February 2016 in Review: Music This Month

by Quincy Tejani, Music Connoisseur

Kanye West- The Life of Pablo

Kanye West- The Life of Pablo

Every month I do a review on the music that I heard in the last 30 days and talk about what I consider to be the best of it.

Best Album Released in February

Album of the Month: Animal Collective- Painting With

I’ve struggled with this one. Going into this month I was seriously looking forward to three albums that I knew would be released: Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo, Animal Collective’s Painting With and The 1975’s I Like it When You Sleep, for You are so Beautiful Yet so Unaware of It (Christ, that’s a long title). I was thoroughly let down by the latter album and so it came down to Kanye and AnCo.

Animal Collective- Painting With [Alternative Cover]

Animal Collective- Painting With (Alternative Cover)

Now before I continue, I must admit that I loathe Kanye West’s public persona. Every time that he’s about to release an album I know I will have to suffer through weeks of Kanye’s bullshit before I get to hear the final product. When I finally do listen to the final product, I am usually blown away and so I forgive Kanye and move on with my life. This time however I found myself content with Kanye’s product but thoroughly NOT blown away. If Kanye was able to stay true to the original track list he released, I honestly think the album would have been far superior to this drawn out self-indulgent product that we, the audience, ended up receiving . However, I do believe that the high points, tracks such as “Ultralight Beam”, “Famous” and “Real Friends” truly do save the album. In the end, after all the Kanye shit, all of the self-indulgence, I cannot deny that the album is decent.

 

In contrast…

Animal Collective released what may go down as my favorite single of the year in January. The infectiously happy “FloriDada” has to be one of the best songs of Animal Collective’s long career. After I heard this song, I was so pumped for this full length that I stayed up until 4 am to hear it on the 19th when it was released. When I first heard it I’ll admit that I was somewhat disappointed. Where were the FloriDada-esque tracks that I so desired? WHERE WERE THEY ANIMAL COLLECTIVE?! However, as with other AnCo. albums, I found that it took a few listens to really “get”what they were going for. After listening to this album nearly 15 times now I can honestly say that it is a damn good album. Perhaps it is not a masterpiece in the sense that albums like Merriweather and Strawberry Jam are, but what I’ve found is that an album’s appeal isn’t always about creating the best work of one’s carer. Sometimes it’s just about creating catchy, weird, fun tracks that the audience can’t help but enjoy.

 

Best Album NOT Released in February, 2016

Best Find: Julianna Barwick- The Magic Place (Released February 21st, 2011)

Julianna Barwick- The Magic Place

Julianna Barwick- The Magic Place

The first time I heard this album was actually while I was sleeping. It came on shuffle after I finished listening to something else on YouTube. I’m convinced that as I slept I dreamt of flying through the clouds as well as sleeping underneath giant jungle trees. This entire album makes me feel so enlightened and happy and brings images of epic landscapes to mind as I listen. Barwick’s beautiful voice has the power to pluck you out of your everyday malaise and place you in her magic place. What is so incredible about this album is that when I listen to it, I imagine my magic place as well. Any time an artist is able to emit such powerful emotions through their music, you know you’ve stumbled upon something special.

Best Track Released in February

Track of the Month: Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam”

Probably the best intro track to any Kanye West album, “Ultralight Beam” is one hell of a way to start an album. I found with T.L.O.P that the moments where Kanye himself was not present vocally ie. Rhianna’s chorus in “Famous” or The Weeknd’s chorus in “FML”, were my favourite. It’s no different on this track where in my opinion, Chance’s verse is what makes it such a fantastic cut. On top of Chance’s part, the gospel vocals throughout the song drive home the passion that Kanye is trying to emit with this track. And of course, Kanye’s production is absolutely fantastic and cannot go unmentioned.

King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard- I'm in Your Mind Fuzz

King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard- I’m in Your Mind Fuzz

 

Other Albums that I Found (and loved) in February

King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard- I’m in Your Mind Fuzz

The Babe Rainbow- The Babe Rainbow EP 

Open Mike Eagle- Dark Comedy 

Ty Segall- Emotional Mugger 

Sexwitch- Sexwitch 

Happy Listening Everyone!