Release Radar: Tracks to jam out to this month

Michael Pickett, Reporter

Music, music music. Where would we be without it? Everywhere we go we hear these sensational symphonies of wondrous production left and right, and this year has been no exception. August-and to an extent-early September has seen arguably the best releases of 2021 by far. From rap, to pop, to artists you may have never heard of before, here are some recent albums, singles, and EPs you just HAVE to give a shot.

1. DONDA – Kanye West

No, this isn’t a glitch, that is the album cover.

After over a year since it was first announced, multiple title changes, and 3 whole listening parties, Kanye Omari West, the former presidential candidate has finally dropped his 10th studio LP to albeit mixed reviews. We see Kanye take on a heavy gospel influence with this album, which is something he has tried to do in the past on albums such as Jesus Is King. However the influence seems much more realized within this album than his others. Rather than making half-baked gospel songs with boring beats over them, Kanye goes all in on the trap-hop style while also managing to weave in organs or church choirs without them being so out of place or annoying. Whether we are talking about the low-pitched choir rumbling on tracks like Off The Grid or Praise God, or the bellowing organs on tracks like Pure Souls or Hurricane, way more effort is clearly shown in this project than some of his past releases.
The tracklist may be a bit bloated, and there are some questionable features (Marilyn Manson, Chris Brown, and Dababy), but Kanye still manages to pull together a cohesive project that rivals some of his best work. If you’re a fan of rap, you cannot miss this release.

2. Certified Lover Boy – Drake

Certified Lover Boy - Album by Drake | Spotify

What does this album cover entail? What does being a “Certified Lover Boy” have to do with the pregnant woman emoji?

Speaking of rap albums and popular figureheads in the genre, Drake released his long awaited 6th project this September 3rd. Certified Lover Boy has been teased for almost a year now, and finally the album has been pushed out seemingly out of the blue. Since Drake and Kanye have been in some beef recently, people speculate the random release to be an effect of Kanye dropping his album Donda the same month. So, how was it? A lot of people exclaim it as mediocre, while some swear by it. I decided to ask a few students at the school how the felt about the album because I knew the responses would be so polarizing:
“I mean… It was alright?” said a student. “It was very safe. Drake played it very safe.”
Another student praised Drake for the album, and even threw shade at Kanye.
“Kanye ain’t got nothing on Drake. Donda was so mid (middle, or mediocre), glad Drake came in with some heat this time.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, one student stood his ground that Kanye was the MVP.
“I mean, I love Drake, but Kanye just had this whole other kind of sound that we don’t really hear. Drake released some boring material … call that album Certified Lullabies.”
Boring? Incredible? You should be the judge of that! Give it a shot.

3. Take My Breath – The Weeknd

Take My Breath - Single by The Weeknd | Spotify

Finally, some good cover art on this list!

After breaking top chart records and winning multiple awards after his last album After Hours, The Weeknd gives us a teaser of what is to come from his next project with the song Take My Breath. The Weeknd seems to be doubling down on the 70’s-90’s synth-esc sounds that he was doing on his previous release, but with more of a funky feeling to it with how the percussion is done. It’s very much a vibe-y track, and I personally can’t wait to see where The Weeknd goes with this next project.

4. SINNER GET READY – Lingua Ignota

Album Review: LINGUA IGNOTA Sinner Get Ready

If this album art invokes confusion,  fear, or both, I don’t blame you!

Lingua Ignota is no secret to religiously driven music ever since her 2019 release CALIGULA, which was critically acclaimed. Surprisingly, her 2021 release SINNER GET READY exceeded all expectations set from her previous LP. If you are going into this expecting a safe album with songs you could put on a playlist willy-nilly, then you would be heavily mistaken. This is more of an experience than an album. From the grumbling synths and angelic vocals on the intro track THE ORDER OF SPIRITUAL VIRGINS, you can instantly tell that this isn’t your ordinary chart-topping album.The samples of choirs and sermons combined with the heavy electronics and Appalachian instruments really make this a special project, making it easily one of Lingua’s best albums in her discography. Even if this one isn’t topping billboard charts, it sure is topping “favorite album of the year” charts for many. I highly recommend this one, definitely has a lot going for it in my opinion.

Although this month wasn’t chalk full of bangers and huge albums, it definitely was a month to celebrate when it came to music. So many artists putting out quality stuff is a nice thing to see before the year ends.