July 17th, 2020


Meghan Trainor – Treat Myself (Epic)

I sat down with this record expecting, even hoping, for something to tear apart. I was not ready to actually enjoy (most of) a Meghan Trainor album. The lead single, “No Excuses”, is such a trainwreck of a song I was ready to launch into a tirade about faux-sincerity, narcissism, and banal pop tropes that are all embodied by a mush-mouthed blonde commercial puppet. 

Sure, she switches between personalities from song to song, decrying the horrors of a relationship, then wanting him back. Sure, when she sings the phrase, “Love Yourself”, it somehow sounds like she’s saying “Out dog yourself”. Sure, every song is a repetitive, four-chord, easily-digestible melody.

But…

Goddammit if it doesn’t work this time. Ignore the Nicki Minaj part of “Nice To Meet You” and the melody and beat are quite pleasing. Close your eyes and listen to “Funk” and you can almost hear Janet. “Working On It” might be the most honest a pop star has been recently about personal failings. Throw a Spanish verse into “Lie To Me” and it could be Shakira.  And the best part is, she finally has a producer that nearly eliminated the overuse of handclaps and ‘60s pop basslines. 

My favorite track on the album has to be “Here To Stay”, in which she basically says, “Yeah, I’m a piece of shit, but apparently you’re into that, so let’s do this.”

The problematic tendencies definitely still exist (“Babygirl”, “Genetics”, and the aforementioned “No Excuses”), but by and large, this is a huge step in the right direction. 

FFO: Janet Jackson, Sabrina Carpenter

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July 3rd and July 10th, 2020


We owe you a bit of an apology. A lot of good music happened in July, but due to some personal things that happened during that time (not going to bore you with details), we struggled to get things written. Rest assured, we were listening and intend to remedy the lapse in posts…

Right now.


Cuddle Magic – Bath (Northern Spy)

Bath is the sixth album from Brooklyn-based sextet, Cuddle Magic, and it is a damned shame that it took me six album to hear of them. As of this writing, I have not traveled back through to their origins, but if Bath is at all indicative of their body of work, they have a fan for life.

Folk-pop is a genre that doesn’t get a ton of radio play or heated discussion outside of your local bookstore or coffee shop. It’s also rare to find a folk-pop outfit that challenges the dynamics of the genre. Bath is acoustic. It is also orchestrated to be extraordinarily intoxicating. Voices float in and out at precisely the right moments. The instrumentation is consistent by changing to suit each individual song, whether that’s a harmonica (“Gracefully”), a pump organ (“This Way”, “Eleanor”), or the simple pluck of an acoustic guitar (“Hurt a Little”, “Still In Touch”), it is the perfect accompaniment to the softly sung vocals of Benjamin and Kristin

Yeah, I learned their names. So what?

From the first moments of “What If I”, you can feel the love. Love for the music. Love for each other. Love for the listener. 

Oh, and the fun part…

The whole album was recorded live in a bathroom. That’s right! Six people, no headphones or electronic tricks. Just microphones, instruments, and pure, unadulterated talent. 

FFO: The Shins, Bon Iver, Iron and Wine

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