you want from me?” as if someone is constantly asking hims for more and more stuff that he’s just tired of supplying. A$AP Rocky contributes nicely with a Frank Ocean esque feature that’s just catchy as hell. “breathin” by Ariana Grande In another run of the mill pop ballad filled Ariana album, “breathin” is one of the most attention demanding songs. In what seems like a note to self song about staying calm and bringing one’s self back down to earth, Ariana vocally seems near the edge of a break down during the delivery of the track’s hook. It’s a much welcomed fresh track that is sure to control the radio waves in the coming fall months.
Taking the stage an hour late wearing a tie-dye hoodie, an oversized jean jacket and an explosive white dress, Ms. Lauryn Hill demanded respect throughout her hour and a half, heart wrenching performance of her iconic album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” The evening began with a bumpy start as the rumors and articles of Lauryn Hill arriving late to performances held true on Monday night. The Isleta Amphitheater stage was left vacant for more than an hour as many attendees began to wonder if she was going to cancel her performance and just not show. For most people waiting an hour was nothing, as most concert goers had been waiting for 20 years to experience Hill’s live performance. All I can say is the show was well worth the wait. Ms. Hill did all but disappoint. Her ability to rap breathless bars wasn’t affected by Albuquerque’s elevation or the cold she admitted to hating, neither was her ability to produce pitch perfect cries of heartbreak.
In true Kanye fashion, Brockhampton has finally released their fourth studio album “Iridescence,” their follow up to their now hailed Saturation trilogy, following a messy and unorderly release cycle. Fans of Brockhampton’s catchy hooks, upbeat energy and quotable lyrics scattered across the Saturation trilogy will be disappointed by the new direction they have taken on their latest project. Although the more industrial sound explored on “Iridescence” is an unexpected handoff from their standard hip hop beats, it’s not something to be overlooked.
From being booed at the age of thirteen, to having the queen of rap, Nicki Minaj fall to her knees in front of her, the life and works of Ms. Lauryn Hill is a fascinating and captivating story. Just one year after the Fugees disbanded in 1997, band member Lauryn Hill released her debut solo album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” (1998). 20 years later the 16-track hip-hop, neo-soul record is hailed as one of the most valuable contributions to the world of music. For any album and artist to withstand the test of time, their work has to influence generations of future artists and albums. For example, projects like “Abbey Road” (1969) by The Beatles, “The Dark Side of the Moon” (1973) by Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mack’s “Rumours” (1977) have all been sampled in other artist’s songs. These artists have influenced the albums within their genre and their lyrics have been reused or referenced within albums that have followed.
Four bands made their stop in Albuquerque on Sept. 18, for “The Hive” tour. Arcade Rivals, Selfish Things, Punchline and The Spill Canvas played at Launchpad Tuesday night. The title of the tour is in reference to the new EP by The Spill Canvas called “Hivemind.” “It’s good now that we have new music to talk with people about, instead of just old stuff,” said Bryce Job, the drummer and backing vocals for The Spill Canvas. “Especially since the newer members are recorded on our new stuff now.” The Albuquerque show was stop number four on their second leg of their Western U.S. tour. The tour previously stopped in Texas for three shows, in Austin, Houston and Dallas as part of the tour, they have had great fan interaction on the road so far.
Hidden away under the piles of toss-away rap made overly abundant by the likes of Drake and Migos is a quiet voice, a voice weaving pure emotions into gold. This is the voice of the elusive rapper Noname, Fatimah Warner. 2016 was gifted a small album by the name of “Telefone,” Fatimah’s debut. It was on best albums of the year lists from Pitchfork to Rolling Stone and beyond. Noname appeared from thin air — with a whirlwind round of festivals and tours she collected a small following, and like a light breeze was gone without warning. Two years after creating “Telefone,” Fatimah returns with another short blip of an album titled “Room 25” which expands on her talents as a curator, lyricist and a profoundly talented recording artist.
Editor's Note: The Daily Lobo is publishing a list of some of the best albums of the 21st century. This is part two of the Best Albums of hip-hop list. “Telefone” by Noname: Sadness and melancholy are daily occurrences for the Chicago rapper Noname, who finds ways to weave in small clips of happiness into her sorrow filled debut album “Telephone.” In just thirty minutes, Noname delivers a roller-coaster of emotions full of stories of love, heartbreak, life and death that make every listen feel intimate and personal. Disguised in bubbly jazz production most would assume Noname is but a joyous, hopeful rapper, amongst further lyrical analysis it’s clear that Noname has had more than a lifetime's worth of devastation.
Irish singer and guitarist Hozier released an EP titled “Nina Cried Power” on Sept. 6, four years after releasing his self-titled debut album. With remnants of his original Irish folk sound, Hozier beautifully infuses strands of blues and gospel. Much like in his first album, his voice leads the way for the accompanying instruments included.
Recording artist Malcolm James McCormick, more popularly known as Mac Miller, was found deceased in his Los Angeles home on Thursday, Sept. 7, the result of an apparent drug overdose. His passing came as a shock to the music community. With his upcoming tour set to start in October and his optimistic tweets, fans saw this as Mac hitting his stride and the projection of his career was looking to be increasingly successful.
Editor's Note: This is part of a series of lists looking at some of the best albums to be released this century in a variety of genres. Part 2 of the hip-hop list will be published Wednesday 9/12. If you Google “the best hip-hop albums ever,” chances are you’ll find countless pages listing albums from the likes of Nas, Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G., which are all wonderful and impactful albums, but many new hip-hop albums are seemingly overlooked because of how highly we value albums from the 90’s. This list contains ten albums made between the year 2000 and now that have been culturally impactful, genre changing, lyrically magnificent or conceptually brilliant.